Stuy Town native writes book after surviving cancer

Alexa Cucchiara (Photo by Brian Edsall)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuy Town native Alexa Cucchiara is excited to be graduating from college next spring, but she has more reason to celebrate than most: she is doing so after surviving cancer and writing a book.

Cucchiara was a sophomore at Marist College in Poughkeepsie about two years ago when she started not feeling well and got a swollen lymph node about the size of a golf ball around her collarbone. She went to the doctor to get it checked but it wasn’t until September 2017 when she was about to start her junior year that a doctor confirmed that she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and would need chemotherapy.

“I turned 20 and then six days later I started chemo,” she said. “I would always joke around and would say, no, this is preparing me for adulthood. I would try to embrace it and have fun with it, even when I lost my hair and everything.”

Now studying at Fordham University in the Bronx to be closer to her family and network of friends who supported her while she was sick, Cucchiara at first couldn’t believe she had cancer and even when her doctor recommended surgery and chemotherapy for treatment, resisted the idea that she would have to leave school to recover.

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Town & Village holiday gift guide

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The holiday season is well underway and while more and more people do their gift shopping online lately, Town & Village has compiled a guide for local residents who want to support local businesses when picking up what they need for family members and friends.

For the kiddos

Pillows at Ibiza Kidz (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Kids of all ages can find something to cure their boredom at Ibiza Kidz at 340 First Avenue in Stuyvesant Town. Owner and Stuy Town resident Carole Husiak said that some of her most popular items for kids and even adults are the squishable pillows depicting cutesy anthropomorphic food characters. Available characters include a dog/hot dog, pizza, ice cream and others, but Husiak said that the stuffed avocado is the most popular.

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Christmas trees lighting up throughout the neighborhood

Stuyvesant Town celebrated their tree lighting on the Oval last Wednesday night. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Christmas season is in full swing throughout the neighborhood this month, with a number of areas celebrating the holiday with Christmas tree lightings, including Stuyvesant Town’s tree on the Oval and Madison Square Park, which holds the title of oldest tree lighting in the country.

StuyTown Property Services general manager Rick Hayduk lead the annual reading of “Twas The Night Before a StuyTown Christmas” at the tree lighting on the Oval last Wednesday night, with a local twist on the Christmas classic, and Lucy & the Goossettes performed Christmas favorites throughout the evening while hot chocolate was served to the hundreds of residents who attended.

Santa Claus made an appearance at the lighting before the main event, when residents flipped the switch for the occasion.

Councilmember Carlina Rivera was on hand in Madison Square Park the following night last Thursday to help kick off the holidays for NoMad. The park has been celebrating the tree lighting for more than 100 years.

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Letters to the editor, Dec. 12

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Charged for new door

Recently I had to call 911 for a medical emergency. NYPD also came with them and proceeded to breakdown down my door, even after my telling them I could answer the door. Stuyvesant Town then made me pay $1,700 for the new door. That was my tuition money for Baruch College for a year. I am trying to finish my degree, even though I am elderly and disabled now. I couldn’t believe I had to pay for the door. Technically I didn’t break it. And you know Stuyvesant Town charges you for any damage you cause in the apartment. I did not cause this damage. I should have never been charged for this. Can anybody help?

Name withheld

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Woman arrested for stealing Stuy Town resident’s phone

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

Police arrested 33-year-old Anne Delacruz for allegedly stealing a man’s phone in Stuyvesant Town at the end of September. 

Police said that Delacruz was involved in a fight in front of 605 East 14th Street on September 22 at 11:32 p.m. when a Stuyvesant Town resident in his 30s attempted to break up the fight and separate Delacruz and the person that she was fighting with. The victim said that in the process of trying to break the fight up, he was assaulted and Delacruz allegedly stole his cell phone. 

The victim told police that Delacruz punched him in the face, neck and back, causing bruising, redness, scratches and substantial pain, then she allegedly grabbed his phone from his hand. 

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Police Watch: Pair arrested for trespassing in Stuy Town, Teen arrested for 14th St. robbery

PAIR ARRESTED FOR TRESPASSING IN STUY TOWN
Police arrested 19-year-old Jose Lopez for alleged criminal trespass inside 453 East 14th Street on Monday, September 30 at 10:43 a.m. The victim told police that Lopez and a teenage girl entered the building by following a resident who opened the door at the location. A tenant called public safety about people in the stairwell and a public safety officer reportedly approached Lopez and the girl on the 12th floor around 9 a.m. that morning.

Police said that the pair then fled down the stairs to the 9th floor, where the officer was able to stop them. The girl allegedly said that she was at the building visiting a friend, but did not have the last name of the friend and did not know the address of the building she was in or the apartment number of the alleged friend. Signs posted along the walls of the location before entering states no trespassing.

TEEN BUSTED FOR EAST 14TH ST. ROBBERY
Police arrested a teenager inside the 13th precinct on Friday, September 27 at 12:15 p.m. for a previous robbery.

Police said that the incident occurred in front of 349 East 14th Street on July 14 at 8:40 p.m. The teen reportedly reached into the victim’s pocket from behind and the victim then struggled with the teen when he realized that his wallet had been stolen. Police said the victim was in his 60s.

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Teen arrested for Stuy Town robbery charged with previous murder

Suspect David Young

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have arrested 17-year-old David Young in connection with the robbery of a Stuyvesant Town senior on September 16 around 7:40 p.m. in front of her apartment at 430 East 20th Street and have also charged him with a homicide that occurred in the Lower East Side this summer.

Young was charged with robbery inside the 13th precinct on Tuesday, September 24 at 3:30 p.m. and following his arrest, was charged in connection with the homicide, which police said occurred at the Lillian Wald Houses at 20 Avenue D on July 13.

The robbery in Stuyvesant Town occurred in front of 430 East 20th Street on the M level adjacent to Playground 1. Police said that Young and a teenage girl were outside the building when the victim was walking towards the door attempting to get inside. Young reportedly told her that his phone was dead and wanted the victim to help them get inside, and when she said that they needed to call security, one of the teens allegedly said that she wouldn’t help them because they were black.

The victim then turned to walk away from the building and the teens allegedly grabbed her from behind, knocking her to the ground before grabbing her purse and fleeing the scene. The teenage girl, a resident of Good Shepherd Services on East 17th Street, was arrested the following day. Young was caught last Tuesday.

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Associated closing in Stuyvesant Town

Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town on East 14th Street will likely be closing by the end of this year, StuyTown general manager Rick Hayduk announced in an email to residents last Friday afternoon.

Hayduk noted in the message that management has been working with the store in an attempt to keep the market open through the holiday season, including by offering free rent, but the store reportedly still would not be able to guarantee that it could stay open through the end of the year.

The owners told management that the competitive environment for supermarkets, both locally and due to online ordering, led them to the decision to close.

Norman Quintanilla, who has been the manager at the store for the last 16 years, told Town & Village on Tuesday that they have notified employees that the last day would be December 10, but the store will likely end up closing by the end of November.

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UPDATE: Teen arrested for robbery in Stuyvesant Town

Suspect David Young

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 17-year-old girl was arrested for assaulting a senior while she was trying to get into her building in Stuyvesant Town on Monday evening. 

Police said that the victim, who is older than 65, was walking up to the building at 430 East 20th Street around 7:40 p.m. on September 16 when she spotted the teens, a boy and a girl, standing outside the door. As she approached the building, she said that one of the teens told her that his phone was dead and wanted her to let them inside the building. 

The victim said that she told them they needed to call security if they wanted help getting inside and one of the teens allegedly responded, “You’re not opening the door because we’re black.”

The victim said that she then turned around to walk away from the building when the teens grabbed her from behind and knocked her to the ground before grabbing her purse and fleeing the scene by heading west. 

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Teens wanted for robbery in Stuyvesant Town

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

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are looking for two teenagers who reportedly robbed a woman while she was trying to get into her building in Stuyvesant Town yesterday evening. 

The victim told police that she was walking up to the building at 430 East 20th Street around 7:40 p.m. on Monday, September 16 when she spotted the teens, a boy and a girl, standing outside the door. As she approached the building, she said that one of the teens told her that his phone was dead and wanted her to let them inside the building. 

The victim said that she told them they needed to call security if they wanted help getting inside and one of the teens allegedly responded, “You’re not opening the door because we’re black.”

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Flea market founder dies at age 86

Dolores Dolan

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Longtime Stuyvesant Town resident Dolores Dolan passed away at age 86 on Sunday, September 1.

A former news clerk at the New York Times as well as a model, Dolan was the Stuyvesant Town resident who originally pitched the idea of a flea market to management about 45 years ago, and also encouraged current management to bring the market back.

Town & Village spoke with Dolan when the flea market initially returned to Stuy Town. She was excited about the prospect and said that she was considering setting up a table herself.

“Maybe it’s time for me to get rid of some of my stuff,” she said when management announced the market would make a comeback in 2016. “That’s the idea and hopefully other people have an interest, but it’s also a social thing, particularly when the weather’s nice.”

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Landlords warn warehousing could be the new normal

Stuyvesant Town

By Sabina Mollot

Landlords are warning warehousing apartments could become the new normal.

The news comes as the city confirmed it is investigating reports that Stuyvesant Town landlord Blackstone is warehousing apartments at its 11,000-unit East Side complex.

A spokesperson for the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development, which oversees affording housing developments in the city, said it is “now looking into the matter.”

Blackstone insists it is still evaluating its options at Stuy Town, a sprawling complex it bought with Ivanhoe Cambridge for $5.3 billion in 2015. As part of the deal, the city provided $220 million in tax incentives in exchange for a commitment to keep 5,000 apartments in a “reduced rent program.”

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New photos of Stuy Town attempted rape suspect

Attempted rape suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have released new images from surveillance video depicting the man wanted for an attempted rape at the beginning of this summer. The NYPD previously re-released images and information earlier this summer about the incident that took place on Saturday, June 29 at 5:10 a.m. in front of a building on Stuyvesant Oval but no arrests have been made in the case.

The attempted sexual assault occurred when the 20-year-old victim was walking near the M level exterior door on Stuyvesant Oval. Police said that the suspect approached her from behind, grabbing her neck, and although she resisted, she was knocked unconscious. When she fell to the ground, the suspect reportedly attempted to sexually assault her but another resident who was nearby came to her aid and called 911.

The man reportedly fled the scene on foot and was last seen running west on East 17th Street towards Second Avenue. Shortly before the incident, the suspect was spotted on surveillance video walking north on First Avenue and turning right onto East 16th Street. Police said that at the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a blue shirt and black jeans.

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Stuyvesant Town resident challenging Maloney

Stuy Town resident Peter Harrison (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town resident Peter Harrison is the latest candidate to challenge Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her seat in the 12th District, with a campaign centered on the housing crisis.

“I’m a housing person, both as an activist and as a policy person,” he said. “And there’s a moment right now in this district to talk about housing as this lens for other major, major issues. The narrative of the campaign really is centered on housing as this focal point for talking about economic justice, climate justice and racial justice.”

Harrison moved in Stuy Town as a market-rate tenant in 2009 with some friends and less than a year later, they received a letter saying that they were members of the Roberts class-action lawsuit. That prompted him to get involved with the STPCV Tenants Association.

“There was an amazing opportunity to learn how to organize tenants because it was a ton of effort, and a huge capacity left for the TA,” he said. “So I really got thrown in, became a building captain and was knocking on hundreds and hundreds of doors, learning a lot about it.”

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Longtime Stuyvesant Town resident dies at 97

Beatrice Nava

Beatrice Nava, a long-time Stuyvesant Town resident, passed away peacefully on Monday, July 29, at age 97 in her apartment. She is lovingly remembered and already missed by those and her grandchildren, extended family, neighbors, friends and even her doctors.

Born in Philadelphia, she lived in that area and taught for many years before relocating to Mexico for several years with an extended stay in Nicaragua, before returning to the US and settling in New York City in 1984.

She got her B.A. and M.A. from Bryn Mawr (in 1943 and 1964, respectively). She prided herself on her social awareness and activism, and was even arrested in Washington Square Park for protesting police brutality. On another occasion, she was protesting the Vietnam War in Washington, DC, and happened to run into her son, Ed.

She was an avid reader, never missing a day of the New York Times and other important publications like the New Yorker. She contributed her story to the book, Written Out of History: Memoirs of Ordinary Activists. She enjoyed the company of a wide range of friends, both in person and via computer, as she mastered the digital age of email.

She is survived by her four children (Ed, Joan, Jim, and Maggie) and her cat (Esperanza).