Police presence increased at local churches after Easter Sri Lanka bombing

Calvary Church in Gramercy

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The NYPD announced heightened security measures at houses of worship throughout the city over the Easter weekend in light of bombings in Colombo, Sri Lanka over the holiday and while some local churches noticed an increase in officers during the weekend, parishioners mainly celebrated the holidays in good spirits.

“I don’t think people knew why (the officers) were there and no one expressed any concern, but we did pray for the people of Sri Lanka during the mass,” said Father Jim Mayzik of Epiphany Church, noting that officers stood outside the church on the plaza during the services. “It was a nice day and we had a giant number of people come to celebrate the holiday.”

Karin Rosner, a spokesperson for Calvary-St. George’s, said that she had actually requested the presence of auxiliary officers during the church’s Palm Sunday Procession in Gramercy and the Maundy Thursday Procession from Stuyvesant Square up to Gramercy with the violence in Pittsburgh in mind, but there was also a noticeable police presence at Calvary on Easter Sunday, with at least two officers at the church for the 11 a.m. service.

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How to get around during the L slowdown

The mayor’s office released this graphic to illustrate how traffic along 14th Street will be managed.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The lesser L train apocalypse is scheduled to begin this Friday and although service will be maintained in Manhattan under the slowdown unlike in the previous full shutdown plan, riders can still expect longer wait times and service changes during nights and weekends until at least next summer when the project is expected to be completed.

The biggest change with the revised L train project is that the L will run normal service during weekday rush hours and service is expected to be available in Manhattan at all times.

According to the MTA’s dedicated page for the plan, available at new.mta.info/L-project, there will be normal L train service between 1:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. throughout the entire line on weekdays, but starting after 8 p.m. this Friday, trains will become less frequent compared to normal service until 10 p.m. during the week.

Service will then be reduced from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. compared to regular service and while trains are expected to run every 20 minutes from 1:30 to 5 a.m. on weeknights and until 6 a.m. on weekend nights, this is the regular overnight frequency for the line.

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Police Watch: Girls arrested at Good Shepherd, Man accused of groping Barnes and Noble employee

GIRLS ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT OF COP AND EMPLOYEE AT GOOD SHEPHERD
Police arrested a teenage girl for an alleged assault inside Good Shepherd Services, a residence for girls, at 337 East 17th Street on Tuesday, April 16 at 3:59 p.m. Police said that the girl bit a staff member at the group home on the forearm, causing swelling, marks and pain.

The victim told police that the girl also threw a big, hard object at his face, causing a broken nose, bleeding and swelling to his left eye. The teen was also charged with resisting arrest because she reportedly flailed her arms and legs to prevent officers from handcuffing her, resulting in four officers being injured.

Nineteen-year-old Shaniah Daniels was also arrested inside Good Shepherd while police were attempting to arrest the other teen. Police said that Daniels attempted to intervene in the initial arrest, allegedly punching one of the officers in the face.Daniels was charged with assault of a peace officer and an unclassified misdemeanor.

The name of the first teen is being withheld due to her young age.

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Man found dead outside Stuy Town building

647 East 14th Street

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 60-year-old man was found dead outside 647 East 14th Street in Stuyvesant Town around 6:30 a.m. on Monday, and is believed to have jumped out of an apartment on the sixth floor of the building.

Police said that while it appears to be a suicide, an investigation is ongoing. Emergency services personnel found the victim face down and unresponsive, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending family notification.

Cops and neighbors share frustration on homeless encampments

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, commanding officer of the 13th Precinct (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

While the topic of scofflaw cyclists normally dominates meetings with local police officers, on Tuesday night, those in attendance at the most recent gathering of the 13th Precinct Community Council told officers homelessness has them concerned.

A Union Square resident noted that there have been homeless encampments in the park recently, despite him having raised the issue at the meeting last month. Executive Officer Ernesto Castro said that the precinct has been to the park to break up the encampment but the problem is recurring.

“We have gone over there and taken it down but they’re just coming back,” he said.

“It is a tough situation but one point of leverage we do have is that you can’t have a mattress on the street so we can keep going back there to break it up,” Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, the precinct’s commanding officer, added. “It’s not illegal to have a sign or just to be on the street but mattresses are definitely not allowed.”

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ESCR will mean lots of noise for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village

East Side Coastal Resiliency Project rendering showing the Stuyvesant Cove area

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project has found that construction on the flood protection project will likely create disruptive noise for some residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

The document, released by the Department of Design and Construction on Friday, April 5, predicts that construction on the flood protection system will result in “significant adverse noise effects” for 315-321 Avenue C and 620 East 20th Street in Stuy Town and 601 East 20th Street, 8 Peter Cooper Road, 7 Peter Cooper Road, 530 East 23rd Street and 520 East 23rd Street in Peter Cooper.

Despite the increase in outside noise, the DEIS predicts that the decibel levels will actually be considered acceptable inside when the windows are closed because the buildings in ST/PCV have insulated glass. Other buildings within the project area farther downtown, as well as the Asser Levy recreation center, appear to have non- insulating glass windows and are expected to experience noise levels higher than the threshold recommended for residential use, according to City Environmental Quality Review noise exposure guidelines, due to pile driving and other construction work west of the FDR immediately adjacent to the rec center building.

The 961-page document examined overall potential impacts of the plan that the city has chosen to provide continuous flood protection for the East Side, in addition to considering the impact of not building any flood protection and four other alternative plans that the city considered.

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Protesters slam squirrel feeding ban

song

Wildlife feeders, including a performance artist dressed as a pigeon, sing protest songs at the gates of City Hall on Tuesday. (Photos and video by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

With a full wildlife feeding ban expected to start this summer in city parks, animal rights activists rallied against the Parks Department’s proposed ban on Tuesday on the steps of City Hall.

Bronx resident Lucia Maria led the rally with her group, Bronx Animal Rights Electors, and said that the mayor had responded to a caller during Brian Lehrer’s “Ask the Mayor” segment on March 22, saying he would more closely examine the opposition to the ban. However, he has since approved of the ban, agreeing with the Parks Department’s argument that feeding birds and squirrels is also feeding the city’s rat population.

“The mayor made it sound as if city parks were over-run by hordes of wildlife feeders who littered parks with all kinds of debris from balls to balloons to bottles to old shoes,” Maria said. “It’s true, parks are littered with these items, but they are not from bird or squirrel feeders. The truth is that less than one percent of park-goers feed birds or squirrels. Of this percentage, most of the people who do feed them are senior citizens, the disabled and families. These are the people the Parks Department and the mayor now want to label as criminals.”

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Police Watch: Woman accused of ID theft, Man charged with obstructing EMT

WOMAN ACCUSED OF ID THEFT AT BANK
Police arrested 59-year-old Robin Hill for an alleged theft inside the TD Bank at 90 Fifth Avenue on Thursday, April 11 at 4:48 p.m. Police said that Hill entered the bank, claiming that she lost her debit card and was trying to get a replacement card. When she presented a New Jersey ID to the bank employee, the employee discovered that the card was allegedly a fake license with Hill’s photograph and someone else’s name. The employee notified the supervisor at the location and they were able to get in touch with the actual owner of the account, who said that she had not given any permission to Hill to access it. When Hill was searched, officers found a valid New York State driver’s license with her real personal information on it. Hill was charged with grand larceny, identity theft and forgery.

MAN CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTING EMT IN FRONT OF BETH ISRAEL
Police arrested 34-year-old Ricardo Gonzalez for allegedly preventing emergency workers from doing their job in front of Mount Sinai Beth Israel at 10 Union Square East on Saturday, April 13 at 9:49 a.m. Police said that Gonzalez walked in front of an ambulance, obstructing the workers from responding to an emergency call. Gonzalez also allegedly made threatening gestures and used threatening language to EMT personnel. Police said that Gonzalez attempted to punch one of the workers and refused to disperse from the location, causing alarm and annoyance. Gonzalez was charged with an unclassified misdemeanor and disorderly conduct.

TEENS ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY
Police arrested two teenagers for a robbery in front of 495 Second Avenue on Sunday, April 14 at 10:47 a.m. Police said that the two teens punched the victim in the face before forcibly removing cash from him. One of the teens allegedly ran when officers attempted to handcuff them and he resisted arrest. The teens were charged with robbery and possession of stolen property. The names of the teens are being withheld due to their young age.

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Man killed by L train at First Avenue station

Feb21 First Avenue L train station entrance closeup

L train at First Avenue (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 36-year-old man committed suicide by jumping in front of an L train at the First Avenue station on Monday evening, the NYPD said. 

According to an NYPD spokesperson, the train operator saw the man standing on the Eighth Avenue-bound platform as the train was pulling into the station around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 15. The operator observed the victim jump off the platform as the train arrived, and he was found in between the train cars.

The NYPD is withholding the name of the victim pending family notification.

Service on the L was halted between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue for about two hours after the incident, causing delays in L train service in both directions during the evening rush hour.

The MTA announced via Twitter that third-rail power was restored at First Avenue by 7 p.m. and service was restored by 7:30 p.m. with residual delays.

Man charged with trying to bribe inspector

52 West 28th Street

52 West 28th Street

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a man in NoMad for allegedly attempting to bribe city officials in exchange for passing a gas inspection last week.

Yonghuang Zheng, 49, allegedly offered cash to two Department of Buildings inspectors in exchange for passing a gas inspection at 52 West 28th Street on Wednesday, April 3 at 2:50 p.m.

According to the district attorney’s office, an inspector saw that the set-up in the building was not up to code and there was no licensed plumber at the location, which is required for gas turn-on inspections. Zheng then allegedly offered the inspector money in order to pass the inspection and said, “Please do not fail me. I will take care of you.”

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Reviews mixed on wine and beer for Five Stuy Cafe

Stuyvesant Town management said cafe staffers would undergo training to prevent customers from being overserved. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town residents expressed concern at a town hall last Wednesday about the possibility of increased noise and rowdiness if beer and wine were to be served at Five Stuy Cafe, while some others voiced their support for a license.

ST/PCV general manager Rick Hayduk, café operator Frank Traina and on-site manager Murat Alpay offered information at the town hall about the addition of beer and beer and wine to the menu, and some in attendance took issue with Hayduk and Traina’s assessment that the proposal had “overwhelming support” from residents.

“It’s very hard to create community but it’s very easy to destroy it,” one resident said. “Your position would be much stronger not just by asking people who frequent the cafe but everyone in Stuyvesant Town. The general statement about the ‘overwhelming demand’ just sounds like advertising copy. It doesn’t sound very convincing.”

Hayduk said that management would be willing to put together a survey in the days following the town hall that could be emailed to residents to get their feedback.

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Buses, not L train, the top concern at MTA town hall

Bus protesters

Protesters slam the elimination of bus stops at the L train open house at the 14th Street Y. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

East Side straphangers voiced concerns about changes to the M14 route at the latest L train town hall held at the 14th Street Y this past Monday.

The MTA and NYC Transit held the town hall to accept feedback on the L train plan, and while M14 bus service is not directly related to the project, the MTA is planning to make the route SBS to help commuters when L train service is limited during the construction.

The Department of Transportation is also still considering implementing a “busway” along 14th Street that would limit private traffic on the roadway, and DOT Director of Transit Policy Aaron Sugiura said that a decision on the busway will likely be made by early summer around the time that SBS is launched on the M14. The DOT is requesting feedback on the busway and will make a decision after receiving input from the community.

“The volume of people on 14th Street was going to be staggering (with a full shutdown) so it’s slightly less of an issue now,” Sugiura said. “But (a busway is) still a possibility and we’re still working on what exactly it would look like.”

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Police Watch: Girl nabbed for phone robbery, Man allegedly stole NYPD e-bike

GIRL NABBED FOR PHONE ROBBERY IN KIPS BAY STARBUCKS
Police arrested a teenage girl for a robbery that took place inside the Starbucks at 393 Third Avenue and East 28th Street on Monday, April 1 at 7:42 p.m. Police said that the teen punched the victim in the face and snatched her phone. The teen was arrested after police searched the area and officers said that the suspect resisted arrest, refusing to be handcuffed when she was apprehended. The teen was charged with robbery, resisting arrest and possession of stolen property.

After she was arrested, the teen was also charged in connection with alleged harassment that took place inside the Administration for Children’s Services facility at 492 First Avenue on June 3, 2018, around midnight. Police said that the teen, who isn’t a resident of the ACS facility now but was at the time of this previous incident, threatened to beat up a female ACS staff member.

The name of the teen is being withheld due to her young age.

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Man allegedly swiped chandeliers and more

HOME DEPOT CHANDELIER

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have arrested a man who reportedly walked out of the Home Depot on West 23rd Street with a chandelier he didn’t pay for — twice.

Robert Frierson, 48, went inside the store at 40 West 23rd Street on Tuesday, March 12 around 11 a.m. and allegedly took a box containing a chandelier. According to the district attorney’s office, video surveillance shows Frierson walking into the store empty-handed and walking out with the box, which police said that he didn’t pay for.

Police said Frierson returned to the store the following day around 9:15 a.m. and could be seen on video surveillance going to the lighting aisle before taking another chandelier box without stopping at the register to pay.

The DA’s office said that Frierson entered the store again on Sunday, March 17 at 8:45 a.m. and allegedly took a shower head and bathmat before leaving without paying for the items.

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Ex-con allegedly sold crack to cops

Theodore Gaddy

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police busted convicted robber Theodore Gaddy for an alleged drug deal in NoMad last week.

Gaddy, 34, was reportedly working with 67-year-old Roger Blake, who was also arrested, to sell alleged crack cocaine to an undercover officer in exchange for cash at the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 25th Street on Wednesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Gaddy previously pleaded guilty to a robbery that took place in Harlem on September 1, 2014, according to the district attorney’s office. Gaddy stole a woman’s cell phone and punched her in the stomach and was sentenced to one and a half to three years in state prison.

T&V also previously reported that Gaddy was arrested for an alleged robbery that took place in front of 150 East 24th Street on January 8, 2018. Police said that Gaddy had pushed a 16-year-old boy to the ground before grabbing his cell phone and fleeing the scene.

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