Drag queens add sparkle to story time

Drag performer Harmonica Sunbeam kicks off the Epiphany Library’s summer reading series by reading to children and doing crafts with them on Friday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

It wasn’t even noon, but the atmosphere in the room already felt like a party, with at least 20 of the 35 or so young guests donning sparkly boas. The venue was the Epiphany branch of the New York Public Library on East 23rd Street, where kids aged 3-7 and their parents awaited the arrival of a drag queen. The occasion? It was on Friday at 11 a.m. and the library’s summer reading series was being kicked off with “Drag Queen Story Hour.”

Now over a year old, the program is aimed at promoting diversity and gender acceptance, and, as its official website explains, “give kids glamorous, positive and unabashedly queer role models.”

DQSH was founded in San Francisco by Michelle Tea and Radar Productions but has since branched out to other cities. It first came to New York’s Brooklyn Library and June 15 was the first time for Epiphany, where kids showed up with parents or on a class trip. Most of those in attendance, including boys, opted in for boas, which came in a few colors and were distributed by the library.

Prior to greeting the children, the drag queen doing the reading, Harmonica Sunbeam, told Town & Village she got involved with the program after seeing a Facebook post seeking drag performers to read the kids. This was after the Brooklyn Library hosted an event, which, she recalled, “went viral and there was a demand for more queens.”

Continue reading

Advertisements

Things to do during Pride Week

The New York City Dyke March takes place this Saturday evening. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Easily the most well-known gay pride event in New York City is the parade that happens at the end of every June, this year scheduled for this Sunday, but a number of other events are planned for this weekend in addition to the march. Read on for a list of local gatherings aimed at celebrating LGBTQ pride.

Shake Shack will be hosting a free quiet dance party to on Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. in the original Madison Square Park location at East 23rd Street. The event will be hosted by Quiet Events, a company that loans out wireless headphones for quiet dance parties throughout the city, and there will be three live DJs playing top 40 dance hits, throwbacks and hip-hop, reggae and soca. Entrance is free but a credit card is required to check in and receive the wireless headphones. The event is all ages and rainbow colors are encouraged for the dress code. Shake Shake food and drinks will be available for purchase. RSVP is available online.

While the New York City Dyke March is usually a raucous good time, the organizers technically bill the event as a protest rather than a party. The march, held on the Saturday before the parade, is mostly lesbian-led and those who don’t identify as “dykes” are encouraged to stand on the sidewalk and cheer on the participants. The organizers usually don’t seek a permit for the march, further emphasizing the political aspects of the event. Participants will step off from Bryant Park at 5 p.m. on June 23 and walk down Fifth Avenue, ending at Washington Square Park.

Continue reading

Police Watch: Senior assaulted in Union Square, Man arrested for separate Union Square assault

MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING SENIOR ON TRAIN TO UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 26-year-old Jesus Reyes for allegedly assaulting a senior, fracturing a bone in his face, inside the Union Square subway station over the weekend. Police said that on Sunday, June 10 at 10:45 p.m., the 71-year-old victim was riding an uptown 4/5 train from Fulton Street to Union Square when Reyes allegedly began cursing at him and taunting him.
When the train pulled into Union Square, Reyes allegedly continued to taunt the victim and ultimately pushed him to the ground, causing him to fall onto the platform and injure his face. Police said that the victim later learned at the hospital that the fall had caused a fracture in the bones around his left eye.
An attorney for Reyes could not be reached for comment by T&V’s press time.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED UNION SQUARE ASSAULT
Police arrested 24-year-old Gage Quinones for an alleged assault and weapons possession at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street on Friday, June 15 shortly after 11 a.m. The victim flagged down a police officer in Union Square Park, saying he had been assaulted there last night and that Quinones, who was in the park at the time, was the one who did it.
The victim told police that he was talking with a friend in the park the night before around 11 p.m. when Quinones allegedly hit him in the back of the head with something, causing cuts on the left side of his face and head that required stitches. The victim said that he might have been hit with a bike lock and when Quinones was searched, he was allegedly in possession of a key chain to a bike lock, and his bike, the chain and lock were recovered from in front of 31 East 17th Street.

MAN BUSTED FOR BIKE THEFTS
Police arrested 59-year-old William Hernandez for an alleged theft in front of Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Wednesday, June 13 at 5 p.m. Police said that Hernandez could be seen on video surveillance removing a bicycle from in front of the hospital without permission and when he was searched, he was allegedly in possession of bolt cutters, a tool commonly used to steal bicycles. After he was arrested, Hernandez was also charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing another bike in front of Bellevue on January 18, 2017. He was charged with burglar’s tools and petit larceny for the incident this month.

Continue reading

Opinion: Fixing rents and making enemies

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

It is said that a good deal is one in which neither party is entirely satisfied. More about that in a moment.

Rent regulations in New York City has been a thorny issue for decades. So a little recent history. The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) was established in 1969 and modified by the passage of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974. There are nine members of the RGB all appointed by the mayor. Of the nine, two are from the real estate industry, two representatives of tenant groups and five “public members.”

The RGB will meet on June 26 to set rent increases for leases that will expire beginning on October 1 through September 30, 2019. Currently, increases are set at 1.25 percent for a one-year lease and two percent for a two-year lease. Based on the proposals that have been recommended for public comment by the RGB, next year’s guidelines will be similar. There have been years where the rent increases rose into the double digits and there have been years that rents have been frozen. Generally speaking whatever the RGB decides, both tenants and owners cry foul. This year will be no different.

The fact is that try as they may, the RGB satisfies nobody. Moreover, it is difficult to do any planning because nobody knows what the rents will be set at from year to year. It is also a very dubious claim that the decision by the RGB is tied to any real economic data in terms of owners’ costs or profits and certainly not taking into consideration the financial burdens on tenants. In short, it is an arbitrary and often political process.

Continue reading

Pushcart to become Citizens of Gramercy

Rogers (Photo courtesy of Carlina Rivera)

By Sabina Mollot

This week, a reader alerted us to the fact that Pushcart coffee at the corner of 21st Street and Second Avenue, had signage indicating it would be closing on June 14. She then spoke with an employee who said the place was sold and would reopen as a brunch spot.

After we reached out to one of the owners, Jamie Rogers, he responded that this was partly accurate.

“We are converting the shop into a brunch cafe under the new name Citizens of Gramercy, and I will remain an owner,” he said via email.

Rogers added that he and his partners did the same conversion to a Pushcart in Chelsea (Citizens of Chelsea).

Continue reading

Con Ed to begin work on gas plant remediation wells

The gas works and storage tanks of Con Ed’s predecessor company in 1890. (Photo courtesy of Con Ed)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents appeared more concerned about communication regarding Con Edison’s plan to dispose of toxic waste left behind from the property’s days as a manufactured gas plant than about the project itself during an information session hosted in Stuy Town last Thursday evening.

“We understand that it has to be done,” resident Sherry Kirschenbaum said. “Rick (Hayduk, the property’s general manager) said they will be working with Con Edison throughout the project. Our concerns were allayed.”

Con Ed expects the wells to remain in place for the foreseeable future but representatives said the most disruptive part of the project will be the drilling.

“We’ll be starting the drilling (during the day) once people are already at work and at school and the sonic drill rake we use is more of a hum,” Con Edison engineer Ken Kaiser said. “If there are complaints about noise, we could use some kind of baffling to muffle the sound.”

Continue reading

Man murdered in Kips Bay, suspect arrested

Friends House on East 25th StreetFriends House on East 25th Street (Photo via Wikimedia)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 40-year-old homeless man on Sunday for the stabbing death of a 54-year-old man, Moses Ybarra, inside an apartment complex on East 25th Street over the weekend.

Ashraf Ahmed allegedly stabbed Ybarra inside his apartment at 130 East 25th Street in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 9. Ybarra had multiple stab wounds to his chest, forehead, arms and leg, and there was blood all over the room, the district attorney’s office said.

Police also reportedly recovered two bloody knives next to where Ybarra was laying. EMS pronounced Ybarra dead at 2 a.m.

Police said that surveillance video showed Ahmed entering the building at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, June 8 and leaving around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 9, and no one else was seen entering of exiting the building during that time. Continue reading

Rivera doesn’t want busway to be 24/7

Council Member Carlina Rivera (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Council Member Carlina Rivera is hoping to limit the hours of the planned busway on 14th Street during the L train shutdown that is beginning next year.

The Council Member sent a letter to NYC Transit President Andy Byford earlier this month, arguing that the busway should only operate between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Instead of banning private vehicles throughout the whole shutdown, Rivera said they should just be off the road for the aforementioned hours.

Rivera said she agreed with transit advocates who’ve said that a busway operating only during rush hours would not be sufficient but she argued that the busway didn’t need to be in effect overnight because vehicular traffic along the corridor is significantly lower on weeknights anyway.

John Blasco, a community liaison for Rivera, gave an overview of the letter at the June meeting of the Community Board 6 transportation committee, which supports both extending the busway to Avenue C and giving buses priority at all times instead of limiting the hours.

Continue reading

Former roommate charged with stealing $40G from ST golf player

Stuyvesant Town resident Bernie Rothenberg, pictured at his 100th birthday party last year at his apartment (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

The family of Bernie Rothenberg, a Stuyvesant Town centenarian well-known to neighbors for his daily golfing at a playground by his apartment has recently appealed to the community to help recoup some of the tens of thousands of dollars they said was stolen from three of his bank accounts.

The money, his son Don told Town & Village, totaled $40,000 and was taken over the past two years, until Don happened to notice the disappearing funds on a third account, since that was a joint account he had access to.

Chloe Garcia, a 26-year-old woman who lived with the elder Rothenberg for over five years until April when she was confronted by his family and thrown out, has since been arrested and charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. According to the criminal complaint, which doesn’t name the victim, the withdrawn funds come to around $50,000. In it, Garcia allegedly said she got the pin number to Rothenberg’s debit card in his mail and used it for various charges and also wrote checks to herself from his bank account. She was arrested on May 24.

Her Legal Aid attorney, Rebecca Heinsen, declined to comment on the case.

Continue reading

Letters to the editor, June 14

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Watch and learn from The Challengers

The final game of STLL’s Challenger Division was played on Sunday, June 10 at 3 p.m. on the Con Ed west field. The sun wasn’t shinning and drops of rain drizzled upon the players who were undaunted by the less than perfect weather conditions.

The game started out with some fashionable femininity when Anna, wearing the number 1 over a tiered flounce skirt and guided by Red Team Coach Katie, hit the first homer of the game. Number 19, Jonathan, gave the ball a powerful whack before removing his cap, showing off his natural red hair, and rounding the bases with the stride of a long distance runner. Neil, always handsome in shirt number 6, toured the bases, with his own unique style, pausing only to consider a career in photography.

Jamison, number 14, wowed the crowd (especially the pitcher) when she slammed the first ball tossed part way to The East River! Robbie, a tough guy to the finish, made his way to second base wearing jersey number 10 and displaying a true sense of sportsmanship. Jaden, who traveled south from Bronx, N.Y., to wear number 17 with pride has a good-natured mom to run him around the bases. Rory donned the number 8 and a good-looking pair of glasses, before demonstrating his skill and speed.

Continue reading

Police Watch: Man wanted for Dunkin Donuts robbery, Man arrested for CVS robbery

MAN WANTED FOR DUNKIN DONUTS ROBBERY
Police are looking for a man involved in a robbery at a Chelsea Dunkin Donuts at the end of May. The suspect reportedly threatened a 20-year-old employee inside the 225 Seventh Avenue location on Monday, May 28 at 3:45 p.m. and demanded the contents of the register. Police said that he got away with approximately $500 and fled east on West 23rd Street. No injuries were reported.
The suspect is described as a black man in his 40s-50s who was last seen wearing all dark clothing. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS. All calls are strictly confidential.

MAN NABBED FOR CVS ROBBERY
Police arrested 58-year-old Joseph Green for robbery on June 9 at 3:30 p.m. inside the 13th precinct. Green was allegedly shoplifting in the CVS at 300 Park Avenue South on May 27 at 4:25 p.m. when he got into a fight with an employee while leaving the store. Police said that Green was attempting to steal deodorant.

FOOD VENDORS ACCUSED OF ASSAULT
Police arrested 49-year-old Reda Badawy and 20-year-old Karim Badawy for assault at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 21st Street on Saturday, June 9 at 8:08 p.m. Police said that the two suspects, food vendors, intentionally pushed a food cart into her body, causing pain to her back and neck.

Continue reading

More ACS teens charged with robbery

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

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Another group of teenagers living at the Administration for Children’s Services building on First Avenue has been arrested for a violent robbery in the neighborhood, following multiple robberies the week before that were reported by Town & Village.

Police arrested ten teenagers for the most recent incident in Kips Bay, which took place in front of Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Tuesday, May 29 around 2 a.m. Police said that the teens punched and kicked a man in his 30s and stole his phone.

Shortly after the incident, three of the teens were arrested at Third Avenue and East 29th Street, one was arrested at Second Avenue and East 28th Street and the fifth teen was caught at First Avenue and East 25th Street. The sixth teen was arrested inside the ACS facility later the same day at 12:30 p.m. Another teen and 18-year-old Dondre Parker were arrested inside the 13th precinct on Wednesday, May 30 at 11:35 a.m. Another teen was arrested at the precinct later that day at 4:10 p.m. The last suspect was busted at precinct on Thursday, May 31.

Continue reading

Alyssa Milano pushes for Maloney ERA bill

Alyssa Milano, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Carol Robles-Roman, co-president of the ERA Coalition, by the Fearless Girl statue (Photo by Grace Harman)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Alyssa Milano has joined in the fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), legislation  Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has introduced 11 times she has been in office. Maloney, the bill’s lead sponsor in Congress, was joined by the “Charmed” actress, along with the ERA Coalition and activists at the Fearless Girl statue on Monday to call for the ratification of the bill. This was a few days prior to a “shadow hearing,” or unofficial hearing Maloney held for the ERA on Wednesday.

Although the amendment passed Congress in 1972, only 35 states ratified it. Thirty-eight states need to ratify it to amend the Constitution. The right to vote is currently the only right guaranteed to women in the Constitution and the ERA would guarantee that Constitutional rights apply equally to all persons regardless of their gender.

“This is an economic issue,” argued Milano on Monday. “When women earn more, it stimulates the economy and this would provide equal pay for women. Discriminatory laws are being enacted all the time but the ERA would put women on an equal footing.”

In addition to Milano, co-president of the ERA Coalition Carol Robles-Román and Jessica Lenahan, plaintiff in Supreme Court Case Castle Rock v. Gonzales, also testified at the hearing on Wednesday.

Continue reading

Ferry service to start by end of summer

‘Stuy Town’ sign will be changed to ‘Stuy Cove,’ landings will offer some protection from weather

A completed ferry landing in Astoria (Photo courtesy of the Economic Development Corporation)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Service on the new Lower East Side ferry route, including at Stuyvesant Cove, is on schedule to begin at the end of the summer, representatives for NYC Ferry reported to Community Board 6’s transportation committee this past Monday, although spokespeople did not have a more specific date.

The ferry, operated by Hornblower Cruises and managed by the Economic Development Corporation, will run starting from Wall Street, making stops at Corlears Hook on the Lower East Side, Stuyvesant Cove and 34th Street before ending at Long Island City, Queens.

Because construction appears nearly finished at the Stuyvesant Cove landing near 20th Street, one Stuyvesant Town resident, Larry Scheyer, questioned why service wouldn’t be starting sooner.

In response, EDC Vice President of government and community relations Radhy Miranda said that even after the landings are built, there are additional protocols before service can actually begin.

Continue reading

Hoylman and Epstein call for more transparency in real estate lending

State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Harvey Epstein at a rally on Sunday, held in front of a Jared Kushner-owned property on East 12th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Harvey Epstein hosted a rally in the East Village on Sunday to slam local predatory landlords and to announce a bill calling for more transparency in real estate lending.

The rally was held in front of a building owned by presidential son-in-law and accused slumlord Jared Kushner, Westminster City Living at 504 East 12th Street.

At the event, the elected officials announced the joint legislation that will direct the New York State Department of Financial Services to collect data on financial institutions lending to landlords acquiring property that include rent-stabilized tenants and investigate the role financial institutions play in encouraging anti-tenant practices.

The legislation argues that predatory equity has destabilized rent regulation and the affordable housing market in the city. The practice of predatory equity involves landlords acquiring rent-regulated properties with low to moderate-income tenants through highly speculative loans and then attempting to harass those tenants out to replace them with those who’ll pay market rent.

Continue reading