Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, commanding officer of the 13th Precinct (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
While the topic of scofflaw cyclists normally dominates meetings with local police officers, on Tuesday night, those in attendance at the most recent gathering of the 13th Precinct Community Council told officers homelessness has them concerned.
A Union Square resident noted that there have been homeless encampments in the park recently, despite him having raised the issue at the meeting last month. Executive Officer Ernesto Castro said that the precinct has been to the park to break up the encampment but the problem is recurring.
“We have gone over there and taken it down but they’re just coming back,” he said.
“It is a tough situation but one point of leverage we do have is that you can’t have a mattress on the street so we can keep going back there to break it up,” Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, the precinct’s commanding officer, added. “It’s not illegal to have a sign or just to be on the street but mattresses are definitely not allowed.”
Council Member-elect Keith Powers, pictured outside Peter Cooper Village on Tuesday morning with his mother Barbara and Council Member Dan Garodnick (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)
Council Member-elect Carlina Rivera (center) with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Gale Brewer)
By Sabina Mollot
After a citywide general election that proved to be hotly contested in local City Council races but somewhat lackluster in the mayoral department, the results were in on Tuesday night, with all sought after positions remaining solidly Democrat.
Based on unofficial results provided by the New York City Board of Elections, Keith Powers and Carlina Rivera will be the next City Council members, replacing the term-limited Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez, respectively.
Democrat Rivera won with wide margins in District 2, receiving 82.86 percent of the vote. Republican and Rent is 2 Damn High Party’s Jimmy McMillan got 11.58 percent of the vote. Liberal Party’s Jasmin Sanchez got 2.02 percent. Libertarian Party’s Don Garrity got 1.73 percent. Green Party’s Manny Cavaco got 1.56 percent. There were also 59 write-ins (0.26 percent) out of 23,047 people voting in the race.
Democrat Powers also won easily with 57.09 percent of the vote in District 4. Republican Rebecca Harary came in second with 30.75 percent. The tally also includes votes for the candidate through the other lines she ran on, Women’s Equality, Reform and Stop de Blasio. Liberal Party’s Rachel Honig got 12.06 percent. There were also 26 write-ins (0.1 percent) out of 27,511 people voting.
Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, as was widely predicted, got Daniel Squadron’s abandoned downtown Senate seat, receiving 84.86 percent of the vote. Republican candidate Analicia Alexander got 14.68 percent. This means Kavanagh’s District 74 Assembly seat, which includes Stuyvesant Town and Waterside, is now vacant. A few local Democrats have already expressed interest.
For Frank Scala, pictured at his barber shop, priorities are tackling homelessness and helping businesses stay in place. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Frank Scala, at the age of 78, is a veteran in more than one sense of the word. Along with having served in the Italian Navy, the Sicily native has also worked as a barber for decades at his own shop, La Scala, and he also has a history of running for office in New York City.
Being a Republican hasn’t stopped him from attempting to defeat popular Democrat incumbents. He’s challenged former Assembly Member Steven Sanders, current Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman.
And now Scala, a resident of Stuyvesant Town, has set his sights on the Manhattan borough president’s office, running against Gale Brewer.
Last year, when running against Kavanagh, Scala at first said he was just doing it out of a sense of obligation to the Republican Party since no one else had stepped up. He’d begrudgingly done the same thing two years earlier to give Republicans someone from their own party to vote for, when challenging Hoylman. But Scala later changed his mind, saying he wanted to run “legit.” This time, he’s running a mostly inactive race — he isn’t fundraising and has no website.
But he was still happy to do an interview to discuss the issues he thinks are a priority for the borough and the campaign.
While some recent news stories have indicated tickets to the presidential inauguration, set to take place on Friday, have been getting scooped up rather slowly, the event is still sure to be what most Americans will be tuning into on television. For Republicans, it’s an opportunity go out to a local bar and celebrate with likeminded people, watching the president get sworn in on a big screen while raising big mugs. For Democrats too, drinking is likely to be involved, with voters drowning their sorrows any time the president says “huge” or accuses a news report of being fake.
This week, Town & Village asked around in the community to see who planned on watching the ceremony.
Asked if he’d be watching, Frank Scala, a Stuyvesant Town resident and president of the Albano Republican Club, said he would be.
He’d actually been invited to see the inauguration live, but won’t be able to make it. Reached at the Fifth Avenue barber shop he owns and operates, Scala explained he’ll be working that day and needs to stay open late.
So instead, he’ll be watching the event at home. Scala also admitted he’s a little concerned about how Trump will present himself as president on the big day. During the race, the Albano Club shifted from Manhattan GOP by not endorsing Trump or any other candidate.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and State Senator Brad Hoylman talk to voters outside Stuyvesant Town during the June congressional primary. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
While it’s understandable that the minds of voters this coming Election Day are on the race for president, there are also a couple of local races to think about, in the case of the Stuyvesant Town/Gramercy/Kips Bay area, for Congress and for New York State Assembly.
Following publishing interviews with the opponents of two longterm incumbents, the editorial staff of Town & Village has come to the following decisions for endorsements:
Maloney’s opponent, Robert Ardini, has argued that our nation’s founding fathers never intended for elected officials to remain in one office for as long as the incumbent has, which is 23 years. While he makes a legitimate argument about how tough it is for someone to break in to the world of politics against someone who’s so well-known, we do not believe this is the only reason Maloney has consistently clobbered her opponents over the years.
It’s true, of course, that in the heavily Democratic borough of Manhattan, a Democrat is always going to have the advantage, as is the individual with more name recognition. However, an official’s experience is not something that goes unnoticed by voters and it shouldn’t be dismissed as a bad thing. Despite hitting brick walls in Washington thanks to partisan gridlock, Maloney has continued to remain responsive to the concerns of voters, both large and small. She has remained true to her platform of championing women’s rights from equal pay at work to the never-ending battle of protecting a woman’s right to choose. In her district, she pushes funding for mass transit infrastructural projects (good for commuters and good for job creation) and has remained on top of the looming L-pocalypse, a major concern of constituents. Additionally, the congresswoman, an Upper East Sider, has remained a dependable advocate for tenants.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney speaks at last Tuesday’s candidate night event hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council. Other speakers included Robert Ardini (right), Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and his opponent Frank Scala. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Local politicians and political hopefuls gathered at the Sutton Place Synagogue last Tuesday evening to discuss their platforms at an event for local candidates hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council. Democratic incumbents Brian Kavanagh, who represents the 74th Assembly District, and Carolyn Maloney, the U.S. Representative for New York’s 12th congressional district, made appearances at the event, along with their Republican challengers, Stuyvesant Town resident Frank Scala and Long Island City resident Robert Ardini, respectively.
Scala, who’s the president of the Vincent Albano Republican Club, is also the owner of a barber shop on Fifth Avenue. Ardini is a former marketing executive who is currently focusing full-time on the race.
When it was his turn at the podium, Ardini brought up the nearly quarter-century long stronghold Maloney has in the district.
“It doesn’t seem like intention of founders for politicians to serve indefinitely,” he said, arguing that there should be term limits. “Congresswoman Maloney, you are a national treasure but it’s time to give someone else a chance.”
Maloney, on the other hand, had a different perspective.
“We do have term limits in our country,” she said “They’re called elections. If you don’t like the job someone is doing, vote for someone else. I’m proud of my record and have ideas of more to do.”
Ardini noted that another issue he’s concerned with is the national debt and he said he felt that current politicians aren’t doing enough to address the issue but Maloney argued that Democrats have been able to deal with the deficit effectively.
“I’m concerned about national debt too but when Bill Clinton was president, we balanced the budget and had a surplus that was (later) spent on wars,” she said. “We were shedding 800,000 jobs a month but with hard work, we have grown our way out of that. Our economy, although not as good as we’d like, is leading the world even though we suffered that terrible financial crisis.”
While addressing a question about community policing, Assembly candidate Frank Scala said he felt stop and frisk was necessary, but only in specific circumstances.
“When the temperature outside is 95 and you see a guy with a big hood and glasses and he seems suspicious, that would be a case for stop and frisk,” he said. “If the guy is running that means something is wrong.”
Kavanagh, on the other hand, said that he thought the policy is unnecessary as well as unconstitutional, and that it didn’t have a noticeable impact in the reduction of crime throughout the city.
“The NYPD has been able to continue reduction of crime despite not using stop and frisk,” he said. “The policy made it difficult for police to work with communities and it doesn’t lead to good relationships.”
Scala, who is also president of the 13th Precinct Community Council, has had a close relationship with the NYPD and praised the work they do, specifically those at his local precinct.
“Police do a good job. Some police abuse the uniform but most of the time I believe they do a good job and should continue to do whatever they’re doing,” he said.
He added, however, that he felt local Democratic politicians have done less well by the community throughout the years.
“When Roy Goodman was our senator, Stuy Town and Peter Cooper were best places you could live but we’ve had nothing but problems since Democrats took over,” he said, then apologizing to his opponent for the slight.
While at the meeting, a Maloney supporter named Paige Judge shared that she is against term limits.
“You only learn about things in government by doing it,” she argued. “I wish you would forget about term limits. You’re going to lose a lot of good people that way.”
Genesis Parra gets behind the wheel of a police car at the 13th Precinct’s National Night Out Against Crime event on Tuesday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
National Night Out Against Crime, an annual event aimed at growing relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, took place on Tuesday night.
The event organized by the 13th Precinct and the precinct’s Community Council, went off without a hitch at the M.S. 104 Playground, despite some blustery wind and clouds that looked to be threatening rain. Fortunately, after two weeks of scorching heat and rain, many attendees from the neighborhood commented that they enjoyed the rare breeze. Families from the surrounding neighborhoods mingled with the local cops and business owners who had booths at the event while chowing down on chicken and rice from the Halal Guys, as well as burgers and dogs cooked up on the grill by officers from the precinct.
Re: “Are Stuyvesant Town’s squirrels getting more aggressive?”, T&V story, July 14
“A child was bitten by a squirrel in Stuy Town.” Can you share with us where and when this happened? Was the child taken to the hospital? In that case which hospital? It is very unprofessional to report such a thing without proof. We don’t need that in the Town & Village newspaper or any other newspaper. How come this is reported as a fact by you when the spokesperson for StuyTown property Services said that no proven incidents involving squirrel bites have been reported to management?
How come this is reported as a fact by you when I have been feeding squirrels with my two children in Stuyvesant for a long time and haven’t seen any “aggressive” ones?
A few weeks ago we were feeding the squirrels when one security guard approached us, stating he was “advising” tenants not to feed the squirrels because a child was bitten by one.
As I told this guard and a few women who have approached me: Thank you for the advice, but I will not stop feeding the squirrels because that is not a true story.
One young woman told me she had a friend whose neighbor’s baby was bitten by a squirrel. When I asked her if she was present when that happened, she said no. When I asked her if she knew this person, she said no. But she did tell me to stop feeding the squirrels because they “look aggressive.”
On another occasion, a woman who was walking by with her daughter and grandchild while I was feeding the squirrels, stopped me and asked if I would consider stopping feeding the squirrels because they had bitten a child. When I replied that I would not consider it, she couldn’t believe it. I didn’t argue, I didn’t curse and I have never been disrespectful to my neighbors, but this is getting ridiculous.
Detective John Santiago was presented with a Cop of the Month award by Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney and Frank Scala, president of the 13th Precinct Community Council. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
While crime was down in the 13th Precinct area for June, both overall and in most of the major areas, grand larcenies have spiked.
Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, said this was partially due to an ongoing spate of scams. He reported on the latest stats at the last Community Council meeting at the end of June.
“Nobody is giving anybody money,” he advised. “No one will arrest you if you don’t pay your bills. The IRS is not going to ask you for iTunes gift cards to pay them. It’s a scam.”
He added that there has also been an increase in apartment scams recently, specifically of criminals posting fake listings about cheap summer rentals in the Hamptons.
“Nobody is renting their shore house at prime time season,” he said. “If it sounds too good to be true it’s probably not true.”
On May 16, the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates and friends and supporters of PS40 held a Clean and Green event aimed at cleaning up Augustus St. Gaudens, the playground next to PS40 on Second Avenue. Numerous kids from the neighborhood were among the volunteer crew and there was also a caricature artist and balloon artist at the event. Additionally, a Latin music band who’d been busking on the subway played an impromptu concert.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney chats with a voter in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo courtesy of Congress Member Maloney)
By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday, three local Democrats easily held on to their positions as voters, along with re-electing Andrew Cuomo as governor, also re-elected Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh.
Maloney won with 79.85 percent of the vote, defeating former seminary student and former Pfizer employee Nicholas Di iorio, who got 20.15 percent.
Di iorio had fought tooth and nail for each vote though, having sent out near daily press releases blasting his opponent in the weeks leading up to the election on everything from her trip to China to secure a panda for New York to failure to get many bills passed in Washington. For this he labeled her ineffective.
He’d also hounded his opponent for a debate, and did eventually succeed in wearing her down. The only debate of the campaign took place at a newspaper office in Queens last Thursday, focusing on issues of interest to that part of the district.
Meanwhile, by Tuesday morning, Maloney reported doing well with voters she encountered while campaigning.
Many told her they’d be giving her their vote, though she quickly added, “I probably shouldn’t say that. Of course they’re not going to tell me if they weren’t going to vote for me.”
After casting her own vote at the 92nd Street Y, Maloney also made several stops throughout the district, including popping by Stuyvesant Town in the afternoon.
Some voters had gripes about long lines to cast their votes, although this year, without a presidential election, lines weren’t exactly spilling out of polling place doors.“It’s definitely lower (turnout) than in a presidential year, but people are coming out to vote,” said Maloney. She added that she would work on trying to keep lines shorter in the future, either by pushing for more polling sites or the creation of smaller voting districts.
She also said that if reelected, “I’ll be focused like a laser on affordable housing and making sure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not finance anything that removes affordable housing.”
Other goals included making it easier for people to buy homes, doing away with excessive bank overdraft fees and getting a bill for women’s equality passed, that has, since Maloney’s been in office, failed to do so.
Nicholas Di iorio talks to a voter in Brooklyn. (Photo courtesy of Nicholas Di iorio)
On Tuesday, Di orio was also making various campaign stops around the three-borough district, starting on the Upper East Side, where he lives not far from Maloney, Greenpoint, Brooklyn and later Queens. At around 11 a.m., he was in Manhattan, after voting at Knickerbocker Plaza on 91st Street.
He said for the most part voters he was encountering were familiar with his campaign, having read interviews with him in Town & Village and other newspapers.
When voters stopped to chat with the candidate, typically they had questions that were economy-related. This is where he felt his background working to save money for a pharmaceutical giant worked in his favor.
“It’s been a great day so far,” said Di iorio said. “A lot of the legislators in Congress talk about growing the economy but they haven’t spent time working in economics. That’s one of the differences between me and Congress Member Maloney. I’m trying to help companies and small businesses hire more employees.”
His platform was based around cutting corporate taxes to keep jobs from going overseas.
Later, when asked about the contentious nature of the race, Maloney dismissed her opponent’s steady stream of criticism as a typical Republican tactic.
“The Republicans do not fight on issues,” she said. “They try to destroy the person.”
But not all Republicans used tough guy tactics in this race — or even any tactics at all. Hoylman and Kavanagh both sailed to reelection thanks to their opponents, Stuyvesant Town resident Frank Scala, and East Villager Bryan Cooper, respectively, not running active campaigns.
Kavanagh won with 85.06 percent of the vote, while Cooper got 14.94 percent. Hoylman got 85.66 percent while Scala got 14.34 percent.
State Senate candidate Frank Scala
Scala, who’s the president of the Albano Republican Club and the owner of a Fifth Avenue barber shop, said he only ran for State Senate after being asked by the Republican County Committee. But he didn’t seek attention beyond participating in a candidate forum last week hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council, which his opponent didn’t attend.
And this wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that local candidates have run just to have a Republican on the ballot. In Manhattan, there hasn’t been a Republican elected since the late Roy Goodman left the State Senate in 2002.
Cooper, who, like Scala, has run for office locally before, told Town & Village he had been genuinely interested in running for Assembly, but had wanted to try doing it in a “grassroots” way. He didn’t build a campaign website or attempt to get press, choosing instead to walk around the Lower East Side and the East Village, mostly, as well as Stuy Town where he said he’s noticed a “strong Republican presence.”
“People do come to our club meetings,” he said, referring to the Albano Club, in which he’s a district leader. “People feel like our interests are not being represented. We need a Republican, especially on the Lower East Side.”
Cooper, a production assistant and Navy veteran, said he’d been hearing disgust from his neighbors about corruption in Albany and Cuomo’s handling of the Moreland Commission’s dismantling. Lack of jobs was another concern.
Assembly candidate Bryan Cooper
“We want more businesses to be here, less taxes. There’s more unemployment and the homeless situation has risen. Why is this? Businesses are leaving New York.”
He also said that following Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to end stop-and-frisk, he’s found that people no longer feel safe.
“Ever since they stopped stop-and-frisk, people are like, ‘I’m out of here,’” he said. “What’s the point of having a police force when your hands are tied? What’s the problem with stopping and asking a question or checking your bag?”
On his low-key campaign, he explained it was mainly due to money reasons, but he also wanted to see “how effective it would be,” since he is already planning a run for State Senate. “Maybe if this doesn’t work out, I’ll learn my lesson.”
Roy Goodman in a photo that ran in Town & Village in 1977
By Sabina Mollot
On June 3, 2014, Roy Goodman, the Republican New York State senator who represented part of the East Side of Manhattan, including Stuyvesant Town, for 33 years, died at the age of 84.
According to his daughter Claire Pellegrini-Cloud, Goodman’s death at a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, was most likely caused by pneumonia.
He had also, for around a decade, been battling Parkinson’s and relied on a wheelchair to get around. His death came as a surprise however, since he’d been active and was just returning home to Manhattan from a trip to see one of his six grandchildren graduate from Harvard. He also attended a number of other events at Harvard, his alma mater, recently, including an awards dinner. On the way home from the graduation trip, an aide noticed that Goodman’s hands were turning blue and called 911. Goodman was admitted to Danbury Hospital on Thursday night, but wound up taking a turn for the worse over the weekend.
“He was surrounded by family up until the last moment,” Pellegrini-Cloud said. “It was a peaceful death.”
Throughout his lengthy political career, Goodman was known for his socially liberal views. He was a supporter of women’s rights, from protection against domestic violence to the right to choose, as well as of LGBT rights and services for people with HIV/AIDS when the disease was just coming into public awareness. He also fought for tenant rights and affordability and was instrumental in the prevention of Riverwalk, a towering luxury development that would have cut off ST/PCV residents’ access to the waterfront and blocked their views of the river. While tackling the city’s fiscal crisis during the 1970s, he still pushed for continued funding of the arts. He also worked on city charter revision and ran the State Senate’s committee on investigations.
Though he left office over a decade ago, with his passing, former colleagues have been wistfully noting the official end to an era when Republicans and Democrats enjoyed a far less contentious — and far more productive — working relationship.
Since his departure from office in 2002, when he was succeeded by Liz Krueger, there have been no Republicans elected anywhere in Manhattan.
State Senator Roy Goodman (left) with Vincent Albano, chairman of the New York County Republican Committee, in a 1979 Town & Village photo
At that time, noted Pellegrini-Cloud, Goodman was disappointed at the sharp right turn his party had taken, and that “people couldn’t rise above personal vendettas to work together. He was very solution oriented.”
She added that this attitude extended to Goodman’s family life. When she was growing up, Goodman would make sure each of his three children, Claire, Randolph and Leslie, got equal airtime at the dinner table. When there were disagreements, “He would say, ‘Let’s not be so quick to judge that person. Let’s see it from their point of view,’” said Pellegrini-Cloud.
Meanwhile, she disagreed with a detail in a recent story in the New York Times, which first reported on Goodman’s passing, that said her father was seen by some as a snob.
“He was known for mixing it up with anyone,” she said. “Yeah he used flowery language, but he was a great believer that the average person could understand that. Why dumb it down?”
Steven Sanders, the Assemblyman who represented the ST/PCV area for 28 years (25 of those alongside Goodman) recalled working with the senator to fight Riverwalk as well of another development farther north in Tudor City. That Harry Helmsley project would have destroyed residents’ park space. Sanders, on the morning of his wedding day, heard that a bulldozer had come to the site, and promptly headed over there to join the tenants in forming a human chain. Goodman, meanwhile, managed to secure an order from a judge to stop work despite it being a weekend.
He also recalled how due to legislation sponsored by Goodman in the Senate and Sanders in the Assembly, the cost of major capital improvement rent increases (MCIs) for tenants was reduced.
“Since MCIs as we know are paid in perpetuity, the cumulative savings for tenants became hundreds of dollars in each year,” Sanders said. They also worked together with the owner of Waterside Plaza, Richard Ravitch, and the Waterside Tenants Association to create an affordable housing contract for tenants at the complex when its Mitchell-Lama contract expired in 2001.
He also recalled how back in the 1980s, he and Goodman, along with then Town & Village Publisher Charles Hagedorn and Bill Potter, then the general manager of Stuyvesant Town, would meet for lunch every few months. The spot was usually Capucines, a restaurant on Second Avenue at 19th Street that recently closed.
“It was social and an occasional discussion of some community issues,” said Sanders, who is now the only surviving member of that group. “Imagine that… Republicans and Democrats, and the representative of the landlord Met life along with the publisher of the Town & Village joining together as colleagues.”
But, added the former assemblyman, who left office eight years ago, “Roy and I come from a different time. That notion of governing seems to have been lost. Politics has been exceedingly contentious. It’s all about winning and losing. We had our tussles every two years when I supported my candidates and he supported his, but then we’d have a drink or lunch and we would do community work for our district. We will not see his like again.”
Krueger, whose first run for office was against Goodman, said she remembered her opponent’s humor when he ultimately defeated her.
“His graciousness and good humor were on full display from that campaign’s beginning to its end, when, victorious after a six-week recount, he jokingly dubbed himself ‘Landslide Goodman,’” she shared in a written statement last week.
According to a Times article, he had a similar attitude when he lost a mayoral race in 1977 to Ed Koch.
Roy Goodman (right) with Frank Scala in a 2006 campaign flier for Scala’s Assembly run
Frank Scala, the president of the Vincent Albano Republican Club, was a friend of Goodman’s and had his endorsement when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for Assembly in 2006 during a special election.
This week, Scala pointed out that most people living in ST/PCV are unaware of Goodman’s involvement in the creation of Stuyvesant Cove Park a decade ago.
While still in office, he’d allocated $1.2 million for its construction. “If it wasn’t for Roy Goodman the park wouldn’t have been built,” said Scala.
Goodman had also encouraged Scala to revive the Albano Club after it had been inactive for years.
In 1981, Goodman became the Republican New York County Committee chair and remained in that position for 20 years.
After leaving office, he served as CEO for the United Nations Development Corporation and was a participant in a handful of organizations supporting the arts. Up until the time of his death he lived on the Upper East Side, where he grew up, the grandson of Israel Matz, founder of Ex-Lax.
In an interesting coincidence, Goodman’s death occurred within 24 hours of the time his wife of over 50 years, Barbara, died eight years ago.
On both days, Pellegrini-Cloud remembered there being loud, violent thunderstorms, and only after the more recent one, she spotted a rainbow.
“I like to think it was my dad’s stairway to heaven, going to join Mom,” she said. “It was incredible.”
Condolence visitation for Goodman was held on Sunday, June 15 from 6-8 p.m. at Frank E. Campbell, 1076 Madison Avenue at 81st Street. The funeral service was on Monday, June 16 at Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue and 65th Street. The burial was private.
Frank Scala, at a recent Tenants Association meeting, discusses how his gold watch went missing. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
During a string of burglaries a year ago in Stuyvesant Town, when someone who may have been working for the property stole jewelry from apartments, longtime resident Frank Scala’s was one of them.
Only in his case, when a gold watch was stolen, it was returned.
Though it’s a year later, the incident was clearly fresh in Scala’s mind when he discussed it at a Tenants Association meeting on May 10.
Scala, who owns the La Scala barber shop on Fifth Avenue, is also a community activist, serving as the president of 13th Precinct Community Council and the Albano Republican Club.
He brought up the burglary during a Q&A period, though the only answer he got was the stunned silence of his neighbors in the audience.
According to Scala, the incident occurred on the day that work was being done on his apartment’s intercom. He hadn’t particularly wanted to let anyone in his home while he was at work, but the intercom work wasn’t optional.
So naturally, Scala was shocked to discover when he came home later that day that his gold watch was missing. He’d noticed it was gone when he’d opened a drawer looking for something else. Two gold rings and another watch, this one just a knockoff of a Rolex design, were also missing.
Scala, who’s now 75, called Public Safety and the police.
Then, said Scala, a week after the incident, he returned home from work to find the watch, inside a plastic grocery store bag that was hanging off his doorknob.
He said he wasn’t completely surprised about this as the watch, while valuable with platinum and diamond accents, had his name engraved inside. “You can’t sell it because it’s unique,” he told Town & Village. The rings, he added, were never returned.
Adding insult to injury, said Scala, is that the work that was done on his intercom was never completed. “There’s been a hole in the wall where the intercom used to be.”
This week, a detective at the 13th Precinct said the case is closed since the watch was found. A spokesperson for CWCapital declined to comment.
Last May, four burglaries were reported, each one at buildings in Stuyvesant Town where repairs were being made on the intercoms. Scala’s is one of them. The burglar or burglars, who never left any sign of forced entry, took thousands of dollars worth of expensive gold jewelry in each apartment hit. The pattern stopped, however, after a master key was taken away from the contractors doing the work.