Ten rescued after sea plane crashes in East River

July27 seaplane rescue

Sea plane passenger rescue in action (Photo courtesy of NYC’s official website)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The NYPD rescued 10 people on the East River last Friday afternoon when a sea plane took a hard landing near East 23rd Street around 5:30 p.m. Police told CBS New York that the East Hampton-bound plane tried to take off three times but failed, and the nine passengers and the plane’s pilot were evacuated by the NYPD Harbor Unit.

FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala said at a press conference following the incident that struts supporting the left wing broke, which caused the aircraft to slant when it landed in the river.

Officials did not have further information on what caused the initial problems when the plane was attempting to take off, but Gala said that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the incident.

TV producer Bill Lawrence, creator of “Scrubs” and “Spin City,” was one of the nine passengers rescued, along with his daughter. He told the news outlets at the scene that the plane seemed to reach an altitude of about 20 feet after trying to take off twice before it came down hard onto the river following the third attempt. Lawrence didn’t film the crash itself but posted photos on Instagram and Twitter showing the cockeyed plane with a wing partially submerged in the water.

Fly Tailwind, the plane’s operator, did not respond to a request for comment.



Kips Bay fire that killed two dogs was electrical

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A fire in Kips Bay that killed two dogs but left no residents injured was electrical, the FDNY said.

A spokesperson for the FDNY told Town & Village there was a problem with the electrical wiring in the ceiling of a fourth-floor apartment.

The fire had broken out in a four-story building at 122 Lexington Avenue on Monday, the day after Christmas.

The New York Post reported that the blaze started in a fourth floor apartment of the building, which is near East 28th Street, and spread to the third floor and roof, also damaging a restaurant on the ground.

Officials told the Post that residents were not able to return to their apartments on the third and fourth floors on Monday night but apartments on the second floor may still have been habitable.

The FDNY said that the fire started around 6 p.m. and was under control about 20 minutes later. Three firefighters were sent to Bellevue with non-life-threatening injuries.

Fire at NYU Langone Medical Center

NYU Langone Medical Center’s main campus at 550 First Avenue (Photo courtesy of NYU Langone)

NYU Langone Medical Center’s main campus at 550 First Avenue (Photo courtesy of NYU Langone)

By Sabina Mollot and Maria Rocha-Buschel

A fire broke out at the NYU Langone Medical Center on Wednesday at around noon, on a construction site at the facility.

A spokesperson for the hospital said it was not a patient area and no patients were injured in the fire, which was extinguished by 1 p.m.

The fire started on the seventh floor rooftop where a new hospital building, scheduled to open in 2018, is under construction.

According to spokesperson Lisa Grenier, the fire was confined to this area. However, as a precaution, some patients in rooms on the north side of Tisch Hospital facing the construction were moved to the south side of the floor.

“They have since been located back to their rooms,” Grenier said. “Currently we are investigating cause and the extent of damage.”

An emailed alert from the city said area residents should expect smoke, traffic delays due to the presence of emergency responders. Neighbors were advised to close their windows and not linger outside.

The hospital is located at First Avenue and East 30th Street.

Three PCV buildings lose power, since restored, due to smoke condition in wiring

(Photo via Wikipedia)

(Photo via Wikipedia)

By Sabina Mollot

On Friday, an electrical short in some underground wiring caused a power outage in three buildings in Peter Cooper Village.

At around 12:20 a.m. the short caused smoke to start billowing out of two manhole covers located between 2 Peter Cooper Road and 510 East 23rd Street, according to a Facebook post from property management. The buildings 3, 4 and 5 Peter Cooper Road were then left without power and heat.

A resident at 3 Peter Cooper told Town & Village she was told by public safety officers that there was a transformer fire impacting the building. However, a spokesperson for the FDNY couldn’t confirm the presence of fire as opposed to just smoke conditions to T&V.

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Kips Bay fire displaces residents on Thanksgiving weekend


A firefighter at the scene (Photos by Michelle Deal Winfield)


By Michelle Deal Winfield

Residents were forced to flee their apartments when a fire broke out at a five-story building on Friday morning.

The blaze began at 238 East 24th Street at around 3:45 a.m. on the fourth and fifth floors, and soon smoke filled the air for blocks.

As firefighters fought to control the blaze, one resident was in front of the building in tears, wondering how she could salvage her clothing and valuables. The building’s owner was at the scene comforting residents concerned about their belongings. A couple visiting a relative said the woman’s cousin and his fiancée lived there but were vacationing in New Hampshire during the holidays.

One of the firefighters at the scene commented, “We were lucky here. Most of the residents were away on vacation. No one was hurt.”

After firefighters vented the roof; the fire was located and shortly before 5 a.m., it was extinguished. A spokesperson for the FDNY said the cause was still under investigation. Over 100 firefighters had responded to the fire.

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On 50th anniversary, FDNY remembers the 23rd Street fire


By Sabina Mollot

Fifty years ago on Monday, October 17, twelve firefighters lost their lives battling a blaze in Flatiron, making the date the deadliest the department would ever know until 9/11.

The fire, which was hidden at first due to illegal building alterations, had prevented firefighters from knowing just what a dangerous situation they were in for.

On Monday, dozens of fire officials and rank and file, along with family members of the fallen firemen, gathered at the Flatiron Plaza for a remembrance ceremony and then a wreath laying at the site of the fire at the corner of 23rd Street and Broadway. Today, it’s home to a high-rise residential building with a plaque alongside it memorializing the deceased firemen.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro spoke at the ceremony about how the 1966 fire is still a big part of training for firefighters today.

“Every probationary firefighter learns about this in the academy; 23rd Street has been the subject of countless drills,” the commissioner said. “This was the department’s darkest tragedy… and remained so until 9/11.”

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

Accident1 cropped

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.

E. 14th St. firehouse gets renovated

The firehouse on East 14th Street was empty this week.

The firehouse on East 14th Street was empty this week.

By Sabina Mollot

The firehouse at 340 East 14th Street known as Engine 5 is getting a makeover.

The station, which is marked by a flag announcing its 150-year legacy over the bright red building, was being emptied out this week, an eagle-eyed reader informed T&V. The reader, who’d passed by on Monday, and snapped this photo, witnessed as a moving truck was parked outside while the firehouse appeared empty.

Town & Village then reached out to the FDNY to ask if the firehouse would be shut down or relocated but got no answer.

However, a man who answered the door for our reporter later said it was just in the midst of a renovation. The man, who said he was a contractor, said things were already being moved back into the building, where all three floors are apparently “all new.” Asked where the firefighters were during the project, he said they were sharing space with another firehouse though he didn’t know which one.

Landmarked Flatiron church gutted by fire

Police at the scene of the fire at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava closed off the block in case the destroyed church on West 25th Street collapsed. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Police at the scene of the fire at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava closed off the block in case the destroyed church on West 25th Street collapsed. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A four-alarm fire gutted a Serbian Orthodox church at 24 West 25th Street on Sunday evening, following services earlier that day that took place for Orthodox Easter. Because the services ended earlier in the afternoon, no one was inside the church at the time the fire broke out around 6:50 p.m. but the blaze left the interior of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava in shambles, burning the roof off of the landmarked structure that has been in the neighborhood since 1855. FDNY said that one civilian and four firefighters were taken to Bellevue Hospital for smoke inhalation and no other injuries were reported.

Police at the scene on Monday morning said that the street would be closed until investigators could determine that the remaining part of the building still standing was structurally sound and wouldn’t collapse. The officer noted that a collapse was unlikely but the street remained closed as a precaution. Only employees working at buildings on the street were allowed past the police barricades. FDNY noted on Wednesday morning that the cause is still under investigation but the fire is considered non-suspicious.

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Man arrested after crashing taxi, injuring other driver on 1st Ave.

Ilir Kuka was arrested after allegedly driving off in the cab he’d been riding in, going the wrong direction and hitting a minivan. (Pictured) Emergency responders at the scene (Photo by Steve Kaufman)

Ilir Kuka was arrested after allegedly driving off in the cab he’d been riding in, going the wrong direction and hitting a minivan. (Pictured) Emergency responders at the scene (Photo by Steve Kaufman)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 25-year-old Ilir Kuka for crashing a taxi into a minivan in front of Stuyvesant Town, injuring the mini-van’s driver. Kuka was not a cabbie, but allegedly drove off in the cab he’d been riding in after getting into an argument with the driver, only to go in the wrong direction, causing the accident.

The driver said he’d picked Kuka up in his taxi last Tuesday on Third Avenue between East 10th and 11th Streets around 10:30 p.m. Not long after the driver picked him up, they began to argue, and both men got out of the car. When the driver got out, he left the keys in the ignition and Kuka then allegedly got into the cab and drove away.

The driver said that Kuka drove north on Third Avenue towards East 14th Street, allegedly hitting a woman’s car on the passenger’s side just south of East 14th, causing a large dent. The woman said that he continued driving and she saw him turn right from Third Avenue onto East 15th Street, traveling in the wrong direction on the road.

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Man arrested for fatal hit-and-run on FDR Drive

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have arrested a man for allegedly leaving the scene after a hit-and-run on the FDR Drive that killed Anthony Pham, a 29-year-old San Francisco resident.

Mirsad Dzaferovic, 34, was collared on Saturday morning for the accident that occurred a day earlier, in the early morning, on the northbound side of the FDR near East 28th Street. The FDNY received a call around 12:35 a.m. and police responded to the scene at about 1:05 a.m.

When they got there, officers discovered Pham lying in the roadway with head trauma. Dzaferovic had allegedly left the scene without waiting for police and allegedly continued to drive north on the FDR. Pham was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police tracked down Dzaferovic through vehicle parts, including a mirror and door handle with grey paint, that were scattered in the street close to the victim. A check on the serial number of the parts showed that they were from a Toyota Camry and police recovered a car matching that description that was also missing a side mirror and door handle that was registered to Dzaferovic.

The suspect allegedly told police that he was driving that car at the date, time and location of the crash.

A preliminary investigation found that the victim was either standing on the FDR or attempting to cross the highway when he was hit by the car, but no further information about how he got into the roadway was available.

Man killed in hit-and-run on the FDR

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 29-year-old man was hit by a car and killed in a hit-and-run on the FDR Drive near East 28th Street early on Friday. FDNY received a call around 12:35 a.m. and police responded to the scene, the northbound side, at about 1:05 a.m. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A preliminary investigation found that the victim was either standing on the FDR or was attempting to cross the highway when he was hit by the car, but no further information about how he got into the roadway was available. Police said that he was struck by a dark grey vehicle that did not remain on the scene and continued north. The NYPD said that the investigation is ongoing by the department’s Collision Investigation Squad.

Identification of the victim is pending family notification.

Woman seriously injured by van on Fifth Avenue

Police respond to the scene of the accident at Fifth Avenue and 21st Street. (Photo by Dan Orlando)

Police respond to the scene of the accident at Fifth Avenue and 21st Street. (Photo by Dan Orlando)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 51-year-old woman is in serious condition after a van hit her while she was crossing Fifth Avenue near 21st Street on Monday morning. A spokesperson for the FDNY said that the call about the incident came in at 8:48 a.m. and the victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital. No further information about her condition was made available.

Police said that the victim was crossing the avenue when she was struck by the driver, who was turning left from 21st Street, and it was unclear if she was in the crosswalk at the time of the collision.

According to Gothamist, the driver remained on the scene. Police said that the driver has not been charged.

Police Watch: Man nabbed in burglary pattern, Robbery on Park Avenue South

Police arrested 27-year-old Tracey Mckeever last Saturday and charged him with burglary in connection with an incident that took place last Monday at 21 West 46th Street in the Midtown North precinct. Police said that the incident is part of a pattern in which the suspects entered the commercial locations and removed laptops and other assorted electronics. There have been 13 incidents in all starting on May 7 when there was a burglary at 6 p.m. inside 270 Fifth Avenue. Other incidents took place on Saturday, July 25 at 3 p.m. inside 10 East 33rd Street and on Monday, July 27 at 6 p.m. inside 38 West 32nd Street. Most of the incidents took place in the Midtown North or South precincts, with one in the 20th precinct on the Upper West Side and one in the 19th precinct in the Upper East Side.
The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting TIP577 and their tips to 274637 (CRIMES). All calls are kept strictly confidential.

Police arrested 32-year-old David Fairfax for robbery and assault last Tuesday at 12:08 p.m. at the corner of East 29th Street and Park Avenue South. Fairfax allegedly punched the victim in the face and forcibly grabbed cash from his hands. A canvass was conducted with positive results and Fairfax was arrested.

Police arrested 43-year-old Issac Dozier for assault at the corner of East 15th Street and Union Square West last Friday at 8:43 p.m. Police said that Dozier hit the victim over the head with a cane, causing pain and a cut on the top of his head.

The New York Post reported last Saturday that a firefighter was returning to Ladder 3 on East 13th Street around 3:30 a.m. on Friday when he spotted two men rummaging through his car that was parked in front of the station between Third and Fourth Avenues. Police arrested Jason De Jesus and Andre Kinard, who the firefighter and some of his colleagues detained until officers arrived. De Jesus had allegedly taken a pair of sunglasses and an air freshener out of the car, and police said that he was also in possession of marijuana and cocaine.

Police arrested 35-year-old Ilya Lubasoff for assault at the corner of East 18th Street and Park Avenue South last Tuesday at 1:04 a.m. Police said that the victim was walking along the sidewalk when Lubasoff came up from behind him and punched him on the cheek.

Police arrested 22-year-old Fernando Suarez and 25-year-old Maria Hernandez for forgery inside 106 East 19th Street last Friday at 2:01 a.m. Police said that Suarez and Hernandez went into Pete’s Tavern at 129 East 18th Street and ordered two drinks, then allegedly tried to pay for the drinks with a fake $100 bill. The bartender told the pair that he couldn’t accept it because it was fake, so Hernandez took the bill back and they left. They then went into The Watering Hole at 106 East 19th Street where Suarez allegedly tried to pay for their two drinks with the counterfeit bill, but the bartender said that he couldn’t accept it because the bill was fake. Hernandez took the bill back again just as officers arrived and police said that she attempted to throw it to the ground to get rid of it.

Police arrested 29-year-old Volodymyr Boichuk for petit larceny and possession of stolen property on Tuesday at 8:54 p.m. in front of 60 West 23rd Street. The manager of the store waved down an officer because Boichuk was allegedly removing bicycle seats off of bicycles that were on the sidewalk.

Police arrested 27-year-old Christopher Brinson and 26-year-old Giovanni Holt for criminal trespass inside 224 East 28th Street last Friday at 10:43 a.m. Police said that Brinson and Holt were trespassing inside the 17th floor stairwell and both men said that they didn’t live in the building. They said that they were visiting a friend but police said that attempts were made to contact the friend and he couldn’t be reached. Brinson was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and police said that he had four individually packed bags of mushrooms.

A would-be car thief left behind a trail of blood after trying to break into a BMW that was parked on 32nd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues at 4:30 a.m. on Monday. DNAinfo reported that the 36-year-old homeless man, who was arrested, had badly cut his arm during the break-in and had tried to drive off but gave up because the wound wouldn’t stop bleeding. He got blood on the hood of the car and the driver’s side door, as well as a large pool of blood on the sidewalk when he fled. He was arrested at East 30th Street and Lexington Avenue shortly after the incident.

Police arrested 42-year-old Keith Stenmon for criminal mischief and graffiti last Saturday at 12:55 a.m. in front of 125 West 14th Street. Police said that Stenmon drew on a phone booth with a permanent marker with the intent to damage property.

Eighteen-year-old Xavier Chalas was arrested for assault last Sunday at 9:16 a.m. in front of 118 East 28th Street. The victim told police that he was walking down the street when Chalas allegedly punched him in the nose, causing him to fall to the ground. A witness told police that Chalas was walking down the street and he and the victim started arguing when Chalas suddenly punched him in the face. The victim got a bloody nose and was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Police arrested 33-year-old Dawood Little for menacing in front of 243 East 27th Street last Sunday at 11:24 p.m. Little allegedly raised scissors in a threatening manner, causing a fear of physical injury for the two victims.

Police arrested two teenagers for assault at the Good Shepherd Services residence for girls at 337 East 17th Street last Monday at 12:32 a.m. One of the teens was watching television when the other came up to her and they got into an argument. The teen then punched her and also hit the victim in the face with an unknown object, causing bleeding and a cut that required medical attention. The victim also assaulted the teen who originally attacked her. The names of the teens are being withheld due to their age.

Police arrested 23-year-old Krystal Cintron-Valle for grand larceny inside 60 West 23rd Street last Thursday at 2:53 p.m. Cintron-Valle allegedly stole a gift card worth $1,400 and made purchases on the card on August 22 for $965.97, on August 23 for $272.18 and on August 24 for $97.97.

Fire in PCV injures 5

A firefighter gets ready to enter a fourth floor apartment at 601 East 20th Street. Photo via FDNY)

A firefighter gets ready to enter a fourth floor apartment at 601 East 20th Street. (Photo via FDNY)

By Sabina Mollot

An older resident was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a Peter Cooper Village apartment on Friday. The blaze, which the Fire Department got the call about at 5:13 p.m. took 29 minutes to get under control, with 20 units and 78 firefighters at the scene.

The resident, James Masterson, has been treated and released and is now fine, according to a woman who works for the couple as a caretaker. She wasn’t working at the apartment that day but said Masterson and his wife Bernadette were both home at the time the fire broke out.

“He inhaled smoke, but he’s fine now; they’re both fine,” she said.

The address where the fire broke out was on the fourth floor at 601 East 20th Street, which is on Avenue C.

The FDNY said that after the fire, four firefighters were taken to different local hospitals with minor injuries and one civilian was also taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition. The FDNY said it couldn’t confirm that it was Masterson or even the age of the patient.

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