First new park for Chelsea in 40 years opens

The new park was constructed on a lot formerly occupied by a sanitation garage. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined State Senator Brad Hoylman along with other local elected officials, community board members, park advocates and neighborhood residents for the ribbon cutting on a new park on West 20th Street at the end of July.

The quarter-acre park between Sixth and Seventh Avenues was built after the former Sanitation facility on the lot was demolished by the Department of Design and Construction.

Local elected officials and community residents had been working to open the park for almost 10 years, since the space became available after the city was no longer using the Sanitation Garage on the lot.

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Men wanted for robbery in Chelsea

Robbery suspects

The New York City Police Department is asking the public’s assistance identifying the two unknown men connection to a robbery that occurred in Chelsea at the end of last month.

It was reported to police that on Sunday, August 25 at 10:50 p.m. opposite 101 West 15th Street, a 21-year-old man was walking at the location when two unknown men approached him and began to punch and kick the victim in his head and body. One of the suspects then removed the victim’s wrist watch and they both fled on foot west bound on 15th Street. EMS responded and transported the victim to Lenox Health Hospital for facial fractures, pain and swelling about to his face. Police said that the value of the watch is estimated at $13,000.

The two individuals are described as Hispanic men, 20-30 years of age. They were both last seen wearing dark clothing.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident 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 at nypdcrimestoppers.com or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

All calls are strictly confidential.

Homeless man accused of smashing over 40 WiFi kiosks in Manhattan

Juan Rodriguez was arrested in connection with the incidents.

By Sabina Mollot

Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for a week-long LinkNYC kiosk smashing spree in different neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Juan Rodriguez, 41, who’d been staying at the East 30th Street men’s shelter, was picked up by police in front of 230 East 21st Street at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

From April 16-23, a man, who was seen on surveillance video, smashed 42 Wi-Fi hubs with a brick or other blunt objects in Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Flatiron and in midtown.

Rodriguez has been arrested a number of times since 2006, mostly for alleged marijuana possession and criminal mischief, police said.

Water main break disrupts L train service

Feb26 L Train

By Sabina Mollot

A water main break in Chelsea caused L train service to be disrupted on Wednesday morning as crews worked to stop the flooding.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the 20-inch pipe located at Seventh Avenue between 14th and 15th Street burst at around 5:35 a.m. The water was later shut off though, stopping the leak, though not before some flooding in the subway. As of 9:30 a.m., crews were still working to excavate the roadway and repair the main though 14th Street was reopened to traffic.

As of 9:15 a.m., there was still no L train service between Union Square and Eighth Avenue, though otherwise L trains were still running every six minutes, the MTA said.

Still, the agency warned, “Expect delays in both directions” and suggested taking the M14 bus instead.

On its website, the MTA said water had stopped flowing into the tunnel, and crews were still busy clearing water and debris, and inspecting all affected switch and signal equipment. “We are working hard to restore full service by the afternoon rush,” the agency said.

L train updates have been posted online.

Update at 4:30 p.m.: A spokesperson for the DEP says a new valve has been installed and water service restored to 15th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.  Work continues to repair the main and restore water service to a building on corner of 14th Street and 7th Avenue, which is home to about 450 people. Work was still ongoing to resurface western lanes of Seventh Avenue though they were expected to reopen within the hour.

Burglar takes accessories, electronics

Burglary suspect

Police are looking for a man who burglarized an apartment in Chelsea on Tuesday, October 30 at 11 a.m.

The man got into the apartment, on West 21st Street and Sixth Avenue, through an unlocked door, and once inside, swiped watches, headphones, earphones, sunglasses, a laptop, a wallet and a backpack. The burglar then fled the building, heading north on Sixth Avenue.

The suspect is a light-skinned man with glasses, and was last seen wearing a black knit cap, a black jacket, blue jeans and black boots.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call 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 at nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Man charged with rape in Chelsea garage

Garage at 133 West 22nd Street

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a man for allegedly raping a woman in a parking garage in Chelsea on West 22nd Street after she asked him for directions.

The victim told police that she was going to meet up with a friend on Thursday, July 12 around 1:30 a.m. but wasn’t sure what the exact address was, so she asked for directions from 27-year-old Tobey McDonald, who was standing in front of the parking garage at 133 West 22nd Street.

He told her that he wasn’t sure where the location was either, but said that his phone was charging in an office inside the garage and he could look it up for her.

The victim said that she followed him into the office in the garage, where McDonald allegedly pulled out his penis and asked the victim for oral sex.

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Police Watch: East Village groper wanted, Man arrested for ‘stolen’ debit cards

Sex abuse suspect

COPS ON LOOKOUT FOR EAST VILLAGE GROPER
Cops are looking for a man who forcibly groped a woman through her clothing in the East Village.
On Friday, May 11 at 11 p.m., the victim said he grabbed her in front of 162 Second Avenue between East 10th and 11th Streets. He then snatched a wallet from another victim’s hand while running off. Police didn’t give a description of the suspect but a fuzzy surveillance photo shows a thin, dark haired man. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

MAN ALLEGEDLY STOLE DEBIT CARDS
Police arrested 25-year-old Shaquille Urgent for an alleged grand larceny at the corner of Second Avenue and East 26th Street on Sunday, May 27 at 4:29 a.m. The victim told police that Urgent asked the victim to come to a party but said that he needed to see the victim’s wallet to make sure that he wasn’t a police officer. The victim gave his wallet to another suspect, who took the debit cards out of his wallet and both men allegedly walked away without returning the cards. The victim said that he then followed the suspects for several blocks asking for his property back, at which point the unknown suspect fled in a taxi, but police were able to arrest Urgent.

BRC RESIDENT CHARGED WITH FOR SEX ABUSE IN CHINATOWN
Police arrested 30-year-old Jahi Walker for alleged sexual abuse inside the Bowery Resident’s Committee shelter at 127 West 25th Street on Wednesday, May 23 at 8 a.m. Police said that on Thursday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m., the victim was walking to work in Chinatown when Walker allegedly grabbed and squeezed the victim’s buttocks, then reportedly reached under the victim’s skirt and touched her over her underwear. After the victim pushed Walker away, she took a photo of him using her cell phone, leading to his identification.

MAN ACCUSED OF MENACING IN CHELSEA
Police arrested 37-year-old Kariyn Jackson for alleged menacing at the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 27th Street on Tuesday, May 22 at 12:53 a.m. Police said that Jackson pulled out a knife in front of an employee at a nearby store. Jackson allegedly fled the store but police stopped him on West 25th Street where he was searched and officers allegedly recovered credit cards and MetroCards that didn’t belong to him. Police said that a knife was recovered from in front of 245 West 25th Street. He was also charged with possession of stolen property and weapons possession.

MEN ALLEGEDLY FOUND WITH FORGED CREDIT CARDS AT STARBUCKS
Police arrested 20-year-old Cesar Pritchard and 20-year-old Tyrell Cohen for forgery inside the Starbucks at 14 West 23rd Street on Friday, May 25 at 4:18 p.m. Police said that Pritchard was attempting to use a forged credit card at multiple locations and when he was searched, he was allegedly in possession of additional forged cards, a small bag of alleged marijuana and an allegedly fraudulent Michigan driver’s license. Police said that Cohen was in possession of six fraudulent credit cards and Pritchard was also charged with forgery and possession of marijuana.

SUSPECT ARRESTED IN UNION SQUARE FOR ALLEGED DOWNTOWN ROBBERY
Police arrested 27-year-old Waleek Watford for a previous alleged robbery at the corner of Union Square West and East 14th Street on Friday, May 25 at 1:30 p.m. Police said that Watford and 23-year-old Senee Roldan, who was arrested in connection with the alleged robbery on May 17, took the victim’s backpack from the ground inside the Fulton Street subway station in the Financial District and allegedly threatened her if she went to the police about the incident.

MAN CHARGED WITH PAWNING FRIEND’S BIKE
Police arrested 31-year-old Robert Bazemore for petit larceny in front of 101 East 14th Street on Friday, May 25 at 4 p.m. Police said that Bazemore and the victim were friends and Bazemore borrowed the victim’s bike but never returned it. Bazemore allegedly pawned the bicycle at a nearby pawn shop.

Office cleaner charged with burglarizing client’s office

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A cleaning company employee has been arrested for allegedly burglarizing an office he had access to through his job, police said. Christian Holmes, 25, was arrested on Tuesday, February 27 for reportedly stealing laptops from an office at 122 West 26th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues last December.

Police said that video surveillance showed two individuals wearing hoods, masks and gloves entering the lobby of the building at 3 a.m. on December 12, 2017 using an access key card and allegedly entered the offices of Skipper, a company on the 11th floor of the building, using an office key. When the two individuals got back on the elevator on the 11th floor at 4:13 a.m., they were allegedly carrying full bags that were previously empty.

The DA’s office said that the face of the individual who used the elevator access card and key was partially visible on the surveillance video when the two were getting into the elevator and another employee for the cleaning company identified the person as Holmes.

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Elderly woman from Chelsea reported missing

Mar125 silver alert

Annabelle Davis

Police issued a “silver alert” Thursday morning for Annabelle Davis, a missing 88-year-old woman from West 22nd Street and Ninth Avenue. The Chelsea senior has Alzheimer’s and dementia and may be in need of medical attention.

She is described as black, 5’5″ tall and 120 lbs. She was last seen wearing a grey jacket, white knit cap and grey sneakers at her home at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Anyone who sees her is asked to call 911.

Bowie biopic recalls singer’s final five years

Nov9 DOC NYC DAVID-BOWIE

The film’s U.S. premiere is on November 10 at the SVA Theatre.

By Wendy Moscow

 

One of the most haunting images I’ve ever seen in a music video is David Bowie lying in a hospital bed, his eyes, swathed in surgical gauze, replaced by buttons. His arms rise upward, as if, Peter Pan-like, he could fly toward some Neverland in defiance of impending mortality. The song is called “Lazarus.” Bowie died on January 10th, 2016, two days after the video’s release.

Director Francis Whatley has crafted a remarkable documentary that celebrates the last five years of this electrifying singer-songwriter-actor’s career, during which some of his most brilliant work was produced.

Intercutting exhilarating concert footage from about a decade before with interviews with the musicians and other creative artists who collaborated with Bowie on his last two albums and a musical theater production (also called “Lazarus”), Whatley allows the viewer to better understand what drove this enigmatic and sometimes elusive icon.

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Hoylman takes aim at ‘high rent blight’

Various empty storefronts in State Senator Brad Hoylman’s District, the subject of his recent study, “Bleaker on Bleecker” (Photo collage courtesy of Brad Hoylman)

By Sabina Mollot

State Senator Brad Hoylman, whose district includes Stuyvesant Town, Gramercy, Chelsea and Greenwich Village, recently conducted a study that found a high percentage of vacant storefronts in the district, with some retail corridors about 10 percent vacant and on Bleecker Street, a vacancy rate of 18.4 percent.

This is no breaking news to area residents of course; but the senator’s study “Bleaker on Bleecker,” which focuses on what’s been dubbed “high rent blight,” has led to his offering a few proposals to combat the problem.

In particular, the phenomenon of landlords of choosing to keep a space vacant “suggests waiting for Marc Jacobs instead of renting to Jane Jacobs,” the study quotes economist Tim Wu as saying.

The study also mentions the closure last year of the Chelsea Associated Supermarket, which had seen its $32,000 rent jump by $100,000. The now-shuttered store had the same owners as the Associated in Stuyvesant Town, the future of which is still murky.

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Police Watch: Bus driver accused of slapping special needs child, Slashing at Boxers

BUS DRIVER ACCUSED OF SLAPPING SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD OUTSIDE WATERSIDE
Police arrested 55-year-old Lucien Magliore for assault and endangering the welfare of a child in front of 10 Waterside Plaza last Tuesday at 9:08 a.m. Police said that Magliore, a bus driver, caused physical injury to one of the students who was on his bus while attempting to restrain him. Police said that the victim was a 10-year-old special needs child who was acting out on the bus. According to the District Attorney’s office, Magliore slapped the victim on the back, causing substantial pain, redness and a handprint on the child’s upper back.

MAN ARRESTED FOR SLASHING AT BOXERS
Police arrested 25-year-old Tevin Gingles for slashing two people inside Boxers NYC, a gay sports bar, at 37 West 20th Street.
One of the victims told police that on March 26 at 2 a.m. he was trying to breaking up a fight at the bar that involved his friend. That’s when Gingles allegedly slashed him in the shoulder with a box cutter, causing a puncture wound.
Gingles also allegedly slashed another victim on the right hand, causing a deep cut.
Following the incident, the first victim got into a cab and went to Harlem Hospital, where he received 16 stitches. The second victim received five stitches for the cut on his hand.
Gingles was arrested inside the 13th Precinct last Wednesday at 9 p.m. and was charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

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West 14th Street Associated closes

Politicians at a rally to save the supermarket in March (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Politicians at a rally to save the supermarket in March (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

The Associated supermarket on West 14th Street, which residents of Chelsea had been trying to save since March, has closed.

The supermarket, which faced a $168,000 rent hike from landlord Pan Am Equities, according to Gothamist, closed after May 1. The store, which is owned by the same group of owners who run the Associated supermarket in Stuyvesant Town, had been paying $32,000 in rent.

Reached this week at the Stuy Town location, principal owner Joseph Falzon said he wouldn’t be opening another supermarket in the Chelsea neighborhood.

“We checked around. The rents are ridiculous.”

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Landmarked Flatiron church gutted by fire

Police at the scene of the fire at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava closed off the block in case the destroyed church on West 25th Street collapsed. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Police at the scene of the fire at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava closed off the block in case the destroyed church on West 25th Street collapsed. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A four-alarm fire gutted a Serbian Orthodox church at 24 West 25th Street on Sunday evening, following services earlier that day that took place for Orthodox Easter. Because the services ended earlier in the afternoon, no one was inside the church at the time the fire broke out around 6:50 p.m. but the blaze left the interior of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava in shambles, burning the roof off of the landmarked structure that has been in the neighborhood since 1855. FDNY said that one civilian and four firefighters were taken to Bellevue Hospital for smoke inhalation and no other injuries were reported.

Police at the scene on Monday morning said that the street would be closed until investigators could determine that the remaining part of the building still standing was structurally sound and wouldn’t collapse. The officer noted that a collapse was unlikely but the street remained closed as a precaution. Only employees working at buildings on the street were allowed past the police barricades. FDNY noted on Wednesday morning that the cause is still under investigation but the fire is considered non-suspicious.

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Stuy Town Associated owner’s Chelsea store is facing closure

Customers and elected officials attend a rally in support of the supermarket at West 14th Street. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Customers and elected officials attend a rally in support of the supermarket at West 14th Street. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Residents of Chelsea and Greenwich Village, along with local elected officials, this past Sunday protested the impending closure of an Associated Supermarket on West 14th, which is run by the same owners as the Stuyvesant Town Associated.

The store, located at 255 West 14th Street near Eighth Avenue, is in the tenth year of a 15-year lease but principal owner Joseph Falzon said it will likely be forced to close in May because of a stipulation that says the rent can be increased to market value in the last five years of the lease.

It was previously reported that the rent would be increased to $200,000 and although the actual increase would be half that at $100,000, it is still substantially more than the store’s current rent of $32,000.

“Even if we came to an agreement, the rent can’t be much more than what it is now anyway or we won’t survive,” Falzon said.

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