Homeless man beaten to death in Kips Bay

Sept13 murder seating area

Seating area on East 27th Street seen from Mount Carmel Place (Photo via Google Maps)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested two homeless men for allegedly beating a third homeless man to death in Kips Bay at the end of August. Police arrested 42-year-old Joshua Sutherland and 58-year-old Ernesto Aparicio, who are now facing a murder charge in connection with the incident.

According to the district attorney’s office, a witness told police that Sutherland and Aparicio repeatedly kicked and punched the third man, who appeared to be lying unconscious on a park bench at the northwest corner of East 27th Street and First Avenue on Thursday, August 30 around 8 p.m.

A second witness told police that a short time later, he saw the victim on the ground a short distance from the bench and that Sutherland and Aparicio were still standing nearby.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for assaulting women, Break-in at Limelight gym

HOMELESS MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING THREE WOMEN
Police arrested a 23-year-old homeless man for allegedly attacking multiple women in the East Village and Gramercy last weekend, The New York Post reported on Sunday.
Carlos Munoz reportedly cut off a 20-year-old woman while riding his bike on East 11th Street near Second Avenue around 11:15 p.m. on Saturday, July 7 and allegedly shoved her to the ground.
Police said that he later hit an 18-year-old woman in the face with a bike lock, knocking one of her teeth out, around midnight at Third Avenue and East 15th Street.
Shortly after, he allegedly hit a 20-year-old woman in the back of the head with the bike lock near East 14th Street and Second Avenue. Police said that the third victim’s friends followed the man who attacked her and Munoz was arrested around midnight, although it was unclear where exactly the arrest took place. Munoz was charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

MAN CHARGED WITH BREAKING INTO LIMELIGHT GYM
Police arrested 22-year-old Efrain Ramos for an alleged burglary inside 656 Sixth Avenue on Monday, July 2 at 5:18 a.m.
A woman told police that she was opening Limelight Fitness at the location when she noticed that the chain and padlock to the front door were unlocked and not attached to the handle. She said that she called her boss, who called police to the scene, and when they entered the building, they allegedly found that Ramos was allegedly inside. Police said that Ramos had items belonging to the gym in his pocket, including packages of protein cookies that he had allegedly taken from the gym. Ramos was also charged with possession of stolen property.

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Man murdered in Kips Bay, suspect arrested

Friends House on East 25th StreetFriends House on East 25th Street (Photo via Wikimedia)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 40-year-old homeless man on Sunday for the stabbing death of a 54-year-old man, Moses Ybarra, inside an apartment complex on East 25th Street over the weekend.

Ashraf Ahmed allegedly stabbed Ybarra inside his apartment at 130 East 25th Street in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 9. Ybarra had multiple stab wounds to his chest, forehead, arms and leg, and there was blood all over the room, the district attorney’s office said.

Police also reportedly recovered two bloody knives next to where Ybarra was laying. EMS pronounced Ybarra dead at 2 a.m.

Police said that surveillance video showed Ahmed entering the building at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, June 8 and leaving around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 9, and no one else was seen entering of exiting the building during that time. Continue reading

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 5

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Hey, T&V, watch your language

Re: “Man drops pants, pees in view of kids across from PS 116,” T&V, Dec. 29, 2016

I was disturbed to read about a homeless man openly urinating in front of school children in the neighborhood this week.

But I was also disturbed to see you characterize this sick person as a “bum.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen that label used by a reputable journalist.

Labels like that reduce the problem to two-dimensional, black and white thinking, them versus us, which does nothing to resolve the problem the community is facing, and only further marginalizes a desperate, untreated population.

I hope in the future you’ll commit to raising our understanding of complex problems in the community through language that more accurately reflects the true nature of the problem, and the people involved.

Name withheld, ST

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Man drops pants and pees in view of kids across from PS 116

Parent Mitch Horowitz said this man urinated on the street and then lingered by a schoolbus, smiling at the kids inside.

Parent Mitch Horowitz said this man urinated on the street and then lingered by a schoolbus, smiling at the kids inside.

By Sabina Mollot

Residents of Kips Bay have long complained about homeless men in the area being out of control but on Friday morning, the antics of one bum managed even to shock locals when he dropped his pants and peed across the street from a school.

Around two dozen fourth graders were outside the school on East 33rd Street, PS 116, when it happened, as was one boy’s father, who was there to chaperone a class trip.

The parent, Mitch Horowitz, watched as the man exposed himself and urinated, not bothering to face away from the kids outside. “He was not even standing next to a wall,” said Horowitz. “He was in full view of passersby and kids who were lined up outside.”

Fortunately, Horowitz said, he didn’t think any of the kids happened to see this, since they were busy talking amongst themselves about Pokemon and other matters.

“Thank God for childhood,” said Horowitz. “They weren’t scrutinizing things going on across the street like I am.”

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Even without internet, homeless camps still a concern in Gramercy

A LinkNYC tower is used on Third Avenue (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

A LinkNYC tower is used on Third Avenue (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Wednesday, the city yanked the internet from its new wi-fi stations following community outrage and news reports about the kiosks being monopolized by the homeless. As Town & Village recently reported, in Gramercy they’d be used for hours or even days at a time by homeless people who in some cases set up camps and according to one Post report, a Murray Hill resident was even treated to the sight of a man masturbating near her home while using a kiosk to watch porn.

However, even with internet access now scrubbed, some Gramercy residents are saying the kiosks are still hangouts for homeless people who in some cases drink at the sites and remain there for days on end. Their concerns were raised on Tuesday night at a meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council, where the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney assured neighbors police were responding to such complaints, and increasing homeless outreach efforts.

One woman, Julie Block, complained that homeless people are a round-the-clock presence at 16th Street and Third Avenue. In response, Timoney said those individuals have actually since moved a block north to 17th Street. However, he also said there would be more efforts to get those people into shelters, in coordination with the organizations Breaking Ground and Urban Pathways. “We’ll have to go out there again,” Timoney said.

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 13

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

How we can help the homeless around ST

I am writing in response to the letter that was sent in about the homeless people sleeping on benches in Stuyvesant Town and the lack of actions from our security department (“Homeless around ST,” T&V, July 30).

I’d like to focus on the word people for a moment. Yes, there are people sleeping on benches in Stuyvesant Town and begging on the street along First Avenue and other places in the city. We do have a big homeless problem but the problem is not with the security department at Stuyvesant Town. The problem is so much bigger than that.

These are people. People like you and me who have met with hard times or a mental illness that they did not ask for. And they are people. People who need shelter, a place to sleep, food, companionship and meaningful work. This problem needs addressing from a perspective so much bigger than the security department here. I’ve seen countless articles and interviews on TV from our mayor addressing the horse drawn carriages and their plight.

I’d like to see a focus on humans over horses at the moment. I’d like to see our politicians addressing this homeless problem and how we can offer useful help to these people so that we don’t have to feel uncomfortable about encountering them in our community and more importantly they have a place to sleep each night that is sheltered, offers them nourishment and encouragement to better lives.

My small Band-Aid of the solution is to carry breakfast bars in my handbag. Along with the breakfast bars I carry a referral card to the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen where they offer a daily hot meals and counseling to help people get off the streets.

When I encountered homeless people in our neighborhood or in other places that I walk during the day I’m able to offer them an immediate solution of something to eat and a longer-term solution of a place to go where they can find solutions if they want them.

I encourage anyone interested to join me on this mission. It’s just one small way that we can help address this problem while forces with resources bigger than ours can address a long-term solution.

With blessings,

Susan Turchin, ST

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Letters to the Editor, July 30

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Fiending for our founding fathers (on stage)

Critics, reviewers and just plain folk have been trying to understand the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda, playwright, actor and rapper, etc.

Go with the flow, ‘cause he is here to stay. Li-Manuel Miranda is not a one-night wonder. He’s the real deal. “In the Heights” was a smash on Broadway. “Hamilton” which is at the Richard Rogers theater, is breaking all ticket selling records, 28 million dollars sold before reviews.

I’m from a small group that believes smaller is better and rushed down to the Public Theater to see “Hamilton” when it played there. Entering, Lin-Manuel Miranda gave me a wink and a smile. Who does that anymore? This ole lady will be carrying that story to her grave.

Listening to the lyrics online, “An Evening of Poetry with the White House,” I felt like Miranda was in my living room. My husband said I have become a fanatic. To his surprise, he heard me rapping out different versions praising Mark Thompson and Clara Reiss at a recent Community Board Six annual meeting. Yet to be performed is my version celebrating the life of Samuel J. Tilden. Yeah, I’m hooked!

After you go see the play about America’s youngest founding father, talk to me. If you can stop humming, snapping your fingers and creating your own stories long enough to remember me, the lyrics are contagious. “Hamilton” with its diverse cast is setting the Great White Way on fire! A special thanks to Gerson Borrero, commentator at NY 1 for giving a positive shout out to Lin-Manuel Miranda and his play, “Hamilton.”

Shelley Deal Winfield, EMP

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Police Watch: Seniors arrested for fight, Man arrested for gym ‘thefts’

SENIORS ARRESTED FOR FIGHT ON IRVING PLACE
Police arrested two people involved in a fight in front of 76 Irving Place last Monday at 10:43 p.m. Seventy-year-old Helene Boss and 63-year-old Meryl Modica were both charged with assault and Modica was also charged with criminal mischief. Boss allegedly punched Boss in the head and face and police said that Modica punched Boss in the face, breaking her glasses and causing pain to her left eye.

MAN ARRESTED FOR DRUG CONSPIRACY
Police arrested 48-year-old Pedro Vazquez at the 30th Street Men’s Shelter at 400 East 30th Street last Monday, charging with conspiracy to distribute narcotics. He was transported to the courthouse at 500 Pearl Street and will be prosecuted by the Southern District of New York.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘DRUG DEAL’ NEAR SCHOOL
Fifty-year-old Dwayne Dixon was arrested for sale on school grounds in front of 336 East 15th Street last Friday at 5:06 p.m. Police said that Dixon sold a quantity of a controlled substance to an undercover officer in exchange for cash. He was also allegedly in possession of brass knuckles and police said that the sale took place within a thousand feet of PS 226. Dixon was also charged with sale of a controlled substance and possession of a weapon.

TEEN CAUSES $800 IN DAMAGE
Police arrested a teenager for criminal mischief last Monday at 10:21 p.m. in front of 333 East 14th Street. The super of the building told police that the boy was seen punching and kicking the glass on the main door of the building, between First and Second Avenues, causing about $800 in damage. The super also has video of the incident.
The teen attends MS 421 at 150 West 105th Street and his name is being withheld due to his age.

MAN BUSTED FOR GYM LOCKER ‘THEFTS’
Police arrested 24-year-old Kelvin Lewis at the 13th precinct for thefts from lockers inside fitness studios last week. On two separate occasions, Lewis allegedly went into a victim’s locker, once in a gym and a second time in a yoga studio, and took property, including a cell phone, a wallet and $60 in cash. Lewis was arrested at the 13th precinct last Wednesday at 2:37 p.m. and charged with petit larceny, possession of stolen property and burglary in connection with the incidents.

X-MEN ‘VENDOR’ NABBED FOR LACK OF LICENSE
Fifty-year-old Deverger Vance was arrested in front of 727 Sixth Avenue last Wednesday at 3 p.m. for an unclassified misdemeanor of New York State Laws. Vance was allegedly trying to sell more than three X-Men action figures without an appropriate license.

SALESMAN PEDDLED ‘COUNTERFEIT’ SAMSUNG GALAXY PHONES
Police arrested 55-year-old Kelvin Dunbar for fraudulent accosting and unlawful peddling in front of 51 West 23rd Street last Wednesday at 3:04 p.m. Dunbar was allegedly trying to sell new Samsung Galaxy phones to pedestrians for $200 each. Police said that the phones are counterfeit and that Dunbar intended to defraud passersby of their money. He allegedly did not have a vendor’s license.

VENDOR ARRESTED FOR ‘FAKE’ BALENCIAGA
Police arrested 66-year-old Daisik Park for forgery in front of 122 West 27th Street last Thursday at 12:45 p.m. Police said that Park was offering for sale 10 handbags that bore a counterfeit trademark for Balenciaga.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘FRAUDULENT’ CHECKS
Twenty-one-year-old Terrence Buggs was arrested for grand larceny inside the 13th Precinct last Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Buggs allegedly cashed two fraudulent checks totaling $1,406.44 at a Santander Bank. After he was read his Miranda rights, police said that he admitted that he cashed the checks and he can allegedly be seen cashing the checks on surveillance video.

WOULD-BE BIKE ‘THIEF’ BUSTED
Police arrested 54-year-old Dane Clark for burglar’s tools in front of 61 West 23rd Street last Friday at 11:32 p.m. Clark was allegedly casing several bicycles in an attempt to steal them and police said that he put the tools alongside a bicycle in an attempt to break the lock. He was allegedly in possession of additional burglar’s tools and alleged heroin. Clark was also charged with petit larceny and possession of a controlled substance.

‘VIOLENT’ MAN ARRESTED AT STRAUS HOUSES
Police arrested 25-year-old Andrew White inside the Straus Houses at 344 East 28th Street last Saturday at 3:41 a.m. White was charged with resisting arrest, criminal mischief and harassment. Police said that he became irate in the lobby of the building and proceeded to swing his arms violently. He allegedly threw the victim’s property to the ground.
A NYCHA employee told police that he then dialed 911 on his work phone to report the incident when White allegedly grabbed the phone out of his hands and threw it against the wall, causing it to break. Police said that White flailed his arms and grabbed a fence, refusing to comply with a lawful order and place his hands behind his back so that the officer could arrest him.

CLINTON ‘TRESPASSER’ LEAVES BLOODY TRAIL
Forty-year-old Evan Whitney was arrested inside Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue last Saturday at 9:52 p.m. for criminal mischief and criminal trespass at another location. The building superintendent of the Clinton Housing Development at 403 West 40th Street told police that he saw a bag of clothing fall from the roof, after which Whitney allegedly climbed down the fire escape into the backyard. After he went into the backyard, the super saw that the back basement window had been broken in addition to the front door window, and there was a large metal object with fresh blood, which was also outside the door and down the sidewalk. Whitney allegedly left some of his personal belongings on the roof, including a bus ticket with his name on it. Police said that Whitney was seen at Port Authority, bleeding from the arm, and an ambulance brought him to Bellevue, where he was arrested.

BUSTED FOR SLEEPING IN BOXES
Police arrested 54-year-old Jeffrey Matthews for an unclassified violation of state laws at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 18th Street last Saturday at 5:09 a.m. Matthews was allegedly sleeping inside five cardboard boxes on the sidewalk, in violation of New York State laws. He was offered homeless services but police said that he refused.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘COUNTERFEIT’ CASH
Police arrested 25-year-old Thanakar Kolimas for forgery last Monday at 8:14 p.m. inside the Burlington Coat Factory at 707 Sixth Avenue. Police said that Kolimas attempted to purchase items from the store using counterfeit money. He was allegedly in possession of a counterfeit $100 bill.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘SHOPLIFTING’
Police arrested 35-year-old Derek Waisome for grand larceny and petit larceny inside the 13th Precinct last Friday at 12:25 a.m. Police said that Waisome took property from a store and tried to leave without paying. The property, which wasn’t specified nor was the business, was allegedly valued at $9,949.

From hot kosher meals to hoarding intervention

How one local organization is helping poor and isolated seniors

Project ORE Associate Director Jackson Sherratt and Director Tara Rullo at the center’s dining room (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Project ORE Associate Director Jackson Sherratt and Director Tara Rullo at the center’s dining room (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Give us your poor, your homeless, your isolated, your elderly, your mentally ill, your hoarders on the brink of getting evicted.

This is essentially the mission statement of a nonprofit organization that has been based out of the Sirovich Senior Center building on East 12th Street for the past 28 years. Called Project ORE, its focus is on helping people who fall into those categories, as well as observant Jewish seniors, whether the assistance comes in the form a hot kosher meal or advocacy in housing court.

Project ORE is named after the Hebrew word for light as well as being an acronym for Outreach to the Elderly. It’s run by the Educational Alliance, the parent organization of Sirovich as well as the 14th Street Y. While almost all of its members are seniors, Project ORE isn’t technically a senior center. In fact, to even qualify for ORE’s services, participants have to be older adults who fall into three of the following categories: Homeless, formerly homeless, mentally ill, low-income, isolated (meaning no nearby family or support network) or Jewish. To find out if someone qualifies, a would-be client is invited to come by for lunch and then an assessment is done with an on-site social worker.

Around half of the organization’s members come from the surrounding neighborhoods of the East Village, the Lower East Side and Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. The rest, however, arrive by train from Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx. There are also some homeless members living in shelters, but just a handful.

“We have very few street homeless,” said the center’s director, Tara Rullo. “I would say most live with friends or family members.”

Still, there’s no shortage of housing challenges faced by members. Project ORE’s Associate Director Jackson Sherratt noted a recent example of a client whose income was too low to qualify even for low-income housing. However, by earning $16,000 a year, the same client was also considered too rich for Medicaid. As for what ORE can do, Rullo said if a client has a history of homelessness or mental illness, the organization can apply for supportive housing.

“We can help navigate the system,” she said. “There are more housing options available and we will research and push for that person to have housing. It can be difficult to navigate. If someone’s in a shelter we’ll advocate for them because once you’re in there you need someone on the outside fighting for you.”

Then there are the clients in rent-regulated apartments who end up facing eviction due to hoarding, or worse, hoarding that leads to infestations of bedbugs. While Project ORE doesn’t employ attorneys, its social workers have advocated for tenants in court and there’s also in-house psychiatric support available that’s specific to helping hoarders. The organization will also communicate with landlords and co-op boards to assure them they’re working with the resident to alleviate the problem. And while ORE’s staffers have certainly encountered landlords who don’t want to be cooperative, they’ve yet to see a case where an accusation of hoarding is just an excuse to get rid of a low-rent paying tenant.

“The problem is real,” said Rullo, “and quite extreme. There’s all kinds of risks associated with this behavior; there’s a risk to other tenants. If you hoard, your bedbugs are my bedbugs.”

Additionally, because it’s such a widespread problem, a current goal of the organization is to provide training on dealing with the issue to other organizations and agencies, from community boards to hospitals to the FDNY. “We’ve become kind of the face of hoarding,” said Rullo. “We’ve done conferences. We’re going to do a webinar.”

For clients with a problem, clearing out apartments is sometimes done through contractors, as well as onsite psychiatric help, as long as clients agree to it.

“It’s the client’s choice; we’re not going to do it behind their back,” said Rullo. But, she added, when faced with keeping their cluttered household or being made to move, the process isn’t usually resisted. “When there’s a risk to a rent-controlled or a rent-stabilized apartment, it’s a great motivator.”

However, not all Project ORE clients have problems that require intervention services. While many are facing some kind of crisis, social isolation is also a big reason for showing up to the center.

“This is a place where they can come in and make friends or partake in Jewish services,” said Rullo.

The kosher meals are also a draw, with the center serving 40-50 people for lunch each day. At the dining room, meals are brought to clients rather than having anyone wait on line. This, said Sherratt, is to make it as different from a soup kitchen as possible so clients feel welcome to stick around.

“You’re not getting line, you’re not getting a ticket. The idea is to have a place where you’re being served,” said Sherratt. Additionally, the dining area is going to be expanded soon, to make it more like a cafe. Clients will then be able to have coffee, tea or pastries from a mobile cart and have access to WiFi. “It’s another opportunity for socialization,” said Sherratt. “They can meet a friend or maybe hear some poetry or something.”

ORE’s headquarters, located in the building’s mezzanine level, overlook East 12th Street west of First Avenue, with the dining room its main common area. On a recent day after lunch was served, there were still half a dozen seniors sitting around either chatting or dozing at their tables. Several client-made paintings were on display on the walls. In a room nearby, a few others were watching a film.

One client who was sitting in the dining room, a resident of the East Village, said he started utilizing ORE’s services after finding out about them through a friend. The man, who asked that his name not be published, said his friend had gotten sick and ended up at Bellevue Hospital. When he went to visit him, the friend asked that he let someone named Lenny from Project ORE know that he was there. When the patient’s friend went to the center to find Lenny, who turned out to be a social worker, Lenny asked him if he wanted to stay for lunch. So he did.

Ten years later, the client still comes each day after walking over from his East 4th Street apartment. He does this, he said, for the exercise as much as for the meals, which come from a kosher caterer in Brooklyn. He also enjoys the center’s classes, which include Yiddish, a torah study group and fitness.

Funding for ORE’s services comes largely from grants from the UJA Federation of New York, as well as individual donations. The annual budget is $700,000 for Project ORE as well as for Safety Net, a sister organization that’s geared towards the needs of local seniors who are homebound. At this time, Safety Net has 172 members while Project Ore has around 200. Due to a steady demand for its services, which are all offered for free, Project ORE has always run on a deficit, and Rullo said the organization is going to have to start relying more on private funds.

“We can’t fundraise enough,” she admitted, “because it’s such a needy population.” Along with donations, the organization is also seeking volunteers, especially for the holidays, to do things like help serve lunch and connect with clients.

One volunteer who was interviewed by Town & Village, Stuyvesant Town resident Dianne Vertal, said she recently got involved with ORE after hearing Sherratt speak about its mission. This was at an event at her congregation, Town & Village Synagogue. Prior to that, she’d also heard about Project ORE from a friend who’d been doing a research project on Jewish poverty in New York. When her friend mentioned that ORE needed help for a Veterans Day lunch, Vertal volunteered.

“People think it’s one of the wealthier ethnic groups,” said Vertal. But, she added, “many of our elderly present a vast array of needs.”

Police Watch, July 17

Assault suspect

Assault suspect

COP IN COMA AFTER ASSAULT
The New York City Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a man who assaulted an off-duty NYPD detective in the confines of the 13th Precinct.
Last Saturday, a 29-year-old off-duty NYPD detective was standing on the southbound 6 train platform at the 23rd Street and Park Avenue station at 6:23 p.m. when the other man punched him. The blow knocked the detective down onto the platform, where he hit his head and sustained a severe head injury. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition. The suspect, who was accompanied by two women, fled the subway station on foot.
According to the Daily News, the detective had gotten into an argument with the man before the suspect punched him in the face. Gothamist reported on Sunday that the cop is now in a medically-induced coma.
The suspect is described as a black man in his early 40s, approximately 5’9” and 200 lbs. He is described as wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

‘RECKLESS’ CYCLIST NABBED ON THIRD AVE.
Police arrested 36-year-old Shi Chen for reckless endangerment at 344 Third Avenue last Tuesday at 12:25 p.m. Chen was riding his bicycle on Third Avenue approaching East 25th Street. He was allegedly speeding and went through a steady red light. When he was going through the intersection, he almost hit a woman who was crossing the street in the crosswalk with her baby, police said.

EXPOSED ON E. 23RD ST.
After responding to a complaint from a pedestrian about man exposing himself on the sidewalk, police arrested Jason Ecnatiowicz, 33, last Tuesday, in front of the Foundry building at 310 East 23rd Street. Police said upon searching him, they found that he was allegedly in possession of a pipe with unknown drug residue and an unlabeled bottle of pills. He was arrested for alleged possession of a controlled substance, but not public lewdness.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT
Twenty-six-year-old Cikizwa Nkonzombi was arrested for assault at 112 East 23rd Street last Wednesday at 1:16 p.m. The victim told police that Nkonzombi was upset about the amount of money she was being charged in lawyer fees. She allegedly became enraged and began to throw paper around and strike the victim, who sustained small scratches to his hands.

‘JOYRIDER’ NABBED ON E. 20TH
Police arrested 20-year-old Shadi Torres for grand larceny last Wednesday at 12:24 a.m. in front of 601 East 20th Street. Torres allegedly entered a utility vehicle that had been left unattended and then went joyriding, hitting three vehicles and causing damage to those vehicles and the truck that he was driving.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘SEX ABUSE’
Police arrested 28-year-old Duraiarasan Arivudai for sexual abuse in front of 161 West 15th Street last Monday at 6:49 p.m. The victim told police that she was walking east on the sidewalk when Arivudai ran up to her and pushed her against a UPS truck, causing her to hit her head on the truck. Arivudai also allegedly grabbed her head and tried to kiss her.

UNLICENSED ‘MASSEUSE’ BUSTED
Thirty-six-year-old Ping Du was arrested for violating New York State law in front of 101 West 25th Street last Friday at 4 p.m. Du allegedly gave a massage to an undercover officer and could not produce a valid New York State massage license when asked.

PAIR BUSTED FOR ‘POT’
Police arrested 55-year-old Mark Gaffney and 17-year-old Tairyn Rosario for possession of marijuana at 3 East 15th Street last Monday at 8:23 p.m. Gaffney and Rosario were allegedly each holding a joint in plain view on a public sidewalk.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘K2’
Police arrested 57-year-old Marcos Cardenas at Sixth Avenue and West 26th Street after Cardenas was seen allegedly smoking synthetic marijuana.

BAG ‘THIEF’ BAGGED
A fourteen-year-old boy was arrested for grand larceny in front of 22 East 17th Street last Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. A man told police that he had left his Under Armour bookbag under the seat unattended at McDonald’s while walking his friend out to the front. After he returned to his seat, he saw that his bag was gone. A little while later, an NYPD lieutenant saw the teen at 22 East 17th Street. The teen was looking through the bag and seemed excited that there was a laptop in it. After the teen was arrested and brought to the precinct, the victim confirmed that the bag was his. The value of his stolen property was $1,655.

MAN FOUND SLEEPING INSIDE CHASE BANK
Police arrested 46-year-old Adolphus Ward for trespassing at the Chase bank at 501 Second Avenue last Wednesday at 6:57 a.m. Ward was allegedly inside the bank’s ATM area without permission.

BIKE ‘THIEF’ BUSTED
Police arrested 45-year-old Kenneth Finch at 60 West 23rd Street last Wednesday at 2:57 p.m. for possession of burglar’s tools. Finch was allegedly cutting a lock that secured a bicycle at the above location and the victim confirmed that it was his bike. Finch was also in possession of a knife that was bigger than four inches, police said.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘KNIFE’
Forty-nine-year-old Gabriel Blake was arrested for weapons possession last Tuesday at 12:45 p.m. in front of 177 West 25th Street. Blake was suspiciously looking into the plastic bag that another man was carrying and he was allegedly carrying a gravity knife in public view. He also had a small gravity knife in his wallet, police said.

‘DRUNK’ DRIVER NABBED AT SIXTH AVE.
Police arrested 27-year-old Rosemary Lee for intoxicated driving at Sixth Avenue and West 26th Street last Thursday at 1:19 a.m. Lee was allegedly operating the vehicle with an obstructed license plate and when she was stopped, police found that she appeared to be driving under the influence of alcohol. She was tested at the scene with a portable Breathalyzer and recorded a level of .134.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘DRUGS’
Police arrested 50-year-old Garry Boake for possession of a controlled substance at Broadway and West 28th Street last Thursday at 3:45 p.m. Boake was allegedly purchasing marijuana from another unapprehended person at the corner and when police searched him, they found that he was in possession of a controlled substance.

MAN ARRESTED IN STUY COVE PARK
Police have been regularly making arrests of people sleeping or lying on benches in public parks or being in the parks after hours. Last Tuesday morning, police arrested 38-year-old Jose Orta for lying on a bench at Stuyvesant Cove Park at East 23rd Street and the East River.

WOMAN NABBED FOR IPOD ‘THEFT’
Twenty-three-year-old Emmalyn Sharf was arrested for grand larceny at 412 Third Avenue last Sunday at 5:47 a.m. Sharf allegedly swiped an iPod from someone’s pocket

Sanitation garage, homelessness addressed at Gramercy forum

Council Member Rosie Mendez, LaToneya Burwell, director of Community Affairs at the Department of Homeless Services, DSNY community affairs liaison Julian Sepulveda, Lieutenant Vincent Collins, Police officer John Considine and Assistant District Attorney Kaitrin Roberts (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Council Member Rosie Mendez, LaToneya Burwell, director of Community Affairs at the Department of Homeless Services, DSNY community affairs liaison Julian Sepulveda, Lieutenant Vincent Collins, Police officer John Considine and Assistant District Attorney Kaitrin Roberts (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez moderated a quality of life forum at School of the Future on East 22nd Street this past Tuesday evening and answered questions from the community with the help of representatives from various city agencies. The event was co-hosted by Gramercy Neighborhood Associates and Community Board 6 and there were representatives from the various city agencies in attendance to answer questions.

District Manager Dan Miner noted that turnout seemed low because of the ongoing thunderstorms and the middle of the forum was interrupted by a flash flood warning alarm blast from an attendee’s cell phone. The Parks Department, Department of Transportation and the Department of Health did not have representatives at the forum, making it a smaller affair than a similar quality of life forum that was held for the Kips Bay community in the spring.
Mendez noted that this forum was meant to build on the event at Kips Bay and the representatives present at the forum included Lieutenant Vincent Collins and Police officer John Considine of the 13th Precinct, LaToneya Burwell, director of Community Affairs at the Department of Homeless Services, Julian Sepulveda, the community affairs liaison at the Department of Sanitation and Kaitrin Roberts, Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney Crime Strategy Unit.

Alan Krevis, president of the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Alan Krevis, president of the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

One of the topics discussed, albeit briefly, was the sanitation garage that is planned for the Brookdale campus. Councilwoman Mendez said that the garage was a plan that was submitted under the previous administration but the current administration has yet to announce a stance on it. Mendez and her fellow City Councilmember Dan Garodnick have been called to a meeting about the garage that will take place in the next week or so, she added, and more updated information should hopefully be forthcoming after that.

Other questions addressed at the forum had to do with cleanliness. Mendez noted that a number of the questions sent in had to do with dog waste. Sepulveda of the DSNY noted that issuing a summons to someone for not cleaning up after their dog is tricky because it is something that police have to witness occurring. He encouraged residents to submit complaints to 311 so the city is aware of problem areas and the DSNY has been working with Business Improvement Districts throughout the city on sanitation-related issues to make sure that areas are clean, but beyond that, it’s a difficult rule to enforce. Mendez added that a new initiative was proposed and passed in the last city budget this June which allots between $90-$100 thousand per council district for city clean-up.

Burwell, a representative for the Department of Homeless Services, addressed questions about what to do about homeless people on the street. She emphasized that it isn’t illegal to be homeless but residents can contact 311 and DHS will send their street outreach team to engage with the person.

Many of the representatives for city agencies at the previous Kips Bay forum emphasized that 311 was the perfect catch-all for complaints on just about anything and some of the attendees at this most recent forum expressed frustration about the bureaucracy that sometimes seems involved in getting problems solved after reporting them to 311.

Sepulveda acknowledged that calling 311 can seem frustrating but assured the residents that the complaints were being heard.
“Our office deals with 311 requests all day,” he said. “It’s not just a black hole. They are getting somewhere. We do have to abide by certain rules and regulations so sometimes the issue is just out of the agency’s hands.”

Lieutenant Collins of the 13th Precinct also made the distinction between when to call 911 versus 311.
“If you fear for your safety or their safety, that’s a 911 situation,” he said.
“If someone could get injured, that’s always a 911 call. Sometimes if it’s a grey area; they may redirect the call to 311, but if there’s a chance of injury, it’s always better to call 911.”

Community Board 6 will be hosting other forums in the future and Miner said that the next meeting on the radar will be a senior issues panel on September 15. More information about the panelists and topics to be discussed will be available closer to the event’s date.

Teen’s jaw broken on East 23rd, Air conditioners swiped on E. 20th

Compiled by Sabina Mollot

TEEN’S JAW BROKEN IN ATTACK ON EAST 23RD

Police are looking for a young man or teenager who they believed attacked an 18-year-old on East 23rd Street and Third Avenue.
The victim said on May 10, around 9:40 p.m., he was talking to the suspect about a dance competition when the other man started to punch him in the face. The attacker broke the victim’s jaw, fractured his eye socket and left abrasions on his head. The unknown man, who’s Asian and described as being in his late teens or early twenties, then fled. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.
The suspect was seen on surveillance video.
Anyone with information in regards to this assault is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

AIR CONDITIONERS SWIPED ON E. 20TH
Juan Marte, 42, and Pedro Badia, 56, were arrested in front of 441 East 20th Street on June 27, for allegedly running off with two air conditioners. The A.C.s had been placed on the sidewalk so they could be taken for repairs. Once the owner saw that they were missing, she ran after the suspects who were stopped two blocks away and arrested.

LICENSE CHECKS ON E. 23RD ST.
While doing checks of licenses in front of 530 East 23rd Street near Asser Levy Place, police arrested Hector Guzman, 48. Police had been checking every fifth vehicle passing by and while checking Guzman’s license, saw that it had been revoked.

ATTACK WITH SODA CAN
Police arrested Leonardo Correra, 44, for assault after he allegedly slashed another man with a crushed soda can. Police said on June 25 Correra got into an argument with another man and at one point Correra went across the street, got the soda can, came back and assaulted the victim. The victim was cut on his forearm and was treated at the scene.

BURGLARY ARREST ON E. 19TH ST.
Doorman Michael McDonagh, 44,was arrested on June 23 after a tenant in the building he works told police McDonagh stole money from his apartment and that he had the alleged incident on tape. The tenant also said McDonagh had no business being in the apartment. The arresting officer viewed the video prior to the arrest.

STORE EMPLOYEE GETS GRABBY
Mohammed Saab, an employee at a clothing store at 1149 Broadway near 27th Street was arrested after a customer said Saab grabbed her crotch over her pants. The victim said he did this on June 26 when he was helping her shop for pants.

TEEN NABBED FOR ROBBERY
A 16-year-old was arrested at Union Square East and 16th Street for robbery on June 26 after his victim said he snatched money out of his hand and pushed him onto the ground. As a result of being knocked down, the victim said he hurt his ear. The suspect is a student at P-Tech High School in Brooklyn.

COMPUTER THROWN AT BETH ISRAEL
Allen Taylor, 27, was arrested at the First Avenue Beth Israel facility after allegedly destroying a computer.
A nurse at the hospital told police that Taylor, a patient, had asked for a Metrocard when being released so he could get back to Queens. When the nurse told him she didn’t have a Metrocard to give him and asked him to leave, he became enraged and grabbed a computer from a desk and threw it to the floor. The computer, which broke, would cost a few hundred dollars to replace, the nurse said.

MAN STABBED ON E. 28TH ST.
Luis Gracia, 68, was arrested after allegedly stabbing another man on June 24. Police said Gracia had been arguing with the man on First Avenue and 28th Street about food and then pulled a knife out of his pocket. The victim then told Gracia to leave, but instead Gracia stabbed him in the face and body before fleeing, police said.
The victim sustained injuries to his left temple, a slice to an earlobe and a stab wound on his left hip. Still, he said he managed to tackle Gracia to the ground, and the knife was found at the scene.

MAN CHARGED WITH BURGLARY
Alejandro Almanzar was arrested on June 25 after allegedly being found at properties without permission and having a credit card that belonged to someone in an apartment at one of the buildings, as well as $470 in cash and an iPad. One of the buildings hit was 151 Lexington Avenue and another was 160 East 27th Street. Police said he used a pry bar to break door locks and broke locks on filing cabinets.

METROCARD SWIPE ‘SELLERS’
Cops made a few arrests of men allegedly selling Metrocard swipes on the Union Square subway, who also allegedly blocked turnstiles to prevent straphangers from getting through.
Edward Davies, 54, was arrested on June 24.
Charles Feedor, 37, was arrested on June 26.
Kevin Scott, 45, was arrested after allegedly approaching eight passengers for swipes and blocking pedestrian traffic.

BUSTED BY BUSKER
David Park, 27, was arrested at Union Square Park on June 28 after he allegedly took cash out of a donation box that belonged to a musician. Police said the victim’s $20 was recovered.

TEEN PUNCHES ACS EMPLOYEE
On June 28, a teenager was arrested for assault after punching an ACS employee in the face. The punch caused bruising and swelling to the victim’s face. The ACS facility is located at the same building as Bellevue Hospital on First Avenue and 27th Street.

‘ASSAULT’ WITH BEER BOTTLE
Connie Velasquez, 23, was arrested at the Stone Creek Bar & Lounge at 140 East East 27th Street, after allegedly hitting another woman with a beer bottle. The victim suffered a cut on her left eye as a result of the June 29 incident and was taken to Bellevue for treatment.

SUBWAY DANCER ARRESTED
A 16-year-old was arrested for reckless endangerment after allegedly hanging and swinging from poles on a train while playing music, and then asking for donations. Police said the dancer, a student at Morris High School, created a risk of injury towards others and caused “public annoyance” due to the music.

EMPLOYEE ‘THEFT’ AT STORE
An employee working at 160 Fifth Avenue, which is home to Club Monaco, was arrested after being seen allegedly making an unauthorized transaction to transfer $79.50 of the store’s money to a personal account. Police said the employee, Freddie Guerrero, 27, did not have permission to make the transfer.

EMPLOYEE ‘THEFT’ AT BAKED BY MELISSA
An employee of Baked by Melissa on East 23rd Street was arrested for allegedly taking cash from the register. Sharlett Spillers, 24, was arrested on June 26.

CONDOMS AND CANDY TAKEN FROM CVS
Annemarie Izzo, 24, was arrested for allegedly putting 11 boxes of condoms and four packs of chocolate bars into her purse and breezing past a cash register without paying. She was then stopped by security.

BUSTED FOR SELLING CIGARETTE
Ali Doby, 45, was arrested for violating tax law by allegedly selling a loosey on East 16th Street and Union Square East.

PUBLIC LEWDNESS
Mark McGill, 37 was arrested at the Union Square Subway for allegedly stroking his penis inside his pants pocket in public view at Union Square and East 14th Street. Upon searching him, police said they found a small bag of pot on him and two pipes. He also had an open warrant.

BOOZE ‘THEFT’ AT BAR
Jesus Bailon, an employee at Lillie’s Victorian bar and restaurant, 13 East 17th Street, was arrested on June 24. Police said Bailon, 30, was seen taking bottles of booze from the premises without permission or authority to do so and was allegedly seen doing this on video.

 

Burglaries, robberies up in 13th Precinct

The Cop of the Month for April 2014 was awarded to P.O. Phil McGovern at the meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council on April 15.  Pictured are Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, Council President Frank Scala, and P.O. McGovern. (Photo by Pat Sallin)

The Cop of the Month for April 2014 was awarded to P.O. Phil McGovern at the meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council on April 15. Pictured are Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, Council President Frank Scala, and P.O. McGovern. (Photo by Pat Sallin)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
While crime in the area covered by the 13th Precinct is down overall for the year so far, burglaries and robberies are up. Overall, crime is down 2.4 percent for the year and 8 percent for the month but burglaries are up 37 percent since this time last year and robberies are up 44.8 percent.
The stats were announced by the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, at the 13th Precinct’s April community council meeting on Tuesday, April 15.
He added that there has been a slight increase, 1.9 percent, on felony assaults as well, noting that these assaults often become a problem for the precinct because of incidents in the neighborhood hospitals, and attacks on doctors, nurses and peace officers automatically carry a heavier penalty.
Grand larcenies, meanwhile, are actually down 10.9 percent for the year.
“That was the area that was most up last year,” Ehrenberg noted. Grand larcenies have been featured prominently in T&V’s blotter regularly, with a number of victims reporting every month that their property was stolen while left unattended or snatched out of their hands while on the subway.
The increases that the precinct has seen in burglaries is more unusual than previous months, Ehrenberg said, because they are up in residential as opposed to commercial burglaries. The deputy inspector noted that one criminal was busted trying to climb into someone’s apartment through a fire escape in the 6th precinct and Ehrenberg said that he also matched the description of someone breaking in through fire escapes in the 13th, so he said he is hopeful that the arrest will alleviate the problem somewhat.
The meeting was also attended by a number of neighborhood residents with quality of life concerns due to noisy tenants in their building and aggressive homeless people in the vicinity of area shelters. Public housing residents of 224 East 28th Street in the Straus Houses were frustrated because of constant noise in the middle of the night in multiple apartments. One resident noted that police have come to the building to address the problem but that once the cops leave, the noise just starts up again.
“The noise usually comes from two different apartments and I’ve been told that they actually sell tickets for people to get in,” another resident who didn’t want to be named said. “There is underage drinking going on and pot-smoking that permeates through three floors. Strangers have knocked on my door wanting to buy pot. We’ve been dealing with this problem for the last two years.”
Ehrenberg said that while crime in public housing is down and there were more directed patrols in that specific building added recently, they most likely won’t be able to add more police to the building any time soon but he wanted to assure residents that NYCHA buildings are always on their radar.
“We’re responsible for those buildings so what happens there is definitely a concern for us,” he said. “We don’t want you to think that we’re neglecting these buildings. Noise in the middle of the night absolutely shouldn’t be happening.”
One resident of West 25th Street had complaints about recent activity outside the BRC shelter between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. She said what concerned her the most, aside from the drug deals she saw taking place, was a man who appeared to be dealing drugs while accompanied by a child in a stroller.
The deputy inspector noted that the precinct has been meeting regularly with the shelter’s task force and has pushed the BRC to increase their patrols. He added that they’re only able to put foot posts in the higher crime areas, which doesn’t include this particular shelter, but they will be re-evaluating the situation when they get the five new recruits that are supposed to be coming in.
The meeting also included the recognizing of April’s Cop of the Month, Police Officer Phil McGovern.