Stuy Town man robbed by guests

June23 sign

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 24-year-old Stuyvesant Town resident was robbed in his building by a group of seven people he had invited back to his apartment last Saturday at 4:20 a.m.

Police said that the victim met the men in a bar where he had been drinking earlier that night and he invited them back to his apartment in Stuy Town at East 20th and Avenue C. He told police that when he got into the elevator, the men started pulling up their hoods and covering their faces. When they got out of the elevator, they reportedly attacked the victim, forcing him to the ground and removing his wallet before fleeing the building. The victim reported the incident at 4:55 a.m. and no arrests were made at the time of the crime. Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney said at the 13th precinct community council’s meeting this past Tuesday that police were still looking for the suspects.

Police would not release the exact building where the robbery occurred to protect the victim.

Management did not return a request for comment on the incident by Town & Village’s press time.

Timoney said previously that locally thefts in homes were also up as a result of people inviting dates over, only to wake up and realize they’d been stolen from.

UPDATE: StuyTown Property Services responded to the incident on Thursday.

“StuyTown Property Services is aware of the incident and is assisting the NYPD with their investigation,” community affairs manager Marynia Kruk said.

 

Police Watch: Men arrested for Flatiron shooting, Man busted for ‘drugs’ in Stuy Town

THREE ARRESTED IN FLATIRON SHOOTING
Police arrested three men in connection with a shooting in Flatiron in front of 105 West 22nd Street on Sunday at 12:55 a.m. The New York Daily News reported that the incident occurred at a book signing in the Auxiliary Lounge for the self-published erotic novella, “She’s Dickmatized,” by Tania Marie.
Police said that multiple shots were fired into a crowd near the lounge and a man with a gun was seen running into a black Mercedes. Ramel Harkless, 38, allegedly got into the backseat of the vehicle, which police said left the location and ran multiple red lights before abruptly coming to a stop. Police followed the Mercedes and when they stopped the vehicle, the found that Harkless was the only person in the backseat, while 45-year-old Barry Wiles was driving and 43-year-old Joseph Saunders was in the passenger’s seat. Police said they found a gun on the floor of the back passenger’s seat where Harkless had been sitting.
The victim was shot in the abdomen, torso, groin and in the leg. The suspects were arrested in front of 41 East 19th Street. The Daily News identified the victim as Robert Lowman and reported that Harkless and Lowman are both affiliated with the street gang the Bloods.
Harkless, Wiles and Saunders were charged with weapons possession. Wiles was also charged with reckless endangerment and Harkless was additionally charged with assault.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘DRUGS’ IN STUY TOWN
Police arrested 34-year-old Justin Stewart for possession of a controlled substance in front of 321 Avenue C last Thursday at 9:25 a.m. Police said that Stewart was seen holding an unknown controlled substance in plain view on the sidewalk.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULTING CYCLIST
Police arrested 37-year-old Tashi Phuntsok for assault at the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 27th Street last Tuesday at 7:26 p.m. The victim told police that he was riding his bike when Phuntsok allegedly cut him off at the intersection. He and the victim proceeded to get into an argument. Phuntsok allegedly threw the victim to the ground and started kicking and punching him, causing an injury to his head and right hand, although he refused medical assistance at the scene.

Continue reading

Con Ed driver who fatally hit woman from Stuy Town found guilty of careless driving

Driver sues DMV over agency taking too long to restore license

Four days after Stella Huang was hit by a Con Ed truck in 2013, the area at 16th Street and Avenue C is coned off. At that time, a streetlight there was broken. (Photo by Lawrence Scheyer)

Four days after Stella Huang was hit by a Con Ed truck in 2013, the area at 16th Street and Avenue C was coned off. At that time, a streetlight there was broken. (Photo by Lawrence Scheyer)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Con Edison employee who fatally struck an elderly Stuyvesant Town resident on Avenue C at East 16th Street in 2013 had his license revoked this past August as a result of the incident. He’s since filed a lawsuit because he felt that the Department of Motor Vehicles wasn’t processing his application to reinstate his license quickly enough.

Streetsblog NYC reported on Tuesday that the driver, Andrew Franco, was found guilty of careless driving, meaning that 88-year-old Stella Huang likely had the right of way when Franco hit and killed her around 5:15 p.m. on November 27, 2013. The Daily News reported that the decision was only handed down this past August, almost three years after the accident, following multiple hearings and an appeal, and that Franco filed the lawsuit against the DMV last Friday.

Continue reading

Artist looking for ST residents to interview for art/history project

Walis Johnson, a filmmaker, artist and teacher at Parsons School of Design, is looking to interview residents of Stuyvesant Town who have lived in the neighborhood for 30 years or longer. The conversations will aid in her production of “The Red Line Archive,” a mobile art piece aimed at igniting public dialogue about the political, social and personal impacts of the 1938 Red Line Maps. The project will be part of the Art in Odd Places festival that takes place every October along the length of 14th Street.

Redlining refers to a federal map officially drawn in 1935 that selectively denied financing for housing mortgages, insurance and other services in neighborhoods demarcated by red shading on a map. Redlined neighborhoods became zones of disinvestment and urban neglect where services (both financial and human) were systematically denied to people of color and ethnic working class citizens.

For this years’ AiOP festival, themed “Race,” Johnson is working with photographer Murray Cox and NYU professor Aimee vonBokel to add information to the site specific exhibition about the area of 14th Street from First Avenue to Avenue C.

Continue reading

Stuy Town gets city’s first solar-powered bus shelter

Mar24 Solar powered bus shelter

Solar-powered bus shelter at Avenue C and 16th Street (Photo courtesy of DOT)

By Sabina Mollot

The city has installed its first solar-powered bus shelter, with a location outside Stuyvesant Town picked as the place for a pilot program.

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, the project was being funded not by the city but a Paris-based company that runs outdoor advertising campaigns called JCDecaux. If the lighting works out well, the company will also pay for other transitions to solar panel-powered lighting at non-powered shelters throughout the city as part of a franchise agreement.

Currently, JCDecaux is responsible for 3,000 bus shelters throughout the five boroughs as well as 300 newsstands. The company is now in its 10th year of partnership with the city and handles installation and maintenance of street furniture.

Meanwhile, the new lighting outside Stuyvesant Town at the shelter on Avenue C and 16th Street comes two and a half years after an elderly woman was fatally struck nearby by a Con Ed truck. The woman, 88-year-old Stuyvesant Town resident Stella Huang, had attempted to cross the street in the dark.

Continue reading

Two drivers arrested for accidents outside Stuy Town

Feb25 Car accident

The incidents, one in which a car was flipped over, follow another recent arrest for an accident outside of Stuyvesant Town (pictured). (Photo by Steve Kaufman)

 

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested two people this week outside Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village for car crashes caused by alleged drunk drivers, one of which resulted in a car getting flipped over.

Police were responding to the corner of First Avenue and East 20th Street because of a vehicle collision on Friday, February 26 at 4:14 a.m. and Linda Roth, 32, was allegedly behind the wheel of a car with the engine running. She allegedly had bloodshot, watery eyes and a strong odor of alcohol on her breath. Police said that she was unsteady on her feet and had slurred speech.

Upon further investigation, police found that Roth was driving on the First Avenue service road and allegedly jumped the sidewalk, driving into a traffic sign pole and crashing into a concrete flower box. Police said that she submitted to a Breathalyzer at the scene and blew .158. The legal limit for blood alcohol content is .08. Roth was removed to Bellevue Hospital for treatment and for a blood test to determine her blood alcohol level.

Continue reading

A peek at ST’s newest studios

A studio facing First Avenue built out of a former trunk room (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

A studio facing First Avenue built out of a former trunk room (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Since last summer, five new studio apartments have popped up in Stuyvesant Town. At this time, though they’re not yet on the market, they will be soon, having finally completed their transformation from former trunk rooms and other spaces once used for storage.

The rents for the studios, which are bigger than the five studios built last year on Avenue C, haven’t been officially determined yet. A Blackstone rep said that won’t be decided until a city inspection. However, they will be market rate.

CWCapital had declined to comment on the units as they were being built at 250, 270, 280 and 300 First Avenue and 435 East 14th Street. Permits for their being built were approved on June 30.

Continue reading

2015: A look back

A coyote (not the one pictured) was spotted in Stuyvesant Town in January.

A coyote (not the one pictured) was spotted in Stuyvesant Town in January.

By Sabina Mollot

Capped with yet another sale of Stuyvesant Town — this time with the highest price tag ever at $5.45 billion — 2015 was certainly an eventful year for the community.

Town & Village has taken a look back to find the top ten local events of the year.

1. The highly anticipated sale of course was a big one, with the deal being cheered as part of Mayor de Blasio’s campaign platform promise to preserve or build 200,000 units of affordable housing. The sale to new owners The Blackstone Group came as welcome news to many tenants due to its representatives’ willingness to listen to tenant concerns as well as a commitment to preserve 5,000 units of affordable housing. While for others — specifically, tenants in the other 6,200-plus units, the deal simply maintains the status quo of stabilized status with market rate tents. Blackstone has promised additional announcements early in the New Year, which hopefully will include a decision, made in cooperation with the city, of how people can get a lease to the affordable units as they become available.

2. Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, while always known as a bird sanctuary and a habitat for the world’s most well-fed squirrels, also managed to attract the attention of a coyote. The young female coyote, named Stella by Parks reps who rescued her, had been found wandering around the Avenue C side of the property near the Con Ed plant. She was captured by police officers, and then later released by the Parks department into a wooded area in the Bronx.

A Parks official T&V interviewed about the incident said that coyote sightings in the city are becoming more common, and she expected that this trend would only continue. Just a couple of weeks prior to the Stuy Town sighting, another coyote was found in Riverside Park, and in 2011, another coyote had wandered into Tribeca.

Continue reading

Police Watch: Body found near NYU Langone, ‘Mugger’ arrested on East 23rd

BODY FOUND IN STORM DRAIN NEAR NYU LANGONE
This Tuesday around 11:39 a.m., police found an unconscious man inside a storm drain near East 33rd Street and First Avenue. The man was unconscious and unresponsive, police said. EMS soon arrived and pronounced the man deceased at the scene. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing. Police are withholding the man’s name pending proper family notification.

‘MUGGER’ ARRESTED ON EAST 23RD
Police arrested 33-year-old Bryan Fuge for robbery in front of 23 East 23rd Street last Saturday at 9:16 p.m. Police said that Fuge followed a woman along the sidewalk and when she entered a dimly lit area he allegedly charged at her and forcibly snatched her pocketbook, causing the strap to break. Police said that Fuge fled east, which wound up being towards four plainclothes officers.
An officer then identified himself by stating, “Police, don’t move,” and Fuge yelled and allegedly lowered his shoulder, ramming into the officers. Police said that he resisted arrest by shoving, striking and writhing around while maintaining possession of the bag. Police said that Fuge is a suspect in two other robberies in the 13th and 17th precincts and was currently on parole. He was charged with robbery, criminal possession of stolen property and resisting arrest.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ‘SWIPING’ PURSE AT PARK AVE. SOUTH AND EAST 22ND
Police arrested 31-year-old Jenea Osborne at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 22nd Street last Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for grand larceny and possession of stolen property. The victim told police that she was eating a salad with her friend when someone came up to her and told her that he saw her bag get taken. She said that she had an iPad inside her bag. A witness told police that he saw Osborne walk into the store with a man who was behaving in a disorderly manner and he saw Osborne take the victim’s bag. The witness said that the man who was with Osborne left the store and came back briefly to make sure that no one was following her.
Officers later searched the area and put a description on the radio. Two officers were canvassing the uptown 6 train station and stopped Osborne since she fit the description. Police said that prior to the stop, they witnessed Osborne throw the black handbag into the train tracks. The witness made a positive ID of Osborne when she was arrested. The victim told police that she didn’t see her bag get taken but when the bag was recovered she said that it was hers.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘GROPING’ WOMAN ON 4 TRAIN
Police arrested 41-year-old Francisco Garcia at the Union Square subway station for sexual abuse last Friday at 12:18 p.m. Police said that Garcia was on a downtown 4 train, allegedly rubbing and pressing his groin area against the victim’s buttocks and hip multiple times.

Continue reading

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 22

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Sick of Ave. C looking like Swiss cheese

A reader sent this letter to Town & Village last Tuesday about traffic problems during ongoing work along Avenue C. A response from the DOT and Con Ed follows.

Avenue C has been torn up for over three weeks, between at least 20th Street and 14th Street. I assume this is done by the DOT but I’m not certain of it.

In any case how can any responsible agency be permitted to tear up a major access road (this stretch serves as both means of entry and exit for the East River Drive) and leave it in the condition of a veritable mine field? It’s beyond reason. Traffic is slowed to a crawl and vehicles are swerving left and right to avoid major pot holes, exposed sewer covers and gas vents. (On what had been a level street to begin with, I traverse the area daily and there were no issues with this street.) Vehicle and pedestrian safety are severely compromised.

One evening last week, Con Edison employed the use of traffic cones and security guards on both 16th and 14th Streets to secure parking for their employees on the Stuyvesant Town perimeter. I believe this was done due to the congestion caused by no parking on Avenue C. Is this legal? And to top it off, that same night DOT (?) was tearing up the intersection at 14th Street and First Avenue.

What’s going on here? Why is our neighborhood being taxed so severely by poorly coordinated city services and an out of control power company? If street work is necessary, fine. Tear it up as needed but don’t leave it in this condition for weeks (months?) at a time.

Demolition/tear-up should not be permitted unless the repairs are to be made immediately. Is this so contractors can start as many jobs as possible and then get back to them when they see fit? Who is responsible for this? The public is not being well served.

Name withheld, ST

Continue reading

Fire in PCV injures 5

A firefighter gets ready to enter a fourth floor apartment at 601 East 20th Street. Photo via FDNY)

A firefighter gets ready to enter a fourth floor apartment at 601 East 20th Street. (Photo via FDNY)

By Sabina Mollot

An older resident was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a Peter Cooper Village apartment on Friday. The blaze, which the Fire Department got the call about at 5:13 p.m. took 29 minutes to get under control, with 20 units and 78 firefighters at the scene.

The resident, James Masterson, has been treated and released and is now fine, according to a woman who works for the couple as a caretaker. She wasn’t working at the apartment that day but said Masterson and his wife Bernadette were both home at the time the fire broke out.

“He inhaled smoke, but he’s fine now; they’re both fine,” she said.

The address where the fire broke out was on the fourth floor at 601 East 20th Street, which is on Avenue C.

The FDNY said that after the fire, four firefighters were taken to different local hospitals with minor injuries and one civilian was also taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition. The FDNY said it couldn’t confirm that it was Masterson or even the age of the patient.

Continue reading

Fireworks viewing spots, street closures on July 4th

(Photo by Sabina Mollot)

(Photo by Sabina Mollot)

With the July 4th Macy’s fireworks show on the East Side this year, it may be viewed in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn from any area with an unobstructed view of the sky above the East River.

The public viewing sections for Manhattan will be the elevated portions of FDR Drive with the following entry points:

From Houston Street to midtown: Houston Street, 23rd Street, 34th Street and 42nd Street.

From Lower Manhattan: Broad Street ground level, Old Slip upper level, Pearl and Frankfort.

ADA /Special Needs Viewing Area:

FDR Drive southbound lane at 16th Street and Avenue C or 34th Street (top of ramp) and Vietnam Memorial Park

Stuy Town and Waterside alerts:

Waterside Plaza will be holding a party that’s closed to anyone who isn’t a resident or a guest with a wristband. Wristband access only times are 12 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Deadline to register for wristbands is 2 p.m. on July 2.

Additionally, the NYPD will be closing streets to traffic around Stuyvesant Town. CompassRock issued a notice to tenants saying 14th, 20th and 23rd Streets from First Avenue to Avenue C will be closed to vehicular traffic from 6 p.m. to midnight. Peter Cooper Road and Stuy Town’s Loop Roads will also be closed from 6 p.m. to midnight. Avenue C and the FDR Drive will also be closed from 5 p.m. to midnight. During this time, entrances to Stuy Town will be staffed by Public Safety officers so residents will need to have their ID ready. Gates to Peter Cooper entrances will also be closed from 6 p.m. to midnight but Public Safety officers will be on hand to allow residents access. Guests of residents will be asked which residents and apartments they are visiting. Garages will be inaccessible from 5 p.m. to midnight and playgrounds will be closed at 6 p.m.

UPDATE: We didn’t hear from anyone in time to include this in this week’s issue of Town & Village, but Stuyvesant Cove Park will also be closed during the fireworks, according to a Solar 1 staffer, except for a ticketed event held by Zum Schneider at the north end of the park.

Traffic safety improvements underway in Stuyvesant Town

Speed bumps are put into place near the daycare center. (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

Speed bumps are put into place near the daycare center. (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town residents will soon see $100,000 worth of traffic and pedestrian safety improvements made to the neighborhood.

Funds for the project were allocated last week, as part of the city budget, at the request of Council Member Dan Garodnick.

What exact improvements are going to be made has not yet been determined with Garodnick saying he wanted to have the Department of Transportation make its own recommendations. The goal, however is to make the cityscape surrounding the property more child and senior-friendly with smoother curb cuts (the slopes from sidewalks to the street on corners) and other changes aimed at minimizing car and bike accidents.

Increasing crossing times at street lights is a possibility, as are changes to the service roads. Last month, a Town & Village reader asked Garodnick, via a letter to this newspaper, to make the service roads safer. This was after witnessing a pedestrian dart out into one to catch a bus, only to get hit by a car.

“Pedestrians treat the service road as a semi-sidewalk, while drivers drive at full speed,” observed the writer, Joseph Sanderson.

Garodnick said he’s been in touch with Sanderson. “We’re looking at the safety issue on the service road and that could be a part of this potentially,” he said.

He added that he’s also heard from residents that some curb cuts are difficult to manage by people using walkers or pushing strollers.

Meanwhile, other changes aimed at pedestrian safety are already afoot within Stuyvesant Town.

The Council member noted how the recent move of the onsite daycare center from East 14th Street to the old management office building on Avenue C has led to a higher concentration of kids on Avenue C near the southbound entrance to the FDR Drive. Due to concerns over their safety, CompassRock was asked to implement its own safety measures along the Avenue C Loop — and management agreed.

“They responded almost immediately, which we are very grateful for,” said Garodnick.

Improvements include putting two speedbumps along the C Loop, installing “Caution: Children at Play” signage and painting the street outside the center yellow to prevent double parking. The speed bumps were put into place on Tuesday morning, while the painting was already done last Thursday and earlier in the week, Garodnick said he spotted at least one sign.

The improvements inside Stuy Town are being paid for by CompassRock/CWCapital, not the city.

Letters to the Editor, May 28

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

If we knew then what we know now…

To the editor:

There is an absolute absurdity that keeps circulating in the halls of banality. Its primary function is to deflect responsibility for the actions of our nation, our people and our leaders and the press. It resurfaced a few weeks back with Jeb Bush and Mrs. Clinton, and again, recently, in NPR’s Brian Lehrer and All Things Considered, on Sunday, May 24 — but make no mistake, it is not limited to Mrs. Clinton, the Bushes and NPR’s people. So here it is: “If we knew then, what we know now…” (Finish with: “would we have invaded Iraq?”)

It is an American tragedy that the question was formed. It shows an induced loss of memory among those of us who are over 60, and ignorance on the part of everyone else.

So let’s go back to the Eisenhower years, specifically, May 1, 1960. That was the day one of our U2s was shot down twelve miles above the Soviet Union — we were stunned that the Russians had that ability. Recall its pilot, Gary Powers… put on display by Khrushchev to the utter embarrassment of President Eisenhower who could no longer deny our flying over Russia. I leave it to the reader to figure out what one of our high altitude U2 planes (hint) with cameras was doing over Russia. (End episode I.)

Let’s go forward to October, 1962. President Kennedy is on television. He is explaining the identity of objects and the significance of shadows in an 8 x10 photo of the ground in Cuba. The photo was taken by our aircraft flying over Cuba. Kennedy was about to take serious action and he wanted the American people to know why he was going to take the actions he was about to take: blockade Cuba and demand the removal of Russian missiles. (End episode II.)

Suffice now to recall that during the 50 years of the cold-war, we and the Soviets developed sophisticated technology with which to photograph each other’s country. On CBS news, Walter Cronkite described our technological capacity to photograph from space a pack of cigarettes in a man’s shirt.
The great advance in our ability to photograph the ground from space came with satellites whose speed would keep them over the same spot on Earth. We and the Russians knew every square inch of everything that was the other’s.

Let’s move ahead to 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. George Bush is President of The United States.

Over the years, our media has served the wrong sets of questions. Rather than demanding: “Given our technology, how could we not have known about WMD in Iraq?” it insisted that while we know now, maybe, just maybe, back then maybe we did not know. But what we know now, we don’t know only now. We are not in a privileged position now compared to back then.

Sending our troops running around in the desert on wild goose chases established nothing new. What we know now is precisely what we knew back then.

John M. Giannone, ST

Continue reading

Rents lowered on ST studio apartments

Bedroom alcove of studio apartment (photo from pcvstliving.com)

Bedroom alcove of studio apartment (photo from pcvstliving.com)

By Sabina Mollot

Last month, Town & Village reported that Stuyvesant Town’s newly built studio apartments had finally hit the market. There were five to choose from with prices for the units—none any larger than 500 square feet — ranging from $3,162 to $3,420.

However, the five units are still available, according to the property’s official website, and at a few hundred dollars less than what they were originally listed for.

As of Martin Luther King Day, the units were available at rents listed as “starting at” $2,640 for a 393-foot unit, $2,730 for a 465-foot unit, $2,750 for both of two 500-foot units and the highest priced pick, $,2950 for a different 465-square foot unit. The apartments on Avenue C all feature platinum upgrade finishes and all except one include in-wall (under window) air conditioning. It wasn’t clear from the listings, which units, if any have terraces.

The listings did note, however, that the prices include “all incentives and special offers.”

Like the rest of the apartments in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, they are rent-stabilized at least until the property’s J-51 tax program expires.

In September, Town & Village first reported on the soon-to-come studios, a first for the complex, along with several terraces (another first) to be included in a total of 11 new apartments. The apartments are in the building that formerly housed the management office.

The date of the apartments’ availability has also been postponed by a couple of weeks to February 1.

A spokesperson for CWCapital did not respond to a request for comment on the reason for the price change.