Mayor provides updates about coronavirus at Bellevue

Mayor Bill de Blasio hands out fliers regarding COVID-19 preparedness in Union Square last Monday. (Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Mayor Bill de Blasio and health officials provided updates about the city’s response and approach to the coronavirus at Bellevue Hospital on Tuesday, with the mayor noting that the city is working to keep the public informed but emphasizing that information has been changing rapidly.

“I think we can all say with coronavirus we have rarely seen a situation that started with people not even understanding the disease to begin with because it was brand new – that’s been the whole international community, the medical community,” de Blasio said. “We’ve all had to learn by doing and our understanding of the best approaches keeps evolving, so you will hear change because the information is changing. But we are still in the middle of a fight right now.”

The mayor also emphasized that while the government is working to protect New Yorkers and prevent the spread of the virus, residents can help with their own actions.

“Everyone has to participate from those basic things, washing your hands, hand sanitizer, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze onto the kinds of decisions we make in our life, starting with being very sensitive to the vulnerable people,” he said. “We have seen this over and over again. It’s very consistent all over the world.”

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Man’s skull fractured in New Year’s Day assault

The New York City Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating these unidentified men who are wanted in connection to an assault that occurred in the East Village just after New Year’s.

It was reported to the police that on January 1 around 4 a.m., a 25-year-old male victim was assaulted by three unidentified males near East 9th Street and Avenue A. The victim was removed to Bellevue Hospital with a fractured skull and broken nose.

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of these men 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 CrimeStoppers website or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

All calls are strictly confidential.

Permits filed for new tower at life sciences facility

ARE presented a 3D model of the new tower at a Community Board 6 meeting last fall. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Permits were filed last Friday for a 21-story building on East 30th Street between First Avenue and the FDR that will be the third stage of development for the Alexandria Center for Life Science campus that is just south of Bellevue Hospital.

New York Health + Hospitals filed the application because the hospital system leases the land to Alexandria Real Estate and filed the permits on behalf of their tenant.

The permits filed with the Department of Buildings on January 10 indicate that the proposed development is expected to be 384 feet tall and 587,137 square feet, with 417,734 allocated for commercial space.

A representative from the city’s Economic Development Corporation confirmed that the building will be the North Tower of the current Alexandria campus and although the application was filed for 500 East 30th Street, the building will most likely have an odd-numbered address on East 29th Street. EDC also noted that all of the commercial space will be wet-lab capable and there will be a small retail component on the ground level facing south.

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Opinion: Turning over a new leaf at Bellevue Park South

Bellevue South Park (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Assemblymember Harvey Epstein

For almost four decades, Bellevue South Park has provided Kips Bay residents a much-needed oasis for recreation and relaxation in an area otherwise starved for green space. Unfortunately, in recent years, the park has become a hotspot for illegal activity that includes drinking and drug use. These behaviors make the park unwelcome and unsafe for the families in the neighborhood. We must address these problems as a community and make the park a safe and enjoyable place for all.

Bellevue Hospital, which operates over 300 psychiatric beds, and the 850-bed 30th Street Men’s Shelter are just steps away from the park, making it a natural hang out spot for homeless individuals as well as those with mental health issues. Often these groups overlap, creating even greater challenges with providing services. Further complicating the situation is the nearby The Children’s Center, whose clients are city’s most vulnerable children waiting to be placed with a foster family. Teens in the facility face incredible emotional stress and unfortunately have a history of being involved in violent incidents around the neighborhood.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for choking ex, ‘Drunk’ driver busted after crash

MAN ARRESTED FOR CHOKING EX
Police arrested 24-year-old Eduardo Huerta for two assaults that took place on Tuesday, July 2 around 7 p.m. in Union Square Park. Huerta allegedly choked his ex-girlfriend with the strap of her bag until it broke, also punching her and pushing her to the ground, causing bruising on her elbows.

Police said that Huerta punched another victim multiple times, causing bleeding and bruising. It was not clear how Huerta knew the second victim.

Huerta was arrested inside the 13th precinct on Thursday, July 11 at 8 a.m. and was charged with assault, obstruction of breath and aggravated harassment.

‘DRUNK’ DRIVER BUSTED AFTER CRASH
Police arrested 25-year-old Victor Osorio for alleged drunk driving at the corner of Third Avenue and East 22nd Street on Saturday, July 13 at 5:05 a.m. A witness told police that she heard a loud bang and saw Osorio’s parked vehicle in the intersection. She said that she saw Osorio exit the vehicle and flee the scene on foot, heading east on East 22nd Street. Police said that the keys were in the ignition and the car was rendered inoperable due to its condition. Officers who were nearby also heard the bang that the witness heard and approached Osorio to detain him. When they approached him, they noticed that he had a flushed face and bloodshot eyes, and was swaying on the scene with a slight odor of alcohol coming from his person.

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Police Watch: Man charged with office thefts, Men accused of CVS robbery

MAN CHARGED WITH FLATIRON OFFICE THEFTS
Police arrested 28-year-old Amir Johnson on Wednesday, May 1 at 6 p.m. for multiple alleged thefts from various office buildings in Flatiron, including from 28 West 25th Street and 151 West 26th Street.

Police said that Johnson looted eight different locations since the beginning of this year. Johnson was caught after he allegedly stole a woman’s laptop and cell phone from an office inside the West 26th Street building between 4 and 4:30 p.m. on the day he was arrested.

The victim told police that she had left her cell phone and laptop on a bench in a hallway to use the bathroom and when she returned, both were gone. She said that she noticed an unknown man in the hallway and asked him if he had seen a laptop and cell phone and he said no.

When the victim asked a co-worker if he had seen her laptop, the coworker said he had seen an unknown man with a laptop and described the man that the victim had first asked about the phone and laptop.

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Man charged with shooting guard at Target

Kips Bay Court (Photo via Google Maps)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 25-year-old Christian Vargas after he allegedly shot a security guard in Kips Bay and later returned to the scene of the crime.

Police said that shortly after 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, Vargas kicked and attempted to pry open the front door entrance of a Target store that is under construction in Kips Bay Court at 520 Second Avenue where the victim was stationed.

Vargas allegedly spat on the guard and began grappling with him and in the course of the struggle, the victim’s 9mm pistol fell to the ground. Vargas allegedly grabbed the gun and shot at the guard, hitting him three times.

According to the New York Post, Vargas was arrested at the scene later that morning because he had dropped his wallet and keys during the incident and returned to retrieve them around 7 a.m.

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Driver injured after losing control of cab in Stuyvesant Town

The damaged taxi was moved onto the 14th Street Loop Road. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

A cab driver was injured after losing control of her vehicle in Stuyvesant Town on Tuesday.

The cab ended up on the lawn outside 521 East 14th Street after it took down about two car lengths of the chicken wire fence along the grass outside the building.

The driver was taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition after the accident was reported at 11:30 a.m., according to the FDNY. The department didn’t have details on the nature of the victim’s injuries.

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Police Watch: Man arrested after fatal car wreck, Teens assault officer at ACS

MAN ARRESTED AT BELLEVUE AFTER FATAL CAR WRECK
Police arrested 37-year-old Sherman Harrison for alleged manslaughter inside Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Saturday after police said that he attempted to flee the scene of a fatal car accident earlier that day.

Police brought Harrison to the hospital after an accident that took place on Saturday, December 29 at 7:23 a.m. at the corner of West and Laight Street in Tribeca. An investigation found that he allegedly attempted to walk away from a car crash in which another driver was killed. Police said that Harrison was driving when he lost control and slammed into another car, causing a crash that left the other driver dead. Responding officers also allegedly recovered a .40 caliber magazine in plain sight inside the car. Harrison was charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

TEENS ASSAULT OFFICER IN BRAWL AT ACS
Police arrested three teenagers for assault of a peace officer inside the ACS facility at 492 First Avenue on Saturday, December 29 at 2 a.m. Police said that the teens were kicking and banging on the building’s door, so an ACS sergeant tried to escort the teens out of the building when they reportedly became physically aggressive. The sergeant reportedly tried to restrain the teens when a brawl broke out and he was punched and kicked in the head by all three of the teenagers. The sergeant received a bruise on his head as a result of the assault.

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Bellevue Hospital expands primary care

Bellevue CEO William Hicks; Dr. Andrew Wallach, clinical director of ambulatory care and the clinical chief of primary care at Bellevue; and other physicians at the ribbon cutting for the newly expanded primary care center (Photo courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue Hospital)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Bellevue Hospital has announced that it is expanding adult primary care services in a newly-repurposed space, with the goal of having patients be able to get treatment for different issues in one location.

The hospital’s clinic, which had already been offering some primary care services on the ambulatory care building’s second floor, has expanded to add 12 patient exams rooms and increased the available space by 2,200 square feet for a total of 13,300 square feet. Bellevue CEO William Hicks said that the clinic was able to take over space that was previously occupied by the hospital’s World Trade Center health program, which has relocated to the hospital building of Bellevue.

Dr. Ted Long, who is the vice president of ambulatory care at Bellevue, said that the new space, as well as new processes in place at the clinic, will reduce wait times for patients looking to make an appointment. The average time for new patient appointments has already been reduced to 14 days from 40.

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Woman shot man on E. 27th St.: Cops

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 36-year-old woman for allegedly attempting to kill a man in Kips Bay last weekend, injuring two people.

Shateka Whitfield allegedly fired a handgun at two people in front of 207 East 27th Street near Third Avenue on Friday, August 31 at 11:15 p.m. Police said that Whitfield shot a man in the chest, as well as a boy under the age of 17, who police said was not the intended target. One of the bullets reportedly grazed the boy’s knee, causing a minor injury.

Police said that the young victim whose knee was grazed by a bullet was taken to Bellevue Hospital but FDNY had no further information about the condition of either victim.

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Three people reported missing over the weekend

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding three people who were reported missing over the weekend.

Virginia Proto, 80, who lives in the East Village at 94 East 1st Street, was last seen on Saturday at 12:15 p.n. leaving a relative’s house at 308 Avenue U in Brooklyn. She is 5’5” tall, 130 pounds, with a light complexion, long red hair and brown eyes. She is believed to have an ID holder around her neck.

Paul Greenwald, 70, was last seen leaving Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Saturday at 2 p.m. Greenwald, who is homeless, has blue eyes, gray hair, is approximately 6’0” tall, approximately 200 lbs. He was last wearing a red shirt, black pants, black sandals and white socks, with glasses on his forehead.

Nurys Herrand, 49, was last seen at her home at 617 East 9th Street, on Wednesday, August 8. She is white Hispanic, 5’03,” and 185 lbs. She was wearing a floral-print dress and black flipflops.

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Pols, Bellevue doctors push for speed camera legislation

Aug9 speed cameras Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman blamed his own chamber for the camera shutoffs. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Surgeons and local elected officials gathered at Bellevue Hospital last Thursday, urging the State Senate to pass legislation that would preserve speed cameras around schools.

Speed cameras in 120 school zones lost their ability to issue speeding violations last month because the State Senate did not extend the program by the July 25th deadline. Advocates at Bellevue were pushing Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to call a special session so Senators could vote on legislation that has already passed in the Assembly, where it was sponsored by Assemblymember Deborah Glick.

Glick’s bill in the Assembly allows for speed cameras in 50 additional school zones a year for the next three years and extends the program through 2022. Democrats had originally proposed expanding the program to 750 school zones but said they reduced the number to appease Republicans.

“We reduced the number of cameras and reduced the radius the cameras cover,” Glick said. “We added signage so people know that there are cameras. We’ve given so much deference to speeders. We could give at least a modicum of the same concern for school children.”

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Police Watch: ACS teen charged with robbery, Suspect caught in cell phone snatching

ACS TEEN CHARGED WITH ROBBERY
Police arrested 18-year-old Rayshawn Weir for an alleged robbery inside the Administration for Children’s Services facility at 492 First Avenue on Wednesday, June 20 at 9:20 p.m. Police said that earlier that day, Weir snatched a man’s cell phone at East 20th Street and Second Avenue and physically shoved him. The victim, a man in his 30s, was not seriously injured and police caught up with Weir at the facility, where he is a resident.

SUSPECT CAUGHT IN CELL PHONE SNATCHING
Police arrested 20-year-old Josiah Butts for alleged grand larceny and theft in front of 37 West 23rd Street on Monday, June 18 at 12:43 p.m. Police said that Butts grabbed the victim’s cell phone out of her hands while she was standing on the sidewalk. Police searched the area around the southeast corner of West 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue immediately after the incident and the victim positively identified Butts as the person who had taken her cell phone.

STORE EMPLOYEE ACCUSED OF STEALING LAPTOPS
Police arrested a 36-year-old man for alleged grand larceny and possession of stolen property on Tuesday, June 19 at 3:18 p.m. Police said that Shannon Jex stole laptops from Mike’s Tech Shop at 120 West 20th Street on March 2 and June 16. Jex reportedly stole 12 laptops in March and allegedly sold them on Craigslist and police said that Jex also stole a Macbook Pro from the store in June. He was also allegedly in possession of small baggies of alleged cocaine when he was arrested and was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

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Police Watch: Man charged with groping woman, punching her boyfriend

MAN CHARGED WITH GROPING WOMAN, PUNCHING HER BOYFRIEND
Police arrested 24-year-old Thomas Dardia for alleged assault and sexual abuse in front of 55 West 21st Street on Sunday, May 6 at 12:27 a.m. The victim told police that Dardia grabbed her crotch from behind outside her pants, then allegedly punched her in the face. Dardia was charged with an additional assault after he allegedly punched the victim’s boyfriend, causing an abrasion under his right eye.

TEEN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT ON THIRD AVENUE
Police arrested a teenager for assaulting a female victim in front of the Gem Saloon at 375 Third Avenue on Monday, April 30 at 5:44 p.m. Police said that four suspects punched and kicked the victim, causing pain and swelling to her face and abdomen, as well as bleeding to her nose. Police searched the area and one suspect was arrested, but no further information was available about the other three.

MAN ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING WOMAN ON 25TH STREET
Police arrested 29-year-old Tyrel Henderson for an alleged assault in front of 125 West 25th Street on Tuesday, May 1 at 8:52 a.m. The victim told police that she was walking to work when she crossed paths with Henderson, who allegedly punched her under her chin, causing her to drop her coffee and fall out the ground. The victim said that Henderson then walked away, and told police that she had substantial pain under her chin and on her buttocks from falling to the ground.
Police said that while reviewing surveillance video, Henderson could also be seen cutting a curtain at the location with an unknown object, walking away and returning a few minutes later and cutting a second curtain. Henderson was also charged with criminal mischief.

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