Cops looking for man who duped elderly woman out of $2G for ‘bail’

Scam suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who duped an elderly Peter Cooper Village resident out of $2,000, claiming it was bail she’d need to pay to free a friend who was arrested.

The man called the victim, a 93-year-old woman, at home on Friday, May 26 to say that a friend of hers was arrested and at Rikers Island. He then informed her the bail would cost her $6,500. When the victim said she only had $2,000, the scammer then arrived at her home to collect the cash. Afterwards, the victim got suspicious and called her friend, who, it turned out, had not been arrested.

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Injured bat found in Peter Cooper released in East River Park

Bat-hilda, prior to being released, hangs upside down from the edge of a cardboard box. What appears to be the bottom of the box to the viewer of this photo is actually its side. (Photo courtesy of Good Samaritan and StuyTown Property Services)

As Town & Village reported on May 11, an injured bat was found by a resident in Peter Cooper Village, and subsequently passed on to a Good Samaritan recruited by management who then began nursing the winged mammal back to health.

That bat, believed to be an Eastern Red bat, has since been nicknamed Bat-hilda, and has been released into an East Village park.

Marynia Kruk, Stuyvesant Town’s community affairs manager, told T&V this happened on the night of Saturday, May 13.

“He put her on a tree inside East River Park, at East 10th Street and FDR Drive,” said Kruk of the Good Samaritan, who has asked to remain anonymous.

“She soon took off and he lost sight of her.”

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Mom, son tried to get ST apt. with fake ID, cops say

Stuyvesant Town leasing office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police busted a woman and her son for attempting to lease an apartment in Peter Cooper Village and in Murray Hill with an allegedly stolen identity last Tuesday. Christine Thompson, 48, and 19-year-old Christopher Vlado were arrested inside the Stuyvesant Town leasing office at 252 First Avenue after the pair went through the application process for apartments at 370 First Avenue in Peter Cooper and at 12 East 37th Street in April.

Thompson and Vlado allegedly toured the apartment in Peter Cooper Village on April 14.

The DA’s office said that Thompson went into the Stuy Town leasing office on April 22 and applied for the Peter Cooper apartment, allegedly presenting herself as the victim whose ID was being used. She reportedly signed the application that day and returned to the leasing office last Tuesday to sign the lease agreement. According to the DA’s office, Vlado sat with Thompson while she went through the application and pointed out where she needed to sign the victim’s name. She allegedly signed the victim’s name 33 times on the lease agreement and provided management with 12 money orders, each with the victim’s name in the signature.

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Third round of ‘Roberts’ checks may be on the way

ST buildingsBy Sabina Mollot

Last October, residents of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village who were represented in the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” class action lawsuit saw a second wave of payouts from the initial $68.75 million pool.

Now it’s likely that there will be a third round of checks, according to Michael Liskow, who’s one of the attorneys representing tenants from the firm Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz.

As a condition of the second payout, if there was more than $100,000 left after a deadline for checks to be deposited passed, then there would be another distribution. If there was less than $100,000 left, then the remaining funds would be split among two local nonprofits, the ST-PCV Tenants Association and the Peter Stuyvesant Little League.

The 120-day deadline has already passed for most of the recipients but attorneys won’t know the exact amount that’s left in the pool until around March 15. This is when the deadline will have passed for all eligible class suit members. However, as of this week, there was over $150,000 left, Liskow said.

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TA says: More boots on the ground needed, better interior lighting

Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Following StuyTown Property Services announcing new efforts to make the complex safer, Susan Steinberg, president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, responded with the TA’s own view, which is that equipment is nice, but live patrols are better. The TA also recommended more interior lighting. Read on for the association’s statements.

In the wake of the sexual attack on a young Stuy Town resident in her building vestibule in the early morning of February 19, The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association is once again speaking up for two vital safety measures we have been requesting for years: More foot patrols, especially at night, and far better lighting of interior paths.

General Manager Rick Hayduk’s follow-up communication to residents was a timely reminder of the emergency equipment already available: blue-lighted stanchions throughout the community, “security” buttons on lobby intercoms, the manned central video security screen system, and foot and car patrols 24/7.

Addressing future improvements, he cited plans to work with security consultants to identify where “new and additional equipment can be placed to enhance coverage.”

We at the TA insist that far more important than additional electronic wonders is a seriously enlarged force of on-foot public safety personnel and more small vehicles always on the move. It was just such a band of visible, on-foot and on-wheels security personnel constantly patrolling the property and checking the stairwells of each building every day that once made this community the lowest crime area in the city.

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Beth Israel plans to stop delivering babies in May

Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Last November, the president of Mount Sinai Downtown, a planned network of hospitals and healthcare centers that will include a downsized Beth Israel, told Town & Village that newborns being delivered would be getting phased out. At the time, the new network president, Dr. Jeremy Boal of Peter Cooper Village, said there wasn’t a hard deadline, but there simply wasn’t enough volume to justify continuing the service.

But Mount Sinai is now applying with the State Department of Health to discontinue deliveries at Beth Israel by late May. Instead, expectant mothers would be admitted at one of the other in-network hospitals like Mount Sinai West. In its written application to have the hospital’s maternity beds and its well-baby nursery “de-certified,” Mount Sinai explained that it only delivers six babies a day at Beth Israel, with half of the mothers coming from Brooklyn.

While the neighborhoods surrounding Beth Israel have no shortage of young families, Boal told Town & Village back in November that proximity to the hospital just wasn’t driving business there from neighbors.

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It’s snow problem

First Avenue

First Avenue

As we all got to experience, the city was basically shut down last Thursday thanks to a pesky blizzard. With Mayor de Blasio having urged New Yorkers to stay off the roads and public school children getting a day off, things weren’t too bad as far as emergencies are concerned. In Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, residents were warned employees would be slower to respond to service requests with workers having to prioritize snow removal. Fortunately once the snow stopped burying the ground below, kids who braved the cold did get some well-deserved play time.

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Market raters hopeful about lottery, some others say the cost isn’t exactly affordable

feb9-screenshotBy Sabina Mollot

Following the announcement that the Stuyvesant Town lottery would be reopening for would-be residents in the upper income tier, Town & Village asked a few market rate residents and former residents as well as others for their thoughts. The market raters we spoke with seemed to think that while the rents weren’t exactly cheap, the lottery was still welcome news. However, those unaccustomed to paying those kinds of rents were wary of labeling the available units as affordable.

After hearing what the rents were for one and two-bedrooms, Larry Watson, a former Stuy Town resident who moved out last year, said he thought the deal sounded better for the two-bedrooms.

He’d previously paid $3,900 for a converted two-bedroom.

“If you look at the price for a studio anywhere in Manhattan, it’s $2,000,” said Watson, “so it’s an $800 leap for a one-bedroom, but for a two-bedroom it’s an extra $1,300. So you get the value in a two-bedroom, but not a one-bedroom. I’d say it’s a decent offer,” he said.

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Stuy Town apartment lottery reopening

feb9-screenshot

The lottery website, stuytownlottery.com, is live.

By Sabina Mollot

The lottery for below-market apartments in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village is reopening.

On Monday, Blackstone announced that those who missed out the first time could try again during a one-month window.

This reopening is specifically for applicants in the higher-income bracket for one and two-bedroom apartments since those are the unit sizes that are most common throughout the property. However, the original waiting list is still active for unit types not included in the current lottery as well as one and two-bedrooms.

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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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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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Quik Park won’t charge planned fee for non-electronic payments

Aug16 garage

Parking garage in Stuy Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Quik Park, which operates the parking garages in STPCV, recently announced that customers would face a fee unless they enrolled in the online payment plan that automatically charges the monthly bill to a credit card or bank account, but according to Councilmember Dan Garodnick, his office has learned that this new policy will not be implemented.

Garodnick had sent a letter to StuyTown general manager Rick Hayduk and Quik Park CEO Rafael Llopiz last Wednesday regarding the new proposed policy, arguing that online payment would adversely affect the high senior population in STPCV. Garodnick also noted that concerns about the proposed policy were especially high given that Quik Park had also increased its rates earlier this year.

Llopiz did not respond to a request for comment on the policy.

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PCV man dies shortly after 100th birthday

Albert Steinberg, pictured with wife Evelyn on a vacation

Albert Steinberg, pictured with wife Evelyn on a vacation

Just two weeks after his 100th birthday, Albert Steinberg, a Peter Cooper Village resident and father of Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg, died.

Steinberg had recently been ill with pneumonia. He spent five days, the past Monday to Friday, at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and passed away the day after coming home.

Susan, one of two children Steinberg had with his late wife Evelyn, said her father had made his goal of turning 100, and suspected that after that, he had simply run out of goals.

“People know when they want to let go,” she said.

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Divine signs of the times

Church uses humor to connect with community

collage-color-new

Gustavus Adolphus Pastor Christopher Mietlowski started the sign campaign seven years ago and has since seen an increase in church membership. (Photo collage by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

It’s not unusual for signs in front of churches to have uplifting messages. Often they’re lifted from biblical passages. Other times they’re behavioral suggestions, and if there’s room, there’ll be a bingo schedule included, too.

But in Gramercy, one church has managed to stand out from the parish pack for the messages on its signs, which have become so popular, they’ve actually boosted membership.

That church would be Gustavus Adolphus, a 150-year-old Lutheran church where a recent sign suggested: “Come, search for Pokemon — stay, find God’s grace.”

Another, inspired by pop song “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor, read: “We’re all about dat grace, bout dat grace, no Devil!”

And another reminded passersby: “That love thy neighbor thing — I meant that — God.”

Last winter, during particularly frigid temperatures, a sign pointed out, “On the bright side, we haven’t seen a mosquito in months.”

The signs, which get changed around twice a month, are the brainchild of the church’s pastor, Christopher Mietlowski, better known to his flock as Pastor Chris.

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City proposes reconfiguring 2 playgrounds as part of East Side flood protection plan

nov24-asser-levy-playground

Asser Levy Playground (pictured) and Murphy’s Brother’s Playground will be impacted by the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. (Photo courtesy of Parks Department)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The city has been exploring options to redesign Asser Levy Playground and Murphy’s Brother’s Playground, since both will be affected by the construction of flood protection along the East Side of Manhattan from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street.

Earlier in the month, representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency discussed the proposals at a community meeting held at Washington Irving High School.

Carrie Grassi, the deputy director of planning for the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, mentioned how the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project will run adjacent to both parks and construction will disturb activities there.

However, since the city is only in the concept design stage with the project, Grassi said that decisions for all aspects aren’t necessarily final yet. One such instance is the placement of the floodwall as it approaches the Asser Levy Playground. One configuration has the wall bordering the park along the FDR Drive, turning along East 25th Street and connecting with the floodwall that the VA Hospital is working on.

“But some feel that would be too imposing,” Grassi said.

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