Part of the L train construction site on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
On Friday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who a day earlier had made a bombshell announcement that the dreaded L-pocalypse could be avoided, further argued for his alternative plan, which would limit L service during repairs but not halt it.
Cuomo, during a phone conference with reporters, called on the MTA to hold a public board meeting on the proposal, made by a team of engineers from the universities of Columbia and Cornell, and make a quick decision for it or against it. However, the call may have been more about defending the governor’s change of heart mere months before the 15-month shutdown between Brooklyn and Manhattan was slated to begin, since the MTA had already stated that it accepted the engineers’ findings.
Asked about the governor’s request, a spokesperson for the MTA referred to its statement from Thursday, which said:
“The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today accepted the recommendations of a panel of engineering experts that determined a complete closure of the L Train Tunnel is unnecessary… Work could be completed on nights and weekends only, with a single tube providing continued service in both directions during work periods.
Posted in First Avenue, L train shutdown, Stuyvesant Town, Transportation
- Tagged East 14th Street, East Village, First Avenue, First Avenue L subway station, Governor Andrew Cuomo, L train, L train shutdown, MTA, Stuyvesant Town, subway
In our last issue, Town & Village asked readers for their thoughts on what sensible actions can be taken by straphangers who witness acts of violence. Our question came on the heels of police releasing portions of a video showing a man threatening a fellow straphanger with a knife after he tried to intervene when seeing the other man hit his toddler. (The suspect, seen on the E train in Greenwich Village, has since been arrested.)
Read on for reader responses:
Eric Juhola said, “I think the best thing we can do is take out our phones and film the situation. On the one hand, it might inspire the perpetrator to behave reminding him or her that they are being watched. On the other hand, you will be providing authorities with evidence that can be used to apprehend the perpetrator and used in court against the person.
“Stepping in and getting involved might be right for some people, but it’s also dangerous. You just don’t know if the perpetrator has a weapon and there are far too many stories of knife slashings on subways for no apparent reason. I will admit, there is also risk in filming as that can be seen as an act of aggression, but I think it’s better than doing nothing and most times we have to take a little risk outside our comfort zones to stand up and do what’s right.”
Photo of suspect
Earlier this week, police released portions of a video showing a man threatening a fellow straphanger with a knife after he tried to intervene when seeing the other man hit his toddler. The suspect, seen on the E train in Greenwich Village, has since been arrested.
Town & Village is asking readers for their thoughts on what sensible actions can be taken by straphangers who witness acts of violence. This can include a parent disciplining a child or an argument between two people if it appears to cross the line into abusive behavior. Calling the police isn’t always an option if passengers don’t have phone service due to where they are in a subway system.
We welcome reader feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org or as comments here. Names will be withheld upon request.
Rendering of entrance at the 23rd Street F/M station (Renderings courtesy of MTA)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The MTA confirmed with little fanfare at the end of April that two stations in the Flatiron and Kips Bay neighborhoods would be closing this summer until the end of the year as part of the Enhanced Station Initiative program. The 28th Street station on the 6 will be closed starting on July 16 and the 23rd Street station on the F/M will be closed beginning on July 23, with both expected to reopen sometime in December.
The agency presented the plan to Community Board 5 on April 23 but specific information about the closures is not available on the MTA’s website. Photos included in the presentation to the community board show significant rusting and water damage in both stations and one of the MTA’s stated goals for the project is to “address structural and cosmetic deficiencies,” as well as improve wayfinding services, navigation and communication to customers.
Renderings of the entrances at 23rd and 28th Streets show inconspicuous improvements, with the most noticeable changes being the addition of new electronic signs announcing service changes and updates, as well as maps to help with navigation.
The interior of the stations will be getting upgrades as well, with renderings showing improvements in lighting, new turnstile areas and wayfinding screens on the platforms.
In addition to the two local stations getting the improvements, 57th Street on the F will also be closed for about six months from July to December for similar cosmetic upgrades and both the 1/2/3 and A/C/E areas in Penn Station will be renovated as well, but work there will be phased and the station will not be fully closed.
A woman rides the N train, along one of three routes where the site-specific plays are meant to be listened to on a smartphone. (Photo courtesy of Erin Mee)
By Sabina Mollot
A Peter Cooper Village resident who once directed a play designed to be downloaded as an app and listened to on the Staten Island ferry has recently released a series of plays that, like “Ferry Play,” is meant to be experienced on one’s smartphone.
The new production, “Subway Plays,” is a trilogy of plays that are intended to be listened to on the L, N and 7 trains. Though they can be played anytime, the audio performance should be accompanied by a specific route: either Manhattan to Brooklyn and Queens for act one, or Brooklyn or Queens while headed to Manhattan. The site-specific plays, which are told in English, also include other languages such Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Colombian Spanish that would typically be heard along the route.
The plays come in the form of an app, which costs $2.99 and can be downloaded on an iPhone or Android.
Erin Mee said she first got the idea to do a downloadable play from a Canadian theater company that specialized in what was referred to as “pod plays.” She ultimately decided to refer to her own project as a “smartphone play,” since iPods have mostly gone out of use and she didn’t want people to get confused. Additionally, she stressed that this type of play is different from an old-time radio play or an audio tour one might hear in a museum. This is because it’s site-specific with the sights, sounds and smells of the environment factoring into the story and overall experience.
Differing ideas about housing ‘reform’
To the editor:
My principal difficulty with Harvey Epstein’s “Living in NYC isn’t a privilege,” opinion, Town & Village, Feb. 1, is his omission of what has brought us an “unprecedented housing crisis.” Mr. Epstein took pains to lay bare the crux, but he did not get to its persistent cause. As we read his letter, it becomes apparent that while he understands the crisis, in the sense that he, like we, can describe it, he does not understand it as anything other than a crisis in housing. It is, in his words, “an alarming trend” whose remedy is “up for debate.” I do not know why Mr. Epstein sees the “unprecedented crisis” as a “trend,” and it bears badly for his future leadership and his constituency that he thinks the remedy is “up for grabs.”
To treat the plight of our most vulnerable, Mr. Epstein would provide them with “subsidies so that they can afford to stay in their rent-regulated housing.” He would require “all developers to set aside a percentage of all future development for affordable housing.” He would “repeal vacancy deregulation… reform the way in which landlords impose exorbitant rent increases based on MCIs,” and he would “end the vacancy bonus which allows landlords to increase rents a whopping 20 percent whenever a tenant [vacates] an apartment.” In the main, covering all of the issues, Mr. Epstein believes that, “It’s time we create new working class housing program that allows working class New Yorkers the ability to work and stay here.”
Phone theft suspects
Cops are looking for a pair of thieves who snatched a woman’s iPhone X at the 23rd Street subway station.
On Friday, February 2 at 9:15 p.m., the 54-year-old female victim was walking along the R platform, looking at her phone, when the two men grabbed it from her before fleeing.
Both suspects are described as being black, about 20 years old, 5 ft. 7 ins. and 170 lbs. One was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, the other a black hooded jacket.
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 nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.
Cell phone theft suspect
Cops are looking for a thief who snatched a woman’s cell phone and took off at the Union Square subway station.
According to police, the suspect approached the 25-year-old victim while she was standing at the “Q” platform, on Saturday, September 30 at 7:15 p.m. When the woman tried to get her phone back, a second suspect blocked her path.
That individual, a 15-year-old from the Bronx, was caught at the scene by officers.
His partner is described as male, black and last seen wearing a gray hooded sweater, 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 by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.
By Sabina Mollot
Cops are looking for a man who used a 22-year-old woman’s credit cards in the Bronx after she may have lost them in the tracks of a subway station at 23rd Street.
The victim told cops she believes she dropped her wallet on the northbound 6 train road bed on June 23 and that this is where the suspect found it. Purchases were later made at a MetroCard vending machine inside the 149th Street and 3rd Avenue subway station in the Bronx. The suspect is described as black and was wearing a black t-shirt with a gold Adidas symbol on the front.
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 at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.
By Sabina Mollot
Police are looking for a man who slashed a stranger on his back near the Union Square subway station on Saturday.
According to police, at 11:40 a.m., the victim, a 29-year-old man left the station with his fiancée when the other man snuck up behind him and slashed him with an unknown object. The victim chased his attacker back into the subway but the suspect managed to get away by darting onto a northbound 6 train.
Prior to the incident, the suspect was seen at the Myrtle/Wyckoff subway station, cursing at random passengers, cops said.
The victim was taken to Beth Israel Hospital for treatment to his injury, which wasn’t serious.
The suspect is described as Hispanic with a light complexion, approximately 35-40 years of age, and was last seen wearing a camouflage shirt and dark sunglasses.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
The public can also submit their tips by logging onto www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police arrested a 24-year-old man for groping a woman inside the 14th Street/Sixth Avenue subway station after he was spotted in Union Square almost a week later.
Police said that on May 27, Valence Simpson slapped and grabbed the woman’s buttocks while inside the station at 1:36 p.m. When she turned around and said, “How dare you?” Simpson allegedly responded, “I just did.”
The victim told police that while Simpson was walking away from her, he allegedly turned around to face her, walking backwards while making faces at her, at which point she reportedly used her cell phone to take photos of him.
Police created a wanted poster from the photo and an officer spotted Simpson inside Union Square Park around 6:20 p.m. last Thursday. When police showed Simpson the poster, he allegedly identified himself as the person in the photograph.
He was charged with sexual abuse. His lawyer did not want to comment on the case.
Groping suspect, identified as David Cruz
By Sabina Mollot
A homeless man was arrested Wednesday night for allegedly groping two women on the subway in Flatiron.
The man, identified as 33-year-old David Cruz, wore a Santa hat and rose colored glasses during the incidents, which both took place around the same time.
Cops say Cruz has a lengthy rap sheet with 17 arrests, running from minor crimes like turnstile hopping and petty larceny to more serious ones like assault, burglary, sale of marijuana and tampering with evidence.
On the evening of February 8, police said Cruz grabbed a 32-year-old woman’s butt as she waited on the platform at the 23rd Street R/W station. Then he allegedly hung around before doing the same thing to a 34-year-old woman on his way up the stairs to the street. The victims reported the incidents separately at later times.
Cruz has been charged with two counts of forcible touching.
Posted in 13th Precinct, Crime, Flatiron, Flatiron District, Transportation
- Tagged 13th precinct, crime, Flatiron, gropers, groping, MTA, subway, subway groping, subway pervs
A public meeting on the planned L line repairs and accompanying shutdowns was held last Thursday at the Salvation Army Theatre. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
L train riders got the chance to voice their opinions on the impending closure of the line during a meeting hosted by the MTA last Thursday, with straphangers divided on what would be less disruptive, a full closure or a partial one that takes twice as long while the agency conducts repairs.
Donna Evans, chief of staff for the MTA, said at the beginning of the meeting at the Salvation Army Theatre that there were two important facts to consider about the repairs: the tracks must be closed whether one at a time or together, and regardless of which plan is chosen, the closure won’t take place until 2019.
A two-track closure would be the shorter option at 18 months, but there would be no service between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue with this plan. The MTA said that train service would be fairly regular in Brooklyn with trains running between Bedford Avenue and Rockaway Parkway every eight minutes.
During a three-year closure, the MTA said that service through the tunnel wouldn’t be frequent or reliable but in Brooklyn, service would be near normal with trains running every eight minutes. The MTA would be running extra trains on the G, J and M to supplement service in Brooklyn and the B39 over the bridge would provide an alternative for service into Manhattan. The L train would operate a shuttle between Eighth Avenue and Bedford Avenue at a 12 to 15-minute frequency and would not stop at Third Avenue. There would also be no service between Bedford Avenue and Lorimer Street, but service would operate between Lorimer Street and Rockaway Parkway.
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The MTA announced last week that nighttime service on 4/5/6 lines will be limited at some local stations through the end of next week, due to the Fastrack maintenance work program.
Since this Tuesday, trains have not been running between Grand Central-42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue-Barclay’s Center at night, which will continue through early Friday morning and start up again for four weeknights from Monday, February 22 to Friday, February 26. Service on the 5 train will be ending early each night and 6 train service will only operate between Grand Central and the Bronx. The MTA recommends that straphangers use the R before 11:30 p.m. and the N after 11:30 p.m. as an alternative for stations south of Grand Central, including Union Square and the 23rd Street/Park Avenue South.
Sex abuse suspect (Photo via NYPD)
Police are asking the public’s assistance identifying a man wanted for sexual abuse on the subway at 23rd Street.
On Saturday, August 8, at 6:45 p.m., the victim, a 23-year-old woman, was standing on the north bound platform of the N/R train at the 23rd Street station when the suspect walked up to her, put one arm around her and then took his other hand, put it up her skirt and sexually abused her. The suspect then fled the station.
The suspect is a white or Hispanic man, 35 to 40-years-old, 5 ft. 10 ins. tall and bald.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
Police have collared a Flatiron man in connection with the incident.
Daniel Galantter, 47, of 118 West 22nd Street, was arrested on Thursday and charged with stalking and sex abuse.
Posted in 13th Precinct, Crime
- Tagged 13th precinct, Broadway, crime, Flatiron, MTA, NYPD, sex abuse, sex abuse 23rd Street, subway, subway perv