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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Homebound seniors get special delivery

Chef Jason Hall (left) and One Five Hospitality special events director Ashley Bradford (right) with Citymeals-on-Wheels recipient and Stuy Town resident Shashi (Photo courtesy of Citymeals)

Chef Jason Hall (left) and One Five Hospitality special events director Ashley Bradford (right) with Citymeals-on-Wheels recipient and Stuy Town resident Shashi (Photo courtesy of Citymeals)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Chefs from Union Square restaurant The Fourth treated homebound seniors to personally cooked meals from the restaurant last week. The meals were delivered as part of the Chefs Deliver for Citymeals program, in which highly-regarded chefs from various New York restaurants offer up their culinary talents and deliver the meals to elderly residents who are unable to cook or shop for themselves.

The most recent delivery from Citymeals on Tuesday, April 7 was made by chefs Marco Moreira and Jason Hall of The Fourth. Hall personally delivered some of the 200 meals to Stuy Town residents with Ashley Bradford, special events director at One Five Hospitality, which includes The Fourth. On the menu was dinners of Moroccan-spiced braised chicken with peas, carrots and Israeli couscous and the remainder of meals were delivered to residents in the Lower East Side.

Citymeals board of director’s co-president and chef Daniel Boulud and Citymeals board member chef Charlie Palmer launched Chefs Deliver in January, 2014. Citymeals-on-Wheels executive director Beth Shapiro said that Citymeals started the program in response to Hurricane Sandy and it has been available about three times in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village since its inception.

The most recent delivery from Citymeals on Tuesday, April 7 was made by chefs Marco Moreira and Jason Hall of The Fourth. Hall personally delivered some of the 200 meals to Stuy Town residents with Ashley Bradford, special events director at One Five Hospitality, which includes The Fourth. On the menu was dinners of Moroccan-spiced braised chicken with peas, carrots and Israeli couscous and the remainder of meals were delivered to residents in the Lower East Side.

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Stein Center offering program for seniors impacted by Sandy

Flooding at 14th Street and Avenue C. (Photographer unknown.)

Cars partially submerged in floodwater during Hurricane Sandy at 14th Street and Avenue C. (Photographer unknown.)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

For many people living and working in Manhattan, the direct effects of Hurricane Sandy ended when the electricity came back and subway service was restored. But like local businesses and institutions that undertook the painstaking work of rebuilding, still an ongoing process almost two and a half years later, residents who live in areas that flooded are also still recovering. A new program from the Department for the Aging available at the Stein Senior Center on East 23rd Street is trying to help ease the emotional effects of the disaster, specifically catering to seniors.

The $1.7 million in funding for SMART-MH (Sandy Mobilization, Assessment, Referral and Treatment for Mental Health) was awarded from FEMA to the Aging in New York Fund by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office through the Superstorm Sandy Social Services Block Grant in 2013.

The Department for the Aging and the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College are working together to execute the program, which started at the Stein Center in February and is exclusively available for New Yorkers age 60 and older. Stein Center Executive Director Jane Barry said that the free program will be available as long as there are seniors who meet the criteria, and noted that a number of people have been helped already.

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CB6 urges expansion of SCRIE to some unregulated tenants

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program is currently only available to residents who live in rent regulated housing, but a resolution in the City Council is urging the State Legislature to change that.

The council wrote a resolution in September that encourages the legislature to pass, and the governor to sign, a bill that would allow residents living in non-stabilized buildings where landlords have agreed to abide by Rent Guidelines Board increases to be eligible for the program.

The Community Board 6 housing committee met last Monday to discuss the Council’s resolution and write one of their own in support of such legislation. According to a representative for Councilmember Margaret Chin, who sponsored the resolution, there is currently no proposed legislation in Albany to make the change to the SCRIE program but both CB6 and the City Council are hoping to put pressure on the legislature to do so.

A representative for Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, who has supported expanding the SCRIE program in previous legislation, said that he has been working on expanding the program, but no specifics on the legislation was available.

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Seniors attend East Midtown Plaza forum on emergency preparedness

Seniors in attendance at the event held on Tuesday by the Office of Emergency Management and CERT volunteers (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Seniors in attendance at the event held on Tuesday by the Office of Emergency Management and CERT volunteers
(Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

With the worst of hurricane season yet to come, since activity in the Atlantic picks up the most from August through October, the Office of Emergency Management offered a presentation for the East Midtown Plaza senior committee last Tuesday evening.

John Greenwood, a Human Services Planning Specialist for the OEM, and members of Community Board 6’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) explained the importance of emergency preparedness for seniors, including evacuation protocol in the event of a disaster and the new hurricane zones, at the monthly meeting. Greenwood noted that the hurricane guide changed after Hurricane Sandy and that instead of three lettered zones, there are now six numbered zones.

Committee co-chair Jeanne Poindexter added that the buildings East Midtown Plaza are in three different evacuation zones and that any of the buildings located on First Avenue are highly susceptible to flooding.

Jeanne Poindexter, East Midtown Plaza senior committee co-chair

Jeanne Poindexter, East Midtown Plaza senior committee co-chair

The new hurricane maps, which were made available at the meeting, are also available online or zones can be found out by calling 311 and Greenwood said that although they’re not the most pleasant place, it’s important for residents to know where the evacuation centers are as well, which are also noted on the maps.

“They’re just a giant room with cots and the food isn’t the greatest, but it’s good to know where they are in case you have to go,” he said.

He added that pets are allowed in all of the evacuation centers and Baruch College is the closest handicap accessible facility that functions as an evacuation center. There are 10 facilities throughout the city that are handicap accessible and meet all the ADA requirements but Greenwood said they haven’t been noted on the map yet. Greenwood noted that one of the reasons for the changes in zones is money.

“The mayor is the only one who can make the call for evacuations but it’s a multimillion dollar decision,” he said. “With the changes in the zones, there are now less people per zone so it won’t encompass as many residents if evacuations have to take place.”

Jeanne Poindexter, East Midtown Plaza senior committee co-chair

Jeanne Poindexter, East Midtown Plaza senior committee co-chair

Greenwood also told the seniors at the meeting that it’s important to have an emergency plan and to fill out the “Ready New York” packets that detail important information for residents to have at hand in case of an emergency, like contact phone numbers and any medical conditions. “That’s beneficial for you because if you show up at an evacuation center with this guide, they’ll have all the information already and can give you the best care if you need help,” he said.

Virginia Rosario, a member of the CB6 CERT and a resident of Stuyvesant Town, explained what her responsibilities are as a member of the team and how she is prepared to help other residents if disaster strikes. “We’ve been trained by the OEM and we’re only deployed when the office gives permission,” Rosario said. “We weren’t deployed during Hurricane Sandy because most of CB6 was down but some volunteers can help with things like bringing water to residents.”