Sunday, November 23, 2014

Police Release Images Of Duo Wanted In Wednesday's Central Park Robbery of Woman, 24


Cops release new images of suspected Central Park robbers

The police released new surveillance images Saturday of the male and female suspected of robbing a  24-year-old woman in Central Park on Wednesday evening in the northern section of the park. 

Manhattan

Authorities released new surveillance images Saturday of the duo suspected of robbing a woman in Central Park last week, according to the NY Post. 

The male crook approached the 24-year-old victim in the park near West 110th Street and Lenox Avenue at about 11:50 p.m., Wednesday, and placed her in a chokehold, cops said. 

When the goon threw the woman to the ground, a female accomplice swooped in and grabbed the victim’s handbag, according to police. The bag contained the victim’s debit card, $5 cash, and a library book. Officials said the victim was not seriously injured in the theft. 

The suspects are both believed to be between 18 and 20-years-old.



The suspects, seen exiting Central Park on Wednesday,  were captured by grainy surveillance video the police released on Thursday.  The woman (l) is seen carrying the vicim's handbag in the  video.

Read More:

New York Post - November 23, 2014 - By Aaron Feis

Friday, November 21, 2014

Parks Department Forestry Truck Overturned In Queens:Video



A massive Parks Department Forestry bucket truck lies on its side after it was  hit and overturned by a commercial delivery vehicle in Maspeth Queens Thursday morning at the intersection of 72nd Street and Grand Avenue.   Parents from nearby schools including PS. 58 became nervous when they were notified via automated text that a major accident had occurred.    (Photos by Linda D'Aquaro) click on images to enlarge

Queens

By Geoffrey Croft

A commercial truck hit a large Parks Department Forestry truck causing it to flip onto its side,  NYC Park Advocates has learned.

According to witness the commercial truck was attempting to make a turn and got stuck, then backed up and apparently hooked the Parks truck.  When it pulled forward, it caused the Parks truck to flip.

The incident occured yesterday at the intersection of 72nd Street and Grand Avenue.

FDNY said they received a call of an overturned truck at 11:21 am. They report the truck was leaking fluid and oil at the scene according to a spokesperson. 

The accident caused major traffic issues as Grand Avenue was closed from 71st Street to 74th Street for approximately 3 hours.


A Parks Department Forestry bucket truck lies on its side after being struck.

A crane was brought in to upright the truck.  



 Video shows the massive Parks truck being turned rightside up.  

A Parks Department spokesperson confirmed the incident and said the person in the truck thankfully did not report any injuries.

Parents from nearby schools including PS. 58 became nervous when they were notified via automated text that a major accident had occurred.   

The accident happened a few blocks away from  Elmhurst Park.



Woman, 24, Choked & Robbed In Central Park By Two Assailants

Manhattan 

A man and a woman assaulted and robbed a park-goer inside Central Park Wednesday night, putting the victim in a chokehold as they took her purse and then ran away, police say. 

The 24-year-old victim, Lisa Karanz, told NBC 4 New York she was taking her normal route home along the northernmost path of the park after getting off the subway at 110th Street near Lenox Avenue just before midnight.  

"I was grabbed, put in a chokehold, brought to my knees, brought to the ground," she said.

The man and woman took off with Karanz's handbag.

Police released grainy surveillance video of the suspects Thursday. 

Karanz said police told her the man and the woman had been following her along the well-lit path before ambushing her.  The purse was found along a subway platform later in the night, with everything intact, but the traumatic event has left Karanz shaken, and she said it's difficult to feel safe.

 "It's nerve-wracking to be here," she said at the park Thursday night. "Today I was walking in broad daylight and constantly looking over my shoulder." 

Karanz said it was a difficult lesson for her. 

"Don't let your guard down for a second because when you do, you never know what can happen in a city like this," she said. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

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WNBC - November 20, 2014 - By Brynn Gingras

Central Park Ambulances Destroyed In Garage Fire


"We can't just go out and buy another bus. While we do have insurance on the vehicles, the cost of replacements ambulances and the necessary equipment to stock them will far surpass what we expect to recover."  -  Central Park Medical Unit



Two volunteer Central Park Medical Unit ambulances were destroyed in an early morning fire in a public garage yesterday.  The non-profit group  has been providing free emergency medical services in the park since 1975 and responds to more than one thousand calls annually. (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge


Manhattan

A Total Loss. The interior of an ambulance reveals the charred remains. (Photo:  Rafael Castellanos courtesy of Central Park Medical Unit)


By Geoffrey Croft

Two custom designed ambulances belonging to the Central Park Medical Unit were destroyed in an early Thursday morning fire on the upper west side. 

The all volunteer unit lost two of its three ambulances in the two alarm fire that broke out at 3:30 am in a public parking garage at 143 W. 108th St., between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues owned by E&B Operating Corp.

The group's oldest and newest ambulances were lost in the blaze which also claimed  dozens of other vehicles parked in the commercial garage. 

More than one hundred firefighters responded to the scene. The fire took a little over an hour and a half to get under control according to  FDNY officials.

Five firefighters were treated for minor injuries at nearby St. Lukes Hospital and released.

The  cause of the fire is under investigation.

The loss for the group is of particular concern because the specially designed $ 150,000 vehicles are built lower than normal ones which allow them to pass through and under all of the park's low tunnels and bridges. This provides greater access through the many miles of passageways  helps increase responce time.


(Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge


While other ambulances are not able to pass through several locations the Central Park, which happens periodically the Central Park "buses" have two or three inches of clearance.

The unit operates within the Park and its members have an expert knowledge of the geography of the Park.  

"This facilitates our rapid response times, regardless of a call's location," said Greg Levow VP Administration Central Park Medical Unit who notes their average response time is 3 minutes.

The charred remains of  the interior of an ambulance.
(Photos: Rafael Castellanos courtesy of Central Park Medical Unit) Click on images to enlarge



Response times for the unit could be increased since they are down to one working ambulance. 

The non-profit has approximately 150 volunteers who donate approximately 6,000 hours per year.   The group has never charged a single patient for their services since beginning in 1975 and relies on public donations.

"We can't just go out and buy another bus," said Greg Levow VP of administration for the Central Park Medical Unit.

"We are raising funds to help us restore our operations as quickly as possible. While we do have insurance on the vehicles, the cost of replacements ambulances and the necessary equipment to stock them will far surpass what we expect to recover."

The "Crowdrise" tool on their website allows people to donate.   


The parking garage onwed by owned by E&B Operating Corp. is located on 143 W. 108th St., between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues.    (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge


The 100% volunteer Unit operates in complement with FDNY and the other commercial ambulance services and its members hold the same certifications as FDNY and commercial EMS providers, NYS EMT and NYS Paramedic.

In addition to the ambulances e group has two Bike EMS teams and a six-wheeled off-road vehicle.  

In recent years we've had several high profile rescues, saves, and incidents:





Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Central Park Speed Limit To Be Lowered



The speed limit in Central Park will be reduced to 20 miles per hour and new barricades will be installed in four areas.  (photo: NYC Park Advocates) click on image to enlarge

Manhattan

By Geoffrey Croft

The De Blasio administration will lower the speed limit in Central Park as part of the Vision Zero plan NYC Park Advocates has learned.

The speed limit will be reduced by 5 miles per hour to 20mph.

The move comes after two people were killed and three suffered fractured skulls this year alone as a result of being struck by cyclists in the park. 

Police in the park have dramatically increased bike enforcement and education.

The Central Park Pct. has so far issued 865 tickets to cyclists this year compared to 212 over the same period last year as of November 12th.  

The top four categories for tickets issued: 386 for Failure To Yield To Pedestrians,  164 wearing head phones,  117  biking on pathways, and 94 summons for running red lights. 

Some people were stopped for multiple infractions but given only on summons according to police.




Last week two off-leash dogs were run over and killed in the park by motor vehicles.  

Starting on November 7th the speed limit on all New York City streets was lowered to 25 MPH unless otherwise posted as part of Mayor De blasio's Vision Zero plan in an effort to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries in the city.  

In the early 90's police briefly enforced a separate speed limit for cyclists in Central Park under then parks commissioner Betsy Gotbaum, who instituted a 15 m.p.h. limit.  

Issues involving speeding go back to when the park first opened in the 19th Century as horse-drawn carriages accidents were prevalent.






NYC DOT, NYC PARKS DEPARTMENT, NYPD, AND CENTRAL PARK CONSERVANCY ANNOUNCE SAFETY ENHANCEMENTS ON CENTRAL PARK LOOP DRIVE

New items include park-wide speed limit reduction from 25mph to 20mph, barricades further separating pedestrians from cyclists and enhancements to key crosswalks

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, NYPD, and the Central Park Conservancy today announced immediate safety enhancements along the Central Park Drives. In addition to a reduction of the speed limit inside Central Park from 25 to 20 MPH for all modes of transportation, four key crossings across the park will receive substantial enhancements, including highly prominent “Pedestrian Crossing” warning signs at the intersections, advisory 10 MPH speed signs, and advance pedestrian crossing signs before each intersection.  The advance signs will be reinforced with roadway markings near the sign locations, refurbished crosswalks and clearer lane use markings.

Barricades will also be installed to shorten pedestrian crossing distance on the West Drive at two crossings (at Sheep Meadow, near W. 68th Street, and at Heckscher Ballfields, near E. 63rd Street) where the drive is significantly wider than typical. The barricades will be placed in the west-most motor vehicle lane during car-free hours. At Delacorte Theater (near W. 81st Street), a barricade will be installed between the pedestrian and bicycle lanes to better guide pedestrians to the crosswalk and to improve their sightlines to cyclists.
           
The Central Park Precinct will continue its public awareness campaign in the park to inform every one of the rules and regulations as it relates to traffic and pedestrian safety.  Individuals found in violation of the rules will be cited accordingly. 

        “Central Park is for all to enjoy in a safe and enjoyable manner, no matter how you choose to experience it,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “These immediate safety enhancements, worked out in partnership with our sister agencies, augments that experience by calming traffic, improving crosswalks and further reinforcing the appropriate lane assignments for all users.”

“Public safety is our highest priority and the new safety enhancement measures being implemented in Central Park will surely provide its millions of visitors with a safer experience,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.  “I commend the NYC Department of Transportation, the NYPD, and the Central Park Conservancy for partnering with us to ensure enhanced safety conditions for all of the park's pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.”

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “The New York City Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety of all those who use Central Park as a means of transportation and recreation.  We will continue to collaborate with our partners from the Central Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Transportation and the Parks Department to make our streets safer for all New Yorkers and visitors alike.” 
                                                           
“There’s no question; slower traffic will mean a safer park” said Doug Blonsky, President and CEO of Central Park Conservancy. “We applaud the DOT’s leadership role in lowering speed limits and adding signs and barricades, and we urge all  park users to know the new rules of the road.”

The four locations to receive these treatments include:

•       West Drive at Delacorte Theater (near W. 81st Street)
•       West Drive at Sheep Meadow (near W. 68th Street)
•       West Drive at Heckscher Ballfields Crossing (near E. 63rd Street)
•       East Drive at Terrace Drive (near E. 72nd Street)

The agencies will follow up the enhancements with stakeholder outreach and will be distributing DOT’s Bike Smart Brochures and Central Park-specific brochure geared toward cyclists and pedestrians.






Read/View More:



 New York Daily News  - November 19, 2014 -  BY Erin Durkin


CBS - November 18, 2014 - By Dave Carlin 

New York Daily News  - November 18, 2014 -  BY Erin Durkin

WCBS 880 -  November 18, 2014 -  by  Alex Silverman


New York Post  - November 19, 2014 - By Amber Sutherland and Yoav Gonen 

gothamist -  November 18, 2014 - Christopher Robbins










Monday, November 17, 2014

Bono Injured In Central Park Bike Accident

Manhattan

The lead singer for the Irish band U2 was injured in a bicycling accident.

Paul Hewson, better known as Bono,  took a spill while riding in Central Park that will require surgery the band announced on its website on Sunday.

"It looks like we will have to do our Tonight Show residency another time - we're one man down. Bono has injured his arm in a cycling spill in Central Park and requires some surgery to repair it. We're sure he'll make a full recovery soon, so we'll be back! Much thanks to Jimmy Fallon and everyone at the show for their understanding."

The singer lives across the street from Central Park in Steve Jobs’ old penthouse apartment at the San Remo.

$ 170 Mil. Secret Pier 55 Deal: Barry Diller To Create Park & Entertainment Complex


This rendering of the proposed Pier 55, which will be built between the soon-to-be-demolished Pier 54 and the already demolished Pier 56, calls for undulating lawns and an amphitheater.







The Hudson River Park Trust finally found a solution for the crumbling Pier 54 delema - get a billionaire to foot the bill.  The proposed $ 170 million dollar Pier 55 project will be built between the soon-to-be-demolished Pier 54 and the already demolished Pier 56 between 13/14th Street in the West Village.   The  Barry Diller-Diane von Furstenberg Family Foundation will contribute $ 130 million dollars to design and build the off-shore pier then lease it from the park trust for 20 years.   The city and state are contributing $39 million for construction.  The nonprofit Pier55 Inc. will run the pier’s programming and fund day-to-day operations. 

The unique space will feature lush lawns, gardens and several performance spaces. (Renderings: Heatherwick Studio)

The Hudson River Park Trust continues to push the Bloomberg public/private partnership agenda to abdicate its responsiblity for caring for its public spaces.  They approached billionaire Barry Diller more than two years ago and have been negotiating behind closed-doors since. 

“Somebody’s got to pay for it. We don’t have the money,” Diana L. Taylor, the chairwoman of the Trust told the NY Times.  


That statement is true because people like her partner former Michael Bloomberg and other elected officials simply refuse to allocate the necessary funds. Over the years several media outlets have erroneously reported that Hudson River Park is supposed to be self-sustaining.  

Ms. Taylor famously told a group of public school parent representatives hoping to include a school during a meeting regarding the stalled redevelopment of Pier 40,  "I don't give a shit I don't live around here."   


The deal was supposed  be announced today by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mr. Diller.  

 - Geoffrey Croft

Manhattan

The Hudson River is about to get a spectacular new floating park, thanks to media mogul Barry Diller and his wife, celebrity fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, according to the New Yor Daily News. 

The couple has partnered with the Hudson River Park Trust to build a $130 million pier and performance space to replace the unused and decaying Pier 54 at W. 13th St., Diller told the Daily News. 

 "There is no performance center in New York with these kinds of aspirations," said Diller, who heads media conglomerate IAC. 

The plan calls for a square pier the size of two football fields to rise on stilts between the existing, but decrepit, Pier 54 and the remains of Pier 56. Both piers’ pilings will remain as a habitat for fish.  

The new pier, to be known as Pier 55, will feature undulating gardens, lush lawns and pathways and a 700-seat waterfront amphitheater.

Pier 55 gets $130M bid to create an ‘island oasis’
The platform would sit atop 300 mushroom-shaped concrete columns that are to range in height from 70 feet above the water to 15 feet above.



It was designed by Heatherwick Studio, the same company behind the flaming cauldron at the 2012 London Olympic Games.  

"New York has always reminded me of Venice, so I am happy the time has come to properly honor its waterways," von Furstenberg said.  The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation will design, build and maintain the pier — then lease it from the park trust for 20 years. 

Oscar-winning movie producer Scott Rudin, theater director Stephen Daldry, and playwright George Wolfe are all on board to select acts to perform on the pier.  The city and state are contributing $35 million for construction, but most of the financial burden will fall on the famous couple.

“We are so lucky as a family that we get to do this,” Diller said. 

 One park watchdog was more critical, saying such a project should have local input. 

 “Diller is obviously being extremely generous, but private citizens are being able to dictate public spaces,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates.

 “The public has been completely left out.”  But the Hudson River Park Trust defends the partnership.

"This is not privatization," said Madelyn Wils, president and CEO of the trust.

 "They're going to be operating in a public park so the park has to remain open and accessible."  

The lease still must be approved by the trust’s board, and will undergo a 60-day public review. Plans will be presented to Community Board 2 next month. 

For Croft, it’s too little, too late. 

“It’s already a foregone conclusion,” he said. 

If approved, work will begin next year with a scheduled completion date of late 2018 or early 2019.

This rendering of the proposed Pier 55, which will be built between the soon-to-be-demolished Pier 54 and the already demolished Pier 56, calls for undulating lawns and an amphitheater.

Barry Diller, chair and Scott Rudin, vice chair of nonprofit Pier55 Inc. will run the pier’s programming and fund day-to-day operations under a 20-year lease with the Hudson River Park Trust.





The crumbling Pier 54, which juts 875 feet into the Hudson River will be demolised and replaced by a 2.4 acre off-shore park and performance spaces.    (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge


The Hudson River Park Trust has rented out the former Cunard-White Star pier for events including concerts and the annual Gay Pride dance each June.  In 1998 it became part of Hudson River Park.   



The rusting Cunard & White Star arch at the foot of Pier 54 will be restored under the plan and will provide one of two access points to the park which will be 186 feet off-shore. 


Read More:

WCBS - November 17, 2014 - By Dick Brennan

New York Daily News -  November 17, 2014 - By Katherine Clarke  

New York Times - November 17, 2014 - By Charles V Bagli AGLI and Robin Pogrebin 

New York Post - By Steve Cuozzo  November 17,  2014