Tag Archive | "Yankees Stadium"

Waitstaff sues Yankees over tips

Waitstaff at the Yankee Stadium’s exclusive box seats are suing the New York Yankees concession management for tips they believe they are owed, the New York Post reports.

The suit was filed at the Bronx Supreme Court and claims management formerly applied a 20 percent mandatory service charge to each patron’s bill but that tip didn’t go to service workers.The policy allegedly earned the company between $500,000 and $1 million in gratuity and thirty-two current and former workers are seeking compensation.

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Bronx Court Officers Honored for Stopping Gunfight near Yankee Stadium

Bronx Bureau President Ruben Diaz, Jr., center, praised court officers for heroic acts beyond their daily duties, including stopping a vendor gunfight in late August.


It was lunchtime on a sunny day outside Yankee Stadium  last month.

Bronx Supreme Court Officer Raymond Mercado had just picked up his Spanish takeout meal when he heard the piercing pops of gunfire and watched a crowd of people fleeing in panic.

 “Everyone was running away from the gunshots,” said Mercado, 42. “I was just looking for the shooter.”

He was one of six court officers who rushed to the scene Aug. 23 after an angry vendor opened fire on the busy corner of 161st Street and Gerard Avenue. Mercado picked up the revolver the shooter had flung on the sidewalk while his fellow officers chased down the suspect. “We did what we were supposed to do. We acted on our training and we acted as a team.”

On Thursday afternoon, Bronx Bureau President Ruben Diaz Jr. honored the court officers for their acts of heroism in a small ceremony inside Diaz’s office in the Bronx County Courthouse on the Grand Concourse. Besides Mercado, Diaz gave accolades to Bronx Criminal Court Officers Paul Tammaro, Vincent Allis and Wascar Herrera, and Civil Court Officers Steve Snyder and Katie Dalton.

“You make your job so effortless that we don’t realize that you’re prepared, you’re trained and you  have the heart and the courage really can take charge of the situation,” Diaz told the officers, who stood side by side in a small conference room while proud family members clapped and captured the moment on their cell phones.

Seven family members, mostly siblings, of Officer Katie Dalton, 48, said they were not surprised by their sisters’ bravery.

 “No one messes with Katie,” Dalton’s sister, 46-year-old Jennifer Russell, chimed in.

Court Officer Katie Dalton, 48, hugs her sister Thursday shortly after Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. commended her heroism during an Aug. 23 vendor shooting.

The alleged shooter, 52-year-old water stand vendor Horace Coleman, is accused of firing three to six rounds of ammunition  at a newspaper seller after getting into a big argument with him the day before over a turf war, witnesses told The New York Post.

By the time Dalton made it to the shooter, fellow officers had the suspect pinned down on the street, so she scrambled to help the victims. The shooter hit 60-year-old newspaper vendor Douglas Watkins and 41-year-old Clarence “Clay” Pearson in their torsos. Dalton knelt down by Pearson as officers waited for medical aid.

Dalton recalled Pearson saying, “‘I’m going to die, I’m going to die,” she said. “I  just tried to keep him calm,  just tried to help him out, to make him feel better.”

Pearson died on Aug. 25, and Watkins survived. Coleman, who had sold sunglasses and bottled water, is facing murder charges.

Bronx County Administrative Judge Douglas McKeon commended the court officers for helping prevent the erratic gunfight from escalating further.

“Their commitment doesn’t end or begin at the courthouse steps,” McKeon said. “They truly epitomize the kind of characteristics that we need in officers today. When money is tight, they’re asked to do more.”

Amid budget shortfalls, the New York State Court system has eliminated more than 1,300 positions through layoffs and attrition over the past few years, including court officers from all ranks.

Mercado said he has aided police in a handful of similar scuffles during his eight years in the court’s civil division. He can’t help but feeling a little uneasy these days on his lunch break, and he tries to be extra vigilant as he strolls the crowded thoroughfares near the stadium.

 “It’s a little nerve-racking,” he said. “You don’t feel it while it’s happening; you feel it afterward, and then you start thinking you have a family.”

Mercado’s 5-year-old son, Justin, smiled wide as his dad shook Diaz’s hand and accepted his certificate. If he doesn’t cut it as a singer like Justin Bieber, Justin Mercado wants to become a cop or court officer like his father, Mercado’s wife, Jane, said.

“He looks up to his dad tremendously,” she said. “It’s exciting for him.”

Court Officer Raymond Mercado strives to be a good role model for his 5-year-old son, Justin.

Thursday’s awards ceremony also honored several other court officers for their acts of heroism in two other incidents. On June 19, Capt. Anthony Manzi, Sgt. Ramon Dominguez and court officers Jose Reyes and Carlos Rivera helped catch a man accused of burglarizing several vehicles in the area. Court Officer Angel Ripolls of the criminal division helped save a 1-year-old who was choking on Sept. 3.

“It’s cool for me to know that everyday people who are doing their jobs are here in our borough, and are also our heroes,” Diaz said.

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Top Stories of the Day

New York flexes security muscle to foil 9/11 plot

Anti-terrorist security has been beefed up across New York, in an emphatic response to a possible car bombing on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. A New York Daily News report, based on “specific and credible” info, claims that the plot involves three veteran terrorists – one possibly with an American passport – approved by Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri. It also quotes investigators saying that names of all three were known, but they were too common to provide much direction.

After 9/11, Anthrax Day in the Bronx

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will declare September 14 as Anthrax Day in the Bronx, The Bronx Times reports, when the band performs with heavy metal’s Big Four at Yankees Stadium on Wednesday night. Anthrax features three native Bronxites – Charlie Benante and Frank Bello from Throgs Neck, and Rob Caggiano from Pelham Parkway. But a Yahoo Music Blog points out that just four days later, on September 18, it will be the 10th anniversary of the anthrax attacks that killed five people in the days following 9/11.

She stuffed him in suitcase, stole his checks

Monique Exum, the woman who ‘buried’ her 73-year-old boyfriend in a suitcase, is now believed to have done it for the money. The New York Daily News reports that Exum, 36, stole Johnny Davis’ Social Security checks and bank funds for three months, till his packed corpse was discovered in Williamsbridge on Sunday.

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Yankee vendors sue employer

Three food vendors at Yankee Stadium filed suit yesterday against the Bronx Bombers’ food service company, Legends, claiming they did not receive their tips, according to the NY Post. A Legends spokeswoman denies any wrongdoing. The Yankees’ former vending company, Centerplate, is also a defendant in the case. (NY Post)

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In the shadow of stadium, a Yemen-born Yankee vendor waits out winter

Abdulla Abdulla tends to the Yankee Shop on 162nd St and River Ave.

By Alex Eriksen

Most of 161st and River Ave. is hibernating. The streets are deserted and the shops are all shuttered. Well, almost all of them.

On the corner of 162nd St. beneath huge portraits of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and CC Sabathia, the lights are on in the Yankee Shop.

It’s the only link in a chain of stores on River Avenue to defy winter and remain open.

Abdulla Abdulla, a twenty-one year college sophomore, is behind the counter. “We thought we’d have a lot of customers like last season, it’s not like last season,” he says.

With the season not set to begin until March, and an average of only six customers a day, Abdulla says his father, who runs the store, is tempted to close until the Bronx Bombers return, and with them, the legions of fans and tourists.

Winter hats and jackets have been a popular seller since December, less so the beach towels and pool toys.

Unless there’s stock to move or displays to rearrange, Abdulla is on his own most of the time. To pass the hours, he dusts the glass cases, shovels the sidewalk if necessary, or reads from his sociology textbook. Sometimes he practices his signature in English, writing it over and over on the back page of an old newspaper. “Sometimes my friends come and visit,” says Abdulla.

To anyone else it might seem boring, tending to an empty shop, but Abdulla much prefers it to life in the Yemeni village where he grew up. Near the City of Aden on Yemen’s southern coast is the village of Al Klaya. Electricity is a new luxury and running water something of a distant dream, Abdulla says. “Ever see the old movies where they dig water out of the ground? It’s like that,” says Abdulla. He says on his last visit things had improved, they’d dug a small canal to move more water.

He first moved to Yonkers five years ago with his father and two brothers, leaving three more behind in Yemen with their mother. Abdulla, his father and brothers, now all U.S. citizens, hope to bring the rest of the family to America.

One of the more peculiar aspects of American life for Abdulla was that the national sport was not soccer. In Yemen, the closest thing to baseball is cricket, and that sport isn’t even very prolific. Once he began working at the Yankee Shop, Abdulla became enthralled with America’s pastime. When the old stadium was still standing, he’d get someone to take his place at the shop so he could go and watch the game. “I like the rules to how they play, it’s very interesting to me,” he says. He goes on average twice a month when the Yankees are in season.

Robinson Cano used to come in and talk to his father, Abdulla says, but hasn’t in a while. Abdulla’s favorite player is Nick Swisher, who is a notch above Jeter in Abdulla’s book. He likes Swisher because he can smile while he’s playing; Jeter can be a bit stone-face, Abdulla says. “I’d love to meet both of them,” he says.

While he’s taking classes at Bronx Community College, Abdulla dreams of attending medical school. He wants to volunteer at a hospital before applying. Back in Yemen, he says, many of the parents in Al Klaya keep their kids home to help with farm work. “I wanted to be a doctor since I was born,” says Abdulla.

Across the street, Yankee stadium is asleep on a bed of dirty snow. A passerby comes into the Yankee Shop and asks for directions to the post office. It’s the first time in an hour anyone has so much as stopped in front of the store. “By April, the people will be back,” says Abdulla.

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African-American Group Defends Governor

As the political storm clouds grew more  intense over Gov. David Paterson on Thursday, a small group of African-American law enforcement officers gathered to defend him.

Michael Greys, co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a group of court and police officers, was one of 10 members who stood outside the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office building in Harlem.

“All that has been said until now are pure allegations,” he said. “Nothing has been proven, so asking for his resignation is simply premature and unfair.”

The organization decided to  publicly defend Paterson who has faced mounting allegations after The New York Times reported that he intervened in a domestic abuse case involving a top aide. A few days later a state ethics panel accused the governor of lying about accepting free tickets to a World Series game.

“After more than 25 years of public service without a stain, all this sudden scrutiny, we just think it’s suspicious and outrageous,” Greys said.

Greys did not assign blame to any specific faction or individual for the controversy surrounding Paterson but said: “Some people want the state budget to go the way they want it to go. But we are not here to make allegations ourselves. All we are saying is that we should let the objective investigation follow its course and examine the facts.”

He added, “If by any chance these accusations turn out to be right, then we’d understand his being asked to step down.”

Last Friday, Paterson said he would not run for re-election because the accusations surrounding him were too much of a distraction from his mission to right the finances of New York State. “If he also wants to resign, based on these accusations, it’s his right, it’s his decision to make,” Greys said. “But it should not be forced on him.”

Noel Leader, another member of the organization, said that the members “don’t necessarily support Paterson” but that they support “the idea that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”

The members of the 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care  say the accusations  against Paterson don’t have to do with race. “If it’s a trap, it has to do with state politics, but all we are saying is that we don’t know anything yet and he shouldn’t be asked to resign!” Greys insisted. “Would you resign on mere allegations? No! Me Neither! Nobody would! And nobody should!”

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