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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Police suspect convicted robber behind mugging in Gramercy

Theodore Gaddy

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

Police are looking for 32-year-old Theodore Gaddy in connection with a robbery that allegedly took place in front of 150 East 24th Street earlier this month. The 13th precinct tweeted that Gaddy was wanted for a robbery on the evening of January 8. The “wanted” notice in the tweet said that the most recent incident happened in 2017 but police confirmed that the robbery actually occurred this year.

Gaddy allegedly pushed a 16-year-old boy to the ground before grabbing his cell phone and ID card and fleeing the scene. Police said that Gaddy and the boy didn’t know each other and that Gaddy was wearing all black at the time of the incident.

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Former Baruch College coach pleads guilty to embezzling $700G

Jan18 Machli Joseph

Former Baruch College basketball coach Machli Joseph (CUNY image via YouTube)

By Sabina Mollot

A former Baruch College basketball coach has pleaded guilty to embezzling $700,000 from the school, money that he got and then pocketed from renting athletic facilities on the campus to outside parties.

Machli Joseph, 43, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday afternoon and could face up to ten years behind bars. New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said the former City University of New York (CUNY) coach conducted his scheme over a six-year period.

“This college official squandered and abused the trust placed in him by executing a multi-year scheme using school resources to benefit himself with close to three-quarters of a million dollars in stolen public funds,” Inspector General Leahy Scott said. “His crimes went unchecked for years on end and were symptomatic of the lax policies and oversight throughout CUNY facilities that I have been investigating as a separate matter.”

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Burglars hit 16 businesses, taking money from safes and ATMs and even surveillance systems

Burglary suspects

By Sabina Mollot

The NYPD is hunting at least two men they believe to be behind burglaries at 16 businesses in Gramercy, the East Village and other neighborhoods in Manhattan. They’ve gotten away with money from safes and ATMs as well as other items and in a few cases, they even took evidence from the businesses’ surveillance systems. The two suspects are men, while it wasn’t clear about a third suspect who was present at least during one of the incidents. There are only descriptions of two of the suspects and even those are pretty vague, with the NYPD saying they are white and male.

The amount of cash stolen adds up to $53,900, not including an incident where it wasn’t clear how much was taken.

The stealing spree began on December 9-10 (shortly before or after midnight) when the suspects somehow made their way inside a Dunkin Donuts at 140 East 34th Street. After forcing open a safe and ATM, they fled with a combined $3,800.

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Man robs TD Bank in Gramercy

106-18 Bank Robbery MCS 13 pct 01-10-18 PHOTO

Bank robbery suspect

Police are looking for a man who robbed a TD Bank at 131 East 23rd Street between Park Avenue South and Lexington. The man allegedly strolled in on Wednesday afternoon and passed a note to a teller demanding cash. The employee handed over an unknown amount of money and the robber fled west on Lexington.

The suspect has been described as light-skinned and 30 to 40 years old. He was last seen wearing a black winter cap, gray gloves, a gray hooded sweater, a black leather jacket and blue 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 nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

Second person charged in connection with fatal butt injection

LATESHA BYNUM

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

A man has been arrested in connection with the death of a woman following black-market butt enhancing injections she received in a Gramercy apartment over the summer. Police arrested Kevin Richardson, 47, last Tuesday and charged him with manslaughter for the death.

The New York Post reported that Richardson had changed his appearance to avoid being arrested while he was on the run in New Jersey, Louisiana and Texas before being caught.

Latesha Bynum, a 31-year-old woman from Harlem, reportedly received the cosmetic injections from Richardson and 44-year-old Allison Spence, allegedly working as Richardson’s assistant, on July 15 inside an apartment at 319 East 21st Street. Bynum went to the hospital that night, claiming she had chest pains and felt dizzy. She was later declared brain-dead at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Medical Center and was taken off life support on July 27.

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A passion for travel and collecting evolves into Gramercy boutique

Boyar Gifts co-owners Tali Alexander (left) and her sister Michelle (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

When Boyar Gifts owner Tali Alexander bought a 100-year-old stove that weighed a ton at an auction, her husband expressed disbelief that she would have room to put it somewhere, but Alexander wasn’t worried. And the timing ultimately worked out because she was able to have it brought directly from the auction to where it now sits in the front display window of the new store on Second Avenue between East 22nd and 23rd Streets.

“In the process of building out the space, I realized it would fit right in,” she said. “It became almost the mascot of the store and it really worked because I wanted to bring a homey element to this place.”

This habit of collecting items she doesn’t necessarily have a place for during her travels, a habit that both she and her sister share, was one of the main motivations for opening the gift shop, Alexander said.

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