Police Watch: Men arrested for thefts from Trader Joe’s, Arrest for alleged robbery

MEN ARRESTED FOR THEFTS FROM TRADER JOE’S
Police arrested 62-year-old Albert Citro and 23-year-old Kyle Charles for allegedly stealing from customers inside Trader Joe’s on Wednesday, June 19 at 1:55 p.m.

Police said that Citro was seen removing a clutch wallet from a purse that was on top of a shopping cart inside the store at 620 Sixth Avenue while Charles allegedly acted as a lookout. Citro allegedly concealed the wallet inside a bag and met Charles outside the store. Police said that Citro and Charles were also seen on video from a previous incident when they allegedly used a stolen credit card in the store.

Citro and Charles were arrested at the corner of West 20th Street and Sixth Avenue and were charged with petit larceny and possession of stolen property.

Police said that Citro also stole a wallet from a shopping cart inside the store on June 16 at 4:30 p.m., on June 9 at 12:05 p.m. and on June 5 at 3:45 p.m. Another woman told police that her wallet was missing from the bag that she was carrying on June 15 around noon.

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Man wanted for robbery in Union Square

Robbery suspect

The New York City Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance identifying a man wanted for questioning in connection to a robbery that occurred within the confines of the 13th Precinct/Transit District 4.

It was reported to police that on Monday, June 24 at approximately 3:25 a.m. inside the Union Square subway station, a 44-year-old man boarded a downtown 6 train at the location when an unidentified man punched and kicked the victim multiple times before fleeing with the victim’s wallet containing a credit card. The victim sustained swelling to left eye but refused medical attention. The male fled the station in unknown direction.

The person wanted for questioning is described as a Hispanic man, 18-25 years of age, wearing a yellow du-rag and dark clothing.

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of the male 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 or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

All calls are strictly confidential.

Opinion: Check your eligibility for the Croman restitution fund

By State Senator Brad Hoylman

Notorious landlord Steve Croman first made the Village Voice’s Worst Landlords list in 1998. He made it again in 2003. And again in 2006.

The landlord equivalent of teflon, Croman terrorized tenants, dragging them into protracted court battles. Tenants lived in dangerous and intolerable conditions. Croman pled guilty to grand larceny and other felony charges in 2017. He was released from jail in 2018, only to buy a building this year on the other side of my district that is home to the historic White Horse Tavern.

Croman is just one of many bad actors who, eager to recoup on their substantial real estate investments, resorted to abusive and exploitative tactics to drive out rent-regulated tenants. They made millions. Many of them went unpunished.

Croman, for his part, was at least forced to pay $8 million in restitution funds—the largest ever monetary settlement with an individual landlord—to the thousands of rent regulated tenants he tormented and preyed upon to evict them from their homes and convert their units to market rate apartments.

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Cyclist killed by truck driver on Sixth Avenue

Cyclists paid their respect to the rider who was killed on Sixth Avenue. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

A truck driver killed a 20-year-old bicyclist on Monday morning at 9:25 a.m. on Sixth Avenue at West 23rd Street. When police responded to a 911 call about the collision, officers found the woman unconscious and unresponsive, lying on the street with trauma to her head. EMS responded to the scene and transported her to Bellevue Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased. 

A white Freightliner delivery truck and the cyclist were both traveling north on Sixth Avenue and a preliminary investigation found that the truck driver collided with the cyclist near the intersection of Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street. Police said that the 54-year-old truck driver initially left the scene but returned shortly after, so he was not charged with leaving the scene of an accident. 

The driver was issued five summonses but police said that the summonses were all related to truck inspections and not the collision. The NYPD Collision Investigation Squad is investigating but the driver has not been arrested. 

Cyclists held a vigil and memorial on Monday evening at the spot where the woman was killed, leaving flowers and candles on the east side of Sixth Avenue between West 23rd and 24th Street where the collision occurred.

Baby found unconscious at Madison Avenue shelter has died

MAve Hotel (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A two-month-old boy living at the MAve Hotel homeless shelter at 62 Madison Avenue was pronounced dead on Friday, June 21 at 10:16 a.m. after a 911 call about an unconscious infant. When police arrived at the scene, officers found the infant unconscious and unresponsive. EMS responded to the scene and transported the baby to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. 

Police said that the infant’s body did not have signs of trauma and there were no signs of foul play, so the NYPD will not be making any arrests in connection with the case. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing. 

The location where the baby was found was previously a hotel that was converted to a homeless shelter in 2016.

ACS teens arrested for unconnected robberies

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

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested four teenagers on Saturday, June 15 at 9:14 a.m. for three separate robberies that took place outside the Administration for Children’s Services facility at 492 First Avenue last weekend.

One of the victims told police that he was standing outside the building around on Friday, June 14 around 11 p.m. when three boys approached him. One of the boys pulled what the victim said looked like a handgun out of his waistband and put it against the victim’s chest while saying, “Go buy me cigarettes, I’m not f—king playing.”

Police said that around midnight on Saturday, June 15, an 18-year-old girl approached a man who was standing outside the ACS facility and demanded his phone, then allegedly reached into the victim’s pockets. The victim said that another teen who was with the girl at the time said, “If you touch her, I’ll f—k you up.” The teens fled with his phone.

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GPBA honors cops killed in the line of duty

Family members and colleagues of fallen officers at the memorial event (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Gramercy Park Block Association honored the members of the NYPD that have been killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 6. The memorial event at the National Arts Club has become an annual tradition that the organization has been carrying on since 2015.

The event stemmed from the Blue Lives Matter NYC movement started by three members of the NYPD after the murders of Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in December 2014. The goal was to help families of the slain offers in their time of need and GPBA president Arlene Harrison joined with the organization the following year.

“It has now become a nationwide movement, and I have done everything I can to spread the word, by organizing a social media network of over 150 police groups around the country,” Harrison said of Blue Lives Matter.

Harrison explained that the GPBA was formed in 1993 after her 15-year-old son was beaten in Gramercy Park with a mission of protecting the neighborhood by working closely with the police department. The GPBA also organized a relief effort within the 13th Precinct for a number of months after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

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DOT implementing busway 2.0

A bus travels west on East 14th Street. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Department of Transportation announced last week that transit and truck priority (TTP) and Select Bus Service on the M14 A/D will begin on 14th Street on July 1. The 18-month pilot project was designed specifically to help commuters traverse 14th Street while the work on the L train is being done and one of the main goals is to improve safety on the corridor.

The new regulations will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., during which time only buses and trucks, defined as any vehicle with more than two axles or six or more wheels, can make through trips between Ninth and Third Avenues. All vehicles except MTA buses at signed locations will be restricted from making left turns off 14th Street at all times.

Unlike the previously proposed “busway” plan for the now-canceled L shutdown, under the new plan, other vehicles will be allowed on the street during the restricted times. However, this is only to access the curb and garages and they must turn at the next available right. Commercial vehicles will be allowed to load and unload in short-term metered loading zones and passenger vehicles can drop off and pick up along the whole corridor.

Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when the regulations are not in effect, all vehicles can make through trips along the corridor. “No Parking” regulations will allow expeditious loading and unloading along 14th Street.

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Police Watch: Teens busted for burglary, Motorcyclist accused of reckless endangerment

TEENS BUSTED FOR CONSTRUCTION SITE BURGLARY
Police busted two teenagers for allegedly breaking into a construction site at 322 East 18th Street on Tuesday, June 11 at 8:17 a.m. The victim told police that he arrived at the job site and noticed that the secure door on the ground floor was broken and when he got to the main floor, he heard a commotion in the basement. He saw that his alarm system was unplugged and the key pad was broken and he said that he then saw the two teenagers leaving the site through the broken door. He took photos of the teens, which he showed to officers who arrived at the scene, and after searching the area, police caught the two suspects. The victim also said that while he was taking a photo of the two teens who were arrested, a third teen ran past them and fled to East 18th Street towards First Avenue. The teens were also charged with criminal mischief.

MOTORCYCLIST ACCUSED OF RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT
Police arrested 29-year-old Ricardo Bonano for alleged reckless endangerment at the corner of First Avenue and East 14th Street on Tuesday, June 11 at 3:11 p.m. Police said that Bonano was seen driving a motorcycle without license plates and he allegedly ran a red light while popping a wheelie in traffic. Bonano was also charged with being an unlicensed operator and an unclassified traffic infraction.

TEEN NABBED FOR STEALING FROM TAXIS
Police arrested a teenager for allegedly stealing from cab drivers throughout the neighborhood earlier this month.

The teenager reportedly reached into a taxi that was in front of 401 Park Avenue South on Sunday, June 9 around 11:15 a.m. and stole the driver’s cell phone.

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Million Millimeter March celebrates one million visitors to math museum

One of the points along the march through Flatiron (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The National Museum of Mathematics just north of Madison Square Park (a.k.a. MoMath) celebrated its millionth visitor in one of the mathiest ways possible: with a million-millimeter march. The March began in front of the museum on East 26th Street on 6/6 (June 6) at 6 p.m. in honor of the institution reaching visitor number 10 to the 6th power (also known as one million).

Translated into a more recognizable measure of distance, the March was 0.62 miles throughout the Flatiron District, starting at the museum and heading south to landmarks throughout the neighborhood, including Madison Square Park and the Flatiron building, with signs along the way indicating how many millimeters participants had traveled up to that point.

The march went down Fifth Avenue towards the Flatiron building, around the landmark and looped back up through Madison Square Park, then ended back at the museum on 26th Street.

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City holds open house on East Side Coastal Resiliency

An open house on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project took place last week in Peter Cooper Village. (Pictured) A Stuyvesant Town resident, Lawrence Scheyer, speaks with a city representative. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Residents got another chance last week to provide feedback on the proposed East Side Coastal Resiliency project on Wednesday and Thursday during open houses in Peter Cooper Village.

Jeff Margolies, executive director for the office of intergovernmental and community relations at the Department of Design and Construction, said that the goal of the open houses was to present the overall project goals to residents and give residents the opportunity to ask questions.

“People can talk with talk with a lot of the city agencies involved in the project,” he said. “We have people here from the Parks Department, Department of Transportation, the Department of Buildings and a few others.”

A main concern for residents in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village is still regarding the structure that will be built on East 20th Street as part of the project, an interceptor gate building to help with drainage that would be constructed on the island near Avenue C on the southern side of the street.

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Police Watch: Man accused of slashing friend, Man busted for Irving Place burglary

MAN ACCUSED OF SLASHING FRIEND OVER PHONE, MONEY
Police arrested 54-year-old Christopher Timmons for an alleged robbery that took place outside the Goodwill at 105 West 25th Street on Friday, June 7 at 8:30 a.m. Police said that Timmons, who knew the victim, asked to use his phone, then put the phone in his pocket. When the victim asked for his phone back, Timmons allegedly slashed him with an unknown weapon, causing cuts to his left elbow and right finger. Police said that Timmons and the victim also had an argument about money. Timmons allegedly fled on foot with the victim’s phone, and neither the phone nor the weapon were recovered when Timmons was arrested on Saturday, June 8 at 2:50 a.m. inside the 13th precinct.

MAN BUSTED FOR IRVING PLACE BURGLARY
Police arrested 31-year-old Jeff Seidenberg for an alleged burglary inside 67 Irving Place on Friday, June 7 at 8:20 p.m. Police were responding to a call about an unknown person in the stairwell of a commercial building and when they conducted an interior patrol, they reportedly found Seidenberg hiding under a bench on the 10th floor. When they searched him, they found that he was allegedly in possession of property belonging to one of the businesses in the building. Police said that he did not have permission to be inside the building and he was also charged with criminal trespass and possession of a controlled substance. There are multiple businesses in the building, including Irving Place Surgery & Wellness Center on the floor where Seidenberg was caught, but police did not specify which business he allegedly stole from or what property was taken.

MEN CHARGED WITH ROBBERY OUTSIDE TAJ LOUNGE
Police arrested 27-year-old Levan Easley and 27-year-old Raymond Rodriguez for an alleged robbery at the corner of West 21st Street and Fifth Avenue on Sunday, April 21 at 4:20 a.m. The victim told police that he was leaving the Taj Lounge at 48 West 21st Street when he was attacked by an unknown number of people who hit him in the face and allegedly stole his jewelry. Easley and Rodriguez were charged with robbery and assault on Tuesday, June 4 at 10:40 p.m. inside the 13th Precinct. Two other people were arrested in connection with the incident on May 8 and May 29.

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Man dead outside East 14th Street building in Stuy Town

435 East 14th Street (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police said that a 53-year-old man jumped from the roof of 435 East 14th Street around noon on Thursday, June 6. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stuy Town-Peter Cooper Village general manager Rick Hayduk said at the scene that management and the police are still trying to figure out exactly what happened but at the time that the man appeared to be a visitor of the building and not a resident. Police could not confirm if the man lived in Stuyvesant Town, but a source who didn’t want to be identified due to privacy concerns told Town & Village that the victim had been a resident of 445 East 14th Street since 2003.

The incident was reported by a 911 caller at 12:10 p.m. Police are not releasing information about the identity of the victim because it was a suicide and the NYPD does not usually release identifying information in these cases. The cause of death has not been officially confirmed, however, so the investigation is still ongoing.

Brooklyn resident Emily Krell said that she and her daughter happened to be walking by on East 14th Street when the man appeared to either jump or fall from one of the buildings.

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CB6 holds panel on preventing hate crime

Community Board 6 Housing, Homeless and Human Rights committee chair Carin van der Donk, Audacia Ray, Michael Cohen, Angela Fernandez, Council Member Mark Levine, Calee Prindle and Franck Joseph (Photo courtesy of Community Board 6)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community Board 6 hosted a panel on the prevention of hate crimes at the end of last month, shortly before the de Blasio administration announced that the newly-formed Office of Hate Crime Prevention will be opening sooner than anticipated.

Councilmember Mark Levine, who represents Northern Manhattan and sponsored the legislation to open the office, announced on Tuesday that the office would be opening this summer. It was originally scheduled to open in November.

“The epidemic of hate crimes sweeping across the country is a national crisis,” Levine said. “We have an obligation to guarantee the safety and security of every community that calls New York home.”

At the forum held at Baruch College on May 20, Levine thanked CB6’s Housing, Homeless and Human Rights committee for writing a resolution in support of the legislation regarding hate crimes prevention and education, the first board in the city to do so. CB6 adopted the resolution supporting the bill at the full board meeting in March.

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Editorial: Landlords scared and should be

The fact that the power has shifted drastically in Albany has been missed by no one, in particular landlords, who for many years could rely on the Republican-controlled State Senate to kill any bill deemed too tenant-friendly. While it’s tempting to dismiss the ongoing preening of Albany Democrats as the usual hot air, it isn’t. Good evidence of this is that the property owners of New York City are fighting tooth and nail to defend the status quo.

To keep major capital improvement (MCI) and individual apartment improvement (IAI) rent increases, which are permanently tacked onto a tenant’s rent, they’ve sought cooperation from contractors to argue that owners will stop improving their buildings, which will hurt middle class people who need the jobs. It’s a pathetic argument, however, because if a landlord allows his or her property to deteriorate, just because they can no longer get reimbursed for the project (and earn a profit on top of that) then he or she is nothing but a slumlord. And not deserving of anyone’s pity. Certainly not any more than the renters who are made to pay in perpetuity to improve properties they don’t own.

The system that allows MCIs and IAIs has been abused for many years. A story in this week’s issue of Town & Village demonstrates just how easy it is for someone in charge of renovations to wildly inflate costs of IAIs for the purpose of deregulating units. All they have to do is be willing to fill out credible looking paperwork, send it to a housing agency too under-resourced to verify the information and employ people who don’t mind getting paid more than a renovation should actually cost. This must end.

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