Pete Tsoumas is retiring on Friday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
After 65 years in business, the colorful floral stand tucked in a corner at the Brooklyn-bound exit of the First Avenue L is selling its last bouquet on Friday. Current owner Pete Tsoumas has been operating the stand for almost 50 years, having taken it over from his grandfather and uncle after running three other stores in the city, and now he finally gets to retire.
“If you told me I’d be here for 48 years, I’d say you’re crazy,” Tsoumas said.
Tsoumas said that the construction on the station was a challenge but the main reason he’s closing up shop is his health and he’s looking forward to spending time with his family.
“I need a rest. ‘If you don’t close on Friday, you won’t make it (to your appointment) in September,’” he said his doctor told him at a previous appointment, indicating that his stem-cutting arm gives him trouble.
Vehicle collision at Second Avenue and 14th Street (Photos by Jefferson Siegel)
By Jefferson Siegel
Just after 7 pm Tuesday, the quiet early-evening atmosphere at 2nd Avenue and 14th Street was shattered by a loud metal-crunching explosion when three app-driven car service vehicles collided.
The crash was followed by screams as people rushed to find a Lyft driver trapped in his car and a cyclist on the curb. The driver appeared to be unconscious as he sat motionless, his body surrounded by front and side air bags. The driver-side door had been smashed by a mini-van which blocked anyone from reaching the driver. Firefighters arrived within minutes and tried smashing the passenger-side window to reach the driver. They were able to enter the car from the rear door and place a neck brace on the driver.
How sweet it is. The new ice cream truck in town will be operated by Mikey Likes it. (Photos by Thomas Rochford)
By Sabina Mollot
Stuyvesant Town residents who were out and about on the First Avenue Loop on Friday afternoon may have seen the newest vehicle to enter management’s fleet, only this time it’s not a security SUV or contractor club car, but an ice cream truck.
The baby blue and white van, which was parked on the side of the road, has the words, “Peter Coop’s Scoops” and the Peter Cooper logo on its side.
Asked about this, Stuyvesant Town general manager Rick Hayduk said that is really an ice cream truck and it will be open for business in Peter Cooper and Stuy Town (where legally allowed to operate), on June 19. It may also, where allowed, Hayduk stressed, pop up at public events in the city, and it will also appear at another Blackstone-owned property, Kips Bay Court.
The truck is part of Stuy Town Property Services’ recently announced re-branding efforts such as the new, minimalist property logos and last year’s apartment-in-a-box van that drove around the city. It’s being operated independently by Mikey Likes It, an ice cream shop owned by a Stuyvesant Town resident, Michael Cole. The business has a location in the East Village on Avenue A as well as on Fredrick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. In exchange for having the ST/PCV wrap as a form of advertising for the property, management gave Mikey Likes It the truck to use.
“We’re not in the ice cream business,” Hayduk clarified.
Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal discusses the package of bills at a pre-hearing rally. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Politicians left no doubt that the balance of power in Albany has unquestionably shifted during a hearing of the New York State Assembly last week.
At the heart of the debate was the understanding that a package of tenant-friendly legislation stands a good chance of being passed in June, following last November’s elections that turned the previously industry-friendly State Senate blue.
At one point, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, turned her attention to a panel of real estate professionals who were there to give testimony.
“How much money have you used to influence our laws?”, she asked.
When none answered, Rosenthal told them, “You’ve had a lot of friends in Albany over the years. Now you have fewer friends.”
Earlier in the hearing, Paimaan Lodhi, senior vice president of policy and planning for the Real Estate Board of New York, cautioned that the city’s housing stock would deteriorate as a result of the bills’ passage.
However, he said the industry is in favor of passing rent regulations that “increase transparency that protects the public from a few bad actors.”
But Rosenthal told the room, “We have many good bills and we are going to pass them. There is no reason why tenants shouldn’t be protected. You guys get tax breaks. In return, you have obligations you have not met. How come so many landlords fail to register their rent-regulated units?”
In response, Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, said the RSA encourages its members to resister their units, warning there are consequences if they don’t. He then said there should be more enforcement mechanisms and countered there wasn’t “an upside” to trying to game the system.
Police are asking the public’s assistance in finding Arlene Drucker, 69, who was last seen at her home at 125 East 24th Street on Saturday morning.
She is described as being 5’7″ tall, 140 lbs., with a thin build, brown eyes, short blonde-grey hair and missing her teeth. She was last seen wearing a blue sun dress and blue sneakers.
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 their tips by logging onto nypdcrimestoppers.com or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.
Cops are looking for a man who swiped a $4,600 Chanel purse from a woman who was eating dinner at Gramercy restaurant Farmer & The Fish.
The victim, a 39-year-old woman, was at the restaurant at 245 Park Avenue South at East 20th Street on Friday, March 8 at about 7:30 p.m. when she got up to go to the bathroom. She told police she left her purse, a Chanel vanity case, on her chair, and when she came back it was gone.
The vanity case style of bag ranges in price from $3,600-$8,900 on Chanel’s website.
The suspect believed to have taken it was seen on surveillance footage. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Update at 12:15 p.m.: Cooper Cafe has withdrawn its application and will not be at Community Board 6’s Thursday meeting, CB6 has told us.
By Sabina Mollot
The operators of 5 Stuy Café have applied for a wine, beer and cider license and the application will be among one of several to be discussed at a Community Board 6 meeting on Thursday evening.
Liquor and beer and wine licenses are granted or denied by the State Liquor Authority, but community boards have an advisory role.
The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association mentioned the upcoming meeting in an email blast to tenants on Monday evening. It will be held by the CB6 Business Affairs and Street Activities Committee on Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m. at the board office at 211 East 43rd Street, Suite 1404.
Meanwhile, Stuy Town general manager Rick Hayduk told Town & Village that after learning about the application, he would be requesting that it be withdrawn until the details are vetted by StuyTown Property Services. The café is run by a third-party operator called Cooper Café LLC.
Susan Steinberg, the president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, said the association has not taken a position on alcohol being served at the café.
“We acknowledge the many tenants who have requested the option of having a glass of beer or wine with their food,” said Steinberg. “We also acknowledge the many tenants who are concerned about the possible consequences (increased noise and commotion) that might arise as a result of the wine and beer license. An applicant who comes before the Business Affairs and Street Activities Committee of Community Board 6 will need to assure Board 6 and the public of their procedures to contain noise and nuisance. (Disclosure: I am Vice Chair of that committee; I can ask questions but will have to abstain from voting.) Assuming the application is approved, if management is unable to contain behavior after a few months, the TA will come down hard.”
Jack Taylor with Rosalee Isaly, then-president of the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association, who presented him with an award for his preservation work in the neighborhood last year (also now deceased) (Photo by Andrew Garn)
By Sabina Mollot
Jack Taylor, a historic preservationist and resident of East 18th Street in Gramercy, died last Thursday, February 7, in his sleep. He was 94, and had suffered some health problems, including with his leg in recent months, making it hard for him to get around.
For decades Taylor was known for his efforts to save buildings slated for the wrecking ball in the Gramercy, Stuyvesant Square and Union Square neighborhoods and to get them landmarked.
He was involved in numerous civic groups, including the Gramercy Park Block Association, the Union Square Community Coalition, the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association and the Historic Districts Council.
He’d been retired since the 1980s, when he served as managing editor for Family Circle for several years. After retiring, he still did some freelance editing work.
His legacy of preservation began when he was inspired by the loss of Luchow’s restaurant, according to a transcript of a 2004 forum he participated in held by the New York Preservation Archive Project. The place was over a century old when Taylor learned it was at risk and got involved with an informal group aimed at saving it, headed by the USCC. The “born and bred” Manhattanite noted he had been born in Greenwich Village, not far from Luchow’s.
“Was it an architectural landmark? Was it a cultural landmark? Just what was it?” Taylor had mused at the forum. “It didn’t matter to me then, because I didn’t know the ropes very much. But it just seemed to be something that the city of New York would be the worse without. Regardless of the food, which had plummeted in the meantime. It was the philosophy of the thing.”
Police are looking for a burglar who stole $4,500 in cash and electronics from an apartment on East 18th Street on Wednesday, February 6.
It was around noon when police said the man managed to get in by forcing his way into the apartment’s door.
This is the second time an apartment has been burglarized on this street in recent weeks, although based on surveillance images, this is a different suspect.
On Wednesday, January 23 at approximately 6:30 a.m. in the vicinity of East 18th Street and 2nd Avenue, another man got into an apartment via a fire escape. He started to help himself to items from an entertainment center before two residents walked in on him and he fled, this time through the door.
Anyone with information on either incident is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
On Sunday afternoon, Stuyvesant Town residents gathered at the ice rink for a performance by the Ice Theatre of New York. Following the outdoor show, attendees of all ages headed out onto the ice for some skate time of their own. The (residents and guests only) ice rink will remain open for the season through March 3. Tuesdays are free admission days for residents though this doesn’t include skate rental.