Garodnick recommends Trump Tower police unit

Council Member Dan Garodnick

Council Member Dan Garodnick

By Sabina Mollot

Since the presidential election, traffic in the midtown streets surrounding Trump Tower has been consistently snarled, with local stores reporting a yuuuuge amount of lost business as a result.

While it did help that shortly before the New Year, the block of 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues was once again opened to traffic, the area still feels somewhat militarized. The reopening had been pushed by City Council Member Dan Garodnick, whose district includes Trump Tower, and this week, Garodnick spoke with Town & Village about how the neighborhood has been inconvenienced since Donald Trump was elected president.

“It’s an ongoing headache that gets worse when he’s around and we hope he does not choose to use Trump Tower as a pied-a-terre,” said Garodnick.

Incidentally, First Lady Melania Trump has recently reiterated plans to remain at Trump Tower with her son Barron until the school semester ends before moving to the White House.

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Man charged with robbing and choking Stuy Town woman

June23 sign

Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A Stuyvesant Town woman was attacked inside her apartment by a man she met on the street earlier that night at the end of last month.

Police said that the 52-year-old victim met three men in the neighborhood on the night of January 22 and invited them back to her apartment at 5 Stuyvesant Oval around 12:45 a.m. Two of the men left the apartment shortly after to buy cigarettes and once they were gone, 23-year-old Shadi Torres allegedly grabbed the victim and threw her to the ground.

According to the District Attorney’s office, Torres also attempted to pull down her pants and allegedly attempted to strangle her, putting a hand around her neck and forcefully squeezing her throat, causing substantial pain and swelling. A criminal complaint said that the victim attempted to call 911 but Torres grabbed the phone and threw it against the wall. When the victim tried to call 911 on her cell phone, Torres allegedly grabbed the device and ran out of the apartment. It was unclear if the victim’s phone was recovered.

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Pigeon-napper strikes again, says PCV woman

Pigeons like these have been getting sold for target practice. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Pigeons like these have been getting sold for target practice. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last month, Town & Village reported that a ring of bird-nappers have been seen trapping and then selling local pigeons to customers out of state who then use them for target practice. While they have yet to be arrested, one bird-napper was caught last year on Stuyvesant Town’s surveillance cameras as he worked to catch birds on East 14th Street and First Avenue.

And now, he’s back, according to a woman who said she watched in horror as a man caught pigeons in a net in Peter Cooper Village on Saturday.

The witness, a resident of Peter Cooper who asked that her name not be published, said it happened in broad daylight at around 12:10 p.m. on First Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets.

She said she watched as he put out some seed, and following a few birds’ immediate interest, quickly scooped them up. He didn’t get more than those few, however, since the woman said she screamed at him to stop.

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Bird-nappers selling local pigeons for shooting practice

A suspected bird-napper was caught in the act on Stuyvesant Town surveillance footage. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

A suspected bird-napper was caught in the act on Stuyvesant Town surveillance footage. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Wildlife advocates are in a fowl mood thanks to a ring of pigeon-nappers. The bird thieves have been trapping the ubiquitous New York bird from local parks recently and selling them for target practice out of state, including to customers in Pennsylvania. Neighborhood resident and wildlife advocate Andrew Garn expressed his concern for the birds at the recent community council meeting at the 13th Precinct on Tuesday.

“I know it sounds like a joke,” Garn admitted after a smattering of laughter from meeting attendees. “But this has been going on in the neighborhood for years.”

Garn, a photographer who took an interest in the birds’ plight about two years ago after photographing them for about eight years, said that the trappers catch the birds by putting down feed and using spring-loaded nets. Garn lives in Stuyvesant Square and although he noted that this is an ongoing problem throughout the city, he said it is especially prevalent in parks in his neighborhood.

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IT worker allegedly sold NYPD members’, applicants’ information

235 East 20th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

235 East 20th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 37-year-old Idahosa Ighodaro, an NYPD certified IT administrator, for grand larceny in the department’s offices at 235 East 20th Street last Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. Ighodaro allegedly sold personnel information on almost 5,000 current members and applicants of the NYPD.

Police said that as a certified IT administrator, Ighodaro has access to personnel files that include information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, social security numbers, tax identification numbers and other personal identifying information.

According to a complaint from the District Attorney’s office, Ighodaro gave an informant an external hard drive belonging to the NYPD at the end of last November near East 20th Street and Third Avenue. An officer for the Internal Affairs Bureau at the NYPD said that Ighodaro didn’t have permission to take the hard drive from his office or give it to anyone else and a sergeant for the computer crimes section at Internal Affairs determined that the hard drive contained personal identifying information, including social security numbers, for approximately 4,760 members and applicants of the NYPD.

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L train breakdancer wanted for phone snatching

Mugging suspect

Phone snatching suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are looking for a subway performer in connection with a phone snatching that took place on Christmas Day around 2 p.m. in the 13th precinct.

Police sources said that the 54-year-old victim was traveling on the L train with his wife and son and while the train was between First and Third Avenues, the suspect and others began breakdancing in the car. The victim told police that he asked them to stop because the noise was disturbing his sleeping son. Sources said that the suspect and other performers ignored him, so the victim began filming them. When the train pulled into the station at Third Avenue, the suspect reportedly grabbed the victim’s Samsung Galaxy phone and ran off the train. The victim said that he ran onto the platform after him, tackling the suspect and knocking the phone to the ground. The breakdancer then fled the station and no arrest was made at the time of the incident.

Police described the suspect as a black man around 5’6″ and approximately 160 lbs. 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 or by texting their tips and TIP577 to 274637 (CRIMES).

All calls are strictly confidential.

Robber punches woman at Kips Bay spa

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Kips Bay robbery suspect (Photo via NYPD)

By Sabina Mollot
Cops are hunting a brute who robbed a 40-year-old woman, punched her multiple times and then demanded she strip.

Police said this happened on Wednesday, shortly before 1 p.m. at a Kips Bay acupuncture center/spa. The man strode into the business, Green Tea acupuncture wellness, at 240 East 28th Street, before demanding money from the cash register. He then punched a female employee repeatedly in the face and on her body. While grabbing her by the neck, he also told her to take off her clothes, police said. She didn’t although she did at that point give $500 to the man who fled in an unknown direction.

The woman was taken to a local hospital where she was treated and released.

The suspect is described as black-Hispanic, 6’2″ tall and 220 lbs., with blotchy skin, brown eyes and short curly black hair. He was last seen wearing a dark blue jacket, blue jeans, black sneakers and a multi-colored back pack.

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 www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

Police Watch: Robbery at Maialino, Increased security after Berlin market attack

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY AT MAIALINO
Police arrested 34-year-old Brenda Garza inside Danny Meyer’s Maialino restaurant after she allegedly swiped a woman’s credit card and punched the victim in the face.
According to police, last Wednesday close to midnight, Garza allegedly swiped the victim’s credit card from the bar of the restaurant, which is located at the Gramercy Park Hotel. When the victim tried to get her card back, Garza allegedly punched her in the face multiple times. A witness attempted to stop Garza but then she allegedly struck him in the face as well, giving him a split lip. Bar security attempted to stop Garza from leaving the bar and as they approached her, she allegedly dropped the victim’s card on the ground, where it was found.
Garza was charged with robbery and possession of stolen property.

SECURITY BEEFED UP IN NYC HOLIDAY MARKETS AFTER TRUCK INCIDENT IN BERLIN
The NYPD has stepped up security at high profile outdoor Christmas markets throughout New York City following 12 people being killed when a truck driver plowed through a Christmas market in Berlin.
There’s no specific threat in NYC stemming from the incident in Germany, but as a precaution, the NYPD is moving heavily armed Critical Response Command officers toward these displays. Locations for the Christmas markets include Union Square, Columbus Circle and Bryant Park, as well as several others across the city.
Meanwhile, police are searching for a Tunisian man identified as Anis Amri who has multiple aliases, according to the Guardian.
The suspect’s identity papers were found inside the truck used in Monday’s attack, which left, along with those fatally injured, 48 others with injuries, CNN reported. ISIS has already claimed it inspired the attack.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR PHONE THEFT AFTER PHOTO OF HER SHOWS UP ON VICTIM’S ICLOUD ACCOUNT
Police arrested 27-year-old Nina Roman for possession of stolen property last Tuesday at 4:58 p.m. inside A.I. Friedman at 44 West 18th Street. The victim told police that she went into the art supply store on December 10 around 4:30 p.m., where Roman works. The victim said that she put her phone down on a shelf inside the store and when she turned back to it, the phone was missing. Around 10:45 p.m. that night, she noticed that her phone pinged to Hart Street between Throop and Tompkins Avenues in Brooklyn. There was also allegedly a photo of Roman on the victim’s phone, which the victim saw because it uploaded to her iCloud and the phone is synced to the iCloud account.

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Flatiron gets in the holiday spirit with SantaCon

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SantaCon participants got creative with their costumes as usual, including a group with real pine trees in their backpacks. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Revelers donned their best Santa, elf and reindeer costumes for the annual SantaCon pub crawl last weekend, which started in the shadow of the Flatiron building this year. Neighborhood residents let their opposition be known when the Santas gathered on the plaza at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and while the NYPD said there was no record of an arrest, NBC News noted that a handful of the protesters were escorted out of the plaza by police.

The NYPD also noted that no drunk or fighting Santas were arrested as in previous years, and while many in the community were not convinced of their noble intentions, organizers seem to be attempting to clean up the event’s reputation. Organizers on the plaza this past Saturday could be seen picking up bits of trash while the crowd started clearing out by late morning and one Santa berated a photographer climbing onto a planter, yelling at her not to be disrespectful of public property.

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Soapbox: Speak up to end the use of chokeholds

By Michelle Deal Winfield

“I can’t breathe,” was uttered by Eric Garner in 2014, as he took his last breath after Officer Daniel Pantaleo applied a chokehold to his neck, a procedure banned by the New York Police Department, NYPD. The procedure is banned but some police officers have continued to use it. Alissa Scheller, in The Huffington Post in 2014, wrote, “Chokehold complaints are predominantly in black neighborhoods.”

In 1993, the NYPD ban prohibited police officers from applying any pressure to the neck during arrest. So what is all the fuss about if the tactic is banned? Despite the ban, officers continue to use the practice and there is no New York City law to address it. The chokehold is not illegal.

The Progressive Caucus, 28 members of the New York City Council, proposed Intro. 540-A, which defines the chokehold as an illegal act punishable by imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.

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Owners of Malibu Diner honored at 13th Precinct

Malibu owners Jose Collado and Alex Grimpas, Executive Officer Bekim Kalicovic, Detective Ray Dorian and 13th Precinct Community Council President Frank Scala Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Malibu owners Jose Collado and Alex Grimpas, Executive Officer Bekim Kalicovic, Detective Ray Dorian and 13th Precinct Community Council President Frank Scala (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The 13th precinct community council honored the owners of the Malibu Diner at 163 West 23rd Street at their most recent meeting this past Tuesday for their quick response after the explosion farther down the block this past September.

Alex Grimpas and Jose Collado, who have been business partners at the restaurant since 1999, reopened their business the day after the bombing shook the block in order to provide meals for the residents of the nearby Selis Manor, which provides housing for the blind.

“They saw that there was a need on the block and saw that they could help,” Detective Ray Dorian said. “They went over and above what was needed.”

Dorian added that since working with the diner while they were helping out after the explosion, the precinct became aware of the ways in which the business consistently helps out the surrounding community, including a special voucher program for Selis Manor residents.

“We’re always trying to give back to the community in different ways,” Grimpas said of the voucher program. “We wanted to try to help those residents socialize because for them that’s very important.”

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Swastikas scratched into door at Hoylman’s building

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Photo taken by State Senator Brad Hoylman of a swastika found at his building

 

By Sabina Mollot

Only days after dorm rooms at the New School were defaced with swastikas, the Nazi symbol was carved into a door at a West Village building where State Senator Brad Hoylman lives.

Two swastikas were discovered by one of Hoylman’s neighbors on the second floor of the building on Tuesday.

Hoylman is gay and has a Jewish husband and daughter. He also has plans to convert to Judaism. However, he doesn’t believe the swastikas were directed at him, since they were on the elevator door on a floor he doesn’t live on. They’ve since been sanded down and removed.

The building does have surveillance cameras, which Hoylman said he hopes will help catch the perpetrator. The incident is being investigated by police and Mayor Bill de Blasio has also taken notice. After seeing Hoylman post on Twitter about the incident, de Blasio responded to say the city had no tolerance for anti-Semitic acts.

“@bradhoylman, millions of New Yorkers stand with you tonight against anti-Semitism. Hate has no place in our city #notinourcity,” he tweeted.

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Man gets 90 days in jail for throwing Stuy Town resident down subway stairs

By Sabina Mollot

A man who punched a Stuyvesant Town resident in the face before throwing him down the subway stairs in Union Square was sentenced this week to 90 days in jail after taking a plea deal.

The sentence came a week after the attacker, Gary Williams, assaulted the victim, a 28-year-old man, outside Whole Foods last Monday evening.

According to the victim, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Dan, Williams slugged him after he offered Williams $10. Williams had just been kicked out of the supermarket for ordering food he didn’t pay for, according to information from the Manhattan district attorney. However, instead of saying thank you, Williams, who is sometimes seen drumming around Union Square, punched Dan in the face.

“I said ‘I’ll give you ten dollars, and he took that as a fight,” Dan told Town & Village, adding that Williams had attacked him as he started walking away. The Stuy Town man said he fought back though, and things quickly spiraled into “a full on fist fight as I tried to defend myself.” However, when Dan thought it was over, Williams threw him down the subway stairs. “But I took him with me,” the 28-year-old said, recalling that it was about a 15-foot drop from the sidewalk to the bottom of the stairs. “It was miraculous I didn’t break any bones.”

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Cops hunting man who robbed 3 women on same night in Stuy Town and East Village

Update: Police have released a photo of the suspect.

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Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a man who robbed three women in one night, two in Stuyvesant Town. One of the robberies happened at 15 Stuyvesant Oval, the other on the sidewalk near 330 First Avenue, and another took place in the East Village. All the incidents happened on Monday, October 10 from 2-3 a.m.

The crimes were discussed by the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, on Tuesday night at a meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council.

Timoney noted, however, that one of the Stuyvesant Town victims successfully fought the mugger off, knocking him down before he got away. This was near 330 First Avenue.

“She threw the guy around a little,” he said.

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Two men wanted for questioning in Chelsea bombing

Individuals wanted for questioning

Individuals wanted for questioning

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The NYPD and the FBI are asking for the public’s assistance in locating two individuals wanted for questioning in regards to the Chelsea bombing.

The men were seen on surveillance video when they allegedly took a piece of luggage from the sidewalk on West 27th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, removed an improvised explosive device from the bag and left the area, leaving the device behind but taking the luggage. Police said that they took the bag on Saturday between 8 and 9 p.m., the same hour that the explosive device detonated on West 23rd Street.

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