Gristedes across from Peter Cooper Village to become D’Agostino

The store is expected to have an official grand re-opening next Friday, September 20.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Gristedes at 355 First Avenue across from Peter Cooper Village will be converted into a D’Agostino, owner John Catsimatidis confirmed last week.

Catsimatidis told Real Estate Weekly last week that the change was at the request of neighbors, since there was D’Agostino east of First Avenue in Stuyvesant Town for over 50 years. That store lost its lease over a decade ago and was replaced with a new gym. Catsimatidis said that there are no plans right now to re-brand at other Gristedes locations.

Neighbors notified Town & Village at the beginning of this month that a sign announcing the change was posted in the window and the Gristedes sign had been removed by September 3.

Signage outside the store had already changed over to D’Agostino by this past Tuesday and renovations were ongoing in the store at the time. Construction workers outside the store on Tuesday said that the store will be staying open during the renovations and the grand re-opening is scheduled for next Friday, September 20.

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Multiple arrests for robberies last week

By Maria Rocha-Buschel  

Police arrested multiple people for alleged robberies in the neighborhood, including for a violent incident at the bus stop on First Avenue at East 14th Street last weekend.

Jason Vincente, 39, allegedly approached a woman in her 20s while she was waiting for the bus at the northeast corner of East 14th Street and First Avenue on Saturday, August 10 at 12:25 a.m.

Police said that Vincente attempted to grab the victim’s bag and when the victim refused to give it to him, he allegedly said, “Gimme your money,” and reportedly grabbed the victim by the shirt.

When she refused, police said that Vincente forced her into the wall of the bus stop enclosure, hitting her head against the glass multiple times, causing a bruise on her head and substantial pain. The victim was transported to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital for treatment but no further information about her condition was available.

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Registered sex offender arrested for L train groping

Suspect Gian Verdelli

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

This Friday, police arrested a man with multiple previous convictions for sex crimes in connection with a subway groping that took place on the L train near First Avenue earlier this week. The suspect was identified as 67-year-old Gian Verdelli, who the Daily News reported was just released from prison in May after he was convicted of another incident of sex abuse on the subway. 

The 37-year-old victim was on an Eighth Avenue-bound L train traveling from Bedford to First Avenue on Wednesday, June 26 around 8:50 a.m. when Verdelli allegedly put his hand under her dress and groped her. She and Verdelli both got off the train at First Avenue, where the victim took a photo of Verdelli with her phone before he fled the station. 

Verdelli is a level 2 sex offender and lives in a shelter on Wards Island, according to the New York State sex offender registry, and he was arrested there on Friday. 

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First Avenue florist retiring

Pete Tsoumas is retiring on Friday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

After 65 years in business, the colorful floral stand tucked in a corner at the Brooklyn-bound exit of the First Avenue L is selling its last bouquet on Friday. Current owner Pete Tsoumas has been operating the stand for almost 50 years, having taken it over from his grandfather and uncle after running three other stores in the city, and now he finally gets to retire. 

“If you told me I’d be here for 48 years, I’d say you’re crazy,” Tsoumas said. 

Tsoumas said that the construction on the station was a challenge but the main reason he’s closing up shop is his health and he’s looking forward to spending time with his family. 

“I need a rest. ‘If you don’t close on Friday, you won’t make it (to your appointment) in September,’” he said his doctor told him at a previous appointment, indicating that his stem-cutting arm gives him trouble.

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Homeless man accused of smashing over 40 WiFi kiosks in Manhattan

Juan Rodriguez was arrested in connection with the incidents.

By Sabina Mollot

Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for a week-long LinkNYC kiosk smashing spree in different neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Juan Rodriguez, 41, who’d been staying at the East 30th Street men’s shelter, was picked up by police in front of 230 East 21st Street at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

From April 16-23, a man, who was seen on surveillance video, smashed 42 Wi-Fi hubs with a brick or other blunt objects in Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Flatiron and in midtown.

Rodriguez has been arrested a number of times since 2006, mostly for alleged marijuana possession and criminal mischief, police said.

Do you recognize this woman?

Police are asking the community’s help in identifying a woman who has been admitted to Mount Sinai Beth Israel at 281 First Avenue.

The woman was found on the street disoriented by passersby, who then walked her over to the hospital on Thursday, April 18 at around 4 p.m.

She is described as white, about 55-65 years of age and 180 lbs. She was wearing all dark clothing.

Anyone with information 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. All calls are strictly confidential.

Man killed by L train at First Avenue station

Feb21 First Avenue L train station entrance closeup

L train at First Avenue (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 36-year-old man committed suicide by jumping in front of an L train at the First Avenue station on Monday evening, the NYPD said. 

According to an NYPD spokesperson, the train operator saw the man standing on the Eighth Avenue-bound platform as the train was pulling into the station around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 15. The operator observed the victim jump off the platform as the train arrived, and he was found in between the train cars.

The NYPD is withholding the name of the victim pending family notification.

Service on the L was halted between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue for about two hours after the incident, causing delays in L train service in both directions during the evening rush hour.

The MTA announced via Twitter that third-rail power was restored at First Avenue by 7 p.m. and service was restored by 7:30 p.m. with residual delays.

New leasing office for Peter Cooper Village under construction

A new leasing office is under construction in Peter Cooper Village. (Photos by Thomas Rochford)

By Sabina Mollot

Earlier this week, residents noticed that a new leasing office was being advertised in Peter Cooper Village in the corner space previously occupied by the Petite Abeille restaurant. The slick-looking posters show smiling individuals of various ages, and the property’s very new logo for Peter Cooper.

Asked about the advertisements, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village general manager Rick Hayduk confirmed there is a new leasing office under construction just for Peter Cooper, but it will be housed in the neighboring 350 First Avenue. This is where another leasing office, primarily a center for brokers’ use, used to be until closing last year. The new leasing office was briefly mentioned in an e-blast to neighbors last week that also mentioned the Stuyvesant Town leasing office would be getting “a refresh,” as would signage and employee uniforms.

“Since our acquisition in late 2015, StuyTown Property Services’ and Beam Living’s focused attention has been on improving a resident’s experience (resident communication, situational response time, exterior aesthetics, quality of life issues, playgrounds, etc.), and we felt it was time to reset the ‘public’ image of the two communities,” Hayduk said in a written statement. Continue reading

Suspect charged with trying to rob Stuy Town Citibank

Citibank attempted robbery suspect

Police arrested a Bronx man on Thursday in connection with an attempted robbery of the Citibank at 262 First Avenue last month.

Robert Balsano, 47, of 1146 Ogden Avenue, allegedly strolled up to a teller on Saturday, March 23 with an encyclopedia that had a note inside demanding cash. However, the teller refused and he ended up fleeing without any money.

 

 

Teen reported missing from ACS Center

Karlos Adams

Police are asking for the public’s help in locating Karlos Adams, 17, who had been staying at the Administration for Children’s Services Children’s Center at 492 First Avenue.

He was last seen on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the center. He is described as black, 5’10”, and 150 lbs.

Anyone with information 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. All calls are strictly confidential.

Man tries to rob Stuy Town Citibank

Mar28 Citibank robbery

Police officer in front of the bank at 262 First Avenue (Photo by Sean O’Ceallaigh)

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who tried to rob the Citibank in Stuyvesant Town on Saturday.

Police say the man strolled into the bank at 262 First Avenue at 10 a.m. and, after approaching the teller, opened an encyclopedia he was holding to a page with a handwritten note demanding cash.

However, the teller did not comply and the man ran off.

The suspect is described as white, 30 to 40 years old, 6’1″ tall and 180 lbs. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, a grey hoodie, black hat, grey gloves, and black sweatpants with red stripes.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or log onto nypdcrimestoppers.com. All calls are strictly confidential.

Update: Rick Hayduk, general manager of Stuyvesant Town, said StuyTown Property Services has provided video to the NYPD and will continue to provide assistance to police. Additionally, the Public Safety department has beefed up patrols along First Avenue with officer patrols as well as cameras.

 

MTA agrees to end late night L construction

The MTA has committed to stopping work at the East 14th Street construction zone at 7 p.m. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

While many of the details of the L train alternative repair project are still being decided, the MTA has committed to reducing the number of hours currently worked to six days a week at the East 14th Street construction zone.

Neighbors have said work often ends at 11 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, although the MTA has said it tries to stop any noisy work by 10 p.m. But on Tuesday night, the MTA’s chief development officer overseeing the project, Janno Lieber, committed to stopping work by 7 p.m. at a meeting held by Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to minimalize the impact of our work on neighbors, and they understandably have been asking for shorter hours,” Shams Tarek, a spokesperson for the MTA, told Town & Village.

Tarek added that the MTA wanted to first consult the contractor to make sure doing this wouldn’t lengthen the duration of the project, which includes the creation of an Avenue A entrance to the First Avenue L station. The new schedule of 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday to Friday, with possibly shorter hours on Saturday is effective immediately.

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Bike ride memorializes cyclist who was killed

Dozens of cyclists pedal up First Avenue from 14th Street (pictured) passing 35th Street. (Photo by Jefferson Siegel)

By Jefferson Siegel

On Saturday a bike memorial ride was held to honor bike messenger Aurilla Lawrence, 25, who was killed on the night of February 28 in Williamsburg when she was hit by a truck. The truck driver did not stop.

A large mass of cyclists pedaled east along 14th Street from Union Square Park to First Avenue before turning uptown.

At one point the ride split into two parts, with one group of about 30 heading uptown into Harlem before eventually crossing the river into the Bronx, while a second group of about 50 cyclists criss-crossed downtown streets before heading up University Place, past Union Square and then up Broadway against traffic.

Police in cars and on scooters followed the cyclists as they moved throughout town. There was at least one arrest at 46th Street and Seventh Avenue.

Lawrence was the fifth cyclist to die so far this year, compared with ten bike fatalities in all of 2018.

 

 

Pair steals wallet from Gramercy laundromat employee

 

jan31 laundromat theft suspect2

Burglary suspect

Cops are looking for a man and a woman who worked together to swipe a wallet from an employee at a laundromat on East 18th Street west of First Avenue.

On Friday, January 18 at about 10 a.m., the pair strolled into an employees-only area of Prestige II Laundry at 351 East 18th Street. After finding a wallet containing cash and a debit card, they fled the shop.

The suspects are described as a black man, 40-45 years old, 6’2″ tall and 220 lbs., and a black woman who’s 30-35 years old, 5’6″ tall and 150 lbs.

jan31 laundromat theft suspect1

Second burglary suspect

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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