Arts Club honors its old adversary

Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association, was recognized for her years of community service at the National Arts Club’s 120th anniversary gala. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images North America)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

In an event no one in the neighborhood could have foreseen sans a crystal ball just a decade ago, the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park honored Gramercy Park Block Association President Arlene Harrison at the club’s 120th anniversary gala.

While Harrison and the club have enjoyed a positive working relationship in recent years, she was actively involved in investigations that resulted in the ousting of the club’s former president, O. Aldon James, for misusing the club’s funds and real estate.

Arthur Barnes, chairman of the gala held on Saturday, November 3 and a member of the club’s board of governors, said that the awards were specifically in recognition of community service and the award for Harrison was due to her long-standing relationship with the club and Gramercy Park.

“She’s a tremendously effective advocate of Gramercy Park,” Barnes said. “She’s been a member of the club for many years and we wanted to recognize her leadership within our community, including with the 13th Precinct only two blocks away, and with Brotherhood Synagogue and Calvary Church.”

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Woman takes watches from victim at Gramercy Park Hotel

Oct11 GP Hotel larceny

Watch theft suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a woman believed to have stolen two designer watches valued at $70,000 from a victim who was staying at the Gramercy Park Hotel.

Police said the thief also took the victim’s wallet, containing credit cards from the room at the hotel, which is located at 2 Lexington Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets. The two watches were Nautilus and Bell Ross.

The suspect is a blonde with tattoos on her right shoulder and arm.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD Crimestoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

Woman mugged in Gramercy Park

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for a man who violently mugged a woman in Gramercy Park on Friday, August 31 at about 3 a.m.

Police said that the victim, a 39-year-old woman, was walking in front of 7 Gramercy Park East when a man snuck up on her from behind and pulled her to the ground. The victim, who was intoxicated at the time, sustained some minor injuries but refused medical attention. The mugger then ran off on East 20th Street towards Third Avenue with the victim’s purse, which contained her credit cards.

The suspect is described as Hispanic with a light complexion, 20-30 years old and about 5’8″, 170 lbs., brown eyes and long brown curly or wavy hair worn in a manbun. He was last seen wearing a white button-down shirt, tan shorts, black/white shoes and dark colored glasses.

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 Nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

LOCAL HISTORIC PROFILE: Evelyn Nesbit, Model, actress, face of the ‘trial of the century’

Illustration by Sabina Mollot

By Sabina Mollot

Evelyn Nesbit (1884-1967) was a highly sought after artists’ and photographers’ model at a time when fashion photography was in its infancy, and was also an actress who lived in Flatiron, after she and her family came to New York in the year 1900.

However, what Nesbit ended up becoming the most famous for was not her talent or beauty but for being the face of the “trial of the century” as it was called at the time in 1906, when her unhinged millionaire husband, Harry Thaw, fatally shot Stanford White, a well-known architect. White had seduced and, Nesbit stated in court, sexually assaulted her when she was only 16 and unconscious, after drinking champagne, at his home. Still, the two ended up having a year-long relationship.

White was a well-known playboy, and Thaw, who had a reputation for violence, never went to prison for killing him. Instead he was sent to an institution after being found insane in his second trial after the jury was deadlocked in the first. Nesbit would then become known in headlines as a lethal beauty, “the girl on the red velvet swing,” because of a swing that she would play on in a mirrored room at White’s apartment on 24th Street.

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Gramercy Park packed on Christmas Eve

Photos by Ira Fox

By Sabina Mollot

On Christmas Eve, carolers came from far and wide to celebrate the evening at Gramercy Park. Christmas Eve is the one day of the year when the gated park is open to the public, and Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association and park trustee, estimated that there were over 1,000 people in attendance. Some, however, couldn’t fit into the park where police were manning two open gates.

“Everyone eventually got in, but the park was packed and (police) said no one was complaining,” Harrison said. “Everyone seemed very delighted to be there.”

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Women accused of stealing laptops, shoes from unconscious man in Kips Bay apartment

Facebook photo of Maxine Hansen

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A woman who was arrested last year in the Gramercy Park Hotel for broadcasting a raucous party over Facebook live is in trouble again after she was charged with stealing from a man in an apartment on East 28th Street after he was allegedly drugged.

Maxine Hansen, 26, along with 33-year-old Sonja Monness and 31-year-old Morgan Romano, allegedly stole a number of items from the man while the four were inside the apartment of the victim’s sister on November 17.

According to the district attorney’s office, Hansen allegedly handed the victim a drink, after which he lost consciousness. Police said that when he woke up, he noticed that an iPhone, three MacBooks, a Microsoft laptop, three credit cards, three Louis Vuitton bags and two pairs of shoes valued at $22,500 had been taken from the apartment without permission.

Hansen appeared in tabloids multiple times last November and December after her arrest related to the Facebook live video, which showed multiple BB guns in the Gramercy Park Hotel room. Police said they found heroin, methamphetamines and other drugs at the party, along with six BB guns, and three other people were arrested.

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Jimmy Fallon reads from his kids’ book at Barnes & Noble

Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Toddlers and “Tonight Show” fans alike were delighted by the appearance of Jimmy Fallon at the Union Square Barnes and Noble earlier this month to talk about his newest children’s book, Everything is Mama. The late night host visited the store previously when his first children’s book, Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada, was released in 2015.

Fallon joked at the event that he decided to do a follow-up because the first book was the result of a “fake competition” with his wife.

“It was fake because my wife didn’t care about it at all but I was trying to make ‘Dada’ our daughter’s first word,” he said. “But girls are much smarter than boys so I wanted to do another one, to teach kids about more important words like ‘balloon.’”

Mendez hosting town hall with the mayor on October 12

Council Member Dan Garodnick with Mayor Bill de Blasio at a recent town hall (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

If you missed the recent town hall with Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted by Council Member Dan Garodnick, you can still share your thoughts with the mayor at another town hall on October 12 at 7 p.m. to be hosted by Council Member Rosie Mendez.

The event is intended for residents of the Council District 2, encompassing the neighborhoods of East Village, Gramercy Park, Kips Bay, Lower East Side, Murray Hill and Rose Hill. Along with Mendez, co-sponsors are Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Community Boards 2, 3, 5 and 6, Grand Street Settlement, Henry Street Settlement and the Loisaida Center. Along with the mayor, commissioners and NYPD representatives will be present.

To attend, RSVP by October 10 at 5 p.m. via email at manhattantownhall@cityhall.nyc.gov or by calling (212) 788-2781. Space is limited. Doors open at 6 p.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. at P.S. 188 The Island School, 442 East Houston Street. (Enter on corner of East Houston Street and Baruch Drive.)

Mendez, in an email to constituents, has also mentioned the following rules: Each constituent who is called on to ask a question will be able to ask one question. No signs will be permitted into the event. Chanting is not allowed.

 

Woman arrested in connection with fatal butt injection on East 21st Street

Aug3 Fatal butt injection

LATESHA BYNUM

By Sabina Mollot 

Police have arrested a Queens woman believed to have been involved in the death of a woman who received a fatal cosmetic butt injection last summer in an unmarked building near Peter Cooper Village.

Allison Spence, 44, has been arrested on charges of manslaughter and unauthorized practice of profession for the injection. Spence, who police said turned herself in, allegedly acted as a nurse during the procedure, for which the suspected doctor has still not been arrested. Police said they have identified the man but haven’t disclosed his name. That man is not a real doctor, according to a story in CBS New York, but police told Town & Village they couldn’t confirm that at this time.

The procedure was performed at a third floor apartment at 319 East 21st Street, between First and Second Avenues on July 15. Later police were summoned in response to Bynum complaining of dizziness and chest pains. She was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, but 12 days later was taken off life support after being pronounced brain dead.

The medical examiner has deemed the death of 31-year-old mother Latesha Bynum, a Harlem resident, a homicide.

A lawyer for Bynum’s family told CBS New York the doctor is a phony who used a Dunkin Donuts as his waiting room, and that a fake nurse greeted her. The attorney also said the doctor had a pattern of injecting unsuspecting women with “silicone poison into his patients’ buttocks and/or thighs.”

Meanwhile, Spence’s sister told the Daily News her sister denied giving any injection, saying she only prepped the patient by massaging her muscles.

 

Police Watch: Man arrested for BB gun, Senior busted for groping

MAN ARRESTED FOR THREATENING VICTIM WITH BB GUN OVER PARKING DISPUTE
Police arrested 29-year-old Kastriot Lajqi after he allegedly pulled a BB gun on someone he was arguing with over a parking spot and indicated he was cop.
Police said last Sunday at 11 p.m. when Lajqi and the victim were arguing in front of 200 Park Avenue South, Lajqi reached over behind the passenger’s seat of his car and took out a BB gun. He then allegedly pointed it at the victim while saying, “I will blow your f—king head off.” Police said that Lajqi also retrieved a baseball cap with the letters “NYPD” and an NYPD patch on it and he allegedly said, “You see this, don’t f—k with me.” Police said he then fled north on Park Avenue South but was arrested soon after.
Police confirmed that Lajqi is not a member of the NYPD.
He was charged with alleged impersonation of a police officer and menacing.

OCTOGENARIAN ARRESTED FOR GROPING
Police arrested 85-year-old Zhen Huang for sexual abuse in front of 4 Perlman Place last Monday at 7:20 a.m. The victim told police that she was walking outside as she and Huang crossed paths. When he walked by her, he allegedly grabbed the victim’s upper thigh for no legitimate purpose.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY ON EAST 28TH
Police arrested 32-year-old Roberto Vasquez for robbery in front of the Children’s Rescue Fund at 4 East 28th Street last Tuesday at 5:25 a.m. Vasquez allegedly robbed the victim at gunpoint, then fled with the cash. Vasquez was also charged with weapons possession and possession of stolen property, although a gun was not recovered from the scene.

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Gramercy restaurant Sal Anthony’s returns after closing a decade ago

Anthony Macagnone’s (center, outside his restaurant) with his wife Cynthia Graham and Macagnone’s son, who is also named Anthony (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Ten years after Sal Anthony’s closed on Irving Place, the Italian restaurant has come back to the neighborhood, although owner Anthony Macagnone insists he hasn’t really been gone this whole time. Aside from living adjacent to the old restaurant on East 17th Street, Macagnone and his wife, Cynthia Graham, have been running a movement studio on Third Avenue for the last 18 years, but the new space on Third Avenue at East 19th Street marks the first Sal Anthony’s restaurant in the immediate Gramercy Park area in a decade.

The spot on Irving Place expanded over the 40 years the restaurant was open and although the new space on Third Avenue is only a fraction of the size, Macagnone said that he has a much better relationship with his current landlord than with the owner of the building on Irving Place.

Macagnone was forced to close the previous restaurant due to a long court battle over rent but he said that he has been drawn to this neighborhood because of a sense of community.

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Police Watch: Bus driver accused of slapping special needs child, Slashing at Boxers

BUS DRIVER ACCUSED OF SLAPPING SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD OUTSIDE WATERSIDE
Police arrested 55-year-old Lucien Magliore for assault and endangering the welfare of a child in front of 10 Waterside Plaza last Tuesday at 9:08 a.m. Police said that Magliore, a bus driver, caused physical injury to one of the students who was on his bus while attempting to restrain him. Police said that the victim was a 10-year-old special needs child who was acting out on the bus. According to the District Attorney’s office, Magliore slapped the victim on the back, causing substantial pain, redness and a handprint on the child’s upper back.

MAN ARRESTED FOR SLASHING AT BOXERS
Police arrested 25-year-old Tevin Gingles for slashing two people inside Boxers NYC, a gay sports bar, at 37 West 20th Street.
One of the victims told police that on March 26 at 2 a.m. he was trying to breaking up a fight at the bar that involved his friend. That’s when Gingles allegedly slashed him in the shoulder with a box cutter, causing a puncture wound.
Gingles also allegedly slashed another victim on the right hand, causing a deep cut.
Following the incident, the first victim got into a cab and went to Harlem Hospital, where he received 16 stitches. The second victim received five stitches for the cut on his hand.
Gingles was arrested inside the 13th Precinct last Wednesday at 9 p.m. and was charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for failed mugging, ‘Grinder’ busted in Union Square

MAN NABBED FOR FAILED MUGGING
Police arrested 51-year-old Kenneth Brwon for attempted robbery after, they said, he tried to snatch a woman’s purse and canvas shopping bags from her shoulder.
According to the district attorney, while at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 23rd Street last Sunday at 1 a.m., Brwon continued to pull on the victim’s bags even when multiple passersby intervened, and even when the victim struggled to get away by getting into a taxi.
When it was clear he wasn’t going to get the woman’s belongings, he allegedly attempted to flee but was arrested soon after.

‘GRINDER’ ARRESTED IN UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 24-year-old Kavon Morgan for sexual abuse at East 14th Street and Union Square East last Thursday at 7:30 a.m. Police said that Morgan used his sweatshirt to hide his erection and proceeded to thrust his hips and rub his groin area against the victim’s buttocks multiple times.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘COCAINE’ IN GRAMERCY
Thirty-year-old Josh Lewis was arrested for possession of a controlled substance in front of 38 Gramercy Park East last Friday at 7:09 p.m. Police said that Lewis snorted cocaine from his right hand while on the sidewalk, and alleged cocaine was recovered from his pockets when he was searched.

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Gramercy Park community activist Herbert Rosenfield dies

Rosenfield

Herbert Rosenfield

By Sabina Mollot

On July 20, Herbert Rosenfield, a longtime Gramercy Park resident and community activist — also an original resident of Peter Cooper and World War II veteran — died at the age of 97.

His passing, which came just 16 days away from his next birthday, was due to diabetes as well as kidney disease, which he was diagnosed with in June. His funeral was held last Monday.

Rosenfield, who lived in Gramercy Park since 1950 (after a two-year stint in the newly opened Peter Cooper), was throughout his life involved in the community, focusing on quality of life issues through neighborhood organizations like the Block Association.

His daughter, Patricia Rosenfield, told Town & Village that when her father and mother, Audrey Priest Rosenfield, moved into the community, “They were the youngest residents at the time.” Feeling there was a serious problem in the neighborhood of people not cleaning up after their dogs, Rosenfield, along with the rector of Calvary Church at that time organized the first community park cleanup event. Patricia also said Rosenfield was active in pushing for what would become the Pooper Scooper Law.

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Sex offender busted at 30th St. shelter, man stopped from stealing ice cream bites into officer

SEX OFFENDER BUSTED AT SHELTER

FOR NOT REGISTERING ADDRESS CHANGE

Police arrested 25-year-old Dashawn Johnson inside the 30th Street Men’s Shelter at 400 East 30th Street last Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. for an unclassified felony after he failed to register a change of address with the sex offender monitoring unit. Police said that Johnson is a level 2 sex offender after being convicted of sexual abuse in the first degree on March 6, 2007. After he was notified of his duties in 2010 and 2015, he allegedly failed to notify authorities of a change of address within 10 days as required by law. Police said that Johnson has a previous conviction for failure to register on April 25, 2016 in Kings County.

MAN WAVES KNIFE AT STRAPHANGERS

ON Q TRAIN NEAR UNION SQUARE

July14 Menacing.jpg

Q train suspect

Police are looking for a man who allegedly pulled a knife on fellow straphangers on the Q train and waved it around in a threatening manner last Thursday. A 49-year-old woman told police that while she was riding a downtown Q from Union Square at 9:05 a.m. when she saw the man waving a knife and making threats to passengers. The man left the train at Canal Street and fled in an unknown direction. The suspect is described as a 30-year-old black man, 6’0″ tall, 180 lbs. with a bald head and dark complexion. He was last seen wearing a red shirt, gray jogging pants and black sneakers.

 

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 nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are kept strictly confidential.

MAN STOPPED FROM STEALING ICE CREAM BITES INTO OFFICER INSTEAD

Thirty-year-old Thomas McKnight was arrested for robbery last Friday after trying to make off with some ice cream from the Duane Reade at 777 Sixth Avenue. Police said that McKnight took ice cream out of the freezer and put it into his shorts without paying for it. When he passed the register and attempted to leave the store, a loss prevention officer attempted to stop him, at which point McKnight allegedly punched the officer in the face, causing swelling and a scratch to his cheek. Police said that McKnight also bit the officer on the arm, causing a red mark, and allegedly stomped on the officer’s cell phone, causing it to break. McKnight was also charged with petit larceny, criminal mischief and possession of stolen property.

MAN ARRESTED AFTER FIREWORKS

HIT PEDESTRIAN ON FIRST AVENUE

Police arrested 32-year-old Joshua Hernandez for reckless endangerment and possession of fireworks on Independence Day last Monday at 10:05 p.m. inside 275 First Avenue. Police were conducting a floor-by-floor search at the building across from Stuyvesant Town because lit fireworks had been thrown onto the street and in one instance hit a passerby. Hernandez was allegedly on the building’s rooftop with a belt of fireworks and a green torch lighter. Police said he was also allegedly in possession of additional fireworks that were in his pants pocket and a transparent bag containing additional fireworks was found behind him.

PAIR ARRESTED FOR CAR BREAK-INS

Police arrested 22-year-old Shaquille King and a teenager for petit larceny in front of the Senton Hotel at 39 West 27th Street on Independence Day last Monday at 6:26 a.m. King and the teen allegedly entered the front passenger’s side and on the back driver’s side of a car. Police said that the car was unlocked but the doors were closed. The victim said he wasn’t sure if property was taken from the car, but King and the teen allegedly went into another car on the driver’s side and passenger’s side. Police said that a witness has video of the incident and saw the car break-in happen. King and the teen allegedly fled east on 27th Street before they were arrested. The teen’s name is being withheld due to his age.

CABBIE ARRESTED FOR HIT-AND-RUN

Police arrested 26-year-old Jonathan Kwok inside the 13th Precinct last Tuesday at 10:45 a.m. for leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury. Police said that Kwok hit the victim with his cab at West 21st and Sixth Avenue on May 21, causing pain to the victim’s hip and leg. Kwok allegedly drove off before police arrived at the scene.

DUANE READE EMPLOYEE BUSTED FOR THEFT

Police arrested 41-year-old Valencia Parrish for petit larceny inside the Duane Reade at 401 Park Avenue South last Wednesday at 11:07 a.m. The store manager told police that he noticed Parrish’s cash register was short on June 15 at the end of her shift and subsequently realized that her register had been short on other shifts of hers as well. He started watching her on video surveillance last Tuesday. Around 8:44 a.m. that day, he saw Parrish receive payment for store items and she allegedly kept the cash in her right hand while giving the customer change. After the customer left the store, Parrish allegedly put the money inside her shirt near her neck. The manager said that Parrish could be seen on video surveillance taking cash on a number of different occasions.

TRESPASSER ARRESTED IN

VACANT APARTMENT IN GRAMERCY

Police arrested 32-year-old Brian Miller for criminal mischief and criminal trespass in front of 15 East 21st Street last Wednesday at 2:28 p.m. The building manager of 15 East 21st Street told police that he went to check on an apartment in the building that is currently vacant and Miller was allegedly inside the apartment without permission. Police said that Miller fled out of an apartment window down the fire escape and was stopped down the block. The building manager said that there was also damage to a ladder that was inside the apartment.

L&W OYSTER CO. EMPLOYEE

ARRESTED AFTER THEFTS

Police arrested 35-year-old Dustin Robinson inside L&W Oyster Co. at 254 Fifth Avenue last Tuesday at 5:07 p.m. for petit larceny and possession of stolen property. Robinson allegedly took money from the victim’s bag that was inside the location. The victim said that he put a camera in the office because money had gone missing after Robinson was hired the previous Saturday.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT

IN UNION SQUARE

Police arrested 23-year-old Ayanna Hull for assault and harassment at the corner of Union Square East and East 14th Street last Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Hull allegedly punched and scratched the victim, causing bruising and cuts to her neck and chest. Police said that the argument was the result of a dispute over a backpack.

MAN BUSTED FOR THEFT AT WEWORK

Police arrested 37-year-old Nathan Pickett for allegedly swiping multiple paintings from the WeWork office at 115 West 18th Street. Police said that Pickett entered the location last Thursday at 10:03 a.m. using his passcard on his day off.