Police Watch: Pair busted for shoplifting, Man arrested for breaking MSBI computer

PAIR BUSTED FOR SHOPLIFTING-GONE-BAD
Police arrested 29-year-old Kevin Jerome and 34-year-old Dominique Lewis for an alleged robbery at the corner of Second Avenue and East 23rd Street on Thursday, July 18 at 3:34 p.m. Police said that Jerome and Lewis entered a store nearby and removed merchandise without paying for it, and when a store employee confronted them, Jerome allegedly swung his arm at the employee, pulled out a boxcutter and reportedly threatened the employee so that he could leave the store. Police said that Lewis also swung her bag at the employee. The employee wasn’t injured and officers found the two suspects at the corner.

Jerome was additionally charged with possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance after police recovered an alleged crack pipe in his pocket. The boxcutter was also recovered from his pants pocket.

MAN NABBED FOR BREAKING MSBI COMPUTER
Police arrested 30-year-old Cesar Feliz-Taveras for alleged criminal mischief inside 281 First Avenue on Saturday, July 20 at 1:36 p.m. Police said that Feliz-Taveras grabbed a computer at the location and allegedly smashed it on the floor. A witness told police that the suspect was mad at the service that he was receiving at the hospital.

WOMAN BUSTED FOR HANE ‘DINE-AND-DITCH’
Police arrested 25-year-old Kelly Raquel for alleged theft of services inside Hane Sushi at 346 First Avenue on Saturday, July 20 at 4:03 p.m. Police said that Raquel ordered food and drinks at the restaurant and allegedly had attempted to leave without paying.

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City putting Flatiron evacuees in hotels

Fifth Ave looking south on Monday

Con Ed crew at work at the explosion site (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

As of Tuesday afternoon, the city said it is working with the Hotel Trade Council and Hotel Association of New York City to help displaced Flatiron residents, and that 10 families and one dog had so far been assisted.

Residents seeking a temporary room were advised to visit the reception center at the Clinton School at 10 East 15th Street, which has remained open. It’s open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. each day and according to the city, has seen 362 visitors since Thursday.

Hotel 17 in Stuyvesant Square, which now has an extended stay model and offers emergency housing, is one of the hotels housing evacuees, an employee there said. However, he said he couldn’t reveal how many individuals were staying there as a result of the blast.

Out of the 49 buildings evacuated for asbestos testing, 27 have been cleared for residents to return. Twelve contained some sort of debris that must be cleaned before they can be reoccupied.

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Hotel 17 reopens with ‘extended stay’ model

Hotel 17 shut down regular hotel operations to comply with the Illegal Hotels Law. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Hotel 17, the Stuyvesant Square budget hotel that closed in April due to zoning issues, has recently reinvented itself as an extended stay hotel.

The 160-room hotel, which is located at 225 East 17th Street, notes on its website in several places that it’s now “extended stay,” meaning guests must book a room for 30 days or longer.

Doing this keeps the building, which was never actually zoned as a hotel, in compliance with the city’s Illegal Hotels Law. The law forbids buildings that are zoned as residential from renting units for under 30 days. Hotel 17 operated openly as a hotel for decades but a few years ago found itself in trouble with the city upon a crackdown on short-term rentals.

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Hotel 17 has closed down

Hotel 17 at 225 East 17th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

City says SRO building is running illegal hotel, but owner, fighting closure, says business is legit

By Sabina Mollot

Hotel 17, a budget hotel located in Stuyvesant Square, has stopped taking reservations and has been cleared of guests.

According to the general property manager of the business, Eyal Siri, this is not due to lack of business but due to the city’s crackdown on illegal hotels, which Siri said he’s been unfairly ensnared in.

Siri, whose family has leased and operated the hotel since the 1970s, admitted the business was never actually certified as a hotel, even though it has served that purpose openly for decades. According to the certificate of occupancy from 1943, it’s a Class A multi-dwelling/single room occupancy/old law tenement. In recent years, the city has had a task force investigate illegal hotels, which are usually residential buildings where rooms or apartments have been rented to people for under 30 days.

As of Monday, on the hotel’s website, a notice on the home page indicates the business is closed.

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