Culinary couple opens cafe on East 14th St.

Björn and CJ Holm in front of Fat Cat Kitchen (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Officially opened in May by married chefs CJ and Björn Holm in a space formerly occupied by a palm reader, new café Fat Cat Kitchen on East 14th Street is looking to become a neighborhood mainstay.

“Even after being open for only a month, we already got a lot of repeat customers,” CJ said of the recent opening. “People who are trying our food are coming back.”

CJ said that she and her husband, who previously ran a catering company together, were actively looking for a space to open their restaurant.

“It’s a lot of work in the food industry, working so hard for someone else,” she said. “When you’re working that hard, you want to work for yourself.”

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Bus stop shelters on East 14th Street removed, will be relocated

 

 

Bus stop removal1.jpg

The MTA said the removals were because of impending work. (Photos by Hermann Reiner)

By Sabina Mollot

On July 1, an eagle-eyed reader informed us an unannounced removal of M14 bus stop shelters had occurred that day and the day before from Avenues A to B. We reached out to the Department of Transportation for an explanation and the agency responded via email Thursday evening to say the stops were removed due to impending work, but would be relocated this week.

The agency didn’t say what project the impending work is for, but Council Member Dan Garodnick said he was told by the MTA it had to do with the looming L train line repairs, which include building an Avenue A subway entrance.

According to the MTA and DOT:

The existing bus stops on the westbound side of 14th Street on the island at Avenues A and B have shelters which were removed this past Friday in advance of the two bus stops being relocated this week. Both of these stops which are on the west side of the intersection now and will be moved to the east side of the intersection. The bus shelters will not be installed at the temporary stops but will be replaced at the end of the project when the stops are relocated back to their permanent location.

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Letters to the editor, June 22

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

From ShopRite to shopper shuttles

Dear Editor,

I would like to add to the conversation regarding a supermarket on East 14th Street off First Avenue.

First let me say how pleased I am with the service, responsiveness, attitude and tone provided by our new owners and management. Kudos to them for taking into consideration tenants’ needs and interests. I am fortunate to have a car and therefore shop in Brooklyn. However, I “fill in” with items purchased at our local grocers. I understand why many people no longer purchase some items because of the exaggerated prices, sometime double what I pay in Brooklyn. Double.

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Man gropes woman in Stuyvesant Town elevator

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for a man who groped a 30-year-old woman inside her building in Stuyvesant Town on Tuesday.

Police said that around 5:40 p.m., the suspect followed the victim inside her building, which is located in the vicinity of East 14th Street and the 14th Street Loop. He then followed her into an elevator and got out on the second floor, but as the elevator door was about to close he got back in and pressed the fifth floor button. When the elevator reached the fourth floor, and the victim was getting out, the man grabbed her buttocks under her skirt.

The victim then smacked the man and screamed, but according to cops, the suspect remained in the elevator for a time with the doors closed. He then fled the building in an unknown direction.

Police also believe the suspect had followed the victim as she was walking home from the subway station on 14th Street and First Avenue.

The suspect is described as Asian with a light complexion, approximately 20-27 years of age, 5’4″, 150 lbs., brown eyes, black hair, last seen wearing a black baseball hat, black sneakers, white shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782)

The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Associated will get a lease extension, how long unclear

Stuyvesant Town’s Associated Supermarket (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town’s Associated Supermarket will be getting a lease extension, the property’s management said on Friday, although it isn’t clear how long this arrangement will last.

Associated’s owners have hoped to remain open once the 14th street store’s lease expires at the end of the year, even with a Trader Joe’s expected to move across the street.

“We are reassured by this agreement that the residents of PCVST will have uninterrupted access to a grocer as the retail food landscape is expected to change on 14th Street,” said Rick Hayduk, CEO and general manager of StuyTown Property Services. “The owners of Associated have been long-term partners of the community and we’re grateful for their cooperation through this process,” he added.

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Letters to the Editor

June8 Toon Mr Met

Save our supermarket

The following is an open letter to Stuyvesant Town Property Services CEO/Stuy Town General Manager Rick Hayduk,

As a 41-year long resident of Stuyvesant Town, I am writing to ask you to reconsider Blackstone’s determination to raise the rent against the Associated Supermarket on 14 th Street, causing them to leave our neighborhood.

It is most distressing that almighty profit once again outweighs the value that that market has had in our neighborhood for 25 years.

When I first learned that the store would open there, I was dubious. However, they have been able to run the store and the multiple complications connected with that with a minimum of disruption to us… despite the load in of product, the removal of garbage and the acceptance of bottles from street collectors.

The store’s employees are like family to us… we have seen them get their first job, pay for college, get married, take maternity leave and return, and have a decent job for these many years.

That has been an invaluable commitment on the store owners’ parts, creating a special feeling for those of us who have shopped there.

I know this letter won’t change your mind or the direction your negotiations take.

But I hope it makes you a little less able to look yourself in the mirror.

Sincerely, 

Lynne Hayden-Findlay, ST

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Police Watch: Slashing outside Stuy Town, Two arrested for assaulting cab driver

MAN BUSTED FOR SLASHING VICTIM OUTSIDE STUYVESANT TOWN
Nineteen-year-old Shukija Winns was arrested for assault after he allegedly slashed another person in the face with a razor blade at the northeast corner of First Avenue and East 14th Street.
The incident took place on April 2 at 5 p.m. but Williams wasn’t arrested until last Wednesday at 9:05 a.m. inside the 13th Precinct.

TWO ARRESTED FOR ASSAULTING CAB DRIVER
Police arrested 34-year-old Ndeh Tawah and 25-year-old Sean Glynn for theft of services and assault in front of 307 East 14th Street last Sunday at 4:41 a.m. Police said that Glynn and Tawah were in the victim’s cab and both refused to pay the fare. The driver attempted to stop them from leaving but Tawah and Glynn allegedly both punched the driver in the face, causing a cut and swelling, and ripping the driver’s shirt. The victim was treated at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital.

MAN BUSTED FOR BREAKING INTO CAR ON EAST 14TH
Police arrested 51-year-old Patrice Steed for petit larceny and possession of stolen property in front of 7 East 14th Street last Tuesday at 11:04 a.m. Police said that the victim saw Steed inside his car without permission to be there. Steed allegedly tried to take the victim’s cell phone and loose change, which were inside the vehicle. The victim confronted Steed when he saw him inside his car and he held the suspect there until police responded.

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Letters to the editor, May 25

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Bad old days are back on E. 14th St.

The following is an open letter to City Council Members Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez whose districts share a border along East 14th Street.

I would like to point out the present poor condition of street crossing on 14th Street and First Avenue.

A homeless man sleeps at a street corner.

Please note:
Southeast corner:
Homeless people on the corner in front of T-Mobile and McDonald’s
Garbage cans overflowing, papers spread out from First Avenue to half of the block
Grease and dirt underneath the garbage cans
Streetlight missing in bus station, stump is still there, but light was removed 20 years ago
Nonfunctioning emergency pole – an eyesore
Bus station not long enough, stopped buses block pedestrian walk

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Stuyvesant Town Associated is still waiting for answer on lease renewal

Stuyvesant Town’s Associated Supermarket (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last week, following an op-ed being published in the newspaper The Villager in support of the Small Business Jobs and Survival Act, many Stuyvesant Town residents became alarmed after reading a sentence that mentioned the owner of the complex’s Associated supermarket was told he would not get a lease renewal.

Town & Village since reached out to Blackstone, and a spokesperson for the landlord, Paula Chirhart, said a final decision on whether to renew or not has not yet been made. Joseph Falzon, a co-owner of The Associated, confirmed this when we called although he added he wasn’t feeling confident that he’d get a renewal. He added that he was “99 percent sure” he wouldn’t.

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14th St. developer grilled on height request

Commissioners of the Board of Standards and Appeals, including (from left to right) Chair Margery Perlmutter, Susan Hinkson and Eileen Montanez Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Commissioners of the Board of Standards and Appeals, including (from left to right) Chair Margery Perlmutter, Susan Hinkson and Eileen Montanez (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Board of Standards and Appeals accused developers of getting ahead of themselves in a rush to get a new apartment building started before the deadline for a lucrative tax break in the project at the old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office on East 14th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A.

BSA chair Margery Perlmutter said in a hearing this past Tuesday that Benenson Capital Partners and Mack Real Estate Group (MREG) “went ahead and, at enormous expense, installed foundation slabs even though their project wasn’t necessarily viable.”

The developers’ attorney John Egnatios-Beene, of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, argued at the hearing that the extra cost for building out the foundation was partially due to the construction of a full basement and the difficulties that resulted in building it due to the ground conditions. This rationale was given in addition to the developer’s previous argument that additional apartments were needed to make the project economically viable due to apartments that would be rented below market rate because of the building’s participation in the 421a affordable housing program.

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‘Jew man’ graffiti seen across from Stuy Town

Council Member Dan Garodnick, who took this photo, said this is the first time he's seen anti-Semitic graffiti in the community.

Council Member Dan Garodnick, who took this photo, said this is the first time he’s seen anti-Semitic graffiti in the community.

By Sabina Mollot

As local elected officials have pointed out, bias crimes are on the rise since the election nationwide.

The community has been seeing its fair share too. Yesterday, Council Member Dan Garodnick snapped a photo of anti-semitic graffiti across from Stuyvesant Town.

“Hate crimes spiking since the election,” Garodnick tweeted on Monday. “This graffiti now appears across from StuyTown & local synagogue (Town and Village). We can’t let this become the new normal.”

Garodnick later said he had never before seen anti-Semitic graffiti in the community. He also said this was the only recent incident he was aware of.

The graffiti, above the Papaya hot dog storefront on First Avenue and 14th Street, depicts the spray painted words “Jew man” accompanied by crude drawings of smiley faces with side locks, which are worn by religious Jewish men. It was spray painted large enough to be easily seen from across the street.

The incident comes three weeks after State Senator Brad Hoylman saw two swastikas scratched into the door of the building where he lives in Greenwich Village.

Additionally, a Muslim Baruch College student was harassed on the train at 23rd Street last weekend by men who were trying to grab her hijab and yelling “Donald Trump” and anti-Muslim slurs, according to a Daily News report.

UPDATE: According to a Stuy Town resident, the graffiti didn’t happen post-election. The tipster told T&V she first spotted the spray-painted sentiment in the middle of October.

Police Watch: Man arrested for 2015 murder, Woman mugged in Union Square

MAN ARRESTED FOR 2015 MURDER AT LILLIAN WALD HOUSES
Police arrested 22-year-old Shaquille Fuller for murder and criminal possession of a weapon last Thursday for a homicide that took place in 2015. Police responded to an assault in front of the Lillian Wald Houses at 20 Avenue D near East 3rd Street last February 23 around 4:33 p.m. and discovered that a 33-year-old man had been shot four times. EMS responded to the scene and took the victim to Beth Israel Hospital, but he couldn’t be saved. The victim was later identified as Shemrod Isaac.

WOMAN MUGGED, BEATEN WITH SKATEBOARD IN UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 22-year-old Brittany Middlebrooks last Thursday after she allegedly attacked another woman at Union Square Park on September 12 around 7 p.m. Middlebrooks allegedly hit the victim in the head and body with a skateboard, causing her pain, bruising and swelling. The victim also noticed that her cell phone was allegedly missing after she was attacked. Middlebrooks was arrested for assault and robbery.

TEEN BUSTED FOR ROBBERY AT THIRD AND EAST 14TH
Police arrested a teenager for robbery and possession of stolen property at the corner of Third Avenue and East 14th Street last Wednesday at 3:49 p.m. The teen approached the victim and said, “Give me your phone or I’m going to hurt you.” The victim complied and handed his phone over, and the suspect made the victim reset his phone. The teen then fled but police searched the area and arrested him. Police said that the teen attends the Green School and his name is being withheld due to his age.

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ST service roads getting repaved

Sept1 Service road crosswalk edit

The service road along East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

As Town & Village reported last month, the service roads around Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village will be getting repaved as will any curb cuts in need of smoothing out.

That project, a result of ongoing complaints from residents to Council Member Dan Garodnick’s office, is set to begin this Friday with milling. The actual paving will be done from September 12-16.

The repaving is being funded by the Department of Transportation separately from related work being done this summer to make the islands around the complex more user-friendly to the disabled by widening the walkways. That project had a price tag of $200 thousand, which was allocated by the City Council.

Both projects have come after years of wear and tear.

“For too long, the city has neglected these crucial arteries serving the residents of ST/PCV,” Garodnick said, “and residents constantly navigate the bumps, pools of still water and general unevenness of these streets.”

He added, “I am very pleased that these upgrades are finally moving forward.”

The work will be done on the Avenue C, First Avenue, 14th Street, 20th Street and 23rd Street service roads.

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Elderly man fatally struck by ambulance at 14th St. and Second Ave.

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A man was hit by this ambulance as it turned left onto East 14th Street. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

An 81-year-old man died after being hit by an ambulance on Monday afternoon as he crossed the street at the 14th Street and Second Avenue intersection.

According to police, the man, who was later identified as Gen Zhan, a resident of East 29th Street, was crossing as the ambulance was on Second Avenue, making a left turn onto 14th.

Zhan suffered severe body trauma after being hit and was taken to Bellevue, but doctors were unable to save him.

Later at the scene the ambulance’s emergency lights were still flashing although police didn’t have information on whether there had been a patient inside at the time of the accident.

One emergency responder said Zhan had actually gone against the light and hit the side of the ambulance, a blind spot, after it turned. He then fell back and hit his head. A police spokesperson said she didn’t have any information on whether he was going against the light. However, she said he had tried to run across the street, but didn’t make it and was hit while on the crosswalk.

Around two dozen cops and FDNY emergency officials responded to the scene and part of the intersection was closed to traffic for the remainder of the afternoon.

A rep for police said the matter was still under investigation, but no criminality was suspected. The ambulance driver, 22, remained at the scene. The case is being handled by the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad.

Zhan was a resident of Renwick Gardens, an apartment complex for seniors in Kips Bay.

Residents mixed on plan for Target to open on East 14th

Target has signed a lease for a space at what is now a construction site across from Stuyvesant Town. Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Target has signed a lease for a space at what is now a construction site across from Stuyvesant Town. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Recently, a plan to open a Target store on East 14th Street at the future residential development that’s now a construction site between Avenues A and B, was made public. The news, first reported by the Real Deal, also mentioned that the store to open at the site, which is leased by Extell Development, will be smaller than most of the other Target locations.

This week, Town & Village asked around in Stuyvesant Town for residents’ thoughts on the neighborhood’s first big box store. Responses were, as expected, mixed, though most of the people interviewed indicated they would shop there.

Stuy Town resident Kay Vota noted, “I think it’s wonderful. Their prices are very reasonable. You can’t go anywhere else for those prices.” Still, she expressed some concern about competition for the surrounding existing businesses.

“What’s going to happen to the Associated?” asked Vota.

Another resident said she was concerned about the supermarket as well. The woman, who said she was one of Stuy Town’s first black residents, declined to share her name, explaining that with the low rent she pays, she doesn’t like to remind the landlord that she exists.

“Forget Target,” she said. “I want to keep the Associated. Will Target be selling food? Associated is more important. They got rid of (Stuy Town’s) D’Agostino. Will we be importing our food soon?”

The woman also said she had no need for the business. “I don’t want to rush to Target to buy any new things. It wouldn’t be helping me.”

Asked if she’d shop there, another resident, Elvina Oey, told T&V, “Probably yes. Because the closest one to us is the one in Brooklyn.” As for what she’d get there, Oey guessed, “Household cleaners, cleaning supplies like paper towels and soaps. That kind of stuff.”

An original tenant and retired cop who would only give his first name, Thomas, had conflicting views. On the one hand, when asked if he’d shop there, Thomas responded “yes,” but then said he was worried the store would become a destination for non-locals and end up raising crime stats in the neighborhood.

“I see the Target bringing crime,” said Thomas, whose beat was his own neighborhood. “Target’s going to, I feel, have a major shoplifting problem. It’s going to be one of those things where we’ll see what happens.” He added that he’d prefer to see a Trader Joe’s in the space, which according to rumors, is also in talks for a retail space at the Extell site.

A 15-year-old resident, Daniel, also gave the plan a thumbs down, figuring it would just lead to crowding.

“I don’t think it’s going to be good,” he said. “It’s going to bring a bunch of people in here. People are going to walk through the property and it’s going to get congested.”

One couple also said they were not looking forward to the big bull’s-eye’s arrival and guessed the future residents of the building to house it wouldn’t want it either.

“I wonder what the tenants paying high rent think about having a Target below them,” said Peter Harris. “They’re definitely getting hit with high rents.” He added, “As a small business owner, I’d be concerned. It’s going to knock out some of the little places.”

Harris’ wife, Frances, added, “I don’t like that part of it” and said she thought it was “too bad” about a major fire at the location in 2010 that displaced five small business storefronts. Frances also said if the store ends up bringing more foot traffic to the area, “I wouldn’t like it. And I wonder if it would take a lot of parking spaces away from us.”

Meanwhile, one neighbor of the construction site, who said he lives in the next building over, had this to say: “I don’t care much either way.” The resident, Zac Hoffman, who’s lived in his apartment for the last two years, seemed more irked about the ongoing construction noise, which, he pointed out, starts every day at 7 a.m. Hoffman isn’t planning to move though, explaining that rents have gone up significantly since he last had to look. So, when asked if he’d give the new inconvenience store some business, Hoffman answered, “Probably.”

Target does however have a supporter in Susan Steinberg, president of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association.

“I’m for it,” she said. “As long as it’s not a Walmart.”

A spokesperson for Target declined to comment on what the new store would offer, only confirming that a lease had been signed, “contingent on approvals.”

UPDATE: The company has released further details on the store, which is expected to open in 2018.

The Real Deal reported the lease is for 30 years and the location is at the corner of Avenue A.