Lynne Fischman-Uniman (center) with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Assembly Member Dan Quart, who are supporting her campaign (Photo courtesy of Lynne Fischman-Uniman)
By Sabina Mollot
On June 25, there will be a Democratic primary in New York City, albeit a quiet one in certain districts, mainly for delegates for judicial convention, county committee members and district leader positions. But in the fourth Municipal Court district — the area comprised of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, Gramercy, Kips Bay and Murray Hill — there is a race for Civil Court judge with two serious candidates.
One is West Midtown resident Grace Park, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, and the other is Upper East Sider Lynne Fischman-Uniman, who also practices law, in her case for nearly 40 years. Unlike other races, judicial candidates don’t need to live in the districts they’re running in and it’s quite possible that if elected, they will end up being assigned outside the area or even the borough, depending on where the demand for judges is.
Civil Court judges decide cases involving small claims of up to $25,000 and some housing cases, though sometimes they’re assigned at first to Family Court or Criminal Court.
As for why New Yorkers should care about a local race for the bench, Fischman-Uniman’s elevator pitch to voters has been that along with her experience in law, including teaching it at New York Law School, she is devoted to the betterment of the court process wherever possible.
Melissa Jane Kronfeld, one of two Republican candidates running for the City Council seat now occupied by Dan Garodnick, has dropped out of the race.
Kronfeld, better known as “MJ,” offered no explanation for her change of heart after having been an active candidate, even participating in a debate co-hosted by Town & Village at Waterside last month.
The self-described “progressive Conservative” announced her withdrawal in an email to supporters on Thursday evening and in a Twitter post.
“It is with great humility and gratitude that I am writing to let you know I will no longer be seeking the City Council seat in Manhattan’s District 4,” she said. After expressing gratitude to her supporters, she added, “I look forward to the next opportunity to continue my service to my community, city, state, country and all humanity in the months and years to come.”
Surveillance photos of suspects from the third incident in Murray Hill
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police are looking for a group of teenagers suspected of stealing thousands of dollars worth of electronic toothbrushes from Duane Reades throughout the city, including from a store in Gramercy. The four incidents all took place in April, although police only announced the pattern this week. The first theft took place inside the Duane Reade at 125 Third Avenue near East 14th Street on Sunday, April 9 at 9:18 p.m. when the suspects reportedly grabbed $1,264 worth of electronic toothbrushes from the shelves and fled.
The next two incidents took place two days later on April 11 in stores on the Upper East Side. Police said that the suspects entered a Duane Reade at 1091 Lexington Avenue at 5:07 p.m. and swiped $1,210 worth of electronic toothbrushes before fleeing, then stole $3,030 worth of electronic toothbrushes from a Duane Reade at 1352 First Avenue at 5:20 p.m.
The last known incident took place on Sunday, April 23 when the suspects made off with $160 worth of electronic toothbrushes from a Duane Reade at 155 East 34th Street near Third Avenue.
The NYPD is asking for the public’s help in finding a man wanted for two bank robberies on the East Side.
Most recently, the suspect went into a Chase Bank at 450 Third Avenue between East 31st and 32nd Streets yesterday around 1:10 p.m. and passed a demand note to a bank teller. Police said that the teller complied and gave the suspect an unspecified amount of money. He then fled in an unknown direction.
Former Con Ed employee Trevial Terry was indicted last Thursday for stabbing his ex-girlfriend in her office and then attacking two of his co-workers with an ax inside the Con Edison building where he worked. Terry, 40, has been charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with two counts of attempted murder in the second degree, as well as multiple counts of assault and attempted assault in the first degree and attempted assault in the second degree.
According to court records, Terry followed his 36-year-old ex-girlfriend to the Upper East Side building where she worked on June 22 at 2:25 p.m. and after he was allowed into the building’s lobby, stabbed her with a knife at least six times in the abdomen, side and buttocks. The Daily News reported at the time of his arrest that he and the victim, Alicia Sylvia, were in the middle of a custody battle over their child. She was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Hospital in serious but stable condition.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney chats with a voter in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo courtesy of Congress Member Maloney)
By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday, three local Democrats easily held on to their positions as voters, along with re-electing Andrew Cuomo as governor, also re-elected Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh.
Maloney won with 79.85 percent of the vote, defeating former seminary student and former Pfizer employee Nicholas Di iorio, who got 20.15 percent.
Di iorio had fought tooth and nail for each vote though, having sent out near daily press releases blasting his opponent in the weeks leading up to the election on everything from her trip to China to secure a panda for New York to failure to get many bills passed in Washington. For this he labeled her ineffective.
He’d also hounded his opponent for a debate, and did eventually succeed in wearing her down. The only debate of the campaign took place at a newspaper office in Queens last Thursday, focusing on issues of interest to that part of the district.
Meanwhile, by Tuesday morning, Maloney reported doing well with voters she encountered while campaigning.
Many told her they’d be giving her their vote, though she quickly added, “I probably shouldn’t say that. Of course they’re not going to tell me if they weren’t going to vote for me.”
After casting her own vote at the 92nd Street Y, Maloney also made several stops throughout the district, including popping by Stuyvesant Town in the afternoon.
Some voters had gripes about long lines to cast their votes, although this year, without a presidential election, lines weren’t exactly spilling out of polling place doors.“It’s definitely lower (turnout) than in a presidential year, but people are coming out to vote,” said Maloney. She added that she would work on trying to keep lines shorter in the future, either by pushing for more polling sites or the creation of smaller voting districts.
She also said that if reelected, “I’ll be focused like a laser on affordable housing and making sure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not finance anything that removes affordable housing.”
Other goals included making it easier for people to buy homes, doing away with excessive bank overdraft fees and getting a bill for women’s equality passed, that has, since Maloney’s been in office, failed to do so.
Nicholas Di iorio talks to a voter in Brooklyn. (Photo courtesy of Nicholas Di iorio)
On Tuesday, Di orio was also making various campaign stops around the three-borough district, starting on the Upper East Side, where he lives not far from Maloney, Greenpoint, Brooklyn and later Queens. At around 11 a.m., he was in Manhattan, after voting at Knickerbocker Plaza on 91st Street.
He said for the most part voters he was encountering were familiar with his campaign, having read interviews with him in Town & Village and other newspapers.
When voters stopped to chat with the candidate, typically they had questions that were economy-related. This is where he felt his background working to save money for a pharmaceutical giant worked in his favor.
“It’s been a great day so far,” said Di iorio said. “A lot of the legislators in Congress talk about growing the economy but they haven’t spent time working in economics. That’s one of the differences between me and Congress Member Maloney. I’m trying to help companies and small businesses hire more employees.”
His platform was based around cutting corporate taxes to keep jobs from going overseas.
Later, when asked about the contentious nature of the race, Maloney dismissed her opponent’s steady stream of criticism as a typical Republican tactic.
“The Republicans do not fight on issues,” she said. “They try to destroy the person.”
But not all Republicans used tough guy tactics in this race — or even any tactics at all. Hoylman and Kavanagh both sailed to reelection thanks to their opponents, Stuyvesant Town resident Frank Scala, and East Villager Bryan Cooper, respectively, not running active campaigns.
Kavanagh won with 85.06 percent of the vote, while Cooper got 14.94 percent. Hoylman got 85.66 percent while Scala got 14.34 percent.
State Senate candidate Frank Scala
Scala, who’s the president of the Albano Republican Club and the owner of a Fifth Avenue barber shop, said he only ran for State Senate after being asked by the Republican County Committee. But he didn’t seek attention beyond participating in a candidate forum last week hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council, which his opponent didn’t attend.
And this wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that local candidates have run just to have a Republican on the ballot. In Manhattan, there hasn’t been a Republican elected since the late Roy Goodman left the State Senate in 2002.
Cooper, who, like Scala, has run for office locally before, told Town & Village he had been genuinely interested in running for Assembly, but had wanted to try doing it in a “grassroots” way. He didn’t build a campaign website or attempt to get press, choosing instead to walk around the Lower East Side and the East Village, mostly, as well as Stuy Town where he said he’s noticed a “strong Republican presence.”
“People do come to our club meetings,” he said, referring to the Albano Club, in which he’s a district leader. “People feel like our interests are not being represented. We need a Republican, especially on the Lower East Side.”
Cooper, a production assistant and Navy veteran, said he’d been hearing disgust from his neighbors about corruption in Albany and Cuomo’s handling of the Moreland Commission’s dismantling. Lack of jobs was another concern.
Assembly candidate Bryan Cooper
“We want more businesses to be here, less taxes. There’s more unemployment and the homeless situation has risen. Why is this? Businesses are leaving New York.”
He also said that following Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to end stop-and-frisk, he’s found that people no longer feel safe.
“Ever since they stopped stop-and-frisk, people are like, ‘I’m out of here,’” he said. “What’s the point of having a police force when your hands are tied? What’s the problem with stopping and asking a question or checking your bag?”
On his low-key campaign, he explained it was mainly due to money reasons, but he also wanted to see “how effective it would be,” since he is already planning a run for State Senate. “Maybe if this doesn’t work out, I’ll learn my lesson.”
Cops are hunting a knife-toting robber who they say has been holding up laundromats and assaulting his victims, in one incident even punching a 70-year-old woman. The robberies have taken place in the Kips Bay neighborhood as well as on the Upper East Side.
Police say the pattern started on February 22, when a man entered the 217 Laundromat at 217 East 26th Street and snatched $300 out of the cash register.
Then on the evening of Wednesday, February 26, at the Alpine Cleaners, located at 178 East 70th Street, the same man is believed to have made a person there give him $200 in cash.
On the evening of Tuesday, March 12 at Elegant Cleaners and Tailors, located at 168 East 24th Street, the man swiped $300 from the register. He also punched his victim in the face.
On the evening of Thursday, March 27 at the 29 Street Cleaner, located at 212 East 29th Street, the robber pulled a knife and demanded money. The 70-year-old female victim refused and he then punched her in the face and threw her to the ground. The brute then fled empty-handed.
The most recent known incident took place on the evening of Saturday, March 29 at Lok’s Laundry at 354 East 81st Street. The same man is believed to have taken $500 from the register there.
The suspect is described as black, 45-55 years old, 5’7”-5’9” tall and 190 lbs. He was last seen wearing a dark waist-length jacket with a blue hoodie underneath, blue jeans and was carrying a small silver knife. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). Or submit tips online at http://www.crimestoppers.com.