$1,000 reward offered for kitten stolen from Petco

By Sabina Mollot

Cat rescue organization KittyKind is hoping to find a kitten that was stolen on Friday at around 2:25 p.m. from the Union Square Petco.

Though no one saw him in the act, a man breezed into the store on East 17th Street while the cats and kittens up for adoption were in their cages. Volunteers are only there in the mornings, evenings and weekends, so none were present when the man came in mid-afternoon, walked over to the cages and broke the lock of a lower cage. He then took a 12-week-old striped kitten named Sage from inside, leaving its sister Rosemary behind, and walked out the door.

According to Valerie Vlasaty, a KittyKind volunteer later briefed on the situation, a customer happened to see the man leave and mentioned he’d walked out with a kitten to an employee. The employee then went outside to try and stop the man, but it was too late; he’d already disappeared into the Union Square crowd.

“We’re devastated, heartbroken,” said Vlasaty.

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Police Watch: Man accused of punching woman during robbery, Woman allegedly assaulted theater employees

MAN ACCUSED OF PUNCHING WOMAN DURING CVS ROBBERY
Police arrested 27-year-old Sean Wagner and 22-year-old Nicholas Caballero for an alleged robbery inside the CVS at 245 First Avenue on Wednesday, March 27 around 11 p.m. Police said that Wagner and Caballero, along with another person who wasn’t arrested, went into the store and took merchandise off the shelves and tried to leave without paying. An employee said that she told them to stop and was going to take a photo of them when Wagner allegedly punched her in the face, causing redness and pain. The suspects fled the store, but Wagner was caught shortly after the incident in front of 7 East 14th Street on Thursday, March 28 at 12:16 a.m. Caballero was arrested inside the 13th Precinct on Monday, April 1 at 4 p.m. Wagner was charged with robbery and possession of stolen property. Caballero was charged with petit larceny.

WOMEN ALLEGEDLY ASSAULTED MOVIE THEATER EMPLOYEES
Police arrested 22-year-old Treasure Liggins, 24-year-old Brianna Jones and 23-year-old Tyhamrra Newman for an alleged fight that took place inside the AMC movie theater at 890 Broadway on Monday, March 25 around 12:40 a.m. Police said that Liggins hit the manager of the theater in the eye and Jones allegedly punched the victim, punching another employee at the theater and a security guard in the face, causing swelling and pain to the three victims. Newman reportedly sprayed the theater manager, an employee of the theater and a security guard at the theater with pepper spray, causing substantial pain. Jones and Newman were arrested inside the 13th precinct at 2 a.m. No further information was available about what started the dispute.

MAN ACCUSED OF ASSAULT AT POST OFFICE
Police arrested 58-year-old George Greenslade for an alleged assault that took place inside the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office at 335 East 14th Street on Thursday, March 28 at 4 p.m. The victim told police that he was standing in line when Greenslade allegedly shoved him after cutting him in line. The victim said that Greenslade completed his transaction and waited outside the Post Office for the victim.

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Bike ride memorializes cyclist who was killed

Dozens of cyclists pedal up First Avenue from 14th Street (pictured) passing 35th Street. (Photo by Jefferson Siegel)

By Jefferson Siegel

On Saturday a bike memorial ride was held to honor bike messenger Aurilla Lawrence, 25, who was killed on the night of February 28 in Williamsburg when she was hit by a truck. The truck driver did not stop.

A large mass of cyclists pedaled east along 14th Street from Union Square Park to First Avenue before turning uptown.

At one point the ride split into two parts, with one group of about 30 heading uptown into Harlem before eventually crossing the river into the Bronx, while a second group of about 50 cyclists criss-crossed downtown streets before heading up University Place, past Union Square and then up Broadway against traffic.

Police in cars and on scooters followed the cyclists as they moved throughout town. There was at least one arrest at 46th Street and Seventh Avenue.

Lawrence was the fifth cyclist to die so far this year, compared with ten bike fatalities in all of 2018.

 

 

Woman tracks down phone thief using app

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A woman whose phone was stolen inside a Pret a Manger near Union Square on Friday was able to get it back by tracking it through an app.

The victim told police that she was inside the café at 821 Broadway when a man who was later arrested, 44-year-old Bension Mamedov, came in and put his bag on top of her phone and phone case, which contained her driver’s license, MetroCard and a credit card and when he left, her phone was gone.

She told police that she used the Find My iPhone application to track her device and the app located her phone at 109 East 16th Street, which houses the offices of the Human Resources Administration. She flagged down two police officers who were at Union Square East and East 16th Street and went inside the building, where she spotted Mamedov.

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MTA rebuilding stairway at Union Square L train platform

Union Square station stairwell on the L train platform (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA announced last weekend that the stairs connecting the L train with the uptown and downtown NQRW trains will be demolished and rebuilt this March.

The stairs will be unavailable beginning on March 4 while the project is ongoing and the agency said it expects the stairways to reopen by the end of the month.

The MTA said that the uptown and downtown staircases, which currently face each other on the L platform, will be redesigned to make it easier for commuters to navigate than the current configuration and dissipate crowds to move along the platform more quickly.

This includes expanding the width of the lower flight of both staircases from five feet to seven feet so it matches the width of the upper flight, which is already seven feet. The extra width will add enough space for an extra passenger lane so it can fit three people at a time instead of just two.

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Man charged with burglaries in Union Square

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a man for multiple alleged burglaries that occurred inside a building on West 17th Street just west of Fifth Avenue on February 11.

Police said that 56-year-old Anthony Dunn forced open an apartment door inside the building and took electronics and cash. Dunn allegedly forced the door in another apartment in the building and police said he took electronics from that unit as well, in addition to silverware.

Dunn allegedly attempted to break into a third apartment in the building but while he was attempting to force open the door, another resident heard him went outside his apartment to ask Dunn what he was doing. Dunn reportedly said that he was from maintenance and was there to fix the apartment door, but then said he was at the wrong apartment and he fled the scene without getting inside.

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Protesters pack Union Square over border wall

Hundreds of protesters packed Union Square Park on Monday evening to protest the president’s renewed push for a border wall.

By Jefferson Siegel

Hundreds gathered in Union Square on the Presidents Day holiday, Monday night, to protest the policies of president Donald Trump and specifically his declaration of a national emergency to build a wall on the Mexican border. Dozens of similar protests were also held around the country. Sixteen state attorneys general as well as several legal organizations and numerous private citizens have filed lawsuits against Trump over declaring a national emergency.

At Union Square, there were also a handful of Trump supporters who were being kept apart from the main protest.

Photos by Jefferson Siegel

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Strand bookstore fighting landmarking attempt

Strand bookstore at 826-828 Broadway and 12th Street (Photo via Wikipedia)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Advocates for the Strand bookstore are protesting its proposed landmarking ahead of the last public hearing on the topic next Tuesday.

Nancy Bass Wyden, the owner of the Strand, came out against the proposed landmarking of her business at the end of last year, arguing at a previous public hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Commission that doing so would destroy the business.

Bass Wyden’s family, which has been operating the bookstore at 826-828 Broadway at 12th Street since 1927, has owned the building for the last 20 years. The store was originally opened by Benjamin Bass and the family has been operating the business for the last 90 years. The business relocated to its current spot on Broadway just south of Union Square Park in 1956 and Benjamin’s son, Fred, bought the building in 1996.

“We operate on thin margins,” Bass Wyden argued in a petition against the landmarking. “For every repair and every upgrade, the Strand would have to go through the slow bureaucracy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which adds to the expenses to keep Strand alive.”

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Water main break disrupts L train service

Feb26 L Train

By Sabina Mollot

A water main break in Chelsea caused L train service to be disrupted on Wednesday morning as crews worked to stop the flooding.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the 20-inch pipe located at Seventh Avenue between 14th and 15th Street burst at around 5:35 a.m. The water was later shut off though, stopping the leak, though not before some flooding in the subway. As of 9:30 a.m., crews were still working to excavate the roadway and repair the main though 14th Street was reopened to traffic.

As of 9:15 a.m., there was still no L train service between Union Square and Eighth Avenue, though otherwise L trains were still running every six minutes, the MTA said.

Still, the agency warned, “Expect delays in both directions” and suggested taking the M14 bus instead.

On its website, the MTA said water had stopped flowing into the tunnel, and crews were still busy clearing water and debris, and inspecting all affected switch and signal equipment. “We are working hard to restore full service by the afternoon rush,” the agency said.

L train updates have been posted online.

Update at 4:30 p.m.: A spokesperson for the DEP says a new valve has been installed and water service restored to 15th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.  Work continues to repair the main and restore water service to a building on corner of 14th Street and 7th Avenue, which is home to about 450 people. Work was still ongoing to resurface western lanes of Seventh Avenue though they were expected to reopen within the hour.

Union Square Partnership seeking suggestions on how to improve the area

People in attendance at the forum discuss ideas. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Union Square Partnership launched an initiative at the end of last year to solicit ideas from area residents and business owners about how to improve the neighborhood.

The Partnership announced the new project earlier last year and held “pop-up listening sessions” for two months in the district during the fall but began the community planning process with a forum at the end of November at the 14th Street Y, inviting neighbors to get involved in discussions with representatives from Marvel Architects, the firm that will be designing the final plans.

Although the neighborhood specifically around 14th Street might not be experiencing as much change as originally anticipated with the supposed cancellation of the L train shutdown, this project from the Partnership was intended to look beyond the next few years and focus on long-term goals beyond whatever changes the neighborhood will face during the construction on the L train.

“We have money to spend on the community so what we want to know is what types of investments we can make to make the neighborhood better in terms of sustainability,” said Jennifer Falk, executive director of the Partnership.

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Cops on lookout for subway groper at Union Square

Forcible touching suspect

Cops are looking for a man who grabbed a woman’s behind on a southbound 4 train on Friday, January 4. It was around 8:40 a.m. when, as the train was leaving Union Square, the man groped the 37-year-old victim. She managed to get a photo of the suspect on her phone before she got off the train at the Brooklyn Bridge station. The suspect remained on the train.

He is described as being black, 60 to 65 years old and 5’8″ to 5’9″ tall. He was last seen wearing a gray knit cap, a dark, colored hooded sweater and a green jacket.

Anyone with information in regard 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 CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Police Watch: Man arrested after fatal car wreck, Teens assault officer at ACS

MAN ARRESTED AT BELLEVUE AFTER FATAL CAR WRECK
Police arrested 37-year-old Sherman Harrison for alleged manslaughter inside Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Saturday after police said that he attempted to flee the scene of a fatal car accident earlier that day.

Police brought Harrison to the hospital after an accident that took place on Saturday, December 29 at 7:23 a.m. at the corner of West and Laight Street in Tribeca. An investigation found that he allegedly attempted to walk away from a car crash in which another driver was killed. Police said that Harrison was driving when he lost control and slammed into another car, causing a crash that left the other driver dead. Responding officers also allegedly recovered a .40 caliber magazine in plain sight inside the car. Harrison was charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

TEENS ASSAULT OFFICER IN BRAWL AT ACS
Police arrested three teenagers for assault of a peace officer inside the ACS facility at 492 First Avenue on Saturday, December 29 at 2 a.m. Police said that the teens were kicking and banging on the building’s door, so an ACS sergeant tried to escort the teens out of the building when they reportedly became physically aggressive. The sergeant reportedly tried to restrain the teens when a brawl broke out and he was punched and kicked in the head by all three of the teenagers. The sergeant received a bruise on his head as a result of the assault.

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Last minute gifts for less than $50 found at Union Sq. Holiday Market

One-of-a-kind leather-bound journals (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With Christmas now days away, those who have yet to finish their gift shopping — or start — needn’t panic.

Quality gifts aplenty can be found at The Union Square Holiday Market, which, each year, features goods from around 150 vendors at the southern end of the park. Town & Village recently wandered around in search of last-minute gift ideas and found a bunch, all for $50 or less.

Journals with covers made of leather or wood

New company Bora Ninova (created by one of the three brothers behind Bora Jewelry, a longtime market vendor) makes one-of-a-kind journals, manufactured in Turkey. The covers are made from either wrought leather in rich colors or thin wooden panels with etched drawings and are all priced between $20-$45.

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Cops on lookout for L train masturbator

Dec13 public lewdness

Public lewdness suspect

Police are looking for a man who was seen masturbating on an L train at Union Square on Monday, December 3.

The victim, a 29-year-old woman, said that it occurred at around 12:45 p.m. as the man stood close to where she was. The victim snapped a photo of the suspect before she left the train at the next station.

The suspect is described as white and 25-35 years-old, and was last seen wearing all dark clothing.

Anyone with information in regard 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 Crimestoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

Police Watch: Man charged with Union Square assault, Woman punched on East 22nd

MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULT OF WOMAN IN UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 25-year-old Gage Quinones for an alleged assault in front of 24 Union Square East on Wednesday, November 7. The victim told police that after she smoked meth with Quinones that morning, they got into an argument that escalated into a fight when Quinones allegedly punched her in the mouth, causing a cut on her bottom lip. Quinones was also charged with criminal contempt.

Quinones has been arrested multiple times within the 13th Precinct, usually in or around Union Square, in the last few years. He was charged with assault in 2016 after police said that he hit a man in the back of the head with a brick, breaking four bones. He also allegedly mugged someone in Union Square in 2014 and assaulted someone with a bike lock in the park this past June.

MAN ALLEGEDLY PUNCHES WOMAN ON EAST 22ND STREET
Police arrested 38-year-old Rashawn Duran for an alleged assault in front of 33 East 22nd Street on Sunday, November 11 at 11:04 a.m. The victim told police that she was walking down the sidewalk when Duran allegedly punched her in the face, causing swelling and bruising. The victim said that there was no previous altercation between them before the alleged assault. Duran was stopped in front of 29 East 22nd Street and the victim and a witness positively identified him. The victim was treated on the scene and removed to Bellevue Hospital.

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