Police Watch: Man arrested for ‘subway surfing,’ Pair busted for marijuana outside Peter Cooper Village

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘SUBWAY SURFING’

Police arrested 23-year-old Isaiah Thompson on Friday, August 2 at 8:50 p.m. after he allegedly rode on the outside of an uptown 5 train in Union Square the previous Wednesday, July 31 at 6:35 p.m. Gothamist reported on Monday that witnesses alerted police at the station, prompting Thompson to allegedly flee into the tunnel. Thompson was charged with criminal trespassing and reckless endangerment.

T&V previously reported in May that Thompson was arrested for allegedly pulling the emergency brake on the 2 train and police were still investigating whether or not Thompson was connected to a number of other incidents in which someone pulled the brake.

Police said that in the incident this May, Thompson gained access to the rear of the 2 train while it was in the West 14th Street/Seventh Avenue station. He allegedly opened the rear door and rode for several stops on the outside of the train car, then reportedly activated the train’s emergency brake.

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Longtime Stuyvesant Town resident dies at 97

Beatrice Nava

Beatrice Nava, a long-time Stuyvesant Town resident, passed away peacefully on Monday, July 29, at age 97 in her apartment. She is lovingly remembered and already missed by those and her grandchildren, extended family, neighbors, friends and even her doctors.

Born in Philadelphia, she lived in that area and taught for many years before relocating to Mexico for several years with an extended stay in Nicaragua, before returning to the US and settling in New York City in 1984.

She got her B.A. and M.A. from Bryn Mawr (in 1943 and 1964, respectively). She prided herself on her social awareness and activism, and was even arrested in Washington Square Park for protesting police brutality. On another occasion, she was protesting the Vietnam War in Washington, DC, and happened to run into her son, Ed.

She was an avid reader, never missing a day of the New York Times and other important publications like the New Yorker. She contributed her story to the book, Written Out of History: Memoirs of Ordinary Activists. She enjoyed the company of a wide range of friends, both in person and via computer, as she mastered the digital age of email.

She is survived by her four children (Ed, Joan, Jim, and Maggie) and her cat (Esperanza).

Owners sue over new rent regulations

This story originally appeared in Real Estate Weekly.

By Sabina Mollot

Seven New York landlords have joined the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) and Community Home Improvement Program (CHIP) to sue over new rent regulations they claim are ‟unconstitutional.”

The 125-page complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, names the city, the Rent Guidelines Board along with each of its members, and the state Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas as defendants.

“The main complaint is that, after 50 years of rent stabilization, it is clear that the system doesn’t work,” said the RSA’s general counsel, Mitch Posilkin.

“If the supposed housing emergency continues to exist, maybe there’s something wrong with the system, and we believe the system violates the United States Constitution.”

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Man busted for Gramercy package thefts

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a teen last week for multiple package thefts that took place earlier this summer in various buildings throughout Gramercy.

A Stuyvesant Town Public Safety Officer told police that he saw 19-year-old Luis Navarro Murillo via video surveillance entering 390 First Avenue in Peter Cooper Village around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 24, when he allegedly stole two packages from the building’s lobby.

After leaving that building, police said that about five minutes later, Navarro Murillo entered 350 First Avenue, also in Peter Cooper Village, and allegedly took one package from that lobby, then left the building.

Police later confirmed that Navarro Murillo also allegedly stole a package from the lobby of 39 Gramercy Park North on Tuesday, June 4 around 6:30 p.m.

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Doorman arrested for masturbating in resident’s apartment

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a doorman last month who allegedly broke into a resident’s apartment and masturbated while inside earlier this year.

Police said that 21-year-old Ronald Yagual, a doorman at a building on West 23rd Street in the Flatiron District, went inside the victim’s apartment without permission on Thursday, May 23 around 3 a.m.

According to the District Attorney’s office, Yagual masturbated and then removed water from the victim’s refrigerator without permission to do so. Yagual was arrested inside the 13th precinct on Wednesday, July 17 at 9:30 a.m.

Yagual was charged with burglary as a sexually-motivated felony, petit larceny and criminal trespass. The court issued a temporary order of protection for the victim against Yagual but he was released on his own recognizance during a court appearance on Wednesday, July 17. The exact location of the building is being withheld to protect the victim.

An attorney for Yagual could not be reached for comment on the case by T&V’s press time.

Questions answered at housing forum

Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Councilmember Keith Powers, Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, Cooper Square Committee director of organizing and policy Brandon Kielbasa, State Senator Liz Krueger and Legal Aid housing attorney Ellen Davidson at the forum last week. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein’s office sponsored a forum on Thursday at the NYU Dental School on East 24th Street regarding the rent laws that passed in June to answer questions that tenants have about rent regulation and affordable housing protections.

State Senators Brad Hoylman and Liz Krueger, as well as Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Councilmembers Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera and Ben Kallos, were also in attendance, and Legal Aid housing attorney Ellen Davidson was available to answer questions about the complex aspects of the new laws.

“The MCI section [of the rent laws] is just like MCIs: very complicated,” Davidson said of one of the parts of the law most difficult to understand. “[The Division of Housing and Community Renewal] will have to set a schedule of reasonable costs of what can be recovered but they have to do it quickly because they can’t do any work until it’s approved.”

One of the victories that state legislators claimed in the passage of the rent laws was an annual cap on MCIs, or major capital improvements, at 2%. The previous cap was 6%. The new law also caps the amount that a landlord can pass on to tenants after a vacant apartment is renovated at $89, while also eliminating the previous 20% vacancy bonus that landlords could add after tenants moved out.

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Local moms raise $2k for migrant kids

Alba Howard, Ashley Campbell, Natalie Gruppuso and Ibiza Kidz owner Carole Husiak organized the lemonade stand in front of the First Avenue store over the weekend to raise money for non-profits helping migrant children at the southern border. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Local moms joined a national effort to raise money for migrant children by holding a pop-up lemonade stand in front of Ibiza Kidz on First Avenue last weekend, raising $2,200 over two days. In addition to the money from the sales, an anonymous Stuyvesant Town resident boosted the tally by donating $1,000 on Sunday.

The event, organized nationally by Lawyer Moms Foundation, encouraged kids and families throughout the country to host lemonade stands to raise awareness for the separation of migrant children from their families at the southern border and to raise money for the Rio Grande Valley Rapid Response and KIND (Kids in Need of Defense).

This is the second year that the foundation organized the national event and technically the second year that Stuy Town moms and other local parents have contributed, although when East 24th Street resident Natalie Gruppuso set up shop on the sidewalk along First Avenue outside Stuy Town, they were booted out by Public Safety only about an hour after opening.

Gruppuso is the program manager for the all-volunteer-run non-profit NYC Mammas Give Back, which primarily offers assistance to mothers throughout New York City, but which got involved in the national event over the weekend, working with Stuy Town resident and Ibiza Kidz owner Carole Husiak to hold the event at the First Avenue store.

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Anti-vaxxers protest local politicians at forum

Anti-vax protesters attended the housing forum to voice their concerns to state legislators, primarily State Senators Brad Hoylman and Liz Krueger, as well as Assemblymember Deborah Glick, about a law that eliminated religious exemptions for vaccines. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Anti-vax protesters disrupted a housing forum held at the NYU Dental School last Thursday, frustrating tenants who wanted to learn details about the new rent laws.

State Senators Brad Hoylman and Liz Krueger were two of the elected officials at the event and the two that received the most ire from the protesters, primarily because they were both sponsors legislation in the State Senate repealing religious exemptions for vaccinations.

The law requires that all students in public and private schools be vaccinated to attend, with no exceptions made for those with religious objections to vaccines, and many of the protesters at the event had signs arguing that thousands of children, including those with special needs, were being kicked out of their schools because of their parents’ religious beliefs.

The protest surprised elected officials attending, in part because local politicians who appear at community events in the neighborhood rarely have such vehement opposition to their policies, especially where the topic at hand is entirely unrelated to the subject being protested, but also because the legislation passed more than a month ago in mid-June.

Even as he was arriving at the event, Hoylman was challenged in the elevator by a man who argued that politicians shouldn’t be dictating how parents provide healthcare to their children, while Hoylman shot back, “You’re right, doctors should, and they have.”

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Senior mugged for plastic bottles outside Associated

Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a man for stealing a bag of plastic bottles from a senior in front of the Associated at 409 East 14th Street on Friday, July 19 around 3:45 p.m.

The 72-year-old victim was returning plastic bottles for the deposit outside the store when 48-year-old John Thompson approached him and grabbed the bag from his hand, attempting to remove it by force.

The victim told police that he asked Thompson to give him the bag back and Thompson responded by allegedly punching him in the face and knocking him to the ground before fleeing the scene.

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 1

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Broken promises in Tech Hub planning 

The following is a letter from Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Carlina Rivera on June 28 regarding zoning changes and protections for the neighborhood ahead of the development for the Tech Hub planned for East 14th Street.

Dear Mayor de Blasio and Councilmember Rivera,

I write regarding commitments that were made following the approval of the upzoning for the planned Tech Hub at 124 East 14th Street. That zoning change was approved by the City Planning Commission over a year ago, on June 27, 2018. Yet as of today, most of the extremely modest commitments made to provide protections or mitigations to the surrounding neighborhood for the negative impact of the planned development have neither been implemented nor even proposed. And several key commitments made by the developer and the city regarding protecting the surrounding community from the impacts of the construction have already been broken.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for thefts, Man busted for assaulting officer

MAN ARRESTED FOR MULTIPLE THEFTS
Police arrested 49-year-old Kenneth Henriksen for an alleged theft inside 125 East 15th Street on Monday, July 22 at 2:17 a.m. A bartender told police that Henriksen ordered several drinks from the bar and when it came time to pay, he allegedly attempted to use a stolen credit card. When the card was declined and the bartender asked how else he could pay the bill, Henriksen allegedly left the location without paying. Police said that he was found shortly after officers searched the area and was identified by the bartender. He was arrested for grand larceny, possession of stolen property and unlawful use of a credit card.

Henriksen was also charged with an additional count of grand larceny and forgery for allegedly writing checks and taking money from a business at 137 West 25th Street where he was an employee on March 10 around noon.

MAN BUSTED FOR ASSAULTING OFFICER
Police arrested 59-year-old Larry Davis for an alleged assault in front of Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Monday, July 22 at 4:06 a.m. The victim told police that he was outside the hospital smoking a cigarette when Davis approached him and asked for one. The victim said that he didn’t have a cigarette that he could give him but Davis allegedly kept asking multiple times. The victim said that he continued to say that he didn’t have any when Davis allegedly punched the victim in the face, causing a cut above his eye and pain to the back of his head. Davis was arrested after he was stopped by hospital police.

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Opinion: Love it or leave it

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

Last week the political rhetoric from the President of the United States sunk to a new low, awash with disturbing invective.

Donald Trump attacked four members of Congress who happen to be women of color and have been very critical of Trump’s immigration policies and his efforts to ban Muslims from entering this country. Trump said of the four that they should “go back to the crime infested countries that they came from.” But each are United States citizens, three of whom were born here.

So “go back to the country that they came from?” Say what?

It was not lost on anyone that the women singled out by Trump were either of Muslim heritage or whose family ties include relatives from Central American countries. To state the obvious, Trump’s comments are as factually wrong as they are repugnant and bigoted.

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City Council passes retail vacancy registry bill and others aimed at helping mom-and-pop

Il Forno on Second Avenue is one of the many small businesses in the neighborhood that has closed in recent months. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Tuesday, the City Council passed five bills aimed at helping mom-and-pops, including one that would track retail vacancies and information about those spaces’ leasing history.

Each of the bills passed unanimously, with the exception of the vacancy tracking one, which still easily got through with just two objections.

If signed by the mayor, building owners would be required to submit information to the city regarding ground and second floor commercial spaces. The city’s Department of Finance would then establish publicly available data on those commercial properties, disaggregated by council district. Information would include median average duration of leases, the median and average remaining term to lease expiration, the median and average size of rentable floor area, the number of such premises reported as being leased and vacant, the median and average rent, the length of time a property has not been leased as well as construction information, and the number of such premises where the lease is due to expire within two years of the current calendar year. The bill would also require the release of a list of addresses of commercial properties and an indicator of whether or not such properties are vacant.

The legislation’s sponsor, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, said she thought it would go a long way to fighting retail blight.

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Peter Stuyvesant Little League wins three championships

The PSLL 10U softball team for eight to 10-year-olds brought home the championship banner for District 23 on Friday, July 5, in addition to the 10U and 11U baseball divisions winning their championships for District 23 earlier this month as well. (Photos courtesy of Benjy Kile)

Three teams in the Peter Stuyvesant Little League took home championship banners for District 23, with teams winning in the 10U baseball, 10U softball and 11U baseball divisions.

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New book explores old gangs of the East Village

By Sabina Mollot

Long before it became the birthplace of punk rock, and later home to a glut of luxury high-rises, the East Village was a stronghold of Italian-American mafia activity. The roughly seven-decade-long era began around 1920, with organized crime activity taking place at local haunts of the day like Luciano’s Palm Casino on East 4th Street as well as the more seemingly innocuous Di Robertis Pasticceria on First Avenue.

The local angle as well as the monopoly on crime in the area during this period – mostly heroin trafficking — was of interest to Thomas F. Comiskey, a Stuyvesant Town native who had a long career as a supervisor and investigator with the New York City Department of Investigations. Following his recent retirement, Comiskey wrote and self-published a nonfiction book on the subject, called The East Village Mafia.

“When I worked for the NYC Department of Investigations, my leisure reading was mob books,” Comiskey explained. “As I read them I noticed that over all the situations and dates and people and places and eras, there was always something inevitably leading to the East Village. It’s been told in a general sense, but I don’t think the importance of the East Village gangs was known.”

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