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

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.

East 14th Street Target slated to open in 2018

Rendering of Target slated for East 14th Street at Avenue A

Rendering of Target slated for East 14th Street at Avenue A

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Target representatives confirmed this week that a store will be opening in the retail space at the Extell Development on the corner of Avenue A at 500 East 14th Street. The “flexible format” store, which is expected to open in summer 2018, will reportedly be “tailored to meet the needs” of city dwellers by offering home items for decorating small living spaces, as well as grab-and-go food selections.

The store will also offer men’s and women’s apparel and accessories, health, personal care and beauty products and portable technology products.

In a press release on Wednesday, the company said the flexible store design allows Target to open locations in smaller retail spaces and the company is focusing on growth in the urban market, with 23 flexible-format stores currently open throughout the country and more planned for this and next year, including in Forest Hills, Queens and downtown Brooklyn.

“We want to make it easier for guests in New York to shop at Target, so we’re focused on flexible-format store growth in Manhattan,” said Mark Schindele, senior vice president for Properties at Target. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Extell Development for this terrific location just below Stuyvesant Town, and we can’t wait to be part of the East Village neighborhood.”

The new store on East 14th Street will include 27,000 square feet on two levels, with 9,500 square feet at street level and 17,700 feet on the lower level.

 

Woman attacked, another robbed in separate incidents near Stuy Town

July28 Robbery suspectBy Sabina Mollot

Cops are hunting two thugs who preyed on women in separate incidents, one an assault, the other a robbery, in the East Village near Stuyvesant Town.

In the most recent incident, on Wednesday, July 27, at half past midnight, at East 13th Street and Avenue B, a man followed a 33-year-old woman into her apartment building. He then told her he had a gun and demanded her property. The victim complied and gave the mugger her cell phone, debit card, jewelry and $35 in cash. The man then ordered her to lie face down and he tied the victim’s hands behind her back before fleeing the building in an unknown direction.

The suspect is described as Hispanic, 30 to 40 years old, 5’10”, 200 to 225 lbs.; and was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, black jeans, a black baseball cap and he had on a black backpack.

July28 Assault suspectThe first incident, which took place on Saturday, July 23 at around 1:45 a.m. in front of 208 First Avenue between East 12th and 13th Streets, started when a man grabbed a 37-year-old woman’s butt.

When she confronted him, he punched her in the face numerous times. Then he ran north on First Avenue.The suspect is described as white, 20 to 25 years old, 5’8″, 140 lbs.; and was wearing a dark colored shirt and blue jeans.

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 tips online or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.