The mother of a 21-year-old mentally ill man is suing the Jack Ryan Residence in Chelsea for allowing him free access to the roof of the 10-story facility. In 2013 Angel Nunez jumped to his death from the roof of 127 West 25th Street, and his mother, Astra Rodriquez, 59, holds the staff at the residence responsible.
“This isn’t a shelter with cots. It’s a mental health facility but they allowed residents almost totally unrestricted access to the roof. The doctors knew that he had suicidal tendencies. He’s depressed and he jumps. It’s absolutely horrible,” said Rodriguez’s lawyer, Elliot Pastik.
According to court records Nunez left a note for his family on August 2, 2013, went to the roof where he climbed over a 9-foot fence, and stood on the ledge. He ignored staff who ran to help him and tried to talk him down. At 5:40pm Nunez emptied his pockets of his money and ID, threw them up in the air, threw out his arms, looked at the staff, and then fell to his death.
The operators of the facility, the Bowery Residents Committee, opened the Jack Ryan residence in 2011, despite neighborhood opposition. At the time the BRC bragged about their “rooftop garden” which residents could access, getting fresh air without the need to congregate on the sidewalks outside the residence, therefore avoiding the neighbors and their wrath.
“They’re serving people with mental issues. How are you going to leave access to the roof to people who are mentally ill?” Astra Rodriguez said. “Not only because it was my son — anyone else could have gone up there and decided to hurt themselves.”
Over the past four years the number of homeless New Yorkers who seek shelter in the subways has skyrocketed by 90 percent, to a total of 1,841 today. To address this problem the city signed a contract with the Bowery Residents Committee for $6 million over several years. One benefit of the deal was the tripling of the number of social workers and clinicians to 60, allowing the city to reach out to more homeless people.
There are now about 1,000 homeless in the caseload of this new and unprecedented program. So far the program has convinced 261 of them to accept housing and other services that are available to them.
“We’ve increased the placement into transitional housing tenfold and we see that as a huge indication our efforts are working,” said assistant commissioner Danielle Minelli-Pagnotta.
To be considered a “chronically homeless” person an individual must be seen sleeping in the subway on a minimum of five occasions, said officials from the Department of Homeless Services. Each person is assigned a case manager, and information obtained from the homeless person is entered into a centralized data base.
For 60 years the Mont Lawn Camp, funded by the Bowery Mission of New York, has been helping kids who otherwise would probably not experience a summer camp experience, to have such a wonderful experience.
The camp, located at the other end of Sugar Mountain Road East near the border of Middle Smithfield and Lehman townships takes in 160 children for seven one week session all summer long. The kids range in age from 6-16 and come from all over the greater New York area. Mont Lawn is composed of 43 buildings, a beautiful, large lake, a pool, chapel, barn and dining area sprawled on 200 acres.
Donations to keep the camp running are collected not only from the Bowery Mission, but also from supporters such as CISCO and Pocono ProFoods. The facility is used as a retreat center during the winter when campers are not there.
“We provide a hope to the future,” said Josh Cruz, recruiter at the camp. “We impart Christian morals and values while they have lots of fun. With so much poverty and all the things going on in their families, they need positive people around them.”
Campers learn and grow in ways that are not possible under the circumstances these kids come from. Eleven-year-old Elasia Goosby, from Queens, was frightened of water before she spent a week at Mont Lawn Camp. When asked if she was still afraid of water Elasia answered:
“Not anymore,” not afraid to jump into the lake. “The counselors are very nice treating us like friends. They are like our mothers, taking care of us and talking about different things.”
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many companies and organizations have come together to help their employees. One such company, CareOne Management, recently had an Inaugural CareOne Disaster Fundraising Event. CareOne Management CEO Daniel Straus announced on December 6th that their first event managed to raise $1 million to aid more than 100 CareOne employees from the New York and New Jersey areas who suffered significant damage from the Hurricane.
As Strauss described the event, held Tuesday, December 4th in Woodland Park, New Jersey, it “was a tremendous success. Many individuals, as well as corporate sponsors, contributed to raise more than $1 million to help the victims of this devastating storm. The employees of CareOne worked so hard to make this the superb event that it was.”
He continued, “It was heartwarming to witness such a splendid example of cooperation, teamwork and caring. CareOne employees have deep empathy for their co-workers and have seen first-hand the toll that this devastating storm has exacted on their co-workers and their families. We all thought it was important to come together to help those in our CareOne family as well as other individuals in the hardest hit areas.”
CareOne actually implemented a number of programs right after the hurricane. They created a CareOne Relief Store, offered support and counseling to employees and assisted employees with Federal Loan Applications.
In the face of a large number of client withdrawals from his Longacre Fund Management firm, Vladimir Jelisavcic launched a new hedge fund firm, Bowery Investment Management. Jelisavcic will continue to manage the Longacre Opportunity Fund from Bowery, a distressed debt investment fund he launched in 2009.
Jelisavcic founded Longacre Fund Management in 1999 with two colleagues from Bear Stearns, John Brecker and Steven Weissman. At its height Longacre managed over $3 billion in assets. A sudden surge in redemptions from clients forced the partners to close down Longacre’s main funds, and now they are in the middle of returning funds to investors.
Brecker will also join Bowery in the role of finding “unique, off-the-run credit opportunities.” Bill Gushard, former distressed bank trader at Paulson & Co. until he left last February, will also be a manager at Bowery. At the moment Bowery has $100 million in assets, but is looking to add capital to the fund.
Marathons seem to be the new running rage in the last few years. This fall there is a slew of marathons to choose from. Of course here in New York City there is the world famous marathon, but other places like Baltimore seem to be happening events as well.
We asked two runners from NYC what they though of adding Baltimore to their race schedule.
We first asked Frank Storch from Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. “Normally I would be training only for the NYC Marathon, but I decided to go for the Baltimore Marathon in October at a slower clip to get ready for the NYC Marathon,” Frank Storch said.
Another runner, Shlawnda Stevens echoed Storch’s view, at least as an ideal. “Yeah I think that maybe an interesting approach, but my only question would be the rebound time after Baltimore.”
Thankfully there is still plenty of time to sign up and decide either between the two or to do both.