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Storm’s a Comin’: Who’s Gearing Up and Who’s Playing It Down

image(2)Kelsey Kudak

As you probably know by now, a major storm is expected to intensify in the next hours and could leave 10 to 14 inches of snow by early Saturday afternoon. During a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to go home early today and stock up on supplies and medicine. Low-lying areas may experience moderate coastal flooding as the tide rises a foot or two, he said. Underground subway service should run “close to normal,” though bus service will be reduced as the storm picks up. Alternate-side parking is suspended citywide through Sunday.

With the white stuff coming down fast, The Local called up establishments around the East Village to see how they were preparing for the storm. If they were preparing at all.

All classes, activities, offices, and operations are cancelled after 4 p.m., with the exception of this evening’s events at Skirball and Kimmel. The school will reopen tomorrow at 9 a.m., according to an e-mail.

Associated Supermarket
Norman Quintanila said they were well-stocked and hope to stay open through the weekend.

Whole Foods Market
Shaquarry Williams said people are picking up “more items than usual, but nothing serious.”

CHP Hardware

According to Monica Pedreros, “it’s not, like, crazy.”

La MaMa E.T.C. ‏
After some initial bravado on Twitter (“What’s a little snow compared to the life long memories that you will acquire from coming to La Mama??”), the theater canceled tonight’s performance of “Four Beckett Shorts.”
Read more…

Mars Bar Could Return

Despite reports that a TD bank branch would occupy the ground floor space in the building occupying Mars Bars old Second Avenue lot, it seems a return of Mars Bar is not ruled out. The Commercial Observer is reporting that there are two retail spaces available, one of which could take on Mars Bar’s name–and its liquor license.–Kim Davis

Voices Raised Against Avenue A 7-Eleven

Community activist and Save the Lower East Side blogger Rob Hollander is calling for protests against the 7-Eleven store which appears to be coming to the former Bar on A location, on Avenue A at 11th Street. In an email circulated today, Mr. Hollander said “We’re drawing the line of suburbanization here.” A meeting is planned for January 16, at Father’s Heart Ministries, 545 East 11th Street. —Kim Davis

Police Release Sketch of Attack Suspect

Police are still hunting the perpetrator of an attack on a jogger at East River Park around 11.30 am Thursday. They released a sketch of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).–Kim Davis


East River Park Assault

N.Y.P.D. are reporting a confirmed sexual assault at East River Park. The suspect is described as a black male of stocky build with facial hair. He was wearing a grey hoodie and green pants.

–Kim Davis

Severe Weather

With severe weather threatened for the city this afternoon, please let us know of any problems you experience around the neighborhood — or share your snow photos with us. You can post comments below, or share photos at the Local East Village Flickr group.

–Kim Davis

A Robbery Pattern Emerges

While robberies remain lower than expected for this time of year, a pattern has emerged in the last 28-day period.

On November 20th, police say a Hispanic male in his late twenties dressed in a baseball cap and dark jacket approached a male victim from behind and put him in a choke hold on East 13th Street between First and Second Avenues. The victim’s wallet and cell phone were then stolen. At Tuesday’s Community Council Meeting, Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann said that the attack was caught on surveillance video taken outside of the Verizon building on East 13th Street. The suspect is believed to be roughly six feet tall and two hundred pounds.

Police believe the suspect is also linked to a robbery outside of 65 Second Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets on December 5th, as well as in two other robberies committed in Stuyvesant Town, that fall under the jurisdiction of the Thirteenth Precinct. All of the forced robberies took place after midnight. In the December 5th attack, the suspect approached another man and punched him in the face before robbing him.

Police arrested an initial suspect who was later released. – Annie Fairman

Power Flows Back Into Haven Plaza, Knickerbocker Village

knickerbocker villageJoann Pan On Tuesday, Knickerbocker Village management said they will have electricity fully restored to its buildings by early Wednesday morning.

Two apartment complexes that were among the hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy are inching back to normality.

Residents at One Haven Plaza who last week were without power are in a better place today, as electricity is flowing to most of the building’s apartments, and heat and hot water have been fully restored.

But work remains to be done. “In some apartments, [electricity] is still not on,” said Daisy Lopez, site manager for Haven Plaza. “But we have the electrician here and he’s going to go around.”

The development’s management company, Wavecrest Management Team, has hired Enviro Waste, a hazardous waste company, to clean and sanitize flooded basements where power equipment was badly damaged. Electricians are also repairing elevator cables in the complex’s four high-rises, in hopes of getting an elevator in each building running by late tomorrow.

Until then, Ms. Lopez said, management is discouraging elderly tenants — some of whom were given temporary shelter at the Grand Street Guild, also managed by Wavecrest — from returning to their apartments.

Still, many evacuees have done just that. One sign of improved conditions: today was the last day tenants were provided hot meals.
Read more…

Still Without Power, Haven Plaza Residents Lug Toilet Water Up 20 Flights

do not drink the waterJoann Pan Signs warn residents: “Do Not Drink the Water.” Cases of bottled water are available to all residents living in Haven Plaza.

For nearly 11 days, Isa Gonzalez and her two young children have been living in the dark, without heat or running water.

To get to their apartment at One Haven Plaza, they climb 17 flights of unlit stairs. The federally subsidized high-rise at Avenue C and 13th Street was one of the many buildings that lost power after Hurricane Sandy hit last Monday.

Electricity started flowing to the apartments in Two and Three Haven Plaza this week, though  – like many other buildings in Alphabet City – they are still without heat or water. But at One Haven Plaza, where electrical equipment in the basement was badly damaged by flooding, the situation is worse. Signs reading “Do Not Drink the Water” are posted in the hallways, next to elevators at a standstill.

Daisy Lopez, site manager of the three buildings, believes power may not be restored for a week. “We are telling everyone one week, but we are hoping sooner than that,” she said, wearing a scarf and hat in her unheated office yesterday.

Some of the building’s elderly tenants and families with young children had the option to take a limited number of vacant rooms at the Grand Street Guild housing development, affiliated with the plaza’s management company. But half of the residents remain, Ms. Gonzalez estimated. Read more…

May Day, 2012: The Local’s Live Coverage of M1NYC

Today on The Local, we’re not only looking back at the May Day riot of 1990 (stay tuned for more on that), we’re also on the ground at a number of events planned city-wide and in the East Village. Below, you’ll find real-time updates from our reporters Jared Malsin (@jmalsin) and Evan Bleier (@itishowitis), as well as our contributing photographers Tim Schreier, Scott Lynch (@scoboco), Susan Keyloun, and others. We’ll also be linking to other online coverage. E-mail us, Tweet at us, or leave a comment if you have tips or want us to follow you on Twitter. And if you have photos to share, add them to our Flickr group.

Police Close Down Tompkins After 7-Eleven Window Is Smashed [Updated]

The police closed down Tompkins Square Park tonight after a window of a 7-Eleven was smashed, seemingly by protesters.

Around 9:20 p.m., Tim Pool, a livecaster of Occupy Wall Street events, filmed police cars blocking off Tompkins Square Park. In the video embedded above, Mr. Pool reports hearing that, after the Anarchist Book Fair earlier today, a “black bloc” formed and “there was a lot of property destruction, a few windows broken. We heard a few people tried to smash some Starbucks windows and ‘some Mafioso-looking guys came out with big poles and started swinging them.’” Read more…

Three-Alarm Fire at Masaryk Towers

fire2Daniel Maurer

If you’re wondering why helicopters have been hovering over the East Village, it’s likely due to a three-alarm fire that broke out in the upper stories of Masaryk Towers at Columbia Street near Rivington Street in the Lower East Side. Fire trucks and emergency vehicles are lined up all the way to Houston Street. DNA Info reported that the blaze broke out on the 16th floor of 89 Columbia Street at 11:20 a.m.; no injuries were reported at the time of its story. Our friends at The Lo-Side are following the fire and posted aerial shots as well as photos of the charred building just minutes ago.

Update | 1:20 p.m. The Lo-Down reports that the blaze has been extinguished.

Witnesses Report Two Gunshots At Lillian Wald Houses

Police at Lillian WaldSuzanne Rozdeba A police car at East Fourth Street and Avenue D.

Two gunshots were fired in the Lillian Wald Houses at around 2:45 p.m., a convenience store employee told The Local.

“I didn’t see anything other than people running when they heard the shots,” said Mohamed Sidi, who works at 33 Best Deal on Avenue D. “People were scared.”

A pair of police officers were lingering at the entrance to the Lillian Wald complex at East Fourth Street at around 4 p.m., but would not comment, citing an ongoing investigation. An employee at the nearby Ave. D Candy Store, Ahmedou Ould-Dahya, also told The Local he heard a pair of gunshots.

A spokesman for the police department did yet not have any information on the possible incident.

As Victim Leaves Hospital, Investigation Into Campos Plaza Shooting Continues

crimestopDaniel Maurer A sign posted at 13th Street and Avenue C.

In an apparent response to a shooting in the courtyard of Campos Plaza II on Saturday morning, signs have been posted around the housing complex advertising rewards of up to $2,000 for tips leading to the solving of a crime. The police are said to have upped their presence at the complex (yesterday evening, a cruiser was stationed on 13th Street between Avenues B and C) and have also announced the reward via a roving bullhorn. Meanwhile, a source close to the 19-year-old who was shot in the leg said that the unnamed teen is walking again, and was due to be released from the hospital yesterday.

The police said today that the case remains open and there have been no arrests. A representative of the N.Y.P.D. also revealed that at 12:20 a.m., just five to ten minutes after the gunfire was said to have erupted, a 32-year-old woman, Frances Rodriguez, was arrested at the location of the incident, outside of 641 East 13th Street. She is alleged to have been fighting with others when she assaulted a police officer. It was unclear whether or not the incident was connected with the shooting or the events leading up to it. Read more…

Protesters of Police Brutality Flood East Village (Updated)

protestDaniel Maurer At Astor Place shortly before 4 p.m.

Hundreds of people protesting police brutality have marched from Union Square, down Broadway, down East 8th Street and St. Marks Place, and through Tompkins Square Park heading toward Avenue D. Follow The Local and its editor on Twitter as we tweet minute-by-minute updates from the scene. Tweet us your own updates and add photos to our Flickr pool as you take them. We’ll have more from the scene as this unfolds.

Update | 7:15 p.m. The event was the October 22nd Coalition’s 16th Annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Similar marches were planned in 27 other cities today. The march ended with a gathering at Avenue D and East Sixth Street, outside of the Jacob Riis Houses, where a group of about 350 including members of the Communist organization Ignite, Occupy The Hood, and others listened to short call-and-response speeches.

Among those who took the bullhorn were Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (which spearheaded a “Stop and Frisk” protest that ended in the arrest of Cornel West and others in Harlem yesterday) as well as the parents of Elijah Foster-Bey, a teenager who was involved in a shootout with police in Brooklyn a year ago. “Shoot first, ask questions later is not right,” said Mr. Foster-Bey’s mother, Ellen Cross.

About 65 police officers lined Avenue D, many of them riding motor scooters and some of them surveying the scene from rooftops as demonstrators chanted, “Come down and face the truth, no hiding on the roof. Their number had dwindled to about 20 community affairs officers by 6 p.m., when the crowd began thinning. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network will organize their next demonstration against “stop and frisk” policies during a meeting at St. Mary’s Church in Harlem, tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Update | Oct. 23, 12:45 a.m. We’ve now posted video from the demonstration. Watch it here.

Friends and Family Recall Homeless Woman’s Struggle With Addiction

Liz HooperCourtesy of Patricia Thomsen

On Saturday, near the corner of Avenue B and Seventh Street, under a short stretch of blue scaffolding across from Tompkins Square Park, a makeshift bed of cardboard stretched across a few blocks of concrete. At the top – where a pillow would be on most beds – lay a crumpled heap of clothes and a few plastic bags. A solitary votive candle stood in the center of the designated sleeping spot, the flame so feeble that a small gust of wind might have blown it out.

Liz Hooper, 50, a homeless woman, had occupied this sidewalk space for the last six months until she was found dead next to it on Saturday morning, as reported by City Room. Ellen Borakove, a spokesperson for the city medical examiner told The Local that, as of now, the cause of death is still uncertain. Read more…

Free Willie Nelson, Up in Smoke

Neighborhoodr tweets a photo of smoke coming out of the neighborhood’s most visible vehicle, the Free Willie Nelson, after an apparent fire this morning. Good thing owner Rob Britt just invested in another RV. The fire doesn’t appear to be serious, but we’ll let you know if we hear more.

Share Your Hurricane Irene Stories and Photos With The Local (Plus: All The Latest)

Good evening, East Village.

Angela Cravens, a community contributor at The Local, has shared her photos of the neighborhood preparing for Hurricane Irene earlier today, and we want to see yours, as well. (By the way, she tells us a sign posted at Villa Della Pace tells Irene, in Italian, to go do something very not nice.) If you have anything to share with your neighbors now that the rain has driven you indoors (Gothamist has the latest on what to expect now that the Category 1 hurricane is 300 miles away), leave your comments below. Have a longer story that you’d like The Local to post? E-mail the editor. Have photos? Join The Local’s Flickr group, and we’ll add them to the gallery above. And feel free to alert us to any developments (no matter how large or small) via our Twitter page, if that’s your preference. We’re listening.

Elsewhere around the Internet, everyone from the Guardian in the U.K. (which noted lines down the block at Trader Joe’s) to the usual neighborhood blogs were eying local supermarkets today: EV Grieve reported that the Associated on Avenue C was primed to set a single-day sales record, and posted photos from Key Food and Fine Fare. A manager at Key Food told the Wall Street Journal of “chaos” there (the store was already running low on certain supplies when we checked in on grocery stores yesterday). Read more…

Mayor Orders Mandatory Evacuation of Zone A, Including Parts of Alphabet City

At a press conference addressing Hurricane Irene this afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents of Zone A, which as this PDF map indicates, includes areas of Alphabet City (Bowery Boogie has an East Village and Lower East Side detail of the map). All affected residents are ordered to evacuate by 5 p.m. tomorrow. Subways, buses, the Long Island Railroad, and Metro-North will cease operation at noon tomorrow as well.

Gothamist quotes Mayor Bloomberg as saying,  “Nobody is going to get fined and nobody is going to go to jail, but if they don’t evacuate they could die.” Read more…

Possible ‘Street Fight’ Disrupts Lower East Side Crime-Fighting Event

NNOLaura Lee While the 7th Precinct’s National Night Out was disrupted, the 9th Precinct’s event (above) went off without incident.

On the Lower East Side last night, a man allegedly armed with a gun ran past crowds and momentarily disrupted the 7th Precinct’s 28th Annual National Night Out, a community event aimed at reducing crime by bringing police and neighbors together.

Less than ten minutes into Deputy Inspector Nancy Barry’s opening speech, screams were heard on Attorney Street – around fifteen feet away from where she was speaking. Moments after, people began fleeing past Barry’s stage. The speech broke abruptly.

“He had a gun,” said a witness who was standing between Attorney and Stanton Streets when the commotion erupted.

Another witness said it was a “street fight.”

Read more…