Man Stalks Young Girl Walking Home from Washington Square Park


Washington Square Park Photo by Urban~commonswiki

A 12-year-old girl’s afternoon was distressingly disrupted when she was followed home by a stalking stranger.

The girl was first confronted by the man as she was walking home at 12:30pm from Washington Square Park. In the park he walked up to her and attempted to begin a conversation. The girl left the park in tears, and walked directly to her home.

As she walked into the elevator to take her to the safety of her home, the stranger managed to slip into the building and then followed her into the elevator. The man then told the girl he had just been released from prison, and asked her to hide him in her apartment.

The girl fled the elevator screaming, and the man beat a path out of there. The girl’s mother called the police at once.

Based on the girl’s identification of the man from the back of the police car the police were able to arrest 39-year-old Carl Catapano. He was nabbed on 10th Street and Broadway, just a few blocks away.

Catapano is now held on a $15,000 bond or $5,000 cash bail. He is charged with disorderly conduct, stalking, acting in a manner injurious to a child and criminal trespass.


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Play Ball at Bergino Clubhouse


Jackie Robinson, 1954

Are you crazy for baseball? Do you know anyone who is? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then head on over to a remarkable shop that takes the art of baseball collectibles to a whole new level.

Bergino Baseball Clubhouse has everything you can imagine if you adore America’s favorite game, and a more than a few things you probably can’t imagine. Handmade Bergino baseballs are affordable at only $25 each. The Americana selection pay homage to themes such as ‘Peace,’ Jackie Robinson, and the Star Spangled Banner. City map baseballs honor Los Angeles, Boston, and Jerusalem, which as far as I know, does not even have a baseball team. Go figure.

There are artworks for sale from artists such as Lou Grant and Roger Patrick. A Yankee Stadium musical snow globe is on sale. You can find coasters made of Astro Turf, baseball styled bag tags, and of course autographed books. Clubhouse gift items include a Bergino Baseball Clubhouse hat; cuff links, wallets and a money clip all made from authentic used baseballs; and even a stool made from a real base. It goes without saying this is just the “tip of the ballpark.”

All your gifts are taken care of already? Bergino also sponsors events. On Wednesday, December 16, fans can come here Derek Jeter speak at 7pm. The clubhouse website also has podcasts for its fans listening pleasure.

The clubhouse is located at 67 East 11th Street in Greenwich Village. Call for more information: 212-226-7150.


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A Glimpse at a New York Business: Marc Lasry & Avenue Capital Group

Marc Lasry

Marc Lasry

It’s always fascinating to learn about companies based in New York and the activities that they are doing. Avenue Capital Group, founded in 1995 by the brother-sister team Marc Lasry and Sonia Gardner, works to achieve attractive risk-adjusted returns with their focus on the distressed debt and undervalued securities of US companies.

Their US strategy is focused in three main areas. They focus on companies in financial distress, those in bankruptcy and those that are undervalued because of discrete extraordinary events. As of the end of January, 2013, their assets under management allocated to the Avenue US strategy section were estimated to be around $5.5 billion.

As they explain on their website, “Avenue’s experienced investment professionals seek “good companies with bad balance sheets”— firms with sustainable businesses and positive cash flow but whose financial situation is distressed. The investment team conducts extensive research and analysis using Avenue’s top-down/bottom-up approach to find undervalued opportunities and typically seeks to make non-operational control investments in troubled businesses. This provides the strategy maximum trading flexibility and allows Avenue’s investment professionals to focus on pre-investment research and analysis rather than post-investment operating issues.”

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An Oasis of Mindfulness Opening in the Village

Take a break and meditate.

Take a break and meditate.

New Yorkers have a reputation for being stressed, harried and harassed. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place for people to go to unwind and concentrate on their larger goals in life in a quiet, supportive environment, but without having to commit to a two hour lecture?

For partners Ellie Burrows and Lodro Rinzler, the answer is a resounding yes. Together they have opened New York’s first outlet for nervous New Yorkers to participate in 30 or 45 minute meditations in the middle of their stressful days.

CEO Burrows says that her idea is to give people a space to “meditate and be quiet in a way that’s hard if you’re in New York City.”

After meeting Rinzler when she volunteered at his non-profit organization “Institute for Compassionate Leadership” Burrows wondered if it was possible to create a place in New York where meditation can become part of a busy person’s life. Her vision was to give people the ability to access mediation in a similar way to just “dropping in to get your nails done.”

Rinzler, who has written several books on meditation, created a staff of 25 expert teachers from a wide range of disciplines. The classes cover different themes such as emotions, sleep, breath, and setting specific goals for each day.

“Whatever their particular struggle might be, we’ll have a class for them,” Rinzler said.

MNDFL is opening in November at 10 East 8th Street and will be open seven days a week.

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Coffee Club : $25 Gets You All the Brew You Want

Here’s a new concept for your morning Java: purchase a membership in a coffee shop and have the rights to unlimited

Valais Blackneck goat. Photo by: Nauticashades

Valais Blackneck goat. Photo by: Nauticashades

quantities of coffee, tea, lattes, espressos and lemonade. This unique offer comes from Fair Folks & a Goat which opened its doors in the fall of 2012 on Houston Street in the Village.

The shop also sells art, clothing, beer, wine and home design artifacts. The shop boasts about 1,000 members, but changes slightly each month. An average of seven new members joined up every day this past September.

This past spring Fair Folks hosted a Chines New Year’s party, celebrating the Year of the Goat, and from then on they began having concerts by their members who are also musicians, creating the beginnings of a kind of movement. In April they opened a back-door patio lounge at their East 11th Street satellite location.

Membership costs $25 per month, but non-members are welcome to order a cup of whatever they like and pay the regular price.

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Carousel Arrives in Manhattan

carouselA carousel just landed at Manhattan’s southern tip. Well, that is what it looks like. It actually could be mistaken for an alien ship but it’s not.

According to Battery Conservancy founder, Warrie Price, “It’s the memory of the first New York Aquarium of 1896 when 5,000 people a day would go. The magic of the undersea is still as viable 119 years later.”

It has been a project in the making for the last decade, costing $16 million dollars. Seaglass is a 3 minute ride and it is anticipated that six million will visit it per year.

There are of course many other carousels already in New York City, that also tell a historical tale. For example, Jane’s Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park (in use since 1922, hailing from Idora Park, OH), the Bug Carousel at Bronx Zoo (known for its larger-than-life bugs rather than traditional horses), the Central Park Carousel (built back in 1908, which is one of America’s largest carousels), and the Flushing Meadows Carousel (created in 1963 for the Worlds Fair), etc.

This new one in Manhattan has an interesting structure. According to WXY Architecture and Urban Design, Claire Weisz, “it plays off the idea of not being a building but kind of a sculptural being in that you’re the creature crawling out of the shell.”

Bugs, fish, what next for New York’s carousels?


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Missing Pigeons bring Mixed Feelings

Bunch of pigeons

Bunch of pigeons

Have you ever wondered what New York would be like without its ubiquitous pigeon population? Now that about 100 of our pigeon pals have gone missing from Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, we are given a rare chance to truly contemplate this question.

No one knows exactly where our feathered friends (or foes) have gone to, but the park is certainly a different kind of place without them. Our question is: is it different good, or different bad?

One observer was elated to say “good-bye to a huge flock of ‘rats’,” not caring to differentiate between mammals and birds. Another commentator was more sympathetic. Tina Trachtenberg, an animal activist was concerned about how “these innocent, trusting, loving pigeons” were being treated.

Those speculating on the whereabouts of the birds seem to believe that they were lured and then captured by hunters, perhaps for food, or perhaps for some other use, that would not sit well with Trachtenberg.

Whether the consensus is that the birds are a nuisance or rather a welcome reminder that we share the world with other living things and not just concrete, buildings and the occasional plant or tree, it is definitely kind of creepy to suddenly not to be sharing the space with these commonplace creatures.


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