Page 1

VOL. 45, ISSUE 08

The local paper for Chelsea

WEEK OF FEBRUARY HONORING JACKIE ROBINSON ◄ P.12

21-27 2019

HOLES IN PLAN TO LIMIT TOWER VOIDS

Inside

BUILDINGS A city proposal aims to close a key zoning loophole — but some reformers say further action is needed

AMAZON LESSON: NO MORE CLOSED DOORS ▲ P.8

BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

The Department of City Planning last month issued its long-awaited proposal to reign in the development industry’s controversial practice of inflating building heights through the use of largely empty mechanical voids. But some observers worry that the city’s fix doesn’t go far enough to address the underlying problem — and that without further reforms, developers will simply turn to other zoning loopholes to win permits for everloftier towers. Under city zoning law, spaces designated for mechanical use do not count toward the floor area calculations that in many districts effectively govern a building’s maximum permissible height. This exemption, combined with the fact that the city does not limit the height of mechanical spaces, has driven some developers to make use of ever-larger mechanical voids in towers’ middle sections. These vast empty spaces, which in some cases exceed 150 feet in height, nominally house mechanical equipment but are primarily intended to elevate the sightlines — and attendant dollar values — of upper-story residential units. Such voids have become a popular target of reform-minded zon-

ST. MARK’S COMICS CLOSING AFTER 36 YEARS ▲ P.2 Football fans from around the globe have found a home at Smithfield Hall, on West 25th Street. Photo: Teddy Son

THE BEST FOOTBALL (THE OTHER KIND) BAR IN NEW YORK SPORTS Smithfield Hall NYC is home for soccer-loving fans from around the world. Our football-fan writer spoke with co-owner Tom McCarthy BY TEDDY SON

Tell me a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, how you got here, and how

you got into the soccer bar business.

Is there a specific team you support?

I’m from Cork, in Ireland. I came here in 1989. I started working for Terry O’Neal on the Upper East Side, for three years. Then Terry opened up Nevada Smith’s, I think it was in 1992. I was in Nevada Smith’s for 18 years, that’s where all the football started, the soccer. From Nevada’s I went to Smithfield, on West 28th St.. And from there I went to Smithfield on West 25th St., which we still have.

I’ve always been a Manchester United supporter, since I was a kid. It’s like when you grow up young and you pick a team, you stick to it through good or bad. We all pick a team and stick with them.

And did Man United have an impact on you deciding to open up a football bar? CONTINUED ON PAGE 15

EMBRACE THE SPIRIT OF PARKLAND ▲ P.8

CONGESTION PRICING, EXPLAINED ▲ P.9

CONTINUED ON PAGE 6 Clinton

Chelsea News NY

CHELSEA NEWSNY.COM @Chelsea_news_NY

Crime Watch Voices NYC Now City Arts

3 8 10 12

Restaurant Ratings Business Real Estate 15 Minutes

14 16 17 19

WEEK OF APRIL

SPRING ARTS PREVIEW < CITYARTS, P.14

WHO HAS ACCESS TO A PARKING SPACE IN CHELSEA? NEWS

9-16

MANHATTAN'S APARTMENT BOOM, > PROPERTY, P.18

2015

In Brief MORE HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS

WHAT NEXT FOR CHELSEA GALLERIES?

The effort to help small seems to businesses in the city be gathering steam. Two city councilmembers, Robert Margaret Chin and Cornegy, have introduced create legislation that wouldSmall a new “Office of the within Business Advocate” of Small the city’s Department Business Services. Chin The new post, which have up rezoning told us she’d like to would and the mid-2000s May 1 The and running this year, for of West Chelsea. Muas an ombudsman city serve Whitney the of opening Art on small businesses within them clear seum of American means not government, helping It’s new buildings, to get Gansevoort Street c to the traffi through the bureaucracy rising rents, that are even more foot things done. forcing some gallerists area. is that Perhaps even more also The irony, of course, to reconsider their Whitney -importantly, the ombudsman the arrival of the and number neighborhood roots art meccas will tally the type small business one of the city’s the end for of complaints by taken in BY GABRIELLE ALFIERO -- could also spell dealers the actions art owners, long-time policy buildStephen some response, and somefor ways to When gallerists Griffin in the area, as their are sold or recommendations If done well, Haller and Cynthiatheir W. ings increasingly begin to fix things. report would Haller reopened follow- demolished. lease the ombudsman’s 26th Street gallery With their 10-year quantitative afrst fi the rebuild Stephen us give cut short, with ing a five-month flooded abruptly shared taste of what’s wrong ter Hurricane Sandy they and Cynthia, who the city, an the space, small businesses in towards building with their first floor phone their and Tony important first step were still without were Lehmann Maupin they the problem. needed to xing fi of galleries, and Internet. Still, where Shafrazi property by June To really make a difference, the happy in the location, will have to to stay for vacate (Shafrazi is suing course, the advocaterising rents, they expected of 2014. find a way to tackle business’ the Manhattes some time. doltold less the landlord, which remain many While Chin Instead, they were their Group, for $20 million reproblem. vexing that Post most the New York than a year later gauge what to demol- lars, said it’s too early tocould have landlord planned ported). another role the advocate on the ish the building. They shopped for planned for there, more information in the neighbor“We had shows bad thing. We had location to find problem can’t be a with the long periods of time.amount hood but struggled a twoThis step, combinedBorough more than just put in a huge the anything efforts by Manhattan to mediate of money to refurbish“We year lease on a street-level in Chelsaid. President Gale Brewer offer space,” Cynthia space. After 13 years Gallery the rent renewal process, were really shocked.”Gallery sea, Stephen Haller signs tangible and early, Haller some For Stephen small left the neighborhoodStux it, it isn’t riswith of progress. For many can’t come and others like joined forces oor are driving business owners, that in a new sixth-fl ing rents that far new devel- Gallery soon enough. on 57th Street, not Chelsea, Zach Feuer them away. It’s

NEWS

luxury building Robotic garage for board draws fire from community BY ZACH WILLIAMS

at a a robotic garage A proposal for in Chelsea has thrown luxury building into the city’s zoning access to parking debate. proposed for a A high-tech garage W. 28th St. has 520 development at Board 4, which is riled Community arguing that it plan, in opposing the more car usage would only invite while only providthe neighborhood, residents. ing parking to rich a special city perThe garage needs 29 spaces rather mit to accommodate allowed the than the 11 automatically opted to oppose by the city. CB4 1 full board meetpermit at its April Carl a draft letter to ing, stating in Planning City the of Weisbrod, chair city criteria for such Commission, that based on the parking foran exception is ago, when many for stock of a decade spaces were used demer industrial future of parking in anticipation velopment in Chelsea. 40 residential have The project will comsquare feet of alunits and 11,213 the ground floor, mercial space on three parking spaces The lowing eight and the developer, respectively. But wants more for Related Companies, is the New York acthe building, which internationally City debut for Zaha Hadid. (Adjaclaimed architect Line, the build cent to the High

CONTINUED ON PAGE

25

his gallery in After 15 years running to partner with Joel two gallery spaces, (left) leaves the neighborhood team will operate Mesler (right). TheMesler/Feuer, on the Lower East Feuer/Mesler and May 10. Slide, slated to open

Newscheck

2 3

is surging opment, which in part to in Chelsea, thanks High Line the opening of the

City Arts Top 5

12 13

space

CONTINUED ON PAGE

25

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ST. MARKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S COMICS CLOSING AFTER 36 YEARS SMALL BUSINESS A staple of the East Village community will be shuttering its doors before construction begins on a planned office building BY JASON COHEN

With the impending development on St. Markâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and Third Avenue in the East Village, the culture is deďŹ nitely changing. Now another longtime business has announced it will be shuttering its doors. At the end of the month, St. Markâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Comics will be closing after 36 years. Located at 11 St. Markâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Place, the store opened in 1983 and has become a staple in the community. The shop appealed to people of all ages and backgrounds. On a recent Monday, it was mobbed, with children, teens and adults looking through comics that included DC, Marvel and pretty much anything that has ever been published. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I wanted to run a good comic shop that was my vision,â&#x20AC;? said The local paper for Chelsea

owner Mitch Cutler. â&#x20AC;&#x153;After 36 years of 90 hours a week, you run out of energy to fight the obstacles.â&#x20AC;? Cutler, a South Bronx native and comic book aďŹ cionado, took over the store in 1984 at the age of 19. As a kid, he never imagined owning it for this long nor did he expect it would become as popular as it became. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You do it at 19 because you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re getting into,â&#x20AC;? Cutler said. Cutler credits the shopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success for three reasons: its hours, staff and selection. The store is open until 1 a.m., making it accessible to late-night shoppers in the East Village. According to Cutler, catering to their customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs is what kept people coming back to the store. Whether they needed to ship it, hold it or locate it, he and his colleagues almost always found the item or items, he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We carried almost absolutely everything that was published, which is something almost no one else will do,â&#x20AC;? he stressed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been blessed with an exceptional staff and

[We] really go out of our way to try and say yes. Whatever a customer wants, we try to figure out how to do that.â&#x20AC;? Mitch Cutler, owner of St. Markâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Comics

A shop for fans of all ages and backgrounds. Photo: Jason Cohen

Advertise with Chelsea News today! Call Vincent Gardino at 212-868-0190

really go out of our way to try and say yes. Whatever a customer wants, we try to ďŹ gure out how to do that.â&#x20AC;? Cutler even described St. Markâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Comics as being â&#x20AC;&#x153;world famous.â&#x20AC;? One of his regular customers was a cop, and several years ago the police officer was in Paris on vacation. While there, he was in a comic book shop, where after making small talk with the owner, the cop found out the owner had visited St. Markâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Comics as well. After more than three decades in the East Village, Cutler feels astonished at the amount of texts, calls, emails, social media posts and people that have come in the store since he announced the closure several weeks ago. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fascinating to have to schedule interviews after 36 years,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all sort of an outer-body experience.â&#x20AC;? While he has met famous people and heard many interesting stories, there were always challenges. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Was there ever a time when it was easy?â&#x20AC;? he commented. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There was never a time I was

lighting my cigars from $100 bills.â&#x20AC;? Cutler explained there are several reasons for the impending closure, but one of them is the planned development of an office building at the Northeast corner of St. Markâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and Third Avenue. This has already forced other stores to close and he feels once construction begins, it will kill his business along with many others. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are many obstacles in running a retail business in the city of New York,â&#x20AC;? Cutler said. Among the many customers who have visited the shop before its closure was Kevin Clark, who moved to the Village five months ago and has frequented the store several times. Growing up in New Jersey, he never found such a unique place with such a great selection, he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a good hole in the wall comic book shop, but it had new issues,â&#x20AC;? Clark said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m super upset about it closing. Not to be emotional, comic book stores are something so great. It helped solidify the culture in the city, especially in the Village.â&#x20AC;?

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CRIME WATCH BY MARIA ROCHA-BUSCHEL WOMAN ASSAULTED AT PLAYBOY MANSION NIGHTCLUB

STATS FOR THE WEEK Reported crimes from the 10th precinct for the week ending Feb 10 Week to Date

A 30-year-old woman told police she was assaulted inside the Playboy Mansion nightclub at 512 West 42nd St. on Monday, Feb. 11 around 9:30 p.m. The victim said that she got into an argument with two other women who then began punching her, causing bruising and pain to her right shoulder. The two suspects remain at large.

MAN BUSTED FOR FAKE GUN In the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 17, a 29-year-old man was arrested for possession of a weapon in front of Avenue night club at 118 Tenth Ave.. A witness reported to police that the man had a firearm on him, and when he was searched an imitation pistol was recovered from his jacket pocket. Police also recovered a small bag of cocaine from his pants pocket.

ALL SIGNS POINT TO DWI A 56-year-old man was arrested for drunk driving at the corner of Tenth Ave. and West 42nd St. on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 3:55 a.m.. According to police, the man was slumped over the wheel of his car with the keys in the ignition and

2019 2018

% Change

2019

2018

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

0

0

n/a

Rape

0

0

n/a

1

1

0.0

Robbery

1

2

-50.0

6

10

-40.0

Felony Assault

0

2

-100.0

8

10

-20.0

Burglary

2

0

n/a

13

9

44.4

Grand Larceny

17

20

-15.0

79

87

-9.2

Grand Larceny Auto

0

0

n/a

0

0

n/a

WHO TOOK THE BUCKET OF KEYS? Photo by Tony Webster, via Flickr

the motor running. The suspect’s blood alcohol content was .16 at the scene, police said.

TAXI DAMAGED IN MIDDAY HIT AND RUN A taxi was damaged in a crash at the northwest corner of Eighth Ave.

and West 23rd St on Friday, Feb. 15 at 12:30 p.m. The cabbie said he was driving north on Eighth Ave. when a truck trying to merge into his lane collided with the front of his vehicle. The truck driver was speeding and fled the scene without stopping, the cabbie told police.

Year to Date

Keys were stolen from the offices of a real estate management company inside 213 West 23rd St. on Sunday, Feb. 17, sometime between 4 and 8 a.m.. Police said an unknown man entered the residential building through the front door while the building’s office was closed and stole a bucket of keys from the front desk before fleeing the location. Surveillance video of the incident is available, but no arrests have been made.

EASY PICKINGS A man told police that his jacket was stolen from the New York Sports Club inside 128 Eighth Ave. on Wednesday, Feb.13, sometime between 8:40 and 9:35 p.m. The victim told police that he hung his jacket on a rack outside the locker room and when he finished his workout, it was gone.

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A LIFE OF HER OWN Faigy Roth at Hunter College’s winter commencement on January 24, 2019. Photo courtesy of Hunter College

PROFILE A young woman had to flee a restrictive religious community, and her own family, to find a future BY EMILY HIGGINBOTHAM

From an early age Faigy Roth was skeptical of her family’s lifestyle. She grew up in an insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish enclave in Monsey, New York, where religion and tradition guide every aspect of their lives and a rabbi sets the rules for everyone. Yiddish is the native language. English and most traditional curricula are not taught in school. Women dress conservatively, covering elbows, knees and collarbones. Technology is restricted. Marriage is arranged. Roth is the oldest of 12 children. She spent much of her own childhood playing the role of assistant mother to the young ones, as her family couldn’t afford outside help. Her father — who was born in Israel and moved to the enclave when he was 12 years old — worked as a nursery school teacher in the community making around $2,000 a month. “The only thing my father ever had except for kids is debt,” Roth said. Her mother grew up in a similar Hasidic community in Williamsburg. She ran a strict household, directing discipline through her husband — but Roth knew who called the shots. She was also emotionally unstable and exhibited many obsessive, compulsive tendencies, Roth said. “When she prays she says the same word over and over again,” said Roth. “Her hands are always bleeding because she washes them so much.” Roth grew up with her parents’ expectation that she would get married

to someone in the community, have babies and raise them as she had been raised. But the reality of it was mystifying to her. “When you get married — and this is something growing up I could not imagine myself doing — you have to shave your head,” Roth said. “People do not know why they’re doing anything, they just know this is what we do. So you shave your head. But that’s not enough, you wear a wig on top of it; but that’s not enough, you wear a scarf on top of the wig.” Roth spent the first 18 years of her life running up against these rules; at times bending them shrewdly or breaking them with abandon. She lived this way until she couldn’t do it any longer, when she was forced to choose between an arranged marriage and leaving everything behind for a world that she was yearning to know. It was then that she fled her family and the constraints they placed upon her. For all of the drama in Roth’s life, her story is really one of resilience and re-invention. In just a few years, she went from not knowing how to speak English to becoming an accomplished student and college graduate. After earning her GED, Roth spent two years at Kingsborough Community College before studying human biology at Hunter College, where she succeeded through a love of learning. “The same young woman who had never spoken a sentence in English, had never looked into a microscope, and didn’t know what a major was, graduated in a field that she loves with the highest GPA in the major’s history,” said Hunter president Jennifer Raab. Now 30, Roth, who lives in Brooklyn, has the freedom she never had in the

community: to decide how exactly she wants to spend the rest of her life.

Leaving Home By the time she was 14, Roth tried to spend as little time with her family as she could. After school, she visited the residents at the senior living home, making them laugh or sitting with them during meals. Or she would hide out in her room. “You know when you’re living in constant fear of being yelled at?” she said. “That was me.” By that point she had lost trust in the adults in her community. She’d been treated poorly at school and those in power didn’t help her, Roth said. But even thinking about leaving was difficult. Most of the people who left were either men or were married. “It’s like you live in a different world, and trying to get out, it’s like how? Where do you start? How do you get away if everyone you know is ... in there?” When she was 18, Roth realized that she had to make a choice it would be too late. Her parents were starting to bring up names of boys who could be her potential spouse. “I knew that when I was going to leave I was going to hurt my parents,” Roth said. “It was going to be difficult for me, but thinking about bringing in a stranger, whoever this guy is, and hurting him as well, and his parents, I thought, ‘I can’t do that.’” So she suggested a compromise. She told her parents that, sure, she would get married, but it would be to someone who was not as staunch in the religious practice. This man could be religious, but maybe he also watched movies and had a cellphone. It didn’t work. “My mom started crying, her body started shaking, and I’d never seen that. My father was yelling, ‘It’s be-

cause of you! She’s crying because of you!’” Roth recalled. “In their head, they were thinking, you’re going to get married and like that kind of life.” Not long after that conversation, Roth left. She lived on the outskirts of the community in another religious neighborhood for a year. She worked and saved money, but her parents were still trying to interfere in her decisions. “I booked a one-way flight to Israel. That’s how I fully got away from it.”

Making a Life of Her Own After a year traveling in Israel, staying with her father’s relatives, Roth came back to the states with an empty bank account and a desire to do something with her life. She worked quickly to establish an independent life. Acquaintances who had also left the community let her stay at their place in Brooklyn until she was on her feet. She soon found a job managing a warehouse that distributed Judaica items. On the job she was able to pick up English easily, which she said was fueled by desperation. “That’s the best way to learn,” she said, “when you have no choice.” But her living situation remained precarious. One day she came home from work to find her belongings on the street with the locks to the house changed. “I wasn’t making that much where I could go to a hotel for a few nights. I didn’t have any family or help,” she said. One night, she had nowhere to stay and slept on a bench on Ocean Parkway. “I felt hopeless. I really did,” she said. “I questioned, what’s the future?” But she never questioned if leaving the community had been worth it. “When I do have financial hardships, being that I don’t have anywhere to get the help, I always dream about being back at home with my parents,” she said. “They’re trying to force me to marry. I wake up and I literally tremble. I’d rather be homeless than be in that situation.” Seeking the education she was deprived of in the community, Roth took the GED so that she could enroll in college. When she went to Kingsborough to sign up for classes, the advisor asked Roth what she wanted to major in. “What’s a major?” Roth asked. The advisor laughed until it was clear that Roth wasn’t making a joke. She started in liberal arts at the junior college and gravitated toward biology, which she declared as her major when she enrolled at Hunter. “I think it’s that it makes sense to me without studying,” she said about the appeal of biology. She gained such a good reputation as a student among her peers, Roth said, that they vied to be her partner in labs. “I was like walking in the dark, but I studied so hard,” she said. The work paid off last month, when Roth graduated with the highest GPA for a biology major in the history of the college.

5 es of her own: one that sells stemless tumbler wine glasses and another that sells birthday and holiday gift boxes. For the time being, she enjoys being her own boss, but is also looking at medical school as an option, to study cardiology. Regardless of what she chooses, she has a few simple goals for the future: A house of her own in a suburban neighborhood, two dogs, and a Jeep. She’s also been thinking about children, but the idea of marriage is still unpalatable. “I’ve had relationships, but I don’t understand why you need to get married,” she said. “It’s not something that I ever wanted. I could live without it pretty happily.” When asked what her parents — with whom she’s recently rekindled a relationship — would think of her ideas for the future, she sighed heavily. “I don’t think they’ll ever be happy with my lifestyle. I sometimes think about it: if I have a kid, would I tell them about it? I think I’d have to cut off contact.” Though she has lived outside the community for about a decade, Roth is still surprised by the world outside of it. When she ventured out on her own, she felt like a foreigner in her own country. Everything was new. But what has stuck with her in these 10 years, is just how much she can relate to others who did not grow up in the community. “I was surprised by how alike most humans are,” she said. “I always thought of the ‘rest of the world’ as very different than myself. I came to realize that most of us are very similar at our core.”

The future beckons Now, Roth is deciding what’s next for her. Currently, she runs two business-

Roth, around 8 here, was the oldest of 12 children. Photo: Courtesy of Faigy Roth


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TOWER VOIDS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 ing activists, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and each member of the City Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Manhattan delegation, who claim that the proliferation of voids and other so-called zoning loopholes is undermining the intent of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s zoning resolution and producing taller buildings than planners ever anticipated. In response to these concerns, Mayor Bill de Blasio requested last year that the Department of City Planning examine the issue. The agencyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposal, issued Jan. 28, aims to discourage excessive voids through new regulations. One change would limit mechanical floor area exemption to spaces 25 feet tall or shorter; voids taller than 25 feet would count toward a buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s maximum allowable floor area. Additionally, if a buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body includes multiple mechanical voids, each would need to be separated by at least 75 feet in vertical distance or the spaces would be counted toward ďŹ&#x201A;oor area calculations. The Department of City Planning explained in a release that the zoning text amendment â&#x20AC;&#x153;seeks to restore predictability of built form to New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high-density residential neighborhoods, ensuring that towers do not exploit zoning to vault above their neighbors through the utilization of largely empty enclosed mechanical spaces.â&#x20AC;?

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Two planned towers in Manhattan â&#x20AC;&#x201D; one on the Upper East Side, one on the Upper West Side â&#x20AC;&#x201D; have attracted local opposition for their envelopepushing designs, each of which feature substantial voids. The upper residential floors of the planned 510-foot tower at 249 East 62nd St. sit atop a 150-foot-tall octagonal platform of void space, leading detractors to label the project a â&#x20AC;&#x153;building on stilts.â&#x20AC;? On the West Side, The Department of Buildings initially approved plans for Extell Developmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposed 775-foot tower at 50 West 66th St. that included a 161-foot mechanical void on its 18th floor. But in January the agency notiďŹ ed the developer of its intent to revoke the permit following

Extell Developmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposed 775-foot tower at 50 West 66th St. includes a 161-foot mechanical void in its middle section, shown in grey in the rendering at right. Left: Snøhetta; Right: George M. Janes & Associates an audit of the building plans, citing concerns with the void. (Whether the project will proceed as planned is as yet unclear and will hinge on whether Extell can adequately address the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s objections.) Even if the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s zoning text amendment is enacted, some zoning experts believe the proposalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s limited scope makes it all but inevitable that developers will use alternate means to achieve similar results. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m thrilled that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re responding to the issue, but I wish that they would have done more,â&#x20AC;? said George Janes, a planning consultant who prepared zoning challenges regarding both 249 East 62nd St. and 50 West 66th St. Janes noted that the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposed zoning change only applies to enclosed spaces â&#x20AC;&#x201D; meaning that developers could skirt the new restrictions by simply removing two walls from any impacted voids, rendering the voids outdoor spaces exempt from ďŹ&#x201A;oor area calculations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so easy to get around the closing of one loophole by using another tactic, who wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do that?â&#x20AC;? he said, adding that he is hopeful the amendment will be strengthened as the city considers public input.

A more aggressive approach Another predictable result of the new rules, said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, is that rather than clustering enclosed mechanical space in a single large void, develop-

ers will instead place 25-foot voids at regular intervals of 75 feet â&#x20AC;&#x153;with no requirement whatsoever about there being any actual necessary mechanical equipment in each of those ďŹ&#x201A;oors.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposal seems almost designed to do as little as possible about the problem,â&#x20AC;? Berman said. Upper West Side Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal has introduced state legislation that takes a more aggressive approach than the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposal. Rosenthalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bill would place stricter limits on mechanical void space while also discouraging excessive floor-to-floor heights on nonmechanical ďŹ&#x201A;oors by mandating that ďŹ&#x201A;oor area calculations correspond to ceiling height. For now, the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposed text amendment only applies in certain residential districts, primarily in Manhattan. The Department of City Planning intends to put forward a second amendment expanding the geographic scope of the proposal later this year. The Department of City Planning is briefing community boards on the proposal this month, after which the agency will consider their recommendations and hold a public hearing, before ultimately sending the proposal to the City Council for approval. The East Sideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Community Board 6 passed a resolution in support of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposal at its Feb. 13 meeting, but also called for further amendments to â&#x20AC;&#x153;close other known zoning loopholes used to the same effect as mechanical voids.â&#x20AC;?

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ENOUGH ALREADY! PASS THE NEW YORK HEALTH ACT! VIEWPOINT We don’t need any more studies, we need health care for all BY COLETTE SWIETNICKI

Governor Cuomo’s progressive agenda came to a screeching halt when he put the brakes on the single-payer “Medicare for all” plan that much of the new Democratic state Senate majority campaigned on. Prior to the November elections, Cuomo said single-payer sounded like a good idea; but afterwards he added “ ... at the Federal level.” Now he is proposing a commission comprised of “health policy and insurance experts” to study other options, including “strengthening New York’s commercial insurance market,” the primary culprit responsible for our present broken system. The New York Health Act was first introduced in the New York Assembly in 1992 by Chelsea’s own Richard N. Gottfried. It’s been around ever since, gaining more strength and approval in recent years with the worsening of our health care system. As New Yorkers have learned, the Affordable Care Act and other reforms are helpful but insufficient, leaving us at the mercy of the insurance companies. The state Assembly has passed the bill with strong majorities the last four years. New York Health, as the program is called, provides comprehensive health coverage for all New York residents, regardless of age, income, wealth, employment or immigration status, including those currently on Medicare and Medicaid. It provides inpatient and outpatient medical, primary, and preventive care. It covers prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, mental and behavioral health. And when the bill is reintroduced shortly, it will include long-term care. Under the program, a simple insurance card will be your access to the doctor and hospital of your choice, without networks to navigate and with no premiums, deductibles or co-pays. Unlike some systems, including the British National Health Service, doctors would not be

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants another study of the New York Health Act, which was first introduced in 1992. Photo: Don Pollard, via Gov. Andrew Cuomo/New York State flickr page government employees. Under New York Health, public financing pays for care that is delivered in the private sector, very similar to the way Medicare works. Doctors could still be in private practice, but with a public funding source. And who picks up the tab for all of this? Today, premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and other health care costs have no relation to a person’s ability to pay. Americans pay twice as much as other industrialized nations for health care with no better, and increasingly worse, outcomes. In the U.S., over 31 percent of every health care dollar goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, lobbying and such. Without a unified system, with thousands of different types of insurance, processing payments becomes duplicative, complex, and fragmented. In 2013, Duke University Medical Center had 400 more billing clerks (1300) than hospital beds (900). Medicare, with 44 million recipients, operates with just 3 percent overhead, a fraction of the overhead in the commercial insurance market. Getting rid of for-profit middlemen and administrative waste; being able to negotiate drug prices for the entire population; and reducing the health care monies eaten by CEO pay will not take us the full way to guaranteeing all New Yorkers comprehensive cradle to grave

coverage. A new progressive income tax will be required. And I’m aware that whenever you say the word “tax” people’s antennae engage. So how would it fare if I said, “Would you like to trade in your premium payments, deductibles, coinsurance, out of pocket and out-of-network charges for a progressive tax under which 98 percent of New York households would pay less for health care than they pay now?” Opponents will claim it’s unaffordable. But anyone judging this must compare it to what we are currently spending on health care. It’s the status quo that is unaffordable. Multiple studies at the state and national levels, including one by the right-wing Mercatus Center, show that single-payer can provide universal health care for the same or less than the cost of the current system. Despite its recent success in the state Assembly, the New York Health Act has never gotten past the state Senate, which has been under Republican control for the past decade. But that’s over now. With a Democratic majority in both houses, the new progressive agenda must include the passage of the New York Health Act. It’s time for New York to lead. It’s time to ride the blue wave to a better health care system for all New Yorkers today, and all Americans tomorrow.

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AMAZON LESSON: NO MORE CLOSED DOORS EAST SIDE OBSERVER BY ARLENE KAYATT

Civics and the City and Amazon — It happened on February 14th, but as Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney opined, “It was not the Valentine that New York needed.” Amazon pulled out of the deal that would have brought their HQ2 and 25,000 jobs to Long Island City before it would have been pummeled by New York politics. But that was inevitable, and our governor and mayor, who formed an unlikely alliance to broker a behind-the-scenes agreement, were tone deaf to how legislating and business have to be done in a new New York. No more threemen-in-a-room kind of deals. No more closed doors. No more cutting out local elected representatives. No more ignoring local communities and organizations impacted by legislation and deals that affect

them. In NYC everyone has a voice that gets heard. By tweet. By twitter. By email. By letters and postcards. By phone. By text. By marching. By protesting. Using microphones and megaphones. Decibel level — high. And yes, they vote. And yes, their electeds are vocal, too. Think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/AOC, Jimmy Van Bramer, Corey Johnson. They have the bully pulpit and they tweet. And twitter, and get heard on Errol Louis’s NY1. As does Carolyn Maloney whose congressional district includes LIC. Apparently, Cuomo and de Blasio neglected to factor all of that in when they decided to go it alone and without the collaboration of the city council, Queens representatives, and the local communities and organizations impacted by Amazon’s presence. Yes, the city council got to hold hearings, but only after the deal was made. The three-men in a room cadre was upended in November with the re-election of Andrea

Stewart-Cousins to the state Senate, who was then chosen by the body to be the Democratic Senate majority leader. Stewart-Cousins then passed her input on the deal — and showed her unwillingness to rubber-stamp the Cuomo-deBlasio-Amazon agreement — to state Senator and Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, whom she appointed to a panel that could have final say (make that nay say) on whether Amazon was coming to Queens. Gianiris represents Queens’s 12th state Senate district, which covers LIC, Astoria and Sunnyside. While initially a supporter of Amazon coming to LIC, he is now strongly opposed. There’s blame to go around for the undone deal. On the NYC side, politicians bypassing elected government representatives and their constituents and dealing behind the scenes with the corporation without notice and collaboration. On the other side, Amazon expecting special treatment and giveaways that would adversely

impact the city or communities or give them no benefit. Seems a good time to heed the advice of Justice Louis D. Brandeis who reminded that “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” And from an unknown source, “Next.”

Bar crawl — The SOTU (State of the Union) speech is long since gone, except maybe for the pixel visions of Congress’s contingent of mostly newly-elected women all in white. But the night was also prime time for like-minded politicos to join together to listen to the ritual annual President’s monologue. So the Metropolitan Republican Club packed the tables and bar at the UES’s Dorrian’s, with the overflow crowd making it to the back bar. Seated together at a crowded table were newly elected Met Club prez Ian Walsh Reilly and Manhattan Republican County Chair Andrea Catsimatidis. A less jubilant crowd of Democrats partook of the SOTU

speech at a watch party a little over a block away at Upstairs at Five Mile Stone, on Second Ave, where the Women’s Leadership Forum Metro New York held a gathering. Their jubilation awaited Stacey Abrams’s Dem Response. Manhattan Dems on hand during the evening included Borough President Gale Brewer, Vice President of State Dems Trudy Mason, and Upper East Side for Change’s Monica Atiya, who hosted the event for the women’s forum. I split my night between the two parties. As expected, the Met Club crowd cheered when the TV cameras zeroed in on Republicans and jeered when a Dem face appeared. Their cheers and jeers mirrored the sounds coming from the TV screens. Notably, however, there were no boos, on screen or at Dorrian’s, when the camera zeroed in on Amy Klobachar. Could be because the Senator hadn’t yet announced that she, too, was running for a shot at giving the 2021 SOTU speech.

EMBRACE THE SPIRIT OF PARKLAND PUBLIC EYE BY JON FRIEDMAN

Last May, I went to a rooftop party on West 72nd Street, prepared to skewer my fellow pretentious New York City literati. Instead, I quickly forgot about the poseurs and came away awestruck at two of the unexpected guests: David Hogg and Cameron Kasky. They stand for as much today as they did on that Tuesday evening. Cameron and David, survivors of the massacre one year ago at the Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla., had come to New York to rally support for their gun-control mission. As I wrote last year in this space, they — heroic and stoic — stood apart from the throng of self-important New Yorkers, needing only the company of one another to confirm their importance. They reminded me of what

the Beatles encountered in the film A Hard Day’s Night, as they, too, suddenly found themselves — ordinary kids not so long ago — thrust into an adult-created media freak show that had forced them to grow up overnight. They could have been two of my college students, judging by their youthfulness — and their new burden was a fate I wouldn’t wish on any undergraduate. What may be the most impressive aspect of Cameron, David and their cohorts (especially Emma “We Call B.S.” Gonzalez) was how they used their new status as Media Flavors of the Month to promote the cause of gun control. They looked like any innocent teenagers but they wanted no part of the fame game for their own selves. I wish their particular form of activism on every young person, especially the Stony Brook and Hunter College students that I teach the virtues of journalism and news literacy. I have no illusions, though.

Like most teenagers, they don’t want to be taught anything. They want to discover the world on their own terms, without some old person exhorting them to stop saying “like” four or five times in a typical sentence. And good for them. I was once the same way. So, come to think of it, were you. The Parkland students reminded me that is nothing short of thrilling to see a spark of activism in its early stages. But I had seen it building for a few years. A lot of my students sure felt “the Bern” in 2016, as the emergence of straight-talking Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders galvanized them in an otherwise dreary and ultimately infuriating election year. And what now, a year after Parkland (which, as The New York Times pointed out on Feb. 13, has become a form of shorthand for school shootings)? Is activism going to continue during what looms as a more hopeful election cycle than what young Americans had

David Hogg (left) and Emma Gonzalez (front, second from right) at a rally in Fort Lauderdale on February 17, 2018. Photo: Barry Stock, via flickr to sit through in 2016? Each day, it seems, another interesting and attractive new Democratic candidate for the White House steps forward. It’ll be fascinating to see which politician can excite this young generation. Amy Klobuchar’s form of “Minnesota Nice,” reminding me of the practical, no-nonsense Marge Gunderson from the movie “Fargo?” Cory Booker? Kamala Harris? Kirsten Gillibrand? And what about Beto? How about two of the

older answers, Bloomberg and Biden? Even, dare I say it, Howard Schultz? (Well, full disclosure: I am typing this piece in one of his Starbucks shops so I should not be snarky). The presidential candidates all say the right things, of course. They want to project enough toughness and fiscal competence to sway the adults, who are most likely to vote in an election. But if they can’t embrace the spirit of David, Cameron, Emma and the rest of the Parkland Generation, then I call B.S.

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60 th S t

TRAFFIC Taxi fare hikes could be a portent of more charges to come for Manhattan car-users BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

If you’ve hailed a yellow cab in the last few weeks, you’ve surely noticed the new $2.50 surcharge on all trips that begin, end or pass through Manhattan below 96th Street. The new surcharges, which took effect Feb. 2 and include additional fees of $2.75 for green cabs, black cars, Ubers and other app-based services and 75 cents for pooled rides, are expected to generate $400 million in annual revenue for the beleaguered Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Just as passengers are growing acclimated to the new cost of hailing a ride, more fees for car-borne New Yorkers could be in the pipeline. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on the state legislature to enact congestion pricing—an effort to raise funds for the MTA and ease traffic by charging drivers for the privilege of using Manhattan streets.

How would congestion pricing work? The governor’s proposal would levy a toll on drivers entering a congestion

zone encompassing all of Manhattan south of 60th Street (with the possible exception of the FDR Drive). Fees would be collected by camera-based system, which could be adjusted to enforce variable toll rates depending on the day and time.

How much would it cost? Cuomo has not said what the fee should be for entering the congestion zone, but last year a commission convened by the governor recommended a charge of $11.52 for passenger vehicles on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Why is it necessary? Congestion pricing revenue would be dedicated exclusively to capital improvements for the MTA. The governor says his plan would raise $15 billion for the MTA, which has estimated capital needs of $40 billion to $80 billion in its next five-year plan. The only viable alternative for raising the necessary funds, Cuomo says, is to hike fares for straphangers. “The real choice is between congestion pricing or a 30 percent MTA toll and fare increase,” Cuomo said at a Feb. 7 press conference. “Those are the only real options.” In addition to funding the MTA, advocates say the plan would ease congestion, reduce pollution and result in improved bus service.

Potential zone pricing boundary Does not include FDR Drive North of the Brooklyn Bridge

What is the mayor’s stance? Mayor Bill de Blasio offered lukewarm support for congestion pricing in Albany budget testimony Feb. 11, reiterating his long-held preference to create a new funding stream for the MTA through a tax on millionaires. He argues that those with hardships, such as the poor and elderly, should be exempted from congestion fees. Congestion pricing advocates counter that such carve-outs could undermine the plan. The mayor also said that the city should be involved in the plan’s implementation. “If congestion pricing is an option, I’ve been clear that I believe strongly it should consider and include hardship exemptions, revenues should be putting a lockbox for subways and buses, and there should be clear, dedicated investment in transit deserts,” de Blasio said.

Tell us what you think: reporter@strausnews.com

Drivers entering a congestion pricing zone below 60th Street in Manhattan would be subject to a new toll under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan.

NEW MINIMUM FARE for yellow cab trips below 96th Street

$5.80 OLD MINIMUM FARE for yellow cab trips

$3.30


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FEBRUARY 21-27,2019

Discover the world around the corner. Find community events, gallery openings, book launches and much more: Go to nycnow.com

EDITOR’S PICK

Everything you like about Chelsea News is now available to be delivered to your mailbox every week in Chelsea Clinton News From the very local news of your neighborhood to information about upcoming events and activities, the new home delivered edition of Chelsea Clinton News will keep you in-the-know.

Feb 22 THE MANHATTAN MEDIUM: THE MYSTICAL MIND OF LYLE MESMER SubCulture 45 Bleecker St 8:30 p.m. $14 subculturenewyork.com 212-533-5470 Lyle Mesmer, played by comedian Anthony Atamanuik (The President Show), is a master of the human mind. He has been dazzling audiences for over 20 years, reading their minds, channeling spirits and predicting future events. Join Master Mesmer and his celebrity guests for live readings and don’t be surprised if he turns his powerful psychic powers on his beloved audience.

And best of all you won’t have to go outside to grab a copy from the street box every week.

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Photo: Marcin Wichary via Flickr

Thu 21 Fri 22

Sat 23

EVERYONE IS SAD: A STAND-UP SHOW

▲ HIGH LINE WINTER TOUR: FROM FREIGHT TO FLOWERS

The Magnet Theater 254 West 29th St 8:30 p.m. $7 “Everyone Is Sad” is a standup show for comedic performers who are relatively new to standup. The show is hosted by Perri Gross, who is a writer for Reductress, The Higgs Weldon, and a performer at the Magnet Theater. magnettheater.com 212-244-8824

JOE PUG: NAKED SOUL The Rubin Museum 150 West 17th St 7:00 p.m. $30 Musician Joe Pug performs acoustic renditions while drawing upon themes inherent in Himalayan art including spirituality, peace, tolerance, wisdom, compassion. rubinmuseum.org 212-620-5000

The High Line On the High Line at Gansevoort St. 12:00 PM Free Hear the story behind New York City’s park in the sky on a special winter walking tour! Join this 45-minute long tour led by High Line Docents, knowledgeable volunteer guides who offer you an insider’s perspective on the park’s history, design, and landscape. thehighline.org 212-500-6035


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FEBRUARY 21-27,2019

HEALTHY HEROIN ABUSERS (Men and women, ages 21-59) who drink alcohol regularly are needed for an 8-week inpatient study investigating medication effects at the NY State Psychiatric Institute. Earn approximately $6550-$7350.

Call the Substance Use Research Center at (646) 774-6243

Sun 24 Mon 25 Tue 26 ▲ CITY SYMPHONIES: SUITE HABANA Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Ave 4:45 p.m. Free A poetic homage to the city of Havana, this breathtaking film is a lovely and melancholic portrait of Cuba’s capital. Following in the tradition of the city symphony by adopting a “day-in-the-life-of” structure, it follows 10 ordinary Habaneros as they go about their daily routine. anthologyfilmarchives.org 212-505-518

DIRTY LAUNDRY UCB Hell’s Kitchen 555 West 42nd St 11:00 p.m. Free Dirty Laundry is UCBT’s Weekly showcase of NYC’s up-and-coming alternative comics presenting a variety of talent and weirdness. Standup, characters and other crazy bits included! Hosted by Jess Salomon! ucbtheatre.com 212-366-9176

CHILDREN’S FILM SCREENING: TREASURE PLANET Hudson Park Library 66 Leroy St 3:30 Free Buckle up for thrills and excitement as a classic story of friendship, courage and self discovery awaits! Follow the adventures of a young Jim Hawkins as he navigates through space in a life-changing quest for Treasure Planet! nypl.org 212-243-6876

Your neighborhood news source ChelseaNewsNY.com ACTIVITIES FOR THE FERTILE MIND

thoughtgallery.org NEW YORK CITY

Forgiveness: The Secret of Peace

Wed 27 ◄ IAN FRISCH: MAGIC IS DEAD The Strand 828 Broadway 7:00 p.m. $15 In the vein of Neil Strauss’ “The Game” and Joshua Foer’s “Moonwalking with Einstein” comes the fascinating story of one man’s colorful, mysterious, and personal journey into the world of magic, and his unlikely invitation into a secret underground society of revolutionary illusionists from around the world. Join as Ian discusses his work! strandbooks.com 212-473-1452

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22ND, 7:30PM Sheen Center | 18 Bleecker St. | 212-925-2812 | sheencenter.org Catch the premiere of a documentary on the life and work of Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga, a Catholic priest in Rwanda and the author of the book Forgiveness Makes You Free. Rugirangoga will participate in the post-screening panel discussion ($20).

Mindtravel: Performance and In-Gallery Music Meditation

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH, 3:30PM Rubin Museum of Art | 150 W. 17th St. | 212-620-5000 | rmanyc.org Journey on an immersive experience as a headset provides a music meditation soundtrack through the museum; Yale neuroscientist Dr. Molly Crockett will set the scene in a talk about the neuropsychology of connection and music’s communal power ($30).

Just Announced | Three Identical Strangers

MONDAY, APRIL 8TH, 6:30PM Temple Emanu-El | 1 E. 65th St. | 888-718-4253 | emanuelnyc.org The interplay of nurture and nature, layered on top of a stranger-than-fiction story, makes the documentary Three Identical Strangers some seriously compelling viewing. Catch a screening plus a conversation on ethics with the director and triplets David Kellman and Bobby Shafran ($18).

For more information about lectures, readings and other intellectually stimulating events throughout NYC,

sign up for the weekly Thought Gallery newsletter at thoughtgallery.org.


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FEBRUARY 21-27,2019

HONORING JACKIE ROBINSON An exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York features Look magazine photos of the baseball legend and his family — many never seen before BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

Last month, Jackie Robinson would have celebrated his 100th birthday. To honor the player who broke the color barrier of America’s pastime by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, The Museum of the City of New York (Fifth Avenue between 103rd & 104th Streets) and the Jackie Robinson Foundation are presenting “In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend,” now through Sept. 15, 2019. The exhibit features Look magazine photos of Robinson and the Dodgers, many never before seen images from the Museum’s own collection, as well as memorabilia and rare footage of the Robinson family, for a comprehensive portrayal of this groundbreaking figure. Of all his accomplishments — becoming the first African American in Major League Baseball, receiving the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award, winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949, his All-Star status for six consecutive seasons from ‘49 through ’54, playing in six World Series and contributing to the Dodgers’ 1955 World Series championship, and being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 after an exceptional 10-year MLB career — the most inspiring thing about him was how

IF YOU GO WHAT: “In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend” WHERE: The Museum of the City of New York (Fifth Avenue between 103rd & 104th Streets) WHEN: Through Sept. 15, 2019 he carried himself as the sole black man in his profession. When he moved from the Negro American League to one of the Dodgers’ farm teams, the manager asked that Robinson be reassigned to another club affiliate (GM Branch Rickey refused the request). Jim Crow laws in the south meant Robinson was not allowed to stay in whites only hotels or eat in restaurants with his teammates. Baseball fans hurled racial slurs at him along with their soda bottles. And some fellow ball players refused to play with him. He also received death threats. “Back in the days when integration wasn’t fashionable,” said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “[Robinson] underwent the trauma and humiliation and the loneliness which comes with being a pilgrim walking the lonesome byways toward the high road of freedom.” Prejudice has not gone away. Not a day seems to go by without reports of a racially motivated or anti-Semitic crime, an attack on someone in the LGBTQ community or discrimination of a disabled person or woman who dares to want to do a job held traditionally by men. It’s not unusual to want to

Jackie Robinson at bat, 1949. Photo: Frank Bauman. Courtesy of Museum of the City of New York. The Look Collection. Gift of Cowles Magazines, Inc. seek revenge and show perpetrators “you’re mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore.” But this can often turn the victim into the victimizer. More satisfaction can come from doing things Jackie’s way. Through all his travails, the second baseman adopted a turn the other cheek policy, facing his adversity with dignity and grace. He never lashed out at his tormentors, choosing instead to focus on doing his job. And what a job he did. During his career, Robinson played in 1382 games, had 4877 at bats, 947 runs, 1518 hits, 137 home runs, 734 RBIs and a batting average of .311. Because everyone loves a winner, after a while even his critics cheered him on. In 1997, MLB retired his uniform number 42 across all major league teams; he was the first pro athlete in any sport to be so honored. On April 15, 2004, MLB also created a new annual tradition, “Jackie Robinson Day,” on which every player on every team wears 42. Robinson also was the first

black television analyst in MLB and the first black VP of a major American corporation, Chock Full O’Nuts. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an AfricanAmerican-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York. He died October 24, 1972, at age 53, in Stamford, Connecticut, after which, in recognition of his achievements on and off the field, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom. Jackie Robinson’s legacy left us many things, especially that when people try to marginalize you, get your bat (figuratively, not literally) and swing for the fences. To quote the British poet, George Herbert: “Living well is the best revenge.” Or better put by the gracious Robinson, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of the novels “Fat Chick” and “Back to Work She Goes.”

Jackie and Rachel Robinson at home in Brooklyn, 1949. Photo: Frank Bauman. Courtesy of Museum of the City of New York. The Look Collection. Gift of Cowles Magazines, Inc.


FEBRUARY 21-27,2019

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Irish Rep presents Irish master Sean O’Casey’s drama about a poet who gets pulled into the chaos of the Irish War of Independence.

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FEBRUARY 21-27,2019

Chelsea News|Chelsea Clinton News chelseanewsny.com

RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS

Sammy’s Noodle Shop & Grill

453461 6 Avenue

Grade Pending (45) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Food from unapproved or unknown source or home canned. Reduced oxygen packaged (ROP) fish not frozen before processing; or ROP foods prepared on premises transported to another site. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

The City Bakery

3 West 18 Street

Grade Pending (26) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies or food/ refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/ or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.

FEB 6 - 12, 2018 The following listings were collected from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website and include the most recent inspection and grade reports listed. We have included every restaurant listed during this time within the zip codes of our neighborhoods. Some reports list numbers with their explanations; these are the number of violation points a restaurant has received. To see more information on restaurant grades, visit www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/services/restaurant-inspection.shtml. Patent Coffee

49 W 27th St

A

Zoni Cafe

22 W 34th St

A

Gourmet Deli

341 7th Ave

A

The Juice Shop

7 Penn Plz

A

Barney Brown

822 Avenue of the Americas

Grade Pending

Hilton Garden Inn Chelsea

121 W 28th St

A

Mission

229 W 28th St

A

Empire Diner

210 10th Ave

A

Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company

286 8 Avenue

A

Don Giovanni Restaurant

214 10 Avenue

A

The Flying Puck

364 7 Avenue

Grade Pending (24) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewageassociated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.

Famous Bagel Buffet

510 6 Avenue

A

Google Chelsea Market

75 9 Avenue

A

Swerve Fitness

30 West 18th Street

A

Burger & Lobster

39 W 19th St

A

El Temerario

198 8th Ave

Grade Pending (2)

Cafe Water

519 6th Ave

Grade Pending (47) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred. Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.

Teazzi Tea Shop

47 W 14th St

A

Hudson Station

440 9 Avenue

A

Via Trenta Pizzoteca

536 W 30th St

A

Karaoke City

22 W 32nd St

A

Formerly Crows

85 Washington Pl

Grade Pending (24) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Fred’s At Barneys New York 161 W 16th St

A

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FOOTBALL CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 No, not necessarily. I saw an opening in the market ... I knew so many expats who were living in New York who were trying to watch a football match. So, you know, we just started showing it, and gradually it grew into something huge. Then we got a name as being the best soccer bar in New York, and people just kept on coming.

As you said, Smithfield Hall is a huge success. Did you expect it to be? And why do you think it is? Every bar you open, you want it to be successful, you want it to be good. So through the years, I started making lots of relationships with different people from different [soccer] clubs and that just grew. And ... from the early days in Nevada’s they followed me to Smithfield ... and hopefully they’ll follow me here as well. And so, it’s just over the years, creating good relationships with people.

Right, you’re opening a new bar in Times Square. Will it also be a football bar? We’ll definitely show football, of course, but it will be a sports bar. Because where we are, in Times Square, a lot of different nationalities come here. We’re going to cover everything. At Smithfield soccer is a priority, but here it’ll be everything.

15

Chelsea News|Chelsea Clinton News chelseanewsny.com still in the neighborhood ... so we have a great soccer crowd, we have a great after-work crowd, but we don’t have a late night crowd, because in the area it’s not a late night business. But listen, the business we do during the day with football and lunch, most bars would love to have at nighttime, so you take the good with the bad.

How hard, or easy, was it to get the word out to the public about this place, and how exactly did you do it? It’s easier in the last 10 years, since social media, with Facebook and everything else. It’s a lot easier from the days when Nevada’s started, when we used to put an advertisement in the paper that came out once a week. But now with social media, I can just blast out that the Manchester United football team is coming to Smithfield Hall, and within five minutes a hundred thousand people will know, you know? So social media is a big, big influence. People coming from overseas who want to watch a soccer match, type into the internet “watch football in New York, and luckily we’re one of the first [locations] that pops up.

Now that you’ve run the Smithfield on West 25th Street for more than five years, how heated can the bar get during rival matches? Through the years, we’ve learned that if we have particular supporters’ groups, like for instance we have Barcelona, when there’s a big game, like when they play Real Madrid, unfortunately we won’t let any Real Madrid fans in, only for the simple reason that it does get heated, and you don’t want that to happen. You don’t want anybody to have a bad experience. It’s the same when Manchester United play Liverpool, we won’t let in Liverpool fans. Any other day of the week or any other game, no problem. But in those big particular games, you know what to look for.

When you first started Smithfield Hall, what kind of clientele were you expecting, football-specific fans, or just kind of a family-friendly environment? We were always hoping to have the football people that we knew through the years, but from the original Smithfield [on West 28th St.] we were so close to Madison Square Garden that we were hoping to tap into that market as well, the people who go to shows, games, you know. And in the general area, because there’s an awful lot of businesses, we were hoping to jump into the lunch trade with them. When that Smithfield closed and we moved to West 25th Street, we were

Do you have certain policies, in addition to that, to prevent ugly scenes?

Tom McCarthy, co-owner of Smithfield Hall NYC, arrived in New York from Ireland in 1989. Photo: Teddy Son

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Luckily we have a great doorman in Fitz, and he can spot who’s had one too many from the night before, you know? But we’re very lucky, because, as I said, a lot of these supporters have come from Nevada’s and we know a lot

of them, and we’re very lucky that we don’t have too many messes. Unfortunately it happens sometimes, but we kind of know everybody. We know the guys of Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and we can go to them and say “Listen, we’re going to get rid of them.”

What do you think about the whole hooligan stereotype of football fans. Was it an issue for you when you opened Smithfield? Not in Smithfield. In Nevada’s I would say yes, because we were the only game in town, everybody came to Nevada’s no matter who you supported. Thus there were unfortunately some incidents where rival groups would go at each other. But in Smithfield, we don’t have that because I don’t think hooliganism is as bad as it used to be in the early 80s or 90s. I think it’s kind of [faded] out, they don’t do it anymore. You’re still going to have the fights, but you’re not going to have the riots that they used to have.

What’s the most memorable game that you’ve shown at Smithfield Hall? It has to be when Manchester United beat Bayern Munich [the interviewer’s favorite team] for the treble (in 1999).

Oh ... I didn’t want to bring that up (laughs).


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FEBRUARY 21-27,2019

Business

Ask a Broker BY ANDREW KRAMER

The owners of this combined apartment must address several issues before they can list it for sale. Photo: Courtesy of Matt Vacca

Seventeen years ago we purchased the alcove studio adjoining our family’s two-bedroom coop and created a lovely three-bedroom plus den. We’re thinking of selling in the coming months, and one of the brokers we interviewed asked us if the two apartments are legally combined. He said they would need to be in order for us to sell them to a new buyer. Is it true that this needs to be done in order for us to sell? And what is involved in legally combining the apartments?

I’ve been down this road several times and in order to sell a combined apartment in a coop, the two apartments need to have one stock and lease. Otherwise, it’s the equivalent of purchasing two “primary residences” in the same coop, which is challenging, if even possible. Therefore you’ll need to hire an architect and an expeditor, who can handle everything, from measuring and preparing new floor plans of the current combined space, reviewing all of the plumbing, gas, electric, etc. and filing with the Department of Buildings (DOB). This process takes about three months and you should anticipate spending about $25,000 to implement.I advise that sellers should start this process as soon as possible, as you don’t want to delay or potentially lose a sale because it’s an open issue. Andrew Kramer is a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker with Brown Harris Stevens. Direct your real estate questions to askandrew@bhsusa.com. You can learn more about Andrew at www.kramernyc.com or by contacting him at 212-317-3634.

Photo: Steven Strasser

HOW TO PROPERLY PRICE A HOME REAL ESTATE Using analytics and intuition to get it right for today’s property values Pricing property right blends art and science. Particularly in a market like this one, in which both sales prices and sales volume have softened from month-to-month, analysis, while critically important, can only help so much. While we know a sale of a similar property took place three months ago, how do we compare this price to today’s property value? Values in today’s market change

from month-to-month. Since prices do not become public until after a sale closes, and since a period of three to four months often elapses between contract signing and closing, sales prices are already out of date by the time they become public. Would Ken Griffin’s penthouse at 220 Central Park South, which was no doubt signed for some time ago, still be worth $238 million to him if he bought it today? Who knows? In this environment, what are agents and sellers (not to mention buyers) to do? Here are a few suggestions: Use Your Relationships. The most

useful comparable sales in a changing market are always those which have gone into contract during the past few weeks or month. Agents who have cultivated relationships within the industry can contact fellow agents whose sales have gone into contract recently to find out what the purchase price was. Even if those agents are reluctant to share an exact price, they will usually give you a sense of what their property received if you have been collegial in your behavior with them in the past. It’s one of many reasons why it’s always better to be a good citizen rather than a difficult one.

Abjure Asking Prices. Even in a down market, many asking prices are aspirational rather than realistic. They don’t provide useful guidance as to proper pricing; in fact, often they present a cautionary tale in how pricing incorrectly can lead to months on the market. This is often the highest and best use of asking price information in discussion between agent and seller: these prices can demonstrate what NOT to do. Frederick W. Peters is Chief Executive Officer of Warburg Realty Partnership.


FEBRUARY 21-27,2019

Chelsea News|Chelsea Clinton News chelseanewsny.com

Real Estate Sales

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Chelsea News|Chelsea ea Clinton News chelseanewsny.com

One Person’s on’s Manhattan

FROM COLD STREETS TO WARM HEARTS How David Jones and the Bowery Mission give hope to the homeless BY HARVEY COHEN

You exit the downtown 6 train and pass the trendy boutiques along Spring Street. The shops and the street are frequented by tourists in search of the latest fashions and local millennials stealing some time from jobs in the nearby technology hub that now exists in this neighborhood. This is one view of Manhattan. But if you continue just a few blocks east, you get another very different view of Manhattan. Because then you get to the Bowery, a street made famous by its flophouses and history of homeless alcoholics. Walking just one block north of Spring Street, you find the Bowery Mission. And as much as downtown Manhattan may have gentrified over the past years, you won’t find any rich tourists or hip millennials at the Bowery Mission. Here, as if history has stood still, you’ll find hundreds of homeless people, many of them alcoholics, all struggling to just make it through one more day. They come to the Bowery mission because they know everyone is welcome here, 365 days a year — for a good meal, a hot shower, even a bed to sleep in overnight. David Jones is the CEO and Chairman of the Board at the Bowery Mission. He now lives on the Upper West Side, but he was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He left home at 16 and joined the Air Force at 17. He then used the GI bill to become a CPA and joined the accounting firm KPMG where he ultimately rose to head the corporate finance practice, supervising 200 people and traveling the world. But the world of finance left his soul feeling empty. So in 2010, he started and became the co-minister at a small church in New Jersey. That’s where his heart was, and he knew he had found his purpose. Then in 2015, when the Bowery Mission was looking for new leadership and a new direction, he was recommended for the job. The combination of Jones’ financial background at KPMG, his ministerial service and his passion for helping those in need gave him the perfect credentials. He reorganized the Mission and gave it a new strategy centered on a more holistic approach to treating the homeless and added new shelters, new programs and a new camp for at-risk children. Jones empa-

thetically says: “These people are living the worst day of their life, every day.” So under his leadership, the Bowery Mission never turns anyone away. Last year the Bowery Mission served over 650,000 meals, provided close to 170,000 nights of safe shelter, distributed more than 45,000 pieces of clothing and performed over 1,300 medical, dental and optometry exams. And many of the homeless people who finally get these necessities of life turn it into a new life. Precious is a 40-year-old former attorney at a large Manhattan law firm. In 2013, she lost the love of her life, was suffering from bipolar disorder and alcoholism and considered taking her life. She was just out of a psychiatric ward when she found the Bowery Mission. She says: “When I walked through their doors, I was a mess. I had nothing. They welcomed me home, took care of me and nursed my spirit and soul. They saw I was broken and spoke to my brokenness.” Now Precious has her own apartment and is running a successful consulting business advising companies on improving their own client presentations. “Without the Bowery Mission,” Precious says, “I would be dead, because I had no access to resources and would have gone back to the bottle.” Matt (not his real name) is 35 years old and was a drug addict since the age of 12 when he first used cocaine. He lived a life of crime and drugs for over 22 years. During that time, he saw his brother, also an addict and dealer, shot to death. And his entire family — his wife, daughter, mother and father — all stopped communicating with him. Matt says: “I was living a foul life and had no concern for anybody.” In June of 2017, Matt was robbed and had a gun put in his mouth. He realized then if he didn’t do something, he would die on the streets. He walked into the Bowery Mission, and last year graduated from their program. Now he is back in touch with everyone except his ex-wife. Matt says his renewed contact with his daughter, whom he now sees every weekend, is the best part of his new life: “To have the opportunity to be her father and to be present in her life is a blessing. Without the Bowery Mission I wouldn’t have that opportunity. I would be dead or in jail”. David Jones says: “The Bowery Mission serves as God’s arms and legs.” Anyone who sees what they do would certainly agree that their work is a blessing.

Know someone we should profile in One Person’s Manhattan? Call 212-868-0190 or email nyoffice@strausnews.com

These people are living the worst day of their life, every day.” David Jones, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Bowery Mission

David Jones at the Bowery Mission. Photo: Jeffery Lau

FACTS ABOUT HOMELESSNESS In the New York City area, homelessness is at an all-time high. Some facts about homelessness provided by the Bowery Mission:

Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” serving Thanksgiving dinner at the Bowery Mission with other volunteers. Photo: Lesly Weiner Photography

How many people are homeless? Every night, more than 63,000 people sleep in the New York City municipal shelter system — up 43 percent from 10 years ago. Nearly 4,000 more sleep on the street, in the subway system or other public spaces. What causes homelessness? In most cases, multiple factors are involved. Common ones include: mental illness, substance abuse, untreated medicalissues, traumatic events, violence and abuse, lack of affordable housing and difficulty sustaining employment. Who are the homeless? People of all genders, races, ages and socioeconomic backgrounds experience homelessness. Among those sleeping in city shelters, more than 11,000 are single men, nearly 4,000 are single women and nearly 46,000 are adults or children in families.

Food is part of the Bowery Mission’s Compassionate Care program. Photo: Keri Tan Photography


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Each Sudoku puzzle consists of a 9X9 grid that has been subdivided into nine smaller grids of 3X3 squares. To solve the puzzle each row, column and box must contain each of the numbers 1 to 9. Puzzles come in three grades: easy, medium and difficult.

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by Myles Mellor

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CROSSWORD

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