NEIGHBORHOOD CHATTER: Teen Murdered; New Parking Signs; Preschool Opening

Written by NY Press on . Posted in News Our Town Downtown, Our Town Downtown.


Compiled by Megan Bungeroth

Lower East Side Teen Murdered for Parka
Last Friday night, 16-year-old Raphael Ward, a resident of the Lower East Side’s Baruch Houses, was shot and killed at the corner of Rivington and Columbia streets. According to several news accounts, the boy was wearing a pricey Marmot winter parka, and a group of teens had approached him earlier in the evening, trying to take his coat. He refused to give it up, and a short time later, at around 9 p.m., one of the would-be thieves returned with a gun and shot Ward, fatally, in the chest. He lived long enough to make his way, bleeding, into a nearby bodega and tell the shop owner that he was killed for his jacket.

The New York Post reports that the gunman, who is still being sought by police, was described by witnesses as 5-foot-6,- 120 to 140 pounds, wearing a dark wool hat and a ski mask.
State Sen. Dan Squadron and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver both released statements over the weekend expressing condolences to Ward’s family (he lived with his mother and younger brother) and friends and calling for tougher safety and gun control measures.

“We must continue to work together as a community to fight the scourge of gun violence and make our homes and our streets safer for our families,” Squadron said. “From stronger gun laws to improved safety at NYCHA developments, we are reminded far too often that the time to act is now.”

“As a father and a grandfather, it pains me greatly to see someone taken from us so young. My neighbors on the Lower East Side have suffered far too much from the scourge of gun violence,” Silver said. “We will continue to fight for tougher measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands and to make our neighborhood, particularly our public housing complexes, safer.”

Downtown to See Better Parking Signs
New York City drivers will soon hopefully have one less thing to distract and confuse them. The Department of Transportation, along with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and East Side Council Member Dan Garodnick, announced the roll-out of 6,300 new parking signs, completely redesigned to reduce visual clutter and make parking rules more clear and understandable.

“You shouldn’t need a Ph.D. in parking signage to understand where you are allowed to leave your car in New York,” said Garodnick, who first proposed overhauling the signs in 2011 and has been a strong proponent of increased clarity. “The days of puzzled parkers trying to make sense of our Midtown signs are over.”

The simplified signs, which will be installed in Manhattan’s paid commercial parking areas, will soon be found in the area from 60th Street downtown to 14th Street and from Second to Ninth avenues, with additional areas in the Upper East Side, Lower Manhattan and the Financial District. The improved signs have reduced the number of characters from 250 to about 140 (they’re Tweet-able!), come in only two colors to delineate between commercial and regular parking, and all use the same fonts and layouts.

Mandell School to Open Downtown Preschool
The Mandell School, which had previously planned to open a preschool to serve Lower Manhattan families on Broad Street, announced this week that they’ve selected a new location and are on track to open downtown in September 2013.

The private school, which emphasizes experiential learning models, will open its newest location in the Archive, a historic landmark building on Greenwich Street between Barrow and Christopher streets in the West Village. The move comes after the Broad Street location was compromised by damage from Hurricane Sandy, and the new location will enable the school to stick to its timeline to open this fall.

“For New York City families, applying to schools is an uphill battle,” said Gabriella Rowe, head of the Mandell School, in a statement explaining the school’s expansion. “The number of independent school seats remains almost entirely stagnant and admission rates have hit record lows, even as the population of young children in our city increases.”

The Mandell School was founded on the Upper West Side in 1939 and currently operates a school from preschool through eighth grade.

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