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MetroCard machine don't want your money

Heads up to anyone who might be riding the subway late tonight with a MetroCard that’s low on funds — you better have some cash on you, just in case.

All MetroCard vending machines will experience an outage because of a system upgrade on Saturday, October 25 from 2-6am, during which time no credit or debit card purchase will be accepted. You can still use cash, though.

The MTA says they expect the system to be back up and accepting cards no later than 6am.

A still from the video. The cop in center, in a grey hoodie, is the officer who is now on desk duty.

A still from the video. The cop in center, in a grey hoodie, is the officer who is now on desk duty.

An undercover cop had his badge and gun confiscated and has been put on desk duty after a video surfaced showing him kicking another cop in the head and punching a suspect in the face at Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue subway station.

DNAinfo reports:

The incident in Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue station, which officials say occurred sometime in January, began when two NYPD Transit officers stopped a suspected farebeater.

Officers exchanged words with the suspect and then struggled with him as they began to place him under arrest. Then several other officers from the nearby 60th Precinct rushed into the station via an emergency door — including a burly plainclothes officer dressed in a sweatshirt, jeans and heavy construction boots, according to the video.

The plainclothes officer walked up to the scrum, paused and then reared back with one leg, letting his boot fly into the back of the head of a hat-wearing police officer wrestling with the suspect. The kick had enough force that the sound can be heard on the recording above the din.

After accidentally hitting his colleague, he then piled on the alleged farebeater, reeled back and slugged him in the face.

The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson are investigating the incident.

Source: mikey k/flickr

Source: mikey k/flickr

An attempted robbery of Scott Jewelers at 1220 Kings Highway was stopped in its tracks yesterday, thanks to the work of a vigilant security guard.

Three men entered the store at approximately 3pm. One pulled a gun. But almost as soon as it was out in the open, it was out of his hands.

A security guard, who was a former police officer according to the Daily News, spotted the gun mid-draw and whacked it out of the gunman’s hand. The move caused the perp to fire off one round in surprise, which struck a wall.

Aside from the gun, the men, who were masked, also dropped a hammer, according to NBC New York.

The three then lost their nerve and ran out the door, and fled in a car. No one was injured.

An example of Diwali decorations. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Thursday, October 23, for Diwali. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

You can check out the rest of the 2014 parking calendar here.

Diwali is a Hindu festival that signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. The five-day event culminates with the new moon. In the days leading up to it, the approximately 80,000 Hindus in the New York metropolitan area will clean and decorate their homes, light lamps and candles, before gorging on a family feast and exchanging gifts.

It sounds like fun, and this editor is accepting invitations.

coney-island-summit

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson will be in Coney Island tomorrow night to hear residents’ concerns about safety and the justice system.

The summit is open to any and all Brooklyn residents, and will be a town-hall style, allowing attendees to ask questions of the borough’s top prosecutor and share their concerns. It’s the second such event Thompson has done, following one in Brownsville over the summer.

The meeting will take place at Liberation Diploma Plus High School, 2865 West 19th Street. It begins at 6:30pm and lasts until 9pm.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

Passersby have stopped to ogle adorable pups and cute kitties in the storefront windows of Puppy City for more than half a century. But the long-time neighborhood staple, and the place where the now ubiquitous “Wee-Wee Pad” was invented, unceremoniously closed its doors for good earlier this month.

“For rent” signs were posted at the 2539 Ocean Avenue storefront approximately two weeks ago. The store’s website declares in bold letters, “Closed – After over 50 years of service Puppy City has closed its doors,” and offers little explanation. The website and phone number now forward to that of Ozone Park-based Puppy Paws, and neighbors shrug their shoulders when asked what happened.

What happened was a combination of age and rent, according to Puppy Paws’ owner Boris.

“[Puppy City owner Kenny Simon] was getting up there in age,” said Boris. “And the store was there for 50 years. You can only imagine how much his rent went up during that time.”

Allen Simon (Source: TV Land via Pets Advisor)

Allen Simon (Source: TV Land via Pets Advisor)

Boris, a Sheepshead Bay native who worked at Puppy City for approximately a decade, said he hoped to take the reins of the operation, but the landlord wouldn’t work with him.

“The new landlord didn’t want to budge because he thinks he has a landmark,” he said. “We wanted to purchase it, but not at the rent he wanted, so we chose to rather purchase the domain, the phone number, and the contents of the store.”

It was a lackluster end to a business with a pedigree in the industry. Once a small chain throughout the borough, the Ocean Avenue location was its first and last. And from that basement at 2539 Ocean Avenue, one of the best-selling products in pet history was devised: the wee-wee pad.

Puppy City was opened by Allen Simon, a former carpet installation business operator, in the 1960s. He tinkered with potential products in the basement of the store, first developing a cologne for canines before striking it big in the 1970s with the Wee-Wee pad.

Back then, pet owners used newspapers until their pets were housebroken, but the former carpet maven noticed how urine soaked through the paper.

“I said this is ridiculous; I’ll make my own pad,” Simon told Pet Advisor in 2010, and he did so by using a thicker, more absorbent material lined with plastic to prevent floor damage.

He passed Puppy City to his brother, Kenny, and launched Four Paws, a pet product company that now rakes in more than $30 million in sales annually. The Wee-Wee Pad remains the number one selling product, beloved even by celebrity trainer Cesar Milan. The Wee-Wee Pad was featured on CNBC’s The Big Idea and Simon was profiled on the Joan Rivers show How’d You Get So Rich?.

His brother kept Puppy City’s doors open for another 40 years, committed to local pet owners. He could not be reached for comment for this article.

Photo by Erica Sherman

After successfully fulfilling his pledge to begin construction on 500 homes hit by Superstorm Sandy through Build it Back by the summer’s end, Mayor Bill de Blasio set a new target on Monday to double that number by the end of the year.

De Blasio announced the new goal of 1,000 homes by December 31 at a press conference in Broad Channel Monday, where he touted the program’s progress since its overhaul under his administration. He also said the program will send 1,500 reimbursement checks by year’s end.

The New York Daily News reports:

To date, 727 homes have started construction, and 878 homeowners have received reimbursement for work they did themselves.

That’s out of 14,000 active applicants in the Build It Back program — which hadn’t started work on a single home when he took office in January.

“Every check means a family is getting back on their feet. Every construction start means a family will get back in their homes,” de Blasio said.

The new goals come two years after the storm impacted thousands of New Yorkers, leaving many without heat or hot water. While emergency measures helped many return to their homes, it left others in debt and more still with work to be done before being “made whole.”

The Build it Back program kicked off under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but stalled under its own bureaucratic red tape. No homeowners had received reimbursement checks or construction agreements by the time de Blasio took office, when the new mayor overhauled the program with new leadership and the elimination of many restrictions.

Still, with 14,000 applicants on the docket, it remains a long road ahead. There are other measures of the program’s march forward, and, the New York Times reports, de Blasio said that nearly half of the applicants – 6,400 – have been offered help, with 4,000 accepting it. As many as 1,500 have started the design process, the step before construction can begin.

A report earlier this month from the Department of Investigation noted that it “could potentially take several years to complete the work.” A survey of applicants for the report revealed that 90 percent of the 14,000 hadn’t received any help.

The mayor is hoping to ramp up the program even further, expanding the program’s design and construction capacity. The city will release a request for proposals on how best to do that soon, CBS reports.

Source: Senator Golden's offices

Source: Senator Golden’s offices

The following is a press release from the offices of State Senator Marty Golden:

State Senator Martin J. Golden, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, today is announcing that he has introduced legislation that will allow the email of a person who has passed away to be accessed by the executor of their estate.

The bill, S. 6176, has been introduced in the wake of growing concerns as more and more New Yorkers decide to handle their bills and finances electronically. As a result, individuals designated to settle an estate upon a person’s passing, require the information contained in new e-mail messages, and documents stored in email folders.

Senator Marty Golden stated, “As we continue to encourage people to go green and pay their bills on line, we must be cognizant of the fact that when a person passes away, many of their records are stored and managed through their email account. I look forward to working with my colleagues to create this important law in New York State. I believe this will assist in the difficult work of getting an estate’s affairs in order for we all realize that the despite one’s passing, e-mails of bills and statements do continue.”

Ten states already have similar laws including Delaware, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Connecticut. Nine states are working towards creating such a law in their states including New York and New Jersey.

suspect

Police are now circulating the above photos of the man they believe to be behind a spate of night-time home burglaries in Homecrest.

The image comes after yet another burglary on October 17. At approximately 2:55am, the suspect broke into a home on East 8th Street near Avenue U while the victim was sleeping in his bed. He stole $4,000 cash before fleeing.

He’s believed to be the perp behind at least four other incidents this month:

  • October 1 at 10:30pm: Entered home on East 13th Street near Avenue T while victims slept, and stole valuables. He’s believed to have used a rear sliding door.
  • October 4 at 11:30pm: Entered a home at East 12th Street near Avenue R while the victim slept. He entered through the unlocked front door, stole valuables, car keys and the victims car.
  • October 9 at 1:30am: Entered a home on East 18th Street near Avenue S using a side window. He took valuables and fled through the front door.
  • October 9 at 3:00am: Entered a home on East 19th Street and Quentin Road while the victim slept. He stoke cash, jewelry and electronics.

The photos come from surveillance video captured during the latest incident.

Anyone with information in regards to this missing person is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

Investigators believe the two people found dead in an Emmons Avenue apartment building yesterday afternoon ended their own lives as part of a suicide pact.

Cops responded to 3030 Emmons Avenue at approximately 12:44pm for a “wellness check” – a response to concerns from loved ones. When they arrived, they found a 43-year-old man who lived in the apartment dead on the sofa. A 44-year-old Texas woman was dead on the floor.

On the table was a plastic bag of white lumps that looked like soap pellets; the Department of Environmental Protection later confirmed the substance was the highly toxic chemical cyanide.

The man’s cell phone had the woman listed under the name “Kim Suicide,” according to the Daily News. Investigators now believe the two agreed to die together, with the Texas woman flying to the Brooklyn apartment to do the deed.

The man’s internet history showed he had researched how to use cyanide to commit suicide.

No criminality is suspected.

Warning signs of a suicide include talking about wanting to die or feeling as if you have no purpose, displaying extreme mood swings, withdrawing or becoming isolated, talking about being a burden on others, sleeping too little or too much, acting recklessly or increasing the use of drugs or alcohol. If someone you know shows these warning signs, do not leave the person alone, seek help from a medical or mental health professional, and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255). Find more information here.

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