Sinkhole on E. 23rd turns into gurgling tub

July27 Sinkhole July25

Men work at the sinkhole on the bike lane at 23rd Street and the East River on Tuesday. (Photo by Janet Handal)

By Sabina Mollot

A sinkhole that’s been on the bike lane at 23rd Street along the East River for weeks now has grown from being a few feet across to a ten-foot-wide gurgling geyser. It has also been an active worksite manned by a plumbing crew from the Economic Development Corporation, which manages the nearby city-owned Skyport garage. It’s a broken, leaking pipe underneath the garage that has been blamed for the problem.

Town & Village first reported on the sinkhole last week, when a then two-week-old 311 complaint had yet to spur any action from the city. The relevant city agencies finally arrived at the scene last Wednesday evening (following T&V’s press time) to barricade off the area. Additionally, at that time, a spokesperson for the DEP told us the Skyport garage had been ordered to fix the pipe as well as well as the sinkhole.

But by Tuesday evening of this week, a spokesperson for the EDC, Shavone Williams, still couldn’t say exactly when the damaged water line would be fixed, although the expectation was sometime this week. Williams added that the EDC was planning with the Department of Environmental Preservation to shut down a main on Wednesday morning so contractors could repair the line and repave the surface later in the week. Until it’s repaired, Williams said, the crew would remain onsite and keep the area surrounding the water hole secured with cones and tape.

Meanwhile, water service was completely shut off at Waterside Plaza on Wednesday by 8:30 a.m., according to the management office. General Manager Peter Davis said he didn’t know if it was related to the sinkhole, since the property hadn’t gotten a notice from any agency. UPDATE at 10:54 a.m. Water service has been restored to Waterside, and a DEP representative said the agency was looking into why it happened and why residents were not notified.

Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association, first reported the sinkhole to the city on July 5, fearing it would become a deathtrap for cyclists and the usual crowds of people headed to the party boats at the marina next to the garage.

However, there was no visible response from the city on the growing hole until Handal reached out to a number of city agencies and elected officials as well as Town & Village. Only then did teams from the DEP and the Department of Transportation arrive to completely barricade off the sinkhole, which had been only partially surrounded by tape.

As of this Tuesday, Handal said it didn’t appear the workers knew yet where the water main actually was. After stopping by the site, Handal said she was shocked by the force and sound of the gushing water in the hole, as thick cords from six water pumps snaked their way inside. The width of the hole, which had originally just been in the bike lane, had stretched across two traffic lanes by then. This may have been done intentionally to allow the workers access, however.

Based on her observations, though, the water pumps didn’t appear to be doing much. She said she was told by a worker that the EDC was waiting for the DEP to turn off the water and that the collapsed pipe was believed to be about 80 years old.

Letters to the editor, May 19

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

More money than brains

Back in the time when human beings were bought and sold to provide free labor and other perks for their owners, I imagine that slaves wore clothes that were basically old, tattered jeans handed down to others. Nowadays, people of all races, ages, genders and nationalities are wearing “shabby chic” jeans that are ripped, torn and threadbare. These jeans are extremely tight on females or too loose on males as evidenced by some men’s exposed jockey/boxer shorts or plumber’s crack. In addition, these shabby jeans now have permanent fake mud stains. In fact, I believe Nordstrom’s is selling these “filthy jeans” for $425.

Who can afford these jeans? Probably those who will benefit from Trump’s tax “plan,” which redirects our investing in clean air/water/food, health care, education, scientific research and our citizens’ pursuit of happiness to investing our taxes in corporations and the ultra-wealthy One Percent who stand to pocket hundreds of thousands so a few bucks can “trickle down” (a Trump fave) to the rest of us. He revealed a tax plan so simple it fits on a single 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, unlike his own personal taxes, which, if he’d reveal them, would speak volumes.

Continue reading

Garodnick: East Side Coastal Resiliency plans could leave Watersiders stranded

Councilman Dan Garodnick and Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal are concerned about a potential lack of vehicle access to Waterside Plaza in the event of an emergency. (Photo courtesy of Waterside Plaza)

Councilman Dan Garodnick and Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal are concerned about a potential lack of vehicle access to Waterside Plaza in the event of an emergency. (Photo courtesy of Waterside Plaza)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Councilmember Dan Garodnick said he’s concerned that plans for the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, which is aimed at protecting the East Side in the event of a disaster, will block vehicle access to Waterside Plaza.

He mentioned this in testimony he gave on the draft scope of work for the environmental impact statement that will be done for the ESCR Project, on Monday.

Each alternative design for the ESCR has a set of barriers that would block the northbound FDR Drive service road at 23rd Street when deployed in the event of a flood. Garodnick pointed out that the barriers would then be blocking the only point of vehicle access to Waterside Plaza, which would block access for emergency vehicles, buses and trucks to the complex.

Continue reading

Elevated park option for East River waterfront

Those in attendance at the  meeting last Tuesday sat at tables while the pros and cons of each option for the project were discussed. (Pictured) Guests seated before the presentation began (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Those in attendance at the meeting last Tuesday sat at tables while the pros and cons of each option for the project were discussed. (Pictured) Guests seated before the presentation began (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

 By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Neighborhood residents recently learned that the East River may be getting a new elevated park along with flood protection. The discussion about the park took place at the most recent workshop for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, held at the Stein Senior Center last Tuesday. Representatives from the mayor’s office and BIG U, the winning design firm in the Rebuild by Design competition in 2013, said that this type of flood protection was one of the most popular with residents, according to feedback from the community at the previous workshop in May.

Carrie Grassi, senior policy adviser at the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, also discussed the three options for flood protection in the area along the East River between 14th and 23rd Streets, which includes a berm, which would have a park on top, a flood wall or a deployable, and noted that community members saw the advantages of all three depending on the area.

The area along the river from 14th to 23rd is known as Project Area 2 and Project Area 1 extends south from 14th Street to Montgomery Street. The workshops have been split along these boundaries to focus more on the specific needs of each area.

Grassi noted that there is a need for compromise when considering different characteristics even within each designated project area and the specifics of each kind of flood protection, and they’re hoping the workshops will help find the right balance for Project Area 2.

Continue reading

Local bird’s-eye 4th of July

Fireworks, as seen from Waterside, lit up the night on July 4th. (Photo by Tobias Batz)

Fireworks, as seen from Waterside, lit up the night on July 4th. (Photo by Tobias Batz)

By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, July 4th, with four of Macy’s barges lined up from 23rd to 37th Streets over the East River, residents at Waterside Plaza enjoyed a particularly enviable view of the fireworks this year.

Throughout the evening, with access limited to residents and their guests, between 5,000 and 6,000 people lined up along the outdoor plaza.

Thousands more lined up just north of Waterside’s towers along the car-free FDR Drive. Another fireworks display took place further downtown near the Brooklyn Bridge. Before the sky filled with the familiar flash and boom though, at Waterside, festivities also included a barbecue on the plaza for residents and various kids’ activities.

During this time, Town & Village spoke with residents to ask about what July 4th has been like there over the years.

Continue reading

Fireworks viewing spots, street closures on July 4th

(Photo by Sabina Mollot)

(Photo by Sabina Mollot)

With the July 4th Macy’s fireworks show on the East Side this year, it may be viewed in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn from any area with an unobstructed view of the sky above the East River.

The public viewing sections for Manhattan will be the elevated portions of FDR Drive with the following entry points:

From Houston Street to midtown: Houston Street, 23rd Street, 34th Street and 42nd Street.

From Lower Manhattan: Broad Street ground level, Old Slip upper level, Pearl and Frankfort.

ADA /Special Needs Viewing Area:

FDR Drive southbound lane at 16th Street and Avenue C or 34th Street (top of ramp) and Vietnam Memorial Park

Stuy Town and Waterside alerts:

Waterside Plaza will be holding a party that’s closed to anyone who isn’t a resident or a guest with a wristband. Wristband access only times are 12 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Deadline to register for wristbands is 2 p.m. on July 2.

Additionally, the NYPD will be closing streets to traffic around Stuyvesant Town. CompassRock issued a notice to tenants saying 14th, 20th and 23rd Streets from First Avenue to Avenue C will be closed to vehicular traffic from 6 p.m. to midnight. Peter Cooper Road and Stuy Town’s Loop Roads will also be closed from 6 p.m. to midnight. Avenue C and the FDR Drive will also be closed from 5 p.m. to midnight. During this time, entrances to Stuy Town will be staffed by Public Safety officers so residents will need to have their ID ready. Gates to Peter Cooper entrances will also be closed from 6 p.m. to midnight but Public Safety officers will be on hand to allow residents access. Guests of residents will be asked which residents and apartments they are visiting. Garages will be inaccessible from 5 p.m. to midnight and playgrounds will be closed at 6 p.m.

UPDATE: We didn’t hear from anyone in time to include this in this week’s issue of Town & Village, but Stuyvesant Cove Park will also be closed during the fireworks, according to a Solar 1 staffer, except for a ticketed event held by Zum Schneider at the north end of the park.

Police Watch: ‘Purse snatcher’ nabbed in Stuy Town, Men busted for ‘gambling’ on E. 22nd St.

‘PURSE SNATCHER’ NABBED IN STUY TOWN
Police arrested 44-year-old Mark Gallop for grand larceny at the 13th Precinct last Monday at 10:45 a.m. Gallop was allegedly on surveillance video of 1 Stuyvesant Oval and was seen in the lobby of the building taking a woman’s purse.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT OF OFFICER
Police arrested 27-year-old Rushelle Exeter for assault of a peace officer last Thursday at 3:07 a.m. While in front of the Bellevue Hospital building at 462 First Avenue, Exeter allegedly bit a police officer on the left forearm, breaking the skin and causing pain. Exeter then spit in the face of another officer, causing irritation and pain, police said.

MEN BUSTED FOR ‘GAMBLING’ ON E. 22ND
Police arrested three men for promoting gambling inside 12 East 22nd Street last Friday at 6:15 p.m. Thirty-eight-year-old Shawn Chaconas, 30-year-old Jason Lee and 26-year-year-old Andrew Chaconas were arrested for promoting an illegal poker game at the location.

TWO CAMERA ‘PERVS’ BUSTED IN UNION SQUARE
Police arrested two men for sexual abuse in the Union Square subway station in unrelated incidents.
Forty-two-year-old Adrian Macareno was arrested last Wednesday at 11:08 a.m. Macareno was allegedly using his cell phone in video mode to record under a girl’s shorts. The girl told police that she didn’t know Macareno and didn’t give him permission to film her.
Fifty-four-year-old Karl Coelho was arrested last Wednesday at 3:47 p.m. Coelho was allegedly walking behind a woman with his cell phone lens facing up and in video mode, filming her private parts while she was walking up the stairs to the street. Coelho failed to appear for his court date on a previous summons and also is on the sexual monitoring list.

‘PERV’ NABBED ON ‘L’ PLATFORM
Police arrested 36-year-old Manuel Zambrano for public lewdness at the Union Square subway station last Saturday at 2:15 p.m. Zambrano was allegedly masturbating with both of his hands inside his jogging pants pocket while on the L platform. He was standing by the staircase on the platform and looking up women’s skirts, police said.

‘PURSE SNATCHER’ NABBED ON E. 15TH
Police arrested 53-year-old Darryl Andrews in front of 118 East 15th Street for grand larceny last Friday at 12:04 a.m. The victim told police that Andrews allegedly grabbed her handbag containing her credit card, money and her cell phone without permission.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR PURSE ‘THEFT’ IN HOSPITAL BATHROOM
Police arrested 46-year-old Mildred Peralta for possession of stolen property last Monday at 12:27 a.m. inside the Hospital for Joint Diseases at 301 East 17th Street. Peralta allegedly told police that she stole someone’s property from a bathroom stall but was going to return it. When the phone was retrieved, it was powered off and the MetroCard that was with it had been removed. Peralta had removed the phone and MetroCard from the victim’s pocketbook, police said.

WOMEN ‘ASSAULT’ CABBIE ON AVE. C
Police arrested 21-year-old Rashyra Autry and 22-year-old Dawnice Cheatham for assault at the corner of Avenue C and East 23rd Street last Sunday at 5:22 a.m. A taxi driver told police that he got into an argument with the two women over a cab ride to New Rochelle and Autry allegedly punched the driver in the face. She also kicked the cab, causing a previous repair of the car’s quarter panel to crack off.

‘TRESPASSING’ NEAR FDR DRIVE
Police arrested 61-year-old Michael Diaz for criminal trespassing in a fenced in area at the FDR and Avenue C last Tuesday at 8:07 a.m. Diaz was allegedly at the location without permission.

MAN BUSTED FOR GIFT CARD ‘THEFT’
Police arrested 46-year-old Anthony Donelson in front of 25 West 14th Street for grand larceny last Wednesday. The address is home to a few retailers, including Guitar Center. Donelson allegedly confessed to a loss prevention officer at the business that over the course of several months, he was making fraudulent gift cards in the amount of $5,039, which were given to unknown people and used at the above location.

‘MENACE’ ARRESTED AT HAO WEI
Police arrested 29-year-old Xian Lin for menacing at the 13th Precinct last Sunday at 4:45 p.m. Lin allegedly entered the Hao Wei restaurant at 493 Second Avenue and punched the victim several times in the face. He also pulled out a knife and threatened the victim, police said.

TWO BUSTED IN DRUG ‘DEAL’ ON EAST 24TH
Police arrested 52-year-old Charles McAtee for possession of a controlled substance in front of 168 East 24th Street last Friday at 9:25 a.m. McAtee allegedly bought eight Xanax tablets from 49-year-old Jose Rivera, who was also arrested for sale of a controlled substance.

MAN BUSTED FOR FAKE PLASTIC
Police arrested 28-year-old George Pauls for forgery inside the Gap at 122 Fifth Avenue last Monday at 2:48 p.m. Pauls allegedly tried to use a forged credit card at the store and was told by the cashier that the card wasn’t valid. Pauls then fled the location, running north on Fifth Avenue, police said. A loss prevention officer followed him and called the police. Pauls was then arrested in front of the store and when he was brought to the precinct, he confessed to using a fraudulent credit card, police said.

UNLICENSED ROCK SALESMAN BUSTED
Police arrested 31-year-old Anwar Knight for violating New York State law in front of 1 Union Square East last Sunday at 2 p.m. Knight was displaying rocks for sale to the public on a folding table without a Department of Consumer Affairs license.

FOOD VENDOR REFUSES TO LEAVE
Police arrested 28-year-old Ahmad Shaker for disorderly conduct at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 23rd Street last Tuesday at 3:17 p.m. Shaker allegedly refused to move his food cart from the corner, which he was asked to do because it presented a hazard at that location. Police said that Shaker was asked to move the cart numerous times and he refused, then engaged in violent and threatening behavior, saying, “F— that, I’m not moving, I don’t care what you gotta say.”

TEENS BUSTED FOR ‘FAKE’ $100’S
Police arrested two teens for forgery in front of 863 Broadway last Tuesday at 6:06 p.m. Eighteen-year-olds Joshua Faust-Gadsden and Quentya Hawkins allegedly tried to purchase items by passing a counterfeit $100 bill to the cashier. The cashier called the police and the teens were stopped nearby. When police searched them, they were allegedly in possession of fake $100 bills.

MAN ARRESTED FOR SELLING SMOKES
Police arrested 53-year-old Richard Zanetti for violating tax law in front of 490 Second Avenue last Tuesday at 10:10 a.m. Zanetti was allegedly on the sidewalk at the location selling a cigarette carton to another unapprehended person. The tax stamp on the carton was from Virginia, police said.

ASSAULT ON PARK AVENUE SOUTH
Police arrested 25-year-old Bryant McNulty for assault at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 28th Street last Sunday at 4:20 a.m. McNulty allegedly punched two people in the face, causing physical injury.