Monday Bulletin: To Heli and Back, Cold Case Leads to UWS, Billionaires’ Row Homeless Shelter

Have no wheels, will not travel. Photo by Nicolas at 93rd and Riverside.

May 31, 2021 Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 72 degrees.

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“Like many of my neighbors on the Upper West Side I profoundly dislike and resent the tour helicopters that seem to unceasingly harass us,” begins Julia Vitullo-Martin, in an overview of the helicopter problem in Gotham Gazette. To understand the “invaders,” Vitullo-Martin took a heli tour herself. “We cut over to Central Park via the 70s…. We circled slowly and noisily above Belvedere Lake and the Great Lawn for 8-10 minutes, reversing directions twice so that everyone could get their preferred photo…. [The] most important lesson for those troubled about New York’s helicopter invasion is: Complaints make a difference, so keep up the protests.”

“I should have walked,” Councilmember Helen Rosenthal reportedly said, after an ill-fated drive to a Maya Wiley campaign event on Tuesday led to revelations that she was Zooming while driving, according to the New York Post and Streetsblog. On top of that, her car was found to have 62 violations since 2013 — mostly for parking violations. The Zooming incident is surprising, as Rosenthal is known to be an avid cyclist. “Legislating-from-the-car has become popular among New York City Council members in the pandemic — even for those who ostensibly promote alternative modes of transportation, according to photo stills of other hearings seen by The Post.”

After a quarter of a century, the trail of a cold rape case led to the Upper West Side, the Daily News reported. “A livery car driver was charged on Thursday with raping one of his passengers…in what the Queens D.A. calls the oldest sexual assault case ever prosecuted in the borough. Danny Stewart, 58, raped a restaurant worker at gunpoint in 1996, and eluded justice until his DNA was entered into a state database last year, prosecutors said. Stewart, who lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, faces first-degree rape charges.”

Legal documents have been flowing in and out of the Upper West Side apartment of Jennifer Weisselberg, former daughter-in-law of Allen Weisselberg, CFO of the Trump Organization. Jennifer told CBS on Thursday that she was served eviction papers, possibly, according to Business Insider, for “retribution.” Weisselberg met “with investigators for both the Manhattan district attorney and the New York State attorney general about their probes into the Trump Organization and Donald Trump.” In April, she turned over “several boxes of financial documents from her divorce….”

The highest court in the state has decided that a 150-bed, single men’s homeless shelter can be sited at 158 West 58th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, “the city’s priciest street,” the Daily News reported. “The Court of Appeals said it was not up to a judge to assess building safety and that ‘a court cannot second guess (a city agency’s) determination by granting a hearing to find additional facts or consider evidence not before the agency when it made its determination’…The new shelter is included in the city’s Department of Homeless Services’ Turning the Tide plan, a 2017 initiative that promised to reduce the use of both cluster sites and hotels while building 90 new city-run shelters.”

“New Yorkers have been finding a new or renewed love of birding: solace and joy during troubled times,” writes NYC Audubon. But the past year has also brought problems to a recognized birding paradise: Central Park. First, a white woman falsely accused a Black man of threatening her in the Ramble, and lost her job as a result. Now, she is suing to get it back, New York magazine reports. And, always, there is “Birding Bob,” who calls birds to him using controversial (and noisy) methods, shown in the following short film in The New York Times.

Finally, from June 1st through June 21st, Daily Provisions, on 78th and Amsterdam Avenue, will be selling Strawberry Fields crullers to benefit the Central Park Conservancy, according to The New York Times. “Crullers are a Daily Provisions specialty, and this one comes with matcha icing strewn with bits of tart-dried strawberry to balance the sweetness…$1 of the price [will be] donated to the Conservancy.”

NEWS | 29 comments | permalink
    1. Brownie says:

      Speaking of noise, Moonrise Izakaya restaurant on 98th and Amsterdam Ave is nightmare for residents with loud outdoor speakers.Calling 311 doesn’t help.

    2. To join the fight against helicopters, please sign our petition and sign up for our newsletter at Stop the Chop NY/NJ is a nonprofit organization run by volunteers with a mission to ban the nonessential helicopters over NYC and metro area. Nonessential helicopters are the tourist and commuter helicopters as defined in the federal bill to ban said helicopters. Congressional Bill HR1643- The Improving Helicopter Safety Act of 2021 – was reintroduced in March by Congressmembers Maloney, Nadler, and Velasquez. Rep. Suozzi has joined on as well, but it needs more Congressional cosponsors and for our NY Senators to support it as well. Additionally, closing the local heliports to nonessential helicopters is one of our goals, and so far candidates Scott Stringer, Elizabeth Caputo, Mark Levine, and Brad Hoylman have publicly supported that idea. Assemblymember Weprin who is running for Comptroller has an oped on this subject as well. We cannot endorse candidates as we are a 501c3, but candidates can endorse our mission, and we can educate on the issues. This environmental and noise pollution issue (also a health, safety and security issue) must be addressed by all the candidates running for office. Early voting and the primary election are this June so please reach out to candidates if you care about the helicopter problem and want them to help resolve it. Borough President and city council candidate Gale Brewer has been hosting Helicopter Task Force meetings and Stop the Chop NY/NJ is a recent member of that task force. Please join our movement, volunteer with us, follow us on social media, help us spread awareness. Thanks! Stop the Chop NY/NJ Board

      • EdNY says:

        All good. But let’s remember that NYC & NYS officials are powerless to do anything about the bulk of the traffic as it comes from NJ. That’s why congressional action is so important.

    3. Joey says:

      Re. Helen Rosenthal’s 62 vehicle violations: did she pay them, did she claim some kind of privilege or is she a scofflaw?

      • Annoyed says:

        She is a scoff law. Like the entire NYPD who illegally park their personal vehicles all overr the neighborhood causing dangerous situations for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Their cars are also full of violations like expired registrations. No wonder my complaint to Helen asking for help in fixing this was ignored. Vote her out.

        • Concerned citizen says:

          Term limits!

        • Sam Katz says:

          The City of New York is supposed to provide parking for members of the NYPD, and since the City does not, and they use their personal cars for work (think Detectives in Law & Order), they are indeed allowed to park wherever and whenever, and that’s why they have parking plates in the windows. It does not make for any dangerous situation for anyone. Grow up, dude. Do you want the crimes solved, or not? I’m so tired of the ridiculous complaints about police made by people who can’t even ask a simple question like “Are you allowed to park here?” Since the answer is yes, you can complain all you want, but guess what? The City isn’t only about you. When a Detective or another rushes to a crime scene, or to grab a witness, or a subject, or investigate something, they don’t have the time to walk to the overpriced parking lot and wait until cars are shuffled around to get their vehicles. They dash in and dash out all day long. If you’re going to get all whiney about Manhattan realities, don’t live here.

          • Josh P. says:

            “It does not make for any dangerous situation for anyone.”
            That’s not what the data shows: In Manhattan, the average precinct block had more than double the crashes (118 percent more) than the blocks on either side of the station house. The reason there are so many crashes on precinct blocks is simple: There is so much driving to precinct blocks — and so much chaos on precinct blocks.

          • More Annoyed says:

            Unfortunately you’re wrong. I am not referring to detectives who use their personal cars for business or double parked while on official police business.
            I am talking about uniformed police officers who use a standard police car for their work and park their personal vehicle that they commute with illegally.
            This means double parked on Columbus Avenue, or worse, in the turning lane which on a recent Friday obstructed a motorists view causing him to hit a 14 year old boy on a bicycle, so you should “grow up” and realize that is dangerous.
            And before you make a statement about it not being illegal, you should educate yourself on the issue. Five laws were passed almost unanimously and went into effect in January of 2020 that absolutely make using a placard for these purposes illegal. The placards are so they can park in legal spots without worrying about being ticketed past hours, or feeding a meter.
            Lastly, since they are police officers, they don’t get tickets for other violations like missing license plates, expired inspection stickers, or having no placard and just a hand written note saying “I’m Police Officer X”

          • Josh P. says:

            Also, New York is not supposed to provide parking for cops. They might think they’re owed it, but it’s not what their collective bargaining agreement says.

      • nemo paradise says:

        Watches Zoom while she drives, and has 62 parking violations? She’s not a scofflaw, she’s an outlaw.

        • Ian Alterman says:

          Not quite. The only difference between Rosenthal and other reps is that she got caught. They all do it; I have seen it.

    4. The highest court in New York state has ruled that the #ParkSavoyHotel shelter on Billionaires’ Row may proceed. This will teach shelter opponents that expensive lawyers may delay but won’t stop a shelter DHS wants to put in a neighborhood. It should also teach them to intervene at an agency level first, with their own expert assessments, before going to court. Now, this being an employment shelter, I know that many residents will smoke. There’s one narrow staircase and no alternative means of egress. Let’s pray there’s no fire.

    5. Richard says:

      Housing not shelters. The 58th street site, which raised neighborhood resistance, should be re-configured to provide permanent housing. Permanent housing is the best and only sustainable long term solution. More shelters only kick the can down the block.

      • Leon says:

        I think we largely agree in theory, but I don’t like the word “permanent.” I agree that it should not be completely transient housing.

        But no form of public housing should be permanent. The goal should be for the residents to reach a level of self-sufficiency where they no longer need government subsidies, and they can move out on their own so the units become available for those who truly need it. Moving out might also entail moving to a less desirable location, but such is life.

        • Lisa says:

          And here human nature comes into play, Leon. Why would anyone start working if that would mean they’d lose their very nice accommodations? The only way that will happen is if they stand to gain a better place to live with a job, than they do with no job. That is why people work to begin with, for goodness sake.

    6. Brandon says:

      How is Jennifer Weisselberg being evicted? I thought we were still under an eviction moratorium.

    7. Cruller DeVille says:

      Did somebody say CRULLERS?!!! I’m coming! Strawberry Fields Forever!

    8. JS says:

      Wow – completely shocked at so many helicopters this afternoon.
      Did not realize the extent of problem until today.

      • Ian Alterman says:

        I agree! For some reason, the # of helicopters on Memorial Day was insane! I live in the West 80s, and I could not even listen to music INDOORS, such was the continuous and loud noise.

    9. ROBERT GREEN says:


      • your_neighbor says:

        If you simultaneously hit the CTRL key and the “+” key, the type will get larger each time you hit it. Same with the “-” key to make it smaller.

    10. DavidS says:

      “The Zooming incident is surprising, as Rosenthal is known to be an avid cyclist.”

      This is surprising because cyclists are known to be a law-abiding bunch that are profoundly respectful of traffic regulations.

      • JL says:

        WowWee David S ! Congratulations, this might be the first time I’ve seen bad/distracted driving being used to further bike hate. Just because someone was known (by whom?) to have used a bike in the city doesn’t make her an “avid” cyclist.

        What’s surprising to me is that she thinks the mistake was not walking the short distance, and not being distracted and Zooming while driving. Even if she thinks she is a highly skilled driver, normalizing the pandemic of distracted driving IS the “crime”(not illegal), and it randomly kills 1.3 million annually.

        While it’s not as bad as Cuomo not getting the memo for the #Me Too movement, because she was multitasking at work. It is still disappointing to learn of the exceptionalism of civil servants in power to do these things in plain sight.

    11. ST says:

      Once again I ask why is it that the UWS has such a disproportionate share of supportive housing beds? CB7 does not seem to care about this nor has the ever not-useful Helen Rosenthal. A new facility just went up on 108th, among quite a few others in that neighborhood. Now another one? The Upper East side has 4 beds while the UWS has well over a thousand and counting.
      The UWS is carrying too much of the load.

      • Ian Alterman says:

        Your numbers are way off. While it is true that the UWS has the 3rd largest # of shelter beds, with 1107, the UES currently has 80 beds, and has just added a new facility with another 88 beds. And more will be coming as part of the new plan.

        And it should not surprise you that the many on the UES did not even want the extra 88 beds.

    12. Mark Moore says:

      That Honda. It’s at least $550/wheel to replace the rims and tires and then add the tow charge plus any damage from dragging it along the ground like that. That’s just sad. Get wheel locks.

    13. Only in NY would they put a single male homeless shelter in the middle of midtown. This city is bell bent on destroying itself. I can’t fathom how anyone still voted for this