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Ray Sumser’s Cartoon Universe

Ray Sumser, a Californian artist who recently moved to the East Village, has been working on a series of cartoon projects. His goal: to portray the “most recognizable characters” from popular cartoons. He’s been bringing his art to public spaces like Union Square too.

Woman Plunges to Death On University Place

IMG_5592Alexa Mae Asperin University Place and 13th Street.

A 57-year-old woman died after plummeting from a building on the corner of University Place and 13th Street, the police said.

The fire department received reports of a jumper in cardiac arrest around 11:50 a.m.

Isaac Samuels Bruton, 45, was working nearby on a film shoot when he heard that a woman jumped out of a window. “A couple of my co-workers were going to lunch and said they saw her coming down,” he said.

Shearn Franklin, 20, an employee of Vive la Crêpe, located diagonally across the street, said he was facing a customer when he heard a “loud pop” from the shop’s open windows. “I thought it was someone dropping a box,” he said. He walked outside the store with his manager and saw a person lying lifeless on the pavement. Read more…

A Roundabout Way to Commemorate Occupy Wall Street

Ann Humphreys, 42, hoola hoop teacherSanna Chu Ann Humphreys, 42, hoola hoop teacher

City Room reported that 124 people were arrested near Wall Street earlier today, on the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Gothamist noted that several of the arrested were in wheelchairs. Meanwhile other protesters are amassing at Liberty and Foley Square for public assemblies.

Around 1 p.m. Union Square, the site of many previous demonstrations, was relatively quiet. Volunteers manning the Occupy table were redirecting people downtown for scheduled events. But one woman, a hoola hoop teacher, was doing her part: Ann Humphreys, 42, was offering free hoola hoop lessons in what she hoped was the spontaneous and joyful spirit of Occupy. “I see the hoop as a way to bring the pressure down,” she said.

Based in North Carolina, Ms. Humphreys travels the country espousing the uplifting benefits of the hoop. She spent a few days at Zuccotti Park last October. “Back in the early days,” she said, “I noticed just the presence of hoop dance – the fun and levity – brought smiles to everybody’s faces.”

Smoking Manhole Rattles Union Square Commuters [Updated]

Smoke gushing from a manhole at Broadway and 17th Street rattled commuters in Union Square this evening.

“A big boom and black smoke at the NE corner of 17th and Broadway,” tweeted the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. “It was NOT our truck blowing up. What’s going on?”

Others tweeted about an explosion, but a ConEd spokesperson said there was no explosion when the manhole started smoking at 5:30 p.m. He said there were no injuries or power outages as a result of the smoke, the cause of which is currently under investigation.

A fire department spokesperson said the smoke was quickly brought under control.

The event unnerved some already shaken up by this morning’s shooting near the Empire State Building. More photos…

Glaze Fires Up Seattle-Style Teriyaki Near Union Square

UNION SQUARE GLAZE-1013Courtesy of Glaze

Paul Krug wanted to open a Seattle-style teriyaki joint in the East Village, where he had lived for most of his ten years in New York. But the Emerald City native couldn’t find the perfect lease, so he settled in midtown instead. Two years later, he’s finally giving it a go just below 14th Street.

The second outpost of Glaze Teriyaki Grill opened today at 139 Fourth Avenue – right next to another narrow takeout joint, Dos Toros – in a building where Mr. Krug once lived (he’s now a couple of minutes away).

“We never intended to go to midtown first. We always wanted to go down here,” said the restaurateur. 

Take a look inside

Everybody in the Pool at Union Square! (Well, Not Everybody)

Photos: Jason Trobman

There was a swimming pool in Union Square today, but unlike the zip line that popped up some weeks ago, nobody got to use it.

The pool party was created for It’s So Miami, a campaign by the Greater Miami Convention and Tourism Bureau.

Spectators weren’t allowed in the water or on the chaises, and had to settle for tossing beach balls while free trips were given away. (Areas reserved for hunky models? That is so Miami!) Bouncing to club tunes and sipping coconut water, the models, at least, looked like they were having a blast, as did Karina Smirnoff from “Dancing with the Stars.”

Louis Aguirre, a Florida news reporter serving as master of ceremonies, touted Miami as the “sixth borough,” Hey, it’s not as crazy as it sounds.

Electrical Fire at Union Square Closes Off 14th Street

union square 2Melvin Felix
union square 3Melvin Felix

An electrical fire at the Union Square subway station led to the temporary closing of one block of 14th Street at around 2 p.m.

EV Grieve rounded up photos of the small blaze, which is in a grate beside a subway entrance on the south side of 14th Street between Broadway and Fourth Avenue. The fire was caused by a “service box failure,” a spokesman for Con Edison told The Local. A spokesman told Gothamist, which gathered tweets about the fire, that the cause was “a failure of electrical cables.” No injuries were reported. Read more…

Local Beekeeper Stings Mira Sorvino in ‘Union Square’

On Friday, “Union Square” came to Houston Street: Nancy Savoca’s movie about estranged sisters who hash out their differences in an airy Union Square apartment opened at Angelika. The film is set just outside of the East Village: at one point, the more high-strung of the siblings, who runs a health food company not entirely unsimilar to actual Union Square company One Lucky Duck, gives her address as 886 Broadway, which would put her in the W & J Sloane Building, between 18th and 19th Streets. No wonder her sister thinks her place is “crazy awesome.”

Most of the “action” takes place inside this loft as the brash and boisterous Lucy (played by Mira Sorvino), who’s in the neighborhood to shop for tacky bags at Filene’s Basement (R.I.P.), tries to reconnect with the crunchy, cloistered Jenny (Tammy Blanchard), a vegan convert who’s so ashamed of her Bronx roots, her rough-around-the-edges Italian-American family, and her secret past as a (gasp!) smoker that she tells her hunky fiancée that she’s from Maine.

As The Times notes in its review, the movie is fairly theatrical in its contained setting and dramatic conversation. But perhaps the best bit of dialogue happens to be ad-libbed, and involves Andrew Cote, the beekeeper who a couple of months ago helped out with that Bowery swarm and then relocated some Central Park bees to the Sixth Street Community Center. Read more…

As Talks Resume, Con Ed Workers Rally Near Union Square

.Mary Reinholz

Chanting slogans and waving flags, including one that read “Don’t Tread on Me,” at least 1,000 demonstrators massed this morning near the headquarters of Consolidated Edison at 4 Irving Place to support some 8,000 unionized employees locked out early Sunday morning.

The utility company and representatives of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America resumed negotiations around noon today, assisted by federal mediators. Allan Drury, a spokesman for Con Edison, declined to give the location. Previous talks had been held in Rye, N.Y.

Meanwhile, demonstrations continued in the sweltering heat. “We’re here to show our support for the union,” said utility worker Damon Romanelli, 49. “I’ve been working for Con Ed only five years but there are guys here who have worked for them for 30 and 40 years and they locked us out. They want to cut back on our pensions and on medical. It’s not fair.” Read more…

Maroon 5 Fanatics Queue Up at Best Buy

Maroon 5 fanaticsScott Lynch and Lauren Carol Smith The first lady in line for an in-store appearance by Maroon 5 on the left, and the line later this afternoon.

Clearly, their love has taken its toll. Teenage girls are lining up in droves outside of the Union Square Best Buy for an in-store appearance by the band Maroon 5. There’s still time to head over — the heartthrobs aren’t scheduled to arrive until 7 p.m.

Dog Day Afternoon: Sausage Party in Union Square, New Judges for Crif Dog Classic

The truck at Union Square.Mary Reinholz

In Union Square today, a semi-truck doubling as a barbecue smoker offered free chicken and beef sausage links to pedestrians as part of the History Channel’s “Cross Country Cookout.” The truck will be serving free grub till 6 p.m.

Of course, it may be a little late to get in on the feeding frenzy, so here’s something else to chew on: Dexter Holland, lead singer of The Offspring (yes, they’re still around, and have an album out today) and Evette Rios, correspondent on ABC’S “The Chew,” have been added to the judging table at the Crif Dog Classic, an eating contest taking place at Roberta’s, in Bushwick, on the Fourth of July.

At Union Square.Mary Reinholz

The contest, hosted by the East Village’s own Crif Dogs, will feature ten renowned eaters, including Takeru Kobayashi – the legend who famously became persona non grata at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest –  as well as beats from Finger on the Pulse and performances by Wild Yaks, Andy Suzuki & The Method, and The Electric Mess.

As for the Coney Island competition, East Village roommates Timothy “Eater X” Janus and Crazy Legs Conti are gearing up for it, and we’ll have more on that later.

Wheeee! A Zip Line Over Union Square

Robin Manning glides down the 160-foot zip line.Melvin Felix Robin Manning glides down a zip line at Union Square Park.

Some lucky pedestrians around Union Square got to zing down a 160-foot-long zip line before going off to work this morning.

A preview of Summer Streets 2012 at Union Square.Melvin Felix A group waits in line to ride the zip line.

“It was so fun,” said Robin Manning, 48, who lives in Hanover Square and said she was late on her way to therapy.

The zip line is one of several free activities associated with Summer Streets this year. For three Saturdays in August, the city will clear traffic on nearly seven miles of streets and turn them over to pedestrians. This year’s events, which will take place from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the first three Saturdays of August, will include a 25-foot climbing wall, sports-themed activities such as dance and yoga classes and, of course, the zip line.

“You don’t need a cup of coffee,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who glided down the long cable at Union Square twice this morning. “You can start your morning off with the zip line.”

D.O.T. Commissioner Janette Saik-KhanMelvin Felix Department of Transportation Commissioner
Janette Sadik-Khan.

Ms. Sadik-Khan, who spoke with a bike helmet at her side (they were given out at the event) said community groups would also offer family-friendly activities, dubbed Weekend Walks. Fourth Arts Block will host the East Village’s Weekend Walks on August 18, 19, 25 and 26, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at East Fourth Street between Second Avenue and Bowery.

Mid-Afternoon Razor Attack in Union Square

slashing 5Melvin Felix The crime scene at Union Square East.

A man was slashed with a razor blade in Union Square this afternoon by an attacker who fled the scene, the police and witnesses said.

The police said that around 2:30 p.m., across from Beth Israel’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center at Union Square East near 15th Street, a 37-year-old man was slashed in the face by a man who wore a white t-shirt and is said to be around five-foot-eight and 170 pounds.

slashingMelvin Felix Robin Stewart was spotted by the victim’s blood.

Robin Stewart said she saw the alleged attacker approach her acquaintance, whom she named only as Mr. P, from behind and then use a razor blade to stab him in his head and neck. The slashing, she said, was in retaliation for an altercation between the two men yesterday in the same area.

Ms. Stewart described the victim as “a good hard-working man who’s in between jobs,” and the incident as “a senseless act of brutality.”

Tyrone Curry, another witness, said, “It cut him so deep and hard that the blade broke.” Shortly after the attack, the blade lay on the ground in an area cordoned off by police tape. Read more…

On 13th, Another Spot for Hookahs and Hummus

Sahara CitiPhilip Ross
Sahara Citi 3Philip Ross

Aziza isn’t the only new hookah lounge in the neighborhood. Sahara Citi opened on 13th Street earlier this month. The restaurant sells about 30 flavors of tobacco and Mediterranean cuisine (see menu below). An inspirational message on the wall reads, “It is what it is…but it will become what you make it,” which might well be a reference to the casual ambiance and modest decor. Another small sign reads: “Wine me up and watch me go!” Unfortunately, despite a last-minute blessing from the community board, Saraha Citi’s beer-and-wine license is still pending, so alcohol won’t be served for at least another month. See the menu…

Deadly Hit-and-Run at Union Square

A truck struck and killed a 21-year-old woman crossing the street at Union Square early this morning and then fled the scene, the police said.

The truck was traveling eastbound on East 14th Street at around 1:15 a.m. when it made the turn onto Broadway and hit the victim, who was crossing Broadway, according to the police. The name of the victim, who was pronounced dead at Beth Israel Hospital, has not yet been released. The police have not made any arrests for the incident.

In an example of particularly grim timing, a new short video by Karen Loew, who lives near East 14th Street, highlights the particularly dangerous intersection with First Avenue, only three blocks away from the fatal accident. Read more…

The Day | Gun Bust at Union Square and 13 Other Morning Reads

Found kittenSuzanne Rozdeba
Lost dogSuzanne Rozdeba

Good morning, East Village.

Take note, pet owners: the flyer above and another at right went up around the neighborhood recently.

The Post reports that Kenneth Moreno, the former police officer who was acquitted of raping a woman on duty but fired after being found guilty of official misconduct, is thinking about suing the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for allegedly planting incriminating evidence.

You’ll recall baggies of heroin were found in Mr. Moreno’s locker, and woes at the stationhouse continue: The Post hears from a source that the last of four 9mm pistols stolen from the locker room was swiped after officers were assigned to patrol the room.

Speaking of guns, The Daily News reports that two teens were arrested at the Union Square station when police officers who stopped them for evading the fare found a pair of guns and two bulletproof vests on them. Read more…

L Train Death at Union Square

Gothamist reports that a man was struck and killed by an L train at Union Square this morning. According to the MTA’s site, Manhattan-bound service has been suspended from the Bedford Avenue station to the Eighth Avenue Station.

May We Share Some More Arrest Videos?

99%Tim Schreier Protester arrested at Sara D. Roosevelt Park

When we filed our final report on May Day activities in the wee hours of this morning, the police would say only that more than 30 were arrested during yesterday’s demonstrations. The final tally is now in: City Room reports that 34 people were taken into custody and another 52 issued desk appearance tickets.

The photo above is one of Tim Schreier’s newly posted shots from the Wildcat March at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. And arrest videos have also emerged on YouTube. A video posted by Kg4 shows a protester kicking out a police car window from inside of a cruiser. Read more…

Victim of Alleged Subway Peeper Photographs Him Back

Unlawful surveillance suspectNew York Police Department The suspect.

A man took a photograph up a passenger’s skirt while they rode a southbound 4 train arriving in the Union Square station on April 18, police said.

The 24-year-old victim approached officers in the station at around 4:10 p.m. and showed them a photo she had taken of the voyeur. The suspect, who is said to be around five-foot-five and 150 pounds, is wanted for unlawful surveillance.

Know Your Occupiers: The Union Square Protester Primer, Pt. 5

Who are the men and women seeking to occupy Union Square Park? So far we’ve met Karin Hofmann and Justin Stone-Diaz; Fathema Shadida and Tim “Chyno” Chin; John Eustor and Carlton Hall; and Ed Mortimer and James Pistocco. Today, in the final installment of The Local’s series, meet two more of your new neighbors.

Sam WoodJared Malsin

Name: Sam Wood
Age: 22
Originally from: Farmingdale, New York
Current residence: Full-time occupier. “I’ve spent a decent amount of nights here in Union Square.”
Job before joining occupy: Unemployed
Current job: Full-time occupier, unemployed Read more…