Entries in New York (166)


Statue of Liberty Reopens on Fourth of July

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For the first time since Superstorm Sandy, the Statue of Liberty opened to visitors on July 4.

According to USA Today, the first ferries to Liberty Island arrived at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday with guests able to purchase tickets via the Internet, over the phone or in person at the ferry station.

While the statue and its base were not damaged by Sandy, the docks and pathways were flooded and required repairs. The framework of the statue itself enabled the monument to withstand the intense winds, says USA Today.

USA Today also reports that access to the crown of the statue was sold out for Independence Day. Lines on Thursday stretched for blocks with people trying to catch a ferry to Liberty Island.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New York Gunman Shot and Killed After 20-Hour Standoff

Courtesy New York State Police(NEW YORK) -- Police and SWAT teams in upstate New York on Thursday shot and killed the man suspected of killing several individuals before holing himself up in an abandoned building for nearly 20 hours.

Kurt Myers, 64, of Mohawk, N.Y., is believed to have killed four people and wounded two others during a shooting spree Wednesday morning that ended when Myers shot at police officers and ran to hide in the abandoned building.

New York State police said on Thursday that after nearly 20 hours of engaging in a stand-off with Myers, they sent a police K-9 into the abandoned building ahead of armed officers.  Myers shot at and killed the dog.

SWAT team members and state police then stormed the building, shooting and killing Myers, they said.

The standoff began around 11 a.m. Wednesday, following his shooting spree that began two hours earlier when Myers set fire to his home in Mohawk.

Police believe he then took a shotgun and drove to John's Barber Shop in Mohawk where he killed Harry Montgomery, 68, of Mohawk, and Michael Rancier, 57, of Herkimer.  He also wounded shop owner John Seymour and customer named Dan Haslauer, New York state Police Commissioner Joseph D'Amico said.

He drove to Gaffey's car wash in neighboring Herkimer where he gunned down Thomas Stefka, an employee at the car wash, and Michael Renshaw, before fleeing to the abandoned building.

There, he fired at approaching police officers and then disappeared into the building.

State police and FBI SWAT team members surrounded the building and began a standoff with Myers.  They said on Wednesday that they did not want to rush into the building out of caution for officers' safety. 

Police still do not know the motive for the shootings.

Fred Randall, who lives next door to Myers, told ABC News that Meyers is an older man who lives alone and has never been friendly to him.

Rendall said he would try to say "good morning," a greeting that the neighbor usually did not return.

Schools in Herkimer and Mohawk remain closed on Thursday due to the standoff.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Suspect Julio Acevedo Arrested in Fatal NY Family Hit-and-Run

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Julio Acevedo, the ex-con wanted in the hit-and-run death of a New York City couple and their baby, surrendered to police in Pennsylvania Wednesday, four days after the fatal high-speed crash.

Acevedo will be extradited to New York, where he will be charged with the deaths of Nachman and Raizy Glaube, both 21, and their baby son.

He is accused of driving his car into the livery cab carrying Nachman Glauber and his pregnant wife around 12:30 a.m. Sunday. They were on their way to a hospital.

Nachman Glauber died instantly and Raizy Glauber and their unborn child were rushed to an emergency room. The mother died after delivering the baby boy via C-section.

The premature 7-month-old weighed only 4 pounds when delivered. He initially appeared viable, but died Monday morning.

The BMW Acevedo is accused of driving is believed to have hit the Glaubers' vehicle with enough force that it knocked the car's engine into its backseat.

Acevedo, 44, was on the run from authorities for four days, but managed to twice speak with reporters, telling them on Tuesday that he would soon turn himself in.

"This why I am willing to turn myself in, because my heart goes out to all of those people that's feeling like I'm so much of a bad guy, and I'm really not," he said. "I did not know that occurred until I seen the news. Once I seen the news, I said I have to get my attorney ready before I turn myself in."

He told WABC he was fleeing gunfire when the accident occurred. Police have not yet found any evidence of gunshots.

Acevedo is a career criminal convicted of manslaughter in 1987 and arrested for drunk driving as recently as last month.

The Glaubers were members of a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community and lived in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Suspect in Brooklyn Hit and Run Wants to Turn Himself In

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The suspect wanted in the hit-and-run death of a Brooklyn couple and their baby says he is ready to turn himself in, but still remains on the lam from police, according to ABC News' WABC-TV in New York, which reached him by phone.

Julio Acevedo, 44, said he was fleeing gunfire when he hit the livery cab carrying Nachman Glauber and his pregnant wife Raizel, both 21, around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

"This why I am willing to turn myself in, because my heart goes out to all of those people that's feeling like I'm so much of a bad guy and I'm really not. I did not know that occurred until I seen the news. Once I seen the news, I said I have to get my attorney ready before I turn myself in," he said.

Cops say Acevedo, 44, fled on foot after slamming his BMW into the couple's car, instantly killing Nachman Glauber and sending Raizel and their unborn child to the emergency room.

Raizel Glauber died after delivering the baby via C-section. The baby boy, just 7 months old, briefly survived the ordeal, but died Monday morning.

Acevedo has a lengthy criminal history, including manslaughter and drunk driving, police said Tuesday.

Acevedo was identified by at least one witness who helped him out of the wreckage of his car and was snapped by a photographer when he returned to the scene in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, police told ABC News.

Police believe Acevedo briefly hid out at a friend's home before fleeing the area, according to WABC-TV.

As the dragnet expands, new details about Acevedo's past have emerged.

Acevedo was convicted of manslaughter in 1989 for the shooting death of Kelvin "50 Cent" Marvin two years earlier, according to court records. He was also convicted of robbery and drug possession. The rapper 50 Cent took his name from Marvin's nickname.

Acevedo was released in 1998.

In 2002 he was convicted and served three years supervised probation for possession of a firearm.

As recently as Feb. 17, Acevedo was arrested for drunk driving in Brooklyn and was found to have twice the legal limit of alcohol following a breath test, police confirmed.

Just after midnight on Sunday, the Glaubers were on their way to a hospital to meet Raizel's doctor after the first-time mother complained she was not feeling well.

The livery car they were in was hit with so much force, the engine ended up in the backseat, where the pregnant woman was sitting.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Suspect in Hit-and-Run That Killed Parents, Baby, Has Recent DWI Arrest

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Julio Acevedo, the suspect identified Monday in a hit-and-run accident that killed a young couple and their baby was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated just last month, according to New York Police Department investigators.

The parents were killed in the Sunday morning crash, and the unborn baby, who was delivered by surgery in an attempt to save its life, died last night.

Acevedo, 44, is still at large, the New York Police Department reports. Cops say he was driving the BMW that smashed into a livery cab carrying the expectant parents to the hospital early Sunday. When they traced his identity, they said they found he also served 10 years in prison on a 1989 manslaughter conviction.


Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21, were killed early Sunday morning in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a tight-knit neighborhood made up largely of Orthodox Jews. Emergency workers at the scene of the accident managed to rush Raizy Glauber to a nearby hospital where doctors performed a Cesarean section to deliver the baby, according to WABC-TV.

Isaac Abraham, a community leader in Brooklyn and a neighbor of the dead couple, confirmed the death of the baby Monday morning. The baby died from injuries overnight at New York's Bellevue Hospital. The baby, who weighed about three pounds, sustained brain and other internal injuries, Abraham said.

Police are searching for Acevedo, the suspected driver of the BMW, and a female passenger; they both fled on foot after the accident.

Meanwhile, police have charged a woman who had co-signed the vehicle's lease with insurance fraud.

The woman has been charged with allowing a third party to use the vehicle without notifying the insurance company.

Glauber, who was six months pregnant with the couple's first child, was not feeling well Saturday night. Her husband called a car service and they were en route to the hospital when the accident occurred after midnight Sunday morning.

The engine of the livery car ended up in the backseat, where the pregnant woman was sitting before the crash, Abraham told WABC-TV. Abraham said he lives two blocks from where the crash happened.

The driver of the livery cab, Pedro Nunez Delacruz, was also taken to the hospital and was released after being treated for minor injuries.

"I feel very sorry for that beautiful family," Delacruz told WABC-TV.

Jewish law calls for burial of the dead as soon as possible, and hours after their deaths, the Glaubers were mourned by at least 1,000 people, many with anger toward the two people in the BMW.

"Give yourself up. Make the pain a little easier, and at least we'll know you're not a coward," Abraham said.

A succession of men and women delivered eulogies in Yiddish, sobbing as they spoke into a microphone about the young couple.

"I will never forget you, my daughter," said Yitzchok Silberstein, Raizy Glauber's father, according to WABC.

The Glaubers were married about a year ago, according to friends and family.

"Just two amazing people, two lovely people," Nachman Glauber's cousin Sarah Gluck told WABC. "We lost two lovely people."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New York Pol Under Fire for Blackface Costume

Michael Nagle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A New York politician is under fire for wearing blackface for the Jewish holiday of Purim — in which people traditionally wear costumes — over the weekend.

Democrat and Orthodox Jewish power broker Dov Hikind wore blackface makeup and an Afro wig as part of a “basketball player” costume at a Purim party at his home.

At a press conference outside of his home Monday, the veteran assemblyman apologized if he offended anyone and promised to be "a little more careful, a little more sensitive.”

After the news was first reported by the New York Observer, Hikind defended the costume on his blog, saying most of the people at his Purim party “also wore costumes” and it is “political correctness to the absurd.”

“Everywhere that Purim was being celebrated, people wore costumes,” Hikind said. “It was Purim. People dress up. I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim – or for that matter understands me – would have a problem with this…There is not a prejudiced bone in my body.”

Purim is a Jewish holiday during which those celebrating, both children and adults, regularly wear costumes. The holiday celebrates the Jewish people of the Persian Empire being saved from a murderous plot from the evil Haman in the biblical Book of Esther. Often those celebrating wear costumes from the story, but others dress up as members of popular culture. The holiday also requires those celebrating to donate money to charity and take part in a festive meal with family or friends.

Hikind told the Observer a professional makeup artist applied the makeup to help turn him into a basketball player. He also wore an orange jersey and sunglasses.

Hikind’s son posted the photograph on his Facebook page with the caption, “How cool are my folks…lol”

Not everyone thought the costume was cool.

Democratic Assemblyman Karim Camara of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus released a statement saying he was “deeply shocked and outraged by the insensitive actions of Assemblyman Hikind,” calling the blackface decision “callous and repugnant.”

“We, as leaders, have to be extremely careful that we foster understanding amongst our different cultural groups and not use the images of one as a tool for humor,” Camara said. “In speaking with many African Americans, both leaders and average citizens, the outrage is widespread. The history of the blackface minstrel show is something deeply painful in the African American community....The stereotypes embodied in blackface minstrels have played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions, which are still painful and offensive today.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


LISTEN: 911 Call Shows Terror of NY River Plane Crash

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The newly released 911 call from the small plane that crashed in New York’s Hudson River Sunday night shows the terror inside the cockpit as the passenger and pilot struggled to save their lives.

“We’re in the water now but it’s filling up so we’re going to have to bail,” passenger Christopher Smidt told the 911 dispatcher.  “We’re going to the rear of the plane.  The plane is filling up.”

“We’re in the middle of the Hudson River,” he said.  “We’re in the plane.  The plane is taking on water.”

Smidt, 43, of Colonia, N.J., then yelled to the pilot, Denise De Priester Kok, 39, of East Windsor, N.J., to jump into the chilly river waters.

“The plane is going down.  Let’s go.  Get out. Get out. Going head first,” he said.  “Ahhh….The water is freezing.”

Smidt and De Priester Kok’s Piper PA-32 plane went down around 5:30 p.m. Sunday after taking off from the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport in Robbinsville, N.J., on a sightseeing tour.

Wearing life vests, Smidt and De Priester Kok were able to survive nearly 30 minutes in the freezing water before being rescued.  They were treated for hypothermia at a nearby medical center and released, according to officials.

Among the pair’s rescuers were an off-duty police officer who, along with his 12-year-old son, piloted a boat out to Smidt and De Priester Kok’s location.

“[We] saw the victims in the water and they appeared to be in a state of hypothermia, going into shock,” said Daniel Higgins Sr.

“My dad has always told me to be brave and never be scared of helping someone,” added his son, Danny.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Breezy Point, NY, Couple Surprised by Rebuilt Home After Sandy

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- New York resident Jeanne Metz never stopped praying.

“We never, ever felt that God would forsake us,” Metz told ABC News.

She and her husband, Burt Metz, lost their home in Breezy Point, part of New York City’s Queens borough, after it was completely ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in October.

When they returned to the property Wednesday, their prayers had been answered, and they found their home completely rebuilt.

“I’m just completely shocked,” Metz said. “We are so blessed and can’t thank those that did this for us enough. Thank you.”

The 80-year-olds have had the Breezy Point property for more than 30 years. They sold their primary residence in Brooklyn last year to help an ailing family member, and invested their life savings to upgrade the home for year-round living.  When the contractor died in August, the work was never completed.

Hurricane Sandy brought four feet of water into the home, making it unlivable.

“When you’re old, it’s tough,” Burt Metz said. “We didn’t know what we were going to do.”

That’s when Operation Blessing stepped in.

The Virginia-based humanitarian organization gathered 300 volunteers from around the country to rebuild the Metz’s home. The group has worked on more than 400 homes in Queens since the storm struck, but this was the first they completely rebuilt.

“We’ve never built a house like this,” U.S. Disaster Relief Director Jody Gettys said. “The Metz’s are so appreciative and truly an inspiring couple.”

Jeanne Metz, who’s a two-time cancer survivor, said she and Burt were staying with friends for the time being. They thought members of Operation Blessing were gutting the house and revealing a frame Wednesday.

“When we came down here today, we really thought we were going to discover an open shell, and we were going to figure out how to move forward,” Metz said. “We never ever dreamt anything of this magnitude could be completed in this timeframe.”

The project started in early December and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

As the couple toured their new home with their children and grandchildren, with tears in their eyes, they said the home is a fresh start.

“It’s beautiful. It’s unbelievable. It’s something you live for and pray for,” Burt Metz said. “The good Lord was with us.”


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


ASPCA Helps Superstorm Sandy Victims Reclaim Missing Pets

ASPCA(NEW YORK) -- Three months after Superstorm Sandy made landfall, devastating parts of New York and New Jersey, thousands of victims still await aid from the government, while lost animals wait to be found by their owners.

Now, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is encouraging pet owners uprooted by the Oct. 29 storm to visit its temporary shelter in Brooklyn, N.Y., and reclaim their missing pets.

“After 45-plus days in an emergency shelter environment, these pets really need to get in a home,” said Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA Field and Investigations Department.  “It’s not healthy physically or mentally.  We’re trying to get these guys out of here and get them into forever homes.”

At last count, there are 137 pets awaiting possible reunions with their owners.  So far, the boarding facility has been successful in reuniting many of the pets displaced by Sandy.

Six weeks ago, the ASPCA opened the boarding facility as a temporary emergency shelter serving the needs of animals seven days a week in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.  About 300 pets -- mostly dogs and cats -- were taken in.  As the shelter prepares to close down its temporary operation, Rickey and his team are trying to find these pets permanent homes.

“We’ve talked to folks who have been struggling for the last month and a half and come and get their pet,” said Rickey.  “For some, tonight will be the first night their family has been complete since Superstorm Sandy hit.”

In the days after Sandy, when pet owners weren’t walking through the doors, the not-for-profit corporation took a grassroots approach to connect owners and their pets by posting flyers, creating public service announcements and uploading photos of lost animals through the website Animal Care and Control of New York City’s lost pets.  As the ASPCA winds down its Brooklyn operations, it’s also encouraging owners who are unable to come to the shelter to search online for their four-legged companions.

“We want to give residents every opportunity to be reunited with their pets,” said Rickey.  “We’re hoping to see a lot of folks throughout the weekend.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New York County Won't Release Names of Residents with Gun Permits

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Officials from Putnam County, N.Y., say they won't give in to a newspaper's demand to release the names of residents with pistol permits.

Last Dec. 23, The Journal News caused a stir when it released the names and an interactive map of those with pistol permits in Westchester and Rockland counties.  The story caused an immediate backlash with the paper having to go as far as hiring their own armed guards because of death threats.

However, that hasn't deterred The Journal News from also seeking to publish the names of Putnam County residents with gun permits.  The papers says it has New York law on its side, which states "the name and address of any person to whom an application for any license has been granted shall be a public record."

At a news conference Thursday, Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell stressed that she would not allow the records of gun permits to go public, saying, "I want every citizen in Putnam County to know, I will not retreat from protecting you; nor will I surrender.  There will be no retreat, and there will be no surrender."

Odell argued that the decision has nothing to do with the Dec. 14 school shooting at Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead.

According to Odell, "We firmly believe that the release of this information would create an unprecedented public safety issue."

The Journal News says its rationale for publishing the names and addresses was because readers were "understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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