Robber fractures elderly victim’s skull, punctures lung in Kips Bay tailor shop

jan26-robber

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a thug who stabbed an elderly tailor in his Kips Bay shop on Monday afternoon.

According to cops, the 78-year-old victim put up a fight when the unknown man walked into his shop, Apel Tailor at 203 East 27th Street, demanded cash, and began stabbing him. The men struggled and the attacker stabbed the victim a total of three times, once in the head, two in the torso. Eventually, the business owner gave the robber $80 and he fled in an unknown direction.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where police later reported his condition as stable. The man suffered numerous stab wounds to his chest, cuts to his face, a fractured skull and a punctured left lung.

It’s unclear if the suspect was injured, although video footage obtained by ABC7 shows that the victim at one point actually managed to chase him outside the business between Third and Broadway with a chair.

Apel’s Yelp page has almost entirely positive reviews for its service and the owner’s can-do attitude.

The suspect is described as being Hispanic with a beard, between 40 and 50 years old and 160-190 lbs. He was last seen wearing a blue hooded coat, blue jeans and black sneakers.

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 online at http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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City proposes reconfiguring 2 playgrounds as part of East Side flood protection plan

nov24-asser-levy-playground

Asser Levy Playground (pictured) and Murphy’s Brother’s Playground will be impacted by the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. (Photo courtesy of Parks Department)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The city has been exploring options to redesign Asser Levy Playground and Murphy’s Brother’s Playground, since both will be affected by the construction of flood protection along the East Side of Manhattan from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street.

Earlier in the month, representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency discussed the proposals at a community meeting held at Washington Irving High School.

Carrie Grassi, the deputy director of planning for the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, mentioned how the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project will run adjacent to both parks and construction will disturb activities there.

However, since the city is only in the concept design stage with the project, Grassi said that decisions for all aspects aren’t necessarily final yet. One such instance is the placement of the floodwall as it approaches the Asser Levy Playground. One configuration has the wall bordering the park along the FDR Drive, turning along East 25th Street and connecting with the floodwall that the VA Hospital is working on.

“But some feel that would be too imposing,” Grassi said.

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Medicaid office at Bellevue closed

By Sabina Mollot

A Town & Village reader alerted us last week to some outdated information online with regards to Medicaid services that ended up causing her to go to the wrong address for help on one of the summer’s hottest days.

The reader, a Stuy Town resident, said she’d read online that the most nearby Medicaid office was at 462 First Avenue inside Bellevue Hospital. But when she got there, she was informed that the location had been closed for two years.

“Not two days, not two weeks, two years,” she said. She was then redirected to the Medicaid office at 115 Chrystie Street on the border of Chinatown and the Lower East Side.

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Mayor, pols ask for $1.9B in Zika funding

Aug18 Mayor Maloney Kavanagh

Mayor de Blasio holding a letter to the leaders of the Congress and U.S. Senate, with State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Health Commissioner Mary Travis Bassett at the city’s public health lab (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

 

By Sabina Mollot

As the threat of the Zika virus spreads, Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials called on Congress on Tuesday to authorize $1.9 billion in funding for research and prevention efforts.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who was at the announcement with the mayor at the city’s public health lab in Bedpan Alley, said the problem was that Congress, specifically Republicans, were only willing to fund $1.1 billion. In February, President Obama had asked for Congress to allocate $1.9 billion.

Additionally, Maloney said, the debate in the house over funding has led to Republicans including a rider that would ban funding to Planned Parenthood, limiting access to abortions and contraceptives to women here and abroad. Meanwhile, Zika, Maloney argued, is known to cause serious birth defects so New York City’s health department has been actively advising safe sex for people traveling to Zika-impacting areas.

“They added a poison pill,” said Maloney, who argued that the immediate health threat posed by Zika shouldn’t be turned into “ideological crusades.”

With Congress deadlocked on the issue, money to fund Zika efforts has been taken from other existing health initiatives, including $589 million in Ebola funding. “They’re stealing from Peter to pay Paul and it’s not a good way to solve a crisis,” Maloney said.

De Blasio noted how the city had launched a $21 million Zika offensive effort in April that includes the spraying of larvacide in different areas and outreach to warn people, especially those who travel to impacted regions, about the disease which has at last official count infected 530 New York State residents. Of those, 438 are city residents. The latter figure includes 49 pregnant women, with all of the cases being travel related except four that were sexually transmitted. One baby in New York City has been born with microcephaly, a severe birth defect caused by Zika that causes the baby to be born with a small head, a sloped back forehead and mental challenges due to a smaller brain.

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City insists no sex offenders live at shelter

Community residents expressed concern about sex offenders and violent felons. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Community residents expressed concern about sex offenders and violent felons. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The status of the 30th Street Men’s Shelter, and whether sex offenders are still staying there was one of the main topics discussed at a forum on homelessness, which was attended by over 100 people.

The forum, held at the Epiphany Parish Hall on Tuesday evening, was hosted by City Councilmembers Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez. Representatives from the NYPD, the Department of Homeless Services and various non-profit agencies dedicated to assisting the homeless also showed up to discuss street outreach programs and employment resources made available to help homeless people get back on their feet.

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently appointed Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks to do a 90-day review of homeless services throughout the city and Banks was at the forum to focus on specific issues that affect the neighborhood, primarily the 30th Street Men’s Shelter.

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Sex offender busted at 30th St. shelter, Man arrested for ‘accidental’ shooting

SEX OFFENDER BUSTED AT 30TH ST. SHELTER

FOR FAILING TO MENTION ADDRESS CHANGE

Police arrested 45-year-old Carlos Leon for an unclassified felony inside the 30th Street Men’s Shelter at 400 East 30th Street last Monday at 8 a.m. Police said that Leon is a registered New York State level 2 sex offender.

He was convicted of attempted sex abuse in the first degree by forcible compulsion on January 28, 2003 for sexual contact with an 11-year-old girl in 2000. After he was notified of his duties on March 8, 2013 and March 13, 2003, police said that he failed to notify the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services sex offender monitoring unit of a change of address within 10 days.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ACCIDENTAL ‘SHOOTING’

Police arrested 37-year-old Charles Dunwoody for assault and possession of a weapon last Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. at the 13th Precinct. Police said that Dunwoody was involved in a shootout with another person who wasn’t arrested that resulted in a woman receiving a gunshot graze wound to her inner right calf.

WOMAN FOUND DEAD ON EAST 28TH

Police responded to a 911 call at 224 East 28th Street on Saturday at 10:05 a.m. Upon arrival, officers discovered a 27-year-old woman who was unconscious and unresponsive with no apparent signs of trauma. EMS responded and pronounced her deceased at the scene. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. Identity of the deceased is pending family notification. The investigation is ongoing.

TEEN BUSTED FOR SECOND AVENUE BURGLARY

Police arrested a teenager in front of 444 Second Avenue for burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of marijuana last Saturday at 2:28 a.m. Police said that the boy and another person who wasn’t arrested entered the residential building and stole property while the victim was still inside the apartment.

When the victim saw the intruders, they ran outside the building where two more people who weren’t arrested were waiting. Police tracked down one of the suspects using video surveillance and he was in possession of a stolen iPad from the burglary and was also in possession of a glass pipe containing marijuana.

‘PERV’ ARRESTED AT

UNION SQUARE SUBWAY STATION

Police arrested 35-year-old Mohamed Ibrahim for sexual abuse inside the Union Square subway station last Saturday at 12:10 p.m. Police said that Ibrahim was observed rubbing his groin on the victim’s buttocks on an uptown 5 train. Police said that Ibrahim and the victim did not know each other.

MAN NABBED FOR ‘ASSAULT’ AT BAG SHOP

Police arrested 23-year-old Jesse Rivera for assault in front of Broadway Bags at 1179 Broadway last Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Rivera got into an argument with an employee at the store and allegedly punched the victim in the face. Police said that he also slammed the victim’s left arm into a glass case in the store, causing serious physical injury and pain. EMS removed the victim to Bellevue Hospital.

TEEN BUSTED FOR PHONE THEFT

Police arrested a teenager for grand larceny and possession of stolen property last Wednesday at 4:41 p.m. inside Good Shepherd Services at 337 East 17th Street. Police said that the teen grabbed a social worker’s phone from her hand without permission while the social worker was using it. The teen then fled the scene but was later arrested.

TEENS BUSTED FOR

‘BREAKDANCING’ ON L TRAIN

An eighteen-year-old and two other teenagers for reckless endangerment at the corner of Union Square East and East 14th Street last Friday at 8:42 p.m. Police said the teens were breakdancing and performing acrobatic moves aboard a moving L train, creating a reckless condition of substantial risk of serious physical injury to himself and others without permission or authority to do so.

ASSAULT ON EAST 16TH STREET

Police arrested 34-year-old Kyle Sweeney for assault in front of 114 East 16th Street last Friday at 12:11 a.m. Police said that Sweeney punched the victim in the face, causing bleeding and swelling to his upper lip. No further information was available about how the dispute started.

MAN ARRESTED FOR

‘TRESPASSING’ AT MCDONALD’S

Police arrested 26-year-old Louis Smith for criminal trespass inside the McDonald’s at 39 Union Square West last Thursday at 11:30 p.m. An employee told Smith to leave the establishment multiple times but allegedly refused. Police said that they also told him numerous times that he couldn’t stay inside the building based on their rules and policies and he allegedly put up a fight while being detained in handcuffs. Smith was also charged with resisting arrest.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘URINATING’

AT BROADWAY AND WEST 28TH

Police arrested 56-year-old Ronald Braga for an unclassified violation on the corner of Broadway and West 28th Street last Friday at 6:42 a.m. Police said that Braga was urinating on a public sidewalk in plain view and he allegedly did not possess a valid ID.

MAN NABBED FOR ‘TRESPASSING’

IN EAST 28TH ST. BUILDING

Police arrested 25-year-old Troy Davidson for criminal trespass and possession of marijuana inside 224 East 28th Street last Saturday at 12:40 a.m. Police said that Davidson was trespassing on the 19th floor stairwell inside the building but he is not a resident there. Police said that he wasn’t an invited guest of anyone in the building and did not have legitimate business there. He was in possession of alleged marijuana that was in his right front jacket pocket.

‘DISORDERLY’ MAN ARRESTED

AT THIRD AND EAST 23RD

Police arrested 27-year-old James Glogovski for disorderly conduct at the corner of Third Avenue and East 23rd Street last Saturday at 4:15 a.m. Police responded to the location because of a report of theft of service. Glogovski was intoxicated and sleeping in the back of a cab and did not respond to repeated attempts to wake up and pay the fare. When he finally awoke, he allegedly became verbally abusive with officers. Police said that he refused to step out of the street onto the sidewalk and began to escalate his “disorderly” behavior. He allegedly flailed his arms and refused to comply with repeated requests by officers.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘STOLEN’ DEBIT CARD

Police arrested 46-year-old Oscar Diaz last Thursday at 5:05 p.m. inside the 13th Precinct for grand larceny. Police said that Diaz took the victim’s debit card and used it to make a purchase at Bath and Body Works.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘DAMAGED’ MIRROR

Police arrested 28-year-old Leon Jacobs for criminal mischief at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 17th Street last Tuesday at 12:05 p.m. Police said that Jacobs got into an argument with the victim and allegedly smacked the driver’s side window of the car, causing damage to the mirror.

 

Bellevue Hospital to build flood wall

Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal has expressed concern about the project's construction. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal has expressed concern about the project’s construction. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Bellevue Hospital is in the beginning stages of a plan that aims to protect the facility from future Hurricane Sandys and released an environmental assessment on the project at the beginning of July. The document is the first the Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), Bellevue’s parent organization, has released concerning the project and outlines the most viable alternative, a comprehensive mitigation system, which consists of a “perimeter boundary protection system” or flood wall around the hospital center. It will include a series of connected permanent and removable walls and integrated flood gates, as well as new elevators, a secondary domestic water pumping system, relocation of the HVAC equipment to above the 500-year flood plain and other features.

Other alternatives that were discussed in the document but that were ultimately dismissed include relocation of the hospital center or just a flood wall with no other changes. Relocation is not being considered because HHC does not think it practical to abandon the infrastructure investments that have been made on the existing site. The second alternative has been dismissed because while it is expected to provide similar flood protection to the wall in the selected plan, HHC wanted to incorporate a “Multiple Lines of Defense” strategy.

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Transformer fire prompts evacuation at NYU Langone Medical Center

NYU Langone Medical Center’s main campus at 550 First Avenue (Photo courtesy of NYU Langone)

NYU Langone Medical Center’s main campus at 550 First Avenue (Photo courtesy of NYU Langone)

By Sabina Mollot

A transformer fire broke out at NYU Langone Medical Center Thursday afternoon, leading to partial evacuation of the facility.

No one was injured, and the FDNY and Con Ed have both responded to the scene.

A spokesperson for the Fire Department said the call came in at 3:43 p.m. but he did not know what the cause of the transformer fire was. A spokesperson for the hospital, at First Avenue and 30th Street, said she didn’t know either, but issued the following statement:

A smoke situation has occurred due to a transformer fire in a non-patient area at NYU Langone. Out of caution a non-patient facility was evacuated, and no injuries have been reported. FDNY is on site and the situation is under control – there is no danger to patients or NYU Langone faculty and staff.”

A spokesperson for Con Ed said at 5:30 p.m. that a team had just been dispatched to the hospital a half hour earlier, and that as far as he knew, there was no power disruption. He also said the utility still wasn’t sure if the incident involved any Con Ed equipment.

Aug6 NYU Langone

Elevated park option for East River waterfront

Those in attendance at the  meeting last Tuesday sat at tables while the pros and cons of each option for the project were discussed. (Pictured) Guests seated before the presentation began (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Those in attendance at the meeting last Tuesday sat at tables while the pros and cons of each option for the project were discussed. (Pictured) Guests seated before the presentation began (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

 By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Neighborhood residents recently learned that the East River may be getting a new elevated park along with flood protection. The discussion about the park took place at the most recent workshop for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, held at the Stein Senior Center last Tuesday. Representatives from the mayor’s office and BIG U, the winning design firm in the Rebuild by Design competition in 2013, said that this type of flood protection was one of the most popular with residents, according to feedback from the community at the previous workshop in May.

Carrie Grassi, senior policy adviser at the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, also discussed the three options for flood protection in the area along the East River between 14th and 23rd Streets, which includes a berm, which would have a park on top, a flood wall or a deployable, and noted that community members saw the advantages of all three depending on the area.

The area along the river from 14th to 23rd is known as Project Area 2 and Project Area 1 extends south from 14th Street to Montgomery Street. The workshops have been split along these boundaries to focus more on the specific needs of each area.

Grassi noted that there is a need for compromise when considering different characteristics even within each designated project area and the specifics of each kind of flood protection, and they’re hoping the workshops will help find the right balance for Project Area 2.

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Shelter to soon be for employable men

The 30th Street shelter at Bellevue’s “Old Psych” building (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The 30th Street shelter at Bellevue’s “Old Psych” building (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Neighbors of the 30th Street men’s shelter, who for years have complained about homeless men aggressively panhandling, using the corner pay phones as toilets and just generally being nuisances, may soon see some relief.

The Department of Homeless Services, which runs the shelter that’s located at Bellevue Hospital, is planning to turn it into a shelter for men who are employed or considered employable and seeking job training.

Ken Ryan, the property manager of 350 East 30th Street, a mixed rental and condo building across the street from the shelter, said he was told this at a recent private meeting he had with DHS Deputy Commissioner of Adult Services Jody Rudin.

“That’s promising,” Ryan told Town & Village. “I am all for a homeless men’s shelter where men have jobs, or are being trained for jobs and live in the shelter. I am not for bums who get a bed and food and do nothing but harass the people in the neighborhood.”

Town & Village reached out to the DHS and press secretary Nicole Cueto confirmed the plan, which the department hopes to implement by the end of the calendar year. The shift in services won’t change the amount of men the shelter currently serves — around 850 — and while the unemployable residents would be sent elsewhere, the intake center and assessment processes would remain in place.

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Coalition formed against sanit garage

The Brookdale site as seen from Waterside (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The Brookdale site as seen from Waterside (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Tenant groups against the proposed sanitation garage at the Brookdale campus organized themselves just in time for another public scoping hearing that took place at the site of proposed facility on Wednesday.

 The Brookdale Neighborhood Coalition announced their formation on Tuesday in the form of a press release. The individual tenant organizations have been fighting the construction of the garage since it was announced almost three years ago but this is the first time that the groups have officially come together to oppose the plan. The coalition consists of the tenant associations at Waterside Plaza, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, East Midtown Plaza and the Kips Bay Neighborhood Association.

The Economic Development Corporation had invited community members to provide their input on the project through a working group, but this venture was designed to discuss plans for the bookend sites, not the garage itself.

Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association, said that many members of the community were hopeful and then quickly discouraged by the purpose of the working group because most people primarily wanted to discuss how to prevent the garage and talking about the outer parcels was less of a priority.

“(DSNY) said the time to talk about the garage would be at public meetings so we organized after last public meeting and decided we would be more effective as one voice,” Handal said.

The coalition aims to keep higher standards for the DSNY in terms of its requirements for the projected studies that the department will be conducting and a formal response will be released on July 22. At that time, the coalition will outline its concerns on pedestrian safety, traffic, air quality and other issues.

Tenants are concerned about the fact that DSNY says a public health analysis of the project is not warranted.

“When you start looking at the data, Gramercy has the worst health

quality and that’s from the mayor’s own portal,” Handal said. “DSNY says, ‘well, we use ultra clean diesel,’ but that does not do anything with the fine particulate matter. The filters on the trucks reduce that pollution by 90 percent, which is good, but that’s not all of it so you have a net increase of pollution. The devil is in the details, as they say.”

Other issues that the coalition is worried about involve pedestrian safety, especially because of the area’s proximity to a number of schools, in addition to the multiple residential housing complexes. Traffic is another concern: according to data from the city website for Vision Zero, there is a high density of traffic-related incidents in the area and there was a 30 percent increase in collisions from 2009 to 2014.

“When you go back and think about what Mayor de Blasio’s goals were with Vision Zero, the first responsibility of government is to protect its citizens,” Handal said. “How is that happening here?”

The group is also hoping to highlight some points that they feel the draft EIS has missed in terms of comprehensive analysis of the garage’s impact, including the identification of alternative locations and not adequately studying the health hazards.

The last public scoping hearing, which was scheduled for July 15 (after T&V’s press time), was meant to gather comments that will be incorporated into the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Residents will get a 30-day period in which to respond and then the final Environmental Impact Statement will be released. Handal said that she’s not optimistic that DSNY is open to a discussion addressing all of the community’s concerns, but she has been motivated by her investigation into the hazards to keep trying anyway.

“I sometimes get lulled into the notion of a kinder, gentler garage,” she admitted, “but when I do the research it’s so upsetting because we’re right next door.”

A spokesperson from the DSNY was not immediately available for comment on the coalition.

Man on bike snatching phones and bags from women in Gramercy and Flatiron

Phone and bag snatching suspect

Phone and bag snatching suspect

Police are looking for a man who’s stolen from at least eleven women throughout the Gramercy and Flatiron neighborhoods while riding a bike. Cops say the man has been riding up to women and then snatches their phones or their purses before pedaling away on either a Citi Bike or a bike with a basket.

The 13th Precinct’s new commanding officer, Captain Brendan Timoney, had warned the community about a cyclist stealing phones out of women’s hands while they’re distracted at the last Community Council meeting, but details on the crimes weren’t released by police until Wednesday night.

Cops say the larceny pattern, which began in February, is as follows:

On Monday, February 2 at around 11:30 p.m., the man snatched an iPhone from a a 32-year-old woman who was walking on 6th Avenue.

On Tuesday, February 3 at around 10:30 p.m., he grabbed an iPhone from a a 34-year-old woman walking on West 19th Street near 5th Avenue.

On Saturday, February 28 at 9 p.m., the man stole a phone from a 21-year-old woman walking on East 20th Street at Second Avenue.

On Saturday, March 7 at 11:30 p.m. the man snatched a purse from a 34-year-old woman as she walked along East 27th Street, in the vicinity of Third Avenue.

On Sunday, March 15 at 2:20 a.m., the man swiped a purse from a 29-year-old woman who was in front of 100 West 21st Street.

On Sunday, March 15 at 10:40 p.m., the man grabbed a phone out of a 22-year-old woman’s hand as she was walking along East 22nd Street.

On Tuesday, March 31 at 1 a.m., he grabbed a phone from a 24-year-old woman who was walking on East 21st Street near Park Avenue South.

On Saturday, April 4 at 6 a.m. he stole a phone from a 21-year-old woman who was standing in front of 32 East 32nd Street.

On Monday, April 20 at midnight, the man took a phone from a 27-year-old woman walking on 6th Avenue, in the vicinity of West 16th Street.

On Tuesday, April 28 at 1 a.m., he stole a purse from a 23-year-old woman in front of 544 6th Avenue.

On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, at 10:30 p.m., he grabbed a purse from a 42-year-old woman who was in front of 135 East 17th Street.

There were no injuries reported in any of the incidents and police say the the serial cyclist thief is a black man with a beard.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or submit tips by logging onto www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Changes to sanit. garage plan aired

Area residents still against proposal, DSNY shoots down CB6’s suggested alternative sites

The Brookdale campus, the city’s proposed site for the sanitation garage. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The Brookdale campus, the city’s proposed site for the sanitation garage. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community residents and members of Community Board 6 were packed in at an unusually well-attended Land Use and Waterfront committee meeting last Wednesday to hear a presentation from the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) on some of the new plans for the Brookdale Campus at East 25th Street and First Avenue.

The EDC first became involved in the project last year due to the protesting from the community and elected officials, demanding a more comprehensive plan for the site. EDC is now working with DSNY on the project, but DSNY is still the lead agency for the garage proposal, which encompasses the middle section of the site. EDC is the lead agency on the development of the bookend parcels of the site and will be working with the community to come up with options for the development of that property. The EDC has also formed a working group to address possibilities for the bookend property of the site, consisting of community board members, elected officials, residents and other community advocates, which will first meet on February 23 and it will be holding up to eight additional meetings through the end of April.

The most recent meeting on the garage, which itself was held inside one of the buildings at the Brookdale Campus, was mainly an opportunity for the DSNY to come before the committee and the public and discuss changes to its proposal for the garage. It is the first time since a previous meeting in June, 2013, also held in the auditorium at Brookdale, that DSNY has publicly spoken about the proposal and it is the first time the EDC has come to one of the committee meetings specifically to address the proposed sanitation garage.

This particular meeting had also been postponed a number of times due to scheduling and weather, but when the two agencies got through their respective presentations, the consensus among the residents was no different than at meetings in the past: we don’t want this garage in our community.

Kate Van Tassel, Vice President of the EDC, wasn’t able to get through much of her presentation before being interrupted by an angry resident who said that he was sick of hearing the same thing from the city about the garage proposal and was upset that the construction of the garage would mean giving up a viable housing facility. Van Tassel explained that this presentation was actually new, and did offer different options for community space on the bookend parcels such as affordable housing, which has not been discussed at previous meetings on the garage, but all of the plans were working under the assumption that the sanitation garage would still be located in the middle portion of the property.

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Ribbon cut at newly expanded Asser Levy Playground

Feb5 Asser Levy Garodnick equipment

Council Member Dan Garodnick tries out the adult fitness equipment. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Friday morning, in near-freezing weather following the second snowfall in a week, local community leaders and politicians cut the ribbon on the newly expanded Asser Levy Playground.

Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver joked that “It’s a pleasure to cut a ribbon on this warm and sunny day,” as the politicians on either side of him sat bundled up for the cold. He then went on to say the project had been successful in terms of being both “on time and on budget and that gets a double round of applause.”

New features along the two-block-long park that was formerly a street include a track, adult fitness equipment, a synthetic turf field, drinking fountains, lighting, trees, tables and benches.

The work was funded with allocations of $1,175,000 from Council Member Dan Garodnick, $500,000 from the UN Development Corporation, and $670,000 from the mayor.

While at the podium, Silver joked that Garodnick was so enamored with project, “he named his son Asher.”

In response Garodnick confided that he’d actually told his son that the playground had been named after him.

“There are no limits to my deception,” he quipped. “I told him it was a typo on the sign.” He added that since he also has another son, “We’ll have to see what we can do for Devin.”

While construction had been underway at the site, the Council member said he and both of his young sons would pop by each day from their apartment in Peter Cooper Village and ask the project supervisor for status updates. And, he added, the supervisor was very nice about it.

The playground work was tied to a land deal that would allow the United Nations to put a building on space occupied by Robert Moses Park.While naturally the plan to remove that park space has been met with some opposition from neighbors, Garodnick said Robert Moses Park is underutilized, as the space now occupied by Asser Levy Playground was when it was a street.

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