Random assaults up in Gramercy

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Following the arrest of a man wanted for a random attack in Union Square Park last week, Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman said at the 13th Precinct Community Council’s meeting on Tuesday that the neighborhood has seen a slight increase in unprovoked assaults recently.

Hellman noted the uptick after a woman at the meeting said that a homeless woman approached her and punched her in the head while she was waiting for the bus with her granddaughter.

“We’re seeing a lot of this even minor level harassment and assaults but we are making apprehensions,” he said, adding that the arrests have included homeless and emotionally disturbed individuals.

Hellman noted that officers have made an arrest on another random attack that occurred in Union Square Park, in which the suspect fractured the victim’s eye socket. A witness told police that he saw the victim and the suspect, 33-year-old Tyrone George, get into an argument inside the park on Tuesday, March 3 around 9:40 p.m.

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Teens arrested for sex abuse at Union Square School

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested four teenagers for sexually abusing another student inside a Union Square school last week.

The three teenage boys were charged with sexual abuse inside the Clinton School at 10 East 15th Street on Tuesday, February 11 at 3:47 p.m. after police said that the boys abused a girl at the school.

According to the victim, four teenage boys, one of whom has not been arrested, coerced her into taking an explicit photo in exchange for a Supreme sweatshirt sometime the previous week. The victim said that she originally agreed to take a photo in exchange for the sweatshirt but the teens later pressured her into saying in a video that she had consented to taking a photo of her buttocks with their faces. The teenage girl said that one of the suspects then grabbed her by the arm and led her to the third floor bathroom, where he took a photo of her.

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Police Watch: Teens busted for robberies in separate incidents

TEENS BUSTED FOR ROBBERIES

Police arrested two teenagers in the 13th precinct for multiple robberies that took place at the end of last month.

A man was walking to the 1 train from work on January 23 around 1:35 a.m. when he said that six people approached him, tackled him to the ground and took his phone from his pocket. One of the teens was arrested for the robbery on January 31. Police said that three suspects were caught on February 3, 4 and 5, respectively.

Two of the teens arrested for this robbery were also charged in connection with an incident that took place around 2:30 a.m. on the same day, when police said that the two teens assaulted him and removed his cell phone and wallet from his jacket.

TEENS NABBED FOR ROBBERY IN CHELSEA

Police arrested a 19-year-old and another teenager involved in a robbery and fight at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 17th Street on Wednesday, February 5 at 2:32 p.m. Police said that the two suspects who were arrested were working with two other people who weren’t arrested, and the group approached the victim’s and got into an argument that escalated into a fight.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for Stuy Town burglary, Man arrested for bodega robbery

MAN BUSTED FOR STUY TOWN BURGLARY
Police arrested 22-year-old Joel Torrens for an alleged burglary that occurred inside 315 Avenue C on Sunday, October 6 around noon. Police said that one of the roommates left the apartment and shortly after, another roommate who was still inside heard noises in the apartment hallway. When she went to check what it was, she saw Torrens allegedly standing in the hallway, and he reportedly took credit cards and jewelry from the apartment before fleeing. Police said that Torrens does not live in the building but no further information was available about how he got inside the building or the apartment itself. Torrens was charged inside the 13th precinct on Monday, October 7 at 12:15 p.m.

MAN BUSTED FOR BODEGA ROBBERY
Police arrested 50-year-old Edward Abel for an alleged robbery from a bodega at 315 First Avenue on April 23 at 10:50 p.m. A worker at the bodega said that Abel was throwing things inside the store, striking the victim on the arm, and he allegedly left the bodega with beer that he hadn’t paid for. Abel was ultimately arrested for the robbery on Thursday, October 10 at 8 a.m. inside the 13th precinct.

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Harvest in the Square raises $371K

Gupshup mixologist Michael Belasco, head chef Gurpreet Singh and sous chef Ramesh Bishe enjoyed their first Harvest in the Square, held under a tent on the northern end of Union Square Park on Thursday, September 19. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Union Square Partnership raised more than $371,000 at the 24th annual Harvest in the Square on Thursday, September 19. The yearly tasting event, held under a tent at the northern end of Union Square Park, raises money to support the Partnership’s work in the neighborhood to beautify the park and offer programming. The event has raised more than $7 million over the last two decades.

“Year after year, Harvest in the Square brings the community together under one tent for an unforgettable evening filled with vibrant food and excitement,” said Jennifer Falk, Executive Director of the Union Square Partnership. “We’ve already begun to prepare for our 25th Annual Harvest in the Square next year and look forward to another successful night.”

A number of chefs that participated featured tastes of dishes popular at their restaurant or that highlighted fall produce from the Union Square greenmarket.

The lineup for the event this year featured 61 restaurants, cocktail bars, wineries, breweries and distilleries, including returning favorite Union Square Cafe, whose owner, Danny Meyer, is a founding member of the event. Bocce USQ, a restaurant chair for the event, also returned, carrying a seasonal pizza with roasted brussels sprouts, caramelized onions and fresh mozzarella over from their adjacent location in the Pavilion.

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Man wanted for forcible touching on 4 train

Forcible touching suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

Police are looking for a man wanted for a forcible touching incident that occurred on the subway in Union Square earlier this month. 

The 37-year-old victim told police that she was riding a crowded uptown 4 train on Monday, September 9 around 8:35 a.m. and when the train was near Union Square, an unknown man who was standing behind her allegedly exposed his private parts and rubbed up against the victim’s buttocks. 

When the victim called attention to his behavior and protested to what he was doing, he got off the train at an unknown station and fled on foot. The victim was not injured. 

The suspect is described as a black man between 20 and 30 years old, clean-shaven, and was last seen wearing a patterned long sleeve shirt and glasses. 

Anyone with information about the identity of this man is asked to call the NYPD’s CrimeStoppers 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 CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

All calls are strictly confidential.

Police Watch: Girl arrested for stealing cash, Man accused of throwing urine

GIRL ARRESTED FOR STEALING CASH FROM KIPS BAY RESTAURANT
Police arrested a teenager for a robbery that took place inside Asia Express at 493 Second Avenue on Friday, September 6 at 10:25 p.m.

Police said that the teen, along with two other girls who weren’t arrested, removed cash from a nearby restaurant and fled the location. The victim then ran after the suspects, who dropped the money. While the victim was picking the cash up from the ground, the teen who was arrested reportedly punched the victim in the face, causing substantial pain, and grabbed the money from her before fleeing. The girl was caught at the corner of Second Avenue and East 28th Street on at 12:52 a.m. No other arrests have been made.

MAN ACCUSED OF THROWING URINE
Police arrested 42-year-old Michael Gordon for the alleged assault of a police officer inside Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Thursday, September 5 at 12:12 a.m. A police officer said that he encountered Gordon at the hospital inside the psychiatric unit and the officer overheard Gordon say, “The last time I was discharged, I threw a cup of urine at police officers because I knew it would get me arrested.”

The officer said that Gordon then used the bathroom and returned with a cup of urine, so he told the nurses to remove the cup from his possession and told Gordon to drop the cup. Police said that Gordon then threw the cup of urine at the officer, causing irritation to his eyes and face. The officer then discharged his Taser and placed Gordon under arrest. The same police officer said that Gordon took a cup of urine and threw it at hospital security.

Gordon was charged with assaulting a police officer, an unclassified public administration misdemeanor and an unclassified public safety misdemeanor, as well as aggravated harassment.

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Police Watch: Teens arrested for theft, Man busted for assault with stick

TEENS BUSTED FOR THEFT IN FRONT OF BELLEVUE
Police arrested two teenagers for an alleged theft that took place in front of Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Wednesday, August 28 at 4:09 a.m. Police said that one of the teenagers removed a wallet from the back pocket of one of the victims. The victim told police that he was holding his friend’s wallet when the teen engaged them in conversation when the teen allegedly pick pocketed him, and both fled south. Police caught both teens inside Asser Levy Park, where the victim’s wallet was recovered. Police said that one of the teens was in possession of the victim’s iPhone, as well as his debit card and two MetroCards. One of the teens was charged with grand larceny and the teen holding the phone and wallet was charged with possession of stolen property. Police said that the teens were residents of the ACS facility.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT WITH STICK
Police arrested 58-year-old Briuan Bissessar for an alleged assault at the corner of Second Avenue and East 25th Street on Monday, August 26 at 5:36 p.m. The victim told police that Bissessar struck him in the mouth with a wooden stick, causing him physical injury. The victim was removed to the NYU Medical Center for treatment.

MAN ARRESTED FOR TIP JAR THEFT
Police arrested 25-year-old Gerineldo Acosta for an alleged theft inside the Le Café Coffee inside 407 Park Avenue South on Friday, August 30 at 6:39 p.m. Police said that Acosta went inside the business asking for water when he allegedly stole the tip jar with cash that was on the counter.

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Burglary on East 10th Street

Burglary suspects

The New York City Police Department is asking the public’s assistance identifying a person wanted for questioning in connection to a burglary that occurred within the confines of the 6th Precinct.

It was reported to police that on Wednesday, August 14 around 8 a.m. inside 32 East 10th Street, an unidentified man and woman entered a 31-year-old female’s apartment by unknown means. Once inside, they removed approximately $5,200 worth of jewelry and electronics before fleeing in unknown direction.

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of these two individuals 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 CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or on Twitter @ NYPDTips.

City: Don’t just blame high rent

Study reveals variety of reasons for retail vacancies

The city described vacancy rates as “volatile,” varying widely from neighborhood to neighborhood. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

While too-high rents and competition from Amazon are often blamed for the state of the city’s struggling retail sector, when there’s a high vacancy rate in a particular neighborhood, it can’t necessarily be pinned down to one specific obstacle.

At least, that’s the conclusion drawn by the Department of City Planning (DCP), which has released a study of the city’s retail storefronts to determine vacancy rates and the possible reasons for them.

The report was done after assessing 10,000 storefronts in 24 retail corridors around the boroughs using data from a tech platform put out by the company Live XYZ as well as on the ground surveys. Looking at trends from late 2017 through Fall 2018, the study also used demographic, land use and real estate data, and input from local business associations. The survey defined a vacant space as vacant and available. Those not included in stats were vacant spaces with active construction or known redevelopment plans as well as empty stores with signage announcing a future tenant. Occupied stores with a “for lease” sign were also excluded from the vacancy figures.

Overall the study found, when comparing similar data from a decade ago, vacancy has increased from 7.6-9 percent over the studied neighborhoods.

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Co-owner of The Stand killed

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 27-year-old Joseph Porter for the murder of 40-year-old David Kimowitz, co-owner of The Stand comedy club in Union Square, and his live-in au pair, 26-year-old Karen Bermudez-Rodriguez early Saturday morning on August 3.

The New York Times reported that Porter was the boyfriend of Bermudez-Rodriguez and he was charged with two counts of murder, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and criminal restraint.

The Times reported that police responded to a 911 call to the Maplewood, NJ home around sunrise reporting that a woman was being assaulted, and when police arrived, they found Bermudez-Rodriguez lying in the street, critically injured. She was transported to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, where she later died.

According to the criminal complaint, Bermudez-Rodriguez and Porter had communicated via text on the night of the murders and Bermudez-Rodriguez had written that she wanted to break up with Porter, who then responded that he was upset with her because she was trying to end the relationship.

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Men wanted for sex crimes in Union Square station

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are looking for two men for alleged sex crimes that took place in the Union Square station since the end of July.

A 25-year-old woman reported to police that she was leaving the station on Wednesday, July 31 at 4:40 p.m. when an unidentified man approached her from behind, grabbed her buttocks and then fled on foot, exiting the subway system. Surveillance video (posted above) showed the suspect at the station shortly after the time of the incident. The man is wanted for forcible touching.

Police said that a case of sexual abuse occurred in Union Square on Wednesday, August 7 around 4:20 a.m. after a 47-year-old woman fell asleep on a downtown Q train. The victim told police that she woke up when the suspect touched her right shoulder with his exposed genitals. When the victim confronted the suspect, he ran off the train at Union Square and fled the station to the street.

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Police Watch: Teen busted for robbery from taxi, Man nabbed for wallet-snatching

TEEN BUSTED FOR ROBBERY FROM TAXI
Police arrested a teenager for a robbery at the corner of East 27th Street and First Avenue on Thursday, July 4 at 9:11 p.m. A cab driver told police that the teen entered his green taxi through the front passenger door, attempting to punch the driver in the face, and proceeded to grab money from the victim’s front shirt pocket and his cell phone from the car before fleeing on foot. Police said that the teen used to live in the Administration for Children’s Services facility at 492 First Avenue but no longer resides there.

MAN NABBED FOR UNION SQUARE WALLET-SNATCHING
Police arrested 25-year-old Peter Cangelosi for an alleged theft from inside the Union Square subway station at Union Square East and East 14th Street on Tuesday, July 2 at 9:10 p.m. Police said that on June 17 around 11 a.m., Cangelosi allegedly asked for a MetroCard swipe into the station. After the victim swiped him into the subway, Cangelosi allegedly snatched the victim’s wallet from his hand and ran into the station. The victim told police that he chased Cangelosi but lost him inside the station. When the victim contacted his credit card company, he found that there had been multiple attempts to use his card.

Police said that the victim viewed a blind photo array on June 24 and identified Cangelosi as the person who grabbed his wallet and Cangelosi allegedly identified himself on surveillance video from the station. Cangelosi was charged with grand larceny and identity theft.

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Man wanted for robbery in Union Square

Robbery suspect

The New York City Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance identifying a man wanted for questioning in connection to a robbery that occurred within the confines of the 13th Precinct/Transit District 4.

It was reported to police that on Monday, June 24 at approximately 3:25 a.m. inside the Union Square subway station, a 44-year-old man boarded a downtown 6 train at the location when an unidentified man punched and kicked the victim multiple times before fleeing with the victim’s wallet containing a credit card. The victim sustained swelling to left eye but refused medical attention. The male fled the station in unknown direction.

The person wanted for questioning is described as a Hispanic man, 18-25 years of age, wearing a yellow du-rag and dark clothing.

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of the male 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 CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

All calls are strictly confidential.

Police Watch: Man accused of slashing friend, Man busted for Irving Place burglary

MAN ACCUSED OF SLASHING FRIEND OVER PHONE, MONEY
Police arrested 54-year-old Christopher Timmons for an alleged robbery that took place outside the Goodwill at 105 West 25th Street on Friday, June 7 at 8:30 a.m. Police said that Timmons, who knew the victim, asked to use his phone, then put the phone in his pocket. When the victim asked for his phone back, Timmons allegedly slashed him with an unknown weapon, causing cuts to his left elbow and right finger. Police said that Timmons and the victim also had an argument about money. Timmons allegedly fled on foot with the victim’s phone, and neither the phone nor the weapon were recovered when Timmons was arrested on Saturday, June 8 at 2:50 a.m. inside the 13th precinct.

MAN BUSTED FOR IRVING PLACE BURGLARY
Police arrested 31-year-old Jeff Seidenberg for an alleged burglary inside 67 Irving Place on Friday, June 7 at 8:20 p.m. Police were responding to a call about an unknown person in the stairwell of a commercial building and when they conducted an interior patrol, they reportedly found Seidenberg hiding under a bench on the 10th floor. When they searched him, they found that he was allegedly in possession of property belonging to one of the businesses in the building. Police said that he did not have permission to be inside the building and he was also charged with criminal trespass and possession of a controlled substance. There are multiple businesses in the building, including Irving Place Surgery & Wellness Center on the floor where Seidenberg was caught, but police did not specify which business he allegedly stole from or what property was taken.

MEN CHARGED WITH ROBBERY OUTSIDE TAJ LOUNGE
Police arrested 27-year-old Levan Easley and 27-year-old Raymond Rodriguez for an alleged robbery at the corner of West 21st Street and Fifth Avenue on Sunday, April 21 at 4:20 a.m. The victim told police that he was leaving the Taj Lounge at 48 West 21st Street when he was attacked by an unknown number of people who hit him in the face and allegedly stole his jewelry. Easley and Rodriguez were charged with robbery and assault on Tuesday, June 4 at 10:40 p.m. inside the 13th Precinct. Two other people were arrested in connection with the incident on May 8 and May 29.

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