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Burglar left LIC Bar empty handed after discovering worker, while residents just walk by ransacked Manducatis Rustica

Perpetrator broke in through window covered with plywood

Perpetrator broke in through window covered with plywood

July 11, 2014 By Christian Murray

Brian Porter, the owner of LIC Bar, is very fortunate that his cleaner likes to work the early shift—around the same time that the perpetrator of a number of Vernon Blvd burglaries likes to ply his trade.

The suspect who broke into Porter’s bar on July 4 was inside the premises at about 4:30 am, at the very time his employee arrived at work to clean up the bar from the previous evening.

The suspect, who had smashed through the window on the 46th Avenue side of the bar to gain entry, was rattled when the worker arrived. “The burglar heard someone come in and he went downstairs and hid,” Porter said.

The suspect, Porter added, then tried to look for an exit downstairs but couldn’t find one. At that point, he bolted upstairs and ran out of the pub by going through the window he had smashed. He then fled down toward 5th Street empty handed.

Porter, who has footage of the suspect, said his cleaner did not approach the suspect when he appeared, since he was unsure whether the burglar was acting alone or was part of the group. Nevertheless, the episode could have been a whole lot worse and Porter said he was thankful his worker was there.

The smashed window, however, is currently covered by plywood (see photo) and will be replaced next week.

However, Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, the owner of Manducatis Rustica, was not so lucky when the perpetrator targeted her establishment.

Cerbone-Teoli discovered she had been burgled when she arrived at her restaurant at about 8:00 am on June 22 to find glass all over the sidewalk and her front door open.

The burglar, who smashed his way through the front door window, went through her desk and ripped out her safe, before dumping it across the street in a flower pot in front of Auto Repair & Body Works at 46-17 Vernon Blvd.

Cerbone-Teoli also lost iPads and cash.

But the biggest disappointment for Cerbone-Teoli was the fact that many residents didn’t seemed to care about the incident. She said that several people walked past her battered restaurant well before she got there at 8:00 am and didn’t bother to call the police or try to make contact with her.

She said that one person’s dog peed on some of her items that were scattered all over the sidewalk before she arrived on the scene. She said someone showed her footage of joggers running by.

“I thought this neighborhood stuck together more than this,” Cerbone-Teoli said. “A neighborhood is only a neighborhood when people take care of each other.”

She said that many people used to call her complaining about noise when she used to have seats outside her restaurant but no one called when this incident occurred.

Meanwhile, Pat Burke, the owner of Woodbines, was alerted that he had been burgled shortly after a cleaner/night porter discovered that the front door glass had been smashed in at about 7 am on June 25. The thief took off with a Galaxy 10 tablet and $100 in cash.

Burke said he had footage of the burglar and was in the process of installing an alarm.

These three incidents come on the back of an incident in April, when two men broke into Vernon Wines & Liquors and unsuccessfully tried to take off with the ATM machine. As of last month, there had been no arrests with that case.

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Change is Inevitable

I know this will most likely fall upon deaf ears as I have only been in the neighbor hood for 5 years and makes me a “new comer” but it’s hard for me to believe there are some many people longing for the “old LIC”. The Old LIC is where my corrections officer father-in-law used to release the the inmates down by the Pepsi-Cola sign once they reached parole or served their time, not to mention my cousin who worked in the 108 for 20 years and has confirmed that he consistently was arresting women of the night servicing men on unlit streets daily. So this battle cry for the old days is lost on me and while not everything may be welcoming the “new comers” bring the neighborhood the development of the area is.

And I am sorry, if you are complaining about higher taxes and more people walking the streets, I have no sympathy for you. Long Island City resides in the borough of Queens, which if Queens was its own city it the 4th largest in the USA. Lets all take a step back and realize we live 1 stop from Grand Central in NEW YORK CITY, the LARGEST CITY in the country, to complain there are tom many people or its too noisy is like complaining the water is to wet. Whether or not things used to be different, things have changed, and it was only a matter of time not only due to the proximity of and the desirable water front location but due to basic Urban Sprawl by definition.

I tend to agree that there is a rift in the “Old Timers” and the “new Comers” and not more on one side than the other. Old LIC refuses to accept the new glass tower population, and the glass tower people don’t make the effort to be part of the community, but which cause which, a bit of a chicken or the egg dilemma. I know personally when I lived in the glass towers I was looked at in disgust when I walked into any locals bar on Vernon, once I moved to Vernon I was magically welcomed in as one of their own.

The City of New York is estimated to grow roughly by 600,000 in population in the next 10 years while Queens is projected to grow by 500,000 in the same time period….. where do you think these people are going to go? Possibly in the new 5400 apartments slated to open by the end of this year at Hunter Point Phase 1, or maybe at the Phase 2 part of the development of Hunter Point that has been put out to bid and is going to happen with the estimated 7200 apartments that will be ready by 2020. Like is or not Change is Inevitable, so rather than fight it I would recommended embracing it. Lets make this a real community, not a battle field of new and old

benefit of the doubt

There you guys go, shooting down other people’s OPINIONS since they don’t jive with your beliefs. I will have you know my experience at rustica was as factual as can be (as evidenced by the fact that it is consistently brought up at every gathering with my in-laws where LIC is mentioned).

And maybe that guy on Yelp comes from a place where creamy guac is the end all be all – doesn’t make him any form of profanity (english or spanish), just makes him a guy who is particular about his guac. Seems a bit of the pot calling the kettle black considering how particular you all are about your neighborhood, who can live in it, and what their descriptions/conduct/behavior/attitudes should be.

I have had enough of this back and forth, I have tried to help join the two ends of a community which I seem to straddle, but alas, as it seems is often the case, the “old timers” refuse to compromise and the “newcomers” arent included enough to know the insults being flung their way.

As Sonny has said (and others have echoed), enough complaining about the things/people you cannot change, and let’s work together to get the 108 to do their jobs and ensure that crimes like these are not a common occurance.

ps – Community involvement – the desire is there, the far too long tenured CB members are doing everything they can to combat it though – it’s no fun to sit on a board if you cant have everything go your way…right?


Yeah, I agree with Also Anonymous. I’m also skeptical about BOTD’s story. I’ve been to Rustica since it opened and I know Gianna. I’ve never seen her or her staff treat any customers like that.

And so what if these self-entitled yuppie brats know how to use social media. They can badmouth places for all sorts of reasons, valid & not. I had to laugh at one such recent posting on Yelp by some guy complaining that the (excellent) guacamole at Casa Enrique wasn’t “creamy” enough. Pendejo.

Also Anonymous

Sorry Benefit of the Doubt as a long time customer at Rustica I find your story a bit hard to swallow. I can’t think of another restaurant where the wait staff and owners bend over backward to the degree Gianna and her staff do. But if that was your experience I’d say that the planets were very poorly aligned and I assure you that is not the norm.

I also think the line about “newcomers aren’t going anywhere” remains to be seen. I am waiting to see an interest in Community improvement that goes a bit beyond “we need more places to eat and drink”.

The original discussion which Sonny L. reminds us to return to is a perfect example of where we should be one voice not a cacophony of complainers. Please note that I include myself when I say “we”.

benefit of the doubt

Pardon the typo on an internet blog #nitpickymuch?

“Newcomers” can’t really be part of the neighborhood if the “old timers” don’t welcome them in. “Newcomers” will also have trouble joining the neighborhood if the few obnoxious ones create a sterotype and a bias that “old timers” apply to the rest of them.

Bottom line is these “newcomers” aren’t going anywhere, and will only become more and more of the majority as more and more of these buildings go up (and they aren’t stopping!) Short of calling their parents and yelling at them for poor upbringing, there’s not much to be done, as I don’t think the obnoxious few frequent this site or care about the complaints against them.

Unfortunately in addition, these “newcomers” are many of the young, social, internet, generation. So while that table may have deserved to get kicked out/banned (got it right on that one!), they have some big and far reaching “mouths” that could cause our community establishments to suffer.

I took my in-laws into Gianna’s place a couple years ago, and was met with rudeness and hostility and reluctance to seat or serve us, so I have banned (there I go again) myself from going there, as there are other options with far more welcoming staff.

Who knows, maybe we looked like obnoxious “newcomers” – see how that works?


I agree with Sonny. Lets stop arguing amongst ourselves and find the Jerk. Maybe we need to start a civilian street watch program, as the 108th appears unable to leave their cars or precinct.


Benefit of the Doubt, it can’t be a neighborhood if the newcomers don’t treat it like one, and not just as a place to crash after working & partying in Manhattan. I’ve observed more rudeness, incivility and inconsiderate behavior by young newcomers in the past year or so than in any of my 17 years here. (I guess that makes me an “old timer,” though not really). BTW, I was in Gianna’s restaurant one night when she gave a table of truly obnoxious yuppies their walking papers. After they paid the check (and stiffed the waiter on the tip, as Gianna told me), she told them not to ever show their faces in her place again. Bravissima!

And it’s “band together” not “ban.” Although I’m feeling more inclined towards the latter these days…

benefit of the doubt

A neighborhood can’t be a neighborhood if the old-timers make sweeping (and exclusionary) remarks at every turn, GiorgioNYC.

That’s not very neighborly now, is it?

A neighborhood should ban together (despite other differences of opinion) to ensure their SHARED space is safe and well-lit. I don’t know how we find the Jerk, but I am with you on that Sonny!

It would be nice if the cops did some work too. mmm donuts.

Sonny L.

This is about our neighborhood being broken into and vandalized. LET’S PULL TOGETHER and find the jerk.


“I thought this neighborhood stuck together more than this,” Cerbone-Teoli said. “A neighborhood is only a neighborhood when people take care of each other.”

She’s right. But the obnoxious, selfish, ill-behaved yuppies that have overrun this area in recent years couldn’t care less about a neighborhood or being neighborly.


When it’s old vs. new, new always wins, since they have already taken over. Sorry, Anon. Your time has passed.


Also Anonymous. Just stop. You don’t know what you’re talking about. And you clearly don’t know anything about LIC if you characterize the old neighborhood the way you did. How sad that someone who chooses to live in NYC — NYC!! The erstwhile cool and crazy bohemian mecca — is so square and conventional. You sound like a 1950s TV sitcom grandpa.

I’m assigning you a little homework project. Do online research and look up some old photographs and news stories from the old neighborhood. Go look at the Astoria Historical Society’s photo collection. Or read about the exciting art scene in LIC in the 1970s and 80s. And then come back here and tell me what a jerk you were for completely getting it all wrong.

The area was a thriving place for over a hundred years. Many (of course not all) of the new residents have zero allegiances to the area or their neighbors. They are office workers, for crying out loud. Dull, boring office workers. From the Midwest or JERSEY. It can’t get any more dreary than that. And I’m not going to be schooled on my neighborhood from some dull, boring Westerner who climbs into a suit to go sit in a Midtown cubicle every day.

Getting back to Gianna. The coldness and impersonal attitudes they have helps explain why they don’t think its their business to call the police when they see a smashed storefront and instead decide to let their dog piss on the store owner’s property lying on the sidewalk. Just keep walking! Got to get to the Midtown cubicle!

I don’t think I’ll ever convince you that this incident would have been highly, HIGHLY unlikely decades ago. Despite what you may have convinced yourself, LIC was extraordinarily safe and a great place to live, even though we had no macarons or dog runs to go along with our warehouses (which, by the way, provided many neighborhood people with a decent wage you can raise a family on).

Neighbors kept an eye out for each other, and you could depend on everyone to help you out when you needed it. We had a tremendous local school that people today would kill for today. The place was filled with warm and hilarious personalities, people who you can still remember and laugh about 40 years later. There was no shitting on people’s flowers. No rude faceless, nameless zombies walking around like pompous extras from the Hunger Games. Who cares what my house is worth? I’m still here stuck living with a bunch of dead asses with no spirit. Give me back old LIC any day!

benefit of the doubt

Opinions thankfully allow us to agree to disagree 🙂

Depending on where you grow up, your priorities and needs, and your idea of an invigorated neighborhood you may be right.

Based on these factors for myself, being concerned to walk around alone at night, the lack of a clean supermarket, and other creature comforts I am accustomed to, prior to all the recent (10 years or so) developements, I disagree.

Hope we can still be friends/neighbors 🙂

Also Anonymous

Benefit of the Doubt – While I agree with much of what you are saying, as to how the neighborhood was invigorated I have mixed opinions. There was a lively neighborhood with a butcher, several hardware stores, affordable places to eat that were welcoming in the true sense – not the “got to meet my huge bottom line” sense. A wave of talented artists, musicians,and other creative types further enlivened the area and mixed well with the existing older residents. And I may be wrong but I think there was less crime.

Is the waterfront park beautiful? Yes. Is it nice to have a decent albeit pricey supermarket? yes. Etc. But I very much disagree with the idea that nothing was here before all this or the idea that a new world just spontaneously dropped down on us from nowhere.

benefit of the doubt

I am not disagreeing that TF, Rockrose and the like have rented a number of units to this “insulated population” as you mention. That said, they aren’t all “like that” and until the sweeping generalizations (on all sides) stop, I can’t imagine any of them wanting to be a part of this (somewhat exclusionary) community.

When I “discovered” LIC, it was full of warehouses, dark streets and not a place you would ever want to be alone in at night, let alone allow your children out in. Ask anyone born before the 1970s and they will tell you the same.

Given the common conveninces STILL missing from this neighborhood (e.g. shoe repair, hardware store, etc etc) I have a hard time believing anything was “invigorated” before the early 2000s. Pleasant to live in for the established community, sure, but the improvements I have seen just in the last 2-3 years alone (and I have been here at least twice as long as that) are fantastic!

While living here, 46th road has changed from a “never walk down it for fear of catching someone in process of stealing a car” street, to something that seems to get better every day.

Again, I point to the 108. This is who to critisize here, not the general public who may or may not report every potential crime they see, or be comfortable in doing so. This is why we have a police force, and I would love to see them do more than frequent E & I and park crashed cars on the corner of 50th.

For all the complaining the long time residents do, and all the change that continues despite these complaints (it’s pretty inevitable anywhere you go), I’m excited for the moment when reality sets in, people move to acceptance and the complaining stops.

Also Anonymous

Benefit of the Doubt – I am astounded that your thought is that someone else must have reported it.

And speaking of generalizations, you are apparently unaware that the neighborhood was invigorated by those who came long before you. That is likely why and how you and others “discovered” it.

IMO, the people who care the most about rising prices are brokers and owners who see their property primarily as an investment. The rest are seeing higher taxes, overtaxed infrastructure, higher priced food, more garbage and poop on the sidewalk, and late night noise on the weekends. I agree with you that this is not a black and white issue but the compressed, somewhat impersonal, insulated population in the newer buildings tends away from the community mindset that has been here for decades.

benefit of the doubt

Perhaps the onus here should be on the cops in the neighborhood and not the residents. If I walked by an establishment that appeared to have been robbed, I too would not call anyone as I do not know the owner, nor do I know what is already in the works (why dial 911 and tie up a line if they are already on the case?).

Were I to happen upon a robbery in progress I would certainly make the call, however that doesn’t appear to be the gripe here.

Seems like this is taking another opportunity to make overarching general statements to critisize a group that is doing wonders to popularize, invigorate and raise property values on our neighborhood. (to those people, thank you, thank you, thank you – to see our neighborhood restaurants in the press and social media with such high regard, and our neighborhood’s average price per sq ft only rising)

To the overarching generalizations – while some renters are transiant and inconsiderate – others are strong members of the community who are going on 5 and 10 years renting or beginning to place down roots in LIC.

You could easliy point the Inconsiderate finger at long time residents of our neighborhood as well.


Gianna and her establishment are truly the defining heart of Long Island City. Gianna helps everyone, and has been for years the true face of what Long Island City could be : a warm welcoming thriving community.
Unfortunatly the many luxury rentals are attracting transient residents, enjoying their vertical gated community. They do not care nor wish to be part of the community.
For anyone to be able to walk by her establisment and not call , even the precinct , if they did not have her number is chocking ..
For a burglar to be able to go from one establishment to the other un disturbed or noticed, highlights how dead LIc is , except when it comes to complaining about backyard rights for businesses.
Maybe if their was less police guarding what was known as 5 pointz, looking to arrest kids , when graffiti is the number one priority of the new police commissionner, maybe the safety of local businesses could be insured.
I guess it s time to show Gianna well deserved support and everyone should go and dine there , to make up for the material loss, but more importantly to show that LIC loves Manducatis and cares


I don’t know what infuriates me more: the burglar or the self-involved scum who I share space with in this area.

I can’t say I’m shocked. There are a few people who live on Borden Avenue who persist in allowing their dogs to shit and pee in front of my and my neighbors’ property, despite signs and polite requests in the past that they please clean up after their pets.

So Gianna, my sympathies. She’s right — this place, no matter how many backyard cafes and yuppie hangouts, will never amount to anything if people can’t practice common civility. Shameful.


I strongly second both of those comments!! LIC isn’t what it was even 4 years ago. Just grosses me out.


Yea, glad i’m out of there. The yuppie scum in that neighborhood are more concerned about one way streets, free parking and stop signs on center. Thanks TFC!


I feel so bad for Gianna. she does so much for the community. shame on those people.


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