Update: Bronx Zoo rep thinks lizard’s fake

The Department of Conservation said this lizard won’t be able to survive long in the cold. (Photo by Valerie Nilsson)

Update: We showed the photo of the lizard to a source at The Bronx Zoo who believes it is a fake due to the way it’s positioned.

By Sabina Mollot

Earlier in the week, Valerie Nilsson, a woman walking through Stuyvesant Oval spotted what appeared to be some kind of lizard in a patch of grass. However, the three-foot-long creature appeared to be so still she wondered if it was a toy or prop someone had put there as a prank. Later noticing it was gone, she posted a photo she took of the lizard on the local Facebook group Stuyvesant Moms to ask if anyone else had seen it.

So far, no one had and Stuyvesant Town management has said no one has reported it as a missing pet.

Town & Village sent the photo to the New York State Department of Conservation, where a spokesperson said based on the photo it appeared to be a Monitor Lizard in the Varanidae family of lizards.

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Women accused of stealing laptops, shoes from unconscious man in Kips Bay apartment

Facebook photo of Maxine Hansen

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A woman who was arrested last year in the Gramercy Park Hotel for broadcasting a raucous party over Facebook live is in trouble again after she was charged with stealing from a man in an apartment on East 28th Street after he was allegedly drugged.

Maxine Hansen, 26, along with 33-year-old Sonja Monness and 31-year-old Morgan Romano, allegedly stole a number of items from the man while the four were inside the apartment of the victim’s sister on November 17.

According to the district attorney’s office, Hansen allegedly handed the victim a drink, after which he lost consciousness. Police said that when he woke up, he noticed that an iPhone, three MacBooks, a Microsoft laptop, three credit cards, three Louis Vuitton bags and two pairs of shoes valued at $22,500 had been taken from the apartment without permission.

Hansen appeared in tabloids multiple times last November and December after her arrest related to the Facebook live video, which showed multiple BB guns in the Gramercy Park Hotel room. Police said they found heroin, methamphetamines and other drugs at the party, along with six BB guns, and three other people were arrested.

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Are Stuy Town’s squirrels getting more aggressive?

July14 Squirrel cropped

Is this the face of a food snatcher/child biter? (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Residents weigh in after complaints of kids bitten

By Sabina Mollot

Anyone who lives in Stuyvesant Town or Peter Cooper Village — or even anyone who has ever strolled through the grounds once — is well aware of one thing. The property is overrun by a population of the world’s best fed squirrels. Despite the various landlords’ feelings on the matter, many residents have, for decades enjoyed feeding the squirrels, and they in turn have been known to get up close and personal with anyone that might be willing to do so.

Earlier this summer, when a child was bitten by a squirrel in Stuy Town, the complex’s general manager, Rick Hayduk reminded residents in a May newsletter that squirrel feeding is discouraged.

But earlier this month, a Stuyvesant Town mom took to a community Facebook page to warn neighbors that she’d heard of two additional incidents of children getting bitten, and that the local squirrel population appeared to be getting even more aggressive.

The resident, Carolyn Hurley, later told Town & Village, “It’s seriously becoming a problem.”

Partially, she said it has to do with people hand feeding the squirrels nuts and other treats. “So they’re not afraid of people. And the crazy squirrel people say they don’t know the difference between a finger and a peanut. If they don’t know the difference between a finger and a peanut, why would you feed them a peanut from your finger? There’s a difference between throwing them a handful of food and getting them to touch your hand.”

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ST-PCV TA asking neighbors to tweet for stronger rent laws

A tenant holds up a note in a photo posted on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s Twitter feed this week.

A tenant holds up a note in a photo posted on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s Twitter feed this week.

By Sabina Mollot

With the rent law negotiations in Albany just a couple of weeks away, The ST-PCV Tenants Association is asking neighbors to make their feelings on the matter known through social media.

The “Tell Your Story” campaign encourages Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village tenants to share their personal experiences dealing with rent increases, including major capital improvements (MCIs). Prior to the June 15 decision on whether the rent regulation laws will be strengthened or renewed as is or just allowed to expire (the latter of which is not expected), tenants’ tweets with the hashtag #tellyourstory will be compiled and sent to Governor Cuomo.

“We want our legislators to understand that real people are affected by rent regulation,” said Susan Steinberg, chair of the TA. “It’s not just units, it’s about people’s lives.”

She added, “It’s only 140 characters. How hard can it be?”

In addition, the campaign is aimed at drawing awareness to MCIs and their impact on tenants. “Many new tenants don’t understand MCIs and their implications,” Steinberg said. “Tenants need to know that MCIs can amount to thousands of dollars a year in charges. And the best way to do that is by communicating personal experiences.”

A photo posted on the Tenants Association’s Twitter feed

A photo posted on the Tenants Association’s Twitter feed

To keep things interesting, tenants aren’t being asked to type their stories onto a keyboard but instead write on paper and take a photo of the note. So far it’s been the TA doing the posting of neighbors’ notes but Tenants Association President John Marsh is hoping neighbors will soon chime in on their own feeds. It’s the first social media campaign for the Tenants Association and since many Stuy Town lifers don’t tweet, TA volunteers are now finding themselves in the position of first having to educate newer neighbors about what the rent laws mean and the changes tenants are hoping for. Those changes include vacancy decontrol, MCI reform and an end to preferential rents.

“Everyone in this community is impacted by these Albany decisions and MCIs,” Marsh said. “This campaign provides an outlet for tenants to make their voice known.”

Of the notes to be put on Twitter so far, one shared by the TA (@ST_PCV_Tenants) read, “I’ve lived here 65 years I don’t wanna go.” Another read, “Uncontrolled landlords are pricing even middle incomes out of Manhattan.” Another read, “I’ve been living here six months. Rent laws should be extended for everyone.”

The Tenants Association also previously asked tenants at a meeting last month to write postcards or letters to Albany legislators, in particular to Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and local Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh. The Association is also organizing a bus trip to Albany on June 9. Anyone interested in going should RSVP by June 4 online at stpcvta.org or by calling (917) 338-7860.