Harvest in the Square raises $430G for Union Square Park

Tim Meyers, chef at Bocce USQ (at left) at Harvest in the Square (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Harvest in the Square, the annual food festival that serves as a fundraiser for Union Square Park, raised $430,000 at this year’s event, topping last year’s fundraising amount of $368,000.

Union Square Partnership executive director Jennifer Falk said that a portion of the money raised always goes to programming in the park, such as free community programs through summer in the square, as well as landscaping of park and plazas and capital work to make repairs.

The Partnership will work with the Parks Department over the winter to develop ideas for what the park needs and work on whatever project is chosen will begin next April. The money raised through last year’s Harvest in the Square was used to build out brand new seating area just south of where the mother and child fountain is on the west side of the park between 15th and 16th Streets. The Partnership said that in the last 23 years, the event has raised a total of $6.7 million.

Falk noted that a significant portion of the money from last year was used to replace equipment in the playgrounds and to replace some of the park lighting with LED energy.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for punching women, Woman accused of stealing purse

JOHN DOE ARRESTED FOR PUNCHING WOMEN
Police arrested a 19-year-old John Doe for an assault that took place at the corner of Third Avenue and East 17th Street on Thursday, October 4 at 6:14 p.m. The victim told police that she was walking west on East 17th Street when the suspect walked up to her and punched her in the face without provocation. A witness told police that the man had punched another woman in the face as well but that victim was not at the scene by the time police arrived. The victim told police that she had pain on her upper lip and redness on her palm from when she fell on the ground. The suspect was referred to as a John Doe by police because he had no ID when arrested.

WOMAN ACCUSED OF STEALING PURSE AT PARK
Police arrested 38-year-old Dominique Eligin for an alleged theft from the corner of Madison Avenue and East 26th Street on Tuesday, October 2 at 12:48 p.m. Police said that Eligin grabbed the victim’s purse from a bench along the park and fled east on East 26th Street towards Park Avenue South, but the victim caught up with her and allegedly recovered the property from inside her backpack. Eligin was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance.

MAN BUSTED FOR EQUINOX BURGLARY
Police arrested 50-year-old William Clanton for an alleged burglary from the Equinox at 315 Park Avenue South during the overnight hours of September 8. Police said that Clanton forced open the door to the gym at 2 a.m. and allegedly stole clothing and electronics. Clanton was arrested for burglary and theft inside the 13th Precinct on Wednesday, October 3 at 9:15 a.m.

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Animals find homes at Adoptapalooza in Union Square Park

By Maya Rader

Two-legged and four-legged patrons alike flocked to Union Square on Sunday afternoon for the pet-adoption extravaganza, Adoptapalooza. Hosted by the NYC Mayor’s Alliance for Animals, the event offered over 500 adoptable dogs, cats and rabbits in tents lining the north side of Union Square and the neighboring Petco. For those who already had a four-pawed pal, the event boasted a free microchipping tent, dog training enclosure, and many booths with merchandise and information. Union Square was crowded with hundreds of attendees, and after a few hours, many of the cages that were once filled with adoptable pets were empty, having found new homes.

Photos by Maya Rader

Man found dead on train at Union Square

Union Square (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A man was found dead on a train at the Union Square subway station after walking between train cars on Sunday night, police said.

The 33-year-old man, whose name has not been released, had gotten between the cars as the southbound 4 train left the 42nd Street station, but fell as the train approached 14th Street.

When police arrived at Union Square at around 10:30 p.m., the man was found inside the train, unconscious with trauma to his head. Emergency service workers took him to Mount Sinai Beth Israel, but doctors were unable to save him.

The Medical Examiner will determine the manner and cause of death and police said no criminality is suspected at this time.

New sculpture at Union Square Park built around Washington monument

“Washington 20/20/20” by artist Kenseth Armstead was installed around the monument’s pedestal. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A new sculpture designed as a companion piece to the George Washington monument at Union Square Park was unveiled last Thursday.

The abstract, steel structure, titled “Washington 20/20/20” and created by artist Kenseth Armstead, references the 20 percent of the colonial population that were enslaved Africans, the 20,000 slaves in New York State in 1776 when Washington retreated from New York City and the 20 percent of Washington’s army that was African at Yorktown, Virginia, when he ultimately defeated the British in 1781. The piece was installed around the pedestal of the Washington monument at the park’s south end.

“This piece will spark fascinating discussions about representation, as well as racial and social justice in our country,” Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said at the sculpture’s debut. “We are proud to count it among the thousands of public artworks exhibited in the 50-year history of Park’s public art program Art in the Parks.”

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Creep grabs six-year-old boy’s crotch at Union Square Barnes & Noble

Sept6 forcibletouching1

Forcible touching suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a man who groped a six-year-old boy in front of his mother at the Union Square Barnes & Noble.

Police said that on Wednesday, August 29 at 4 p.m., the man approached the victim on the second floor of the bookstore at 33 East 17th Street and grabbed his buttocks as well as his groin area. The mother caught him as he leaned in to touch the boy’s leg and his hip and when she confronted him, the man said, “I was trying to help him. I’m sorry.” He then fled the location.

The victim wasn’t injured.

Sept6 forcibletouching2

Forcible touching suspect

The suspect is described as black, 18-20 years old, about 5’8″ tall, and 170 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes. He was last observed wearing a multi-colored short-sleeved shirt, dark jeans and white 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 at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Burglar takes cash and iPad from Irving Place restaurant

Burglary suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who burglarized Adalya, a Mediterranean restaurant on Irving Place at around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, August 3.

A restaurant employee told police that a neighbor informed him, at 6:30 a.m., that the restaurant’s side door was open. It was then discovered that $500, an iPad and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s was missing.

The suspect, seen in surveillance footage taking the cash from a register and the other goods, is light-skinned with dark hair. It isn’t clear how he got into the restaurant, located at 55 Irving Place and East 18th Street.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto nypdcrimestoppers.com.

Police Watch: Man arrested for up-skirting, ACS teens arrested for robbery

MAN ALLEGEDLY UP-SKIRTED TEENAGE GIRL
Police arrested 37-year-old Kevin Myers for allegedly filming a teenage girl without her permission inside the Union Square subway station at Union Square West and East 14th Street on Tuesday, July 24 at 7:46 p.m. Police said that Myers placed his cell phone with the camera function in the on position recording under the skirt of a 17-year-old. Myers was charged with unlawful surveillance.

ACS TEENS ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY
Police arrested two teenage girls for a robbery inside Bellevue South Park that took place on July 24. Police said that the teens attacked the victim and stole her wallet, including her passport, Medicaid card and cash.

The teens were arrested for the incident inside the Administration for Children’s Services building at 492 First Avenue on Thursday, July 26 at 2:11 p.m. Police said that both suspects as well as the victim were all residents of the ACS facility.

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Local historic profile: Harriet Quimby, pioneer aviator

July26 HarrietQuimby edit2

By Sabina Mollot

Harriet Quimby was the first woman in America to receive a pilot’s license, which she then made good use out of by flying over the English Channel in a Bleriot monoplane in 1911. This too was a first for a woman. Before and during this time, Quimby also wrote screenplays for silent films and worked as a journalist and drama critic for the magazine Leslie’s Weekly.

While there is debate about where she was originally from, Quimby lived in New York City for a few years, on 27th Street and Broadway in what was then The Victoria Hotel.

But, noted local historian Alfred Pommer, author of The History of Gramercy and Union Square, Quimby’s connection to Manhattan wasn’t just her address. She was often seen at 11 East 14th Street, which was home to an early silent film studio. Along with her journalism work, Quimby wrote seven scripts that were made into silent films, directed by D.W. Griffith, and did a bit of acting.

“She was the first successful female screenwriter in America,” said Pommer. Still, he added, “She was most well-known for her airplane flights.”

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Costumed marchers take part in Disability Pride Parade

Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Disability advocates and agency officials gathered in Union Square to celebrate the fourth Disability Pride Parade on Sunday afternoon. The parade traversed down Broadway from Madison Square Park to Union Square Park, where a festival was held in the afternoon.

City agencies such as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Office of Emergency Management and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and local hospitals such as NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation and Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Center had representatives along the route.

Nonprofits such as HeartShare Human Services and Gateway, organizations that works with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Pathways, a school on the Upper East Side for impaired children, Achilles International, a nonprofit that provides assistance to athletes with disabilities, and others marched as well, with kids and other participants dressing up in costumes for the parade’s “creativity” theme. Representatives from the Peter Stuyvesant Little League’s Challenger Division and Stuy Town’s Good Neighbor initiative, including ST/PCV general manager Rick Hayduk, marched towards the end of the parade.

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Thief throws wallet in train tracks when victim tries to get it back

July26 Robbery suspsect

Robbery suspect

Cops are looking for a pickpocket who stole a man’s wallet at the Union Square Subway station and then hit the victim on the head when he tried to get it back.

Police said that on Friday, July 13 at around 10 p.m. the victim was in the station when he realized his wallet was gone. He then asked passersby if they’d seen it, and was told that someone had picked it up from the floor. When he confronted the man, the victim saw the wallet in the other man’s hand. The two men struggled over the wallet and the thief then hit him, before throwing the wallet in the train tracks. The pickpocket then ran off and the victim was able to get his wallet back from the track bed.

The suspect, wanted for robbery, is described as white, in his 30s, 5’6″, 165 lbs. and had glasses. He was last seen wearing a gray shirt, black and white shorts and he had on a black backpack.

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 nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

MSBI nurses protest to keep pensions intact

July19 Beth Israel nurses First Ave2

Nurses and other 1199SEIU employees outside Mount Sinai Beth Israel on First Avenue (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

As Mount Sinai continues its downsizing of Beth Israel’s facilities in preparation for a new hospital to eventually open on Second Avenue, nurses and other employees within the union 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East have been bracing for possible cuts to their benefits.

On Thursday, July 12, union members picketed outside hospitals throughout the city that have employees from 1199SEIU, including Beth Israel on First Avenue and 16th Street and Mount Sinai Downtown in Union Square, formerly Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center.

At each facility, over a dozen nurses and other union employees marched or stood outside while chanting and holding signs starting shortly before noon.

“Up with the union, down with the bosses!” and “union busting is disgusting” were a couple of the chants shouted from behind a barricade on First Avenue.

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Woman found dead in trash compactor at Zeckendorf Towers

zeckendorftowers

Zeckendorf Towers at One Irving Place

By Sabina Mollot

A woman was found dead on Tuesday evening inside of a trash compactor at Zeckendorf Towers.

Police said that the woman, whose name has not been released but was 48 years old, was discovered at 5 p.m. (Update: She has been identified as Lara Prychenko.) She was pronounced dead at the condo building, which is located at 1 Irving Place and overlooks Union Square.

The woman was seen on surveillance footage entering her building shortly before she was found, according to a source cited by Pix11.

A police spokesperson said she didn’t have any additional information about the condition of the woman’s body or if the case is being investigated as a homicide.

Update: Police said the incident at this time appears to be an accident or a suicide.

An employee at the building’s front desk hung up on a reporter when called for comment.

Cops say pair dropped gun into straphanger’s bag

July12 Gun suspects

Suspects sought for grand larceny

By Sabina Mollot

Police are on the lookout for a pair of teenagers who a fellow straphanger said suddenly stashed a gun into his backpack and then tried to steal his bag to get it back.

On Wednesday, June 27 at about 8:30 p.m., the victim, a 33-year-old man, was walking along the L train platform at the Union Square subway station when he felt something drop into his backpack.

When the victim checked his bag as he walked up the stairs, he found the gun inside. At that point, two men, described as being about 18 years old, suddenly appeared and forcibly tried to take his backpack before they fled on a Brooklyn-bound L train. However, the victim was able to keep his bag and brought the weapon to police.

One of the suspects is described as being black, about six feet tall, 170 lbs. and was wearing a black sweatshirt, black pants and black shoes. The second suspect is described as Hispanic with a light complexion, 5 ft. 8 ins., and 150 lbs. He was wearing a white t-shirt, gray sweatpants and gray shoes. Photos of the two men were recovered from MTA surveillance footage.

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Police Watch: Men charged with office burglaries, Bike theft in Stuyvesant Town

MEN CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE OFFICE BURGLARIES
Police arrested three people for multiple alleged commercial burglaries that took place throughout the month of June. Nineteen-year-old Marcus White, 23-year-old Devonte Chavous and 27-year-old Wilfredo Martinez were ultimately arrested at 49 West 23rd Street on Friday, June 29 at 4:14 a.m. after police said they forced open a locked door there.
Once they were arrested, all three men were all charged in connection with two additional burglaries that took place previously. Police said that on June 22, the men broke into two different offices at 72 Madison, allegedly smashing a window to get inside and taking multiple laptops at each office.
Chavous was also charged in connection with five other burglaries that took place previously throughout the precinct.
Police said that Chavous also broke into an office at 12 West 27th Street sometime between June 8 and June 11 and allegedly stole multiple laptops. Chavous allegedly attempted to break into a building at 30 West 26th Street on June 10 around 3 a.m. but he wasn’t able to gain access to any of the offices or steal any laptops in this incident. Police said that Chavous pushed through the front door at 245 Fifth Avenue on June 14 around 2 a.m. and allegedly stole laptops from an office in the building. He allegedly broke into an office at 233 Park Avenue South on June 11 at 5 a.m. to steal multiple laptops. Chavous allegedly broke into an office at 28 West 25th Street in the overnight hours of June 18 and reportedly stole multiple laptops.
White, Chavous and Martinez were charged with burglary and trespassing.

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