Police Watch: Men arrested for masturbating, filming under woman’s skirt

MAN CHARGED WITH MASTURBATING IN FRONT OF WOMAN AT AUGUSTUS ST. GAUDENS BATHROOM
Police arrested 23-year-old Trevon Stroman for allegedly trapping a woman inside the public restroom at the Augustus St. Gaudens playground while masturbating on Saturday, August 11 at 6:55 p.m.

The victim told police that she was in the public restroom in the playground at the corner of Second Avenue and East 20th Street and when she tried to leave, Stroman entered the bathroom and closed the door. The victim told police that Stroman was also shirtless and he allegedly had his pants down and was masturbating while holding the door shut. The victim said that she then yelled for help, at which point Stroman moved away from the door.

The victim as well as a witness told police that Stroman was still naked and masturbating when he left the bathroom. Stroman was charged with unlawful imprisonment and public lewdness.

MAN ALLEGEDLY FILMED UNDER WOMAN’S SKIRT AT UNION SQUARE SUBWAY
Police arrested 37-year-old Carlos Rivera for allegedly filming under a woman’s skirt inside the Union Square station at Union Square East and East 14th Street on Thursday, August 9 at 5:56 p.m. Rivera allegedly was walking up the stairs in the station behind a woman in her 20s while holding his cell phone facing him with the camera function in record mode.

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Pols, Bellevue doctors push for speed camera legislation

Aug9 speed cameras Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman blamed his own chamber for the camera shutoffs. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Surgeons and local elected officials gathered at Bellevue Hospital last Thursday, urging the State Senate to pass legislation that would preserve speed cameras around schools.

Speed cameras in 120 school zones lost their ability to issue speeding violations last month because the State Senate did not extend the program by the July 25th deadline. Advocates at Bellevue were pushing Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to call a special session so Senators could vote on legislation that has already passed in the Assembly, where it was sponsored by Assemblymember Deborah Glick.

Glick’s bill in the Assembly allows for speed cameras in 50 additional school zones a year for the next three years and extends the program through 2022. Democrats had originally proposed expanding the program to 750 school zones but said they reduced the number to appease Republicans.

“We reduced the number of cameras and reduced the radius the cameras cover,” Glick said. “We added signage so people know that there are cameras. We’ve given so much deference to speeders. We could give at least a modicum of the same concern for school children.”

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Convicted murderer assaults child at ACS facility

Administration for Children’s Services facility in Kips Bay (Photo via Google Maps)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A worker for the Administration for Children’s Services who was previously in prison for murder was arrested at the First Avenue foster care facility last week for allegedly assaulting a six-year-old boy living there.

Police said that Jacques Edwards, 55, picked up the child and carried him to a doorway, forcefully pushing the boy against the door and in effect using the child to open the door. Edwards also allegedly picked up the child and put him into the top drawer of an open metal filing cabinet, reportedly shoving him into the cabinet head first. Police said that the boy had a fresh bruise on his left temple and was treated by a nurse at the facility.

According to the New York Daily News, Edwards was hired by the Administration for Children’s Services four years ago, sources said, and the Post reported that Edwards was arrested by Port Authority police for attempted murder, attempted robbery and criminal use of a weapon in June 1981. He was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of stolen property and served time in an upstate prison for 28 years until he was released in 2010.

Commissioner David Hansell said in a statement that the agency has been changing their policies and strengthened their protocols over the last year and a half to improve their hiring standards and prevent someone like Edwards from getting hired as someone who works with children.

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Diesel buses blasted at L train meeting

An L train user speaks at the meeting held on Monday night. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Residents of Lower Manhattan expressed frustration about the possible environmental impacts of the L train shutdown because of an increase in buses in downtown neighborhoods at a public meeting hosted by the MTA last Monday evening.

MTA New York City Transit and the Federal Transit Administration prepared analysis at the end of last month that examines potential impacts of the MTA and DOT’s mitigation plans for the L train closure scheduled to begin in April 2019 and last for 15 months. The public meeting held on Monday at the MTA’s downtown headquarters was to solicit public feedback on the potential environmental impacts of the mitigation plan that were reviewed in this document.

Assembly Member Harvey Epstein said that one of his concerns was about the possibility of an increase in carbon monoxide and particulate matter because of the increase in congestion and bus traffic, which wasn’t analyzed in the document.

“The volume of buses will have a serious consequences,” Epstein said. “With only 15 clean, electric buses, there’s some real concern about the risk for people in my community. We need to have some more information about what that will be and will need more information throughout the process.”

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Opinion: That moment when you’re poked by a squirrel on a park bench

A similar offender in Stuy Town in 2016 (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Squirrels have been a hot topic in this community and in this newspaper over the years. Each side has been unexpectedly passionate in defending its position, to say the least: one of the most recent controversies involved a resident who received a threatening postcard because of a lukewarm annoyance at the rodents’ ceaseless begging. But the debate has finally become personal because on a weekend earlier this summer, I had an encounter that tipped my bias in favor of a ban on squirrel-feeding.

I was sitting on a bench in Madison Square Park on a Saturday afternoon, minding my own business, when I felt something tap against my shoulder. I turned and realized I was almost face to face with a squirrel, not the expected human hand, perched on the back of the bench, who for some reason thought I had a treat for him.

I’ve never had particularly strong feelings about this topic before and could see both sides of the argument. Squirrels can be a bit ratty-looking but also cute in their own way and I can understand the appeal of communing with nature in a city where nature is scarce. And if someone wants squirrels surrounding them or even climbing all over their body, that’s their business.

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Seniors warned: Don’t ignore summonses

Fidel Del Valle, commissioner of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, speaks at the event held at the Sirovich Center, pictured with Council Member Carlina Rivera (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Ignoring that $100 ticket could end up costing more than $12,000.

The high price tag of ignoring a summons was a major impetus for the workshop held by Councilmember Carlina Rivera at the Sirovich Senior Center on East 12th Street last Friday.

Representatives from the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, which handles most of the summonses issued in the city, wanted to educate seniors on the new ways in which the city is helping residents deal with summonses without even leaving their homes, which can be especially useful for seniors who have mobility challenges.

Assistant Commissioner Marisa Senigo said that there isn’t specific data about how many summonses seniors as a group receive because the agency doesn’t record demographic information, but summonses issued to seniors would often fall under the “personal behavior” category, such as public consumption of alcohol, public urination or being in a park after dark.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for up-skirting, ACS teens arrested for robbery

MAN ALLEGEDLY UP-SKIRTED TEENAGE GIRL
Police arrested 37-year-old Kevin Myers for allegedly filming a teenage girl without her permission inside the Union Square subway station at Union Square West and East 14th Street on Tuesday, July 24 at 7:46 p.m. Police said that Myers placed his cell phone with the camera function in the on position recording under the skirt of a 17-year-old. Myers was charged with unlawful surveillance.

ACS TEENS ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY
Police arrested two teenage girls for a robbery inside Bellevue South Park that took place on July 24. Police said that the teens attacked the victim and stole her wallet, including her passport, Medicaid card and cash.

The teens were arrested for the incident inside the Administration for Children’s Services building at 492 First Avenue on Thursday, July 26 at 2:11 p.m. Police said that both suspects as well as the victim were all residents of the ACS facility.

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Target’s East Village store drew controversy on its opening weekend

The new Target on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Popular chain store Target caused controversy at the opening of the new East Village store at the end of last month because of their homage to former dive bar and music club CBGB and ultimately apologized for the marketing stunt, the New York Times reported at the end of last week.

The new store opened on East 14th Street between Avenues A and B with grand opening festivities on the weekend of July 21 with a vinyl facade depicting tenements and old storefronts, including CBGB, with “TRGT” in the bar’s classic font on the temporary overhang.

Jeremiah Moss, whose blog Vanishing New York and book of the same name document gentrification in the city, called the display a “deplorable commodification of local neighborhood culture” and expressed disgust over the fake storefronts.

“The façade is draped in vinyl sheets printed with images of tenements, the same sort of buildings that get demolished to make room for such developments,” Moss wrote. “Here they sit, hollow movie-set shells, below the shiny windows of the high-end rentals. They are the dead risen from the grave, zombies enlisted to work for the corporation.”

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What should straphangers do when witnessing violence? T&V readers weigh in

In our last issue, Town & Village asked readers for their thoughts on what sensible actions can be taken by straphangers who witness acts of violence. Our question came on the heels of police releasing portions of a video showing a man threatening a fellow straphanger with a knife after he tried to intervene when seeing the other man hit his toddler. (The suspect, seen on the E train in Greenwich Village, has since been arrested.)

Read on for reader responses:

Eric Juhola said, “I think the best thing we can do is take out our phones and film the situation. On the one hand, it might inspire the perpetrator to behave reminding him or her that they are being watched. On the other hand, you will be providing authorities with evidence that can be used to apprehend the perpetrator and used in court against the person.

“Stepping in and getting involved might be right for some people, but it’s also dangerous. You just don’t know if the perpetrator has a weapon and there are far too many stories of knife slashings on subways for no apparent reason. I will admit, there is also risk in filming as that can be seen as an act of aggression, but I think it’s better than doing nothing and most times we have to take a little risk outside our comfort zones to stand up and do what’s right.”

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Bellevue South Park users ask for ADA-compliant dog run

Christopher Crowley, landscape architect for Parks, pictured with Kips Bay residents involved in planning for the temporary dog run (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

At a meeting aimed at getting community feedback, Kips Bay residents told city officials what they want in a redesign of Bellevue South Park is a permanent, fully accessible dog run. They also want to separate the play equipment from where adults congregate.

The Parks Department’s meeting was held last Thursday, when the landscape architect for the city agency, Christopher Crowley, told neighbors this is the first step in the process for the project.

“We don’t have a concept plan in mind,” Crowley said. “That’s what this meeting is for, to find out what the community wants in this park.”

Steve Simon, the chief of staff for the Manhattan Borough Commissioner at the Parks Department, said that the input from the meeting will help the agency create a preliminary plan that will be presented to Community Board 6 in the fall.

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Police Watch: Teen lunges at woman with knife, Suspect arrested for scooter theft

TEEN ARRESTED FOR LUNGING AT WOMAN WITH KNIFE IN FLATIRON
Police arrested a teenager for menacing and weapons possession at the corner of Broadway and East 19th Street on Tuesday, July 19 at 1:35 p.m. The victim told police that the teen was harassing her and she told him to leave her alone. At that point, the suspect reportedly turned around and pulled out a knife, then lunged at the victim multiple times. The suspect fled the location but was stopped in front of 29 East 21st Street, where the victim pointed him out to police

SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR SCOOTER THEFT ON FIRST AVENUE
Police arrested 18-year-old Henry Cubilete for allegedly stealing a motorized scooter from the corner of First Avenue and East 16th Street on Saturday, July 21 at 2:49 a.m. Police said that Cubilete was working with four other people who weren’t arrested, and the group was allegedly using bolt cutters to cut a lock and remove a scooter that was secured at the location.

Police said that Stuy Town security officers attempted to apprehend Cubilete but the suspect tried to flee the location and allegedly held his hands under his body to prevent being handcuffed. Cubilete was allegedly found with an unregistered motor scooter with the license plate removed, in addition to burglary tools. Cubilete was charged with grand larceny of auto, illegal possession of a vehicle, burglars tools, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, an unclassified public administration misdemeanor and an unclassified traffic infraction.

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Impacted businesses advised to file claims with Con Edison or insurance

Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joe Esposito speaks to building owners at a meeting held on Monday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Flatiron businesses owners impacted by last week’s steam blast were told on Monday night that they may have some recourse for their losses in the form of insurance claims or claims with Con Edison.

Representatives from the utility, the Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Health, Small Business Services and the Department of Environmental Protection offered updates on the ongoing investigation and clean-up effort during a meeting at the Clinton School in Union Square on Monday night.

Joseph Esposito, the commissioner for the Office of Emergency Management, said that as of Monday night, 17 buildings had been cleared for reoccupancy and the OEM announced that 16 additional buildings had been cleared by Wednesday morning, with 12 still needing to be cleaned and checked before they can be reoccupied.

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Costumed marchers take part in Disability Pride Parade

Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Disability advocates and agency officials gathered in Union Square to celebrate the fourth Disability Pride Parade on Sunday afternoon. The parade traversed down Broadway from Madison Square Park to Union Square Park, where a festival was held in the afternoon.

City agencies such as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Office of Emergency Management and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and local hospitals such as NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation and Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Center had representatives along the route.

Nonprofits such as HeartShare Human Services and Gateway, organizations that works with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Pathways, a school on the Upper East Side for impaired children, Achilles International, a nonprofit that provides assistance to athletes with disabilities, and others marched as well, with kids and other participants dressing up in costumes for the parade’s “creativity” theme. Representatives from the Peter Stuyvesant Little League’s Challenger Division and Stuy Town’s Good Neighbor initiative, including ST/PCV general manager Rick Hayduk, marched towards the end of the parade.

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Man charged with rape in Chelsea garage

Garage at 133 West 22nd Street

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a man for allegedly raping a woman in a parking garage in Chelsea on West 22nd Street after she asked him for directions.

The victim told police that she was going to meet up with a friend on Thursday, July 12 around 1:30 a.m. but wasn’t sure what the exact address was, so she asked for directions from 27-year-old Tobey McDonald, who was standing in front of the parking garage at 133 West 22nd Street.

He told her that he wasn’t sure where the location was either, but said that his phone was charging in an office inside the garage and he could look it up for her.

The victim said that she followed him into the office in the garage, where McDonald allegedly pulled out his penis and asked the victim for oral sex.

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Outpouring of support for separated immigrant families shown in drive

Ibiza Kidz owner Carole Husiak with Council Member Keith Powers by some of the donated items (Photo courtesy of Keith Powers)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Motivated by recent news stories of children getting separated from their parents at the country’s southern border, local moms have collected more than a hundred donations in the last month for the children who have been displaced in New York.

Stuyvesant Town residents Rebekah Rosler and Emily Anderson, who started a company called MomMeetUps earlier this year for expectant and new mothers, reached out to their network when the story broke at the end of June and directed residents to drop off items at local shop Ibiza Kidz, where owner Carole Husiak, herself a Stuy Town resident, has also been soliciting donations from charitable people in the neighborhood through a Stuyvesant Town moms Facebook group.

“It was a community effort and because I’m a central neighborhood shop, it was a good place to bring things,” Husiak said. “That’s how it evolved. Everyone kind of jumped on it because we’re incensed by all this.”

Husiak has previously worked with civic-minded neighborhood residents, helping a local non-profit organization collect items for Syrian refugees last April. Husiak told Town & Village at the time that the organization was having trouble finding space for the donations so she volunteered her store as a drop-off site.

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