Babysitter accused of stealing jewelry from victims in Stuy Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a woman last week who had been hired by Stuyvesant Town residents as a babysitter for allegedly stealing jewelry from their apartments.

ST buildings

Stuyvesant Town

Police said that 29-year-old Simone Spencer had been hired by two different families in Stuyvesant Town and the victims noticed that items, including thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry, had gone missing from the apartment during the period that she worked for them.

One of the victims told police that Spencer started working for her family as a babysitter last March. She said that she was certain specific pieces of jewelry were still in her apartment in August, but she noticed on January 14 of this year that a number of items had gone missing, including a Louis Vuitton wallet, a Cartier watch worth $5,240 and an 18-karat gold and diamond ring valued at $6,500, as well as a Tiffany & Co. gift card. She told police that the only people that had access to her apartment during this period were her husband, her two small children and Spencer.

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Man who jumped from Stuy Town roof has died

East 14th Street

East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot

By Sabina Mollot

A resident who jumped from the roof of his building last Monday evening has died from his injuries. Police said Doan Hoffman, 47, initially survived the impact and was taken to Beth Israel in critical condition. However, he couldn’t be saved. Hoffman resided at 625 East 14th Street, between Avenues B and C, on the eighth floor.

Rick Hayduk, general manager of Stuyvesant Town, said, “This is a tragic event; our thoughts continue to be with his family and friends.”

Man and woman violently mugged near Stuy Town

Suspects wanted for additional incidents

The police are seeking three people they believe are behind three robberies, including one across from Stuyvesant Town.

In that incident, on Sunday, January 21 at about 1 a.m., three people, two male and one female, approached a man and a woman as they sat on a park bench on East 20th Street in Stuyvesant Cove Park. The suspect then threw the female victim, 28, to the ground by her hair and punched the male victim, 22. Together the muggers got a credit card and cash from the woman and a Samsung cell phone from the man.

Female victims were also targeted in the other known incidents.

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Stuyvesant Town Mount Sinai Practice now open

(Pictured) David Leeds, aide to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; Margaret Pastuszko, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Integration Officer, Mount Sinai Health System; Kelly Cassano, Chief of Ambulatory Care, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Jeremy Boal, MD, President, Mount Sinai Downtown and Chief Medical Officer, Mount Sinai Health System; State Senator Brad Hoylman; Council Member Keith Powers; Susan Steinberg, President of the Stuyvesant Town / Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association; Claude Winfield, Vice-Chair, Local Community Advisory Board, Chair, Mount Sinai Beth Israel Community Advisory Council; Rick Hayduk, CEO, General Manager, StuyTown Property Services; Abigail Chen, Senior Medical Director, Mount Sinai Doctors Downtown Faculty Practice; Elvis DeLeon, Vice President, Ambulatory Operations, Mount Sinai Doctors Downtown (Photo courtesy of The Mount Sinai Health System)

Mount Sinai Doctors Stuyvesant Town, a new multi-specialty practice at 518 East 20th Street, was officially opened last Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Featuring state-of-the-art exam rooms and imaging services, the practice will offer extended weekday and weekend hours for both walk-in and scheduled appointments.

“Serving the downtown community is our top priority and our vast ambulatory network, one of the largest in lower Manhattan, makes this possible,” said Jeremy Boal, MD, the president of the MountSinai Downtown Network, who is also a resident of Peter Cooper Village.

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First Ave. spa employee accused of molesting woman

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 54-year-old man after he allegedly groped and tried to kiss a woman during a massage the Angel Hands Salon at 277 First Avenue.

The 29-year-old victim said she was assaulted by the masseur in the salon across from Stuyvesant Town. The New York Post first reported that Xiagliu Zang was arrested for the incident on Saturday. He was charged with forcible touching and sex abuse.

The victim told police that while Zang was performing the massage, he allegedly began to touch her breast forcibly while massaging them, and police said that he also put his mouth on her and forcibly began to suck on her breast. Zang also allegedly kissed her on the lips while allegedly putting his hand in the victim’s underwear between her legs without her consent.

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Tree-cycling action in Stuyvesant Town

MulchFest in Stuy Town

MulchFest, the Parks Department’s annual event aimed at getting New Yorkers to “tree-cycle,” took place on Saturday and Sunday at various locations in the city.

As usual, there was a chipper stationed on Stuyvesant Town’s 20th Street Loop Road, where discarded Christmas trees got mulched one by one. The mulch made from the trees gets used in future city plantings, or if participants, like, they can take some home to use to make potpourri. Mulch helps spur tree growth by keeping roots warm and moist. The wood chips also add nutrients to the soil and helps prevent weeds.

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National Christmas Bird Count

THESE BERRIES WERE FOR THE BIRDS.—On Saturday, Stuyvesant Town resident Barbara Bienenfeld spied this robin in a snow-covered bush with berries as she walked into the 14th Street Loop at Avenue A. The photo was taken on Saturday, the day before the National Christmas Bird Count.

On Sunday morning, a local group of birders participated in the national Christmas Bird Count, beginning at Stuyvesant Cove and then moving onto Stuyvesant Town.

Local team members were Pearl Broder, Wendy Byrne, Louise Fraza and Anne Lazarus, who passed along the list of bird species that were spotted, including Sharp-Shinned and Cooper’s Hawks attempting to hunt. “Lots of drama out there,” reported Lazarus, who compiled this list.

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Fire destroys Stuy Town apartment

Fire at 287 Avenue C (Photo by Sugi Tabero)

By Sabina Mollot

A fire ripped through an apartment in Stuyvesant Town on Thursday afternoon, destroying it, although fortunately no one was hurt. Additionally, public safety officers were able to rescue the affected family’s Boston terrier.

A spokesperson for the FDNY said the fire at 287 Avenue C was caused by a candle in the fourth-floor apartment. After getting the call about the fire at 12:45 p.m., firefighters were at the scene in under four minutes and got the fire under control in about 35 minutes.

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Soapbox: Stuyvesant Cove Park going strong thanks to support from neighbors

Children planting flowers at the park

By Liza Mindemann, park manager at Stuyvesant Cove Park

Saturday, November 18 was the last community volunteer Day of 2017 at Stuyvesant Cove Park, and there couldn’t have been any better way to celebrate. A first in many years, the event was a partnership between Stuyvesant Town and Solar One — the rekindling of the collaboration between neighbors that will grow into next season. New York Cares, a strong partner of the park for quite some time, also joined for a healthy turnout of almost fifty people of all ages.

As part of Stuyvesant Town’s Good Neighbors Program, residents and employees joined the event to volunteer, and the group included several kids.

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Residents concerned over recent squirrel deaths in Stuy Town

Deceased squirrel found in Stuy Town on Tuesday (Photo by Marilyn Pascarelli)

By Sabina Mollot

Several reported sightings over the past couple of weeks of dead and dying squirrels in Stuyvesant Town have had residents wondering what’s going on — since they clearly weren’t devoured by hawks.

One resident, Noam Freedman, said he saw a dying one near Playground 7, with his wife spotting another one behind 7 Oval. The one he saw was lying on the ground, its legs twitching.

“I’ve been here for 50 years and I’ve never seen a single dead squirrel,” said Freedman. “To see two in two days seemed strange.”

On November 15, Freedman noted the incidents on the Tenants Association’s Facebook page. This was followed by a few more residents commenting that they’d seen dead squirrels in different areas in the complex recently.

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The legacy of Jews in U.S. Armed Forces

By Jerry Alperstein

In 2006 shortly after Representative John Boehner became Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, he met with leaders from the major veterans service organizations. When a leader of the Jewish War Veterans introduced himself, Boehner said that he did not know there was a Jewish War Veterans. Most of the other veterans leaders – as though on cue – said in unison, quote, It’s the oldest veterans organization; unquote.

Boehner’s lack of knowledge of the Jewish War Veterans and of Jews in this country’s armed services was not unexpected. While the participation and importance of Jews in our country’s armed services are well-known and recognized within the veteran community, it is largely unknown and unrecognized within this country’s population at large; including within its Jewish community.

The truth is that Jews have been a part of this land’s military history since 1654, the year after they first arrived in our corner of the New World. When in the New Amsterdam colony, the Jews were charged an additional tax because they were barred from serving in the local militia, four Jews led by Asser Levy successfully appealed to the owner of the colony, the Dutch East India Company. They were allowed to serve, and Jews have been serving and giving their lives to our country ever since.

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Opinion: Moving onto the next local election

Nov16 Marie Ternes

Marie Ternes

By Marie Ternes

Suffering a spat of election fatigue? The signs. The phone calls. The mailers. Oh, those mailers. Or maybe you are still in a state of post-Trump election agitation and are extra energized to do everything you can to protect New York? Regardless of your passion or disinterest in local politics, I have news for you: there is another election headed our way and I hope you will embrace it, engage in it and ultimately vote in it.

This past November 7, our Assembly Member, Brian Kavanagh was elected to the State Senate to fill a vacancy created by former Senator Daniel Squadron, leaving our neighborhood without an Assembly Member to represent us in Albany.

While we are fortunate to have great State Senate representatives in Senators Brad Hoylman representing PCVST, and Senators Liz Krueger and Brian Kavanagh nearby, we must take filling the post of Assembly Member for the 74th Assembly District with renewed interest.

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Letters to the editor, Nov. 16

Remembering to be thankful

Dear Editor,

During this Thanksgiving time, we at Garage 2 are fortunate to have our local poet, Yves, to remind us of the abundance of our lives.

Especially at this time, when so many of our fellow Americans fall victim to the hands of those who use gun violence, family and domestic abuse and violence, it is so crucial that we report anyone we see as vulnerable to mental illness who needs treatment and who could be a danger to him/herself or others. We are all connected. The armed service severely dropped the ball. Let none of us live with that regret.

Instead, let us follow Yves’ advice and be grateful for our abundance.

Bel-Michelle DeMille, ST

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Democrats vying for Kavanagh’s Assembly seat

epstein

Harvey Epstein (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Following Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh’s easy victory at the polls last week for the downtown Senate seat he wanted, two Democrat candidates have expressed interest in filling the now vacant 74th District Assembly seat.

One of them is Harvey Epstein, a tenant representative on the Rent Guidelines Board and the project director of the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center. The other is Mike Corbett, an aide to Queens-based City Council Member Costa Constantinides and a former teamster. Marie Ternes, a communications consultant who previously worked for then-Congress Member Anthony Weiner, said she is considering running.

Recently, outgoing City Council Member Rosie Mendez told Town & Village she was mulling a run for Assembly, but then later told the local blog Lo Down that she’d decided against it. Council Member Dan Garodnick has also previously said he has no plan to run.

Corbett, Epstein and Ternes spoke with a Town & Village reporter this week, although Ternes declined to be interviewed at this time since she hasn’t yet made a decision on running.

It’s expected that there will be a County Committee vote held by each party to determine who will get onto the ballot for a special election. However, it’s still unclear when the vote will be or when the election will be, since a special election must be called by the governor. Another possible, though unlikely, scenario is that there will be a primary in June when there’s a Congressional primary, or even later.

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Veterans Day celebrated in Stuyvesant Town

Flags on lawn2 Kristy

Residents place flags on the Oval lawn. (Photos by Kristy Ye-Ling)

By Kristy Ye-Ling

Despite frigid temperatures, around 150 Stuyvesant Town residents gathered on the Oval on Saturday morning for a Veterans Day ceremony held by management. General Manager Rick Hayduk welcomed everyone in brief opening remarks and introduced a few veterans. Then, residents had the opportunity to place American flags on the Oval lawn. A total of 7,008 flags were planted to express gratitude towards the servicemen and women who lost their lives since September 11th, 2001. Additionally, yellow paper was tied in bands around the trees in the area where residents (eventually hundreds) wrote thank you messages to veterans.

One of the veterans in attendance was former Navy personnelman Daniel Murphy, who shared, “I was in the Mediterranean three times, the Caribbean four times.” His most memorable experience was having President Kennedy on his ship during the Cuban crisis where he led a flotilla of 86 ships as a flagship.