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

 

 

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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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Police Watch: East Village woman stabbed, Man arrested for hitting cop with car

EAST VILLAGE WOMAN STABBED IN HOME INVASION
A man broke into a 31-year-old woman’s East Village apartment on Sunday night and stabbed her, The New York Post reported.
The victim, Cassidy Helmken, told police that she heard a knock around 8:30 p.m. and the man pushed his way into her apartment when she opened the door. Along with stabbing her, the attacker stole $500 in cash from the victim. Helmken is being treated at Bellevue Hospital for a collapsed lung and several gashes. Gothamist noted that Helmken’s apartment is on Avenue B near East 13th Street.

MAN ARRESTED FOR HITTING COP WITH CAR
Police arrested 40-year-old Raheem Starr after he hit a police officer with his car while leaving a parking lot at East 23rd Street and the FDR last Sunday around 3 a.m. Police were responding to a disorderly group of people who had just left a party boat and while police were attempting to disperse the crowd, Starr allegedly rammed through a barricade and clipped the officer, causing minor injuries to his knee and hands. The officer fired one round from his gun after the car hit him while trying to flee, but no one was hit by the shot. A 29-year-old man was also arrested but police said that the case is sealed and had no further information on that suspect. Starr was charged with reckless endangerment.

Robbery suspects

ROBBERY AT WEST 23RD ST. F/M STATION
The NYPD is asking the public’s assistance identifying two men who robbed a woman on the subway after showing her a gun.
At West 23rd and Sixth Avenue on Thursday, June 15 at 9:30 p.m., police said that the two men approached the 22-year-old woman on the downtown platform and asked if she could cash a check for one of them. The victim declined, at which time one of the men lifted his shirt and displayed what appeared to be a silver gun. The suspect then demanded that the victim go to the nearby Chase Bank, where she deposited a check and withdrew $600 cash, which was given to the other suspect, who was wearing a white hat. Once this transaction was completed, the suspects fled the location. There were no reported injuries as a result of this incident.
The suspects are described as black men, approximately in their mid 20s. One individual is 6’4” tall, weighing 200 lbs. and the second individual is 5’10” tall, weighing 170 lbs. The surveillance photos were taken from the subway station.
Anyone with information in regards to this robbery 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 nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

MAN ARRESTED FOR GRAMERCY BURGLARIES
Police arrested 48-year-old Earl Brown for burglary in front of 15 East 18th Street last Monday at 1:18 a.m. A witness working at 873 Broadway told police that he was working late when he heard a loud banging from the business next door. He said that he saw a man wearing a white shirt and a Yankees hat repeatedly ramming his shoulder into the door in an attempt to gain entry. Police said that Brown also rang the doorbell of the witness’s office, allowing the witness to see him through the peephole. The witness then called 911 and a suspect fitting the witness’s description was stopped at the side exit of 15 East 18th Street. Brown matched the description provided by the witness and he was allegedly in possession of a stolen Apple MacBook, a stolen Dell laptop and a stolen Canon digital camera.
Brown was later charged with an additional burglary from 115 East 23rd Street where he allegedly damaged the magnetic doors and swiped property at an earlier date.

MAN ARRESTED FOR SWIPING TIPS AT SECOND AVENUE PIZZA PLACE
Police arrested 35-year-old Raul Galvez for petit larceny inside Mike’s Pizza at 415 Second Avenue last Sunday at 8:09 p.m. Police said that Galvez entered the restaurant and stuck his hand inside the tip jar on the counter. He allegedly removed cash and fled from the location but he was apprehended outside the restaurant by the business owner.

MAN NABBED FOR POT AT ASSER LEVY PLAYGROUND
Police arrested 31-year-old Ryan Betances for possession of marijuana at the Asser Levy Playground last Wednesday at 5:01 p.m. Police said that Betances was smoking alleged marijuana while inside a public park while there were children present on the playground. Betances also allegedly had a jar containing loose marijuana inside his bag and a small bag of alleged marijuana inside his wallet.

MAN ARRESTED FOR DRUG DEAL IN UNION SQUARE PARK
Police arrested 37-year-old Douglas Zimbler and 31-year-old Sean Keenan for a drug deal in Union Square Park last Wednesday at 6 p.m. Police said that Zimbler sold a quantity of alleged crystal meth to Keenan. Both men were charged with possession of a controlled substance and Zimbler was additional charged with the sale of a controlled substance. Police said that Keenan was also in possession of a pipe with alleged crystal meth residue.

MEN BUSTED FOR SELLING ‘LOOSIES’
Police arrested a 34-year-old man in front of the men’s shelter at 400 East 30th Street last Wednesdayfor selling loose Newport cigarettes without a vendor’s license. Police also arrested a 50-year-old man for selling loose Newport cigarettes outside the shelter. The suspects were charged with violating tax law and unlawful peddling.

East Village pre-school planning to offer grades K-5

Students work on a crafts project. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Sara Curry Preschool at Little Missionary’s Day Nursery, a tuition-based but despite the name non-religious pre-school on St. Marks Place, is expanding for the second time in three years, this time to offer kindergarten and elementary school grades.

Eileen Johnson, the school’s director, said she’d been hearing from too many parents of her former students that they’re unhappy with public elementary schools, even so-called progressive ones. But with her preschool’s five-story building already at capacity, Johnson had to forget about adding classes for kids who age out of the program — that is, until now.

“When you have to say no to people all the time, then it’s like, ‘I really want to do this,’” she said.

For the next few years, Johnson plans to phase in additional grades up to grade 5. Next fall, there will be kindergarten and first grade, the following year second grade and the next year third. She’s considering dividing one of the school’s larger classrooms and plans to further utilize the basement (now used just for after school programming and art) to make this work. But after that, Sara Curry Preschool will need to get an additional small building.

“The goal is to get a little sister building nearby so we can accommodate everybody,” she said. “Or even an infant building.”

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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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McMillan planning citywide rent strike

UPDATE: Jimmy McMillan, early today, announced he was calling off the strike in light of a judge’s decision on Tuesday to keep the rent freeze in place.

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Jimmy McMillan is now running for Rosie Mendez’s Council seat.  (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Jimmy “The Rent is Too Damn High” McMillan, now a Republican City Council candidate, is calling on the tenants of New York City to join him in a rent strike this October.

McMillan, an East Village resident who’s been in and out of court with his own landlord for years, said the plan is inspired by what he’s blasting as conflicting interests in the New York City Housing Court.

“The attorneys that sit on a committee that appoint New York City Housing Court (judges), stand before that same judge against the tenant representing the landlord,” he stated in a press release.

The 70-year-old Vietnam vet also believes this setup has impacted his own case.

According to current information on the New York Courts website, the advisory committee that helps appoint judges to the Housing Part of the Civil Court includes three representatives of the real estate industry, including the chair of the NYC Housing Authority, three members from tenants’ organizations, two members representing civic groups, two bar association members, two public members, one mayoral appointee and the commissioner of the state housing agency, Housing and Community Renewal.

McMillan’s plan to strike, meanwhile, is also aimed at raising awareness of his campaign platform — affordability. His goal is to see rents slashed across the board.

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Former Post Office site developers give up on trying to add height

Ryan Singer, executive director of the Board of Standards and Appeals, tells protesters the application has been withdrawn. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The developers of the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office site have given up on trying to get the green light to add another story to their planned East 14th Street residential building.

The announcement that Benenson Capital Partners and Mack Real Estate Group had withdrawn their application was made on Tuesday morning. The news, delivered by Ryan Singer, executive director of the Board of Standards and Appeals, to a group of mostly union member protesters across the street from the BSA building on Reade Street, elicited cheers.

“The process worked the way it should,” Singer said. “Based on comments from the board yesterday, they felt they could no longer pursue the variance.”

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Old Post Office site owners reduce height request

Rendering of 432-438 East 14th Street

By Sabina Mollot

The owners of the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office, who’d proposed a 12-story residential building for the site, have since changed their request, by proposing a smaller, nine-story building instead. In January the owners, Benenson Capital Partners, partnering with Mack Real Estate Group, had gone to the Board of Standards and Appeals to request a zoning variance they’d need to build 12 stories since current zoning only allows for an eight-story structure. Their plan however was fought by community residents as well as the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

The owners’ most recent proposal, which would boost height 14.5 feet higher than what is currently allowable, has also already been blasted by the preservation group. The GVSHP has argued that a building that high is out of context for the East Village and has also claimed that the owners’ main reason for wanting the variance — higher than expected construction costs due to underground water and soil conditions — doesn’t constitute a unique hardship.

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The rent is too damn high, says this Republican Council candidate

Jimmy McMillan, who hopes to replace Rosie Mendez in the City Council, has also run for governor and mayor. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The race for the City Council seat currently occupied by a term-limited Rosie Mendez is beginning to heat up, with the newest candidate being Jimmy McMillan, otherwise known as “The Rent is Too Damn High” guy.

McMillan, who has previously run for mayor of New York City and governor as well as having had a brief dalliance with the 2012 presidential election, said he was approached about running for Council by Manhattan GOP.

The organization, formerly known as the New York Republican County Committee, gave McMillan its blessing in an email blast to members last week.

On getting the local Republican nod to run, McMillan, who’s running as a Republican as well as on his own party, The Rent is Too Damn High, said, “I almost cried.”

And this is no small thing. As the 70-year-old, mutton chopped, Vietnam vet and martial arts aficionado, who claims he was once tied up and doused with gasoline when working as an investigator, also told us, “I’m not a baby. I don’t cry.”

He’s also here to say what he’s been saying all along, that the rent is unquestionably too damn high, and if this is fixed, specifically by halving rents across the board, many of the other problems facing this city — like struggles faced by small businesses — will solve themselves.

“If you raise rents and you go to the store, they have to raise their prices in the store,” he said. “There is no way around it. The rent is too damn high,” he said, before going on to blast economic experts who opine on such matters. “I don’t have a degree, but they (think they) know more than me because they call themselves professors or economic experts. I’m an economic master.”

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Former Mendez aide running to replace her in City Council

Former Rosie Mendez aide Carlina Rivera in Madison Square Park (Photo courtesy of Carlina Rivera)

Former Rosie Mendez aide Carlina Rivera in Madison Square Park (Photo courtesy of Carlina Rivera)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Life-long Lower East Side resident Carlina Rivera has been involved in local politics since as young as age 12, so it should come as no surprise that her next move is running for City Council. Until recently, Rivera was the legislative director for Councilmember Rosie Mendez, and she left the position to focus on running to fill the seat in District 2 that Mendez will vacate this year due to term limits.

Rivera’s introduction to politics at such a young age was thanks to tenant advocate Marie Christopher, who lived on the first floor of her building on Stanton Street when she was growing up.

“She was an amazing tenant advocate, always pushing issues of public safety and preservation of NYCHA,” Rivera said of Christopher, who died in 2013. “She brought me to my first community council meeting. She knew that the community was an ecosystem, and she knew the importance of working with elected officials but also holding them accountable.”

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This pair has been stealing wallets from women at bars since October

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Female suspect

Police are looking for a man and woman who’ve been working together to steal women’s wallets at bars in Union Square, Kips Bay, Greenwich Village and the East Village. In numerous cases, the thieves have then withdrawn money from victims’ bank accounts at banks in the Bronx or made fraudulent purchases at stores.

The strings of thefts started in October, and according to police, the pattern is as follows:

On Friday, October 14 at 10:30 p.m., one or both suspects approached a 27 year-old female victim at Fiddle Sticks at 56 Greenwich Avenue near Seventh Avenue and swiped her wallet. Later, $800 from her account was withdrawn at a Chase Bank at 90 East 170 Street in the Bronx.

On Friday, October 21 between 6 and 10 p.m., one of the suspects stole a wallet from a 27-year-old woman inside V-Bar at 132 First Avenue and St. Marks Place. One or both of the thieves then later withdrew $1,200 in cash from her account inside Wells Fargo Bank, located at 3709 Riverdale Avenue in the Bronx. They also charged $357 to the victim’s credit cards.

On Saturday, November 19 at 8 p.m., a 35-year-old woman at Banc Café, located at 431 Third Avenue near East 30th Street had her wallet stolen from her purse, which had been hanging on a chair. The wallet contained $140 in cash and three credit cards. Police believe the male suspect later charged $136 to one of the victim’s credit cards at a Starbucks.

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Male suspect

On Wednesday, December 7 at 10:40 p.m., one or both suspects struck again at Republic Bar at 37 Union Square and East 17th Street, taking a wallet from a bag that had been on the floor. The victim later discovered that $1,100 was stolen from her bank account.

On Monday, December 12 at 7 p.m., a 28-year-old woman at Peter McManus Cafe at 152 7th Avenue at West 19th Street had her wallet stolen. The wallet only contained $14 in cash and a credit card, which was later charged for $520 inside a Duane Reade at 161 East 23rd Street.

On Monday, December 19 between 7:45 hours and 10:21 hours, a woman’s wallet went missing at Brazen Fox, located at 106 Third Avenue at East 13th Street. The wallet contained four credit cards and one debit card, one of which was used at a Duane Reade at 4 West 4 Street for $336.49 in goods.

On Friday, December 23 at approximately 7:15 p.m., one or both suspects stole a wallet from a woman’s pocketbook at Suite 36, located at 16 West 16th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The wallet contained $80 and two of the victim’s credit cards were later used to make multiple purchases.

On Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24 at approximately 9:15 p.m., a 33-year-old woman was notified that approximately $5,000 was charged to her credit cards by one or both of the aforementioned individuals.

The suspects are described as a white woman with long, blonde hair and a man.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents 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 Crime stoppers website at http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Developer of old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office still hopes to build higher

Former Post Office space (pictured last January) (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Former Post Office space (pictured last January) (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The developer of a planned residential building at the site of the old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office is still hoping to add an additional four stories to what was originally supposed to be an eight-story structure.

Benenson Capital Partners, whose request for a required zoning variance to do this was shot down in July by a committee of Community Board 3, will next be heading to the Board of Standards and Appeals.

While the community board’s unanimous vote in opposition to the variance was just advisory, a decision made by the BSA would be official.

The developer had previously argued that an additional few floors was necessary to make the project economically viable, due to costs related to underground water conditions at the site.

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Flatiron gets in the holiday spirit with SantaCon

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SantaCon participants got creative with their costumes as usual, including a group with real pine trees in their backpacks. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Revelers donned their best Santa, elf and reindeer costumes for the annual SantaCon pub crawl last weekend, which started in the shadow of the Flatiron building this year. Neighborhood residents let their opposition be known when the Santas gathered on the plaza at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and while the NYPD said there was no record of an arrest, NBC News noted that a handful of the protesters were escorted out of the plaza by police.

The NYPD also noted that no drunk or fighting Santas were arrested as in previous years, and while many in the community were not convinced of their noble intentions, organizers seem to be attempting to clean up the event’s reputation. Organizers on the plaza this past Saturday could be seen picking up bits of trash while the crowd started clearing out by late morning and one Santa berated a photographer climbing onto a planter, yelling at her not to be disrespectful of public property.

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Man who sexually assaulted 3 women sentenced to 14 years

Juan Scott plead guilty on Wednesday for sexual assaults committed in 2014.

Juan Scott plead guilty on Wednesday for sexual assaults committed in 2014.

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, a man who sexually assaulted two women in the East Village and another in a Stuyvesant Town elevator was sentenced to 14 years behind bars.

Juan Scott, who’s the cousin of actress Rosario Dawson, pleaded guilty in June to the three attacks. One of the victims was a woman he was dating but the others, including the one from Stuyvesant Town, were women he followed home.

Prosecutors had hoped for a 20-year sentence for Scott, who assaulted the three women over a period of several months in 2014.

He was arrested on October 19, 2014, two days after attacking a 20-year-old NYU student in Stuyvesant Town.

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PCV doctor named president of Mount Sinai Downtown

Jeremy Boal, MD, is the new president of Mount Sinai Downtown, which includes Beth Israel and the Eye and Ear Infirmary. (Photo courtesy of Mount Sinai)

Jeremy Boal, MD, is the new president of Mount Sinai Downtown, which includes Beth Israel and the Eye and Ear Infirmary. (Photo courtesy of Mount Sinai)

By Sabina Mollot

On the heels of Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s president, Suzanne Somerville, stepping down, a Peter Cooper Village resident who began his career as a resident in the hospital network 25 years ago has been named the president of Mount Sinai Downtown. This includes the current and future Beth Israel as well as the Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Additionally, Jeremy Boal, MD, who currently serves as executive vice president and chief medical officer of the Mount Sinai Health System, is being promoted to executive vice president and chief clinical officer. Though the transition has already begun, the appointment having been announced internally last Wednesday, he won’t be fully assuming the new role until January, 2017. Prior to his current role, he served as chief medical officer at North Shore LIJ (now Northwell Health).

Earlier this week, Boal spoke with Town & Village about community concerns such as potential loss of services from the neighborhood, the status of the medical giant’s real estate and the enhanced offerings that have been promised to patients at the future, much smaller hospital building adjacent to Eye and Ear.

Since 2003, Boal has been a resident of Peter Cooper where he lives with his family, which includes two daughters, one 13, the other 16.

The interview, edited for length, is below.

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ST service roads getting repaved

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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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