L train’s south side entrance opened at Avenue A

The new entrance on the south side of East 14th Street opened on Monday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A new entrance at Avenue A has opened for the First Avenue L station on the south side of East 14th Street, the MTA announced on Monday. The agency also said that the south entrance at First Avenue will be closed starting on Tuesday, November 11 for structural reconstruction.

The revised timeline for the work at First Avenue was designed to open the new entrances at Avenue A as quickly as possible with temporary finishes and then close the entrances at First Avenue for reconstruction on a phased schedule. Two entrances will be open at all times at the station, with the new entrance on the south side of East 14th at Avenue A open while the south side on First Avenue is closed.

The new entrance for the north side of East 14th Street at Avenue A has not opened yet and the MTA hasn’t announced when that entrance will be available, but the new platform-to-street elevators on either side of East 14th Street at Avenue A are estimated to be open by next summer, ahead of schedule.

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Man fatally struck by L train at First Avenue

July28 L train people waiting

Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A man died after being struck by an L train as it barreled into First Avenue on Tuesday afternoon.

The victim, whose name wasn’t released, had been leaning over the tracks just after noon, police said, before the Eighth Avenue-bound train struck him. According to one source, the man jumped, but police said the investigation is ongoing. The Daily News said the victim was a New York University student.

L train service was canceled in both directions after the incident, resuming a couple of hours later with delays.

Cops investigate suspicious package at First Avenue L train station

Aug17 bomb scare

By Sabina Mollot

At around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the NYPD Bomb Squad cordoned off First Avenue near the L train station on East 14th Street and the station itself after getting a 911 call about a suspicious package. However, by 5:40 p.m., the NYPD gave the all clear. As for what the package, which had been seen under a bench on the southbound platform was, a spokesperson for the department said he didn’t know other than “It wasn’t a bomb.” The photo, taken by Stuyvesant Town resident Henry Beck shows a traffic-free First Avenue at around 15th Street at 5:30 p.m. today.


Man gropes woman in Stuyvesant Town elevator

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for a man who groped a 30-year-old woman inside her building in Stuyvesant Town on Tuesday.

Police said that around 5:40 p.m., the suspect followed the victim inside her building, which is located in the vicinity of East 14th Street and the 14th Street Loop. He then followed her into an elevator and got out on the second floor, but as the elevator door was about to close he got back in and pressed the fifth floor button. When the elevator reached the fourth floor, and the victim was getting out, the man grabbed her buttocks under her skirt.

The victim then smacked the man and screamed, but according to cops, the suspect remained in the elevator for a time with the doors closed. He then fled the building in an unknown direction.

Police also believe the suspect had followed the victim as she was walking home from the subway station on 14th Street and First Avenue.

The suspect is described as Asian with a light complexion, approximately 20-27 years of age, 5’4″, 150 lbs., brown eyes, black hair, last seen wearing a black baseball hat, black sneakers, white shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS 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 texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Man made false bomb threat on L train

sept22-false-bomb-threatPolice are looking for a man who made a false bomb threat on the L train on Saturday. At around 5:45 p.m., the man, who was on the L after it left the Bedford Avenue station, yelled out “Bomb!”, then counted down from five and yelled out “boom!”

This was prior to the bomb going off in Chelsea at around 8:30 p.m.

A passenger took a picture of the suspect with her cell phone before she made an exit at the First Avenue station.

The individual is described Hispanic, 30 to 40 years old, 5’10”; and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and blue pants.

Anyone with information in regards 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 Crime stoppers website at http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Police Watch: Officer assaulted at Bellevue, L train ‘Perv’ arrested

Police arrested 46-year-old Brian Smith for assault inside the Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue last Tuesday at 11 a.m. While Smith was waiting for an evaluation from the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP), he allegedly spit on and kicked an officer in the groin, knocking him to the ground. Police said that after he kicked the first officer and another was restraining him, he grabbed the second officer’s hands, twisted her fingers and refused to let go. He allegedly kicked her in the chest, knocking her to the ground as well. Another officer restrained Smith until he could be sedated. The officer who was kicked in the groin was treated at the emergency room for an injury and the other officer received a sprained left wrist as a result of Smith allegedly grabbing her.

Police arrested 27-year-old David Oakley for sexual abuse at the First Avenue L station last Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Police said that Oakley rubbed his groin area on the victim’s buttocks while on a Brooklyn-bound L train. The victim told police that she and Oakley didn’t know each other. Oakley allegedly attempted to flee and ran outside the station but he was apprehended at the main booth. He was also charged with resisting arrest.

Police arrested 35-year-old Ileasia Barrpaul for endangering the welfare of a child inside 344 East 28th Street last Wednesday at 4:37 a.m. Barrpaul, who police said was intoxicated and off her medication, allegedly locked her 10-year-old child outside the apartment and would not allow him back inside. Police said that the child was seen in the hallway missing socks and was unable to care for himself.

Police arrested 26-year-old Percius McKnight and 35-year-old Janaqual Ashaqua for grand larceny auto in front of 15 West 28th Street last Monday at 2:14 a.m. The victim and a witness called police and reported that McKnight and Ashaqua allegedly attempted to remove a 1998 Volvo from in front of the location. When police arrived, McKnight and Ashaqua were still on the scene and were taken into custody.

Police arrested 21-year-old Divene Sanabria for possession of stolen property and an unclassified public health law misdemeanor at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 15th Street last Monday at 3:05 p.m. Police said that Sanabria was at a phone booth in possession of a debit card that didn’t belong to him and after he was searched, he was allegedly found to be in possession of synthetic marijuana. Police said that he also had a bag of K2 in his jacket pocket and a pipe with K2 residue in his duffel bag.

Police arrested a teenager for grand larceny and possession of stolen property in front of 1165 Broadway on Sunday at 11:05 p.m. The victim told police that the teen snatched the cell phone out of her hands while she was walking on the sidewalk. Police searched the area at 10:45 p.m. around West 28th and Broadway and the teen was positively identified by the victim.

Police arrested 39-year-old Kenji Tokunaga for theft of services inside Studio Twenty One at 59 West 21st Street last Wednesday at 12:47 a.m. Police said that Tokunaga refused to pay a bill totaling $316.80 for services rendered.

Police arrested 23-year-old Moises Haiat for assault at the corner of East 17th Street and Park Avenue South on New Year’s Eve at 8:47 a.m. Haiat was a passenger in a cab and got into an argument with the driver after he was driven to the location he requested. Police said that Haiat punched the driver in the face, causing injury to his left eye. The driver refused medical attention at the scene but there was swelling around his eye.

Thirty-year-old Michael Davis was arrested for criminal mischief at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 21st Street last Wednesday at 2:50 a.m. Police said that Davis was in a cab and got into an argument with the driver about the destination. Davis allegedly began to grab at the driver through the open partition, then kicked out the rear passenger window. The driver told police that the window cost more than $250 to fix.

Police arrested 25-year-old Katherine Ramirez for assault inside the 40/40 Club at 6 West 25th Street on New Year’s Day at 3:54 a.m. Police said that Ramirez got into an argument with someone else inside the club and allegedly threw a glass at a witness. Police said that the glass missed the witness but struck someone else in the face, causing an injury.

Police arrested 34-year-old Daunte Berry for disorderly conduct in front of Taj Lounge at 48 West 21st Street on New Year’s Day at 7 a.m. Police said that Berry was acting disorderly by screaming and yelling, and acting in an aggressive manner. When police attempted to put him in custody, he allegedly refused to comply and flailed his arms, refusing to place them behind his back. Berry was also charged with resisting arrest.

Police arrested 36-year-old Claude Harris for assault in front of 135 West 26th Street last Wednesday at 2:06 p.m. Police said that Harris punched the victim in the face, causing a lump on his forehead.

Police arrested 23-year-old Michael Laford for possession of a controlled substance in front of 130 West 26th Street at 12:48 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Laford was snorting alleged cocaine from a key on a public sidewalk.

Police arrested 29-year-old Jamel Johnson for possession of marijuana in front of 230 East 30th Street last Saturday at 11:31 p.m. Police said that Johnson was in possession of a lit marijuana cigar on a public sidewalk.

MTA hoping to fund Ave. A entrance for First Ave. L station

Straphangers exit the L station. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Straphangers exit the L station. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Residents of Stuyvesant Town and Alphabet City received an early Christmas present from the MTA last Thursday when the transit authority announced that a new Avenue A entrance for the L train at the First Avenue station is in the works.

The MTA hasn’t yet secured the $300 million needed for the project, which would also include work at other stations. However, it is seeking the federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) new Core Capacity grant program, which was formed specifically to address issues of system capacity.

There have been requests for an additional entrance at the First Avenue station for at least 50 years, as evidenced by a story in Town & Village in 1964. In the February 27 issue of that year, T&V reported that Federal Republican Club’s subway committee chairman George Comet had argued that the additional entrance was crucial because of new apartments that would soon be completed.

As always, the obstacle was funding. The MTA, officially called the Transit Authority at the time, said that an entrance between Avenues A and B wasn’t possible because the “dollars required” were not available, which at the time would have been $750,000. John Gilhooley, the Transit Authority chief in 1964, told Comet that the TA’s engineering department had conducted a thorough study before arriving at that figure.

Since 1964, the population has only continued to increase, with ridership on the L train skyrocketing because of the growing population in Williamsburg. The MTA reported that more than 300,000 commuters use the L train on an average weekday, an increase of 98 percent since 1998. The MTA said that a new entrance would double capacity for the station and would serve 60 percent of the station’s ridership.

Work on the improvements, which includes changes to both the First Avenue and the Bedford Avenue stations, is expected to take a number of years, with construction on the new First Avenue entrance to begin first.

At a Community Board 6 Transportation Committee meeting almost a year ago, MTA representatives said the agency was considering a feasibility study and residents at the meeting emphasized that the crowds at the station were more than just a nuisance.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” one Stuyvesant Town resident said at the time, noting that the way straphangers congregate at the station’s only exit crowds the platform so much that it makes waiting for the train a hazard.

Another key part of the proposal includes the installation of elevators at both the First Avenue and Bedford Avenue stations to make them fully compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The transit authority’s request for Core Capacity funds is limited to “vertical circulation” and power improvements that will increase capacity on the L. The application for the funds is expected to take a number of years and the FTA will need to review the plan before a funding recommendation can be made.

The MTA included partial funding for the train’s improvements in the proposed 2015-2019 Capital Program and $50 million for the project was previously included in the 2010-2014 Capital Program.

Other infrastructure improvements that have been proposed for the L train include the addition of three power substations that would allow for two additional trains per hour.
The MTA is planning to coordinate these infrastructure improvements with the repairs to the tube that was flooded during Hurricane Sandy, although it hasn’t been determined yet when these repairs will take place. The repairs for that damage includes work on tunnel lighting, pump facilities, cables, tracks, signals, duct banks and other equipment.

CB6 chair Sandro Sherrod said that since hearing about the plans for the station’s improvements, he has invited Marino and Book to the committee’s next meeting on January 5 to discuss the proposal further.