Neighborhood Chatter: Macy's Tickets for Hurricane Victims, Monet Theft, New Ferry Service

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Macy's Parade TicketsWill Go to Victims of Hurricane Sandy Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Macy's announced that 5,000 bleacher seats at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be reserved for those impacted by October's Hurricane Sandy. The seats are located along the parade route. NYC officials who represent those hardest hit by the storm will handle distribution of the tickets. Macy's will handle transportation for those selected to attend the event. 3 Indicted in Stolen-Monet Scheme This week, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced the indictments of three individuals on charges of conspiracy and criminal tax fraud for "illegally conspiring to possess and sell valuable works of art acquired by former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos during her husband's presidency, keeping the proceeds for themselves, and hiding those proceeds from New York state tax authorities and others." One of the paintings in question was a Claude Monet water-lily scene that the trio sold for $32 million in 2010. The indictment centers on 74-year-old defendant Vilma Bautista, who worked for the former first lady of the Philippines and is accused of secretly keeping several valuable paintings that once adorned the walls of the Philippine consulate in Manhattan. Bautista is alleged to have kept four paintings that disappeared when the Marcoses fell from power in 1986. She hid them until 2009, when she had her two nephews and now fellow-defendants, Chaiyot Jansen Navalaksana and Pongsak Navalaksana, help her attempt to sell them on the black market. They were able to sell the water lily painting to a London gallery for $32 million, using forged paperwork, and failed to include the sale on their tax returns, which brings the tax fraud charges. "The integrity of the international art market must be protected," Vance said in a statement. "These defendants are charged with trafficking in stolen art and committing significant tax fraud, denying the state millions of dollars in revenue. This indictment sheds light on what happened to major works of art missing for more than 25 years." The investigation is ongoing. New Ferry Service from Staten Island to Downtown reports that the Department of Transportation will begin operating an additional ferry service between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan by the end of November. The temporary service, expected to run for about two months, will run six trips a day from the new landing at Great Kills in Staten Island to Pier 11 at Wall Street, and then continue to 35th Street, between 6 and 9 a.m. It will make six return trips between 12 and 6:15 p.m. daily, and one-way fares will be $2, according to Gothamist. The additional service is intended to ease the still-difficult commutes of Staten Island residents in Great Kills, Midland Beach and Tottenville in the wake of major transit disruptions after Hurricane Sandy. By Megan Bungeroth & Rebecca Temerario

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