Powers and Rivera crush competition in primary

Unlike the sun, Council candidate Keith Powers was up bright and early, along with Council Member Dan Garodnick, to cast his vote in Peter Cooper Village. (Photo by Chris Carroll)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Peter Cooper Village resident Keith Powers and Lower East Side resident Carlina Rivera each won their respective primary races for City Council on Tuesday, following major endorsements for the candidates in the days leading up to voting.

With about 93 percent of the votes counted on Wednesday morning, Powers was declared the winner in the District 4 race with 41.24 percent of the vote and Rivera won the primary for District 2 by a wide margin, receiving 60.76 percent of the vote.

Powers’ closest competitor, Upper East Sider Marti Speranza, received 22.78 percent of the vote. None of the other seven candidates received more than 10 percent of the vote but Rachel Honig and Bessie Schachter came the closest, receiving 8.59 and 8.26 respectively. Vanessa Aronson received 6.68 percent and Maria Castro got 4.74 percent of the vote. Peter Cooper Village resident Barry Shapiro received 2.10 percent and Alec Hartman got 1.04 percent.

Kips Bay resident Mary Silver was Rivera’s closest competitor but still only received 16.41 percent of the vote. Former Obama staffer Ronnie Cho received 8.5 percent of the vote, community organizer Jasmin Sanchez got 5 percent and attorney Jorge Vasquez received 7.58 percent. East Village resident Erin Hussein technically dropped out of the race prior to the election but still received 1.9 percent of the vote.

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‘Taste’ returns on Sept. 16

Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood, an annual street food fair/fundraiser held by the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, will be celebrating its fifth event on Saturday, September 16.

Around 20 restaurants from the neighborhood will be involved, offering tasting of signature dishes, under an open sky. The event, as always, takes place along one block, Irving Place between 17th and 18th Streets, from noon-4 p.m.

The money raised from the event goes to two local schools, School of the Future and PS 40.

Alan Krevis, president of GNA, said the event has grown each year in terms of how many tickets get sold, with mostly local people attending as well as some visiting from out of town.

“It’s grown tremendously,” said Krevis. “Last year we sold almost 400 tickets, so it is changing. We’re getting all the foodies. It’s becoming a destination.”

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Female pick-pockets steal wallet at Flatiron restaurant

Pick-pocketing suspects

Police are looking for two women who worked together to steal a wallet from a woman eating dinner at a restaurant on Park Avenue South.

On Saturday, August 19 at around 8 p.m., the two suspects were sitting at a table at Farmer and the Fish near a 56-year-old woman whose purse was draped over the back of her chair. Both the suspects took turns reaching into the victim’s purse and one of them was able to get her wallet. The pair then left.

An hour and a half later, the victim’s credit card was used to by over $1,500 worth of merchandise at a Target at 445 Gold Street in Brooklyn.

Both suspects are heavy black women, one with blond hair, who was last seen wearing a dress, the other with black hair, last seen wearing a black baseball cap, a t-shirt and jeans.

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

UPDATED: Gramercy woman reported missing

Aug24 missing

Olivia Novik

UPDATE: Police report Novik has been found and is safe.

Police are asking for help in finding a missing Gramercy woman who was last seen on Monday, August 14 in the East Village.
Olivia Novik, 26, is a resident of the Gramercy Arms building at 145 East 15th Street.

She is described as approximately 5’6″ tall, 140 lbs. with brown eyes and long brown hair and has a tattoo of an olive branch on her back. The missing might be wearing a brown and white blouse with dark leggings and sandals.

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

Woman dies after botched butt injection in E. 21st St. building

LATESHA BYNUM

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A Harlem woman died after she received a butt injection in a building on East 21st Street near First Avenue earlier this month. The New York Post reported on Monday that 31-year-old Latesha Bynum reportedly received the injections in the unmarked building on July 15 and 12 days later, was struck with dizziness and chest pain. She called 911 around 11 p.m. and was brought to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s last Thursday, but was later pronounced brain-dead before being taken off life support.

The Post noted that the building is not a legitimate medical office, according to the Department of Health.

A resident of the building told the Post that police had been investigating an apartment on the third floor of the building for most of the last weekend. The NYPD told Town & Village that the investigation is ongoing but there have not been any arrests in the case as of Wednesday morning.

 

Council candidate focused on housing, mental health services

Jasmin Sanchez (Photo courtesy of Jasmin Sanchez)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Lifelong Lower East Side resident Jasmin Sanchez had already been working in public service for most of her career when she decided to try to transfer those skills to the City Council.

Sanchez, who still lives in Baruch Houses in the Lower East Side where she grew up, has experience in the nonprofit sector, working with community leaders at Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) and in State Senator Daniel Squadron’s office, which is where she said she learned how to be a community advocate. She is running for the Council seat in District 2, with City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez being term-limited out next year.

A major focus of Sanchez’s campaign is mental health services, primarily because it’s an issue that ties into not only healthcare, but can affect housing and education as well, and has an impact on homelessness. She added that she feels having affordable housing can sometimes be the lynchpin for communities and families, and that it can be especially detrimental for students if they have a tenuous living situation.

“If you don’t have housing, you don’t focus as much on everything else and your performance suffers,” she said.

“It’s not a stable life for kids from shelters. It can be very stressful for them not to have a stable place to live. Schools have mental health services but they have to be holistic and make sure that families are receiving those services as well.”

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Teens wanted for string of electronic toothbrush thefts

Surveillance photos of suspects from the third incident in Murray Hill

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are looking for a group of teenagers suspected of stealing thousands of dollars worth of electronic toothbrushes from Duane Reades throughout the city, including from a store in Gramercy. The four incidents all took place in April, although police only announced the pattern this week. The first theft took place inside the Duane Reade at 125 Third Avenue near East 14th Street on Sunday, April 9 at 9:18 p.m. when the suspects reportedly grabbed $1,264 worth of electronic toothbrushes from the shelves and fled.

The next two incidents took place two days later on April 11 in stores on the Upper East Side. Police said that the suspects entered a Duane Reade at 1091 Lexington Avenue at 5:07 p.m. and swiped $1,210 worth of electronic toothbrushes before fleeing, then stole $3,030 worth of electronic toothbrushes from a Duane Reade at 1352 First Avenue at 5:20 p.m.

The last known incident took place on Sunday, April 23 when the suspects made off with  $160 worth of electronic toothbrushes from a Duane Reade at 155 East 34th Street near Third Avenue.

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Hoylman takes aim at ‘high rent blight’

Various empty storefronts in State Senator Brad Hoylman’s District, the subject of his recent study, “Bleaker on Bleecker” (Photo collage courtesy of Brad Hoylman)

By Sabina Mollot

State Senator Brad Hoylman, whose district includes Stuyvesant Town, Gramercy, Chelsea and Greenwich Village, recently conducted a study that found a high percentage of vacant storefronts in the district, with some retail corridors about 10 percent vacant and on Bleecker Street, a vacancy rate of 18.4 percent.

This is no breaking news to area residents of course; but the senator’s study “Bleaker on Bleecker,” which focuses on what’s been dubbed “high rent blight,” has led to his offering a few proposals to combat the problem.

In particular, the phenomenon of landlords of choosing to keep a space vacant “suggests waiting for Marc Jacobs instead of renting to Jane Jacobs,” the study quotes economist Tim Wu as saying.

The study also mentions the closure last year of the Chelsea Associated Supermarket, which had seen its $32,000 rent jump by $100,000. The now-shuttered store had the same owners as the Associated in Stuyvesant Town, the future of which is still murky.

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UPDATED: Eleven-year-old boy reported missing, last seen at School of the Future

Apr27 Campello

Marcus Campello

UPDATE at 10:26 a.m.: Police said Marcus Campello has been found safe although a spokesperson for the department didn’t have details.

 

An 11-year-old student at School of the Future was reported missing early Wednesday, with police saying he was last seen at the Gramercy school Tuesday afternoon.

Marcus Campello, who lives on East 41st Street, also went missing last week. Police issued a similar alert last Friday morning, although Campello was found later in the day.

One law enforcement source said he ran away from home.

School of the Future is located at 127 East 22nd Street and Lexington.

 

 

 

NY Kids Club to hold speed dating event to match nannies with families

Gramercy location of New York Kids Club (Photo courtesy of New York Kids Club)

By Sabina Mollot

New York Kids Club, the chain of kids’ learning and recreational centers that includes a location on East 22nd Street, might seem like an unlikely place to hold a speed dating event. However, attendees of this upcoming event won’t be there in search of romance. Instead, the kids club is aiming to play matchmaker for nannies and the families who need them.

Jessica Wolf, the company’s director of business development and marketing, explained that for some time now, she’s been a member of numerous Facebook groups for parents as well as some for nannies. Parents will frequently ask on their respective groups if anyone knows a good nanny while the nannies will also be in search of work in their own networks. But, since the groups are separate, there wind up being many missed opportunities for connections.

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Man gropes woman inside East 24th Street building

Mar30 groperCops are on the lookout for a man who followed a woman into her building on East 24th Street and Lexington Avenue and groped her before taking off.

According to police on Monday, March 20 at around 6 a.m., the suspect followed the woman into the building and into the elevator. Once inside he grabbed her breasts over and under her shirt. The victim managed to push him off though, and he ran out of the building, heading east on 24th Street.

The victim, 54, wasn’t injured.

The suspect is described as black, 45 to 50 years old and 5’6″ to 5’7″ tall. He last seen wearing a green hat, a green jacket, black and white sweatpants and black and white sneakers.

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

Cops looking for man stealing from lockers at New York Sports Club gyms

jan19-gym-thief1

Gym locker theft suspect

 By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a thief who’s been raiding lockers at Manhattan gyms for cash, clothes, laptops and other electronics since last September.

Police are currently aware of 14 thefts downtown, midtown and in Murray Hill and Chelsea as well as one incident in Gramercy, all at different locations of the New York Sports Club.

In the Gramercy incident, on October 13, the thief stole a 22-year-old man’s credit cards and keys from an unlocked locker at the New York Sports Club at 113 East 23rd Street near Park Avenue South. Based on surveillance photos, the white, very short-haired suspect is easily able to blend in, arriving to each place in workout gear or in casual clothing.

The first gym hit was the NYSC at 1221 Avenue of the Americas and 43rd Street, where the man made off with a backpack from an unlocked locker. He also took the victim’s shoes, headphones, credit cards and clothing.

jan19-gym-thief2

Police say he stole 14 times from different Manhattan locations of the gym.

Back in October, the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney warned the community at a meeting about a rash of gym locker thefts. New York Sports Club, he noted, was an especially popular target. He recommended that gym users get master locks that require keys.

Anyone with information about the gym thefts 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.

Naked men removed from Gramercy storefront

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Workers remove a statue from 281 Park Avenue South. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last summer, the installation of nine anatomically correct male statues into a storefront in Gramercy raised a few eyebrows, with neighborhood residents wondering if it was an art exhibit or a marketing gimmick. It didn’t help anyone’s confusion that there was a neon sign in the window indicating the space was for rent.

As it turns out, the answer is it was a bit of both. On Monday afternoon, workers emerged from the storefront at 281 Park Avenue South and 22nd Street, moving out the larger-than-life-size sculptures. Asked where they were going, a worker at the scene said the naked men were headed to storage, since the ground floor space had been leased to a restaurant. However, Dan Turkewitz, one of the brokers marketing the space, later said nothing was finalized, so he wasn’t sure why the statues were being evicted. “We’re talking to a lot of different people,” he said.

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Divine signs of the times

Church uses humor to connect with community

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Gustavus Adolphus Pastor Christopher Mietlowski started the sign campaign seven years ago and has since seen an increase in church membership. (Photo collage by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

It’s not unusual for signs in front of churches to have uplifting messages. Often they’re lifted from biblical passages. Other times they’re behavioral suggestions, and if there’s room, there’ll be a bingo schedule included, too.

But in Gramercy, one church has managed to stand out from the parish pack for the messages on its signs, which have become so popular, they’ve actually boosted membership.

That church would be Gustavus Adolphus, a 150-year-old Lutheran church where a recent sign suggested: “Come, search for Pokemon — stay, find God’s grace.”

Another, inspired by pop song “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor, read: “We’re all about dat grace, bout dat grace, no Devil!”

And another reminded passersby: “That love thy neighbor thing — I meant that — God.”

Last winter, during particularly frigid temperatures, a sign pointed out, “On the bright side, we haven’t seen a mosquito in months.”

The signs, which get changed around twice a month, are the brainchild of the church’s pastor, Christopher Mietlowski, better known to his flock as Pastor Chris.

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Gramercy author’s new thriller inspired by Son of Sam murders

Dick Belsky, who writes under the name R.G. Belsky, is releasing the fourth in a series of novels written from the perspective of an investigative reporter. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Dick Belsky, who writes under the name R.G. Belsky, is releasing the fourth in a series of novels written from the perspective of an investigative reporter. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Gramercy resident and novelist Dick Belsky, who’s written three books about an investigative reporter named Gil Malloy, has just completed the fourth in the series.

The novel, scheduled to be released (by Simon & Schuster, $16) on October 18, is called Blonde Ice.
Like the previous books, the story revolves around the disgraced but still ambitious Daily News reporter, who this time, is trying to uncover the identity of a female serial killer.

The killer, a sexy blonde, picks men up at New York City bars and clubs, and then brutally murders them.

Belsky, who up until recently, spent his career as a journalist, said his inspiration for the character came from the Son of Sam. Having lived in New York and worked in newspapers at that time, he remembered the way the strings of shootings paralyzed the city. Bars were empty and women dyed their hair blonde since the killer, David Berkowitz, targeted brunettes.

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