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

 

 

Bus stop removal1.jpg

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: Burglar hits Immaculate Conception Church, Former Beth Israel doctor sentenced

Compiled by Maria Rocha-Buschel

BURGLAR HITS IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH
Police are looking for a burglar who stole $11,000 in cash from the rectory at Immaculate Conception Church. The man entered the church at 414 East 14th Street on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. and then went into a bedroom located on the third floor rectory where he took the money from a nightstand, cops said. He is described as a light skinned man who was wearing a black baseball hat, brown shorts, white sneakers and a red t-shirt. Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting TIP577 and their tips to 274637(CRIMES).

FORMER BETH ISRAEL DOCTOR CONVICTED
Lawrence Levitan, 58, was sentenced to six months of jail time and 1,000 hours of community service this past Tuesday. The former Beth Israel Medical Center ob-gyn pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the third degree this past February. At trial, he admitted to stealing $268,000 from the hospital by diverting insurance checks and cheating on his taxes.

CRAIGSLIST-SCAMMED IN COFFEE SHOP
Police arrested 24-year-old Dequaan Brown for a robbery inside the restaurant Coffee Shop at 29 Union Square West last Saturday at 2 p.m. A 26-year-old man told police that he was meeting Brown to buy a Galaxy 5 phone from him. He originally spoke to someone named Carlos that he found through Craigslist. They had agreed to meet in Union Square for the transaction but Carlos then called the victim at 1:45 p.m. and told him that he wouldn’t be able to make it but that his partner Dequaan would meet him instead. The victim told Carlos that he would wait for Dequaan in the Coffee Shop near the park. A few minutes later, the victim got a text from Brown asking for the location of the restaurant. When he arrived, he asked the victim if he had the money for the phone and after the victim gave him $400 in cash, Brown allegedly said, “I have a gun in my duffel bag. Don’t chase me.” He then walked out of the restaurant calmly and the victim followed him to the train station. They both ended up on a downtown Q train and the victim then asked the conductor to stop the train. The conductor stopped the train at Canal Street and the train doors opened, giving Brown the opportunity to run again. He allegedly attempted to flee but ran into two officers from the First Precinct. The victim told the police, “That’s the guy,” and Brown was arrested and brought back to the 13th Precinct.

NEIGHBOR HARASSMENT IN 19 STUY OVAL
A resident of 19 Stuyvesant Oval reported last Monday at 3:38 p.m. that she has been continually harassed by a neighbor in her building. She told police that she received two text messages from him and she was alarmed by the messages because they made no sense and were sexually explicit. She said that she ran into him on the street at East 18th Street and First Avenue. He started talking to her and made no sense, saying that she was yelling when she wasn’t and he told her, “You’re just another Jew.” The victim was alarmed by the incident and said anything else happens, she said that she wants to file an order of protection.

KNIFE PULLED AT WATERSIDE PLAZA
Police arrested 60-year-old Angel Fuentes for menacing inside 40 Waterside Plaza last Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Police responded to the scene and a 55-year-old man told them that Fuentes allegedly came out of his apartment, displaying a kitchen knife and menaced him with it. At that point, the victim called the police and then met them in the lobby. Fuentes wasn’t in his apartment by the time police came but after conducting a canvass, they found him in the front of the building. He was also allegedly in possession of a small bag of marijuana.

‘PERVS’ NABBED IN UNION SQUARE
Police arrested two men for unlawful surveillance at the Union Square subway station last week. Thirty-seven-year-old Marquis Traynham was arrested last Thursday at 8:55 a.m. Traynham allegedly put an electronic recording device under the skirt of multiple women on a downtown 6 train and the subway stairs while the women were leaving the station. Police arrested 35-year-old Jose Quezada Veloz last Friday at 6:39 p.m. Veloz was seen standing directly under the right side of the stairs leading to the downtown 4/5/6 platform and he was allegedly looking up the skirts of women going up and down the stairs and also had his cell phone in video mode pointed directly under a woman’s skirt with the lens facing up.

HIT-AND-RUN ON EAST 23RD
A 48-year-old man reported that he was involved in a car accident opposite 400 East 23rd Street last Thursday at 10:05 a.m. He told police that he was driving west on East 23rd Street when a woman in a white sedan struck his car, causing him to hit a parked car. She then fled the scene west and onto First Avenue. There were no injuries and no arrests were made.

MOTORCYCLE STOLEN ON EAST 14TH
A 24-year-old man reported that his motorcycle was stolen after he parked it in front of 655 East 14th Street at midnight last Wednesday. He told police that he parked the bike there and when he went to retrieve it later on Wednesday, the bike was gone. The tow pound had no record of the bike being towed and Stuy Town security said that their cameras don’t face the area where the bike was removed from.

BAG STOLEN IN STUYVESANT SQUARE PARK
A 13-year-old boy reported that his bag while he was in Stuyvesant Square Park at the northeast corner of Perlman Place and East 15th Street last Friday at 2:45 p.m. He told police that he put his bag on a bench and walked around the park. When he went back to the bench, his bag, which contained his iPhone, Nintendo 3DS, a Pokemon game and school supplies, was gone.

FOUR NABBED IN BRAWL OUTSIDE STUY TOWN
Police arrested 42-year-old Christopher Todd, 39-year-old Anika Reynolds, 33-year-old Eric Gersbeck and another individual for assault in front of 647 East 14th Street last Thursday at 8:34 a.m. The four allegedly got into a fight in front of Stuyvesant Town. All of them sustained minor scratches and refused medical attention at the scene.

CYCLIST KICKED ON SECOND AVENUE
A 22-year-old cyclist reported that he was assaulted while he was riding his bike at the northeast corner of Second Avenue and East 15th Street last Thursday at 7 p.m. He told police that he was riding his bike and an unknown person kicked him, causing him to fall off the bike and cause minor bleeding due to a cut on his knee. The person then fled in an unknown direction and no arrests have been made.

IPHONE STOLEN FROM FARMER’S MARKET
A 22-year-old woman reported that her iPhone was stolen while she was in Union Square Park at East 17th Street last Saturday at 5 p.m. She told police that she was working at the farmer’s market and left her cell phone on a table unattended while she went to the bathroom and when she returned, her phone was missing. She said that she tracked the phone and it was located at First Avenue and St. Mark’s Place.

CYCLIST HIT-AND-RUN BY CABBIE
A 44-year-old man reported that he was involved in an accident while he was on his bike in front of 160 West 25th Street last Thursday at 7:30 p.m. He told police that he was riding his bike at the location when a taxi hit his bike from the rear. The victim then fell off his bike and got a bruise on his head and hand, and he also complained of back pain. The taxi fled the scene and a canvass was conducted of the area with negative results. The victim could only remember that it was a taxi that hit him and had no other information.

IPHONE STOLEN AT STUY TOWN PARTY
An 18-year-old woman reported that her phone was stolen while she was inside 330 First Avenue on Saturday, May 17 at 11:59 p.m. She told police that she had left the phone inside the apartment while there for a friend’s party and when she went back to retrieve the phone, it was missing. The phone was tracked through “Find my iPhone” to a location in Brooklyn.

MAN BUSTED FOR KNIFE AT FIRST AVE L
Police arrested 28-year-old Nicholas Kleoudis for criminal possession of a weapon last Saturday at 11:28 p.m. at the First Avenue L station. Kleoudis allegedly had a black metal clip attached to his front right pants pocket and upon further investigation, it was determined to be a gravity knife, police said.

ARREST MADE FOR ‘POT’ POSSESSION
Police arrested 29-year-old Anthony Womack for unlawful possession of marijuana last Saturday at 4:20 p.m. in the Union Square station. Womack was sitting on the steps in the station, blocking passenger movement. When asked, he had no form of identification to give the police and a bag of alleged marijuana was recovered from his left front pants pocket.

NO ARRESTS IN EAST 15TH ST. TAUNTING
A 41-year-old woman reported that she was harassed at the northeast corner of East 15th Street and the FDR on Sunday, May 18 at 4:30 p.m. She told police that someone approached her, pulled her hair and then ran away. When she confronted him, he told her, “We were playing a game.”

MTA gets earful about L train and station crowding

Straphangers head upstairs to exit the First Avenue L station on a recent morning. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Straphangers head upstairs to exit the First Avenue L station on a recent morning. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Representatives from the Metropolitan Transit Authority made an appearance at Community Board 6’s most recent transportation committee meeting to discuss the lack of distinguishing lights on SBS buses and the ongoing issue of overcrowding at the First Avenue L train station.

Residents at the meeting said that their concerns were more about dangerous conditions at the station due to the crowds, rather than it just being a nuisance.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” said one Stuyvesant Town resident at the meeting. “It’s routinely dangerous and way beyond annoying because everyone masses at the station’s exits.”

Others at the meeting agreed, adding that on top of the station’s increasing popularity as more people have moved to Williamsburg, the lack of multiple exits results in commuters packing the end of the train and causing hazardous conditions on the platform because of the pushing and shoving of the crowd.

“We acknowledge that (there are overcrowding problems),” Rob Marino, the MTA deputy director of government and community relations, said in response. “The station was built in 1924 and was probably not designed for the level of service that it receives now.”

Transportation committee member Fred Arcaro asked about the possibility of conducting a study to increase the number of trains but according to MTA representative Marcus Book, there have been studies done determining when the train is the busiest and the L is already running at capacity at those times, he said.

Stuy Town resident and Transportation Committee Member Larry Scheyer asked about the possibility of building another entrance to the station at Avenue A in an attempt to balance out the crowds. CB6 Chair Sandro Sherrod added that there was discussion in CB6 about four years ago about L train crowding at the station and the MTA had discussed the possibility of doing a feasibility study on an eastern entrance for the station. But both Marino and Book said that there were no plans for such a study at the moment and although they understand it’s a problem, building an entirely new entrance is an “expensive proposition.” They had no other information about solutions for the time being, other than to say that the issue was “on the radar.”

Meanwhile, area residents also shared their concerns about the SBS blue lights with the MTA reps.

A lack of the flashing blue lights that used to announce the impending arrival of the SBS express buses have been a problem for bus riders since Staten Island representatives pressured the MTA to turn them off at the end of 2012. SBS buses were put into service in 2008 and the lights caused no problems until Staten Island got its first SBS bus in late 2012 and then-MTA commissioner Joe Lhota agreed to turn them off at the beginning of 2013.

Marino said at the meeting that at the time SBS routes were initially rolled out, the NYPD had no problems with the flashing blue lights on the front of the buses, but Staten Island representatives later protested the lights, saying that they were too similar to volunteer emergency vehicles and were causing too much confusion for drivers.

Since the lights were turned off about a year ago, the MTA has been trying to work with the State DMV to find an alternative but have had no luck so far, as most other light colors are also reserved for emergency vehicles by law.

Local elected officials have introduced legislation that would allow purple lights and although it will be reintroduced in the next Assembly and State Senate sessions, Staten Island representatives have said that they oppose any lights for the vehicles.

As a result of the difficulty in getting the lights restored, the MTA has been exploring other options.

“We’re looking into doing things that are not regulated by the state and will hopefully be able to do something to designate (SBS buses),” Marino said. He added that the MTA is coming up with such a plan, one that doesn’t involve lights at all. He wasn’t able to give any details at the meeting but said that he was hoping they would be able to announce the plan soon.