Tag Archives: West Village

Fire marshal remembered as a hero

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

The FDNY fire marshal who died of a heart attack in his car Christmas Eve was remembered by friends and family as a fearless hero.

Martin “Woody” McHale, 50, was behind the wheel of his gray Chevy Silverado on December 24 when he suffered a heart attack around 6:40 p.m. and crashed into a tree less than 200 feet from his Hollis Hills home, police and the Queens Medical Examiner’s office said.

The off-duty officer was later pronounced dead at North Shore University Hospital.

“He was a wonderful person. You couldn’t meet anyone better,” said his cousin, Brian McHale. “He had a heart of gold.”

Neighbors and friends said it was McHale’s natural instinct to help others, even on his days off. He was a hero in the city and on the quiet Queens block where he lived with his three-year-old twin boys, they said.

“My daughter used to run up to him and he used to pick her up and hug her,” said Helena Barsky, who lived next door to McHale. “He helped out the neighbor in the next house. She had somebody robbing her house, and he chased down the robbers and got them caught.”

McHale served the FDNY for 23 years and was a member of the department’s football team. He became a fire marshal in 1999, the FDNY said, and earned the Commissioner Martin Scott Medal in 2007.

Longtime friend Steven Molinari said McHale constantly ran towards danger, on and off-duty, when others would bolt the other way. He also showed his valor in small acts of kindness, Molinari said, like helping people in wheelchairs get home safely.

McHale’s compassion and bravery led to Molinari naming his West Village bar after the hero, while he was alive.

“That’s who he was. Just over and over again, these were the types of things he did. He went out of his way to help people,” Molinari said. “He was a hero even in the small things he did.”

(THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola)

Suspect in Queens, Manhattan elevator robberies in custody

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man wanted in connection to four New York City elevator robberies, including one in Queens, is being question by authorities, according to police and media reports.

In each attack, the suspect followed the victim into an apartment building, then the elevator and stole the woman’s property, said the NYPD. During three of the incidents the suspect displayed a gun.

The first robbery occurred in Far Rockaway on December 4, around 8:30 p.m., when the suspect followed a 58-year-old woman into the elevator of her apartment and demanded her purse. The victim refused and he forcibly removed it from her and fled.

The suspect then moved on to Manhattan.

On December 8, he first stole a handbag and cell phone from a 28-year-old woman in an East Village apartment building around 1 a.m.

Later that same day, around 10:50 p.m., the suspect followed an 85-year-old woman into a West Village apartment building at 305 West 13th Street. Once in the elevator, he knocked the elderly victim to the ground and took cash and property from her. The woman was not hurt.

He last struck a Gramercy Park building in the early evening hours of December 9, stealing a handbag from another female victim.

Footage of the suspect robbing an elderly woman in the elevator of a West Village apartment building. 

Amy’s Bread moves to LIC’s ‘Flour District’

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

When Amy Scherber, owner of Amy’s Bread, found out that there was no more rentable space in Chelsea Market to hold her expanding business, she knew she needed a larger facility where it would be easy to load and make deliveries to her Manhattan stores.

“We loved our space there, but we just didn’t have enough room to spread out anymore,” said Scherber. “After we looked around in other boroughs and in Manhattan, we realized that Queens had the nicest spaces that were on one level.”

Specifically, she found it in Long Island City. About a month ago, the bakery began making all of its bread at the new 30,000-square-foot facility. The company’s offices also moved to Queens from Chelsea Market, and its sweets bakery moved there from its Hell’s Kitchen location.

The timing of the move is appropriate, since the business just celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Amy’s Bread first opened in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan on 9th Avenue and 46th Street. Scherber always wanted to start a food business, but thought it would be a restaurant. When she fell in love with bread, she decided to open a bakery instead.

After a few months, Amy’s Bread also began selling sweet items, such as coffee cake, Irish soda bread and scones. In 1996, Scherber opened a second location in Chelsea Market and started serving sandwiches. In 2000, layer cakes were added to the menu, and in 2005 a third location was opened in the West Village.

Though Scherber will miss the food community of Chelsea Market, there is also one in her bakery’s new home.

“Right now there’s not so much camaraderie. Inside of the [Chelsea] market you have all of these different food businesses all under one roof and here we’re sort of spread out. But I feel like there is some kind of local food culture,” she said, including other bakers.

She even refers to the area as the “Flour District.”

“It’s not a particular term that a lot of people have mentioned before,” she said.

Actually, her real estate broker may have coined it.

“Our broker kind of came up with it when we were looking at all the bakeries that were around here and said, ‘Oh, you guys are part of the Flour District!’” explained Scherber.

Right down the street is the cookie headquarters of Eleni’s, which also has a retail location in Chelsea Market. Other bakeries include Le Pain Quotidien, Pain D’Avignon, Tom Cat and BR Guest.

In Long Island City, there are no immediate plans to open a retail store for at least a year. Located on 34th Street off 48th Avenue, there are not many food options near the bakery, but there is not a lot of foot traffic either. Once she gets to know the area better, said Scherber, she will see if Amy’s Bread can open a store in Long Island City.

For now, Amy’s Bread’s is focusing on making changes to two of its existing shops—Chelsea Market and Hell’s Kitchen. With the baking facilities gone, both retail locations are expanding. In Chelsea Market, a small baking kitchen will also be installed. Scherber expects these renovations to be completed around the end of September to early October.