Cabbie punched and robbed in Gramercy

jan17 taxi robbery suspect1

First robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for two men who stiffed a cabbie, stole his phone and punched him in the face on a street in Gramercy.

Cops said that on Wednesday, January 9 at 7:10 p.m., the 31-year-old driver was dropping off the men at Park Avenue South and East 22nd Street, after they’d hailed the cab at 96th Street and Broadway. However, the passengers didn’t pay the fare before getting out and when the driver asked for the money, one of them reached into his window and stole his cell phone. When the driver got out of his car to get it back, one of the two men punched him before they both fled.

jan17 taxi robbery suspect2

Second robbery suspect

The victim refused medical attention at the scene.

The two suspects are described as being black and about 18-20.

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). All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Man robbed for Balenciaga shoes at Gramercy hotel

Dec6 Shoe robbery suspects

Robbery suspects

By Sabina Mollot

A man was robbed for a pricey pair of kicks at the Freehand Hotel in Gramercy last Saturday.

Police said the 26-year-old victim was in a second floor public bathroom at the hotel at about 4 p.m. when two men approached him and demanded his Balenciaga shoes.

After being threatened, the victim turned the pair, worth $300, over to one of the robbers, who is described as being white, in his 30s, 5 ft. 11 ins. and about 180 lbs.

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Local synagogues packed after Pittsburgh massacre

Nov15 Brotherhood Synagogue

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.

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Former physician’s assistant who worked in Gramercy pleads guilty to sexually abusing patients

Kenneth Ferranti

By Sabina Mollot

On Thursday, Kenneth Ferranti, a former physician’s assistant who worked at Hennessey Dermatology in Gramercy, pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of two male patients.

Ferranti, a 40-year-old resident of Jersey City, abused the patients in February and August of 2017. Along with sexual abuse in the third degree, he also pleaded guilty to forcible touching and perjury for lying about the incidents during his testimony.

“As a physician’s assistant, this defendant garnered trust and confidence from the many patients left in his care,” said District Attorney Cy Vance. “But on at least two occasions, when these same patients came to him in need of medical attention, he violated that trust and abused them under the guise of providing medical treatment. That he later perjured himself before a grand jury as he testified about the abuse only exacerbates this terrible crime, and I thank my office’s prosecutors for holding him accountable.”

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Police Watch: Six arrested for helping brothels advertise online, launder money

SIX CHARGED WITH HELPING BROTHELS ADVERTISE ONLINE, LAUNDER MONEY
This past Monday, police arrested six people in connection with a scheme to promote and finance brothels throughout the city, including one on 14th Street, the Daily News reported. The six suspects reportedly built websites for the brothels and are being charged with money laundering.

The websites went by the names “One Hour Girlfriend,” “Kiss Kiss Pop” and “Shake Shake Girls,” and showed photos of prostitutes from the brothels. Police said that Kwong Kyu (Kevin) Kim and Hyun Kyung (Jay Hee) Han, who are married, and Hong Nae (Diane) Yi reportedly issued high-interest loans to brothel owners in Manhattan and set up bank accounts to keep money going into and out of the brothels. Court documents said that Han owned the brothel on 14th Street, as well as one on 39th Street. Additional suspects Beirne (Michael) Lowey, Tien Chih Wang and Zhengyi (Allen) Lu allegedly helped to set up web pages and ads for the brothels.

Police said that Lowey, who allegedly photographed the prostitutes, was seen placing stickers advertising the websites on light posts, parking meters and other surfaces on Third Avenue between East 10th and 31st Streets.

Wang and Lu allegedly used bitcoin to purchase advertising credits on Backpage.com, which was seized by the federal government in April, and the suspects reportedly resold the credits on their own website.

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Purple-haired robber hits Gramercy 7-Eleven

Robbery suspect

Police are looking for a robber with long purple dreadlocks who held up a 7-Eleven on Monday.

At about 8:30 p.m., the suspect entered the store located at 247 Third Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets, and announced a robbery as he gestured to his waistband. A 23-year-old employee then turned over an undetermined amount of cash and the robber fled.

The suspect was last seen wearing a green vest and a red hat.

Town & Village was unable to reach the store by phone for comment.

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 nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Police Watch: Arrests made for Kips Bay robbery, office burglaries

TEEN CHARGED WITH ROBBERIES IN KIPS BAY
Police arrested 18-year-old Amias Bettis and another teenager for an alleged robbery in front of 344 East 28th Street on Tuesday, September 11 at 1:49 a.m. A taxi driver told police that he saw Bettis and the other teen pulling on car door handles and when they got to his cab, he confronted him about it. In response, Bettis allegedly raised his hand in a fist, thrusting it at the driver. The name of the other teen is being withheld because of his young age.

Bettis was later charged at the precinct for additional robberies earlier this month.

Police said that Bettis and 30-year-old Kimberly McNulty stole a credit card while they were inside the apartment of a relative of McNulty in Stuyvesant Town at 271 Avenue C on Monday, September 10 at 1:30 a.m. McNulty was arrested inside the precinct on Thursday, September 13 at 10 a.m. and charged with robbery and possession of stolen property.

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Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood returns on September 29

Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood, pictured in 2016 (Photo by Maya Rader)

By Sabina Mollot

Back for its sixth year, Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood, hosted by Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, Inc., will return to Irving Place on Saturday, September 29. This year, the food festival and fundraiser will offer tastings from 25 eateries.

Each year the event has grown in popularity, with the restaurant owners often the ones to reach out to the event’s organizer to participate, the GNA’s president, Alan Krevis, said.

“We’re happy to have the restaurants back with us and we appreciate all the people who’ve been supporting us for the past six years,” he said.

Over the years, the event, which takes place under an open sky, rain or shine, has been frequented by tourists but mostly attended by local foodies.

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Con Ed asks ST/PCV, Gramercy and Flatiron residents asked not to use unnecessary appliances during repairs

Sept6 Con Ed repairs

Con Ed workers on Broadway and 23rd Street in Flatiron (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Throughout the day on Thursday, Con Ed has been asking customers to curb their power use, while making repairs to electrical cables.

At around 9 a.m., when Con Ed announced the repairs, a spokesperson said the utility hoped to restore any power to lost to customers by the evening.

By the afternoon, Con Ed reduced voltage by five percent in the neighborhoods of Madison Square, Gramercy and Flatiron in Manhattan as a precaution to protect equipment while repairs were being made.

Con Edison has asked customers within the confines of East 31st Street to the north, East 14th Street to the south, Fifth Avenue to the west and the East River to the east not to use appliances such as washers, dryers and, unless needed for health or medical reasons, air conditioners, and other energy-intensive equipment. Customers have also been asked to turn off lights and televisions when not needed until the problems are resolved.

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Local historic profile: Harriet Quimby, pioneer aviator

July26 HarrietQuimby edit2

By Sabina Mollot

Harriet Quimby was the first woman in America to receive a pilot’s license, which she then made good use out of by flying over the English Channel in a Bleriot monoplane in 1911. This too was a first for a woman. Before and during this time, Quimby also wrote screenplays for silent films and worked as a journalist and drama critic for the magazine Leslie’s Weekly.

While there is debate about where she was originally from, Quimby lived in New York City for a few years, on 27th Street and Broadway in what was then The Victoria Hotel.

But, noted local historian Alfred Pommer, author of The History of Gramercy and Union Square, Quimby’s connection to Manhattan wasn’t just her address. She was often seen at 11 East 14th Street, which was home to an early silent film studio. Along with her journalism work, Quimby wrote seven scripts that were made into silent films, directed by D.W. Griffith, and did a bit of acting.

“She was the first successful female screenwriter in America,” said Pommer. Still, he added, “She was most well-known for her airplane flights.”

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Woman steals credit cards at Taproom

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a woman they said stole credit cards from an employee’s purse at Taproom, a Gramercy bar, and then proceeded to use them to make purchases. Another employee at the bar at 307 Third Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets told Town & Village the theft happened on Saturday during brunch time when the thief sat down near where some employees were sitting.

Police tweeted a picture of the woman on Tuesday, who the employee said appeared to be light-skinned black with braided hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association celebrating 50th anniversary

Stuyvesant Square Park these days is sitting pretty, in no small part due to the work of the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

When the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association was formed half a century ago, it began as many civic organizations do — as a response to a perceived threat to the community that the residents were willing to fight. In this case, the interloper was Beth Israel, which was expanding its footprint at the time, buying up brownstones in the Stuyvesant Square neighborhood to raze and turn into larger buildings.

Rosalee Isaly, the president of the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association, who’s been involved in the group’s efforts since 1970, said neighbors were concerned about the expansion impacting their quality of life, especially when the hospital received a federal grant to turn an empty lot at the corner of Second Avenue and 17th Street to build a 40-story building to house its staff. The group, initially just three couples (including husbands who worked as attorneys), fought this tooth and nail.

Eventually that street corner became home to the significantly smaller Hospital for Joint Diseases, and Beth Israel built the 24-story Gilman Hall on First Avenue across from Stuyvesant Town to house its residents. (Gilman has since been emptied and sold to a California-based developer as part of the hospital’s downsizing plan.)

As for the three couples from Stuyvesant Square who made up the founding members of the SPNA, they were John and Mary Tommaney, Adrian and Marisa Zorgniotti and James and Carvel Moore. Isaly, who now owns and manages a couple of local properties and is also an artist, joined the SPNA upon moving to the neighborhood when she was a newlywed. She’s lived there since then with the exception of a few years in the 1970s when she and her family lived in Paris.

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Woman robbed at gunpoint on East 20th Street

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for a man who robbed a woman at gunpoint in Gramercy shortly after midnight on Sunday.

Police said the woman was walking past 201 East 20th Street at Third Avenue when the man approached her, pulled out a small, black handgun and demanded her cash. The woman turned over her money, putting it into a bag the man had and he fled the scene. She was uninjured in the incident. It isn’t clear how much money she lost and police don’t have a description of the suspect although he was caught in some grainy surveillance footage.

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 Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Robber pulls away cane from man, helps him back up, then steals his cash

Apr5 Robbery elder suspect

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are hunting a man who violently robbed a 70-year-old man on Park Avenue South on Tuesday by pulling his cane away from him as he walked along the sidewalk. After the victim fell to the ground, the suspect took his wallet. Then, upon seeing that there were people approaching them, the robber helped the victim get back to his feet. However, before fleeing west on East 24th Street, he snatched $15 in cash from the victim’s wallet.

The suspect is described as unshaven and light-skinned and was last seen wearing a black knit cap, a gray hooded sweater with red lining, a black jacket and camouflage shoes.

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.

Former 21st precinct demolished, new building will be residential

Construction site at 327 East 22nd Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A building in Gramercy that at one time was the 21st Precinct has been torn down and will be replaced with a residential building. The four-story property, 327 East 22nd Street between First and Second Avenues, had already been gutted for a couple of years and covered with a scaffolding but was finally demolished last month.

In 2014, developer Sam Suzuki of Suzuki Capital had bought the building for $11.5 million, planning to turn the building into luxury condos. However, according to Acris property records, he sold it to Atalaya, an alternative investment advisor in May 2017, who then sold it in September 2017 to Bin Yu Wang for $12 million. A deed transfer filed in November 2017 now shows a Suzuki-connected “Gramercy 1860 LLC” to be the new owner. Suzuki, meanwhile, has taken out three mortgages totaling $11.3 million from lender Calmwater Capital, the records show.

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