Arnold Slater lived at 171 Thompson St. and kept two cats, but neighbors knew little else about him. Photo by Tequila Minsky
BY TEQUILA MINSKY | Village resident Arnold Slater, 75, was hit by a northbound car while crossing Broadway at 114th St. just before midnight on Friday evening. In an apparent hit and run, a black Honda Civic drove off before police arrived. Slater died shortly after being hit.
Slater, who lived at 171 Thompson St., a half block north of Houston St., was a quiet man who kept to himself.
Sara Jones, a resident of the building for 30 years, said Slater had lived there ever since she’s been there but that she had only encountered him a few times in the past decades. Andrew Pingle, Slater’s next-door neighbor of more than 10 years, said he knew nothing about him. A resident on the same floor who is a more recent arrival, said he, too, really didn’t know anything about his neighbor Slater.
The observation was the same from other longtime residents, with their comments ranging from, “I’ve never spoken to him” to “I’ve seen him only a few times.”
“He kept to himself,” everyone in the building said, with most of them concluding by saying, “I know nothing about him.”
“He was quiet, he held his head down,” said a neighbor who lives on the same floor, who also thought Slater seemed disoriented or distracted the last couple of encounters they had.
The building’s superintendent, Edmond Portelli, who lives next door in 175 Thompson St., where he is also the super, probably had the most contact with him.
“He seemed intelligent and he always seemed busy, but I don’t know with what,” Portelli said.
John Deglialberti, who lives one floor below, knew Slater had at least two cats. Following news of Slater’s death, he spent hours trying to find a way to get into the apartment to rescue the cats. His calls to 311 didn’t were unsuccessful in getting a response.
When Deglialberti called 911 about the cats, he was informed that the situation wasn’t an emergency. When he called Animal Care & Control, he got stuck in the menu system. A call to the 26th Precinct where the accident occurred referred him back to the Sixth Precinct, where those who answered said they couldn’t do anything. The 26th Precinct also tried calling an emergency animal line that just rang and rang.
Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo, the Sixth Precinct commanding officer, said police would assist in gaining access to the apartment, if needed, as long as someone was there to take in the cats, and — if the lock needed to be drilled out — a locksmith was there to secure the door.
However, by Tuesday afternoon, the super had managed to get into Slater’s apartment — but he didn’t spot the felines.
“They’re scared and might be hiding,” Portelli said. Food and water were left for the cats.