Tenants in New York Observer Publisher's Building Say 'Nonstop Construction' Is Meant to Drive Them Out [Updated]

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170 and 174 E. 2nd Street, with adjacent psychic
In December 2013, New York Observer publisher and real estate magnate Jared Kushner bought two connected buildings, 170-174 East 2nd Street. (The buildings are laden with some serious New York history: Allen Ginsberg lived at 170 for three years and wrote "Kaddish" there.) In the intervening nine months, landlord-tenant relations have gone swiftly and steadily south. First, Kushner's company distributed eviction notices to many of the current tenants, with an eye toward converting the apartments into higher-end versions of themselves, according to DNAInfo. That resulted in a nasty and, in some cases, ongoing fight in Housing Court. Now the remaining tenants, many of them living in rent-stabilized apartments, say the constant construction in the building is causing broken tiles, eroding floors, collapsing ceilings and weeks in which their mail has gone undelivered. They allege the chaos is deliberate, part of an attempt to force them out to attract newer, fancier tenants, the kind who don't mind paying $2,658 for a one-bedroom. A group of the remaining tenants are planning a protest today in front of their own buildings.

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Here are Ten Terrifying New York Housing Stories to Mess Up Your Day

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There are so many ways housing in New York can go wrong: a Craigslist scam, a crazed roommate, a radiator that screams like a jet engine without heating the apartment, or, best case scenario, just an enormous rat king that takes up residence beneath the stove. But no matter how bad you think you've got it, this Reddit thread of terrible apartment stories has something worse. There are wolf spiders and screaming junkies and cockroaches. Thousands and thousands of cockroaches.

There are dozens of stories on the thread so far, many of them involving vermin, poop, and various kinds of roommate mental instability. Here's a sampling. Let's start with the ones that are funny in an awful way and descend downwards, ending with the the stories that make us retch with despair and our souls long to leave our bodies. Gird yourselves:

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Horace Mann Sex Scandal: Major Questions Still Unanswered Following Prosecutors Report

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Even though it was released Friday, we feel the need to revisit Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson's remarkable statement on the results of his investigation into sexual abuse of students by teachers at the prestigious Horace Mann School.

Prosecutors say the abuse ranged for 34 years, from 1962 through 1996. "The investigation revealed a systemic pattern of alleged abuse" beyond what the media had reported a year ago, the statement says. "In total, we received direct information regarding at least 12 separate alleged abusers," the statement says. "The reported abuse ranges from what may be characterized as inappropriate behavior, to child endangerment, actual instances of sexual contact, sexual intercourse and criminal sexual acts."

However, the statement leaves unanswered the key question about the school's own culpability in allowing the misconduct to fester through more than three decades. In other words, we still don't know what the school knew and when.

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'Killer' Nanny Yoselyn Ortega Hit With First-Degree Murder Charges

Categories: Horror Stories
'Killer' Nanny Yoselyn Ortega

The Upper West Side nanny accused of brutally stabbing two children in her care has been formally indicted on first-degree murder charges -- a charge reserved for the state's most heinous criminals, including those who murder cops and judges.

In addition to the two first-degree murder charges, 50-year-old Yoselyn Ortega was hit with two second-degree murder charges for the October slayings of Lucia and Leo Krim, ages 6 and 2, respectively.

After allegedly murdering the two children, Ortega attempted to take her own life by slashing her own throat. She's been hospitalized ever since, and was arraigned this morning at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

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Jeffrey Giuliano Is "Devastated" Over Fatally Shooting His 15-Year-Old Son; Lawyer Expects No Criminal Charges

Categories: Horror Stories
Jeffrey Giuliano
The attorney for the Connecticut teacher who fatally shot his 15-year-old son last week told reporters yesterday that his client is "devastated" over what he describes as an accidental shooting. And while Jeffrey Giuliano is yet to be charged with any crimes in the case, state police say they're still investigating the incident; charges are possible, though Giuliano's attorney says they're unlikely.

Details of the shooting remain unclear -- the entire thing doesn't make much sense -- but here's how Giuliano described it to police: about 1 a.m. Thursday, Giuliano got a call from his sister saying she thought someone was trying to break into her house, which is located directly next door to Giuliano's in New Fairfield.

Giuliano, armed with what his attorney says is a licensed handgun, went next door to check things out, which is where he says he encountered a masked intruder with a weapon trying to break into his sister's house.

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Baby Drowns In Brooklyn Toilet While Visiting Family For Jewish Holiday

Categories: Horror Stories
An Upstate family is grieving after a 1-year-old boy was found drowned to death in a Brooklyn toilet last night.

Making the story even more heartbreaking is the fact that the boy and his family were visiting relatives in Brooklyn to celebrate the Jewish new year at the time of tragedy.

According to authorities, the boy, identified as Mendi Altman, and his family -- in town from Monsey in Rockland County -- were visiting relatives in Borough Park to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

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Queens Mom Gets Prison Time For "Mercy" Stabbing Of Disabled Son

Categories: Horror Stories

A Queens woman is heading to prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the 2011 stabbing death of her disabled son. What makes the story even worse is that the victim, 39-year-old Rene Veras, begged his mother to kill him the day of his death.

What makes the story even more heartbreaking is that his mother, 59-year-old Migdalia Veras, tried to commit suicide immediately after stabbing her son. She failed, and will now spend the better part of the next decade behind bars.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt sentenced Veras to seven years in prison yesterday after she pleaded guilty earlier this year to first-degree manslaughter. Initially, Veras was charged with second-degree murder.

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9-1-1 Tapes Released In Case Of Decapitated 2-Year-Old; Mom Put Head In Freezer

Chevonne Thomas cut off her baby's head before fatally stabbing herself in the throat last week.
Last week we told you about a New Jersey woman who decapitated her 2-year-old son before fatally stabbing herself in the neck -- and today the story got even more horrifying.

Authorities in Camden announced that autopsy results show that not only was the boy decapitated, but he was still alive when his mother, 33-year-old Chevonne Thomas, cut off his head. After decapitating the boy, Thomas put his tiny head in the freezer before calling 9-1-1 (see the transcript of the 9-1-1 call after the jump) and then killing herself.

Police found Thomas' body early Wednesday morning in the townhouse she shared with her son, Zahree. They also found Zahree's body on the first floor of the home -- as we mentioned, his head was in the freezer.

The part of the story that has people the most furious is the fact that Thomas had just regained custody of the boy five months ago, after New Jersey's Department of Children and Families had removed Zahree from his mother's care when she got busted smoking PCP in a park and leaving him unattended in a car as she passed out on a sidewalk.

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Latin King Gal-Pal Supposedly Held Captive For Years By Gangster Boyfriend: "He Loves Me"

Latin King gangster Michael Mendez has been charged with kidnapping and other charges after police found his girlfriend locked in a room in his apartment last week.
A woman who police say was held captive by her gang-banger boyfriend for up to a decade seems to be channeling her inner Patty Hearst.

The unidentified woman was found last week in the Patterson, New Jersey home of reputed Latin Kings gangster Michael Mendez. When police found her, she was in a room that was padlocked from the outside, and was complete with its own "slop bucket" (read: makeshift toilet).

Police suspect she'd been locked away in the room for at least two years, and could have been held there for up to 10.

But she now says she loves her alleged captor, and denies that she was held against her will.

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Latin Kings Gangster Suspected Of Keeping Woman Locked In Bedroom For Up To 10 Years

Categories: Horror Stories
Michael Mendez
When police in Paterson, New Jersey busted into the home of known Latin Kings gangster Michael Mendez last week, they were looking for drugs. What they found was a 44-year-old woman locked in a bedroom...where police suspect she may have been held captive for up to 10 years.

Police raided Mendez's home on Thursday, where -- in addition to the woman -- they found 4,200 prescription pills and $22,000 in cash. While searching the apartment, they also found a bedroom door padlocked from the outside.

On the other side of the door they found Mendez's "girlfriend," as well as a television, a telephone, and a pail, presumably used as a makeshift toilet. Police say the woman was only let out of the room when Mendez was home.

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