<![CDATA[NBC New York - Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Thu, 28 Aug 2014 21:13:32 -0400 Thu, 28 Aug 2014 21:13:32 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Body Found in Forest ID'd as Missing NJ Student: Official]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:13:44 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/missing+israeli+student.jpg

A body found on the outskirts of a forest in Israel has been identified as a 23-year-old religious student from New Jersey who vanished on a hike near there nearly a week ago, an official said.

Meir Lichtenstein, township committeeman in Lakewood, where Aaron Sofer is from, said at a news briefing Thursday that a relative identified the remains found Thursday as Sofer's. He had been missing since Friday when he went on a hike with a friend in the Jerusalem Forest.

The condition of the remains wasn't immediately clear, but Lichtenstein said early indications suggested there was no foul play involved in Sofer's death. 

Gov. Christie offered his condolences to the Sofer family.

"As parents, Mary Pat and I cannot imagine the sense of grief and sadness that engulfs them at this moment," Christie said in a statement. "We add our thoughts and prayers to those of so many in New Jersey and around the world for this family and the community of Lakewood. Together, we can help them deal with this awful tragedy."

Israeli police and investigators from the United States, along with the FBI, had been coordinating the effort to find Sofer, who had been studying at a rabbinical college in war-torn country for the last year. 

Sofer is one of 10 children. The parents are a rabbi and a school office worker. Both flew to Israel over the weekend to assist in the search.

Earlier this week, Sofer's family braced for the possibility he could have been a victim of the ongoing Gaza-Israeli conflict. The crisis between Israelis and Palestinians has spiked in recent weeks.

Another teen with ties to Lakewood -- 16-year-old Naftaly Frenkel -- was kidnapped in the West Bank and killed this summer, along with two other Israeli teens. Frenkel's aunt lives in Lakewood, a community of about 100,000. The growing population of Orthodox Jews came together to support Frenkel's family.

The kidnapping and killing of the three teens was one of the key factors leading to the summer conflict.

Last month, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, was kidnapped and killed in an alleged revenge attack. Abu Khdeir was beaten and burned to death in the same forest where Sofer is missing.

-Ted Greenberg contributed to this report

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Israeli State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Tries to Sexually Assault Mom in Front of 3 Kids: NYPD]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:45:04 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Sex-Assault-Mother-Elmhurst-Queens.jpg

Police are looking for the driver they say told a 26-year-old woman he was a cabbie before driving her and her three children to a homeless shelter, where he allegedly tried to sexually assault her in front of her children.

The driver picked up the woman and her children on 207th Street in Manhattan early on Sunday, police say. The woman asked the driver to take her and her kids -- ages 1, 3 and 5 -- to the shelter at Queens Boulevard near 51st Avenue, the site of the former Pan Am hotel.

When they got there, police say the man drove around the back of the building and started to assault the woman and her children.

Surveillance footage released by the NYPD (above, warning: some may find the footage disturbing) shows the man pulling the 5-year-old out of the car and putting the child on the sidewalk.

The suspect is then seen trying to grab at the woman, who fights him off. Then, the man is seen grabbing the 3-year-old out of a back seat and tossing the child to the sidewalk.

The man gets in the car, and he and mother tussle briefly before the he puts the car in gear and drives off.

The children were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries. It wasn’t clear if their mother was hurt.

Aaron Ling, whose family called 911 after hearing screaming, said the mother was panicking.

"She kept screaming, 'Policia! Policia!'" Ling said. "I just ran over here because I thought someone was dying."

Anyone with information on the driver is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. 

<![CDATA[NYC Teens Defaced Civil War Monument: Police]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:58:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/civil+war+monument+graffiti.jpg

Two New York City teenagers have been arrested after they were allegedly caught defacing a Civil War monument on the Upper West Side early Thursday, police say. 

Two NYPD officers were patrolling near the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Monument on Riverside Drive and West 89th Street before 3:30 a.m. when they got a report of graffiti vandals there, according to police. 

The officers spotted the teens, a 17-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, using red spray paint on the 114-year-old memorial, which commemorates Union Army members who served in the Civil War. 

The teens were arrested and charged with multiple felony counts of criminal mischief. 

Police said the boy, who lives in Hell's Kitchen, was previously arrested twice this year for subway turnstile jumping, and has other arrests related to breaking property and for shoplifting from a supermarket. He was additionally charged Thursday for scrawling graffiti with a marker on a metal lamppost on the Upper West Side in May. 

The girl, who lives near the memorial, was additionally charged with criminal mischief and making graffiti for a March incident in which she tagged a neighborhood mailbox with her initials, police said. 

The number of individuals arrested for graffiti through Aug. 24 has risen from 1,042 in 2013 to 1,080 in 2014, an increase of 4 percent, according to the NYPD. 

The temple-like Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Monument, which has a pyramidal roof and 12 Corinthian columns, was unveiled on Memorial Day in 1902 and designated a city landmark in 1976. It was named a state landmark in 2001. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

<![CDATA[Car Hits 3 Near South Street Seaport: FDNY]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:19:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/generic+caution+tape+vg.jpg

Three pedestrians were seriously injured when they were hit by a car near South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan Thursday morning, fire officials said.

The people were hit near Rutgers Slip. They were taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition.

It wasn't clear if the driver of the vehicle that hit them was hurt.  

Photo Credit: Valeria Gonzalez]]>
<![CDATA[The Death of Eric Garner]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:45:32 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/eric+garner+death+inset.jpg

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Artist Paints Workers Rebuilding at World Trade Center]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:44:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/wtc+ironworker+painting.jpg He's got an unparelleled view on the World Trade Center site, and an unmatched work ethic: Meet Marcus Robinson, a man creating works of art featuring the men and women who have been hard at work rebuilding after New York's darkest day. Those construction workers at WTC say Robinson's art beautifully captures the risk and hazards they go through every day on that sacred ground as they build it back up. Andrew Siff reports.]]> <![CDATA[Crime and Courts]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2012 11:40:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gavel.jpg

Photo Credit: Martin Poole /Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pols Eye MTA Bedbug Bill in Wake of Reported Subway Sightings]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:15:56 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/subway+bedbugs.jpg

Two Brooklyn politicians are drafting a bill that would require the MTA to notify straphangers within 24 hours about reported bedbug sightings on city subways or buses after a recent spate of sightings on trains.

An N train was fumigated this week after a conductor reported being bitten by bedbugs in the cab of the train in Brooklyn's Dekalb station. It was the fifth time this month a train was pulled out of service over bedbug reports.

City Council member Mark Treyger and Assemblyman Bill Colton, both Democrats, are working on the bill.

Calling the reported bedbug cases "disturbing," Treyger told the Daily News, “This concerns the public safety and health of both the transit workers of the MTA and the ridership.”

In addition to notifying the public about reported bedbug sightings, the bill would require the MTA to tell patrons what it is doing to get rid of the creepy crawlers when they're discovered.

A union representing city subway and bus workers supports the measure.

The MTA said in a statement it immediately takes a train out of service if a bedbug sighting is reported and fumigates it. Spokesman Adam Lisberg said the agency has found bedbugs on fewer than two dozen trains and those trains were fumigated.

Lisberg said there has been no evidence of infestations.

"More than 5.8 million people ride 8,000 subway trains on an average weekday, but the MTA has found no bedbug infestations on any trains, and has found and treated bedbugs on only 16 trains," Lisberg said.

"The MTA is securing the services of a recognized expert to examine our management plan and ensure we are taking all possible steps to ensure the comfort and safety of our employees and customers," he added. 

<![CDATA[Massive Fire Rips Through New Jersey Church]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:12:40 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/paterson+church+fire+august+27.jpg

More than 100 firefighters battled intense flames and stifling heat and humidity Wednesday night when a massive blaze ripped through a New Jersey church.

It's not clear what sparked the four-alarm blaze at Central Baptist Church on East 20th Street in Paterson Wednesday night, but heavy flames quickly spread through the three-story church, according to officials. 

About 40 people were attending service when the fire broke out, according to Pastor Jose Luis Castro.

"The cloud of smoke was getting stronger, stronger, and from the side I started seeing flames," said Castro. 

The congregants fled the building, and three families living in the homes adjacent to the church also escaped. 

The roof of the church collapsed early on, putting firefighters into "defense mode" and signaling that crews would have to be there for an extended period of time, a fire official on the scene said. The humidity and heat forced firefighters to rotate crews quickly throughout the night. 

By the time the fire was out, the church was destroyed and both houses next door were damaged.

"The whole roof collapsed. This whole thing has to be gutted and redone," said Castro.  

"Some of the members, they started to cry," said Castro, who has led a congregation of more than 100 members for nearly three decades. "But I start to calm them down, and for me the important thing is nothing happened to nobody." 

The church has been in existence for more than 100 years and is considered by many a pillar of the community. 

"A lot of memories there, but we're going to reconstruct," said Castro. 

Other local leaders went to the church Thursday to show support.

"I heard he was in trouble, and I came right over because we're all about unity," said Pastor Michael McDuffie of Paterson. 

City councilman Andre Sayegh said: "We're going to keep him and his family in prayer, and we're going to uplift him the way he's uplifted so many of his congregants for so many Sundays." 

Castro said he will continue to hold his church service at a temporary location until the church is rebuilt. 

A cause of the fire hasn't been determined, but a fire inspector said he believes the fire started on the newly installed roof and worked its way down. 

<![CDATA[Metro-North Running on Schedule]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:32:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/metro_north_still_022614.jpg

Metro-North trains are running on or close to schedule after wire damage in East Norwalk caused delays on part of the New Haven line

Opposite side boarding was in effect on Thursday morning between Green's Farm and Noroton Heights but has since ended.

Eastbound trains were not stopping at East Norwalk, Westport and Greens Farms, but the service has since been restored.


<![CDATA[Dad Left Girl in Locked Car While He Shopped: Cops]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:47:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/selden+plaza+dad+leaves+girl.jpg

A Long Island father is under arrest, accused of leaving his 4-year-old daughter locked in the back seat of his car in a parking lot while he shopped, police say. 

Police were called to Selden Plaza on Route 25 Wednesday afternoon after someone noticed the girl sleeping in the back seat of the Mercedes Benz, which had its windows open about a quarter-inch.  

Responding officers and firefighters were able to unlock one of the doors and took the girl to Stony Brook University Hospital to be examined, according to authorities. 

Police located the girl's 32-year-old father inside the TJ Maxx store at the plaza. They determined he had left his daughter for about 15 minutes while he shopped.

He faces a child endangerment charge and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Thursday. 

Child Protective Services has also been notified, authorities say. 

<![CDATA[Dump Truck Crash Sparks Fireball, Kills 3: Police]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:38:05 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dump+truck+crash+fatal+i+280+nj+copy.jpg

Three people were killed when a dump truck struck multiple vehicles on Interstate 280 in New Jersey on Wednesday, causing one car to burst into flames, authorities said.

The truck was heading east in East Orange when the driver lost control and crashed into a Honda and four other vehicles at around 10:30 a.m., state police said. 

The Honda became engulfed in flames after it was struck, police said, killing the driver and two passengers. The identities of the victims are being withheld pending family notification.

"There was a massive fireball that engulfed the entire vehicle, and unfortunately we could not get those people out," said New Jersey State Police Lt. Col. Edward Cetnar. 

Witnesses said the dump truck driver and others tried desperately to extinguish the fire before firefighters arrived. During their attempt, the Honda driver issued a warning.

"Whoever was in the car in the driver's seat beeped the horn, and then the car exploded," said witness Tamika Ann of East Orange. "They beeped the horn to let somebody know they were in there, it just brought me to tears." 

Four other people suffered minor injuries, including the driver of the truck and two children.

A short time later, another fatal crash occurred less than a mile away from the scene of the first accident on Interstate 280, when a van drove into the back of a tractor-trailer which was stopped due to traffic. The driver of the van was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both accidents remain under investigation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

<![CDATA[Fugitive Shoots at U.S. Marshals in Queens: Sources]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:51:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Queens-Shootout-NY.jpg

A fugitive who had been on the run for decades and is a suspect in a violent stabbing in Brooklyn shot at U.S. Marshals in Queens early Wednesday, law enforcement sources say.

The marshals were working with NYPD officers when they tracked the man down at an apartment in Springfield Gardens, near John F. Kennedy airport, sources say.

With a warrant in hand, they went inside the apartment, which sources say was dark with the only light coming from a flickering TV. The suspect, who was hidden, then suddenly began firing at the officers with two guns. 

The officers returned fire, hitting the man in the hand and arm.

No marshals or police officers were hit by gunfire. The suspect was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition.

Sources identify the suspect as Oswald Lewis and say he had been on the run since 1991. He was wanted on a charge of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine in Virginia. He's also a suspect in a stabbing in Brooklyn.

It’s the second time fugitives have shot at U.S. Marshals in the city this summer. Last month, two marshals and an NYPD officer were shot in a gun battle with an accused child molester in a Greenwich Village smoke shop.

The marshals and police officer were both taken to the hospital after that shootout. The suspect, Charles Mozdir, was killed.

Photo Credit: NBC New York]]>
<![CDATA[Restaurant Patron Thwarts Knife-Wielding Robber: Police]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:37:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Robbery-Restaurnt-Thwarted-Customer.jpg

Police are looking for the man they say was caught on video trying to rob a New Jersey restaurant with a large knife and then slashing at a customer who confronted him.

Police say the robber went into the Kapadokya Mediterranean Grill in South Brunswick at about 3 p.m. Tuesday with a drawstring jacket hood obscuring his face and a black drawstring bag over one of his hands. 

The robber demanded money from a cashier, and police say a customer stood up and told the robber to leave. That’s when the robber pulled the bag off his hand, revealing a knife.

The customer is seen on surveillance footage talking with the robber, then grabbing him by the arm and pushing him away. The robber then slashes at the customer, who grabbed a motorcycle helmet to fend off the attacks.

The robber walked toward the exit, then tried to slash the customer a few more times before leaving the store without any cash, the video shows.

The customer wasn’t injured in the attack.

Anyone with information about the robber is asked to call the South Brunswick Police Department at 732-329-4646.

<![CDATA[Queens Man Honored as NYC's Safest Cabbie]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:45:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/safest+taxi+driver+frederick+amoafo.jpg

A 46-year-old Queens man has laid claim to the title of best and safest cabbie in New York City.

Frederick Amoafo, who's been driving a cab for almost 20 years, has topped the Taxi and Limousine Commission's first-ever cabbie honor roll: he has no convictions for traffic violations, has not broken one of TLC's rules and has not been involved in an accident with injuries in the last five years.

"You have to understand that you have people in your car, and they are human beings," said Amoafo, who mortgaged his home to buy his own medallion, number 8A63, in 2007.

Amoafo also has the edge on distance: he's driven 190,000 miles behind the wheel, the most of all cabbies, and enough to circle the globe 7.6 times. His secret to spending all that time negotiating city traffic, he said, is "first and foremost, I think you have to relax."

The cabbie's unblemished record may be threatened. A few months ago, he was ticketed at 37th Street and Sixth Avenue for making a turn from the wrong lane. Amoafo says he's hired a lawyer to fight the ticket. 

The TLC said the summons hasn't been adjudicated so he's still point-free. Soon, he and the other 294 honor-roll recipients will be able to display a plaque bearing a logo highlighting their safety record. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Man in White Van Tries to Lure NJ Boys: Police]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:36:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/attempted+luring+ocean+township+van.jpg

Police in a New Jersey community say they're searching for a man accused of trying to lure two boys into a van last week. 

The man was driving in the area of West Park Avenue and Whalepond Road in the Township of Ocean at about 8 p.m. last Thursday when he approached the 11-year-old and 12-year-old boys and yelled at them to come over to the van, police said. 

The boys ran away and told their parents, who contacted police.

The man is described as being about 40 years old, driving a white passenger van with regular-sized front driver and passenger windows, with smaller tinted windows along othe side of the van. The back driver's side and middle portion of the van had some rust on them. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Ocean Township Police at 732-531-3323 or emailing crimetips@oceantwp.org. 

<![CDATA[Fighter Jets to Fly Over NYC Thursday: NYPD]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:32:01 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP110813010185.jpg

The NYPD is advising residents that two fighter jets will be flying over the city Thursday morning. 

The F/A-18 Hornets, twin-engine supersonic combat jets, will be flying at an altitude of 2,500 feet at about 9:30 a.m. 

The aircrafts will be traveling from Kennedy Airport over the Atlantic Ocean through the Verrazano Narrows, and over the Hudson River to the George Washington Bridge.

They'll then reverse the route back to Kennedy Airport. 

Residents should not be alarmed if they see the jets, police say. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gun Suspect Shot Hours After Release From Jail: Sources]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:26:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/suspect+shot+brooklyn+aug+27.jpg

A suspect getting out of jail was shot hours after his release when he got into a fight with another man in downtown Brooklyn, sources say. 

The 25-year-old suspect, who's been previously convicted of criminal possession of a weapon, was released from jail Wednesday morning and somehow obtained a gun within hours, law enforcement sources say.  

He got into an argument with a 24-year-old man in downtown Brooklyn when he made a disparaging remark about the other man's earrings, the sources said. The suspect pulled out his gun, and the other man pulled the gun away and shot him.

The 25-year-old man was shot in the leg and grazed in the head, police said. He was taken to the hospital.

The alleged shooter has been arrested and is expected to be charged. 

Both men have violent histories, according to police. The 25-year-old man was arrested August 17 for menacing and was also arrested March 10 for criminal possession of a weapon. He's been previously convicted of the same charge. 

<![CDATA[Firefighters Battle Barge Fire in Bronx Creek]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:32:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bronx+barge+fire+eastchester.jpg

Firefighters are battling a barge fire in the Bronx.

It's not clear what started the fire in Eastchester Creek at 4251 Boston Rd. 

There are no reported injuries. 

<![CDATA[NYC Restaurant Put on Probation for Boozy Brunches]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:04:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pranna+boozy+brunches.jpg

A Manhattan restaurant has been put on probation for three months after a community board found its boozy brunches were fueling bad behavior among patrons. 

Community Board 5 put the Flatiron restaurant Pranna on notice after neighbors began posting videos of diners leaving the brunches in apparently highly intoxicated states. 

Residents said they've repeatedly complained about the restaurant and its customers in the past. 

"People at Pranna are served to the point of extreme intoxication," said one neighbor at the community board meeting Wednesday.

"People are drunk, fighting, throwing up. Girls are drunk, crying in the middle of the street without shoes," said another woman.  

In fact, one recent YouTube video shows a woman leaving the restaurant and taking off her shoes before vomiting on the sidewalk as a friend pulls back her hair. Another woman, apparently too drunk to stand up, is seen lying on the sidewalk. 

"It is an egregious violation of their liquor license," said another person at the meeting. "They're absolutely running a nightclub. How is it that their liquor license isn't canceled?"

Ultimately, Community Board 5's public safety committee did not recommend that Pranna's license be rejected outright. Instead, the board put the restaurant on probation for three months, forbidding the bottomless brunches and loud music. 

Owner Rajiv Sharma agreed to the changes, but admitted he was worried about business. 

"We are going to be affected. We will not be one of the top brunch spots of New York City, and the general public is going to be upset. They loved Pranna," he said. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/ProblematicPranna]]>
<![CDATA[Meet NYC's Safest Cabbie]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:38:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/safest+taxi+driver+frederick+amoafo.jpg A 46-year-old Queens man has laid claim to the title of best and safest cabbie in New York City. Roseanne Colletti reports.]]> <![CDATA[Wanted Rapper Turns Himself in to Police]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:15:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/wanted+rapper.jpg

A rap and reality television star who launched a social media rant against the NYPD after the department sent out an advisory looking for him for allegedly roughing up his ex-girlfriend and stealing her cellphone has turned himself in to police custody.

Joe Budden turned himself in at the 34th Precinct in Upper Manhattan Wednesday morning. He was arrested and charged with robbery in the third degree and grand larceny in the fourth degree.

Last weekend, Budden directed his ire at the NYPD via Twitter after it sent out his picture and asked the public for help tracking him down.

In one expletive-punctuated tweet, the 33-year-old city native said he would sue. In another, he told the NYPD's account to alert the "Man hunt" that he'd be at an Astoria strip club Saturday night.

NBC 4 New York found him on his New Jersey doorstep Monday, getting ready to take his dog for a walk.

"You guys found me rather easily," the "Love & Hip Hop" star said. "And I'm wearing pink! Who runs wearing pink? I'm not on the run."

"It's been a frenzy. It's been a frenzy. I was surprised at all of it to be honest," Budden said, adding he felt like he was being treated like a fugitive. "The media circus, the witch hunt, the man hunt."

Budden said he regretted sending the taunting tweets. He is accused of snatching his girlfriend's cellphone and twisting her arm during a dispute in his car in Manhattan earlier this month.

Budden said the cellphone in question belonged to him, not his girlfriend, but he said he wanted to do whatever it would take to rectify the legal situation and move forward.

His latest album is "All Love Lost." 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Calling "Friends" Fans: Central Perk Coming to NYC]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:03:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Central-Perk-Friends-Orange-Couch-Seating-Area.jpg

If you were hunting for a Manhattan coffee shop to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the premiere of “Friends,” you needn’t search any longer.

That’s because Warner Bros. announced that it and Eight O’Clock Coffee are recreating Central Perk in a popup location in Soho next month in honor of Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe’s first TV appearances in 1994. 

The studio said that fans of the show will be able to visit for free cups of coffee and will be able to see props from the show in the coffee shop’s front windows.

Inside, fans can plop on the actual orange couch that was featured so prominently in the show. The actor who portrayed Gunther, the shop’s bright-haired barista, will also make several scheduled appearances throughout the month, and there will be weekly musical performances of Phoebe’s improvised songs, including “Smelly Cat.”

There will also be several giveaways over the course of the month, the studio said, and an area will be set up so fans can buy "Friends"-themed merchandise.

The coffee shop will open at the corner of Lafayette and Broome streets on Sept. 17 and will be open daily until Oct. 18.

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.]]>
<![CDATA[Sandy Crane Abandoned on Family's Property]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:38:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/abandoned+sandy+crane.jpg A Freeport family decided to help a stranger in need by letting a stranger dock his crane in their backyard just before Sandy. But nearly two years later the abandoned crane has become an eyesore, frustrating neighbors. Greg Cergol reports.]]> <![CDATA[MTA Safety Panel Recommends Steps to Improve Rail Safety]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:44:07 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000004739983_1200x675_322633283658.jpg The "Blue Ribbon Panel" concludes "fundamental rebuilding needs to occur" to make tracks safer, especially at Metro-North. Andrew Siff reports.]]> <![CDATA[NYC's "Build It Back" Program Blasted]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:41:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/build+it+back+frustration+staten+island.jpg Staten Island residents affected by Sandy are frustrated at the city's "Build It Back" program, saying it's done little to help them out. Andrew Siff reports.]]> <![CDATA[Seton Hall on Alert After Students Robbed at Gunpoint]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:53:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/199*120/Seton+Hall.jpg

Students and faculty at Seton Hall University in New Jersey are on alert after three students were assaulted and robbed at gunpoint near the school.

Officials said the students were approached by three men who exited a parked dark-colored minivan near Prospect Street and Irvington Avenue in South Orange early Sunday morning and then took their wallets and cell phones. One student was struck in the head with a handgun and needed medical treatment.

South Orange Police are investigating the robbery.

The school's public safety department sent out a notice alerting students and faculty of the robbery and reminding them to travel in groups and to take advantage of University provided transportation when traveling in the area. 

<![CDATA[Soldier Who Committed Suicide at Fort Lee From Yonkers]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:52:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/fort+lee.jpg

Officials identified the soldier who killed herself at Fort Lee Army base Monday as 33-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Paula M. Walker, of Yonkers, N.Y.

Walker locked herself inside a third floor office, throwing things around before putting the weapon to her head, said Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, a commanding general at Fort Lee.

She was flown to an area hospital where she died a few hours later. The shooting prompted a temporary lockdown at the base.

Walker had been in the Army for 14 years; she had been at Fort Lee for three years. She also spent 15 months in Iraq in 2007, officials said.

The last shooting on a military installation was reported in April, when an Iraq War veteran killed three people and injured 16 others at Fort Hood, Texas, before shooting himself. The shooter was identified was Ivan A. Lopez, 34.

Just weeks before the shooting at Fort Hood, a sailor was fatally shot at Naval Station Norfolk. Security forces on the base killed the male suspect shortly after aboard the guided-missile destroyer.

Last year, 12 people died when a government contractor began shooting inside the Navy Yard complex in Washington, D.C. Another four were injured. The gunman, a former Navy reservist identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, was killed by officers.

Fort Lee is an Army post and headquarters of the U.S. Army's Combined Arms Support Command and a number of other defense training institutions. The daily population of Fort Lee averages about 34,000, including members of the military, their families and civilian contractors, according to the base’s Web site. It is the Army’s third largest training site, with as many as 70,000 troops spending time in its classrooms each year.

The base has grown enormously over the last decade as a result of base closings and its designation as a training base for military supply, maintenance, munitions and more, its Web site says.

Fort Lee is located about 25 miles south of Richmond, Virginia.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Boy Drowns at Jersey Shore]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:18:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Ocean-Generic-5476.jpg

A teenage boy was pronounced dead Wednesday morning -- hours after lifeguards pulled him from the Atlantic Ocean late Tuesday afternoon.

The 17-year-old boy -- identified as Sarnad Rizvi of South Plainfield, Middlesex County -- was reported missing from the Sandy Hook beach around 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to Daphne Yun, a spokeswoman for Gateway National Park Service.

Rizvi was in the water between beaches C and D -- an area that was not monitored by lifeguards, Yun said.

Lifeguards pulled the boy from the Atlantic Ocean within 30 minutes of when they were notified he was missing, she added.

They tried to resuscitate him at the beach before he was transported to the Monmouth Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead early Wednesday morning.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dead Woman in Car, Suspicious Odor ID'd: Police]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:02:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/maria+fernandes+haz+mat+situation+elizabeth+nj+copy.jpg

Police have identified the woman who was found dead inside her car in a New Jersey parking lot Monday, and they say the chemical odor from the vehicle that initially alarmed first responders turned out to be gasoline that had spilled from a container. 

The woman, 32-year-old Maria Fernandes of Newark, was found dead inside her 2001 Kia Sportage in a Wawa convenience store parking lot on Spring Street in Elizabeth at around 4 p.m. 

Police said Fernandes worked at several Dunkin Donuts stores in the area and it wasn't unusual for her to park in a public access parking lot in between jobs to get a few hours of sleep. She was scheduled to lend her car to a friend two hours after she parked her vehicle in the lot that afternoon, police said. 

Workers at the Wawa store became concerned when they saw Fernandes in her car and called 911. Responding EMTs were able to get into the vehicle but were immediately overpowered by some sort of chemical smell, police said.

Once they determined the woman was dead, the workers backed away and alerted firefighters and hazmat crews.

Hazmat officials later determined the smell was gasoline from a gas can that had apparently spilled in the back of the car. Investigators say Fernandes apparently traveled with the can because she had run out of gas in the past while commuting between jobs. 

Fernandes has family in Portugal, and they have been notified of her death, police said. 

An official cause of death is pending toxicology results, but an autopsy has determined that there's no reason to suspect foul play in Fernandes' death, police said.