Man arrested for East Village home invasion

Burglary suspect Tyler Lockett

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested Louisiana resident Tyler Lockett, 22, on Tuesday in connection with a home invasion that took place in the East Village earlier this summer.

According to the NYPD, Lockett followed a 21-year-old woman into her apartment building near East 12th Street and Avenue A on Friday, July 26 around 1:45 a.m. The victim later told the New York Post that Lockett had wrapped his arm around her throat while she was trying to open her door, causing her to briefly lose consciousness.

Police said that Lockett also forcefully pushed his way into her apartment and grabbed her, told her to shut up and allegedly threw her to the ground while covering her mouth to prevent her from screaming.

The victim’s 22-year-old roommate, who was home at the time and had been sleeping, woke up and encountered Lockett, who then allegedly fled the scene. Police said that he was last seen fleeing on foot near East 11th Street and First Avenue.

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Local writers wanted for monthly meetups

East Village Wordsmiths has been hosted at Ciao for Now on East 12th Street for the last year.

By Sabina Mollot and Maria Rocha-Buschel

For the past year, a group of writers led by Stuyvesant Town resident Leigh Anne O’Connor have been meeting monthly at East Village restaurant Ciao for Now where they take turns reading from new works.

In recent months the writing workshop, dubbed the East Village Wordsmiths, has grown in numbers, though O’Connor said there is still plenty of room for more.

“It would be great to have a steady group of performers,” she said. “Sometimes we’re there and we have an hour and 20 minutes but sometimes we’re done inside an hour. I want it to expand into having a solid show.”

O’Connor, who works as a lactation consultant for breastfeeding mothers, says she had been doing writing on the breastfeeding and other issues that involved raising children. One of her motivations for starting the group, though, came from a writing class that she took at the Tribeca 92nd Street Y where she got the opportunity to perform some of her work.

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Rivera announces tools for small businesses

Councilmember Carlina Rivera announced the new tools for small businesses in front of vacant storefronts on East 9th Street last week. (Photos courtesy of Councilmember Rivera’s office)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

City Councilmember Carlina Rivera joined neighborhood organizations outside vacant storefronts on East 9th Street on Tuesday, July 30 to announce new initiatives to help small businesses in the East Village, including an app that connects residents to local businesses in the neighborhood.

Renaissance EDC, Asian Americans for Equality, Village Alliance, Cooper Square Committee, East Village Community Coalition and the East Village Independent Merchants Association joined Rivera for the announcement that the East Village Revitalization Loan Fund will be offering East Village business owners the opportunity to borrow up to $50,000 with fixed interest rates lower than what small business owners would be able to secure through a normal loan provider. Renaissance EDC is an affiliate of Asian Americans for Equality.

The loans can be used for restocking inventory, purchasing new equipment or furniture, payroll, storefront improvements or renovations, marketing and other typical high-cost capital needs.

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New book explores old gangs of the East Village

By Sabina Mollot

Long before it became the birthplace of punk rock, and later home to a glut of luxury high-rises, the East Village was a stronghold of Italian-American mafia activity. The roughly seven-decade-long era began around 1920, with organized crime activity taking place at local haunts of the day like Luciano’s Palm Casino on East 4th Street as well as the more seemingly innocuous Di Robertis Pasticceria on First Avenue.

The local angle as well as the monopoly on crime in the area during this period – mostly heroin trafficking — was of interest to Thomas F. Comiskey, a Stuyvesant Town native who had a long career as a supervisor and investigator with the New York City Department of Investigations. Following his recent retirement, Comiskey wrote and self-published a nonfiction book on the subject, called The East Village Mafia.

“When I worked for the NYC Department of Investigations, my leisure reading was mob books,” Comiskey explained. “As I read them I noticed that over all the situations and dates and people and places and eras, there was always something inevitably leading to the East Village. It’s been told in a general sense, but I don’t think the importance of the East Village gangs was known.”

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Opinion: Check your eligibility for the Croman restitution fund

By State Senator Brad Hoylman

Notorious landlord Steve Croman first made the Village Voice’s Worst Landlords list in 1998. He made it again in 2003. And again in 2006.

The landlord equivalent of teflon, Croman terrorized tenants, dragging them into protracted court battles. Tenants lived in dangerous and intolerable conditions. Croman pled guilty to grand larceny and other felony charges in 2017. He was released from jail in 2018, only to buy a building this year on the other side of my district that is home to the historic White Horse Tavern.

Croman is just one of many bad actors who, eager to recoup on their substantial real estate investments, resorted to abusive and exploitative tactics to drive out rent-regulated tenants. They made millions. Many of them went unpunished.

Croman, for his part, was at least forced to pay $8 million in restitution funds—the largest ever monetary settlement with an individual landlord—to the thousands of rent regulated tenants he tormented and preyed upon to evict them from their homes and convert their units to market rate apartments.

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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 Village tours spotlight where movies and TV shows are filmed

One of the tour’s stops is St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, which appeared in “A Beautiful Mind” and “Two Week’s Notice.” (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

When Georgette Blau started leading tours based on locations in movies and television shows 20 years ago, the internet had some information floating around about filming locations, but it was often inaccurate. Now, blogs and Twitter accounts by the dozens share a constant stream of information about movie sets popping up in New York, but Blau, who organized her first tours using books on the topic, said that those hard sources are still more reliable.

“To this day, I’ve found that the books are more accurate,” she said. “There are so many books written about film locations.”

To celebrate the anniversary for the company, On Location Tours, Blau has organized a walking tour of the East Village to visit some of the many sites in the neighborhood that have been used in movies and TV shows throughout the years. The tour visits 35 locations from 50 different TV shows and movies, including a location in the new movie, “Late Night,” which isn’t out yet. The tour starts at the Puck Building on Lafayette and East Houston Street, heads north to East 11th Street and loops back down.

“Even if they haven’t seen the movie or show it’s in, it gets people excited when something was filmed here and then they look out for that show or movie to come out,” Blau said, noting that the company has also been working with studios and locations scouts to include behind-the-scenes info on the tours.

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Man fights off sexual assault in East Village apartment

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who tried to sexually assault another man in the victim’s apartment on East 13th Street and Avenue B.

The victim, a 37-year-old man, and the other man met at a bar on Monday at about 2:30 a.m. and the victim invited him home. Once there, the other man tried to sexually assault the victim, who managed to push off his attacker and kick him, and the man left the apartment.

At some point, the guest also stole the victim’s laptop, a tablet, around 25 computer hard drives, a jacket, a wallet, an ID and keys before fleeing on Avenue B.

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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.

Man robbed at gunpoint on East 13th Street

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for a gunman who robbed a 28-year-old man in the East Village at around 5:45 a.m. on Thursday.

The victim was in front of 201 Second Avenue and East 13th Street when a man turned a gun on him and demanded his phone. The victim refused and kept walking and the mugger hit him several times on his head before fleeing emptyhanded. The victim was treated for multiple cuts at Bellevue Hospital.

The suspect is described as black and 20-30 years old and was last seen wearing a yellow/blue hooded jacket, black pants and gray sneakers.

 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.

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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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.

Singer Garland Jeffreys’ tips for aspiring musicians

Dec28 Garland Jeffreys

Stuyvesant Town rock singer Garland Jeffreys (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, October 22, Stuyvesant Town rock singer Garland Jeffreys will be performing a concert at a fundraiser for the 14th Street Y, where he, his wife Claire and daughter Savannah are longtime members.

It will be the first of a few local concerts coming up for the singer, following a recent tour through Europe to promote his last album, “14 Steps to Harlem.”
Now in the early writing stages for his next album, to be called, “Dash of Soul,” and fundraising for a documentary about his career, Jeffreys, 75, spoke with Town & Village to share tips for new and aspiring musicians.

“I’m always happy to talk to people who are starting out,” he said, adding that starting out means picking a musical direction to take.

“What kinds of songs do they want to write? Love songs, protest songs or a Dylan-esque area?” he asked. “They should work and work and work on the music and not take it for granted. I tell stories about different things, like race, like my childhood, my passions.”
In recent years, Jeffreys has been known to do many concerts in people’s homes, which he recommends doing as well as finding local venues like bars.

“If you’re starting out, anywhere is a good place to start,” said Jeffreys. “Just get your guitar and get your keyboard and get to practicing and that’s how your songwriting evolves.”

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Suspect arrested for robbery at Mona’s Bar and others

Oct11 Mona's

Mona’s Bar

By Sabina Mollot

Police have arrested a 29-year-old man in connection with four armed robberies, including a holdup at a bar near Stuyvesant Town.

Police said the suspect, Sanjay McBayne of Carroll Street in Brooklyn, was arrested on Saturday after police received a tip through the Crime Stoppers hotline.

Police said the most recent incident was on Thursday, October 4 at around 2 a.m., when McBayne strolled into Mona’s Bar and Grill at 224 Avenue B between East 13th and 14th Streets, and turned a gun on an employee, demanding cash. After getting away with $700, he allegedly fled towards 14th Street.

The other incidents were all in Brooklyn. From September 26 to October 3, McBayne allegedly hit three businesses, a Duane Reade, Kilo Bravo nightclub and a Metro PCS store. Police said in those three alleged robberies, he approached an employee and then threatened the victim with a gun, netting a total of $815.

McBayne has been charged with four counts of robbery.