Man robbed for his Citi Bike on East 14th Street

Citi Bike robbery suspects

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for a group of teenagers who robbed a man for his Citi Bike on East 14th Street.

The victim, a 23-year-old man, told police he was riding his Citi Bike on June 4 at around 9 p.m. on First Avenue when he stopped on 14th Street to get something to eat.

Robbery suspect

When he left his bike to go inside Halal Guys at 307 East 14th Street, he saw a group of teens try to take the bike. The victim confronted them and was able to grab the bike back at first, but was struck on the head by one of the teens and he dropped it. The group then fled with the bike, heading west on East 15th Street towards Second Avenue. Police later found the Citi Bike nearby.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.

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Lyft car and other vehicles crash on Second Avenue

June6 accident1

Vehicle collision at Second Avenue and 14th Street (Photos by Jefferson Siegel)

By Jefferson Siegel

Just after 7 pm Tuesday, the quiet early-evening atmosphere at 2nd Avenue and 14th Street was shattered by a loud metal-crunching explosion when three app-driven car service vehicles collided.

The crash was followed by screams as people rushed to find a Lyft driver trapped in his car and a cyclist on the curb. The driver appeared to be unconscious as he sat motionless, his body surrounded by front and side air bags. The driver-side door had been smashed by a mini-van which blocked anyone from reaching the driver. Firefighters arrived within minutes and tried smashing the passenger-side window to reach the driver. They were able to enter the car from the rear door and place a neck brace on the driver.

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East 14th Street man reported missing

Po Fung Eng

Police are looking for a resident of East 14th Street who was last seen on Tuesday at around 1:30 a.m.

Po Fung Eng, 55, who lives in a building east of Third Avenue, is described as Asian, 5’9″ tall and 130 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray jacket and blue pants.

Anyone with information 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, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Teens harass elderly couple, assault man at McDonald’s across from Stuy Town

jan31 mcdonalds assault suspect1

First assault suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for three teenagers believed to be responsible for a brutal beatdown at the McDonald’s at 404 East 14th Street.

According to police, on Saturday, December 29 at 8 p.m., the three teens were harassing an elderly couple at the restaurant, located across the street from Stuyvesant Town. At some point, another customer, a 44-year-old man, tried to stop them and the group then turned on him instead, punching and kicking him in his face and on his body. The attackers then ran out, heading east.

jan31 mcdonalds assault suspect2

Second assault suspect

The victim, who had cuts on his face along with pain and bruises on his face and body; was taken to Beth Israel, and later released.

The first suspect is described as male, black, 14 to 17 years old, 5’7″ tall and 140 lbs. He last seen wearing a pink hooded sweater, black sweatpants and black and white sneakers.

The second suspect is described as female, black, 14 to 17 years old, 5’8″ and 135 lbs., with red or light brown hair. She was last seen wearing gray hooded sweater, a black jacket, red and yellow pants and gray and white sneakers.

jan31 mcdonalds assault suspect3

Third assault suspect

The third suspect is male, black, 14 to 17 years old, 5’5″, 170 lbs., and had eyeglasses. He was last seen wearing a red hooded sweater, a beige jacket and blue jeans.

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, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Woman raped, tied up in E. 14th St. apt.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

An East Village woman was raped and tied up inside her East 14th Street apartment over the weekend, police said.

Police said a 20-year-old woman woke up in her apartment between First and Second Avenues on Saturday around 2:30 a.m. to a man standing over her demanding money. According to the New York Post, the man was masked and dressed in black and said, “Shut up and do what I say or I’ll point something at you,” then sexually assaulted her.

The woman said that after he raped her, he demanded to know how much money was in her bank account because he needed $1,000 and when she said that she didn’t have that much, he reportedly bound her with duct tape, the Post said.

Police said that he took her iPhone, laptop and credit card before fleeing her apartment. According to the cops, the woman was able to free herself from the tape and when she couldn’t find her phone, ran into the nearby Papaya Dog at the northwest corner of East 14th Street and First Avenue to call the police around 3 a.m.

She was treated at nearby Beth Israel Hospital and has since stopped cooperating with police in the investigation. No arrests have been made.

Cuomo calls on MTA to hold public vote on new L train plan

Sept20 L train work site closeup

Part of the L train construction site on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Friday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who a day earlier had made a bombshell announcement that the dreaded L-pocalypse could be avoided, further argued for his alternative plan, which would limit L service during repairs but not halt it.

Cuomo, during a phone conference with reporters, called on the MTA to hold a public board meeting on the proposal, made by a team of engineers from the universities of Columbia and Cornell, and make a quick decision for it or against it. However, the call may have been more about defending the governor’s change of heart mere months before the 15-month shutdown between Brooklyn and Manhattan was slated to begin, since the MTA had already stated that it accepted the engineers’ findings.

Asked about the governor’s request, a spokesperson for the MTA referred to its statement from Thursday, which said:

“The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today accepted the recommendations of a panel of engineering experts that determined a complete closure of the L Train Tunnel is unnecessary… Work could be completed on nights and weekends only, with a single tube providing continued service in both directions during work periods.

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Pair arrested for package thefts in Stuyvesant Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested two men for alleged package burglaries from a number of buildings inside Stuyvesant Town during the early morning hours of Christmas Day last week.

Police said that 19-year-old Rahul Cuya and 32-year-old Justin Irizarry broke into six different buildings between the hours of 1 and 1:45 a.m. on Tuesday, December 25 and took packages from the lobbies.

Cuya and Irizarry allegedly got inside 245 Avenue C at 1 a.m. and stole packages from inside the building. Shortly after that, the two men reportedly got into 277 Avenue C and stole packages. Police said that Cuya and Irizarry got into 651 East 14th Street around 1:15 a.m. and stole packages from that building before breaking into 271 Avenue C and allegedly stealing packages from inside that building as well. Police said that the two suspects also got inside 281 Avenue C and 645 East 14th Street around 1:40 a.m.

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Teen mugged on East 14th Street

Robbery suspects

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for two people who mugged a 19-year-old as he walked past the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office on December 21.

The victim was headed to get a slice of pizza at around 5:20 p.m. when the two suspects, male and female, approached him in front of 335 East 14th Street and asked him for the time.

When the victim pulled out his iPhone to check, they pointed an unknown object into his back and demanded his belongings. The victim complied, dropping his phone and bookbag, which the muggers snatched before fleeing west on East 14th Street.

The male suspect is black and was wearing a blue jacket, hoodie, blue jeans, black and white sneakers and a black skullcap. The female suspect is black and was wearing white sneakers, blue jeans, and a camouflage and black hooded jacket.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call 1-800-555-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.

This article has been updated to include descriptions of the suspects.

L train neighbors slam MTA over noise, debris and mysterious goo

Dec13 L train Epstein

Assembly Member Harvey Epstein with L train construction zone neighbors and disability advocates in front of the MTA’s headquarters (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

While most New Yorkers are approaching April with a sense of dread because of the start to the 15-month L-pocalypse, for those who live around the East 14th Street construction site, the nightmare has been going on already for quite some time.

Recently, local elected officials were able to secure some concessions from the MTA in response to neighbor concerns like additional lighting along the sidewalks where views of the street are obstructed by construction barriers, a commitment to install air quality monitors along the street and reopening of the sidewalk on the East Village side of the street, where stores have been cut off from foot traffic.

However, many concerns have remained, such as noisy work that goes on from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., as well as on weekends, clouds of debris that have caused some neighbors to fear for their respiratory health and equipment-packed streets that have led to an obstacle course for the disabled. Residents have also been left to wonder about the presence of an unidentified, glowing green substance in one of the many dumpsters that regularly get trucked in and out of the site.

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Shoplifter threatens Target employee with box cutter

Nov29 Target robbery suspect

Target robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who threatened a Target employee with a box cutter when he was caught shoplifting at the store at 500 East 14th Street.

On Friday, November 23 at about 2:45 p.m. the man strolled into the store and proceeded to take diapers, body wash, lotion and deodorant without paying, police said. When he was confronted by a store security worker, the man pulled out the box cutter, while warning the victim, “I will cut you.”

He then fled with the merchandise.

The suspect, who was seen on fuzzy surveillance video, is described as being about 5 ft 6 ins. tall. He is being sought for robbery.

Anyone with information about 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) or visit nypdcrimestoppers.com. All calls are strictly confidential.

Man charged with bag snatching and violent mugging on First Ave.

Stuyvesant Town Dunkin Donuts

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have arrested a man they say punched and robbed a man on First Avenue and also snatched a woman’s bag at the Stuyvesant Town Dunkin Donuts.

Raymond Velez, 23, allegedly walked up to a table at Dunkin Donuts at 266 First Avenue last Wednesday at 9 p.m. where the victim was sitting and grabbed her purse, which contained three credit cards.

Ten minutes later, police said he was walking near 253 First Avenue when he allegedly grabbed the second victim who had cash in his hand. Police said that Velez attempted to throw the victim to the ground and in the scuffle, Velez allegedly punched the victim in the mouth and he sustained a bruise on his lip and a cut on his hand.

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Lawsuit aims to stop L-pocalypse

Apr5 14th St coalition Schwartz Prentiss

Attorney Arthur Schwartz (pictured with Edith Prentiss, a disabled rights activist) says disabled commuters aren’t being considered, nor are the neighborhoods that will be dealing with chaotic traffic. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday morning, a coalition of neighborhood groups sued in a Manhattan Federal Court in an attempt to stop the planned L train shutdown starting a year from now. The suit accuses the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the city Department of Transportation and the Federal Transportation Administration of ignoring the needs of disabled riders along the L line, and disregarding the communities who’ll be dealing with constant congestion from diesel-spewing buses.

According to the attorney representing the groups, dubbed “the 14th Street Coalition,” Arthur Schwartz, the FTA “has failed to enforce compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) even though the nearly $1 billion project is being federally funded.” The MTA and DOT meanwhile, he said have failed to prepare a required Environmental Impact Statement, which he said would have compelled the agencies to be more responsive to community input.

The suit aims to halt the work as well as its federal funding until the plans do something about the lack of elevators in each L station and about the expected environmental impacts from substituting the L train with significantly expanded above ground mass transit.

The plan calls for creating a 14th Street “busway” between Third and Eighth Avenues going west and from Ninth to Third Avenues going east. Car traffic will not be able to cross anywhere along the busway. Access-A-Ride will be included along with emergency vehicles. The plan is to enforce these rules during “peak” hours. A constant fleet of shuttle buses will be traveling from Brooklyn to Manhattan over the Williamsburg Bridge and there will also be a protected bike lane on East 13th Street.

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Robber hitting drugstores in Manhattan

Robbery suspect

Cops are on the lookout for a man who’s been robbing drugstores in Union Square and in Greenwich Village as well as a Dunkin Donuts in The Bronx. The suspect, in each incident, has made employees believe he had a gun before demanding cash.

Police say the string of holdups started on the morning of Monday, December 18 when the man strolled into a CVS at 65 Fifth Avenue between 13th and 14th Street. He then threatened employees while simulating a gun inside his coat. The suspect helped himself to $150 from the register before running out.

On the evening of Tuesday, December 26, the man walked into a Walgreens at 145 Fourth Avenue near East 14th Street. He simulated a gun under his coat while threatening employees, this time getting away with $500 in cash.

Later that same evening, he did the same thing at a Dunkin Donuts at 513 East 138th Street. He swiped $1,700 from the register before fleeing the store into a subway station.

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Con Ed crew at work on East 14th Street in wee hours on Tuesday

Con Ed trucks on East 14th Street (Photo by Sherman Sussman)

By Sabina Mollot

With construction a constant in Manhattan, some residents have the misfortune of hearing trucks back up, pile drivers pound and re-directed motorists curse as the soundtracks to their day. However, one resident of Stuyvesant Town, who lives down the street from the Extell development site and across the street from Con Ed, reached out to us after being woken up at 2:45 a.m. on Tuesday due to work crews on the street.

According to Sherman Sussman, it was at that time that he saw a crew in Con Ed trucks doing non-emergency work in front of 635 East 14th Street. He knew it was non-emergency work after heading downstairs and speaking with the foreman. There were also other trucks idling for over 15 minutes by then, he told us.

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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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