Throwback Thursday: This week in T&V History

Town & Village has been covering news in the Stuyvesant Town area for over 66 years. This week, we took a look back at the coverage in an issue of this newspaper that ran 50 years ago.

Three Stuy Town teens beaten in random attacks

Three 15-year-old residents of Stuyvesant Town were beaten bloody in two random attacks as they walked home from a dance at Town & Village Synagogue. Though the band of 10 attackers also stole a watch from one the boys, they mainly seemed interested in punching and kicking their victims. The “hoodlums” behind the attacks at around 11:45 p.m. on a Saturday were described as being around 18 years old.

In the first incident, the attackers’ method was to split into two groups of five, each jumping on one of two boys walking through the Oval. One of them managed to escape after getting punched just a few times. However, the other teen suffered a severely bruised and swollen face, his scalp lacerated. His mouth cut and his body bruised. When he screamed, lights went on in surrounding apartment windows and residents leaned out their windows to see what was going on.

Unfortunately, according to the boy’s father, Stuy Town guards weren’t as interested as random neighbors. He said when his son told the guard he had been beaten up, the guard turned his back and said, “So what?” The father said he lodged a complaint, and Stuyvesant Town management said it was being investigated.

The second attack occurred moments after the first as the three members of the wolfpack, apparently broken into smaller groups, were leaving Stuyvesant Town. They walked quickly rather than run out to avoid suspicion. That’s when they encountered a 15-year-old who’d just entered the property on Avenue B. When they walked past him, one of them punched him in the face and then continued walking out.

The boy, whose nose spattered blood, also suffered a chipped tooth, and he became dazed. He was taken to Beth Israel by his parents and later released. He also later went to a dentist to have the tooth repaired.

Refrigerator repairman killed in restaurant blast

In other news that week, a refrigerator repairman was instantly killed in an explosion at a restaurant on East 29th Street the previous Wednesday. Michael Cappelli, 44, of Brooklyn, was trying to recharge the refrigerator in the basement of the restaurant, the Weather Vane, with compressed gas.

After the blast, the restaurant’s cook rushed to the basement and found Cappelli lying face up with most of his head severed.

His last rites were given by Father Karney of St. Stephan’s Roman Catholic Church. The Fire Department, the Bomb Squad and the Emergency Service Department all responded to the call.

Compiled by Sabina Mollot

This week in history: Bellevue South redevelopment

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Town & Village newspaper has been providing news for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village for over 65 years and we’ve decided to start taking a look back to see what was going on in the community 50 years ago. Here are a couple of snapshots from the August 27, 1964 issue of Town & Village.

Bellevue South Redevelopment

Phipps Plaza, known as Kips Bay Court, between First and Second Avenues at East 26th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Phipps Plaza, known as Kips Bay Court, between First and Second Avenues at East 26th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

A handful of articles in this 1964 issue of Town & Village dealt with the city’s proposal for what was known then as the Bellevue South neighborhood, located between First and Second Avenues from East 23rd Street to East 30th Street. The urban redevelopment plan called for essentially bulldozing the entire seven-block area and rebuild to include more affordable housing. The project envisioned 17 residential buildings from six to 32 stories tall, containing 2,260 lower to middle-income apartments.

Residents of the neighborhood had recently drafted their own alternative plan in an attempt to fight the plan proposed by the city. The group presented themselves as the Bellevue South Planners Group and presented their proposal for the Board of Estimate. Their plan included the development of buildings which, by their description, sound similar to what Waterside Plaza became: low and middle-income housing surrounding a central park area and use of air rights above the FDR.

The plan was in contrast to that of the city’s, which they said would “plow through” 23rd to 30th Street, “uprooting thousands of tenants, destroying hundreds of businesses and ending employment for more than a thousand workers.”

Another story in this issue of T&V noted that residents had debated the merits of the city’s redevelopment plan at a public hearing the previous Thursday. Opponents of the plan insisted that the area wasn’t a slum and wanted to encourage the developers to consider making improvements on the existing buildings rather than razing the whole area. They also felt that the proper plans weren’t in place to relocate the residents and businesses that would be displaced.

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This week in T&V history: T&V publisher gets death threat

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Town & Village newspaper has been providing news for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village for over 65 years and we’ve decided to start taking a look back to see what was going on in the community 50 years ago. Here are a couple of snapshots from the August 13, 1964 issue of Town & Village.

T&V publisher threatened

Note left after Town & Village’s office was broken into

Note left after Town & Village’s office was broken into

This week’s edition of Town & Village from 50 years ago featured a story about a pair of “hoodlums” who wreaked havoc on the T&V offices, leaving behind a death threat for editor and publisher Charles G. Hagedorn. Although the letter said, “You’re gonna die, CJH!” and had the incorrect middle initial, detectives thought that it was intended for Hagedorn.
T&V reporter Arnold Reisman caught the thieves in the act on the previous Sunday when he entered the paper’s closed offices at 614 East 14th Street to return a camera. Although Reisman spotted one of them in the office, he was able to escape with the help of his accomplice, who was parked outside the office and who sped off when the teen ran into the car.
The office was reportedly left in shambles, with an ashtray’s contents spilled over the desk and the wire of the public address system cut. The only thing of value that was taken was a typewriter, but as evidenced by the fact that he left a handwritten note, he may not have known how to use it.
The threat was not attributed to any particular story or issue, but Hagedorn didn’t seem worried.
“A newspaper knows it’s doing a good job when it gets sued every now and then and the editor receives periodic threats,” he said. “But I wish my enemies were a bit more literate and could at least spell my initials right.”

Stuy Town cop exonerated
A short blurb mentioned that the lieutenant who shot a black teenager the previous month was to be exonerated by a grand jury investigating the killing. Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan maintained that he had acted in self defense and that the boy “seemed to be the size of a giant” as he lunged at him.
At the time, the medical examiner had reported that the boy was 5’6” and 122 pounds, whereas Lieutenant Gilligan was 6 feet tall.

Throwback Thursday: This week in T&V history

1964 Little League champs

1964 Little League champs

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Town & Village newspaper has been providing news for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village for over 65 years and we’ve decided to start taking a look back to see what was going on in the community 50 years ago. Here are a couple of snapshots from the June 18, 1964 issue of Town & Village.

Met Life’s battle over pet dog
Dogs weren’t allowed in the complex in 1964 and as a result, a Stuyvesant Town family found themselves in a court battle with property owner Metropolitan Life over their pooch. A cover story in the June 18 issue said that the dog was a 15-pound French poodle and had been living at 16 Stuyvesant Oval with the family for the past eight months. The story noted that it wasn’t Met Life’s intention to evict the tenants but to evict the dog, and it went on to say that the pooch’s owner, a lawyer by the name of Murray Leonard, intended to represent her in court.

The owner based his case on recent court decisions that held in similar circumstances that residents could house a dog if it could be proven that the canine was not a nuisance to others. The Leonards had been living in Stuyvesant Town since 1948 and Leonard’s wife said that the dog was a gift and it was not their intention to purposely violate their lease.

Alleged Nazi found guilty of rioting
A police blotter item in this 1964 issue of the paper noted that a Peter Cooper Village resident was found guilty of inciting a riot in connection with a civil rights demonstration the previous July. The story said that PCV resident Anthony Wells, 23, who was an alleged member of the neo-Nazi National Resistance Party, was one of eight men accused of seeking to incite violence against black people who were demonstrating at a White Castle diner in the Bronx. Police found a cross-bow, guns and knives in the alleged Nazi’s station wagon.

PSLL team champs
Members of the Peter Cooper-Stuyvesant Little League team, the First Federal Savings & Loan Indians, gathered at home plate after beating the Village & Towne Sweet Shoppe Cubs and being named the World Series champions in a close game the previous Saturday.