<![CDATA[NBC New York - Local News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usWed, 27 Jul 2016 18:59:25 -0400Wed, 27 Jul 2016 18:59:25 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Dead Whale, Struck by Ship Days Ago, Resurfaces in Hudson]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 18:17:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dead+whale+hudson.jpg

A dead whale struck by a ship several days ago in New Jersey has apparently resurfaced in the Hudson River.

The 30-foot whale was first spotted under the bow of a cargo ship in Newark Bay by a pilot boat driver a couple of days ago, according to Bob Schoelkopf of Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigatine. The ship appeared to have struck the whale, the pilot boat driver confirmed. 

The whale apparently sank, then floated to the surface in the Hudson River off Jersey City Wednesday, according to Schoelkopf. 

Crews were approaching the whale to try to remove it, Chopper 4 over the scene shows. 

Schoelkopf said he thinks it may be a fin whale, not a humpback, but couldn't tell precisely from Chopper 4's aerial shot. 

Brian Thompson contributed to this report 

<![CDATA[Muscular Man in Dress, Heels Robs NYC Bank: FBI]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 17:29:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bank+robber+dress+suspect.jpg

A muscular man in a dress, floppy hat and high heels robbed a New York City bank while armed with a handgun, and the FBI and police are searching for the suspect, who's considered dangerous. 

The man walked into Santander Bank at 81 Water Street on Staten Island on Monday, wearing a silver and black formal dress, silver high heels, black hat and sunglasses, the FBI said. 

The man, described as about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 and about 175 pounds, showed a silver handgun and robbed the bank.

Surveillance video later showed him in a nearby store pulling off the skirt, revealing plaid shorts and blue-and-white Nike Jordan sneakers. He was not wearing a shirt. 

The suspect, who may have scarring around the mouth, should be considered armed and dangerous, the FBI-NYPD Joint Violent Crimes Task Force says. 

Anyone with information should contact 800-577-TIPS or the FBI at 212-384-5000. The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. 

<![CDATA[Guns N' Roses Star Slash Surprises 'School of Rock' Cast]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 16:17:53 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SLASH+SURPRISES+SCHOOL+OF+ROCK+-+00003401_WNBC_000000012515703.jpg

The kid band at the heart of the Broadway musical "School of Rock" got a surprise guest during rehearsal - Guns N' Roses star Slash.

The guitarist made a surprise appearance Friday while the pre-teen band was practicing the Guns N' Roses song "Sweet Child O' Mine." He then joined in with young guitarist Brandon Niederauer, who seemed delighted.

Singer Bobbi MacKenzie didn't notice the musician until after the song, covering her mouth in surprise. After shaking hands with the kids, Slash joined them on "Paradise City."

The musical stays close to the plot of the Jack Black-led 2003 film, in which a wannabe rocker enlists his fifth-graders to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands.

Slash is touring with Guns N' Roses.

Photo Credit: School of Rock The Musical]]>
<![CDATA[Hope for Newborn With Rare Heart Condition at NYC Hospital]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 18:46:07 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/navy+caroline+dumont.jpg

A newborn girl with a rare heart condition had to be taken to three different hospitals before she was finally able to get care from a surgeon at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. 

Baby girl Navy Caroline Dumont, born to navy man dad Jeremiah and mom Kristen last weekend, was just minutes from leaving the hospital in the upstate New York town of Malone last weekend when one last test sent her parents into panic.

"They just said they found an anamoly, and had to immediately transfer to another hospital," said Kristen Dumont. "It kind of felt like the world was crashing down around you." 

Doctors discovered total anomalous pulmonary venous return, a rare heart defect that affects blood oxygen flow. 

"When you walk in and see a two-day-old baby girl with tubes in her nose," said Jeremiah, crying as she recalled the image. 

Navy was rushed to Burlington, Vermont, in search of a surgeon. Ultimately, Boston Medical Center sent a life-flight to bring her to Columbia Presbyterian. 

Kristen and Jeremiah left Burlington with only $100. They arrived in New York with no place to stay and no change of clothes. But they do have hope.

Doctors are aiming to perform open-heart surgery on Navy next week. But she wouldn't be in New York had their hospital in Malone not started testing for the condition just recently. 

"It's a small hospital, but they caught it. They saved my baby girl's life," said Jeremiah.

Back in their small hometown of 6,000, Malone neighbors are rallying to raise money through a GoFundMe page and even a chairty softball game. 

As for the name Navy, her dad wears it with pride.

"She's definitely living up to the name. You can't sink the U.S. Navy and you can't sink her, she's an absolute fighter." 

Photo Credit: Provided to NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Car Hits 3-Year-Old, Mom Crossing NJ Street, Killing Child]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 15:06:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/baby-killed-plainfield-0727.jpg

A mother was seriously injured and her 3-year-old daughter was killed after the two were hit by a car in New Jersey on Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The mother and child were crossing the road at Park Avenue and West Second Street in Plainfield when they were hit by a car headed south on Park Avenue, police said.

Footage from the scene showed a red sedan and a baby stroller inside a perimeter of police tape.

It's not clear if the child that was killed was in the stroller. 

The driver of the car wasn't hurt and remained at the scene. No arrests have been made. 

<![CDATA[Teen Admits Shooting, Killing Yonkers Baseball Prospect: DA]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 13:11:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Yonkers-Shooting-Inset.jpg

A 17-year-old boy from the Bronx pleaded guilty to shooting and killing a baseball prospect in the parking lot of a Yonkers fast-food restaurant last year, authorities said.

The teen pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 23-year-old Michael Nolan, a pitcher who was gunned down on Sept. 18. The teen was charged with murder in Nolan's death earlier this year, but the charges were reduced as part of a plea deal.

Authorities said that the teen was the one who fired a gun six times at Nolan as he stood in the parking lot of a Burger King in Yonkers. The shooting came as a retaliation to a beating during a drag race two nights earlier. 

Nolan was placed in a medically induced coma after the shooting; he was declared dead on Oct. 9. 

The other three suspects each face felony charges, including assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

The teen and three others were arrested following the shooting. Two of the others charged pleaded guilty to felony assault, the Westchester County DA's Office said. The fourth suspect faces assault and felony charges. 

Nolan was playing in the Arizona League Athletics, Oakland's rookie-league team in Phoenix. He was drafted in the 18th round of last year's MLB draft, but was placed on the restricted list for players not currently competing in July 2014.

<![CDATA[Disabled Man's Wheelchair Stripped 'Like a Car' on BK Street]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 08:31:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/wheelchair+stripped+richard+vega.jpg

A disabled man's motorized wheelchair was stripped of its parts at a Brooklyn intersection when he fell off and was taken away in an ambulance, the wheelchair left on the street. 

Richard Vega fell out of the motorized wheelchair at the intersection of Humboldt and Debevoise streets in Williamsburg two weeks ago, fracturing his pelvis. Paramedics responded and took Vega away in an ambulance, but left the wheelchair on the sidewalk because it wouldn't fit in vehicle. 

Vega's brother returned to retrieve $7,000 wheelchair, but found it totally stripped of everything from the controls to the wheels to the motor. 

"It's like they steal a car and they strip it for parts," said Carlos Vega.

"He needs his wheelchair to get around," he said. "I can't be coming back and forth to push him around." 

Richard Vega, who suffers from asthma and diabetes, remains hospitalized and is left disillusioned.

"What is this world coming to? I'm handicapped. Do you not understand, they might as well bury me," he said. 

Vega said he has yet to hear back from his insurance company to see if they'll replace the wheelchair. Police have not made any arrests in the case, but Vega believes it took the work of more than one person. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Son to Weiner: 'Go Back to Your Cave']]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 14:35:47 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/weiner+trump+jr.jpg

Amid speculation over whether Donald Trump Jr. may be mulling a run for New York City mayor, failed candidate Anthony Weiner offered an opinion that sparked a snarky response from the younger Trump.

Asked by a TV news reporter Tuesday about the possibility of a Trump Jr. run for mayor, Weiner said, "I'd come out of retirement just to beat him like a rented mule." 

Trump Jr. tweeted in response: "Too soon Anthony!!! You probably shouldn't be talking about beating anything ever again. Go back to your cave."

The scandal-scarred Weiner badly lost the Democratic primary of the New York City's mayoral race in 2013. By that time, he'd been caught in two sexting scandals, once in 2011, when he used Twitter to send provocative photos of himself while in Congress, and again in April of 2013, shortly after he announced he was entering the mayoral race. That's when revelations of an online relationship with a woman named Sydney Leathers surfaced. 

Weiner, 51, appeared on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" Monday night after The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where his wife Huma Abedin -- longtime top aide to Hillary Clinton -- was working.

He told Politico in 2014 his political career was "probably over" and that he planned to stay busy with business, media appearances and his son with Abedin, Jordan. 

Trump Jr., 38, meanwhile, has refused to rule out a run for mayor after his appearance at the Republican National Convention last week. He said on CNN's "State of the Union" show: "As my father has always said, I want to -- we always like to keep our options open." 

Mayor de Blasio said he welcomes the challenge.

"In terms of Donald Trump Jr., I will predict something right here and now," he told Politico. "That his father and his values will be rejected soundly by the people of New York City in November. So, if after that he thinks that it’s a great idea to run against me, be my guest."

Photo Credit: AP/Getty
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<![CDATA[NYC Restaurant Begins Selling 'Bleeding' Veggie Burgers]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 14:16:56 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/impossible-burger.jpg

New Yorkers can be among the first to taste a veggie burger that tastes -- and bleeds -- just like ground beef.

Momofuki Nishi in Chelsea unveiled the so-called "Impossible Burger" -- a lab-produced, plant-based meat burger -- and plans to start selling them for $12 apiece.

The burgers are made with plant-based proteins and fats that are engineered to look and taste exactly like a ground beef patty.

The Impossible Burger will also cook just like a regular patty, meaning diners can get them cooked anywhere from rare to well-done. And if a diner likes a rare burger, it'll "bleed" just like a beef patty thanks to a molecule found in both plants and the blood of animals.

David Chang, the head chef at Momofuku Nishi, told Eater that he had heard about the burger about a year ago and wanted to try it.

"It was something new that I had to get behind," Chang said.

The burger, which was created by Impossible Foods, should be an appealing option for people who enjoy meat but want to lessen the impact of eating it. And according to early taste-tests, it's hard to determine which patty was ground beef and the other was plant-based.

Photo Credit: Kathryn Sheldon / New York Live]]>
<![CDATA[Storm Team 4]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 07:27:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/StormTeam4_1B.jpg ]]> <![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[Big Apple Circus Closing Next Season]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 22:41:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/big+apple+circus1.JPG

The Big Apple Circus is closing at Lincoln Center, it announced Tuesday.

After more than 35 years of performances, the cash-strapped circus will not be able to return for the 2016-17 season, it announced on Facebook. 

The show was a New York City holiday tradition, delighting audiences with eclectic themes and acrobatic and animal tricks. 

The non-profit organization started a fundraiser last month in a last-ditch effort to raise an emergency $2 million, but it fell far short of its goal, raising just $900,000, according to The New York Times. 

Big Apple Circus says it will use the money it did raise to continue providing its community programs, including Clown Care, which comprises visits to kids in hospitals across the country. The funds will also help support Circus to Go, which provides clowns, acrobats, aerialists and other performers for private parties and events. 

Big Apple Circus was started in the 1970s with a "Robin Hood spirit" that some families would pay full price for the entertainment while those who couldn't afford to wouldn't pay anything, the Times reports. 

Staffing at the circus' Brooklyn office has already been reduced to eight from 30, and performers will have to find other places to work, according to the Times. 

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<![CDATA[New Police Approach Amid Heroin Epidemic in Westchester]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:33:04 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/heroin+war+westchester.jpg

With heroin use spiking in the northern suburbs of New York, at least one police department is taking a different approach: showing leniency to users.

Harrison police are sitting in the epicenter of the heroin crisis, and in the wake of a string of fatal heroin and opiate overdoses in the New York subsurbs, authorities are trying to persuade users to come to them. 

"If you walk in the front door of our headquarters and you bring your drugs, you bring your paraphernalia, no problem. No arrest. No interrogation," said Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini. "And I will guarantee you that I will have somebody do everything they can to get you assistance."

Five years ago, the New York state health department recorded 924 heroin overdoses. In 2014, the most recent year statistics are available, that number increased to 1,443. Some of the biggest increases happened in the upscale suburbs of Westchester County.

Sgt. Frank Massaro, who has worked with the Harrison Police for 14 years, said he's "never seen this much heroin." 

"When I was assigned to narcotics, most of the time it was marijuana, pills, ecstasy," he said. "Every now and then you’d see heroin but now it’s just heroin all the time."

Ellen Hackett, the director of special services at Peekskill School District, says they too are facing a heroin crisis.

"We’ve had staff members often say, 'I’m going to a funeral now, I’m going to one next week and every two or three weeks staff are stepping out to go to a graduate or former student’s funeral,'" she said.

Susan Salomone started Drug Crisis in our Backyard after her son Justin died from a heroin overdose in 2012.

"They’ve been raised in an environment that is so comfortable that, they don’t really think anything serious can happen to them," she said.

<![CDATA[Soap and Peanut Thief Threatens to Shoot, Stab Employees: PD]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 01:44:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/peanuts7.jpg

Police are searching for a man who stole soap and canned peanuts from a Bronx dollar store and threatened to shoot and stab employees when they confronted him.

The man targeted a Family Dollar on Sound View Avenue in Clason Point back in May, according to police.

In the first robbery, an employee saw the man grabbing soap from shelves and putting them in a black garbage bag. When she confronted him, the man told her he would shoot her with a gun.

The next day, the man returned to the Family Dollar and started putting canned peanuts in his jacket. When he was confronted by another employee, he told him that he had a knife and would stab him, police said.

The man took off with the soap and canned peanuts. Police released surveillance video of him. They said he appears to be in his mid 30s to mid 40s.

The NYPD asks anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

<![CDATA['Our Hearts Break': Missing 7-Year-Old in Boston Waters Found Dead]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:38:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kyzr10.jpg

Police said a 7-year-old boy reported missing from Carson Beach in South Boston on Tuesday afternoon has been found dead.

The Coast Guard said the Kyzr Willis, of Dorchester, was reported missing from the L Street Bath House in South Boston by his parents around 3 p.m. He was last seen about an hour earlier from a summer day camp.

After an extensive search by street patrols, K9 units, state police and Coast Guard air wings, the boy was found in the water near the beach house where he had gone missing.

"We found the young boy in the water unfortunately and he was declared deceased," Police Commissioner William Evans said in an evening news conference. "Obviously our hearts break for the family."

Evans said the boy had left the area on foot. The reason he left is not clear. He was reportedly playing with friends and brothers before he disappeared.

"We're obviously going to conduct a major investigation into what happened here," Evans said. "The is the worst part of our job - dealing with a tragic death like this."

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who is on his way home from the Democratic National Convention, expressed his sympathy in a statement:

"The City of Boston is devastated to learn of the tragic loss of Kyzr Willis, and I will be working closely with Boston Centers for Youth and Families and the Boston Police Department until we know exactly what happened. My heart is broken for the Willis family and my thoughts and prayers will be with them."

Carson Beach is a public beach located in the area of 1663 Columbia Ave. and maintained by the state.

Photo Credit: Boston Police]]>
<![CDATA[Car Fire, Fatal Crash Hamper LIRR, Lincoln Tunnel Commutes]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 17:33:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LINCOLN+TUNNEL+LIRR+DELAYS.jpg

A deadly motorcycle crash in the Lincoln Tunnel and a burning car on the Long Island Railroad delayed thousands of commuters traveling to and from New York City Wednesday, but the worst of the traffic nightmare was cleared by the time the peak of the morning commute got underway. 

The Lincoln Tunnel's north tube was closed for about four hours after the crash that killed a 23-year-old woman riding on the back of a motorcycle at about 2:40 a.m. But the tube reopened at about 6:30 a.m., breaking up the logjam and getting traffic that had spilled out into 11th Avenue in Manhattan to get moving again. 

Residual delays lingered for the morning commute.

Over on Long Island, a car burst into flames a little after 2 a.m. on tracks near Urban Avenue in Westbury, possibly after striking the third rail. The fire damaged one of two tracks. Although the car was removed from the tracks shortly before 4 a.m., LIRR personnel were still assessing the extent of track and third rail damage.

One man witnessed the flaming car before it was extinguished and taken away. 

"Everything was on fire, there were sparks going all over the place. There was like smoke clouds all the way down the whole entire block," he said. 

The driver of the car, a 30-year-old man, was charged with DWI, the MTA said. 

Service was initially suspended in both directions between Hicksville and Mineola on the Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson branches. Partial service was restored around 5:15 a.m., although the LIRR said customers should expect delays and some cancellations during the morning rush. 

The LIRR advised Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma commuters to use the Montauk or Babylon branches if possible. 

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<![CDATA[Rally Against Alleged Sex Abuse by NYC Correction Officers ]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:10:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tlmd_rikersisland650x366.jpg

Jail reform advocates rallied on the steps of City Hall Tuesday to raise awareness of what they call a systemic problem of sexual abuse against inmates and visitors by city correction officers.

Jeannette Reynoso and Tierra White were among the dozen women who came forward to the I-Team in February with claims they were molested by female correction officers during visits to city jails -- and they joined others Tuesday to seek better protections for visitors and inmates in the system. 

Reynoso said her life has not been the same since she says she was violated. White said she feels "really bad for the women who are going through what we went through." 

The complaints are wide-ranging; the women report they were illegally strip-searched or subjected to body cavity searches at various facilities on Rikers Island, as well as at the Manhattan Detention Center and the Brooklyn House of Detention. They call the searches degrading and humiliating. 

The New York City Department of Correction says the commissioner has a zero tolerance policy for sex abuse and assault, and agency guidelines prohibit strip searches or body cavity searches of visitors. Limited pat frisks are allowed over outer clothing, but only after written consent and with a supervisor present.

Some women say the searches they experienced were far more invasive. Tamara Blackwood said she was ordered to strip naked by an officer.

"She took the rubber gloves she had on, and went front ways toward my private area, told me to cough and slid her hand up." She added, "I didn’t consent to being cavity searched and fondled."

Several of the women describe being required to squat and cough while undressed.

Attorney Alan Figman has filed more than a dozen claims on behalf of women against New York City.

"And it's the same routine. I know the routine because different people are telling me the story, whether it's the TOMBS or Brooklyn or Rikers," Figman said Tuesday. "It's almost like they have a manual somewhere that tells them to do this. And it's designed clearly to humiliate the women." 

"You know how wrong it is, because 60 to 75 percent of the people I have spoken to wound up hysterically crying as the result of the search," he said.

The Commissioner of Corrections, Joseph Ponte, previously told the I-Team he could not discuss cases for legal reasons, but said the department doubled the number of investigators to look into staff integrity issues.

The I-Team has learned that so far this year, the Department of Correction has received 13 allegations of sex abuse by visitors. In the entire calendar year of 2015, there were 15. The City’s Department of Investigation is looking into the accusations. The DOI also said investigators want to hear from anyone who believes they’ve been illegally strip-searched during a visit to a jail.

The phone number for complaints is 212-835-5959. You can also file a complaint on their website or email complaint@doi.nyc.gov.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[City Wages War on Rats in Parks With Dry Ice]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:45:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-141167926-rat-generic.jpg

New York City health officials are hoping a new program will freeze rat populations in their tracks. 

The city Health Department said on Tuesday that it has been dropping dry ice in earthen rat burrows at J. Hood Wright Park in upper Manhattan as part of a pilot program to reduce rat sightings around the city.

According to the Daily News, which first reported the measure, the dry ice melts and releases carbon dioxide that suffocates the rats in their nests.

Health officials said that dry ice is safe to use in parks and other earthen burrow sites and doesn't pose a threat to other wildlife. It's also painless for the rats, they said.

The health department said that the program can't be expanded to nests in buildings or other concrete areas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF]]>
<![CDATA[Nuclear Device Stolen From Parked Car in CT: Officials]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 16:57:51 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/radioactive+gauge+stolen.jpg

A radioactive gauge stolen from an engineering and testing company's office in Connecticut Tuesday was found hours later at a pawn shop, police say. 

The portable moisture-density gauge, which contained sealed sources of radioactive cesium and americium, was reported stolen from a vehicle parked outside the HAKS Material Testing Group offices in Bridgeport on Tuesday morning, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The agency said that it appears that someone broke into the trunk of the vehicle, cut chains holding the gauge and took the instrument, which is used to make measurements by projecting the radiation from the two radioactive sources into the ground and then displaying the reflected radiation on a dial on its top.

The device was later located at a pawn shop in the town.

The radioactive elements don't pose any hazard to the public so long as they are shielded inside the gauge. But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said people could be exposed to potentially dangerous radiation if the device were tampered with.

Photo Credit: NRC]]>
<![CDATA[Free Swim Lessons for NYC Kids Offer Simple Luxury]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:09:56 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nycha+free+swim+lessons.jpg

A group of kids living in New York City public housing are getting free swim lessons, thanks to a program started by an organization that wants to build a public pool on the East River. 

Plus Pool is providing swim lessons with the help of New York City Housing Authority and Convent of the Sacred Heart. Many of the kids enrolled in the program live in public housing and come from low-income backgrounds. Something as simple as a day at the pool is a luxury they've never had before.

"Statistically, if you don't learn how to swim between the ages of 8 to 10, you might not ever learn how to swim," said Archie Lee Coates, who helped start the swim program.

"It's not just about swimming, it's about being empowered to do anything you didn't have the opportunity to do," he said. 

It's not an easy start: Some of the children have never been in the water before. But it doesn't take long before the kids forget they were ever scared, and they simply just start having fun.

"They're doing wonderful," said Vivian Vazquez, grandmother of sisters Unique, Gianna and Francesca. "They're learning a lot."

And 8-year-old Unique, who admitted she was a "little bit" scared before her lesson Tuesday suddenly had newfound confidence after her immersion in the water. Asked if she was scared of the water at all, she confidently said, "No!" 

The Plus Pool group has been campaigning to build the world's first water-filtering, floating pool in New York's rivers. 

<![CDATA[Apartment Turned Into 'Deathtrap' to Force Family Out: DA]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 12:37:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/east+harlem+deathtrap.jpg

A landlord and two contractors intentionally created "life-threatening" conditions at an East Harlem apartment to push a couple and their five young children out of their rent-stabilized home, prosecutors say. 

The landlord and East 115th Street building owner, Ephraim Vashovsky, along with property manager and contractor Adam Cohen, 32, and contractor Shaoul Ohana, 56, allegedly made conditions perilous and unlivable for the parents and their children, who range in age from 1 to 12, including leaving them without water and heat and the building at risk of structural collapse. 

According to an indictment announced Tuesday, the trio conducted ongoing illegal construction and renovation at the apartment, and harassed and intimidated the family, threatening to report their status as undocumented immigrants, in a conspiratorial effort to get them to leave or pay more. 

"These defendants are charged with turning an East Harlem apartment building into a death trap,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. “They forced a family with five young children to endure life-threatening conditions on some of winter’s coldest nights. As demolition continued around apartment 5E, the entire building was at risk of a devastating fire, or worse, collapse." 

The alleged concerted effort against the family began shortly after Vashovsky acquired the building in May 2014, according to court documents. Vashovsky and his associates wanted the family out so they could make renovations to the building that would allow the units to command higher rents, court papers say. Amid pending eviction proceedings and litigation, the defendants moved to begin construction while the family still inhabited the apartment.

In an effort to expedite the Department of Buildings work permit applications submitted by Ohana, Cohen allegedly submitted falsified documents purporting that the building was unoccupied, while the defendants simultaneously moved for the family’s eviction in housing court on the grounds that the apartment was overcrowded, court documents say. Based on the falsified filings, DOB approved a work permit in December 2014.

From the start of construction until March 2015, when the DOB ordered the building vacated, the defendants are charged with recklessly endangering the lives of the tenants and their children through ongoing construction and demolition. Prosecutors say the defendants knowingly created gravely dangerous living conditions, including the risk of an entire building collapse, by removing structural and load-bearing elements.

During demolition, the defendants allegedly removed critical fire retardant materials, fire escapes and internal walls and floors – creating the risk of someone falling multiple stories. They also purposefully failed to address or only partially addressed critical violations, including the lack of electricity, heat, hot water, and running water, the indictment says. 

During this time, Vashovsky and Cohen collected and deposited the family’s rent checks while failing to meet the terms of their lease, prosecutors say. Vashovsky is also charged with continuing to deposit more than $1,000 in checks issued in the family’s name by the New York City Department of Social Services to subsidize the family’s rent payments. Vashovsky cashed the last check from the DSS on May 8, 2015, two months after the family vacated the apartment, the indictment says. 

Vashovsky and Cohen are also accused of endangering the lives of the site's construction workers from February of this year until the DOB issued a full stop work order in March. 

Information on attorneys for Vashovsky, Cohen and Ohana weren't immediately available. The 20-count indictment charges them with varying degrees of reckless endangerment, coercion, grand larceny, conspiracy, endangering the welfare of a child and other crimes. 

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit has filed a civil forfeiture lawsuit against the indicted defendants and their companies, seeking the forfeiture of more than $3 million in connection with the criminal case.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Lightning Strikes Homes on Long Island]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 19:17:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lightning+damage+long+island.jpg Storms that pounded the Tri-State area brought rain, thunder and relentless lightning that struck many structures on Long Island. Greg Cergol reports.]]> <![CDATA[Crews Work Around the Clock to Restore Power in NJ After Powerful Storms]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 20:15:47 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nj+storm+damage+7+26.jpg Storms knocked out power in at least four New Jersey counties. Many customers may still be in the dark until tomorrow night while crews work to restore power. Brian Thompson reports.]]> <![CDATA[Road to Rio: Team USA Artist Hails From Tri-State]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 08:22:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000012502213_1200x675_732659267667.jpg The official artist of Team USA for the Rio Olympics hails from the tri-state. Chances are, you've seen Charles Fazzino's work before. Bruce Beck reports.]]> <![CDATA[Flower That Smells Like Corpse to Bloom in NYC]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:40:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/corpse-flower-botanical-gardens.jpg

Flora fans will get a rare chance to see -- and smell -- a rare occurrence this week at the New York Botanical Garden.

The NYBG announced that the its Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the corpse flower, is expected to bloom on Tuesday after more than 10 years of growth.

It was originally expected to start blooming on Saturday and then Monday, but it's now believed that it will open up and emit its ferocious smell at any moment Tuesday. 

It'll be the first time that the flowering plant, known for its deep burgundy petals and corpse-like smell, will bloom on display since 1939. 

The full effect of the flower's infamous scent won't last long, however. The NYBG said that the plant will only be at peak bloom for 24 to 36 hours.

It can take up to a decade for the plant to get up the energy to begin the bloom cycle, the NYBG said.

A pair of the enormous flowers bloomed at the gardens in 1937 and 1939, leading then-Bronx Borough President James Lyons to name the plant the borough's official flower. It was replaced by the daylily in 2000, though. 

Photo Credit: Sydney Narvaez
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<![CDATA[Transgender Man Repeatedly Stabbed in Chest, Neck in NY Home]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 15:54:07 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/transgender+stabbing+arrest.jpg

A 31-year-old man faces felony charges of attempted murder and assault for allegedly stabbing a transgender man in the chest and neck multiple times in Rockland County. 

Authorities say Eddy Perez-Zenteno allegedly attacked the 25-year-old victim at a house on Church Street in Spring Valley before 6 a.m. Monday. Someone called 911, it's not clear who, and by the time emergency crews arrived, Perez-Zenteno was gone. 

The victim remains in the hospital in unknown condition. 

Perez-Zenteno was arrested about 14 hours after the attack. 

He is being held on $100,000 cash bail. Information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately available. 

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[New Video Shows Suspect in Rape of Woman in Brooklyn Home]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 02:58:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rape+robbery+brooklyn.jpg

A man used a woman's spare key to break into her Brooklyn home Monday night and allegedly asked her "do you want to be killed or be raped" before sexually attacking her, authorities said. 

Authorities released new surveillance footage of the suspect Tuesday night. The video shows him standing at an ATM and walking down a sidewalk. 

The 29-year-old woman was asleep in her home near DeKalb and Wilson avenues in Bushwick when she heard her door being opened, authorities said.

She saw a man — who she said was a stranger — holding a silver gun and approaching her, police said.

The gunman then allegedly asked her "do you want to be killed or be raped" before sexually attacking her, according to police.

Afterward, authorities said he stole some of her things and left the home.

Authorities said that the man is thought to have gained access to the home by using a spare key the woman kept under her doormat.

The woman was taken to Woodhull Hospital, where she was treated for her physical injuries and released.

Police said the man is believed to be in his early to mid 30s. 

The NYPD asks anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

<![CDATA[The Double Rainbow Over NYC After the Storm]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 16:40:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rainbowthumb2__SN.jpg Viewers sent us photos of Monday night's beautiful double rainbow after a heavy rainstorm.]]> <![CDATA[Priceless! Little Leaguer Thinks Dad Forgets His Birthday]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 11:09:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Little-League-Baseball-Surp.jpg

A Philadelphia little league baseball player was in for a surprise after he thought his dad wasn't getting him a birthday present.

Devon Fowler told NBC10 he initially told his son, 12-year-old Braheim, that he wasn't getting anything for him for his birthday.

"I told him I had nothing for him," Fowler said. "He had an attitude all day."

The boy, who plays for the Taney Dragons little league team, was still upset Thursday as he played in his game. That's when Fowler put his plan into action.

Fowler recorded as he told his son to get his bag out of the trunk of his car. To Braheim's surprise, he found a box sitting in the trunk instead of his bag.  Inside the box was the exact baseball bat he had asked for as a birthday gift. Braheim began to tear up as Fowler reminded him that he didn't forget his birthday.

"[His reaction] definitely surprised me," Fowler said. "I was expecting him to be happy but I didn't expect him to get so emotional."

The video, which Fowler posted on Facebook, has gotten an overwhelmingly positive response and has been viewed over 52,000 times.

"I didn't expect this at all," Fowler said. "It happened overnight. I'm not a social media kind of guy."

Fowler, who is currently unemployed, shared advice for parents who are dealing with financial difficulties.

"Just keep trying to make your kid happy," Fowler said. "If you got love for your kids they won't care about what you get them."

Photo Credit: Bra Fowler ]]>
<![CDATA[Ronald Reagan's Would-Be Assassin Freed From Mental Hospital]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:32:51 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/20150512+hinckley.jpg President Ronald Reagan's would-be assassin will live full-time outside a mental hospital, NBC News confirmed. A federal judge granted John Hinckley permission to live with his elderly mother Wednesday.
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Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>