Who is Lauren Pazienza accused of fatally shoving Barbara Gustern in NYC?

The fiery redhead, who is accused of wantonly shoving to his death a respected 87-year-old singing teacher in Chelsea, is the scion of a cesspool dynasty and was a girl in New York City before being charged with the brutal crime.

Lauren Pazienza, 26, grew up in an idyllic part of Long Island where her father, Daniel, runs a successful business in Holtsville, previously ranked the No. 1 sump contractor in Suffolk County for service and price.

After moving to the Big Apple, Pazienza, a former events coordinator for a French luxury furniture company, was seen cantering around town attending fancy parties and art gallery openings.

But neighbors in the upscale Astoria apartment where she lives with her fiancé said she’s not just smiling at home.

Law enforcement sources say Pazienza was a known nuisance at Shore Towers and had previously called the police about her neighbors.

“I felt terrible about the situation but I wasn’t surprised,” a woman who lives in the gatehouse told The Post on Wednesday.

“There was always an issue with her and someone in the building,” the neighbor continued. “It’s always something with this lady. I feel for her fiancé because he’s a nice guy and didn’t sign up for it.”

A man who lives in the building described her as “definitely not the best tenant”.

Barbara Maier Gustern in her New York apartment.
Barbara Maier Gustern was a famous 87-year-old singing teacher in New York City.
Tamara Beckwith/NY Post

“There’s always some kind of problem, some kind of complaint. You’ll always know it’s her. It’s ridiculous,” he said.

A neighbor said Pazienza had a history of being confrontational – but never violent.

“It was verbal. She definitely stood up for herself at times,” said the woman, who said Pazienza had fallen out with building management over issues like parking tickets.

“She’s not going to put up with any nonsense… she’s going to say, ‘What’s your problem?’ ‘What do you want from me?'”

Her seemingly short-tempered nature could have started as early as elementary school.

A former classmate told Fox News on Wednesday that Pazienza bullied him after he was a few doors down from her in second grade – and it got so bad that a teacher had to separate their seats in the classroom.

The accused drudge “always had a crazy look in her eyes,” the anonymous classmate said, claiming she kicked him and verbally abused other students.

Pazienza was sent to Riker’s Island Tuesday after a judge set her bail at $500,000 in cash, $1 million bail for manslaughter and assault in the death of beloved former Broadway voice coach Barbara Maier Gustern.

Lauren Pazienza in the subway station
Surveillance footage believed to be Pazienza showed the Long Island woman in the subway station at the time of Barbara Maier Gustern’s death.

The Post attempted to visit Pazienza in prison on Wednesday, but she refused to speak as she looked sketchy in a gray jumpsuit and her long red hair was slightly tousled.

Prosecutors allege Pazienza crossed West 28th Street at around 8:30 p.m. on March 10 and called Gustern a “slut” – before pushing her onto the sidewalk for no apparent reason.

Gustern, who suffered traumatic brain injuries, died five days later.

It’s unclear why Pazienza, who has never been in trouble with the law before, allegedly assaulted the elderly woman.

In a mugshot obtained by The Post on Wednesday, Pazienza can be seen grimacing, her eyes swollen and red.

Her parents and 24-year-old brother are supporting her, according to defense attorney Arthur Aidala – who said the family will release her from jail once they get bail together.

Lauren Pazienza entered Central Booking.
Lauren Pazienza is escorted to Central Booking after reporting to the NYPD.
Stephen Hirsch

“We are pleased that the court has released Ms. Pazienza on bail and we expect her to be released in the coming days,” Aidala said in a statement on Wednesday. “The Pazienza family, like the rest of the city, mourns the loss of Barbara Gustern.”

Pazienza’s parents – who were in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday on her charges – have not commented on her arrest. A man was spotted at her Port Jefferson home on Wednesday but did not answer the door.

Daniel Pazienza, a native of Long Islander, runs a well-rated cesspool company that has been in existence for “over 3 generations” according to his website. A man posing as the office manager there said Daniel was not there on Wednesday before he hung up the phone.

According to photos on Facebook, Daniel and his wife Caroline Pazienza have traveled frequently over the years, vacationing in Aruba, Paris, France and at a 4-star hotel in Key Largo, Florida.

The couple appear to have raised their daughter in Setauket, near Port Jefferson, where she was attending Ward Melville High School with her fiance-to-be Naveen Pereira, now a Microsoft customer service specialist, who was hanging up when a Post reporter found him on Wednesday called.

After graduating in 2013, Pazienza went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and earned a bachelor’s degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing.

She has worked in various marketing roles, most recently for upscale French furniture company Roche Bobois. But she quit in December, apparently after realizing she had reached her “ceiling” there, according to her lawyer.

After moving to the city, Pazienza bounced around to events and parties. A photo shows her at the 40th anniversary celebration of the New York society magazine “Avenue” in 2015.

Pictures on the “Guest of a Guest” website, which reports on “people and celebrities at exclusive events”, also show her visiting exhibitions and vernissages with friends.

Mug shot of Lauren Pazienza
Lauren Pazienza is a Long Islander and socialite.

In a 2015 shot, Pazienza smiles broadly, her arm around a man’s shoulders, in front of a painting at the Joseph Gross Gallery.

The gallery, now temporarily closed, is just a few blocks from the scene of the heartless attack on Gustern.

Prosecutors say Pazienza was seen engaging in a “physical altercation” with her fiancé just seven minutes after the cold-blooded shove – and then watched as ambulances rushed to the victim’s aid on West 28th Street near Eighth Avenue.

The couple, who were due to marry in June, were then seen taking the subway back to their one-bedroom apartment in Astoria, which he and his father appeared to have bought in 2019.

Photos from the Facebook page of Naveen Pereira, fiancee of Chelsea pusher Lauren Pazienza.
Naveen Pereira, the fiancee of Chelsea Pusher Lauren Pazienza.
Naveen Pereira/Facebook
Lauren Pazienza
Law enforcement sources say Pazienza was a known nuisance at Shore Towers.
Lauren Pazienza/Tumblr

Pazienza later fled to her parents’ home and the next day “she stopped using her cell phone altogether” and hid it at her aunt’s house, Assistant District Attorney Justin McNabney told the court Tuesday.

She made “every effort to avoid apprehension” — including taking down her wedding website and disabling all of her social media, prosecutors said.

Detectives showed up at the home on Monday, but Pazienza’s father claimed his daughter was not there, prosecutors claim.

Her lawyer then contacted police and Pazienza presented herself Tuesday, holding her mother as she was led into court, her flowing red hair covering her face.

Additional reporting from Kevin Sheehan, Steven Vago, Joe Marino and Catalina Gonella Who is Lauren Pazienza accused of fatally shoving Barbara Gustern in NYC?


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