Most Stuy Town businesses affected by electrical fire reopen

The First Avenue shops were barricaded off as Con Ed continued to work at the scene last Thursday. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Following the manhole fire under Stuyvesant Town that caused the evacuation of stores from 18th to 20th Streets on First Avenue, all but one of the businesses have reopened.

The one that didn’t, Ibiza Kidz, was hit the hardest in terms of smoke damage. While cleaning and airing out her shop and assessing damage last Thursday, owner Carole Husiak said she lost her almost all her inventory, including what was in the basement. Additionally, none of the clothing items could be restocked since they were ordered six months ago from wholesalers and are now out of stock.

Husiak said she’s since worked with vendors for new clothing to be brought in quickly. And the scooters and helmets previously in stock are still okay.

However, it isn’t clear yet when the store will reopen since the cleanup effort in coordination with her insurance companies, is ongoing.

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Resident plays a poetic prisoner on ‘Orange is the New Black’

Sept13 Dana Berger OINTB 2

Dana Berger plays Crystal Tawney in the series’ sixth season.

By Sabina Mollot

“Orange is the New Black,” one of the most popular shows on Netflix, began streaming its sixth season on July 27. This season, which follows up after a prison riot, centers on a new maximum-security existence for those who were involved in the breakout as well as other newly-introduced inmates. Among the crew of new characters is the Jesus-loving, haiku-weaving Crystal Tawney, who is played by Dana Berger, a lifelong resident of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village.

Berger, who is already filming the next season, is in four episodes of the current one. For those who have yet to binge-watch it all, Berger spoke with Town & Village recently about her character, how she got the part and how a fictional show has opened America’s eyes to the very real consequences of incarceration.

Berger, who’d been getting roles in local and regional theater as well as acting in web-based comedy videos, got her first major TV part as a paramedic on the CBS series, “Elementary.” She was later asked to returned to the role only to see the character killed off.

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Eleven-story building planned at former site of Beth Israel Karpas Center

Sept20 Karpas demolished

CIM group is the owner of the First Avenue property, which previously housed four small buildings. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm CIM Group appears to be moving along with its plans for the property that used to be the Beth Israel Karpas Health Information Center.

The four small adjoining buildings on First Avenue and 18th Street across from Stuyvesant Town have finally been demolished after undergoing a lengthy asbestos abatement treatment.

Additionally, CIM Group has filed an application with the Department of Buildings to be an eleven-story residential building with some retail space. According to the filing, it will have 48,374 square feet of residential use and 6,966 of commercial (with a total 55,340). Continue reading

Former opponent of Maloney loses lawsuit against Board of Elections

Sander Hicks

By Sabina Mollot

Sander Hicks, a Brooklyn Democrat who’d been knocked off the ballot — twice — in an attempt to dethrone Congress Member Carolyn Maloney this election season, has now lost a lawsuit he’d filed against the Board of Elections.

Last month, Hicks filed a suit against the BOE after he was removed from the ballot over issues with his petitions. Hicks said he got well over the necessary number of signatures at around 5,500, with 3,500 being required for candidacy, but his petition was rejected because he’d included two addresses on the cover, one his residence and the other his work. The board then sent him a letter informing him he’d have to correct it, although, according to Hicks, he had to guess the problem because he was never told what it was.

A spokesperson for the Board of Elections did not respond to requests for comment.

The letter, Hicks said, was dated August 3, but he only received it a week later, and when he resubmitted the petitions on August 13, he was told he was too late. In response, he filed his lawsuit in the New York City Supreme Court and attended a hearing on August 30.

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 20

Sept20 Toon Cuomo deluge

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

More bikes than ever so why none left?

Re: “Two Citi Bike valet stations arrive in ST,” T&V, Aug. 30

You recently published an article about the Citi Bike racks at 20th and the FDR and First Avenue and 16th Street being made valet racks. This was great news except the rack at 20th and the FDR has been empty four of the last eight mornings I’ve gone out for a bike.

I joined Citi Bike when it first came into Manhattan. Over the last five plus years I’ve not had a bike about 95 percent of the time I’ve wanted one on weekday mornings. I’ve never understood why an area as big as PCV/ST is so underserved by Citi Bike. There are four racks now in the entire complex since the removal of the rack at 14th and B. Other areas in the city have racks every other street. Go across 13th Street and there are racks at almost every avenue.

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Citi Bike seeking larger storage space

City Council Member Keith Powers, pictured with representatives from Citi Bike, helped facilitate the arrival of two valet stations in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo courtesy of Council Member Keith Powers)

By Sabina Mollot

As Town & Village reported last month, two new Citi Bike valet stations have arrived at Stuyvesant Town. Together, the two docks, one on First Avenue and 16th Street and the other on East 20th Street, increased the number of bikes available to residents by 160.

The new bikes came at the request of Council Member Keith Powers, who’d been hearing from residents that there were never any bikes at the docks in the morning.

As it turns out, this may be due in part to the fact that a space in Stuyvesant Town that was leased to Citi Bike for the storage of about 500 bikes, was reutilized to become a new gym. Since then, Citi Bike has leased a smaller space on the property, but according to Rick Hayduk, general manager of Stuyvesant Town, management is trying to find a larger space onsite for the bikes’ storage, possibly on Avenue C.

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Man found dead on train at Union Square

Union Square (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A man was found dead on a train at the Union Square subway station after walking between train cars on Sunday night, police said.

The 33-year-old man, whose name has not been released, had gotten between the cars as the southbound 4 train left the 42nd Street station, but fell as the train approached 14th Street.

When police arrived at Union Square at around 10:30 p.m., the man was found inside the train, unconscious with trauma to his head. Emergency service workers took him to Mount Sinai Beth Israel, but doctors were unable to save him.

The Medical Examiner will determine the manner and cause of death and police said no criminality is suspected at this time.

 

 

 

 

Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood returns on September 29

Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood, pictured in 2016 (Photo by Maya Rader)

By Sabina Mollot

Back for its sixth year, Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood, hosted by Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, Inc., will return to Irving Place on Saturday, September 29. This year, the food festival and fundraiser will offer tastings from 25 eateries.

Each year the event has grown in popularity, with the restaurant owners often the ones to reach out to the event’s organizer to participate, the GNA’s president, Alan Krevis, said.

“We’re happy to have the restaurants back with us and we appreciate all the people who’ve been supporting us for the past six years,” he said.

Over the years, the event, which takes place under an open sky, rain or shine, has been frequented by tourists but mostly attended by local foodies.

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 13

Sept13 Toon Streetcar

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Stranded by disabled MTA

To the Editor: An open letter to the MTA and our local politicians.

On Thursday, Sept 6 at 2:45, on the corner of 14th Street and Avenue C, I was waiting for the westbound Ave D cross town buss. For 45 minutes I watched as eleven D buses go eastbound. Three buses going west stopped but they did not allow me to board, the driver said their buses were full.

A fourth bus stopped and the driver also did not want to assist me to board, I am handicapped and use a walker, however, a kind gentleman waiting with me picked up my walker and placed into the bus. No one got up and offered me a seat; I had to sit on my walker.

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ST/PCV apartment lottery reopening

ST buildings

By Sabina Mollot

The last time the Stuyvesant Town apartment lottery opened was in January, with slots only being made available for applicants in the upper tier of income levels, meaning those who earn a maximum of 165 percent of the area median income. As part of owner Blackstone’s deal with the city in 2015, as apartments have become available in the complex, half become market rate while the other half become available to lottery tenants. Of the lottery apartments, 90 percent of them go to tenants earning up to 165 percent of the AMI, the other 10 percent going to those earning a maximum of 80 percent of the AMI.

However, the lottery is once again reopening, and this time, applicants in both income tiers are eligible to apply for apartments, which are available in a variety of sizes in Stuy Town as well as Peter Cooper Village. The deadline to apply is October 11 and applications can be done online at stuytownlottery.com. To request an application by mail, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village Wait List, Peter Stuyvesant Station, P.O. Box 1287, New York, NY, 10009.

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Editorial: Keep Epstein in the State Assembly, send Cuomo a message from tenants

On Thursday, September 13, Democrat voters in New York will have the opportunity to vote, at the primary level, for their governor, lieutenant governor and public advocate. In the 74th Assembly District, which runs along the East Side from the East Village to Tudor City, there will also be the chance to vote for their representative in the New York Assembly.

For this seat, we endorse Harvey Epstein.

Epstein received our endorsement prior to the special election in April and is getting it again now for the same reason, his record of getting results for tenants. His opponents have argued – and rightly so – that it’s nearly impossible to beat the “Democratic machine,” a candidate supported firmly by the party, which in this case is Epstein. However, we do believe he has rightfully earned the trust he’s gotten and look forward to seeing him implement not only tenant protections but reforms to the state’s voting system as he has already sponsored legislation to do.

As for governor, we support Cynthia Nixon.

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Pets rescued, stores closed due to manhole fire under Stuy Town

Firetrucks line First Avenue. (Photo by Henry Beck)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday at around 6 p.m., an underground electrical fire broke out in a service box inside a manhole under Stuyvesant Town, shutting down the businesses along First Avenue from 18th to 20th Streets.

No one was injured but the amount of smoke meant the stores had to evacuate — including the animal residents at Petland.

Carole Husiak, owner of clothing store Ibiza Kidz, was at work when the overhead began to flicker. At the time, she thought there was something wrong with the store’s bulbs, but a few minutes later, Stuyvesant Town employees ran in to tell her to turn off all the store’s power and evacuate.

“There were hundreds of firemen and trucks as far as you could see in both directions,” said Husiak. “I think they were anticipating an explosion.”

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Statue of Liberty drowns in plastic installation in Flatiron

Sept6 Liberty

A pop-up installation aimed to highlight the worsening crisis of plastic in the oceans. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Labor Day, a 20-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty appeared on the north Flatiron Plaza, brought there by SodaStream International LTD, to highlight the over-use of plastic bottles. To do this, the statue was buried chest deep in empty plastic water bottles packed in a large steel cage.

The project, “Drowning Liberty,” was done in partnership with the nonprofit organization Oceanic Society, and the installation will visit other cities. It remained up across the street from the Flatiron Building through Wednesday, installed near an abstract, dome shaped wooden sculpture, Jorge Palacios’ “Link,” that’s been on view since late August.

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Murray’s on First Ave. closes

feb14-local-businesses-murrays-falafel

Former Murray’s owner Murray Allon at the restaurant (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, August 27, Murray’s Falafel & Grill on First Avenue, the only kosher restaurant serving meat in the Stuyvesant Town and Stuyvesant Square neighborhoods, was hit with an eviction notice from the city marshal’s office.

An employee for the marshal confirmed the notice and said such evictions are usually due to nonpayment of rent, though she didn’t have specific information in this case.

However, a Stuyvesant Town resident who was a customer said she heard from the previous owner, Murray Allon, that the restaurant had recently been sold to a family member who’d gotten behind on rent in the past few months.

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Woman mugged in Gramercy Park

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for a man who violently mugged a woman in Gramercy Park on Friday, August 31 at about 3 a.m.

Police said that the victim, a 39-year-old woman, was walking in front of 7 Gramercy Park East when a man snuck up on her from behind and pulled her to the ground. The victim, who was intoxicated at the time, sustained some minor injuries but refused medical attention. The mugger then ran off on East 20th Street towards Third Avenue with the victim’s purse, which contained her credit cards.

The suspect is described as Hispanic with a light complexion, 20-30 years old and about 5’8″, 170 lbs., brown eyes and long brown curly or wavy hair worn in a manbun. He was last seen wearing a white button-down shirt, tan shorts, black/white shoes and dark colored glasses.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident 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 Crime Stoppers website at Nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.