Monday Bulletin: Homicide Arrest, Garage-Elevator Frustration, Folk Art Exhibit

Photo by Roberta Griff.

February 17, 2020 Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 47 degrees.

This week’s concerts, readings and other local events are on our calendar!

On Saturday, a teenager was arrested on charges that he killed Barnard freshman Tessa Majors on December 11th in Morningside Park at 116th Street, the NY Daily News reported. “Rashaun Weaver, only 14 years old, was charged as an adult with robbery and murder…after his DNA was discovered beneath the victim’s fingernails, authorities said.” The NY Times called this “the first high-profile case under the new police commissioner, Dermot F. Shea,” who said, at a press conference, “…we are confident that we have the person in custody who stabbed her.” Weaver was the second teen to be arrested in the case. A third suspect is still at large.

We reported last week that a 53-year old man was pushed to the pavement from behind and robbed of his cellphone on 88th and Broadway, in the middle of the afternoon, sustaining facial injuries. The story prompted editor and columnist John Podhoretz, who lives four blocks from there, to write a column in the NY Post, about crime in the city. “There’s a terrific hyperlocal Web site for my Manhattan neighborhood called West Side Rag,” he began, “which tells you about restaurants that are opening and closing, controversies erupting over new construction or bike lanes and the like. But over the past year, frightening changes on the Upper West Side have given the site a new urgency as the primary source for local information on the skyrocketing crime problem.” Podhoretz has personal memories of the days when the UWS was still considered the “wild west.” “The three-decade-long crime wave that was the unalterable fact of daily life in New York City began in 1964, when I was 3 years old,” he wrote. “I was mugged four times before I was 14.” Citing bail reform and the “downgrade” of broken-windows policing as possible causes, Podhoretz concludes, “We are years away from a return to that kind of hellscape. But we’re on the road to it.”

Car owners are frustrated because a broken elevator at a garage on 107th has made their cars unreachable, CBS reports. “My car is trapped upstairs because the elevator broke,” Mike Distasio said. “It’s taking almost three weeks so far.”

Parents are upset about the timing of asbestos removal at PS 87, according to the Post. “Scores of parents at the William T. Sherman School, only blocks from the American Museum of Natural History, are livid that the Department of Education has signed off on a start date near the end of March. Construction crews will start every workday at 4 p.m., about 90 minutes after classes let out but two hours before the popular afterschool program ends.”

Are you facing the prospect of living near major construction? “Don’t get mad, get organized,” advises Marjorie Cohen (also a Rag writer), in a how-to article in Brick Underground. From defining “as of right,” to determining what might be wrong (after-hours construction, excess noise), this is a primer, offering links to key city agencies to contact if you have questions or problems. Marjorie lives near a construction site on West 93rd Street.

There’s a new exhibit, called American Perspectives, at the American Folk Art Museum (2 Lincoln Square, Columbus Avenue at West 65th Street.) “The artwork on display is part of the museum’s collection, highlighting the rich diversity of self-taught artists and their contributions to our society,” NY1 reported. Curated by Stacey Hollander, the exhibit runs through May 31st. The museum is always free to the public.

ART, NEWS | 33 comments | permalink
    1. Scott B says:

      News Flash! Old white guy wants to lock up people of color for minor non violent crimes but has no problem writing and getting paid by the Murdochs the Climate change denying or that has been undermining our democracy and promoting Russian and white nationalist talking points for years. Now he exploiting a horrible murder to advance his racist agenda just like his boy Trump did in the Central Park Five case. You want to lock people up maybe start with Trump and Rudy and work your way down to poor people asking to wash car windows for a dollar.

      • MA says:

        Simmer down, Scotty. Presidents come and go (8 years is the most one can get, you know this), but crime takes much longer to root out.

        Poverty isn’t an excuse for breaking the law. If you think this statement is false, what’s the point of having locks on your doors? What’s the point of having a police force to begin with? How about we all do whatever we think is right, and may the most brazen users of violence win?

        • Deb says:

          Mark my words, fellow citizens:

          If Bloomberg was able to bypass the law that a NYC mayor could serve only two terms, I have no doubt that President Trump (who hates Bloomberg, but knows a good thing when it could advance his cause) will attempt this too.

          • UWSHebrew says:

            @Deb — you’re in prestigious company of other “mark my words” Trump “predictions”. 2/16/16, Barack Obama “Trump will never be president”. 11/15/16, Nancy Pelosi “Trump will never be president, you can take that to the bank”. 5/12/16, George Clooney “There will never be a president Donald Trump”. 5/25/16, Elizabeth Warren “Trump will never be president”.

            • Karen L. Bruno says:

              Well Put!

            • Deb says:

              @UWSHebrew – all your quotes are negative in regards to Trump.

              My prediction is that he will try to become the first 3 term President since FDR. I would think that this is something you would welcome, or better yet, President for Life, like Idi Amin.

          • UWSHebrew says:

            @Deb — NO. It disgusts me even to think about a Trump third term. If Trump dares not leave office in January 2025, I will be marching and screaming in the streets that he must go, right along with all the liberals.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        How is a man bashing someone’s head in part of “minor non violent crimes”? Oh, it’s not. Yes, people are allowed to beg, but not in a physically aggressive manner, which includes going to your property – a car – and washing your window, then demanding money. What are Russian talking points? What are white nationalist talking points? Do you mean ILLEGAL immigration? Do you know how many millions of Russians died fighting the Nazis? Do you realize without the USSR fighting the Nazis and taking the brunt of casualties, the Allies likely would not have won WWII? Bernie, Bloomberg, Pete, all are welcome to be the nominee so Trump can win 35 states. #TRUMP2020

        • Carpy D. Emm says:

          Seize the moment! Thank you so much for leaving yourself wide-open to a retort!

          You wrote: “How is a man bashing someone’s head in….”

          Q: exactly WHOSE head was bashed in???
          A: exactly NO ONE’s !

          Read the original posting c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y and you’ll discover that the “vic” was sucker-pushed and “…fell to the pavement, suffering a cut to his nose. He walked himself to a nearby urgent care center.”

          “The victim fell to the pavement, suffering a cut to his nose. He walked himself to a nearby urgent care center.

          Oh, but “a-head-bashed-in” is so much more juicy…perfect fodder for the chicken-little-types to cluck about how:
          1. the UWS is careening downhill to the bad-old-days;
          2. bring back a strong-man, like Giuliani, to save us all….

          Sorrryyy…that creep has moved on; he’s now Trump’s consigliere.

      • Brenda says:

        Is mugging considered a non-violent crime?

      • MAD says:

        Scott, are you answering the points in Podhoretz’ article or are you just stating your own points of view? Somehow, I don’t get the reason for your comments here. And murder is NOT a non-violent crime.

        • Scott B says:

          MAD I am responding to the right wing talking points that go against all available statistics that crime is so terrible and we need to go back to the good old days of broken windows policing and mass incarceration or we’re heading back to a “hellscape” I’ve been hearing this from the Post since the day De Balsio was inaugurated and as someone who grew up here as well the city feels safer than ever.

      • Linda says:

        I second Scott B. As the rich get richer, the middle class shrinks, and the poor become poorer, people on the right blame the poor and those who work to keep families together and improve the lives of America’s growing underclass. Shame, shame, shame.

      • Rob G. says:

        So woke! So outraged! So much so that you can’t even see the difference between violent and non-violent crime. Is this what you want everyone to aspire to? Will that make the city a better place for you?

    2. dc says:

      Mr. Podhoretz’s piece is spot on, in my opinion. The attitude towards policing as “colonizing” (yes, I’ve seen that term used) and of framing criminals as “victims of society” who should be forgiven for their crimes over and over again….well, that comes from the top and serves no one in a city the size of ours.

      • Scott B says:

        Trying to reduce mass incarceration actually serves many many people and not getting people into the endless cycle of prison and release into society with no skills except what they learn from other inmates does serve society in many more ways then locking people up for minor crimes. Try looking at actual facts instead of fear mongering

        • dc says:

          Decreasing mass incarceration is an admirable goal. Putting the public at risk is not.

        • MAD says:

          I agree with you, Scott, about the perils of mass incarceration for minor offenses. However, what do you do about serial repeat offenders (such as bank robbers) who are released over and over again but continue their behavior? At what point do my civil rights get violated if someone is stealing money from a bank I use and they are never held accountable?

        • Scott says:

          One thing I’ve noticed about you lefties. You’re all for de-incarceration but when it comes to Trump associates like Roger Stone and Manafort it’s lock em up and throw away the key. Let’s be real. You’re all for jailing your political opponents — for decades. Stop pretending.

          • MAD says:

            Scott — WOW. “You lefties” does not apply to me, and I suspect it does not apply to a number of people who post here. Please address the comments at hand.

      • Bert says:

        Johns piece is fear mongering at its finest. One month of stats will never give you a complete picture. Ironically murder and rape is down. But once again we cant make any real conclusions after a month. We also had a warmer January than last year so that might account for spike in crime. But guess what, crime was higher in january of 2018 then january of this year but you can’t fearmonger with those numbers. John is just another hack

    3. Richard Chused says:

      Good grief 14 years old. What sort of crazy world leads to this sort of thing. I feel sorry for everyone affected by these events. Such a tragedy.

    4. George CPW says:

      The Brick Underground link is a great resource on dealing with construction issues in a neighborhood.

    5. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      I’ve seen Mr. Podhoretz at night, 10 Pm or later, on the platform of the Times Square station, including In the last six months. He appeared perfectly relaxed, reading from his phone. Not the posture of someone standing in the midst of a maelstrom of criminal dystopia.

      But maybe the massive crime wave didn’t start til bail reform kicked in on 1/1/2020? Holy Batsignal, Batman! Gotham is under siege.

      The facts are that there is no crime wave. There are very modest upticks, which former DI Malin attributed to youth on youth robberies. We have seen many upticks before. I have every confidence that the NYPD will figure out how to handle this and things will revert to the De Blasio era mean. Which, in terms of crime on UWS, is lower than the Bloomberg era mean and way, way lower than Giuliani era mean, even at the end of his second term.

      But meanwhile I guess we will have mass online hysteria in the WSR comments section about the anarchistic and violent dystopia that has engulfed us.

    6. jezbel says:

      I can’t stand Podhoretz but what he says is true – tho not only of the UWS. I moved to Chelsea after college, lots of hustle & bustle but it was fairly safe on the big streets. I moved to UWS which had a lot of people in the “arts”, actors, artists, etc. It was very neighborhood-y. People got to know each other in their building, on their blockm walking their dogs. But you had to evaluate it block by block. There were known safe blocks and unsafe blocks (usually run by gangs). Black where you couldn’t park a car for fear it would be broken in to, where you were more likely to be mugged. Then the mid 80’s came along and whole City seemed to improve from the Mayor Abe Beame days of “Drop Dead New York City” headlines. All of the kindness actually improved after 9/11. People cared about strangers, would help others on the bus, the subway, on the streets.
      I can honestly say from the 2014 forward the long slow decline started again. Everything seems to moved in cycles. NYC is on a downward slide now. And yet the rent and prices of the UWS are increasing at a rapid pace. Soon the hedge fund folks will realize it’s not worth the money and move back out the revitalized burbs. Stores are closing, we’re shopping on line, getting food delivered, both grocery & meals. Mom & Pop can’t survive. But that’s the heart of a neighborhood.
      I finally threw in the towel 2 weeks ago. The double hits of high rent & high taxes did us in. I reluctantly left my beloved UWS and remaining favorite stores & shops. I left the whole state. I’ll be back often, but between the higher crime & vanishing shopping, vacant buildings, long wait times for transportation I finally decided that there’s life outside NYC.

      • Rodger Lodger says:

        Black where you couldn’t park a car for fear it would be broken in to, where you were more likely to be mugged.

        Sending this in to the Year’s Best Freudian Slips.

        • SharpeyedLooker says:

          I noticed that, too. And thought for the Nth time how i wish everybody would just take a sec to proofread their stuff. (And to disable so-called auto-correct!) It’s called a “typo.”

        • jezbel says:

          It sure wasn’t what I meant to say – but it’s what came out of my fingers. My apologies to anyone & everyone I must have offended.

      • Leon says:

        In the 80s, if you accidentally lightly bumped someone on the subway or walking down the street, you were afraid of what they would do to you. I moved away for a while and moved back shortly after 9/11. When I got back, in the same situation, someone was likely to say “excuse me.” In the last few years I have noticed a shift back to how things were in the 80s – people are on edge and confrontational again.

        You can’t quantify it, but quality of life in the city has gone downhill. I am happy to forego some of my civil liberties in exchange for a happier, more peaceful city.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          Leon says he is happy to forego some of HIS civil liberties. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. He is actually advocating foregoing the civil liberties of ALL OF US. And it is the poor and minorities who suffer the most damage.

          Let’s look at two examples: the Jim Crow/racial profiling version of “stop & frisk” (Bloomberg) and the recent NY State bail reform.

          Calling Bloomberg’s version of “stop and frisk” a Jim Crow policy might seem like hyperbole, but it is not, and I call it such intentionally. In fact, calling it “stop & frisk” is a misnomer, as “stop & frisk” is a legitimate policing tactic that is used in NYC to this day. “Stop & frisk” becomes illegitimate and unconstitutional when the stops are made with no legitimate suspicion of wrong-doing, or, even worse, when the reason for the stop is race and gender. This was what was done under Bloomberg, on a massive scale. In 2011, the peak year, 685,724 stops were recorded by the NYPD. Only 9% were of whites, in a city that at that point was 33% white. 87% of the stops were of Blacks and Hispanics; the preponderance of these were young males, but Black males up to the age of 40 were routinely stopped and frisked for no reason other than their race. Once racial profiling was ended, by order of a federal court, the number of S&F’s dropped precipitously. In 2017, it was 11,629.

          Jim Crow policing denotes that there were separate sets of rules and regulations for Blacks and whites; Blacks lived under a harsher, more oppressive legal code. This was policing in the South under Jim Crow and this was the Bloomberg policy.

          It’s important to emphasize that there is no evidence that either Jim Crow racial profiling nor cash bail resulted in Leon’s “happier, more peaceful city.” In fact, they resulted in a far UNHAPPIER and less peaceful city for young males of color. Do these New Yorkers count in Leon’s calculation of “happiness”?

          There is also no evidence that the end of the Bloomberg Jim Crow/racial profiling policy resulted in more crime. Crime continued to go down. In 2011, under Jim Crow policing, there were 515 murders; in 2017, there were 292. The total of “seven major felony offenses” decreased in the same time period from 106,669 to 96,658.

          With bail reform, it is too early to see results from NY State. But New Jersey abolished cash bail on January 1, 2017. Murders and violent crimes in New Jersey are down sharply in the last two years.

          On the other hand, let’s consider the RESULTS of this “foregoing of civil liberties”. How many young blacks and Hispanics, overwhelmingly male, got sent to jail and now have a record because of Jim Crow policing? They might have been carrying a small amount of marijuana, or they might have run from the police, tired of getting frisked every day. They now carry that record the rest of their lives.

          As for bail reform, a report from John Jay College/CUNY stated that in 2018, if the current law was in place, more than 20,000 extra cases would have been resolved without bail. The same report shows that in the vast majority of cases where bail was set, the suspect could not post bail (over 86% in 2018), and thus remained in jail. Once again, these are overwhelmingly Blacks and Hispanics; all are poor.

          In other words, tens of thousands sat in Rikers for months and even years because they couldn’t make bail. A large percentage of these “criminals” did not actually do anything. Let’s also note that ALL deserved the presumption of innocence. These were people who had not been tried.

          I am struck by the lack of awareness of someone who “foregoes his civil liberties” without thinking of the effect on hundreds of thousands in the city, even millions nationally, of other people. This is the path to authoritarianism.

          Oh, by the way, I bump into people on the subway all the time. I say “excuse me” or nod my head and am universally greeted with a friendly head nod back. This is from black, white, Hispanic, young, old, male, female. I don’t recognize at all the “on edge and confrontational” city that Leon is living in.

    7. Judy Bonkers says:

      What a great photo!