A look back at 9/11/2001

From the archives: Former Town & Village editor Linda O’Flanagan covered the World Trade Center attacks for T&V when they occurred, taking these photos showing first responders in front of the ambulance entrance of Beth Israel on East 16th Street, traffic in the neighborhood following the attacks and memorials that popped up in the neighborhood following, as well as photos from Ground Zero.

Memorials popped up across the city, including this one on Avenue A near the corner of East 14th Street.

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Focus on 9/11 illnesses at 18th memorial ceremony

Officers stand at attention during the memorial for the 18th anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center in front of the 13th Precinct on East 21st Street on Wednesday morning. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Speakers emphasized the ongoing effects of 9/11-related illnesses on members of law enforcement and first responders during the 13th precinct’s annual remembrance ceremony of the 2001 World Trade Center terror attacks this past Wednesday.

Gramercy Park Block Association President Arlene Harrison, who assisted the 13th precinct in the aftermath of 9/11 and for months following, noted that more than ten times the number of NYPD members have died from 9/11-related illnesses since 2001, compared to the 23 NYPD members who died on the day of the attacks.

“Eighteen years later, hundreds of first responders continue to die on a regular basis of 9/11 related illnesses. Here are the numbers of the second tragedy that continues each day,” she said. “There were 400 toxic chemicals at the site. The number of first responders and survivors enrolled for monitoring or treatment is nearly 100,000. All the families ever ask is that we never forget. We can continue to honor those who died that day by being the ones who remember. It’s the very least we owe to the victims and the families they left behind.”

Patrick Lynch, President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, emphasized that many members of the NYPD have died from related illnesses and many others are currently suffering.

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Opinion: Turning over a new leaf at Bellevue Park South

Bellevue South Park (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Assemblymember Harvey Epstein

For almost four decades, Bellevue South Park has provided Kips Bay residents a much-needed oasis for recreation and relaxation in an area otherwise starved for green space. Unfortunately, in recent years, the park has become a hotspot for illegal activity that includes drinking and drug use. These behaviors make the park unwelcome and unsafe for the families in the neighborhood. We must address these problems as a community and make the park a safe and enjoyable place for all.

Bellevue Hospital, which operates over 300 psychiatric beds, and the 850-bed 30th Street Men’s Shelter are just steps away from the park, making it a natural hang out spot for homeless individuals as well as those with mental health issues. Often these groups overlap, creating even greater challenges with providing services. Further complicating the situation is the nearby The Children’s Center, whose clients are city’s most vulnerable children waiting to be placed with a foster family. Teens in the facility face incredible emotional stress and unfortunately have a history of being involved in violent incidents around the neighborhood.

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Men wanted for sex crimes in Union Square station

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are looking for two men for alleged sex crimes that took place in the Union Square station since the end of July.

A 25-year-old woman reported to police that she was leaving the station on Wednesday, July 31 at 4:40 p.m. when an unidentified man approached her from behind, grabbed her buttocks and then fled on foot, exiting the subway system. Surveillance video (posted above) showed the suspect at the station shortly after the time of the incident. The man is wanted for forcible touching.

Police said that a case of sexual abuse occurred in Union Square on Wednesday, August 7 around 4:20 a.m. after a 47-year-old woman fell asleep on a downtown Q train. The victim told police that she woke up when the suspect touched her right shoulder with his exposed genitals. When the victim confronted the suspect, he ran off the train at Union Square and fled the station to the street.

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Cop runs over Citi Bike while conducting traffic stop

An officer cut off a cyclist who allegedly ran a red light, colliding with the bike and getting its wheel stuck in the SUV. (Photo by Twitter user @Garvey_Rich)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Gothamist reported on July 8 that a police officer “forcefully stopped” a cyclist from allegedly running a red light near Tompkins Square Park and ultimately ran over the Citi Bike that he was riding on July 5. The incident occurred on Avenue A near the park last Friday evening, and a photo widely shared on Twitter shows an NYPD SVU parked over the bike lane with a Citi Bike stuck in one of its back wheels.

Police said that the cyclist was riding east on St. Mark’s Place when an officer saw him go through two red lights. The cyclist was reportedly wearing headphones and police said that he ignored sirens and orders to pull over, but the man who shared the photo on Twitter told Gothamist that he didn’t hear any sirens prior to the bike getting dragged under the SUV.

Witnesses told Gothamist that the officer cut off another car making a right turn from St. Mark’s and drove on the wrong side of the street before swerving in front of the cyclist.

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GPBA honors cops killed in the line of duty

Family members and colleagues of fallen officers at the memorial event (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Gramercy Park Block Association honored the members of the NYPD that have been killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 6. The memorial event at the National Arts Club has become an annual tradition that the organization has been carrying on since 2015.

The event stemmed from the Blue Lives Matter NYC movement started by three members of the NYPD after the murders of Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in December 2014. The goal was to help families of the slain offers in their time of need and GPBA president Arlene Harrison joined with the organization the following year.

“It has now become a nationwide movement, and I have done everything I can to spread the word, by organizing a social media network of over 150 police groups around the country,” Harrison said of Blue Lives Matter.

Harrison explained that the GPBA was formed in 1993 after her 15-year-old son was beaten in Gramercy Park with a mission of protecting the neighborhood by working closely with the police department. The GPBA also organized a relief effort within the 13th Precinct for a number of months after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

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City tracks where cops are dispatched the fastest

A police vehicle in Flatiron, which is part of the 13th Precinct, where there’s an average dispatch time of 3.42 minutes (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

How long it takes for the police to come to your rescue after you dial 9-1-1 depends on the neighborhood you live in.

The average, citywide, in 2018, was 3.8 minutes. That year, the lowest response time was 1.6 minutes in the Rockaways and the highest was 8.0 minutes in The Bronx’s Wakefield/Woodlawn neighborhoods. The Bronx had much higher dispatch times than the other boroughs, with the average wait time of 5.6 minutes — nearly two minutes higher than the rest of the city.

The stats were released by the city’s Independent Budget Office on May 9, using information from the Mayor’s Office of Management Budget, Fiscal Year 2018 District Resource Statement for the New York Police Department.

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Kips Bay residents still concerned about ACS teens

Administration for Children’s Services Deputy Commissioner Winette Saunders (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Earlier this year, representatives from the Administration for Children’s Services facility on First Avenue told the Kips Bay community that the agency is working to do more to keep the young people in its care motivated to stay onsite (and incidentally, out of trouble) through new and expanded programming.

However, as of this week, area residents said teenagers staying at the center have continued to wander the neighborhood at night, causing trouble.

Neighbors voiced their concerns on Tuesday night at the most recent meeting held by the 13th Precinct’s Neighborhood Coordinating Officer program for the precinct’s Sector D — the area that covers Kips Bay and Peter Cooper Village.

Eddie Ocasid, the building superintendent for 485 First Avenue, said that teens staying at the ACS building appear unsupervised after 9 p.m. and are often disruptive to residents until 4 in the morning on some nights.

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Police presence increased at local churches after Easter Sri Lanka bombing

Calvary Church in Gramercy

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The NYPD announced heightened security measures at houses of worship throughout the city over the Easter weekend in light of bombings in Colombo, Sri Lanka over the holiday and while some local churches noticed an increase in officers during the weekend, parishioners mainly celebrated the holidays in good spirits.

“I don’t think people knew why (the officers) were there and no one expressed any concern, but we did pray for the people of Sri Lanka during the mass,” said Father Jim Mayzik of Epiphany Church, noting that officers stood outside the church on the plaza during the services. “It was a nice day and we had a giant number of people come to celebrate the holiday.”

Karin Rosner, a spokesperson for Calvary-St. George’s, said that she had actually requested the presence of auxiliary officers during the church’s Palm Sunday Procession in Gramercy and the Maundy Thursday Procession from Stuyvesant Square up to Gramercy with the violence in Pittsburgh in mind, but there was also a noticeable police presence at Calvary on Easter Sunday, with at least two officers at the church for the 11 a.m. service.

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How to get around during the L slowdown

The mayor’s office released this graphic to illustrate how traffic along 14th Street will be managed.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The lesser L train apocalypse is scheduled to begin this Friday and although service will be maintained in Manhattan under the slowdown unlike in the previous full shutdown plan, riders can still expect longer wait times and service changes during nights and weekends until at least next summer when the project is expected to be completed.

The biggest change with the revised L train project is that the L will run normal service during weekday rush hours and service is expected to be available in Manhattan at all times.

According to the MTA’s dedicated page for the plan, available at new.mta.info/L-project, there will be normal L train service between 1:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. throughout the entire line on weekdays, but starting after 8 p.m. this Friday, trains will become less frequent compared to normal service until 10 p.m. during the week.

Service will then be reduced from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. compared to regular service and while trains are expected to run every 20 minutes from 1:30 to 5 a.m. on weeknights and until 6 a.m. on weekend nights, this is the regular overnight frequency for the line.

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Letters to the editor, Apr. 4

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Losing the battle on bikes (cars, too)

To the editor:

T&V has recently featured articles on residents complaining about cyclists’ behavior and the NYPD’s 13th Precinct enforcement activities towards cyclists. None of these articles point out that the real danger to pedestrians and cyclists are automobiles.

Motor vehicle crashes killed 200 people in NYC in 2018 including 114 pedestrians and 10 cyclists and left 60,000 injured. Between July 2012 and January 2019, 887 pedestrians were killed by automobiles. Generally, when the DOT installs protected bike lanes or other infrastructure to make cycling safer and easier, pedestrian safety also increases.

All too frequently whenever there is a serious crash involving a cyclist being hit a motor vehicle, they initiate ticketing activity against cyclists often at intersections and bike lanes in which little dangerous behavior is exhibited by cyclists rather drivers who block and drive in bike lanes, drivers who cut off cyclists at intersections or drivers that block the box causing cyclists to go out into traffic.

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The Administration for Children’s Services asks community for understanding – and foster parents

Administration for Children’s Services facility in Kips Bay (Photo via Google Maps)

By Sabina Mollot

Regular readers of this newspaper know that when the Administration for Children’s Services is mentioned in a story, as it frequently is, it’s because there’s been an arrest of one of the young people staying at the ACS children’s center in Kips Bay. Often, it’s an assault or robbery with multiple youths involved. The children’s center, located on First Avenue and 28th Street, is where individuals age zero to 21 are often placed when they’re removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Another function of the ACS is to place the individuals in their care with foster families.

The need for local people to foster, as well as some new programming at the center aimed at keeping its occupants out of trouble (and ideally into a better future) was recently discussed by ACS Associate Commissioner Rebecca Chew.

Chew made her appeal for foster parents as well as for the understanding of the community while speaking at a recent meeting organized by the NYPD’s new Neighborhood Coordination Officers program for the 13th Precinct. The meeting, held on February 5 at the Alexandria Center’s Apella event space on East 29th Street, was geared towards people living in the northeast quadrant of the confines of the precinct, the neighborhoods of Peter Cooper Village and Kips Bay.

With more than a few people in attendance residents of Kips Bay — who complained about crime in the area perpetrated by young people they believed to be ACS residents — Chew began her presentation by pointing out that those in the agency’s care are often there “because of emergency circumstances.

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USPS fights back against ‘fishers’ with new mailboxes

Two of the new mailboxes at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street are considered higher security due to a slit for inserting mail rather than a pull-out handle. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Mailbox fishing, a type of theft aimed at stealing checks that can later be altered, has just gotten harder.

This is because the United States Postal Services is currently in the process of replacing 5,000 mail collection boxes throughout the city with higher-security models. Xavier Hernandez, a spokesperson for the USPS, said the project is being done in coordination with law enforcement agencies.

The main difference between the old boxes and new is that there is no longer a pull-down handle, but a narrow slot where letters can be inserted and dropped. Areas throughout the five boroughs that are considered “high needs” because they have been popular targets for theft, have been getting their mailboxes replaced first.

The USPS can usually tell when their collection boxes have been tampered with, because they are scratched up or have glue inside or in some cases, evidence of someone having tried to pry off the fronts. Hernandez declined to share which neighborhoods were considered high-need, explaining that thieves have managed to exploit that information. Tips on suspected theft have come from the NYPD, postal employees and customers who call if they believe they’ve had a check stolen.

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Sergeant arrested after crashing into cyclist outside Stuy Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested an off-duty NYPD sergeant for allegedly hitting a cyclist while driving drunk outside Stuyvesant Town last week. Police said that 42-year-old Louis Guglielmo was driving a Jeep Wrangler north on First Avenue on Thursday, December 6 at 2:23 a.m. when he drove through a red light, hitting a 35-year-old cyclist who was heading east on East 16th Street across the avenue with the right of way.

The victim told police that when the vehicle struck him, it knocked him off the bike and onto the street, causing pain to his head, neck, knee and ankle.

Police said that the jeep was partially on top of the bike after the collision. Guglielmo allegedly exited the vehicle and told the victim that he was a member of law enforcement.

“I had a few drinks, and I just did not see him in the crosswalk,” Guglielmo said at the time, according to the criminal complaint.

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Teen mugged in Peter Cooper Village building

Dec6 Robbery suspects

Robbery suspects

By  Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for two muggers who held a resident of Peter Cooper Village up at gunpoint on Tuesday night.

Police said the victim, who is 16 years old, was walking home at about 11:10 p.m. when he was confronted by the pair in the vestibule of 510 East 23rd Street.

One of the robbers pulled out what appeared to be a real gun while demanding his property. The victim then turned over $90 in cash and his iPhone and the muggers fled towards the FDR Drive.

The suspects were described as male and black, one wearing a blue hoodie and black sweatpants and the other wearing grey shoes gray sweatpants and a black coat.

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