GPBA President Arlene Harrison and trustee Rev. Tom Pike (center) with officers from the 13th precinct. (Photos by Ira Fox)
Nearly 2,000 people crowded into Gramercy Park for the annual Christmas Caroling sponsored by the Park Trustees and organized once again by the Gramercy Park Block Association. The caroling was led by GPBA president Arlene Harrison and trustee Rev. Tom Pike, with music led by Calvary church music director Kamel Boutros.
“This year, mostly due to media attention, the event was attended by nearly 2,000 people from around the world who were visiting New York for the holidays,” Harrison said.
Harrison thanked the officers of the 13th precinct for policing the event saying, “Thanks to their outstanding police presence, in particular Chief Hughes, Chief Comodo the 13th Precinct and the Neighborhood Coordination Officers the Rodriguez brothers, our caroling event was the best and safest ever.”
MAN BUSTED FOR ATTEMPTED STROLLER THEFT
Police arrested 38-year-old Michael Monaghan for an alleged theft from Union Square Park on Saturday, August 17 at 6:08 p.m. The victim told police that a witness told her Monaghan removed her unattended strolled from the playground area in Union Square Park and proceeded to take it towards the Parks bathroom located on the northeast side of the park. The witness followed Monaghan and saw him allegedly remove property from the stroller, then alerted the owner that the stroller had been taken. When the victim arrived at the location near the playground, she positively identified the stroller as hers and the witness positively identified Monaghan as the person who had allegedly removed the stroller. Monaghan was arrested in front of 45 East 17th Street.
MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT OF SENIOR
Police arrested 33-year-old Todd Lyons for allegedly assaulting an elderly man at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street on Friday, August 16 at 2:40 p.m. Police said that Lyons physically assaulted the man, who is in his 70s, by punching him in the face twice and also allegedly assaulted a woman while he was walking away. Lyons was stopped in front of 262 West 24th Street and was identified by a witness who was present during the assault. The victim refused medical attention at the scene and sustained injuries to the top of his right eye.
WOMAN ACCUSED OF STEALING CREDIT CARD
Police arrested 38-year-old Melissa Torres for an alleged theft that took place inside an apartment at 331 East 29th Street sometime in March or April. Police said that Torres, an acquaintance of the victim, removed her credit card from her apartment while the victim was in the hospital. Torres was charged with grand larceny inside the 13th precinct on Thursday, August 15 at 10:45 a.m.
Seven-year-old Abigail Arias, pictured with her family, Gramercy Park Block Association President Arlene Harrison and members of the 13th precinct and the NYPD (Photos courtesy of Blue Lives Matter NYC)
Last week, the Gramercy Park Block Association welcomed 7-year-old Freeport, TX Honorary Police Chief Abigail Arias (badge# 758), her father Rueben, mother Eileen, brother Ethan and Freeport Police Chief Raymond A. Garivey to Gramercy Park.
Blue Lives Matter NYC co-founders Sgt. Joseph Imperatrice, Det. Carlos Delgado and PO Chris Brinkley organized a trip to New York City for Arias, who dreams of becoming a police officer, but suffers from a incurable form of kidney cancer.
To welcome Arias to Gramercy Park, GPBA President Arlene Harrison and Kathleen Scupp organized a pizza party, and invited local NYPD, including Manhattan South Chief Salvatore Comodo, Det. Greg Welch and Emergency Service Truck 1, and 13th Precinct Neighborhood Coordinating Officers. The party was co-hosted by the Gramercy Park Hotel and Maialino Restaurant.
Police arrested a teen last week for multiple package thefts that took place earlier this summer in various buildings throughout Gramercy.
A Stuyvesant Town Public Safety Officer told police that he saw 19-year-old Luis Navarro Murillo via video surveillance entering 390 First Avenue in Peter Cooper Village around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 24, when he allegedly stole two packages from the building’s lobby.
After leaving that building, police said that about five minutes later, Navarro Murillo entered 350 First Avenue, also in Peter Cooper Village, and allegedly took one package from that lobby, then left the building.
Police later confirmed that Navarro Murillo also allegedly stole a package from the lobby of 39 Gramercy Park North on Tuesday, June 4 around 6:30 p.m.
Carolers in Gramercy Park (Photos by Ira Fox Photography)
On Christmas Eve, the trustees of Gramercy Park and the Gramercy Park Block Association hosted an evening of caroling, an annual tradition that draws thousands from around the city to the normally private park. The event was hosted by Arlene Harrison, president of the GPBA; Calvary Rector Rev. Jacob Smith and Rector Emeritus Rev. Dr. Thomas Pike. Caroling was led Kamel Boutros, music director at Calvary-St. George’s, with music by Alex Nguyen and Friends.
The Brotherhood Synagogue in Gramercy Park (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
While it happened many miles away from New York City, for Jewish New Yorkers, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting massacre on October 27 hit way too close to home, especially since locally, in the days following, there were reports of anti-Semitic graffiti and other types of vandalism at Jewish houses of worship in Brooklyn.
Many attended a vigil for the victims in Pittsburgh in Union Square shortly after the incident. Others jammed their temples for special Sabbath services that Friday night. Town & Village’s own associate editor, Maria Rocha-Buschel, found herself attending services for the first time in — she admitted — years, and reported that The Brotherhood Synagogue in Gramercy Park was completely packed. Much of the evening’s service was focused on the shootings and Rabbi Daniel Alder read a letter from a congregant who’d grown up near the Tree of Life Synagogue where eleven people were murdered, and knew two of the victims.
East End Temple in Stuyvesant Square Park was also crowded “beyond capacity,” noted a congregant there, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein. “There was a lot of unity in difficult times,” he added.
A worker secures a tree in Gramercy Park after a snowstorm caused a still undetermined amount of damage in the park and other parks. (Photos courtesy of Gramercy Park Block Associaton)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Unexpected heavy snowfall last Thursday caused damage to trees throughout the neighborhood, resulting in park closures through this week, long after all the snow from the storm had melted.
Arlene Harrison, the president of the Gramercy Park Block Association and park trustee, sent an email to park neighbors on Friday noting that the park would be closed until further notice, and included photos of several downed tree limbs inside the park.
“Park caretakers who have been working here for decades said that it was the worst single hit to the park since they’ve worked here,” said Harrison, who made the decision to padlock the park gates for safety reasons until the debris is cleared. She said that the park could reopen by the end of the week but it had to remain closed until the crew can determine that it’s safe.
She added that the crew was pruning on the western side of the park right before the storm so there was the least amount of damage on that side, but five trees in the park were “ravaged” because of the wind and heavy snow.
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.”
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).
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.’”
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.
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.