City sues over $20M Airbnb scheme

Three buildings in Kips Bay, including 207-215 East 27th Street, were named in a lawsuit against a Manhattan brokerage firm, with the city alleging they were being marketed as short-term rentals. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, the city sued a Manhattan brokerage firm, Metropolitan Property Group, as well as real estate agents and entities currently or formerly associated with Metropolitan, accusing them of running a $20 million illegal short-term rental scheme.

The rentals, arranged mostly through Airbnb, were spread across 130 apartments in 35 buildings, the city said. Five of the buildings were listed in the lawsuit, three of them located in Kips Bay at 207-215 East 27th Street, 230 East 30th Street and 218 Third Avenue. Another was in Midtown East at 123 East 54th Street and another building in Harlem, 200 East 116th Street, was completely transformed into an illegal hotel, according to the lawsuit filed by the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE).

OSE said it was also able to determine that 18 entities affiliated with MPG and its employees received at least $20.7 million for short-term rental transactions made through Airbnb alone from 2015 to 2018. Named in the suit were Metropolitan CEO Sami Katri, his wife Shely Katri, Maxim Beckman, Simon Itah and Alon Karasenty.

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Community Board 6 refuses to give blessing for all-night permit at Kips Bay bar on New Year’s Eve

ER Bar and Lounge on Second Avenue

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Business Affairs and Street Activities Committee for Community Board 6 has blocked an application from a Kips Bay bar to operate for an all-night party on New Year’s Eve. ER Bar and Lounge at 605 Second Avenue, between East 33rd and 34th Streets, closes at 3 a.m. on a regular basis but a representative for the bar told the committee that they were hoping to capitalize on the holiday and stay open for just a couple more hours. The committee, however, wasn’t having it.

“I don’t like the idea that there isn’t a specific deadline,” said committee member Julie Block, before instead proposing that the community board limit the bar to a 4 a.m. closing time. Block said that she was concerned about the bar’s laissez-faire attitude about a potential closing time on the holiday, since the application didn’t include a specific closing time other than “for a couple more hours.”

Other committee members were worried about the idea of a bar serving alcohol without the option of food for the entire time. Member Dan Devine said he wasn’t sure if the flexibility of the bar’s policy was a great idea since the venue isn’t planning to make the event ticketed but he said that he’s open to it.

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Homeless man charged with rape of homeless woman in Kips Bay

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a homeless man for allegedly raping and robbing a homeless woman behind a building in Kips Bay early last Tuesday. Police said that 54-year-old Karl Dozier raped the 46-year-old woman outside 362 Third Avenue, which is home to a pinball arcade, after they got into an argument at around 4:45 a.m.

According to a criminal complaint, Dozier punched the victim in the head and face multiple times, got on top of her while continuing to hit her and then raped her.

After he was arrested, Dozier allegedly told police that he hit the victim repeatedly because she was “being annoying” and that in addition to hitting her with his fists, also reportedly bashed her with a lead pipe.

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Man smashes message board at Kips Bay synagogue

Congregation Adareth El at 133 East 29th Street

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a man who smashed the glass of a Kips Bay synagogue’s message board in the wee hours of the morning.

The incident occurred on Saturday, November 10, but the information was only released by the NYPD on Tuesday night.

Police said that at around 3 a.m., the man broke the board at Congregation Adareth El, located at 133 East 29th Street and Lexington Avenue, with his elbow, then proceeded to keep walking down the street, heading east.

Vandalism suspect

The suspect is described as a light-skinned man with a beard; last seen wearing a dark colored hooded sweater, a dark colored jacket, dark colored pants and light colored sneakers.

Anyone with information in regard 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 CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Police say teens behind two Kips Bay muggings

Robbery suspects 2 and 3

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a team of teenage muggers who they say violently robbed two people on the same evening.

On Tuesday, November 20 at 6:10 p.m., two teen boys and two girls approached a flower stand vendor in front of 390 Third Avenue at East 28th Street. They asked the vendor for change for a five-dollar bill, only to forcibly swipe the cash from the 37-year-old victim after slamming him against a wall.

Then, 20 minutes later, the group (without one of the female suspects) strolled up to 428 Third Avenue at 30th Street, where they approached a delivery man on his bike. They asked the 19-year-old victim for change but then pushed him into a wall while trying to grab money from his pocket. However, they ended up fleeing empty-handed.

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Boy missing from ACS facility in Kips Bay

Nov22 Jeremi Carangui

Jeremi Carangui

Police are looking for a 13-year-old boy who was last seen on Sunday at 11 a.m., leaving the Administration for Children’s Services building at 492 First Avenue.

Jeremi Carangui was in the care of ACS at the time and left on his own, police said.

He is described as Hispanic, 5’2″ tall, 102 pounds, with a thin build, medium complexion, black hair and brown eyes. His clothing description is unknown.

Anyone with information in regards to his whereabouts 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.

 

Man charged with rape in Kips Bay apartment

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A man was arrested for allegedly raping a woman inside a Kips Bay apartment last week. Osman Muratovic, 33, was arrested inside 227 East 28th Street after police said that he raped a woman who was his employee.

According to police, Muratovic made sexual advances towards the victim while she was cleaning a client’s apartment on Tuesday, November 6 at 1:49 p.m.

The victim said that she tried to ignore his advances but Muratovic then allegedly threw her down to the couch, then to the bed in the apartment. Police said that Muratovic then raped her.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for filming woman in bathroom, Student arrested for releasing sex tape

MAN ALLEGEDLY FILMED WOMAN IN UNION SQUARE BATHROOM
Police arrested 28-year-old Olubenga Adesanya for allegedly filming a woman while she was inside a bathroom stall in the restroom inside the Union Square subway station on Tuesday, July 10 at 2:30 p.m. The woman told police that she went into the bathroom and when she got into the stall, noticed that there was a cell phone camera lens pointed down at her and she could see a person’s feet under the bottom of the stall. When she walked out of the bathroom, she reportedly saw Adesanya in the stall and confronted him outside the restroom, but he wasn’t arrested at the time. Police said that Adesanya turned himself in to officers at Transit District 4 at the corner of East 14th Street and Union Square East on Wednesday, October 31 at 7:15 p.m. because he saw himself on a wanted flyer. He was charged with obscene material.

SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE STUDENT ARRESTED FOR SENDING SEX TAPE TO FRIENDS
Police arrested a teenager for promoting a sexual performance by a child and aggravated harassment after he leaked a video on Tuesday, October 9 of him and his ex-girlfriend having sex. The victim told police that the suspect released the video while they were in the School of the Future at 127 East 22nd Street where they are both students, and that he sent the video to his friends because the victim broke up with him. The victim told police that she was aware of the video but didn’t authorize the suspect to share it with his friends. The teen was arrested on Tuesday, October 30 at 9:35 p.m. inside the 13th Precinct. His name is being withheld due to his young age.

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Mugger threatens to break woman’s face in Kips Bay

Nov1 Robber

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who tried to grab a woman’s purse near Baruch College, while threatening to hurt her.

Police said the man followed a 28-year-old woman as she walked towards a building in the vicinity of East 25th Street and Lexington Avenue on Monday, September 24 at 2 p.m.

First he asked her for money, but when they reached the door, he grabbed her bag and said, “Say no and I’ll break your face.” The victim, however, managed to get away from him and keep her bag. The mugger then ran off.

The suspect is black, bald and was last seen wearing a white shirt, dark pants and black boots.

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

Kips Bay tailor, 80, charged with groping woman customer

Tamagoglu’s shop in Kips Bay (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

An 80-year-old tailor in Kips Bay who was violently robbed in his East 27th Street shop last year has been arrested for allegedly groping a customer at his business last week.

The victim told police that while owner Apel Tamagoglu was hemming her pants inside Apel’s New Day Tailor Shop at 203 East 27th Street on Wednesday, October 3 at 2:20 p.m., he allegedly grabbed her buttocks twice and put his hand over her genital area.

As Town & Village reported last year, Tamagoglu was stabbed during a robbery in his Kips Bay shop in January, resulting in a fractured skull, a punctured lung and other injuries. Video footage of the incident showed Tamagoglu attempting to chase the robber out with a chair but he ultimately gave the suspect $80 in cash after being stabbed multiple times. John Franklyn, 53, was arrested shortly after the incident and charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing Tamagoglu. Franklyn was reportedly a resident of the 30th Street Men’s Shelter at the time of the incident.

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Robbers force Kips Bay spa worker into back room

Oct3 Kips Bay robbery suspects

Two of the robbery suspects

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for three men who forced a spa worker into a back room during a robbery.

On Thursday at 4 a.m. the robbers strolled into Wood Spa at 133 Lexington Avenue at East 29th Street where a 30-year-old woman was working. Despite the early hour, they were able to enter the business by posing as customers, police said. However, the men then started asking for money and opening drawers. After snatching the employee’s cell phone, they forced her into a back room. It isn’t known if they took anything else before fleeing the scene. Police said the victim had bruising but no serious injuries.

Oct3 Kips Bay robbery suspects2

Robbery suspects

A phone number for the business had no option to leave a message when Town & Village called.

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.

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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Woman shot man on E. 27th St.: Cops

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 36-year-old woman for allegedly attempting to kill a man in Kips Bay last weekend, injuring two people.

Shateka Whitfield allegedly fired a handgun at two people in front of 207 East 27th Street near Third Avenue on Friday, August 31 at 11:15 p.m. Police said that Whitfield shot a man in the chest, as well as a boy under the age of 17, who police said was not the intended target. One of the bullets reportedly grazed the boy’s knee, causing a minor injury.

Police said that the young victim whose knee was grazed by a bullet was taken to Bellevue Hospital but FDNY had no further information about the condition of either victim.

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Pols, Bellevue doctors push for speed camera legislation

Aug9 speed cameras Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman blamed his own chamber for the camera shutoffs. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Surgeons and local elected officials gathered at Bellevue Hospital last Thursday, urging the State Senate to pass legislation that would preserve speed cameras around schools.

Speed cameras in 120 school zones lost their ability to issue speeding violations last month because the State Senate did not extend the program by the July 25th deadline. Advocates at Bellevue were pushing Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to call a special session so Senators could vote on legislation that has already passed in the Assembly, where it was sponsored by Assemblymember Deborah Glick.

Glick’s bill in the Assembly allows for speed cameras in 50 additional school zones a year for the next three years and extends the program through 2022. Democrats had originally proposed expanding the program to 750 school zones but said they reduced the number to appease Republicans.

“We reduced the number of cameras and reduced the radius the cameras cover,” Glick said. “We added signage so people know that there are cameras. We’ve given so much deference to speeders. We could give at least a modicum of the same concern for school children.”

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Bellevue South Park users ask for ADA-compliant dog run

Christopher Crowley, landscape architect for Parks, pictured with Kips Bay residents involved in planning for the temporary dog run (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

At a meeting aimed at getting community feedback, Kips Bay residents told city officials what they want in a redesign of Bellevue South Park is a permanent, fully accessible dog run. They also want to separate the play equipment from where adults congregate.

The Parks Department’s meeting was held last Thursday, when the landscape architect for the city agency, Christopher Crowley, told neighbors this is the first step in the process for the project.

“We don’t have a concept plan in mind,” Crowley said. “That’s what this meeting is for, to find out what the community wants in this park.”

Steve Simon, the chief of staff for the Manhattan Borough Commissioner at the Parks Department, said that the input from the meeting will help the agency create a preliminary plan that will be presented to Community Board 6 in the fall.

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