First robbery suspect
By Sabina Mollot
Police are looking for two men who stiffed a cabbie, stole his phone and punched him in the face on a street in Gramercy.
Cops said that on Wednesday, January 9 at 7:10 p.m., the 31-year-old driver was dropping off the men at Park Avenue South and East 22nd Street, after they’d hailed the cab at 96th Street and Broadway. However, the passengers didn’t pay the fare before getting out and when the driver asked for the money, one of them reached into his window and stole his cell phone. When the driver got out of his car to get it back, one of the two men punched him before they both fled.
Second robbery suspect
The victim refused medical attention at the scene.
The two suspects are described as being black and about 18-20.
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). All calls are strictly confidential.
By Sabina Mollot
A man was robbed for a pricey pair of kicks at the Freehand Hotel in Gramercy last Saturday.
Police said the 26-year-old victim was in a second floor public bathroom at the hotel at about 4 p.m. when two men approached him and demanded his Balenciaga shoes.
After being threatened, the victim turned the pair, worth $300, over to one of the robbers, who is described as being white, in his 30s, 5 ft. 11 ins. and about 180 lbs.
The Brotherhood Synagogue in Gramercy Park (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
While it happened many miles away from New York City, for Jewish New Yorkers, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting massacre on October 27 hit way too close to home, especially since locally, in the days following, there were reports of anti-Semitic graffiti and other types of vandalism at Jewish houses of worship in Brooklyn.
Many attended a vigil for the victims in Pittsburgh in Union Square shortly after the incident. Others jammed their temples for special Sabbath services that Friday night. Town & Village’s own associate editor, Maria Rocha-Buschel, found herself attending services for the first time in — she admitted — years, and reported that The Brotherhood Synagogue in Gramercy Park was completely packed. Much of the evening’s service was focused on the shootings and Rabbi Daniel Alder read a letter from a congregant who’d grown up near the Tree of Life Synagogue where eleven people were murdered, and knew two of the victims.
East End Temple in Stuyvesant Square Park was also crowded “beyond capacity,” noted a congregant there, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein. “There was a lot of unity in difficult times,” he added.
Posted in East Village, Gramercy, Houses of worship
- Tagged anti-semitism, brotherhood synagogue, East End Temple, Gramercy, Gramercy Park, Houses of worship, Stuyvesant Square, synagogues, town and village synagogue, Village Temple
A worker secures a tree in Gramercy Park after a snowstorm caused a still undetermined amount of damage in the park and other parks. (Photos courtesy of Gramercy Park Block Associaton)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Unexpected heavy snowfall last Thursday caused damage to trees throughout the neighborhood, resulting in park closures through this week, long after all the snow from the storm had melted.
Arlene Harrison, the president of the Gramercy Park Block Association and park trustee, sent an email to park neighbors on Friday noting that the park would be closed until further notice, and included photos of several downed tree limbs inside the park.
“Park caretakers who have been working here for decades said that it was the worst single hit to the park since they’ve worked here,” said Harrison, who made the decision to padlock the park gates for safety reasons until the debris is cleared. She said that the park could reopen by the end of the week but it had to remain closed until the crew can determine that it’s safe.
She added that the crew was pruning on the western side of the park right before the storm so there was the least amount of damage on that side, but five trees in the park were “ravaged” because of the wind and heavy snow.
Posted in Gramercy, Gramercy Park, Parks, Stuyvesant Town, Union Square
- Tagged Gramercy Park, Parks, snow, StuyTown Property Services, Stuyvesant Square Park, Stuyvesant Town, Union Square Park
Watch theft suspect
By Sabina Mollot
Police are looking for a woman believed to have stolen two designer watches valued at $70,000 from a victim who was staying at the Gramercy Park Hotel.
Police said the thief also took the victim’s wallet, containing credit cards from the room at the hotel, which is located at 2 Lexington Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets. The two watches were Nautilus and Bell Ross.
The suspect is a blonde with tattoos on her right shoulder and arm.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD Crimestoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Lady Mendl’s offered tastings of different sandwiches served with the venue’s high tea service, as well as multiple desserts. (Pictured) , Kristine Guialdo, event planner and house florist; Jennie Morgan, general manager; and front desk manager Judi Darling (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
On Saturday, Gramercy Neighborhood Associates held its sixth annual Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood food festival, this time selling out all of its available tickets.
The annual event is a fundraiser with proceeds going to two local schools, PS 40 and School of the Future. This year, 23 restaurants, some new to the community, offered tasting of popular dishes on their menus, with additional food businesses as sponsors.
Alan Krevis, president of the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, didn’t say how much the event raised, but ticket prices ranged from $30-$80. Ticket sales were capped at 400 to make sure the participating restaurants would have enough food. Unserved portions of food were brought to the homeless via the Bowery Mission.
Grand larceny suspect
By Sabina Mollot
Cops are on the lookout for a woman they said stole credit cards from an employee’s purse at Taproom, a Gramercy bar, and then proceeded to use them to make purchases. Another employee at the bar at 307 Third Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets told Town & Village the theft happened on Saturday during brunch time when the thief sat down near where some employees were sitting.
Police tweeted a picture of the woman on Tuesday, who the employee said appeared to be light-skinned black with braided hair.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Posted in 13th Precinct, Crime, Gramercy
- Tagged bars, credit card theft, crime, Gramercy, grand larceny, larceny, stolen credit cards, taproom, theft, Third Avenue
Dick Belsky’s new character was inspired by women journalists he’s worked with, especially at The Post.
By Sabina Mollot
Gramercy author and former journalist Dick Belsky writes what he knows. In the 1990s, he penned a series of novels about a television reporter named Jenny McKay. In the past three years, he wrote four novels about a newspaper reporter named Gil Malloy. Now, he’s begun a third series about yet another journalist, this one named Clare Carlson, with the first book, Yesterday’s News, to be released by Oceanview Publishing, on May 1.
In an interview with Town & Village, Belsky said it’s stories centering around newsrooms that come most naturally to him after decades of working in them himself. Prior to becoming a novelist, Belsky worked as a top editor at the New York Post, where he helped create the famous “Headless Body in Topless Bar” headline. He also later worked for the New York Daily News, Star magazine and NBC News.
“No matter what someone says, I don’t think anyone can legitimately say, ‘This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about,’” said Belsky, who writes his novels under the name R.G. Belsky.
His most recent series of books, published by Atria Books, centered around an ambitious investigative reporter who had to climb his way up from the bottom after making a serious error in judgment that ruined his reputation. And Belsky still has plans to return to the series. However, the story he had in mind for Yesterday’s News wouldn’t have worked with Malloy as the protagonist.
By Sabina Mollot
Police are hunting a man who violently robbed a 70-year-old man on Park Avenue South on Tuesday by pulling his cane away from him as he walked along the sidewalk. After the victim fell to the ground, the suspect took his wallet. Then, upon seeing that there were people approaching them, the robber helped the victim get back to his feet. However, before fleeing west on East 24th Street, he snatched $15 in cash from the victim’s wallet.
The suspect is described as unshaven and light-skinned and was last seen wearing a black knit cap, a gray hooded sweater with red lining, a black jacket and camouflage shoes.
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 by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.
Former Baruch College basketball coach Machli Joseph (CUNY image via YouTube)
By Sabina Mollot
A former Baruch College basketball coach has pleaded guilty to embezzling $700,000 from the school, money that he got and then pocketed from renting athletic facilities on the campus to outside parties.
Machli Joseph, 43, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday afternoon and could face up to ten years behind bars. New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said the former City University of New York (CUNY) coach conducted his scheme over a six-year period.
“This college official squandered and abused the trust placed in him by executing a multi-year scheme using school resources to benefit himself with close to three-quarters of a million dollars in stolen public funds,” Inspector General Leahy Scott said. “His crimes went unchecked for years on end and were symptomatic of the lax policies and oversight throughout CUNY facilities that I have been investigating as a separate matter.”
Monsignor Harry J. Byrne
By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday, a former pastor of Epiphany Church, Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, was charged with possessing dozens of images of child pornography.
The now 96-year-old retired priest of the Catholic Church allegedly had photos of girls as young as eight on his computer performing sex acts with men or posing naked. Additionally, according to an investigation conducted by Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, Byrne even viewed the images in front of many other people at his retirement home, the St. John Vianney Center for Retired Priests in the Bronx.
“People at his residence were subjected to it when they entered his room,” said Clark in a written statement. “Anyone who views child pornography supports horrific child exploitation.”
The monsignor was indicted on 37 counts of possession of an obscene sexual performance by a child and 37 counts of possession of a sexual performance by a child.
The investigation began five months ago after Clark’s office got a complaint about Byrne. The investigation concluded that he allegedly sought out images of young girls (aged 8-14) by using Google and Bing.
If convicted of the top charge, Byrne could face four years in prison and have to register as a sex offender.
Byrne, who worked at Epiphany from 1982-1996, where he retired from, pled not guilty to all the charges on Tuesday. He was arraigned before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary and was released. He is due back in court on January 17.
Council Member Rosie Mendez at the ceremony with Sister Pietrina Raccuglia, a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was founded by Mother Cabrini (Photo courtesy of Council Member Rosie Mendez)
East 19th Street between Second and Third Avenues has been co-named in honor of a saint who was a presence on the block since the early 1900s.
Father Arthur Golino, a former priest at Epiphany Church who was recently transferred to St. Patrick’s, was the impetus for the co-naming and said on Friday during a brief ceremony that the 100th anniversary of the death of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini gave him a reason to push for the dedication.
“We figured that the sisters have been in the neighborhood for 100 years so it was about time they were recognized,” Golino said. “She walked around this neighborhood and 19th Street between Second and Third was always famous for Cabrini sisters.”
Mother Cabrini, who was the first naturalized American citizen to be canonized, came to the United States in the late 1800s to help Italian immigrants. She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and although the congregation is now based on East 19th Street, missionary sisters are scattered throughout the world and a handful even came from far-off posts in Ethiopia, Brazil and Central America to attend the dedication ceremony and sisters from the congregation helped to organize the event held last week.
(Pictured L-R) Some of the project committee members gather at the sign unveiling: Claude L. Winfield; Judge Andrea Masley; Lois Rakoff; Tiffany Townsend; Dr. Samuel D. Albert; Louise Dankberg; Molly Hollister; Michelle Deal Winfield; Dr. David Christy, provost of Baruch College; and Council Member Rosie Mendez (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
On Sunday afternoon, a crowd of around 30 people, mostly community activist types, gathered at the northwest corner of East 22nd Street and Third Avenue for a ceremony to co-name the block “Children’s Court Way.”
The project was in the works for the past two years, and was the idea of East Midtown Plaza resident Michelle Deal Winfield.
The Children’s Court used to be located on East 22nd Street, in what is now home to Baruch College’s Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute. Today, there is just a bit of lingering evidence as to what the building’s prior purpose was, like the marble water drinking fountain built specifically for a child’s height, as well as some of the stairs in the building that are four and a half inches high instead of the standard eight.
According to Gramercy: Its Architectural Surroundings, a book published by the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates in 1996, a court for children was first established in Manhattan in the former Department of Public Charities Building on Third Avenue and 11th Street. This was in response to a push by reformers to treat juvenile delinquents differently from adult criminals and take their family circumstances into account. However, this court, a division of The Court of Special Sessions, was still required by law to treat children in the same manner as adults.
By Sabina Mollot
Police have arrested a Queens woman believed to have been involved in the death of a woman who received a fatal cosmetic butt injection last summer in an unmarked building near Peter Cooper Village.
Allison Spence, 44, has been arrested on charges of manslaughter and unauthorized practice of profession for the injection. Spence, who police said turned herself in, allegedly acted as a nurse during the procedure, for which the suspected doctor has still not been arrested. Police said they have identified the man but haven’t disclosed his name. That man is not a real doctor, according to a story in CBS New York, but police told Town & Village they couldn’t confirm that at this time.
The procedure was performed at a third floor apartment at 319 East 21st Street, between First and Second Avenues on July 15. Later police were summoned in response to Bynum complaining of dizziness and chest pains. She was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, but 12 days later was taken off life support after being pronounced brain dead.
The medical examiner has deemed the death of 31-year-old mother Latesha Bynum, a Harlem resident, a homicide.
A lawyer for Bynum’s family told CBS New York the doctor is a phony who used a Dunkin Donuts as his waiting room, and that a fake nurse greeted her. The attorney also said the doctor had a pattern of injecting unsuspecting women with “silicone poison into his patients’ buttocks and/or thighs.”
Meanwhile, Spence’s sister told the Daily News her sister denied giving any injection, saying she only prepped the patient by massaging her muscles.
UPDATE: Police report Novik has been found and is safe.
Police are asking for help in finding a missing Gramercy woman who was last seen on Monday, August 14 in the East Village.
Olivia Novik, 26, is a resident of the Gramercy Arms building at 145 East 15th Street.
She is described as approximately 5’6″ tall, 140 lbs. with brown eyes and long brown hair and has a tattoo of an olive branch on her back. The missing might be wearing a brown and white blouse with dark leggings and sandals.
Anyone with information 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 tips by logging onto tnypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.