The Trader Joe’s on East 14th Street across from Stuyvesant Town has opened. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Business activity in Kips Bay and Gramercy in the last month has been strangely representative of trends throughout the city, at least regarding grocery stores: following a little bit of a “will they/won’t they” melodrama, longtime New York chain Fairway announced that it would be closing a number of their stores while Trader Joe’s, one of the chains blamed for Fairway’s demise, has finally opened across from Stuyvesant Town.
Trader Joe’s, 436 East 14th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, traderjoes.com
The aforementioned Trader Joe’s officially opened across from Stuyvesant Town at the beginning of the year. Local blog EV Grieve reported that the grand opening was on January 6. The location features local artwork and is managed by a “store captain” who has been with the company for 14 years. Rumors of the new store on East 14th were first reported in 2017, in the years following the demolition of the building that once contained the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office. The store is in the retail space of an eight-story luxury rental building called EVE.
The Dip, 58 St. Marks Place, between First and Second Avenues, (646) 559-9050, thedipnyc.com
Gothamist reported at the end of December that a new sandwich spot had opened on St. Mark’s Place. The shop primarily offers sandwiches and focuses on the French Dip, a kind of hot sandwich made of thinly sliced roast beef with cheese that is served with a container of beef broth. In addition to a French Dip sandwich, the spot offers a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, grilled cheese, corned beef and other options. The restaurant, which occupies a narrow space with about six stools along an eating counter, is open Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. The spot is closed on Mondays.
MAN ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY AT ALBANO PLAYGROUND
Police arrested 27-year-old Francis Kareem for an alleged robbery that took place in Albano Playground at East 29th Street and Second Avenue last month.
A man told police that he left a bar across the street from the playground on September 21 while he was extremely drunk. He said that he had no recollection of what happened after he walked out of the bar but he said that he woke up inside the playground with a bloody nose and realized later that he had been robbed sometime between 4 and 7 a.m., and his keys and wallet were missing.
Francis was arrested for the alleged robbery inside the 13th precinct on Thursday, October 24 at 9 a.m. and was also charged with grand larceny. Police had no further information about what connected Francis to this incident.
MAN NABBED FOR SECOND AVE. ROBBERY
Police arrested 35-year-old Douglas Coward for an alleged robbery in front of 489 Second Avenue on Friday, October 25 at 9:31 p.m. The victim told police that Coward walked up to him and punched him in the face, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head. The victim said that after he fell, Coward went through his pockets and took his property without permission. Shortly after the incident, the victim searched the area with officers and Coward was arrested nearby.
STUY TOWN MAN ARRESTED FOR FILMING FRIEND IN SHOWER
Police arrested 30-year-old Phi Trinh for obscene material inside 651 East 14th Street on Sunday, September 29 at 5:56 p.m. The victim told police that she discovered a portable charging device capable of recording video and taking pictures plugged into the bathroom wall outlet and pointing towards the shower and bathtub. The victim said that she confronted Trinh and found that he was in possession of pictures and videos of her in the bathroom on his personal cell phone and laptop. Police said that Trinh and the victim are friends and had no further information about the nature of their relationship.
MAN BUSTED FOR THEFTS, BURGLARY
Police arrested 54-year-old Alan Nimmons inside the 13th precinct on Monday, September 23 at 4:33 p.m. for an alleged theft that took place in an office previously.
Study reveals variety of reasons for retail vacancies
The city described vacancy rates as “volatile,” varying widely from neighborhood to neighborhood. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
While too-high rents and competition from Amazon are often blamed for the state of the city’s struggling retail sector, when there’s a high vacancy rate in a particular neighborhood, it can’t necessarily be pinned down to one specific obstacle.
At least, that’s the conclusion drawn by the Department of City Planning (DCP), which has released a study of the city’s retail storefronts to determine vacancy rates and the possible reasons for them.
The report was done after assessing 10,000 storefronts in 24 retail corridors around the boroughs using data from a tech platform put out by the company Live XYZ as well as on the ground surveys. Looking at trends from late 2017 through Fall 2018, the study also used demographic, land use and real estate data, and input from local business associations. The survey defined a vacant space as vacant and available. Those not included in stats were vacant spaces with active construction or known redevelopment plans as well as empty stores with signage announcing a future tenant. Occupied stores with a “for lease” sign were also excluded from the vacancy figures.
Overall the study found, when comparing similar data from a decade ago, vacancy has increased from 7.6-9 percent over the studied neighborhoods.
Police arrested a doorman last month who allegedly broke into a resident’s apartment and masturbated while inside earlier this year.
Police said that 21-year-old Ronald Yagual, a doorman at a building on West 23rd Street in the Flatiron District, went inside the victim’s apartment without permission on Thursday, May 23 around 3 a.m.
According to the District Attorney’s office, Yagual masturbated and then removed water from the victim’s refrigerator without permission to do so. Yagual was arrested inside the 13th precinct on Wednesday, July 17 at 9:30 a.m.
Yagual was charged with burglary as a sexually-motivated felony, petit larceny and criminal trespass. The court issued a temporary order of protection for the victim against Yagual but he was released on his own recognizance during a court appearance on Wednesday, July 17. The exact location of the building is being withheld to protect the victim.
An attorney for Yagual could not be reached for comment on the case by T&V’s press time.
William Mendola, also known as DJ Billy Mendola, was arrested for allegedly running an illegal poker game inside a Flatiron building earlier this month.
Mendola, 51, was charged with running an unlicensed bottle club at 147 West 25th Street on Saturday, May 11 at 2:45 a.m. Police said that Mendola was working as the manager inside the location, where alcohol was being warehoused and allegedly sold illegally. Police said that the space did not have a valid liquor license and Mendola allegedly possessed gambling devices, including poker tables, playing cards and poker chips, which were reportedly used for unlawful gambling activity.
Mendola was indicted in 2003 on federal drug charges in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was charged with conspiracy to violate narcotics law. He pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2005 and was sentenced to almost 12 years in prison, and was ordered to be designated to a facility as close as possible to Las Vegas.
It is not clear how much of his prison sentence he served, but in 2013, Mendola wrote a letter to a judge to request early termination of the three-year supervised release that a judge mandated upon his release from prison. The court denied the request because he reportedly had not shown “exceptionally good behavior,” had not completed two-thirds of the period of supervision and his offense was large in scale.
MAN CHARGED WITH FLATIRON OFFICE THEFTS
Police arrested 28-year-old Amir Johnson on Wednesday, May 1 at 6 p.m. for multiple alleged thefts from various office buildings in Flatiron, including from 28 West 25th Street and 151 West 26th Street.
Police said that Johnson looted eight different locations since the beginning of this year. Johnson was caught after he allegedly stole a woman’s laptop and cell phone from an office inside the West 26th Street building between 4 and 4:30 p.m. on the day he was arrested.
The victim told police that she had left her cell phone and laptop on a bench in a hallway to use the bathroom and when she returned, both were gone. She said that she noticed an unknown man in the hallway and asked him if he had seen a laptop and cell phone and he said no.
When the victim asked a co-worker if he had seen her laptop, the coworker said he had seen an unknown man with a laptop and described the man that the victim had first asked about the phone and laptop.
Police are asking the public’s assistance in finding Arlene Drucker, 69, who was last seen at her home at 125 East 24th Street on Saturday morning.
She is described as being 5’7″ tall, 140 lbs., with a thin build, brown eyes, short blonde-grey hair and missing her teeth. She was last seen wearing a blue sun dress and blue sneakers.
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 nypdcrimestoppers.com or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.
On Thursday evening, a protest was held to demand the full release of the Mueller report that began in Times Square and ended in Flatiron outside Madison Square Park.
The protest was organized by MoveOn.org together with the Nobody is Above the Law Coalition and was said to be one of almost 300 similar protests around the country yesterday.
There were protest songs led by the group Sing Out, Louise! and a few speakers, including the NYC public advocate, from a stage that was set up on Broadway.
Despite the large turnout of at least hundreds, the event was hampered by a delay in marching, with the crowd being held at Times Square and a half. This caused some grumbling among the participants about the need for all the stage time commanded by the speakers.
Last month, members of the City Council introduced a package of bills aimed at helping small businesses. They ranged from creating a registry of vacant retail spaces to having landlords sign a “certificate of no harassment” before getting construction permits to providing training to help small business owners digitally market themselves.
Since then, Town & Village reached out to operators of three local storefront businesses to ask if they thought the bills would help them — and if not, what would.
In response, Carole Husiak, who owns the Ibiza Kidz clothing shop in Stuyvesant Town, said she liked all the bills.
That said, Husiak doesn’t feel the bills address what she considers to have been her biggest problem as a business owner for the past 30 years — real estate taxes.
Cops are looking for a man who swiped a $4,600 Chanel purse from a woman who was eating dinner at Gramercy restaurant Farmer & The Fish.
The victim, a 39-year-old woman, was at the restaurant at 245 Park Avenue South at East 20th Street on Friday, March 8 at about 7:30 p.m. when she got up to go to the bathroom. She told police she left her purse, a Chanel vanity case, on her chair, and when she came back it was gone.
The vanity case style of bag ranges in price from $3,600-$8,900 on Chanel’s website.
The suspect believed to have taken it was seen on surveillance footage. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Cops are looking for a man who shoved an employee at the Coach store at 79 Fifth Avenue after he was caught trying to shoplift.
It was on Thursday, March 7 at 6:10 p.m., when the man strolled into the store at East 16th Street and picked up a $295 bag and an $1,100 jacket. When he tried to leave without paying, an employee confronted him. The man then shoved him out of his way and said, “Do you want to get punched or do you want to get stabbed?” The thief then fled out a rear door with the luxury label items.
The suspect is described as black, 25, 5 ft. 11 ins. and 160 lbs. He was wearing a black coat and hat and white sneakers. Because of the alleged threat, he is being sought for robbery, rather than theft.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-TIPS (8477). All calls are confidential.
CRIME DECREASE THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY IN FEBRUARY
This February, New York City experienced 10.8 percent less index crime than in February 2018, the NYPD announced this week. Despite the reduction in overall crime, the NYPD will implement a five-point plan targeted at the violent crime in several neighborhoods throughout the city. The plan includes additional uniformed personnel, strengthening gun prosecutions, expanding the CeaseFire Program by providing interventions to known gang members in Brooklyn and the Bronx and domestic violence gun investigations. The NYPD is also launching a new program, Re-EntryStat, which will closely monitor and analyze the resources provided to people who are re-entering their communities upon release from prison.
MAN ACCUSED OF EXPOSING HIMSELF AT PRINCE GEORGE
Police arrested 33-year-old Saad Sethy for alleged public lewdness that took place inside the Prince George at 14 East 28th Street on February 20 at 3:45 p.m. The building, formerly a hotel, now houses people who are formerly homeless. The victim told police that she is a social worker there and was working when Sethy entered the room, unzipped his pants and showed the victim his penis without her consent. Sethy also allegedly asked her to perform a sex act on him. She told police that she asked him to leave and he fled in an unknown direction. Sethy was arrested inside the 13th precinct on Wednesday, February 27 at 1 p.m.
MAN CHARGED WITH THEFT AT GAY BATH HOUSE
Police arrested 26-year-old Joseph Boodoo for an alleged theft inside the West Side Club, a bathouse for gay and bisexual men at 27 West 20th Street on Sunday, March 3 at 6:21 a.m. A witness told police that Boodoo climbed over a wall from one cubicle in the club to another that belonged to the witness’s friend. The witness then saw Boodoo leave the cubicle with items wrapped in a towel.