Gang member charged with murder in Flatiron

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Brooklyn gang member Frank Smith, 31, was recently charged in connection with the murder of two men in 2010 who were reportedly in a rival crew on Park Avenue South and East 19th Street.

According to the indictment, Smith and other members of Rival Impact began conspiring to murder members of a rival crew, Thirty-O, specifically Terrance Serrano and Rashawn Washington, in October 2009. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District said that Smith and other members of the gang planned and carried out the murders in retaliation for the victims’ perceived involvement in the 2009 drive-by shooting of Rival Impact member Vincent Carmona.

On Monday, October 4, 2010 at around 4 a.m. police arrived on East 19th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway after getting a call about a person shot. Serrano and Washington were getting into their car after leaving a nightclub and Smith, who had been lying in wait in a nearby vehicle, allegedly approached their car, opened fire and fled.

Both Washington and Serrano were shot in the head and died at the scene.

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Stuy Town teen blows competition out of the water in 17-mile swim

By Maria Rocha-Buschel


Simona Dwass at the finish line in Coney Island (photo by Agnus McIntyre)

Simona Dwass at the finish line in Coney Island (photo by Agnus McIntyre)

Four intrepid swimmers took a dip in the East River last Saturday morning to participate in the annual Rose Pitonof Swim, traveling 17 miles in the chilly water to Coney Island. Stuyvesant Town resident Simona Dwass was attempting the feat as the swim’s youngest participant in the five years since it started, and not only did she finish, she also set a course record, reaching Coney Island in four hours and 24 minutes.

The 17-year-old Hunter College High School student has been swimming in open water since she was 12 and although she also competes in swimming events in a pool, she said that she prefers the open water.

“There are no boundaries so you don’t have to flip-turn to keep going,” she said. “You can just swim forever. And there are so many courses you can do and I like just playing with the currents in the open water.”

The swim, first organized by Urban Swim founder Deanne Draeger, starts in the East River at 26th Street because that’s where its namesake started out in 1911. The swimmers all boarded their boats from the pier at East 23rd Street and headed up the river three blocks for the race’s 8 a.m. start time.

The other three swimmers this year were Kathryn Mason, who got a head start on the race because she was attempting to do butterfly (and succeeded), Kenn Lichtenwalter and Kathleen Jaeger. Mason was also the swim’s first international participant, flying over from England just for the event. Alan Morrison, who swam breaststroke in the race last year, was on Mason’s safety boat and had helped her mentally prepare for choosing a slower, more unconventional stroke.

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