Disability Pride Parade celebrates five years

Marchers from Achilles International participate in the parade. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Disability Pride Parade celebrated five years this past Sunday, with participants marching from Madison Square to Union Square on Broadway. The parade featured members of the disability community, as well as activists and advocates, marching in costume and decorated wheelchairs.

Jazz pianist Mike LeDonne created Disability Pride Day in 2012 in honor of his daughter, Mary, who has a rare syndrome called Prader-Willi. LeDonne ran Disability Pride NYC as a nonprofit for four years before organizing the first parade on July 12, 2015, the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The parade on Sunday culminated in a festival in Union Square with booths featuring representatives from local non-profits and various city agencies offering services to New Yorkers with disabilities. Representatives from the Department of Transportation were showcasing the agency’s newest program, which is surveying the city’s pedestrian ramps and corners and mid-block crossings and pedestrian islands. The agency is prioritizing the completion of pedestrian ramp installations and upgrades pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Continue reading

Woman stole cash and register from restaurant

Burglary suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for a female burglar who broke into a restaurant in Union Square and stole cash.

On March 30 at about 4:15 a.m., police said the woman got into the basement of Trece, a Mexican restaurant and bar at 53 East 13th Street near Broadway, through an unsecured door. Once inside she took a cash register, which according to police, contained $300.

A worker at the restaurant told Town & Village the actual amount was $1,000, because it also contained envelopes containing employees’ pay.

Continue reading

‘Fiddler’ roles on Broadway for Peter Cooper neighbors

Jeffrey Schecter (Mendel) and Hayley Feinstein (Bielke) in costume backstage at the Broadway Theatre (Photo by Allison Sherry)

Jeffrey Schecter (Mendel) and Hayley Feinstein (Bielke) in costume backstage at the Broadway Theatre (Photo by Allison Sherry)

By Sabina Mollot

Broadway crowd-pleaser “Fiddler on the Roof,” which had a revival just 12 years ago, is once again back on the Great White Way, its latest version already opening to rave reviews.

Part of the new successful effort are two Peter Cooper Village residents with supporting roles, Broadway veteran Jeffrey Schecter (“Guys and Dolls,” “A Chorus Line”) and newcomer, 14-year-old Hayley Feinstein.

Previews have been running since November 18 while the show officially opened on December 20 with eight performances a week.

Despite their busy schedules, both actors recently took the time to chat with Town & Village about the experience of being part of the iconic musical on Jewish culture and cultural shifts.

For Schecter, it was just the end of what had already been a very eventful year. At the start of 2015, he was unemployed. “The future was very uncertain,” he said.

Then, last summer Schecter and his wife Melissa Schwender Schecter, also an actor and dancer, launched a dance and theater studio for kids (inspired by their first child, daughter Elena) called I Can Do That NYC. The couple also celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary and the birth of their son, Mattias earlier that year.

Continue reading

Police Watch: Umbrella ‘assault,’ ‘Muggers’ arrested in multiple incidents

Police arrested a man and a woman for assault and criminal mischief inside Kambi Ramen House at 351 East 14th Street last Thursday at 11:40 p.m. Christine Sanchez and Kiven Torres, both 24, entered the establishment while visibly intoxicated. Sanchez asked for a bathroom and got upset when an employee said that there was no bathroom available. Sanchez and Torres allegedly began to punch and kick the employee, and police said they hit the employee over the head with an umbrella multiple times. The pair also allegedly started to destroy property at the location. Someone else in the retsuarant attempted to stop them and they allegedly pushed him away. Sanchez was additionally charged with harassment and Torres was also charged with disorderly conduct.

Police arrested 43-year-old Miguel Bonilla for robbery at the corner of First Avenue and East 29th Street last Sunday at 2:22 p.m. The victim told police that he was walking to get Chinese food when Bonilla allegedly came up to him and choked him. Police said that Bonilla took the victim’s wallet out of his back pocket and removed $18 in cash, then threw the wallet on the ground and began to run west on East 28th Street until officers caught up with him and he was arrested.

Thirty-six-year-old Michael Stropoli was arrested inside the 13th precinct at 230 East 21st Street last Thursday at 1:55 p.m. for a robbery that took place inside the Duane Reade at 133 Third Avenue on August 23 at 2:50 p.m. Stropoli allegedly removed several Ensure products from the store without permission and when he was approached by store employees, he allegedly said, “I have a wrench and I will use it” and fled the location.
The District Attorney’s office said that he returned to the store on August 29 around the same time and allegedly attempted to conceal several pints of ice cream inside his bag. Police said that at the time, he stated, “If you come near me, I’m going to stab you with a needle,” and he fled the store without paying.
According to the criminal complaint from the District Attorney’s office, Stropoli is a custodian at the building and did not have permission or authority to take the items.

Police arrested 32-year-old Jason Calderon for grand larceny in front of 1141 Broadway last Tuesday at 11:12 a.m. Calderon allegedly walked up behind the victim and took her wallet, then ran away. Police said that the wallet contained the victim’s debit card and one dollar in cash.

Police arrested 42-year-old Brian Slater for weapons possession and menacing inside Xes Lounge at 157 West 24th Street last Monday at 1:22 a.m. Police said that Slater was asked to leave the bar but he allegedly pulled out a knife and threatened to use it against the employee who had asked him to leave. When police arrived, they stopped Slater because he matched the description from the employee, who then pointed him out. Police said that he had a knife in his back pocket.

Police arrested 34-year-old Melania Marable inside the Union Square subway station last Tuesday at 1:55 p.m. Police said that Marable was intentionally damaging a payphone inside the subway station by breaking the receiver against the body of the payphone. Marable also allegedly stiffened her arms and pulled away from the officer to prevent being handcuffed and police said that they used minimum force to place her under arrest. She was charged with resisting arrest and criminal mischief.

Sixty-year-old Victor Quinones was arrested for petit larceny and possession of stolen property inside Tonic East at 411 Third Avenue and East 29th Street last Friday at 2:23 p.m. Police said that Quinones was seen inside the rooftop restaurant coming out from behind the bar while concealing three bottles of liquor in his arms. Quinones then allegedly attempted to leave Tonic without paying for the booze.

Mahamadou Ango, 38, and Steven Barker, 53, were arrested for possession of stolen property outside 125 West 14th Street last Friday at 4:07 p.m. Police said that Ango told them he had bought a cell phone in the Bronx a week or two ago but upon further investigation, it was determined that the phone didn’t belong to him and he didn’t have permission to be in possession of it. Police said that Barker was also in possession of a nother cell phone that didn’t belong to him.

Police arrested 27-year-old Samuel Rothenburg for an unclassified violation and criminal trespass inside the Union Square subway station last Wednesday at 10:35 p.m. Rothenburg was selected at a random bag inspection inside the station and allegedly refused to have his bag inspected. Police said that he was asked to leave the station and refused. He allegedly told officers, “I am not going to leave. You will have to arrest me.”

Jason Egnatowicz, 35, was arrested for sale of a controlled substance at the corner of East 15th Street and Union Square East last Tuesday at 3:25 p.m. Police said that Egnatowicz exchanged an amount of a controlled substance for cash with an undercover detective.

Police arrested three people for the sale of marijuana in front of 11 East 26th Street last Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. Fifty-five-year-old Allan Rodgers, 48-year-old David Wilson and 49-year-old Demetrius Hargrove allegedly exchanged an amount of marijuana for cash with an undercover detective.

Police arrested 22-year-old George Feliciano for grand larceny at the corner of Union Square West and East 14th Street last Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. Police said that Feliciano took the victim’s purse with credit cards, iPad and cell phone. Feliciano allegedly refused to return her cell phone and put it in his pocket. Police said that he forcibly prevented the victim from leaving the location by using physical force, and allegedly telling her, “Don’t make it worse, you know what will happen.” Feliciano was also charged with possession of stolen property, unlawful imprisonment, aggravated harassment and criminal mischief. Police said that Feliciano and the victim were formerly in a relationship.

UPDATED: Cops looking for man who sexually abused woman on subway at 23rd St.

Sex abuse suspect (Photo via NYPD)

Sex abuse suspect (Photo via NYPD)

Police are asking the public’s assistance identifying a man wanted for sexual abuse on the subway at 23rd Street.

On Saturday, August 8, at 6:45 p.m., the victim, a 23-year-old woman, was standing on the north bound platform of the N/R train at the 23rd Street station when the suspect walked up to her, put one arm around her and then took his other hand, put it up her skirt and sexually abused her. The suspect then fled the station.

The suspect is a white or Hispanic man, 35 to 40-years-old, 5 ft. 10 ins. tall and bald.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.


Police have collared a Flatiron man in connection with the incident.

Daniel Galantter, 47, of 118 West 22nd Street, was arrested on Thursday and charged with stalking and sex abuse.

ST Broadway performers launch kids’ theater studio

By Sabina Mollot

A Stuyvesant Town couple who’ve worked professionally as actors and dancers on Broadway and traveling productions have recently branched out to launch a school/studio aimed at teaching theater and dance to kids.

The company, I Can Do That NYC, will officially launch in the fall, but owners Jeffrey Schecter and Melissa Swender-Schecter have already been gauging local interest from parents by offering summer camp intensive workshops. The classes they’ve held so far have been at the Town & Village Synagogue on East 14th Street after the company moved to a space there from a studio in Chelsea.

The school was inspired mainly by Helena, the couple’s three-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

“She loves to sing and dance although she’d rather be teaching the class than listen,” said Schecter. Because of Helena’s interest, her parents had taken her to a few different children’s classes, only to then feel like they could do better, both in lesson content and price.

What’s different about his concept, he explained, is that he works in the industry as do the other teachers he’s already recruited for classes. “The classes are being taught by working actors. We’re in the business. We’re living it. I’m auditioning for shows every week.”

Schecter noted that prior to launching the school, he’d already had some teaching experience. For years, he’d guest taught at numerous workshops, usually speaking about the business end of working on Broadway, and recently, he began volunteering as a jazz dance instructor to seniors at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center. His students, he noted, are “so freakin’ cute” and he hopes to have them perform for neighbors on the Oval at some point.

Continue reading