Police Watch: Senior arrested for ‘extortion,’ Man busted for Ainsworth burglary

SENIOR CHARGED WITH HOLDING PHONE FOR RANSOM NEAR STUY TOWN
Police arrested 71-year-old El Shaday Yova for alleged grand larceny by extortion at the corner of Avenue C and East 20th Street on Tuesday, August 14 at 5:53 p.m. The victim told police that he left his phone in a taxi and when he called his number, Yova allegedly answered and said that he wanted a reward for finding the phone. Police said that Yova agreed to meet the victim in front of 321 Avenue C to claim a reward, and prior to getting arrested, the victim said that Yova refused to give him his cell phone back until he had the money. Yova was also charged with possession of stolen property.

SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR AINSWORTH BURGLARY
Police arrested a second suspect in connection with an alleged burglary at the Ainsworth at 111 East 18th Street that took place in July. Police arrested 26-year-old Hnsel Devron for the burglary on Monday, August 13 at 3:30 p.m. inside the 13th Precinct.

Police said that Devron and one other person who wasn’t arrested pried open a side door at the bar and entered the building without permission on July 12 around 9 p.m. They reportedly walked out of the bar with two bags containing property. Police did not have further information about what property was taken. The bar was reportedly closed to the public but still contained several liquor bottles. Police also said that technicians were able to lift fingerprints from the door and matched them to Devron.

Town & Village previously reported that 34-year-old Hector Rosario was arrested for the burglary at the time of the incident. Rosario was allegedly acting as the lookout while Devron and a third suspect reportedly broke into the bar. Police caught Rosario three blocks away at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street and charged him with possession of stolen property.

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Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood event to return on September 26

Paul & Jimmy’s, pictured at Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood in 2013, is one of 20 participating restaurants this year. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Paul & Jimmy’s, pictured at Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood in 2013, is one of 20 participating restaurants this year. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood, an annual food festival/fundraiser organized by the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, is returning this year on September 26.

This is only the third time the event’s been held, but it’s already become a yearly event due to popular demand of both local foodies and neighborhood restaurants.

Ironically, when first presented with the idea for a food festival by a group member, Alan Krevis, president of the GNA, was against it, thinking it would be too big for the organization to pull off.

On the decision to go for it and then keep doing it, Krevis said, “Truthfully the neighbors like it. The restaurants like it. The restaurants would not come back if they didn’t feel it helped their business. And that’s what it’s about. Promoting our local businesses, promoting the GNA and our love of the neighborhood.”

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Crowds head out for Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood

Farm 2 Me

Farm 2 Me at Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood

By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, Gramercy residents and foodies got to sample dishes from over 20 local restaurants, which were all participating in the second Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood event.

The outdoor food tasting event and fundraiser for the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates took place along one block on Irving Place with plenty of foot traffic despite some rain later on.

Tickets ranged from $30-$80 in price with the proceeds going to two local schools: PS 40 and School of the Future.

Terry Dougherty, a longtime Gramercy resident, was one of those who’d gotten a ticket.

“It seemed successful last year and it’s something I look forward to,” he said. “I enjoy all kinds of things that promote businesses.”

Another guest was Larry Oberfeld, who lives on the Upper East Side.

“It’s a nice way to sample all the different restaurants in the neighborhood,” said Oberfeld. “It’s a different thing to do when the weather’s nice.”

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Gramercy food tasting festival to return

Paella is served at the Casa Mono table at the 2013 Taste of Gramercy event. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Paella is served at the Casa Mono table at the 2013 Taste of Gramercy event. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood, a food festival and fundraiser that debuted last year by the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates (GNA), will soon return for a second helping on Irving Place.

The event, which was attended by over 400 people last year and had 20 restaurants participating, will be held this year on Saturday, September 13 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. This time, there are 22 restaurants that will be offering tastings of their signature dishes, including the new Indian restaurant A Spice Lane and Almayass, a Lebanese restaurant. Also involved for the first time is Farm to Me, an organization that distributes farm products to retailers and consumers. The name, too, is new. Originally, the event was just called Taste of Gramercy.

Like last year, Taste will take up one block, Irving Place between 17th and 18th Streets. How much the event costs depends on how much attendees want to eat. A $30 ticket will buy tastings from six booths. (This is the early bird price through August, though. Tickets go up to $40 in September and $50 on the day of. An $80 ticket on the day of the event entitles an attendee to have a tasting from every restaurant. Proceeds from the event will then go towards expanding the healthy lunch options at two neighborhood schools: PS40 and School of the Future. Any unserved food will be brought to the Bowery Mission.

Alan Krevis, president of the GNA, said he’s hoping that the event will appeal to foodies around the city as well as people living within walking distance. “I think there are already more than just local people,” he said. “What we saw a lot of last year, because it was such a beautiful day, people would just happen to walk by and say, ‘This looks great.’ They were primarily neighborhood people, but we also saw a lot of people staying at the W.”

Gramercy Neighborhood Associates volunteers at last year’s event including Gary Horowitz, GNA President Alan Krevis and Antonella Napolitano

Gramercy Neighborhood Associates volunteers at last year’s event including Gary Horowitz, GNA President Alan Krevis and Antonella Napolitano

The tasting menus have not yet been decided on by the participants, but last year popular dishes included the meatballs, gnocci and eggplant rollatini from Paul & Jimmy’s, tuna tartare cannoli from The Stand and shrimp paella from Casa Mono, all of whom are returning in September. A few other participants are Ichabod’s, Giorgio’s of Gramercy, Ainsworth Park, Jack’s Sliders and Sushi and ExKI NYC. Water will be provided by sponsors Watermelon Water, Fogo and Trader Joe’s and coffee will flow at the 71 Irving stand.

What there won’t be are alcoholic beverages, with GNA board member Ellaine Day explaining the permits were just too difficult to get.

“That’s a nightmare of permits,” she said. “It’s very expensive to sell alcohol.”

“We don’t want to grow too fast,” Krevis added. “That’s why we stayed at the one street level, because we want to keep a handle on it.”

Meanwhile, Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood almost didn’t happen at all. Last year, when a GNA board member first suggested the idea to Krevis, he initially shrugged it off, thinking it would be way too big for a small organization like his to handle. “Honestly, it is a lot of hours for us to put in,” he said, “so we’re just focused on this event right now.”

As a result, another fall event the GNA is known for putting on each year, the Canine Comedy Parade, has been put on hiatus. “It needed a rest,” said Krevis. Instead, the GNA will be organizing an event with Baruch High School and College in October.

For tickets to Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood, visit gnaonline.org.