Community Council for 13th precinct celebrates the holidays

Members of the Community Council celebrated the holidays at Hane Sushi on Tuesday. (From left to right) Julia Yepez-Macbeth, Elvie Coutain, VL Swanson, Community Council President Frank Scala, Melanie Hague-Scala, Carol Schachter and Pat Salin (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The 13th Precinct Community Council celebrated the holidays this past Tuesday with a festive dinner in lieu of the regular monthly meeting.

The dinner, at Hane Sushi in Stuyvesant Town, was scheduled for the same evening as a number of “Impeachment Eve” protests across the country, including one that ended in Union Square after a march from Times Square.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, commanding officer of the precinct, and Detective Vincent Arlotta both arrived at the dinner on time but left shortly after to provide support for the officers in Union Square, where more than 1,500 protesters were expected on Tuesday evening, the night before the House of Representatives was expected to vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

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Town & Village drive collects 450 toys, baby items

Bonnie Robbins, coordinator for children and family services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, will help distribute the toys throughout the hospital systems’ 10 clinics. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Town & Village readers once again helped bring some holiday cheer to families who use the outpatient clinics run by Mount Sinai Beth Israel by donating approximately 450 toys and items for new babies to the annual drive this year, overwhelmingly topping last year’s donations of around 250.

Bonnie Robbins, PhD, is the coordinator for children and family services at MSBI and said that the marked increase in donations can be attributed to residents who also donated boxes of diapers, pampers and gently-used baby clothing, which in past years are not items that the drive has received.

Robbins said that some donors use the drive as an opportunity to “declutter” and donations have include used items in poor condition, which the clinics would never give the patients for their children, but most of the clothing was freshly laundered and in great condition, so Robbins said that she was fine with including those in the drive because baby clothing is often “passed down” anyway. Food items like formula were also donated, but unfortunately had to be discarded because Robbins said that the clinics can’t distribute food items that they haven’t purchased themselves because it’s too difficult to tell if the items have been tampered with.

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Stuy Town native writes book after surviving cancer

Alexa Cucchiara (Photo by Brian Edsall)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuy Town native Alexa Cucchiara is excited to be graduating from college next spring, but she has more reason to celebrate than most: she is doing so after surviving cancer and writing a book.

Cucchiara was a sophomore at Marist College in Poughkeepsie about two years ago when she started not feeling well and got a swollen lymph node about the size of a golf ball around her collarbone. She went to the doctor to get it checked but it wasn’t until September 2017 when she was about to start her junior year that a doctor confirmed that she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and would need chemotherapy.

“I turned 20 and then six days later I started chemo,” she said. “I would always joke around and would say, no, this is preparing me for adulthood. I would try to embrace it and have fun with it, even when I lost my hair and everything.”

Now studying at Fordham University in the Bronx to be closer to her family and network of friends who supported her while she was sick, Cucchiara at first couldn’t believe she had cancer and even when her doctor recommended surgery and chemotherapy for treatment, resisted the idea that she would have to leave school to recover.

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Town & Village holiday gift guide

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The holiday season is well underway and while more and more people do their gift shopping online lately, Town & Village has compiled a guide for local residents who want to support local businesses when picking up what they need for family members and friends.

For the kiddos

Pillows at Ibiza Kidz (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Kids of all ages can find something to cure their boredom at Ibiza Kidz at 340 First Avenue in Stuyvesant Town. Owner and Stuy Town resident Carole Husiak said that some of her most popular items for kids and even adults are the squishable pillows depicting cutesy anthropomorphic food characters. Available characters include a dog/hot dog, pizza, ice cream and others, but Husiak said that the stuffed avocado is the most popular.

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Christmas trees lighting up throughout the neighborhood

Stuyvesant Town celebrated their tree lighting on the Oval last Wednesday night. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Christmas season is in full swing throughout the neighborhood this month, with a number of areas celebrating the holiday with Christmas tree lightings, including Stuyvesant Town’s tree on the Oval and Madison Square Park, which holds the title of oldest tree lighting in the country.

StuyTown Property Services general manager Rick Hayduk lead the annual reading of “Twas The Night Before a StuyTown Christmas” at the tree lighting on the Oval last Wednesday night, with a local twist on the Christmas classic, and Lucy & the Goossettes performed Christmas favorites throughout the evening while hot chocolate was served to the hundreds of residents who attended.

Santa Claus made an appearance at the lighting before the main event, when residents flipped the switch for the occasion.

Councilmember Carlina Rivera was on hand in Madison Square Park the following night last Thursday to help kick off the holidays for NoMad. The park has been celebrating the tree lighting for more than 100 years.

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NY Waterway cancels giant SantaCon boat party

SantaCon (seen here in 2016) has long faced ire from neighborhood residents because of the public drunkenness often displayed by the event’s participants. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Shortly after announcing last Friday that the infamous SantaCon bar crawl would be sponsoring a handful of party yachts in the East River as part of the event scheduled for this Saturday, the event was canceled on Tuesday.

Councilmember Keith Powers shared a letter to Donald Liloia, Senior Vice President of NY Waterway, on Twitter this Tuesday afternoon also signed by State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein expressing a number of concerns about the event. Mere hours later, the Councilmember confirmed that NY Waterway, which operates the Skyport Marina where the boats would have docked, had canceled the event.

Gothamist reported on Tuesday that Liloia also confirmed the event’s cancellation, noting that the group organizing the event had only started planning recently and acknowledged that it was too complicated to pull off on such short notice.

The letter signed by Powers, Hoylman and Epstein (which can be read in full here) argued that a free event of that size, attracting people who are likely to be intoxicated, would cause substantial disturbance to tenants in the nearby residential developments of Waterside Plaza and Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village.

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Letters to the editor, Dec. 12

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Charged for new door

Recently I had to call 911 for a medical emergency. NYPD also came with them and proceeded to breakdown down my door, even after my telling them I could answer the door. Stuyvesant Town then made me pay $1,700 for the new door. That was my tuition money for Baruch College for a year. I am trying to finish my degree, even though I am elderly and disabled now. I couldn’t believe I had to pay for the door. Technically I didn’t break it. And you know Stuyvesant Town charges you for any damage you cause in the apartment. I did not cause this damage. I should have never been charged for this. Can anybody help?

Name withheld

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Police Watch: Multiple teens arrested for robberies

TEEN ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY
Police arrested a teenager for a robbery that took place at a store near 150 East 28th Street on Wednesday, December 4 at 10:44 p.m. Police said that the teen removed candy from the store without permission and when an employee told him he had to pay for the items, he displayed a knife and said, “I will stab you.” The teen fled from the store and was stopped in front of the ACS building on First Avenue after police searched the area with the victim. The victim positively identified the teen as the person who had threatened him in his store.

TEENS ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY IN PARK
Police arrested two teenagers for a robbery that took place in a park near Lexington Avenue and East 28th Street on Sunday, December 8 at 1:16 p.m. The victim told police that he was walking in the park when the two teens approached him. One of the suspects who was wearing a grey sweatshirt came up close to him while the suspect, wearing a blue sweatshirt, pulled out a yellow knife and said, “Give me everything you have or I’ll cut you.” The victim then gave the suspect his cell phone and fled the scene. Shortly after, he searched the area with police officers and identified the teens, and the suspect with a blue sweatshirt was reportedly in possession of a yellow knife when he was arrested.

MAN ARRESTED FOR DRUNK DRIVING
Police arrested a 35-year-old man for intoxicated driving in front of 4 West 21st Street on Sunday, December 8 at 1:57 a.m. Officers said that they were standing on the corner of West 21st Street and Fifth Avenue when the suspect approached them and said that he just crashed into a parked vehicle at a parking garage and wanted to file a report. The officers followed him to the nearby parking garage, where they saw the suspect’s car parked near the entrance with damage to his vehicle and another parked vehicle. An employee at the garage told the officers that he saw the suspect get into the car and drive it into the parked vehicle and the suspect also told the officers that he was the one driving. Police said that the suspect had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, was unsteady on his feet and had bloodshot, watery eyes.

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Television staple George Loros looks for one more act

Actor George Loros (Photos by Ryan Songalia)

By Ryan Songalia

George Loros is used to being recognized on the streets. For decades he had been a ubiquitous presence on television screens, doing guest appearances on shows like Charlie’s Angels, Baretta and Kojak, but he now spends his days teaching acting near Union Square rather than currently acting himself.

“I must have been on two nights a week for years because I was lucky enough to do a lot of the top shows,” said Loros, now 85, of his acting career as he settles into a Gramercy Park restaurant for dinner.

Loros orders broiled salmon and multigrain toast for dinner after teaching at the nearby Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute on East 15th Street, where he’s worked since 1989. He’s an ice cream fan: his favorites are coffee, chocolate chocolate chip, chocolate and vanilla, though he limits himself to a taste once a month. His only indulgence this evening is a dash of cinnamon, from a shaker he carries in his satchel, in his coffee.

Loros teaches at the institute in Gramercy twice a week, which he said is “almost as good as acting; nothing can compare to that, but it’s close.” He hasn’t acted since 2012, when he portrayed Detective Paul Garcia in the film Redemption, which was produced by Tim Martin Crouse, who also teaches at the Strasberg Institute.

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T&V holding holiday toy drive

Dr. Bonnie Robbins of Mount Sinai Beth Israel, pictured with donations from the 2018 drive, says this drive has become more crucial to the families the hospital serves. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Town & Village is holding a toy drive to help make the holidays brighter for children undergoing medical treatment during the holiday season as well as the children of families in outpatient programs run by Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

Gifts will be accepted for children of all ages as long as they are new. Items for older boys are especially in high demand. No toy weapons, please.

Partnering with Town & Village on this effort is:

Stuyvesant Town Property Services, accepting toys at Resident Services, 276 First Avenue on the First Avenue Loop Road, and at AppleSeeds, 6 Stuyvesant Oval off of the Avenue C loop

Waterside Plaza management, accepting toys at the management office, 30 Waterside Plaza, and the Swim & Health Club, 35 Waterside Plaza

M&T Bank, accepting toys at the branch at 397 First Avenue and East 23rd Street.

Toys can also be dropped off at Town & Village’s office, 20 West 22nd Street, Suite 1503 (or left with the doorperson at the lobby).

The deadline to donate is Monday, December 16. Toys should be unwrapped. Gifts will still be accepted after the deadline at Town & Village’s office but won’t be delivered until after New Year’s.