Measles is a concern for New Yorkers, says NYU Langone doctor

By Sabina Mollot

Despite some pretty stringent rules about immunization in schools, measles has made its comeback. So far, cases have been reported in 10 states, including New York, where there have been over 200 reported cases, all in Orthodox Jewish enclaves upstate as well as in Brooklyn.

According to the New York City Health Department, there have been 67 cases of measles since last October, all in Brooklyn.

To keep the disease from spreading in the city, mandatory school exclusions are currently in effect for children attending yeshivas or yeshiva-based childcare centers in the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Borough Park. This means the students must remain home from school while the outbreak is ongoing, including children who have religious exemptions or valid medical exemptions.

Meanwhile, upstate, Rockland County has seen 130 cases, Orange County 10 cases and Monroe County seven, according to the State Department of Health. In response to the outbreak there, Rockland County has excluded approximately 6,000 unvaccinated children at schools that are either located in close proximity to cases or that have vaccination rates below 95 percent.  State health officials have also met with local rabbinical leaders, parents and pediatricians on school exclusions and on getting children vaccinated.

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 14

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

The time-honored tradition of greed

The average rent in Stuy Town/Peter Cooper Village is now higher than the average rent in the rest of Manhattan. This is pretty worrisome trend. Far from being a middle-class bastion, it is now a high-rent complex.

Greedy landlords contributed. Metropolitan Life had enormous help from city to clear 80 acres in the Gas House District and evict over 13,000 working class people and their families from their homes. They said it was a slum clearance project — but there were three churches, three schools and countless mom and pop stores all there. The landlord was given enormous tax breaks.

When Mike Bloomberg was asked to intervene when Met Life said they wanted to cash in their chips in a $5.4 billion payday, Bloomberg adapted a laissez-faire attitude and said it was a “private transaction.” He deliberately turned a blind eye.

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East 14th Street man reported missing

Po Fung Eng

Police are looking for a resident of East 14th Street who was last seen on Tuesday at around 1:30 a.m.

Po Fung Eng, 55, who lives in a building east of Third Avenue, is described as Asian, 5’9″ tall and 130 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray jacket and blue pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at Nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Guest steals electronics from Peter Cooper Village resident

Theft suspect in Peter Cooper Village

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who stole electronics from a Peter Cooper Village resident he went home with on Friday, February 8.

The victim told police he and the other man, who he met at a bar that evening, went to his apartment at 601 East 20th Street. After his guest left, at around 1:30 a.m., the resident realized various items were missing from the apartment, including an iPhone, driver’s license, two Microsoft Surface Pros, an Apple MacBook and a Playstation.

The suspect was seen on surveillance video. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

Parents still hope to save St. Brigid School

St. Brigid families gathered after mass on Sunday to protest the closure of the East Village school and to strategize. (Photos by Sidney Goldberg)

By Sabina Mollot

Shell-shocked parents and students at St. Brigid, a parish-run Catholic school across from Tompkins Square Park, have been doing hail Marys in the hopes of getting the Archdiocese to rethink a decision made last week to shutter the school and four others in the city.

On Sunday, parents, local elected officials and children making homemade signs gathered for a brain storming session and protest after mass, and one parent and school volunteer, Amanda Daloisio, insisted, “We’re not going down without a fight.”

Daloisio, who lives a block away from the school, said parents, on top of being heartbroken are also furious about the way the announcement was handled.

Daloisio said the principal was the first to be told on a Friday but was instructed not to tell anyone. She did share the news with teachers at an emergency meeting the following Monday, but they too were told to stay silent. Parents were then given notices in their children’s backpacks although curiously some students were told about it by the principal before their parents. Parents received an alert on their phones to be on the lookout for the letter.

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‘Landmarks Lion’ Jack Taylor dies

June21 SPNA Jack Taylor and Rosalee Isaly

Jack Taylor with Rosalee Isaly, then-president of the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association, who presented him with an award for his preservation work in the neighborhood last year (also now deceased) (Photo by Andrew Garn)

By Sabina Mollot

Jack Taylor, a historic preservationist and resident of East 18th Street in Gramercy, died last Thursday, February 7, in his sleep. He was 94, and had suffered some health problems, including with his leg in recent months, making it hard for him to get around.
For decades Taylor was known for his efforts to save buildings slated for the wrecking ball in the Gramercy, Stuyvesant Square and Union Square neighborhoods and to get them landmarked.

He was involved in numerous civic groups, including the Gramercy Park Block Association, the Union Square Community Coalition, the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association and the Historic Districts Council.

He’d been retired since the 1980s, when he served as managing editor for Family Circle for several years. After retiring, he still did some freelance editing work.
His legacy of preservation began when he was inspired by the loss of Luchow’s restaurant, according to a transcript of a 2004 forum he participated in held by the New York Preservation Archive Project. The place was over a century old when Taylor learned it was at risk and got involved with an informal group aimed at saving it, headed by the USCC. The “born and bred” Manhattanite noted he had been born in Greenwich Village, not far from Luchow’s.

“Was it an architectural landmark? Was it a cultural landmark? Just what was it?” Taylor had mused at the forum. “It didn’t matter to me then, because I didn’t know the ropes very much. But it just seemed to be something that the city of New York would be the worse without. Regardless of the food, which had plummeted in the meantime. It was the philosophy of the thing.”

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Opinion: Mark-Viverito blocked SBJSA

By Sung Soo Kim, founder, Small Business Congress

Normally, the small business advocates would call upon all New Yorkers to put aside the canned election political rhetoric and instead scrutinize the records, qualifications, public statements and past actions of the candidates. There is no time for this proper analysis, but one candidate’s shameful record on dealing with the small business crisis and being influenced by a lobby must be exposed to the voters, especially in the immigrant community.

We carefully reviewed public advocate candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito’s (MMV) record and actions as speaker on addressing the specific crisis of the closings of long established small businesses. Also examined were her actions to address the anti-democratic rigging by a lobby taking place in the speaker’s office for over four years.

Nobody is more qualified to make this assessment than the small business advocates who have been fighting for justice for decades. The small businesses themselves wrote the original legislation (Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act ) giving rights to businesses to survive when their leases expired and then advocated for over 30 years to get it passed.

We know from firsthand experience who is a true progressive and friend of small business and who has been bought off to stop our bill and deny rights to small business owners.  We know when we receive justice and fair treatment at City Hall and when justice is denied by a rigged system. Our warning to voters to not vote for MMV is based solely upon the true record of MMV as speaker on our crisis.

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Opinion: Shutdowns and showdowns

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

The federal government shutdown is over, at least for now. This lull before the next budget deadline is a good time to reflect on recent events. Does the president really have an appetite for putting 800,000 federal workers through that financial trauma again? Does he really want to again halt essential functions rendered by FBI agents and air traffic controllers, persons running national parks or those dispensing critical human services to the needy?

Some years ago, when budget delays were common in New York State for lack of an agreement between the legislature and the governor, the state at that time enacted a policy whereby legislators would not be paid until the budget was passed. This was done both in the hopes of spurring agreements as well as punishment for negligent and tardy behavior. So here is an idea:

Come February 15, if there is no budget in place in Washington D.C. and hostages need to be taken, have the members of the executive branch of government, including the president, vice president, the cabinet and their staffs go without their pay until the issues are resolved. And do the same with all members of Congress and their staffs. Whether elected officials are paid bi-weekly, bi-monthly, or once a year, it is legal.

Rumor has it that there is legislation to do just that which is actually being proposed in the House of Representatives. Good. Let them put their money where their mouth is.

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USPS fights back against ‘fishers’ with new mailboxes

Two of the new mailboxes at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street are considered higher security due to a slit for inserting mail rather than a pull-out handle. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Mailbox fishing, a type of theft aimed at stealing checks that can later be altered, has just gotten harder.

This is because the United States Postal Services is currently in the process of replacing 5,000 mail collection boxes throughout the city with higher-security models. Xavier Hernandez, a spokesperson for the USPS, said the project is being done in coordination with law enforcement agencies.

The main difference between the old boxes and new is that there is no longer a pull-down handle, but a narrow slot where letters can be inserted and dropped. Areas throughout the five boroughs that are considered “high needs” because they have been popular targets for theft, have been getting their mailboxes replaced first.

The USPS can usually tell when their collection boxes have been tampered with, because they are scratched up or have glue inside or in some cases, evidence of someone having tried to pry off the fronts. Hernandez declined to share which neighborhoods were considered high-need, explaining that thieves have managed to exploit that information. Tips on suspected theft have come from the NYPD, postal employees and customers who call if they believe they’ve had a check stolen.

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Burglar steals from apartment on East 18th Street

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a burglar who stole $4,500 in cash and electronics from an apartment on East 18th Street on Wednesday, February 6.

Feb14 burglary suspect b

Burglary suspect

It was around noon when police said the man managed to get in by forcing his way into the apartment’s door.

This is the second time an apartment has been burglarized on this street in recent weeks, although based on surveillance images, this is a different suspect.

On Wednesday, January 23 at approximately 6:30 a.m. in the vicinity of East 18th Street and 2nd Avenue, another man got into an apartment via a fire escape. He started to help himself to items from an entertainment center before two residents walked in on him and he fled, this time through the door.

Anyone with information on either incident is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

With anti-Semitic incidents on the rise, Maloney pushing ‘Never Again’ bill

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney speaks about her bill at Center for Jewish History. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Following a spate of disturbing incidents of anti-Semitism in New York City, including in her district, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is reintroducing legislation aimed at making holocaust education a mandatory part of the curriculum at schools around the country.

Maloney said she has introduced the Never Again Education Act at least five times already but is hoping that with Democrats in the majority, she can finally get the bill the hearing it has so far been denied. She said she’s also already gotten support from a few senators on a potential companion bill and in Congress, the bill has 22 co-sponsors.

“We’re making progress,” Maloney said, before blaming the bill’s inaction these past few years on what was then a GOP-led house. “It’s really hard to get anything passed in the U.S. Congress,” she said. But, she added. “If it comes to the floor of the Congress, I think it would pass.”

Along with making Holocaust education required, the legislation also provides a $2 million budget for things like textbooks, visits to schools from experts and holocaust survivors, field trips and a website with educational resources for teachers.

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 7

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Useful info about Gillibrand

I was pleased to read Steve Sanders’ column in last week’s T&V regarding Kirsten Gillibrand (“Who is Kirsten Gillibrand?”). It was a useful look at and recap of her CV and made several points that may not be common knowledge if one is not a politics wonk. I count myself a wonk, but not yet a pundit.

It is a service to our general voting population to point out that her current Liberal affiliation is second only to Saint Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. It was nearly instantaneous when she found herself downstate after a term as a Representative from upstate complete with the A rating from the NRA.

I would like to make one other point that Sanders did not make mention of in this article. That is the immediate hue and cry she unleashed calling for Al Franken’s resignation from the Senate after allegations of sexual misconduct were discovered. Make no mistake, I found his behavior reprehensible and unacceptable. However, not every crime warrants the death penalty and her reaction to the story was extremely swift as well as loud. It is my opinion that Kirsten Gillibrand tends to stay fit by jumping onto bandwagons.

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Woman’s wallet stolen at St. Francis Xavier Church

Church theft suspect

Cops are looking for a creep who stole a wallet from a 76-year-old woman worshipper at Saint Francis Xavier Church located at 46 West 16th Street.

The woman had left her purse unattended while receiving communion, and later discovered that $580 in unauthorized charges were made on her credit cards at various stores.

The incident occurred on Saturday, December 22, 2018 at about 12:30 p.m., but police only released details this week.

The suspect is described as a black man with a medium complexion, approximately 28 to 35 years with brown eyes and a medium build. He was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, black vest, black sweatpants and a black knit hat.

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Carbon monoxide sends construction workers at Kips Bay building to hospital

Firefighters pull ropes to hoist two injured workers out of the construction pit. (Photos by Jefferson Siegel)

By Jefferson Siegel

Nine construction workers were overcome by carbon monoxide late Tuesday afternoon at a construction site on East 29th Street between Park Avenue South and Madison Avenue, the location of a 46-story building that will house condos.

The men were using power saws while working in an enclosed space near gasoline-powered generators when they started to feel dizzy. Most of the workers were able to exit the space on their own, but two had to be lifted out by firefighters. They were taken to a hospital and the Buildings Department issued a stop-work order on the site.

A worker overcome by carbon monoxide is rushed to an ambulance.

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L train service disrupted due to oppressive fumes

L train

By Sabina Mollot

As if the smells in the subway weren’t already oppressive enough, L train service was suspended on Tuesday afternoon at around 1 p.m. when a gas odor began wafting through the Graham Avenue station in Brooklyn earlier in the day.

The smells became so bad one person fainted at the Lorimer station, Gothamist reported, while according to the Daily News, another straphanger passed out as the train approached First Avenue.

By 3:30 p.m., L train service had resumed in both directions with delays, despite the fact that “lingering gas smells may be present at the stations in the area,” the MTA said in an announcement. Still, according to the MTA, the stations were determined to be safe.

MTA spokesman Maxwell Young told Town & Village that after hearing customers complain about the odor that morning, the agency initially thought this was due to leftover fumes from diesel work trains passing through the stations. The MTA expected to fumes to dissipate, explaining this is what usually happens, but when the smell lingered, the agency launched an investigation.

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