One arrested as e-bike thefts increase

One of the suspects in multiple recent e-bike thefts

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with the theft of an e-bike from a restaurant on East 14th Street over the weekend.

The arrest comes after the New York Times reported last Friday that at least 24 e-bikes have been reported stolen throughout the city since last September. The NYPD told the Times that nearly two dozen delivery workers have been attacked and their e-bikes have been stolen by the same two men, who police said ambushed the riders with pepper spray or at knife point. The bikes stolen from the workers can cost as much as $2,000.

Although not an e-bike, Peter Cooper Village resident Adriana Hammonds also reported the theft of her new cargo bike just after Christmas. The family had taken out a loan to pay for the $3,000 bike and it was stolen the first day they took it out for a ride. The bike was meant for Hammonds to use to bring her 6-year-old son Sebastian to school and after assembling it right after the holiday, she and her son took it to visit a friend and locked the bike on East 18th Street and Irving Place. When they returned two hours later, the bike had been stolen.

The Bronx resident who was arrested for the recent e-bike theft was caught at the corner of Second Avenue and East 15th Street on Sunday, January 5 at 7:53 p.m. after a witness chased him from the restaurant where he took the bike.

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Community Council for 13th precinct celebrates the holidays

Members of the Community Council celebrated the holidays at Hane Sushi on Tuesday. (From left to right) Julia Yepez-Macbeth, Elvie Coutain, VL Swanson, Community Council President Frank Scala, Melanie Hague-Scala, Carol Schachter and Pat Salin (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The 13th Precinct Community Council celebrated the holidays this past Tuesday with a festive dinner in lieu of the regular monthly meeting.

The dinner, at Hane Sushi in Stuyvesant Town, was scheduled for the same evening as a number of “Impeachment Eve” protests across the country, including one that ended in Union Square after a march from Times Square.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, commanding officer of the precinct, and Detective Vincent Arlotta both arrived at the dinner on time but left shortly after to provide support for the officers in Union Square, where more than 1,500 protesters were expected on Tuesday evening, the night before the House of Representatives was expected to vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

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Letters to the editor, Dec. 12

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Charged for new door

Recently I had to call 911 for a medical emergency. NYPD also came with them and proceeded to breakdown down my door, even after my telling them I could answer the door. Stuyvesant Town then made me pay $1,700 for the new door. That was my tuition money for Baruch College for a year. I am trying to finish my degree, even though I am elderly and disabled now. I couldn’t believe I had to pay for the door. Technically I didn’t break it. And you know Stuyvesant Town charges you for any damage you cause in the apartment. I did not cause this damage. I should have never been charged for this. Can anybody help?

Name withheld

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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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