Heroes honored at Veterans Day Parade

 

Photos by Sabina Mollot

By Sabina Mollot

Though the temperature hovered in the 20s, patriotic New Yorkers and those who traveled to the city on Saturday made up a steady stream of spectators during the Veterans Day Parade.

As always, the event began at Madison Square Park, where the mayor and military officials gave remarks as did this year’s grand marshal, Buzz Aldrin.

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Man arrested for assault rifle near Madison Square Park

AR-15 assault rifle

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A man who was arrested inside the Snowfox Café across from Madison Square Park for impersonating a police officer was also charged with weapons possession when police found a loaded AR-15 in his blue Mini Cooper that was parked nearby.

Police also said that 36-year-old Kai Ting Yin was inside the restaurant at 24 East 23rd Street last Wednesday at 11:54 a.m. wearing a bulletproof vest and allegedly carrying a loaded handgun.

When police approached him, he allegedly told them he was a special agent but only had a New York State driver’s license. Yin allegedly told police that his car was parked near the restaurant and when it was searched, police found an alleged AR-15 .556 assault rifle that was loaded with two coupled magazine, which were each capable of holding 30 rounds. Police also reportedly recovered two additional .556 caliber magazines, also capable of holding 30 rounds. A total of 180 .556 caliber cartridges were recovered from the suspect’s car. Police also recovered 20 .45 caliber cartridges, which were inside two magazines that were each capable of holding 20 rounds. Yin was in possession of a gravity knife as well, police said.

The vest Yin was wearing reportedly had patches reading, “Because F—k You, That’s Why,” “Guns and Coffee” and “Sniper.”

The judge ordered that Yin be held without bail and he was charged with three counts of weapons possession and unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

Yin’s lawyer declined to comment on the case.

Redesigned dog run in the works for Madison Sq. Park

A park goer looks at a diagram outlining the planned dog run. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Madison Square Park Conservancy has announced a plan to renovate the dog run in the park, known as Jemmy’s Run, this past weekend.

The new run will be in the same place as the existing run but will be reconfigured to add more space for small dogs and to include new amenities, such as increased lighting, small hills and a water feature.

“We haven’t been able to serve small dogs in the existing space,” the conservancy’s executive director Keats Meyer said on Saturday at Barkfest, an event at the park for dogs and their owners. “It ends up being sort of like a cage, like a ‘small dog time out.’”

Meyer said that the renovations plans have been reviewed by neighborhood dog owners in previous workshops and surveys and adjusted based on community suggestions and needs. Meyer noted that one aspect of the plan that many respondents of the survey agreed on was changing the surface because users of the run don’t like the gravel that is currently there.

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Street in Flatiron redesigned for safety

The newly-paved Broadway looking north (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A block on Broadway between West 24th and 25th Streets adjacent to Madison Square Park has been redesigned, with the aim of making the area safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Department of Transportation piloted a similar “Shared Streets” model in Lower Manhattan for a single Saturday last August and decided to implement the model in the Flatiron District permanently. The city made this one permanent because pedestrians outnumber vehicles on this particular block of Broadway by an 18:1 margin during peak evening hours.

The DOT has been working with the Flatiron BID and the Madison Square Park Conservancy on clarifying the often-chaotic intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue and made the adjustments by instituting a new five-mile-per-hour speed limit, changing the color of the asphalt and adding crosswalks and protected bike lanes.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for bank robberies, Deli worker busted for untaxed cigarettes

MAN CHARGED WITH ROBBING BANKS AT GUNPOINT IN UNION SQUARE, LES
Police arrested a man suspected in three bank robberies in Union Square and Lower Manhattan last Wednesday. Police stopped 21-year-old Richard Callison in front of 125 Third Avenue at 12:58 p.m. that afternoon while he was stopped in front of a Duane Reade near East 14th Street because he matched the description of a suspect from previous bank robberies.
Police said that video surveillance captured Callison committing the robberies. Callison also allegedly admitted to committing the robberies and police said that he identified himself in the stills from the video.
According to the district attorney’s office, two of the robberies took place on the Lower East Side and one occurred on Broadway near Union Square, all happening on two days last week.
The most recent robbery occurred in the Citibank at 749 Broadway near Eighth Street on July 19 at 11:40 a.m. Police said Callison gave the teller a note that said, “Put the money in the bag. No tracers and no one has to get hurt.” The DA’s office said that Callison pointed what appeared to be a gun through a plastic bag at the teller.
A teller working at the Chase Bank at 109 Delancey Street said that Callison came in at 10:40 a.m. on July 19 and handed over a note that said, “Give me the money. No dye packs. Big bills or your life will end!!!” Callison allegedly pointed a gun at the teller in this incident as well.
A bank teller working in the Bank of America at 92 Delancey Street told police that Callison gave him a note on July 18 around 4:30 p.m. that read, “Give me all the big bills (no traces). Make the wrong move and you will get shot. Rapido rapido.”

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Artists will interact with installation at Madison Sq. Park

A sculpture by Josiah McElheny will become a performance space. (Photo courtesy of Madison Square Park Conservancy)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

With the arrival of Madison Square Park’s new summer installation next Tuesday comes a handful of artists who have created performance pieces to interact with the work in week-long residencies. Prismatic Park, a sculpture by artist Josiah McElheny made of glass tile and wood creating individual performance spaces for the artists, offers a translucent sound wall for experimental music, a reflective floor for dance and a vaulted pavilion for poetry.

Artist MC Hyland, who will be doing the first poetry residency for the project from July 4 to 9, won’t be using the space for typical poetry readings but decided to expand on a project she’s already been working on that is more interactive than straight performance. Hyland has a degree in book arts in addition to an MFA in poetry, and when she went back to school for English literature recently, she started reading more poetry by William Wordsworth, who wrote some of his work about walking and talking with friends.

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New entrance at Madison Square Park will highlight monument

A landscape renovation will make the Eternal Light monument, pictured during a Memorial Day ceremony, a focal point of the park. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Madison Square Park Conservancy has announced it will be creating a new park entrance at 24th Street for the Eternal Light Flagstaff.

The conservancy shared the plan at a flag-raising ceremony that was held just ahead of Memorial Day last Thursday.

The conservancy will be working with the United War Veterans Council and the Parks Department to renovate the landscape in the park and give the monument, which is located inside the park facing Broadway at 24th Street, street-facing prominence.

“We have to honor our veterans,” City Councilman Dan Garodnick said, who was at the event. “This is the single most important monument for veterans in New York City and it should be a focal point in the park.”

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Interactive installation coming to Madison Sq. Park

A rough rendering of the installation to come, which is being designed with artist participation in mind

A rough rendering of the installation to come, which is being designed with artist participation in mind

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Madison Square Park is getting a new interactive space with the installation of the park conservancy’s next outdoor exhibition this coming spring. Artist Josiah McElheny designed the “Prismatic Park,” which is composed of painted wood and prismatic glass, and is designed with the idea of being an outdoor studio space for musicians, dancers and poets.

A blue curvilinear sound wall offers acoustics for experimental music, a circular and reflective green floor will beckon dancers while and a red roofed pavilion will be built for the use of poets.

Nonprofit art organizations Blank Forms, Danspace Project and Poets House are collaborating with the Madison Square Park Conservancy to help resident artists create new work within the public spaces. McElheny designed the piece specifically so that it would be interacted with and not just looked at, and he said that he hopes it will be used not only for performances but also as a rehearsal or impromptu workshop space.

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Neighbors concerned about hotels used as shelters

Representatives from the Department of Homeless Services, the Human Resources Administration and non-profit organizations focusing on homelessness participated in the panel, which was facilitated by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (far right). Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Representatives from the Department of Homeless Services, the Human Resources Administration and non-profit organizations focusing on homelessness participated in the panel, which was facilitated by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (far right). (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Recently, the city has begun using hotels in Flatiron and NoMad as temporary homeless shelters, and the practice has area residents outraged.

New shelter neighbors gathered at the American Sign Language School last Tuesday evening to voice their concerns about the shelters as well as the homeless population in general.

A number of residents at the meeting insisted that they were empathetic to the homeless and acknowledged that it is a small percentage of the population that is causing problems, but many who spoke said that safety was a serious concern.

“The risk doesn’t come from the 70 percent of the homeless population who are working poor, who are just trying to get by,” Third Avenue resident Thandi Gordon-Stein said. “We’re worried about the other 30 percent who are convicted criminals and sex offenders. When you add so many facilities in one neighborhood, it becomes a danger. They say we should call 311 or the police but that’s not working.”

Many at the meeting said they were worried that the neighborhood could become oversaturated with homeless facilities. Matt Borden, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Homeless Services, argued that the decision to use hotels in Flatiron and NoMad was based on the so-called “Fair Share Criteria,” which is supposed to prevent neighborhoods from getting saturated with shelters and making sure other areas are home to some. According to the data from DHS, which examines the homeless population within community district lines, Community Board 5 is under the city average of 1,016.

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Concert series coming to Madison Square Park

Musician Kate Davis

Musician Kate Davis

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Madison Square Park Conservancy recently announced the lineup for the new music series taking place in the park on Saturdays starting on September 10. The Studio Series focuses on folk, jazz, blues and Americana music and concerts will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Kate Davis, who will kick off the series this year, is a songwriter who has performed with artists such as Alison Krauss, Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban. Davis, known for her double bass, is from Portland, Oregon and has been part of the music scene in New York since 2012.

The Studio Series is supported by public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the City Council, with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Legislature.

The next concert will be held on September 17 and features Rhett Miller, with Bria Skonberg performing on September 24. The series concludes with Jamison Ross performing on October 1.

The free performances will take place at the southern end of the park near the Shake Shack. There will be some seating and café tables available. All shows will be rain or shine.

Shake Shack gives away burgers to promote 100th location

The line before 10 a.m. on Tuesday at Madison Square Park (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The line before 10 a.m. on Tuesday at Madison Square Park (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack empire offered free ShackBurgers to customers at the restaurant’s various locations in celebration of the opening of the 100th Shack at the Boston Seaport. However customers were warned to come early as only the first 100 burgers would be free.

So, by 9:55 a.m., at the original Shake Shack at Madison Square Park, the line had already snaked around the park’s south end to over 50 people long, each individual clutching a flier advertising the promotion. The shack wouldn’t open until 10:30. Meanwhile by 12:45 p.m., the line was still about as long, which is a typical lunchtime line the shack, the promotion having ended.

The Shake Shack, which is now a publicly traded company, started as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park to support the park’s first art installation, “I (Heart) Taxi.” It officially became the shack in 2004 when the Union Square Hospitality Group won a bid to open a permanent kiosk in the park.

The company has since opened locations in 15 states and the District of Columbia as well as overseas, including in London, Tokyo, Moscow and Dubai.

Editorial: Time to rein in sales people and promo events in Flatiron

At Times Square, grabby costumed characters are finally being kept under control to some degree thanks to the addition of commercial activity zones where Elmo and Minnie can still hassle tourists for tips as well as new pedestrian flow zones where they cannot go and passersby are to be left alone.

However, Times Square is hardly the only neighborhood that’s been overrun by mercenary individuals. These days, Flatiron also comes pretty close, at least at the pedestrian plazas. If the weather’s nice, you can pretty much guarantee that any attempt to head over to Madison Square Park or one of the umbrella-shaded seats on the plaza will be impeded by people asking you about your hair, whether you like comedy or if you’d like to try a sample of something from a booth. Or all of the above. If it’s at least the latter case, this is because the city’s rented out part of the plaza to a company for promotional purposes. In the other cases, it’s because sales people love to stand in high-traffic areas so they can accost people on their lunch breaks.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for Campos Plaza ‘murder,’ Stabbing outside W Hotel

MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER OVER CAMPOS PLAZA SHOOTING
Police arrested 23-year-old Campos Plaza resident Theodore Holloway for murder on Wednesday. Police said that Holloway shot Elliot Caldwell, 23, last Thursday around 10:44 p.m. in front of 635 East 12th Street near Avenue C. When police arrived, they found Caldwell, unconscious and unresponsive, with a gunshot wound in his back. A EMS team took him to Bellevue, but he couldn’t be saved. Local blog EV Grieve reported that Caldwell grew up in Campos Plaza and would frequently come back to visit.

STABBING OUTSIDE UNION SQUARE W HOTEL
Thirty-year-old Francisco De La Rosa was arrested for assault and weapons possession in front of 201 Park Avenue South last Wednesday at 6:05 a.m. De La Rosa allegedly stabbed the victim in the hand and stomach with a gravity knife because of an argument they were having. Police said that the victim had a cut on his right middle finger and the right side of his stomach. When police searched him, they found that De La Rosa was in possession of a gravity knife. The victim was transported to Bellevue and police said that surveillance video is available from the hotel.

HOUSE CLEANER BUSTED FOR ‘THEFT’ FROM GRAMERCY PARK APARTMENT
Police arrested 56-year-old Diane Connif for grand larceny last Monday at 5:35 p.m. inside the 13th Precinct. Police said that Connif, who was hired by the victims to clean and take care of their apartment, swiped jewelry and other items from their home at 32 Gramercy Park South. According to the District Attorney’s office, Connif entered the apartment on March 20 to clean and the victims said that when they got home later that day, they noticed that a Social Security check and other mail was missing. The victims said that jewelry was also missing from the bedroom. Police said that Conniff admitted that on a date between February 29 and March 20, she took a checkbook, a Social Security check and valuable jewelry, but claimed she took the items to keep safe for them. The DA’s office said that the jewelry was valued over $50,000. Police said that both victims are senior citizens over the age of 85.

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The summer that was – A look back at community events

By Maria Rocha Buschel

Summer is quickly drawing to a close, with an autumn chill in the early morning air and school starting up again soon. And with the last unofficial day of the season, Labor Day, occurring yesterday, we thought we would share a look back at some of the summer activities that took place in the community.

This summer saw the return of the popular concert series on the Solar One stage at Stuyvesant Cove Park, with the only complaint some Town & Village readers had being that the series was too short. Performers also got in the summer spirit at Madison Square Park underneath the Fata Morgana canopy installation in an Afro-Cuban dance workshop and performance in July. In what is becoming an annual tradition, area residents were also able to enjoy the waterfront through the free kayaking events, hosted in Stuyvesant Cove Park for the final time for the season last weekend.

Click through for photos.

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Studio Series will return to Madison Square Park

The Studio Series (pictured here during a performance last year) starts on September 12 and feature blues, folk and Americana artists. (Photo courtesy of Madison Square Park Conservancy)

The Studio Series (pictured here during a performance last year) starts on September 12 and feature blues, folk and Americana artists. (Photo courtesy of Madison Square Park Conservancy)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

At Madison Square Park, which has been the site of two concert series over the summer, including a new one, Above Ground, featuring local subway buskers, the tradition of free, outdoor music will continue through the fall with the return of the Studio Series.

The Studio Series, scheduled to start on September 12, marks the tenth year that the Madison Square Park Conservancy has provided afternoons of blues, folk and Americana for music lovers to enjoy in the park.

While the park’s summer Oval Lawn music series features a variety of music styles, the concerts in the fall focus on fewer genres for a couple of different reasons.

“These genres were chosen in part due to folk music’s historic significance in this part of Manhattan,” said Keats Myer, executive director of the conservancy. “The genres were also chosen for this series because there were not many other outdoor spaces in the city presenting this kind of music, and we wanted to provide our audience with a unique experience.”

Myer said that extensive research goes into picking each of the bands for the series, which will be held every Saturday afternoons through October 10, except September 26.

“We carefully curate each show, pairing emerging artists with more established performers,” she said. “In order to find the perfect pairs to perform in the intimate setting that The Studio Series offers, we do a lot of research and development each year, including traveling to SXSW and many local venues.”

Luther Dickinson, a guitarist and vocalist from Tennessee, will be performing with bamboo fife player Sharde Thomas, who is the granddaughter of one of the last well-known fife players in the fife and drum tradition, Mississippi musician Otha Turner.

Dickinson, 42, comes from a family of musicians and said he’s been touring with them off and on since 1997. His music has brought him to cities throughout the world but he said that New York is one of his favorites, and he’s looking forward to visiting Madison Square Park, which he has never been to before.

Although not familiar with the specific venue, Dickinson frequently plays outdoor shows during the summer and said that they are his favorite kind of concert to perform.

“They’re the best part about summer,” he said. “It’s great for families to do when they get together as opposed to just being in a theater.”

Dickinson said that he and his family try to visit New York as much as they can and his kids have developed a taste for some of the local restaurants.

“Momofuku is my five-year-old’s favorite restaurant and the last time we were here, my one-year-old just grabbed a pork bun and tried to eat it whole,” he said, laughing. “It was a sight to see.”

The Campbell Brothers, a Sacred Steel gospel group (a genre in the tradition of African-American gospel), are also playing at the inaugural show for the series next Saturday. Dickinson said that he’s looking forward to seeing the ensemble’s performance, and the musicians have all played together before.

“I heard they’re doing an acoustic show and that’s something I really want to see,” Dickinson said. “They’re an amazing and beautiful family.”
The concerts take place at the southern end of the park near Shake Shack from 3 to 5 p.m. Some seating and cafe tables will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit the website.