Seniors warned: Don’t ignore summonses

Fidel Del Valle, commissioner of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, speaks at the event held at the Sirovich Center, pictured with Council Member Carlina Rivera (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Ignoring that $100 ticket could end up costing more than $12,000.

The high price tag of ignoring a summons was a major impetus for the workshop held by Councilmember Carlina Rivera at the Sirovich Senior Center on East 12th Street last Friday.

Representatives from the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, which handles most of the summonses issued in the city, wanted to educate seniors on the new ways in which the city is helping residents deal with summonses without even leaving their homes, which can be especially useful for seniors who have mobility challenges.

Assistant Commissioner Marisa Senigo said that there isn’t specific data about how many summonses seniors as a group receive because the agency doesn’t record demographic information, but summonses issued to seniors would often fall under the “personal behavior” category, such as public consumption of alcohol, public urination or being in a park after dark.

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Man steals purse from woman, 81, in East Village building

July19 Burglary suspect

Burglary suspect

Police are looking for a man who stole a purse from an 81-year-old woman after convincing her he needed to get into her apartment to fix a leak.

The man, who was Hispanic and casually dressed in a t-shirt and beach hat, knocked on the woman’s door in the vicinity of East 13th Street and Second Avenue on Friday afternoon. After tricking her into letting him inside, he helped himself to her purse and left the building. The victim’s purse contained $100 and her IDs.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents 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 nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

Q: To offer or not offer a seat on the bus to an older person?

Apr14 M23

The M23 bus (Photo courtesy of the MTA)

The question of the week is just how old should someone look for a younger person to give up his or her seat on the bus or subway? Town & Village welcomes reader opinions on this question after hearing an M23 rider, when being offered a seat by another passenger, remark to his companion who boarded with him and took a nearby empty seat, “I guess we’re old.”

This question (possibly the first in a series), explores whether it’s worse to offer — and potentially upset someone who doesn’t want to be seen as old — or not offer a seat to someone who looks like they may need it out of concern it may hurt the individual’s feelings. The same goes for individuals who may (or may not be) pregnant.

We would like to publish readers’ thoughts, with anonymity provided upon request. Email editor@townvillage.net.

Man arrested for assault of senior outside Stuyvesant Town

Assault suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have arrested a 35-year-old man for the alleged assault of a senior at a Stuyvesant Town bus stop and for reportedly punching a second person at the end of April.

Konstantin Verbitsky allegedly approached the 82-year-old woman while she was sitting on a bus stop bench at East 14th Street and First Avenue on April 22 around 7 p.m. and reportedly pushed her to the ground without provocation. Police said that while she was on the ground, he also punched her, causing pain and swelling in the victim’s hip, back, neck, knees and shoulder.

Verbitsky was also charged in connection with a second alleged assault that took place at the same corner a few minutes later. Police said that the second victim was at the corner recording something on his phone when Verbitsky allegedly walked up to him and punched him in the face.

Police said that Verbitsky did not know either victim. The suspect was charged in connection with both assaults on Tuesday, May 15 at 8:30 a.m. inside the 13th precinct. Verbitsky’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

Elderly woman assaulted at bus stop near Stuy Town

Assault suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a thug who shoved an elderly woman to the ground as she sat on a bench at a bus stop at First Avenue and 14th Street.

Police said on Sunday, April 22 at 7 p.m., a man approached the 82-year-old victim and shoved her off the bench, knocking her to the ground. The woman landed on her arm and later said she had pain in her arm as a result of the assault, although she didn’t go to the hospital.

Police don’t have a description of the man although he’s been captured in some fuzzy surveillance images.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call detectives at the 13th Precinct at (212) 477-7444.

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Letters to the editor, Nov. 2

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Tenants will win with Powers

Keith Powers is the clear choice for City Council. Like me, Keith is a third-generation resident of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village.  Keith is uniquely qualified to tackle the issues facing tenants.

His work as a member of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, as well as his commitment to affordability, has been demonstrated time and time again. On the campaign trail, Keith rolled out a platform that would expand affordability through opposing rent increases at the Rent Guidelines Board and permanent MCI increases, protecting and increasing access to the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program, as well as committing to exploring legal options to protect Robert’s tenants, who are slated to lose vital ​protection in 2020.
Keith grew up in a rent-stabilized apartment, so issues of affordability hit home for him. He knows the impact that affordable housing has on people’s lives and our community. Keith doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He has been endorsed by organizations, like Tenants PAC, for his commitment to protecting affordable housing.

For all these reasons and more, I hope you will join me in voting for Keith Powers for City Council on November 7.

John Marsh, PCV

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Teens threaten senior at knifepoint in PCV, suspects nabbed

Mar31 Peter Cooper sign

Peter Cooper Village

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Two teenagers attempted to rob a 78-year-old Peter Cooper Village resident outside 420 East 23rd Street last Monday at 5:40 p.m.

Police said that a 14-year-old middle school student from Bethpage on Long Island threatened the resident in front of the Peter Cooper building. The teen reportedly threatened the victim with a blue knife while demanding that he give him a dollar while the other teen, a 17-year-old high school student who attends Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, was acting as a lookout.

The 14-year-old managed to get into the building’s lobby by closely following another resident and got in before the main door locked, but both teens were outside the building when the middle schooler threatened the victim.

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Town & Village co-hosts City Council debate at Waterside Plaza

On Thursday night, an evening of debate among the candidates running to replace Dan Garodnick in the City Council was held at Waterside Plaza. The event’s hosts were Town & Village newspaper, the Waterside Tenants Association and Waterside management with the event taking place outdoors. A story covering the views of the various candidates on affordable housing, small businesses, issues affecting seniors, and the sanitation garage the city plans to build at the Brookdale campus, is forthcoming. Scroll down to see some photos from the debate, where all seats on the plaza were filled with a mixed crowd of community residents and candidates’ supporters.

Richard Ravitch, owner of Waterside Plaza and former lieutenant governor, makes opening remarks. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Crowd at the debate

Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal, event co-host

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Robber fractures elderly victim’s skull, punctures lung in Kips Bay tailor shop

jan26-robber

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a thug who stabbed an elderly tailor in his Kips Bay shop on Monday afternoon.

According to cops, the 78-year-old victim put up a fight when the unknown man walked into his shop, Apel Tailor at 203 East 27th Street, demanded cash, and began stabbing him. The men struggled and the attacker stabbed the victim a total of three times, once in the head, two in the torso. Eventually, the business owner gave the robber $80 and he fled in an unknown direction.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where police later reported his condition as stable. The man suffered numerous stab wounds to his chest, cuts to his face, a fractured skull and a punctured left lung.

It’s unclear if the suspect was injured, although video footage obtained by ABC7 shows that the victim at one point actually managed to chase him outside the business between Third and Broadway with a chair.

Apel’s Yelp page has almost entirely positive reviews for its service and the owner’s can-do attitude.

The suspect is described as being Hispanic with a beard, between 40 and 50 years old and 160-190 lbs. He was last seen wearing a blue hooded coat, blue jeans and black sneakers.

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 online at http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

For homebound, Citymeals-on-Wheels offers more than just food deliveries

Council Member Dan Garodnick tagged along on a recent Citymeals-on-Wheels delivery to some of his neighbors, including Ellen Fidelman (pictured). Seventy recipients of the regular meal deliveries live in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village.  (Photo courtesy of Council Member Dan Garodnick)

Council Member Dan Garodnick tagged along on a recent Citymeals-on-Wheels delivery to some of his neighbors, including Ellen Fidelman (pictured). Seventy recipients of the regular meal deliveries live in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. (Photo courtesy of Council Member Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot

It was 35 years ago when Gael Greene, a food critic, read in the New York Times that many seniors would be going without meals on Thanksgiving weekend. Greene immediately called chef and cookbook author James Beard, who, along with the city’s Department of the Aging, worked together to raise enough money to get 6,000 meals delivered to the homes of the elderly in time for Christmas. The project, Citymeals-on-Wheels, didn’t end there, though. It continued to ensure that New York’s senior citizens wouldn’t have to go without meals on weekends or holidays when senior centers are closed. Demand for the service has only increased since then, with 18,000 homebound elderly currently benefitting from the program each year.

Seventy of those individuals live in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, an increase from 2014 when there were 47.

To qualify for the home deliveries, seniors can’t be physically able to shop or cook for themselves. For that reason, the organization has also become a lifeline for isolated individuals.

More than 60 percent of Citymeals recipients are over 80 years old; 23 percent are over 90; more than 200 have lived at least a century. All recipients are chronically disabled by conditions such as vision loss, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Nearly all need assistance walking. It is estimated that 66 percent use a cane, 39 percent use a walker and 16 percent use a wheelchair.

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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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Elderly woman knocked down for her bag near Union Square

Robbery suspect

Robbery suspect

Cops are looking for a female mugger who knocked down a 90-year-old woman in a failed attempt to snatch her bag.

Police said on Tuesday at around noon at 5th Avenue and West 12th Street, the suspect approached the elderly victim from behind and tried to grab her duffle bag from the front of her utility cart. When the victim tried to stop her, the other woman knocked her down to the ground and continued to pull at the bag. The victim was able to hold onto it though and the robber gave up, fleeing eastbound on East 12th Street. The victim suffered lacerations to her right arm and right middle finger. She was treated at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and has since been released.

The suspect is described as white or Hispanic, with a tattoo on her left arm. She was last seen wearing a black tank top, red pants, black shoes and she carried a black purse.

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 to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Letters to the Editor, Dec. 10

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Aiding ISIS, from Turkey

Obama is playing about as dangerous a game in the Middle East as George W. Bush ever did and the blowback could be fierce.
ISIS can’t survive without the help of the U.S. and our Middle East allies, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia who are intent on fomenting anti-Shiite chaos throughout the region.

Most ISIS money comes from oil they sell on the sly to middle men in Turkey. If Turkey closed its border to ISIS oil tanker trucks, ISIS money would dry up in months. The Turkish/Syrian border is also a big crossing point for Syrian rebels (including terrorists and radical Islamists).
Next, virtually all of ISIS’s weapons come across the Turkish border, or are taken from the so-called “moderate” anti-Assad militias in Syria that the CIA, Qatar and Saudi Arabia supply.

Or are US weapons captured in Iraq.

Removing Assad while preserving the state and its institutions is a pipe dream. Nevertheless, at the behest of our Middle East allies, the U.S. has been pursuing regime change in Syria instead of ISIS. That left Assad to invite the Russians in to help him fight ISIS.

Last week Russian warplanes began bombing ISIS oil tanker trucks in Syria. Turkey shot down one of those Russian warplanes inside Syrian airspace, claiming that the warplane had violated its airspace. US officials said the Russian incursion was hardly measurable.

Obama should have smacked down Turkey for its near act of war. He didn’t. Instead the tail will continue to wag the dog and instead of just stepping quietly aside, Washington will continue to oppose the forces — Assad, Putin and Iran — that can put an end to ISIS militarily.

J. Sicoransa, ST

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Residents not enrolling for SCRIE/DRIE benefits

State Senator Brad Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Local elected officials have started holding workshops to enroll residents in Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) programs since a report came out earlier this year noting that less than half of eligible tenants are receiving the benefits they are entitled to.

State Senator Brad Hoylman, along with State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, most recently hosted an event at 535 East Fifth Street on October 23 to encourage eligible seniors and disabled residents to sign up for the program that would freeze their rent, and the workshop was attended by about 30 tenants.

SCRIE and DRIE, collectively known as the New York City Rent Freeze Program, is available to seniors over age 62 and tenants with disabilities. Eligible tenants receive rent increase exemptions through a property tax credit and the income threshold increased to $50,000, from the previous limit of $29,000, earlier this year.

Attorneys from Legal Aid and legal firm Skadden Arps were available at the workshop to help residents complete their paperwork but Senator Hoylman noted that filing for the benefits doesn’t necessarily require a fine-tuned legal mind.

“A big part of it is education,” he said. “A number of people who are eligible just don’t know that it’s available, and because it’s pegged to income, you have to re-enroll every year.”

Senator Hoylman cited the low enrollment specifically in Stuyvesant Town as one of the motivating factors for holding the workshops. The report from the Department of Finance found that Stuy Town was one of the most underenrolled neighborhoods in the city, with only 1,317 out of 5,144 eligible residents enrolled in the program, meaning that only 25 percent of eligible seniors and tenants with disabilities are receiving benefits.

Liliana Vaamonde, Director of Training for the Civil Practice with Legal Aid, also noted that education is an important component for enrolling residents in the program, mainly because of the recent changes in the income limit.

“There was a big change that happened last year with the income level so a whole new, large group of people are now eligible,” she said. “The city has been making an effort to do outreach at senior centers and elsewhere so it’s going to take time to inform everyone about the increase.”

Vaamonde added that there are a few misconceptions about the program that residents have at the workshops as well, relating to eligibility and the income level. She clarified that some tenants are confused about why they are not eligible even though their own income is below the $50,000 threshold.

“It’s about the household and not their individual income, so even if a primary tenant has an income below $50,000, other members of the household might bump it up too high,” she said.

She also clarified that the program is only available to tenants who live in rent-regulated housing and they often get questions about eligibility from residents in public housing or privately owned buildings who do meet the income requirements.

“This is all contingent on the fact that they have rent stabilized housing,” Vaamonde said.

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, has been doing her part to increase education about the program, with legislation that requires landlords to notify tenants about programs that would freeze their rents. Assemblymember Rosenthal announced this past Monday that the bill had been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Sirovich Center’s walls brought to life with nature murals

Section of panels from “Refracted Nature in Clay”

Panel from “Refracted Nature in Clay”

By Sabina Mollot

The Sirovich Center, a senior center on East 12th Street known for its popular ceramics classes, recently got a makeover, courtesy of its own members.

On June 19, the building’s spacious auditorium was outfitted with a dozen elaborately arranged mosaic panels, some of them reliefs, along the mezzanine level’s arched windows. The works of art, made with ceramics, glass, mirror and tile, were created over the past three years by senior artists as part of a program called SPARC (Seniors Partnering With Artists Citywide). After having been installed, they’re expected to remain in place permanently.

The large scale works were put on display by the center’s custodial staff, who’d rented scaffoldings in order to get the panels into the arches located on the building’s second level.

Artist Olivia Beens, who organized the project, titled “Refracted Nature in Clay,” for the last two years, said it completely transformed the look of the auditorium.

“It was a very bland kind of auditorium,” she said. But, she added, “The murals are going to be there forever as long as the building’s standing.”

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