Tapped In: Caroling, Probation for Madam, Delay for Evictions

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CAROLERS TO SING ON EAST 64TH STREET The East Sixties Neighborhood Association (ESNA) is sponsoring a musical holiday celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The association will welcome the Goode Time Carolers, a sought-after caroling group that performs in Victorian costumes inspired by A Christmas Carol author Charles Dickens, at TD Bank's rotunda at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and East 64th Street. The carolers will first perform their own musical program and then lead the audience in song. The performance begins at 6 p.m. There is no charge, though ESNA requests that attendees bring an unwrapped toy, game or book to be donated to a needy child in Ambulatory Pediatrics of New York Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center on East 68th Street. FIVE YEARS PROBATION FOR MADAM GRISTINA "Upper East side madam" Anna Gristina spent roughly 45 minutes in custody on Tuesday, Nov. 27, after accepting a plea bargain that sentenced her to time served in state Supreme Court. In exchange for the sentence, the 45-year-old tabloid sensation pleaded guilty in September to running an elaborate brothel out of an East 78th Street apartment, a scandal that led to charges against her back in February. Gristina served four months on Rikers Island this year before her bail was lowered in June. Her family has claimed that she was forced to wear a diaper in an unsanitary cell there. Had Gristina gone to trial and been convicted, she could have been sentenced to seven years in prison. Now, she faces five years of probation. Gristina was born in Scotland and is not a United States citizen, so she is at risk of deportation. GARODNICK SEEKS DELAY FOR POST-SANDY EVICTIONS City Council Member Dan Garodnick and a group of legal and tenant advocacy groups submitted a letter to the New York City Civil Court last week requesting an extended moratorium on housing evictions through the end of the year. A moratorium was first issued shortly after Hurricane Sandy to help those New Yorkers who suffered losses catch up on expenses and secure benefits without losing their homes. The ban was lifted on Monday, Nov. 26, but thousands of New Yorkers remained displaced by the storm and lingered in the city's already-crowded shelters. Garodnick and the advocacy groups-which included MFY Legal Services, Legal Services NYC and Three-Quarter House Tenant Organizing Project, among 16 others-agreed that many residents need more time to return their lives to normal. "We were in the midst of a serious housing crisis in this city even before the hurricane hit," Garodnick said in a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 29. "Our city shelters are full, even without the thousands of those displaced because of the storm. Let's give people just a little more time to get on their feet. To resume evictions when we know many families will have nowhere to go is callous and irresponsible." Kevin Cremin, director of Litigation for Disability and Aging Rights at MFY Legal Services, told Our Town, "Some people have lost work and are unemployed because of Hurricane Sandy. They might be eligible for unemployment compensation or FEMA benefits, but those benefits might not have come in yet, so they just need some more time." Cremin noted that the Civil Court customarily issues a weeklong holiday moratorium on evictions at the end of December. Garodnick mentioned that the moratorium would also help save the city money by reducing sheltering costs.

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