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CREATIVE DANCING P. 20

VOLUME 25, NUMBER 16

JANUARY 9-JANUARY 22, 2013

SETTING LIBERTY FREE BY JOSH ROGERS he liberation of Liberty St. is within sight — a move that will also make visible the scaffolding-blocked stores across from the World Trade Center. The construction shed went up over a year and a half ago to protect residents, workers and tourists from falling debris from the construction of 4 W.T.C. “Weather permitting, we hope to enclose the south side of 4 World Trade Center around the end of February,” said Dara McQuillan. spokesperson for Silverstein Properties Inc., developers of the building. Once enclosed, the scaffolding can be removed. Although some thought of it as a necessary evil to protect people, proponents and opponents agreed it had more than its share of nega-

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Continued on page 27

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Harbor seals like to congregate on Swinburne Island, a man-made island off the coast of Staten Island, that was constructed in the 1870s to quarantine immigrants who were ill or suspected of being ill.

Seals a boat ride away BY T E RE S E L O E B K R E U Z E R ew York, a city of more than eight million residents, has become increasingly popular with visitors but not all have been arriving by conventional means of transportation. Some fly here under their own power. Some swim. In wintertime, an estimated 60,000 birds leave their summer breeding and nesting grounds in northern Canada and the Arctic for the comparative warmth and sumptuous dining available to them in New York harbor. “These birds are only here in the winter,” said Gabriel Willow, a New York City Audubon guide, who has been leading winter harbor tours aboard New York Water Taxi for the last eight years.

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Seal sightings are an added bonus. Willow won’t promise seals but so far, they have never failed to show up. “For the last 30 years, harbor seals have been coming this far south,” he said, as a New York Water Taxi catamaran left Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport and headed toward the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the harbor’s lower bay. Willow believes the seals are here because the water surrounding New York City is substantially cleaner than it was 40 years ago, and there are now enough fish to sustain them. A full-grown seal can weigh between 330 and 375 pounds and eats 10 to 18 pounds of fish a day. Reliably, certain northern birds come back to New York City year after year and can be found in predictable areas of the harbor. The

LITTLE LEAGUE LOOKS OUT FOR THE SEASON

Erie Basin, a manmade enclave off the East River, is popular with red-breasted mergansers, a diving duck that breeds further north and winters further south than any other merganser. The serrated edges on their beaks enable them to catch crustaceans, insects and fish, according to Willow. The red-breasted mergansers were sharing the Erie Basin with some gadwalls (a gray-brown duck that doesn’t mind traveling from the Arctic as far south as Guatemala for the winter) and some tiny bufflehead ducks that are hard to miss despite their diminutive size because of the large, white patches on the backs of the males’ heads and on the cheeks of the females.

BY JOSH ROGERS Battery Park City Authority officials are not calling Sandy a “perfect storm,” but they do say it was a once-in-a-century type event that could sideline the neighborhood ballfields for six months or longer. Mathew Monahan, the authority’s spokesperson, said the fields were designed to withstand all but a 100-year storm, which “came 99 years sooner than we anticipated.” In a subsequent prepared statement, he said the damaged field would be rebuilt to the “original specifications.” There are no plans to make any design changes with the benefit of hindsight. Monahan, in an email and

Continued on page 17

Continued on page 3

5 15 CANAL ST RE ET • N YC 10 013 • COPYRIG HT © 2013 N YC COMMU N ITY MED IA , LLC


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January 9 - January 22, 2013



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For the last 11 years, it’s been mostly fighting between World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority, but one of “the great periods of détente” between the two — as one side described it — is clearly continuing. “Every couple of years it’s like ‘The Godfather,’” the source added. “This is one of the longest periods of calm ever.” Port officials had nice things to say about Silverstein at a Community Board 1 meeting last week. The Port’s Glenn Guzi said the developer’s prospects for signing a desperately needed tenant for Tower 3 were “very promising.” Our source confirmed reports that Silverstein Properties is in talks with White & Case law firm and the M Group ad firm, but said no deal is imminent. Silverstein has the rest of the year to sign a tenant for 400,000 square feet of space at T3, which will be enough to finance continued construction of the office building. Without a deal, Downtown could be left with a sevenstory stump stuffed with equipment to support Santiago Calatrava’s transit hub for the foreseeable future.

GERSON RUN? Former Councilmember Alan Gerson acknowledged to us that he is thinking about running against the woman who beat him four years ago, Councilmember Margaret Chin. His friend, Marvin Greisman, said “Alan might be running again. He’s seriously thinking about it. He’s a committed guy and people love him.” Gerson said other local seats might also open up. He noted that, for example, if State Senator Dan Squadron wins the race for public advocate (a seat district leader Paul Newell would also run for if it’s open) or possibly Brooklyn borough president, then he might run for Squadron’s former office. But it’s clear that political players are watching whether Gerson will run against Chin. He told us that District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar recently called him, obviously eager to sound him out on his plans, but that he hasn’t returned her call yet. Rajkumar looks to also be considering a run against Chin. As for the state of the district during his absence from office, Gerson sighed and said simply, “Things could have been done differently.”

TWIRRIFIC GLICK One of the things about Twitter is if you use it at different times than the people you

follow, you often miss their tweets. We only recently noticed that Deborah Glick, in addition to expected tweeting about women’s rights and other progressive causes — that this petite Assemblymember, the first lesbian elected to office in New York, is also a huge football fan. Glick’s recent tweets included complaints about the refs in this week’s B.C.S. college championship game. She did not take the Redskins to task for their politically incorrect name, but she did question their decision to play an injured RG3. We were surprised that the entertaining @DeborahJGlick feed only has 363 followers, but nevertheless Glick is clearly more of a leader than a follower. The only person she follows is New York Times reporter Kate Taylor.

SOHO CONCESSION During a recent conversation, Soho Alliance Director Sean Sweeney told us that opponents and proponents of the proposed Broadway Soho business improvement district have been in talks since the City Council’s Finance Committee hearing on Nov. 20. The next Council hearing on the matter has yet to be scheduled. In the meantime, according to Sweeney, members of the two factions have recently held a few behind-thescenes meetings to work out some “compromises” on the BID proposal. Why? It seems like he and his crew have come to terms with the notion that, since Councilmember Margaret Chin strongly supports the plan, the antis will probably end up on the losing side of this battle. “Chin wants [the BID] to happen, so it’s going to happen,” Sweeney said, although he didn’t seem overly dejected by the admission.

MYSTERIES OF THE M.T.A. Now that Joe Lhota has left the M.T.A. for a probable mayoral run, he no longer has to get to the bottom of mysteries like these: Last Wednesday night at a bout 7 p.m. the uptown local E and C trains inexplicably switched to the express track skipping locals. Conductors gave no explanation, and the MetroCard clerk (though dated, doesn’t token booth clerk t sound better?) at W. 14th St. had no info about the switch, but we did appreciate her letting us back through the turnstile without an argument — always nice to actually be treated like a paying customer. Not long after the mystery surfaced, the locals switched back to their regular routes.

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January 9 - January 22, 2013

Battery Park City ďŹ elds out for the season? Continued from page 1

phone interview, called it “bewildering� that the Downtown Little League is registering players for the upcoming season knowing that the fields may not be ready. Bill Martino, president of the league, did not take kindly to Monahan’s characterization. “It would be bewildering and stupid to tell 1,000 families looking forward to having a season that there’s no chance,� he said. He said slightly more players have signed up for this season, 973, as at the same point last year, and no one yet has asked for a refund. “So far there’s a level of trust we’ll have a season,� although he does not yet know how if the fields are not ready. Martino plans to meet soon with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district includes B.P.C. Silver fired off a letter to the authority last Friday saying “it is simply not acceptable to tell the children of Battery Park City and Lower Manhattan that there will be no season this year. I urge you to come up with a plan that will have our Little Leaguers on the field by Opening Day.� With control of one of five votes on the Public Authorities Control Board, the speaker has great influence over the B.P.C.A., although the local agency has been saying it is trying to open the field as soon as possible.

The turf fields were built at the end of 2011 at a cost of $4.1 million, according to Monahan. He was not sure if a different design could have prevented the long closure. The authority has not made its consultants available for interviews, nor has it released any of their reports. The authority refused to even release the name of one of its consultants, BBS Architects, until Downtown Express published an article two weeks ago pointing this out. Some of the information it has released has not been accurate. Last week, Monahan acknowledged that it was only two consultants who assessed the field damage — BBS and the field’s designer, Stantec Consulting. The authority posted a message on its web site last month indicating at least three consultants had been hired. The authority had previously pointed to the sewer water that was part of the flooding, and cited public health concerns about reopening the fields too quickly, but Monahan said it is simply storm damage that is causing the delay. The authority is planning to soon release a request for proposals to remove the turf field and subsurface padding in order to replace it. It won’t have a timeline for reopening until it has a better idea of the extent of the damage. The field is on one of the neighborhood’s lowest points, and after the storm, it was covered with about three feet of water, much

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The Battery Park City ball fields as they looked Tuesday. The Battery Park City Authority has announced that the artificial turf will have to be entirely replaced because of damage from Superstorm Sandy.

of it from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, now named for Hugh Carey. The field and padding underneath were completely dislodged and shifted a few inches from their locations, according to the authority. The Little League’s Martino said he’s been frustrated by the lack of communica-

tion beyond a message that amounts to: “It don’t look good Bill.� He noted that the Hudson River Park Trust worked together with local youth groups to quickly reopen larger fields just to the north. “Why is it different than the turf fields on Pier 40?� he asked.

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4

January 9 - January 22, 2013

TEEN KILLED IN SHOOTING Friends and family on the Lower East Side gathered to commemorate a young athlete killed by a gunman near his home in from Baruch Houses. Raphael Ward, 16, was killed at about 9 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 4 outside a candy store on Rivington and Colombia Sts. The New York Times reported that he and his friends were hanging out on the plaza when approached by a gunman, causing them to scatter. Ward fled into a candy store, and when he opened the door, possibly to check if the gunman was outside, he was shot in the chest. He was declared dead at Beth Israel Medical Center. Ward was described by neighbors as a talented athlete, who played sports through the local Boys Club. He leaves behind a mother and younger brother. Both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senator Daniel Squadron sent out public statements shortly after, expressing their condolences to the victim’s family and calling for tougher gun control measures to prevent further loss of life.

MAN BARGAINS AT GUNPOINT One man tried to deter his mugger while held at gunpoint, with limited success. The robber got away with his watch, but without his hitting his victim’s bank account. A 36-year-old man reported that he was walking home at 4 a.m. on Thurs., Jan. 3 when he was approached by a man wearing dark clothing. The mugger stopped him at the corner of Sullivan and W. Houston Sts., and displayed a black metal handgun, asking, “Do you know what this is?� The man said yes, he did, and asked what his assailant wanted, whereupon he was told, “I want all your cash and your watch.� No doubt he was expecting more than the $22 he received, because according to the victim he asked for more. The man had no more cash, but handed over his wallet and Apple iPhone 4S. The robber then stated, “Let’s go to an ATM and take out $200 and you can leave.�

They crossed to the other side of the street in search of an ATM, while the robber continuously asked the man if he had any more cash on him and at one point searched his pocket. They stopped at an ATM at 6th Ave. and Houston St. and the man told his mugger that he would not take any money out. The robber then asked for his watch. “You don’t want this watch. It’s cheap and it smells,� the man allegedly replied, and invited the robber to smell it himself. This did not bother the robber who took it anyway and left. The victim walked to 14th St., where he called the police. In all, he lost his driver’s license, $200 iPhone, $22 in cash and a $100 watch, but not his nerve.

MERCER ST. MUGGER Mercer St. was the site of another robbery, when a woman was threatened at gunpoint. The victim, 28, and a female friend were walking north on Mercer St. at 8:45 p.m. on Sun., Dec. 30. In front of 40 Mercer St., she was approached from behind by a man who said, “Hey, ladies,� while grabbing her handbag. Police say he turned towards her, pointed a black handgun at her side and told her to “give me your bag.� He then fled south on Mercer and turned east on Grand St. A witness saw him get into a tan S.U.V. with New York license plates. However, police say he got out of the vehicle again and continued down Grand St. on foot, while the vehicle also took off. The doorman at 40 Mercer St. witnessed the incident. Police recovered her purse in front of 139 Canal St. The only items still missing were two credit cards, which were cancelled with no unauthorized usage reported on them.

BITTEN THUMB One man reported that the tip of his thumb was bitten off during a fight a few hours into the new year.

GRAND OPENING!

According to police, the 27-year-old had been involved in a physical altercation on Jan. 1 at 3:45 a.m. in front of 135 Reade St. with an unknown aggressor, reportedly as busboy at Brushstroke Restaurant on 30 Hudson St. The victim then reported that the man bit off the tip of his right thumb before fleeing the scene, leaving a knife behind. A police canvas turned up no results on video footage. The knife was recovered by police, the thumb tip was not.

CAB DRIVER NABS BAG One woman reported to police that her taxi driver did not wait for his fare to get to her destination before taking her money. The victim, 56 stated that on Sat., Dec. 22, she got into the unlicensed cab at 1:30 a.m. and asked to be taken to a hotel at 8 Stone St. When the driver said he was unsure of the address, she got out to ask for directions. While out of the cab, she noticed the driver exit the cab and make his way around to the rear of the vehicle, before going over to another taxi on the scene. She got back in the cab and directed him to the address at Stone St. At that point, she noticed her bag was missing, along with $4,600 in cash, a $1,700 U.S. Treasury check, her social security card and driver’s license. She told him, “You stole my bag. I am getting the police.� The cab driver stayed at the corner of Stone St. and Broadway while she returned with a police officer. After speaking to the officer, he drove away. The police are seeking a 30-year-old male, 5’10�, 160 pounds, with close-cut dark hair and a goatee.

CAR RENTED WITH FALSE CARD A missing rental car turned out to be paid for with a fraudulent credit card, turning the overdue notice into a warrant for grand larceny auto. An employee at J.F.K. International Airport in Queens reported that a car from

a 20 Morris St. parking garage, operated by Hertz, had been paid for with an invalid credit card. The rental was allegedly under the name Alberto Torres. The vehicle, a 2012 black Cadillac Escalade AWD, was 66 days overdue on Jan. 3. There had been multiple attempts to reclaim the car since it was rented in October. The car was reportedly worth about $53,000, and had Tennessee license plates.

HEADPHONES JACKED In a bizarre twist on the usual snatch and grab, it was a man’s headphones that were targeted rather than his music device. The 18-year-old, a student at Skidmore College, boarded a northbound A Train at Jay St./ MetroTech on Fri., Jan. 4. He told police that as the train entered the Chambers St. station at about 3:50 p.m., his $150 Beats Solo headphones were snatched off his head by a passerby when the doors opened. The thief fled into the station in an unknown direction. Police conducted a canvas with negative results.

JEWELRY STORE STEAL A shoplifter removed over $1,000 worth of jewelry from a Soho shop last Wednesday. An employee of Lunessa Jewelry at 100 Thompson St., reported that the theft occurred at 11:24 a.m. on Wed., Jan. 2. The light-fingered thief asked about the return policy as well as where to find Hudson St. The employee reported that the property was removed from the rear counter within a 20-minute window. The missing jewelry was a Peruvian Calcite ring, valued at $150; $120 Stardust post earrings; two $120 pairs of Druzy post earrings and a $550 14K Gold Monogram necklace. Video surveillance was available, but the case was still open at press time.

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January 9 - January 22, 2013

Burglaries and assaults were up Downtown in 2012 Of the seven major crimes measured by the New York City Police Department, rape, robbery and auto theft were all down in Lower Manhattan’s First Precinct in 2012 compared to 2011. On the other hand, felonious assault increased by 16 percent, and burglary increased by about 21 percent from 2011. The First Precinct, a single square mile, covers Battery Park City, Bowling Green, Tribeca, Hudson Square, Soho and City Hall. New York City is poised to set a 50-year low record for murder, with 416 murders reported in 2012 (the N.Y.P.D. has not yet released numbers for the week starting Dec. 31, 2012). That statistic decreased 18.8 percent, from 512 murders reported at this point in 2011 — the difference of 96 lives. The next lowest record was in 2009 with 471 homicides reported. However, in the First Precinct, the official figures were reversed — no murders were reported in 2011, but one was reported in 2012. The First Precinct and the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information’s office did not reply to queries about the homicide but it was likely the 1979 murder of Etan Patz in Soho, which was not classified a murder until last year. There were also two non-fatal shooting incidents, and victims, in 2012 in the First Precinct — while none were reported in 2011.

Theft of Apple products has reportedly skyrocketed in the past few years, including 2012. As iPods, iPhones and iPads become more commonly carried, so too are they becoming the preferred targets for thieves. The Deputy Commissioner of Public Information’s office said that there would be a slight decrease in crime citywide had it not been for the increase in Apple product theft, the Wall Street Journal reported. There was a nominal decrease of 0.5 percent in grand larceny in the First Precinct from 2011. In fact, in the strict number of crime complaints recorded at this point in 2011 and 2012, the total crime in the First Precinct in unchanged. There were exactly 1,405 criminal complaints reported in both years.

—Kaitlyn Meade

www.

Our news, online. .com


B Y S A M S P OKON Y

6

January 9 - January 22, 2013

Preschool forsakes FiDi due to Sandy damage

THE DOWNTOWN SOCCER LEAGUE WISHES TO THANK ITS SPONSORS FOR A GREAT 2012 SEASON OF FUN Abacus Brain Study • Aggamin Biologics • Alliance for Downtown • Alternative Asset Managers • Battery Park Conservancy • Battery Park City Day Nursery • Battery Place Markets • Bialosky and Partners • Blue Zees Real Estate, LLC • Boomerang Toys • Bouley Restaurant • Chambers Street School of Music • Chambers Street Orthodontics • Chambers Street Wines • City 1 Maintenance Inc. • Cosmopolitan Hotel • DayPlanIt.com • Dominion Capital • Downtown Express • Downtown Dance Factory • Eleni’s Bed & Breakfast • Jennifer Fisher Jewelry • Five Points Academy • Franco Family Foundation • Gee Whiz •Dr. Ruby Gelman, DMD • George’s Restaurant • House Systems • Landmarc Restaurant • Mailboxes Etc. • Manhattan Youth • Masterpiece Pizzeria • Maslow 6 Wine Shop • Max Delivery.com • Modell’s Sporting Goods • North End Grill • NY Vision Group • Omsofny.com • The PalmTribeca • reitdesign • William Rogers Architect • Saxtons River Orchard • Shake Shack • Vince Smith Hair Experience • Situs • Slate • Soulcycle • Mr. Stitch • Stribling Real Estate • Tribeca Associates • Tribeca Trib • Sean Turner Marketing • Walker Zanger • Walkers Restaurant • Zucker’s Bagels

B Y KAITLYN MEADE Superstorm Sandy’s damage caused more than one headache to building owners and operators Downtown, and recently, caused a private preschool program to rethink its decision to open an outpost in Lower Manhattan’s Financial District. Instead, they are moving into the landmarked Archive building in Greenwich Village. A little more than 2 years ago, the Mandell School, which hosts pre-K through 8th grade between its two Uptown locations, scoured the Financial District and Tribeca for a new location to bring their “creative, hands-on” teaching methods to pre-K students in Lower Manhattan. They had chosen 30 Broad St., at Exchange Place as their site and had already opened it for applications when Hurricane Sandy struck. “It rocked us back a bit,” said Gabriella Rowe, the head of Mandell School. The building’s electrical damage put the plans on hold. “That made us think about our construction approach and what it would take to build Downtown.” In the meantime, she received a call from The Archive, a historic building located at 666 Greenwich St., between

Barrow and Christopher Sts. The space was already in use and there was “very little turnaround time” to get the location ready for the school. Though still a “strong believer” in the Financial District as a future location, it was “not the right time,” Rowe said, to tackle the construction puzzle that the FiDi location would have presented. The school has already received about 170 Downtown applications. Immediately after the disaster, some Downtown parents contacted Mandell to ask that their applications be switched to the locations in Lincoln Square and the Upper East Side because they were unable or unwilling to return to their buildings. But when parents were offered refunds after the location was moved, Rowe noted that very few did so. It may speak to the need for more Downtown school seats that parents do not mind travelling further for pre-K classrooms, though Rowe said that the travel time from Battery Park City to the Greenwich or FiDi locations is “logistically the same.” There is a well documented shortage of Continued on page 7

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7

January 9 - January 22, 2013

TRANSIT SAM ALT E RN AT E SI D E PA R K IN G R U LE S A RE I N E F F E C T A L L W E E K Brooklyn Bridge Alert! All Manhattanbound lanes on the bridge will be closed midnight Friday, Jan. 11 to 6 a.m. Monday morning. The Manhattan Bridge will absorb a lot of the traffic, so consider taking the Williamsburg Bridge or Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel as alternates, and keep in mind the East River crossings will be crowded going eastbound to Manhattan before and after Nets games at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Holland Tunnel will see an uptick of New York-bound traffic this week because of construction in the Lincoln Tunnel. All lanes of the New York-bound south Tunnel will be closed 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday morning. All New York-bound lanes will be closed 12:01 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning and 10:30 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday morning. All Jersey-bound lanes of the Lincoln Tunnel are closed 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday. And with talks of a possible school bus strike this week, be ready if the strike happens —with 152,000 public and private school students to be affected, you can be

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sure there will be an upsurge of turbulence by elementary schools with parents dropping off their kids in cars as well as cabs — to the schools inaccessible by public transportation — as well as increased foot traffic. Avoid driving in the area of schools, and if you must, watch for kids darting in and out of cars at 8 a.m. in the morning and when school gets out at 3 p.m.

F ROM THE MAIL BAG:

fine), because failure to do so will result in the D.M.V. suspending your NYS driver license until you respond to the ticket or pay the fine. Transit Sam

Questions about parking or traffic? Email me at transitsam@downtownexpress.com. My 2013 parking calendar with Gridlock Alert Days and Summons Alert Days is available at www.gridlocksam.com

Mandell preschool moves on

Dear Transit Sam, If I get a ticket in New Jersey, do the points show up on my New York license for my insurance to find out and raise rates? S.L., West Village Dear S.L., Just pay the fine and the ticket will not affect your insurance rates. The New York State D.M.V. does not record outof-state parking or moving violations committed by New York drivers in other states, unless your violation is alcoholrelated or drug-related. However, you must respond to your ticket (or pay your

education

Continued from page 6

school seats across all of Downtown, something that Community Board 1 has been campaigning to rectify for years. “It’s a loss that they would not consider another location Downtown,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of C.B. 1. Paul Hovitz, co-chairperson of C.B. 1’s Youth and Education Committee, said that it was a loss for those who could afford it (annual tuition for Mandell’s pre-K program ranges from

community

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9, 6pm Beyond the Canon A gathering for those interested in studying Early Christian texts using traditional and non-traditional interpretive methods. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl, Room 2

SATURDAY, JANUARY 12, 6-9pm Witness and Outreach Film Series Films focusing on social justice and human rights; this month: Schindler’s List. Charlotte’s Place

SUNDAY, JANUARY 13 & 20, 10am The Gospel, Times, Journal, and You Discuss the editorial pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the assigned gospel for the day. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Seminar Room

SUNDAY, JANUARY 13, 1-3pm Poetry Writing Workshop A participatory workshop led by J. Chester Johnson, published poet. Bring a poem you are working on or a favorite poem to read and discuss. 74 Trinity Pl, 21st Fl, Library

SUNDAY, JANUARY 13 & 20, 10am Discovery Epiphany Series: A People’s History of the Episcopal Church A history of the Episcopal church from the perspective of those who lived it. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd fl, Parish Hall TUESDAY, JANUARY 15 & 22, 6pm Mark’s Gospel: Uncovered Dig deeper into this Gospel’s essence through a close examination of Mark’s writing style. Bring your Bible; all translations welcome. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl, Room 1

TUESDAY, UESDAY, JANUARY 22, 6pm The he Poet’s Corner From om the Psalms to Walt alt Whitman – explore plore how the divine is communicated through rough verse. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl, Room 3

$12,000-$22,000), but that there is a need for public pre-K seats that must be addressed. “It becomes particularly dire when the Department of Education considers eliminating pre-K in the area because of needs for kindergarten seats,” he said. Rowe agreed that, “The closer a family has a preschool to their front door, the better.” But for those willing to travel, the Mandell School at Greenwich St. is scheduled to be up and running for the 2013-2014 school year.

worship SUNDAY, 8am & 10am St. Paul’s Chapel · Holy Eucharist SUNDAY, 8pm St. Paul’s Chapel · Compline – Music & Prayers SUNDAY, 9am & 11:15am Trinity Church · Preaching, music, and Eucharist · Sunday school and child care available MONDAY – FRIDAY, 12:05pm Trinity Church · Holy Eucharist MONDAY – FRIDAY, 5:15pm All Saints’ Chapel, in Trinity Church Evening Prayer, Evensong (Thurs.) Watch online webcast


8

January 9 - January 22, 2013

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Panic in Petrosino Square sparked by mini-crepe cart B Y L IN COL N ANDERSON It was an application for a small cart, selling small dessert-like delicacies, plus coffee and beverages. But the problem was that it was slated for a very small park in Nolita. The result was that local outrage was enormous, multiplied proportionally to the nth degree. Nolita neighbors protested that the Parks Department’s idea to put a food cart in Petrosino Square was wildly inappropriate and would also create a safety hazard. The park is only .15 percent of an acre and represents pretty much the only open space in the neighborhood where adults can hang out. Nearby DeSalvio Playground is restricted for children, plus used by teens playing basketball. Minerva Durham, who owns Spring Studios, a live figure drawing salon, right to the west of the square on Spring St., said the area already has plenty of places dispensing coffee, from Starbucks to Ceci Cela, D & D Deli and Balthazar. As evidence, she brought a bagful of more than 100 takeout coffee cups that she pulled from her studio’s trash can over a one-week period. Plus, the area simply needs open space that provides “peace and quiet,” unencumbered by food carts, she stressed. She lives on the opposite side of the square from her art studio. “I’m not against commercial uses in big parks,” she said at C.B. 2’s full board meeting last month. “It’s a small park and there’s no need for it, it’s absurd.” Durham said if the concession were granted, she would definitely use the cups in some sort of protest action, though she wasn’t exactly sure what. “It would take the form of uninvited cup art,” she said. “I wish I had a good idea of how to be civilly disobedient in the park with cups and be arrested.” Parks put out a request for proposals for a food cart concession in the tiny park and it was won by Céline Legros, whose specialty is canelé — Bordeaux-style minipastries made with crepe batter that have a caramelized crust and moist center. Her proposal was to sell small boxes of five of the treats for $5. Georgette Fleischer, founder of the Friends of Petrosino Square, told the C.B. 2 meeting, “Our neighborhood is the second most parkstarved neighborhood in New York. We have 11 eating and drinking establishments on the rim of this park — all of them with takeout — and Esquina has a lot of takeout.” “There should never be a food cart in this sliver of tranquility,” she added. Where Parks wanted to put the cart was at the triangle plaza’s northern apex, which is its narrowest point, which opponents said would create a dangerous situation with car traffic swirling around the park. Lora Tenenbaum had crunched the numbers, and presented her eye-opening

Photo by Lincoln Anderson

Minerva Durham held up a bagful of 135 discarded coffee cups she collected at her Spring Studios during a week’s time, proof, she said, that the area around Petrosino Square, at Lafayette and Spring Sts., already has more than ample coffee outlets.

calculations to the board to demonstrate the impact of just one cart on Petrosino, proportionally speaking, that is. “Washington Square Park has 9.7 acres,” she explained. “If you put the same equivalent of carts there, there would be 194… It’s ridiculous,” she said. “This neighborhood needs its tiny oasis. However, the C.B. 2 Parks and Wa t e r f r o n t C o m m i t t e e n e v e r e v e n took a resolution on the matter, so there was no vote at last week’s full board meeting. Rich Caccappolo, the committee’s chairperson, said — because of how Sandy played havoc with the community board’s November meeting schedule for its various committees — he held a special meeting on Dec. 7 with neighbors to discuss the Petrosino food cart issue. He felt neighbors had aired their views thoroughly at that meeting, but he chose not to do a resolution on the issue. “I think we’ve done our job,” he said of his committee, speaking last week. Caccappolo did say that he told the attendees at the special meeting that Parks seemed to have picked a pretty good applicant and that the department certainly “could have done worse.” He said Legros manufactures her confections in the Bronx, employing a group of women who appreciate the jobs. However, as it turns out, there will be no unauthorized, guerilla cup art actions after all, no cries of alarm that Legros’s packaging is cluttering Petrosino Square the way that Magnolia’s messes up the Bleecker seating area, no more cart-ratio computations or even coffee-consumption cafe comparisons. Last Friday, Matt Viggiano, Councilmember Margaret Chin’s director of land use planning, sent out an e-mail to C.B. 2 members and Nolita-area residents announcing the Petrosino food cart plan had been pulled.


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January 9 - January 22, 2013

Congress passes Sandy flood insurance bill BY T E RE SE LO E B K R E U Z E R One of the first acts of the newly swornin 113th Congress was to vote on a $9.7 billion bill to fund the National Flood Insurance Program. After having taken the oath of office the day before, the House of Representatives passed the bill on the morning of Jan. 4, 2013. The bill then went to the Senate, which approved it by unanimous consent. It will become law when President Barack Obama signs it. The vote in the House was 354 in favor, 67, against. All of the votes against the bill came from Republicans, who opposed passage without equivalent cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. The National Flood Insurance Program covers structural losses due to flooding such as that caused by Superstorm Sandy. Without the package that passed Congress on Jan. 4, the program would have run out of money by mid-January. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), around 140,000 Sandyrelated claims have been filed so far, with many applicants having received only partial payments. Congress is scheduled to vote on a $51 billion Sandy aid package on Jan. 15. New York State Assembly Speaker

Sheldon Silver reacted to the news that the House had passed a flood insurance bill by saying that he found this “encouraging,” but he also said that it was “only a first step” and that much more needs to be done. “Portions of my lower Manhattan district were deeply impacted and regions up and down the East Coast have been devastated,” he said. “People’s lives should not be held hostage to partisan politics.” He said that, “It is critical that Congress approve the full aid package so we can rebuild our communities and take steps to protect our vital infrastructure so that this does not happen again.” On Jan. 3, 2013, the House of Representatives adjourned without passing the $60.4 billion aid package for Superstorm Sandy victims that had passed the Senate the previous week. Now, a new bill will have to be introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the current session. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who represents Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan communities hit hard by Sandy, was among those who condemned House leadership for failing to act on the bill that Continued on page 11

Borough of Manhattan Community College celebrates African Heritage Month 2013


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January 9 - January 22, 2013

‘Green wave’ bike plan has Soho leader seeing red BY SA M S P O K O N Y Community Board 2 is calling on the city’s Department of Transportation to study the possibility of resequencing traffic lights along Soho’s Prince St. bicycle lane, saying that synchronized timing on the red-to-green light progression could create a more consistent traffic flow for both cars and bikes and, in turn, increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians. The concept, referred to as a “green wave,” would involve changing the timing of signal progression along Prince St., from Bowery to Sixth Ave., in order to move traffic at a steady pace of roughly 10 to 15 miles per hour — a typical speed range for bikes. Advocates say that the more even, predictable flow would cut down on congested stop-and-go traffic, while discouraging cyclists from slipping through red lights and also discouraging drivers from speeding through yellow lights. If it were to be implemented in the future, the green wave would be the city’s first. The practice has already caught on in several bike-friendly cities, such as San Francisco, where cyclists have celebrated several socalled waves in recent years. A resolution requesting that D.O.T. perform a study on the feasibility of the green wave passed C.B. 2’s Dec. 20 full board meeting, albeit in a somewhat contentious 19-to-16 vote. In fact, the final resolution only asked for a study of the concept — rather than its actual implementation — because

Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

A cyclist traveled alongside vehicular traffic in the Prince St. bike lane near Sullivan St.

of a last-minute amendment put forth by board member Jo Hamilton. The original resolution, which was passed by a 10-to-0 vote by C.B. 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee earlier last month, did actually ask D.O.T. to execute the green wave plan. But Hamilton proposed the change after some board members voiced concerns about the proposal.

“I thought it was a pretty fair way to amend it,” said Shirley Secunda, the C.B. 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee chairperson, who added that her committee had been considering a green wave resolution for several years. It was fitting, then, that the plan was proposed by Ian Dutton, the committee’s former vice chairperson, who has since moved to

Brooklyn. Among other things, Dutton’s presentation at the committee’s December meeting pointed out that D.O.T. had reportedly expressed potential support for a green wave on Prince St., dating back to 2007 (when the bike lane was created), but has not yet taken any real action on the concept. A D.O.T. spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, spoke out strongly against the green wave idea during C.B. 2’s full board meeting. He said the bike lane never should have been run through Soho on Prince St., but belongs on Houston St., which D.O.T. considers too dangerous for bicycles. In an interview last week, he said that he believes Soho is unfairly used as a “petri dish” for transportation experiments. “D.O.T. should do their job by addressing our broken crosswalks before they worry about any kind of green wave,” said Sweeney, who has a history of opposing pro-cycling developments in the neighborhood. He went on to say that he’d recently spoken with a D.O.T. representative who said that the agency isn’t actually interested in pursuing the concept — but Secunda dismissed that notion when asked about it. “I’m not sure where Sean got the idea that D.O.T. doesn’t like it,” she said, “because, even though they’ve been dragging their feet, they’ve always seemed interested to me.”

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January 9 - January 22, 2013

Smaller Sandy bill passes Congress Continued from page 9

had already cleared the Senate. “This is a betrayal of the millions of Americans who are struggling after Sandy and a trivialization of the loss of more than 100 American lives,” he said. “Not taking up the $60 billion Sandy funding bill will mean that many Americans could remain homeless, the rebuilding of homes and businesses across the Northeast will be delayed, and the coastal infrastructure of the region will remain damaged and vulnerable to the next storm. The MTA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies cannot execute major repairs to broken facilities without funding certainty.” Nadler said he was “appalled — and mystified — by a total collapse of leadership on the part of Speaker Boehner.” In an article published on Jan. 2, 2013, The New York Times said that the aid bill was a victim of “bad timing” — overshadowed by the frenzied negotiations to pass legislation to stave off spending cuts and tax increases that automatically took effect on Jan. 1, 2013. The Times reported, “As word spread that the leadership would not consider

any storm spending package this session, a procession of New York and New Jersey lawmakers went to the House floor Tuesday night to denounce the Republican leadership, in particular the speaker.” “This is absolutely indefensible,” said Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Long Island. “We have a moral obligation to hold this vote.” New York Senator Charles E. Schumer (D) called the House’s decision “heartless.” Speaker Silver described it as “morally reprehensible.” He noted that the aid package had strong bi-partisan support in the Senate. “Many areas up and down the east coast, including much of my lower Manhattan district, have been damaged,” he said. “And now, because of trivial political maneuvering, people and families will continue to suffer.” The Sandy aid package on which the House of Representatives failed to vote would have covered money to help homeowners and small-business owners rebuild; to repair bridges, tunnels and transportation systems; to reimburse local governments for overtime costs of police, fire and other emergency services; and to replenish shorelines.

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January 9 - January 22, 2013

B Y TERESE LOEB KREUZER

ASPHALT GREEN COMMUNITY CENTER: The Battery Park City Authority has issued a statement about the community center it is constructing at 212 North End Ave. No, it doesn’t know when the community center will open. Yes, Asphalt Green is still the operator of the project. This community center was originally supposed to open in November 2011, with numerous announced and missed opening dates due to structural, permitting and contractual problems. Then Superstorm Sandy arrived. This is where things stand now: The lower level of the community center was flooded. Both swimming pools will have to be drained and disinfected and the pool circulation pumps and motors will have to be replaced. Water covered the wood flooring in the gymnasium and two other exercise rooms. The wood warped, making it unusable and the entire floor needs to be replaced and treated. Rubber flooring in the fitness/ exercise area was also flooded, ruining it beyond repair. About 20 inches of floodwater washed up against the eastern lower level wall of the center. Some of that water got into the interior space, staining the walls and stairs. Plaster must be repaired, stains removed and new paint applied to the walls. Floodwater overwhelmed and broke through the overhead door at the ball field maintenance facility. Damaged slats are being replaced by heavier gauge material than originally used. The electrical switchgear room is located in the cellar level of the ball field maintenance facility. This area took on about 30 inches of salty water dur-

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The Conrad New York hotel at 102 North End Ave. in Battery Park City is one of several Lower Manhattan hotels that are offering complimentary Downtown Culture Passes and Century 21 gift cards to weekend guests who stay at these hotels on or before Feb. 28, 2013.

ing the storm surge. Transformers located in the electrical room were submerged in water and must be replaced. The sub-cellar took on 16 inches of water, affecting the boiler/chiller room. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems were either submerged or exposed to water and have to be drained, cleaned, repaired or replaced. Damaged insulation, wiring and conduits must be replaced. Hot water heat exchanges must be restored to pre-storm conditions. Washing machines and dryers in the center’s laundry facility must be replaced. Some work is in progress while the B.P.C.A. awaits delivery of some new material and equipment. The B.P.C.A. does not know how long

The Asphalt Green community center on North End Avenue was severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The Battery Park City Authority, which is constructing the center, has no estimate as to when it will open.

it will take to make the repairs. However, once completed, they will have to be inspected before city permits and certifications can be obtained. The community center was originally budgeted at $55 million. At a meeting of the B.P.C.A. Audit Committee on Jan. 8, 2013, the subject of insurance was raised. Warren Ruppel, a partner in the firm of Marks Paneth & Shron, the B.P.C.A.’s outside auditors, stated that the storm damage is still being assessed so proceeds from insurance are unknown at this time.

B.P.C. EVENT SPACE: Some Battery Park City apartments are undoubtedly too small for all-holds-barred celebrations, but fortunately there’s a terrific space that can be rented right in the neighborhood. For around a year, the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy has been renting its 2,000-square-foot space at 6 River Terrace for such occasions as birthday parties, wedding brunches, and even movie shoots for which the “extras” had to be accommodated with meals, snacks and a place to sit down. Some of these events have been quite elaborate with face painting, balloons, flowers, caterers and entertainment. The conservancy will set up tables and chairs but then it’s up to those who rent to do the decorating, provide the food and clean up afterward. The facility has a sink and a small pantry but no refrigerator or stove. Toys and play equipment such as a puppet theater and a play kitchen are available for a small fee. Rental prices vary according to usage and the number of hours needed. Most rentals are for a minimum of four hours. To reserve or schedule a walk through, call 212-267-9700, ext. 363 or email mdart@bpcparks.org.

HOTEL DEALS: January and February are often slow months for New York City hotels, with

many offering deals to boost occupancy. In Lower Manhattan, these slow months loom especially large because of damage from Superstorm Sandy that forced a large number of downtown hotels to close for several weeks, reopening with limited services. Now most are fully restored to pre-Sandy levels. NYC & Company, New York City’s official tourism arm, has teamed up with a number of Lower Manhattan hotels to entice weekend travelers with complimentary Downtown Culture Passes granting three days of admission to 12 cultural attractions in Lower Manhattan (one per person, and a maximum of two per package) plus a complimentary $20 gift card to the Century 21 Department Store. The Conrad New York at 102 North End Ave. in Battery Park City is one of these hotels. Also on the list are the Andaz Wall Street, the Best Western Seaport Inn Downtown (newly reopened after significant damage from Superstorm Sandy), the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Tribeca, Doubletree by Hilton New York City, Gild Hall, the Holiday Inn New York City Wall Street, the Millenium Hilton, New York Marriott Downtown, the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, Smyth Tribeca, the W New York Downtown, and the World Center Hotel. For more information, go to www.nycgo. com/lower-manhattan

TREE MULCH: In keeping with Battery Park City’s “green” ethos, the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy will pick up discarded Christmas trees and turn them into mulch for the neighborhood’s parks. Through Jan. 25, leave your tree on the curb for pick up. No decorations, please. For more information, call 212-267-9700. To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@gmail.com


13

January 9 - January 22, 2013

presents

BRINGING COMMUNITY BUSINESS DOWNTOWN January 23, 2013, 6 - 8 pm Downtown Express photos by Tequila Minsky

Slow melt The dusting of snow at the close of 2012 mostly melted on the hot sidewalks of Lower Manhattan, however, Hudson River Park’s boardwalk and the wild environs that surround it maintained the dusting a little longer.

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Obituary

January 9 - January 22, 2013

Gerson, 88, former school board president, dies BY A L B E R T A MAT E A U Sophie Gerson, a beloved Greenwich Village neighbor and Democratic Party activist who served two terms on the local school board after retiring from a teaching career, died Saturday in Beth Israel Hospital at the age of 88. The cause of death was an infection. More than 200 mourners, including city councilmembers, community board members, Democratic district leaders and residents of the LaGuardia Place co-op where she lived with her family since 1967, paid their respects at the Mon., Dec. 31 funeral. Her son, Alan Jay Gerson, former city councilmember, who spent the past year or so helping his mother to get around the neighborhood as her health became fragile, recalled her devotion to her family and to the things she cared about. “She cared about the world. She cared about injustice and she cared about righting wrongs and making things better,” her son said. “When the neighborhood had a problem a few years ago about motorcycle noise, my mother went right up to the Hell’s Angel’s clubhouse on E. Third St. and spoke to a leader — his name was Bird, and he listened,” her son recalled. She was an early member, with her husband, Herman, of the Village Independent Democrats (V.I.D.) and joined the break-

away Village Reform Democratic Club (V.R.D.C.) to support Mayor Ed Koch when V.I.D. supported Mario Cuomo for governor over Koch. Herman, who is 100 years old and survives her, remained with V.I.D. and served as its president. “It was a mixed marriage for our family,” Alan said. “My father was in one Democratic club and my mother was in the other Democratic club.” A stalwart labor union member, Sophie was active with the United Federation of Teachers and supported the union in its 1968 strike over community control of school boards. “She had a falling out with Koch later over an argument about the U.F.T. but she was still very fond of him,” Alan said. Sophie was also a friend and supporter of Mayor David Dinkins. “I was told that Bill Passanante [the late state assemblymember representing the Village] used to say that my mother put his bumper sticker on my baby carriage,” Alan said. A girls’ physical education teacher throughout her 36-year career with the New York City public school system, Sophie pioneered as an advocate for equal sports opportunities for girls. “She cared about her students and she cared about teaching,” Alan said. “She enjoyed politics like it was a sports

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Sophie Gerson with Al Gore in 1988.

contest,” he added. “But she didn’t like the nasty backstabbing and the fact there were no umpires or referees — so she always tried to act as an umpire at political meetings” Sophie ran as a Democratic Convention delegate for Albert Gore in 1988; she attended the convention in Atlanta but, since Gore lost the state nomination to Michael Dukakis, she wasn’t a delegate.

from 1991 to 1999. “She edited the best and the shortest political speeches I every made. She was organized, always on time, everything in its place…. Some traits skip a generation,” said Alan, who is known for long speeches and for often running late for appointments, eliciting some light laughter from those gathered.

’She enjoyed politics like it was a sports contest, but she didn’t like the nasty backstabbing.’ — Alan Gerson

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Sophie Greenberg was raised in the Bronx by struggling immigrants from Romania. Her mother was often ill and her father lost his business in the Depression. Sophie was great at street sports, like ringolevio and box ball. In high school she won the admiration of classmates for reaching the top of the rope-climb ahead of all the girls and some of the boys. She graduated in 1941 from Walton High where she said in her yearbook entry that she wanted to be a girls’ gym teacher. She graduated from Hunter College four years later and earned a master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia in 1947. She retired in 1988 and won election to the local school board where she served

“She loved life and made my friends a part of our extended family. She loved country music. Her favorite song was Willie Nelson’s “On the Road.” When she retired I took her to Nashville and we sang “You Are My Sunshine” on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. “Mom, you’ll always be my sunshine, every day, every moment,” Alan said, overcome for a moment by emotion. In addition to her son and her husband of 56 years, a daughter, Rikki, and two grandchildren, Lance and Dillon, survive. Beth Abraham Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., was in charge of arrangements. Burial was in Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens.


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January 9 - January 22, 2013

Hudson Park trees looking for parent protectors BY KA I T LY N M E A D E No, you can’t take them home and they won’t cuddle with you in the winter, but the trees up for adoption at Hudson River Park are worthy acquisitions for any avid arborist. Their upkeep is relatively hasslefree — just sunlight and water — and is taken care of by the park staff. They come in four varieties: waterfront, evergreen, ornamental and majestic. Best of all, you can select the perfect tree from the comfort of your home through an online program! The adopt-a-tree website, launched by the Friends of Hudson River Park in December, shows an interactive map of the park with tree markers that can be clicked on for a description of each tree, its location, Latin name and the date it was planted. Donors through the online database can give each tree an online tag, write a dedication and attach photos to it, in addition to a physical tree tag affixed during a ceremony sometime in the spring. “The tree program itself was a teamcreated program with members of the Trust and Friends of Hudson River Park coming together to try to help support the park’s revenue while also promoting the environmental side,” said Blake Beatty, director of development for Friends, the park’s private fundraising group. There have been ten trees adopted so far, according to Beatty, “which may not

sound like a large number, but we only have 70 trees available right now,” mostly in Tribeca and Greenwich Village. That number is expected to grow as they designate more trees to the north along the West Side Highway. Homemaker magnate Martha Stewart was reportedly the first to adopt a tree through this program. Stewart, a Friends board member, adopted two trees and named them for her grandchildren. Adopting a tree is more of a financial commitment than adopting a shelter dog. The least expensive “Sapling Level” runs $2,500 for a two-year tree tag and an invitation to an annual community event. There are two higher levels, “Shaded Canopy” at $5,000 and “Root Network” at $10,000. Donors who want to give more than $10,000 might be allowed to plant a tree of their own, Beatty said. Money from the adoptions will go toward maintaining the five-mile-long park, operations and repairing the estimated $10 million damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. “It’s a great way to create more personal connections for park lovers while helping to ensure the park is wellmaintained for generations to come,” said A.J. Pietrantone, executive director of Friends, in a statement.

Downtown Express photos by Kaitlyn Meade

Majestic Tree #1 in Tribeca: Saw Tooth Oak

Evergreen Tree #29 in Tribeca: Eastern Red Cedar

This is the southernmost deciduous tree of a set of three just north of Battery Park. It is the only deciduous tree planted on the lawn of this section of the park. Latin Name: Quercus acutissima Planted in Hudson River Park Fall 2009

Just north of the Laight Street Bosque (grove) the boardwalk path begins. As you enter, after the first right, this evergreen tree lies just left of the path. Latin Name: Juniperus virginiana Planted in Hudson River Park Spring 2008

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January 9 - January 22, 2013

NEW YEAR’S CHEER — for —

Hornblower New York Photos by Therese Loeb Kreuzer

Led by Stomp drummer Keith Middleton, N.Y.C. natives and visitors alike partied up a storm to rival Sandy on the Hornblower Hybrid on New Year’s Eve. At midnight, revelers watched fireworks over Liberty Island through the ship’s 14-foot plate glass windows. The Hornblower New York company, which lost over half a million dollars of revenue after Sandy, shared their enthusiasm for new beginnings and a better 2013.

Oh baby, Downtown’s first New Years is a time of new beginnings, and one New York couple celebrated an extra special beginning with the birth of their son, born at 1:39 a.m. on Jan. 1 at New York Downtown Hospital, making him Downtown’s first baby of 2013. The seven pound, four ounce newborn, Alkhmad Rakhmanov, is the fourth child of Gulnoza and Shoazim Rakhmanov, both 28. The couple, who also have a 10-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 2 and 4, moved from Uzbekistan three and a half years ago, and now reside in Brooklyn. Dr. Szilvia Nagy, the attending physician, said: “Every new baby is a symbol of hope,

and a New Year’s baby even more so.” While the littlest Rakhmanov is believed to be the first child of 2013 born south of 14th St., he is not the first baby to be born on New Year’s in New York City. The Daily News reported that title goes to Kaylee Sayuri Merino, born at the stroke of midnight at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, but NBC New York reported that it was really Olivia Rose Espinal, born seconds after midnight at NY Hospital in Queens, according to the presiding doctor. The last time the mayor visited Downtown Hospital to meet New York City’s firstborn of the year was in 1999.

Alkhmad Rakhmanov, believed to be Downtown’s first 2013 baby, with his mother Gulnoza Rakhmanov.


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January 9 - January 22, 2013

A boat ride to seals and other delights Continued from page 1

As the boat sped toward the VerrazanoNarrows Bridge, red-throated loons crossed its path (only here in the winter time, said Willow) and numerous long-tailed ducks, a gregarious species that travels in flocks and is the only living member of its genus. Their breeding ground is in the high Arctic, around 2,000 miles away from New York City. Near the bridge, Willow spotted a peregrine falcon swooping through the air. They nest on top of the bridge and can travel up to 200 miles an hour in pursuit of prey. They are an endangered species in New York State, but “New York City has the highest population density of peregrine falcons in the world,” Willow said. Pausing at Hawthorne Island, one of two man-made islands that lie between Staten Island and Brooklyn, the boat made its way slowly and quietly to nearby Swinburne Island, home to a harbor seal colony during the winter and to colonies of gulls and cormorants. It was constructed in the 1870s to quarantine immigrants to New York City who were ill or suspected of being ill. The century-old buildings included a hospital and crematorium for those who died on Swinburne Island. Long abandoned, the buildings were already in ruins when Superstorm Sandy struck on Oct. 29, 2012,

demolishing one of the remaining buildings completely and crushing the other one. The seals, ever curious, bobbed up out of the water to see who or what had arrived. Then they went back to foraging for fish. As the boat turned back toward Manhattan, a gannet flew by, much to Willow’s astonishment. He said that he had seen them before in the harbor, but rarely. They are the largest seabirds of the North Atlantic, with wingspans of almost six feet. The largest colony of northern gannets in the world lives on Bonaventure Island off the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, around a thousand miles from New York City. They catch fish by diving from a great height, aided by their binocular vision and protected by air sacs in their breasts. What had brought the gannet to New York? Climate change, perhaps? Willow wouldn’t speculate. But storms and sea level rise had definitely wrought changes in the harbor landscape compared with previous years. Visible in the distance behind stormwracked Swinburne Island, buildings on Coney Island were boarded up with plywood. Some of the large stones of Fort Wadsworth under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge had been torn from the seawalls and scattered like pebbles. The Alice Austen House Museum on the northern side of Staten Island had lost some of its trim and some of its trees.

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Gabriel Willow, a naturalist with the New York City Audubon Society, has been leading harbor tours aboard New York Water Taxi for years.

The Water Taxi headed toward the Statue of Liberty. Although the Statue was undamaged by Superstorm Sandy, docks and facilities on Liberty and Ellis Islands were severely damaged by the storm and have not been open to visitors since then. New York City’s avian and mammalian visitors are back this year as usual, but this

year the city is not quite the same. The first New York City Audubon/ New York Water Taxi tour took place on Jan. 6. The tours will continue every Sunday afternoon through Feb. 3, and perhaps longer, if there is sufficient demand. For more information, go to www.nywatertaxi.com.

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January 9 - January 22, 2013

Editorial PUBLISHER

Jennifer Goodstein PUBLISHER EMERITUS

John W. Sutter EDITOR

Josh Rogers NYC RECONNECTS ASSOCIATE EDITOR

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Francesco Regini

Still hurting from the betrayal over Sandy relief CONDEMNATION WAS SWIFT LAST WEEK

for the House Republicans’ heartless abandonment of people devastated by Hurricane Sandy. No one put it better than Representative Peter King of Long Island. He said anybody from New York or New Jersey who donates money to help his fellow Republicans get re-elected is crazy. We hope Wall Street heard King clearly the first time and ignores his subsequent backpedal, which presumably was done for political survival. The “Boehner Betrayal,” as Senator Chuck Schumer called House Speaker John Boehner’s broken promise to bring a $60 billion hurricane relief package to the floor, will likely have real and devastating consequences in Downtown Manhattan and other areas that were hit even harder by Sandy.

Many businesses close to home have still not reopened and are desperately waiting for relief to rebuild their livelihoods. Others are looking with horror at their repair bills and their loss of customers. Some Downtowners have not been able to return home, and in other parts of the city and state and elsewhere, there are many people who can’t even recognize where they lived or worked because the storm just washed it all away. Boehner’s decision to take up the bill in piecemeal, passing a much smaller $9.7 billion package at the end of last week, will leave many waiting for help. Left out of the bill is some of the money needed to help homeowners and small-business owners rebuild, to repair critical transportation equipment and to replenish shorelines. Boehner may have clinched his leadership re-election by waiting for the new session of

Congress, but the decision means the Senate — a body that the Founding Fathers designed to act slowly — must pass another large ticket bill all over again. This during a time when divisive debates are on tap in the Senate over possible new filibuster rules and the battle to confirm Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary. It was an outrage that Boehner waited more than two months to consider Sandy relief so he could focus his attention on bad-faith, pointless negotiations with the White House on the “fiscal cliff.” He strung the president along before deferring to the Senate to make a last minute deal. Our man in Congress, Jerrold Nadler, said extending the hardship was “a total collapse of leadership” on Boehner’s part. He may have been too kind to use the “L” word in the same sentence with the speaker.

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The deadline to apply to Borough President Scott Stringer’s office to become a Manhattan community board member is coming up next week on Jan. 18. After that date, applications can still be submitted but will be kept on file to fill vacancies that may arise mid-term. The competition is always stiff, but Stringer’s office reports on their info page that they expect it to be especially tense this year with at least three applicants for each of the open spots that must be filled this year. Half of Manhattan’s 600 community board seats are appointed each year, on April 1. On Lower Manhattan’s Community Board 1, 25 of its 50 slots are up for renewal. Councilmember

Margaret Chin recommends half of the appointees to Stringer, who has the final say on all 50. The borough president’s website gives information on how to apply and what will be considered when making the selections. In order to be eligible, applicants must be residents of New York City and must have a residence, business or some other special interest in that community board’s coverage area. The B.P. also makes decisions in favor of those who have been involved extensively in their communities, have skills that would benefit the board, have a history of community board meeting attendance and know about of the community’s

concerns in that area. Stringer also repeatedly encourages applicants to attend their local community board meetings and reminds applicants that membership is a significant time commitment, as members are expected to not only come to the meetings but to be “active, involved and maintain a record of good attendance,” according to the membership application. Current community board members are also required to reapply by Jan. 18, and are guaranteed an interview, though not reappointment. For more information, visit the “community board” section of www.mbpo.org.

Recycling mulch and computers Downtown Calling all Christmas trees and wrecked tech. Are you tired of maneuvering your vacuum cleaner around that now-droopy evergreen, shedding needles in the living room? What about the cracked camcorder that was conveniently replaced this year? Well now is your chance to dispose of them in a safe, environmentally-friendly way as New York City brings back its annual MulchFest. This year, the Alliance for Downtown New York is making it extra-easy to do your ecological part by hosting a MulchFest and Electronic Waste Recycling event on Sat., Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. at the south end of Bowling Green Park. As a reward, free hot apple cider, snacks and recycling bags will be provided. The Lower East Side Ecology Center and Tekserve are hosting the electronic waste collection in Bowling Green Park near the Beaver Street and Broadway intersection. Acceptable items include: working and non-working com-

puters, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cables, televisions, videocassette recorders, DVD players, phones, audio/visual equipment, cell phones and PDAs. Recycling is free to all residents and all small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The Alliance is also partnering with the New York City Departments of Parks and Recreation and Sanitation to collect holiday trees. Drop them at Bowling Green’s MulchFest, where they will be collected to make post-Christmas compost for New York City parks. You are even encouraged to take a bit of mulch home to nourish your potted plants or community garden. The Alliance is also providing a van pickup service for trees at the corner of Wall and William Sts.; the corner of John and Gold Sts.; Pearl St. between Fulton and Beekman Sts.; West Thames St. between Battery Place and South End Ave.; the corner of South End Ave. and Albany St.; and

North End Ave. between Murray and Warren Sts. For more info on the event, visit www.downtownny.com. Go to www.lesecologycenter.org to learn more about the Lower East Side Ecology Center’s recycling program.

LETTERS POLICY

Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be emailed to letters@ downtownexpress.com or can be mailed to 515 Canal St., New York, NY, 10013.


19

January 9 - January 22, 2013

Talking Point

Why we don’t have the right to care about Newtown BY T E D R A LL We don’t have the right to be sad. We don’t have the right to be angry. We don’t have the right to care about the 20 dead kids, much less the six dead adults or the one deranged shooter. American newspapers don’t have the right to pretend that we are a nation stricken by grief. Our television networks don’t have the right to put the Newtown shootings at the top of the news. Americans don’t have the right to gather around the water cooler and talk about how terrible it all is. The U.S. president doesn’t have the right to express grief or remorse or pretend to be a human being or reference the fact that he is a parent or wipe his eye (assuming he was crying). Pundits don’t have the right to use this massacre as a reason to call for gun control. Our Congress doesn’t have the right to use it as a reason to propose a single piece of legislation. Until Americans start caring about other people’s dead kids — and their adults — kids and adults made dead by American weapons — we don’t have the right to mourn our own. Every couple of days, President Obama orders drone attacks against innocent people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and, no doubt, other places we are unaware of. But Americans don’t care. There is no moral or legal justification for a single one of the more than 3,100 murders committed by the U.S. via drones. The guilt or innocence of the drones’ targets is never reviewed by any legal body. (The White House won’t even say how they compile their “kill lists”.) The dead never have a chance to confront their accusers. And in any case the offed “militants” are not threats to the American people. They are merely political opponents of repressive regimes allied with the United States. Moreover, the vast majority of the victims are innocent bystanders (by one count 36 civilians per militant), members of the families of the target, or people who simply happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The Newtown massacre, so tragic and pointless, would be just another run-of-themill, made-in-U.S.A. afternoon in the places targeted by America’s campaign of aerial terror. On March 18, 2011, for example, a U.S. drone blew up between 17 and 40 civilians and policemen in the village of Datta Khel in the North Waziristan region of northwest Pakistan. This was part of America’s nasty “double-tap” strategy. “As the drone circled it let off the first of its Hellfire missiles, slamming into a small house and reducing it to rubble. When residents rushed to the scene of the attack to see if they could help they were struck again,” reported the U.K. Independent. Not an accident. Double-taps are policy. And we’re O.K. with them.

Drone strikes approved by Presidents Bush and Obama have killed at least 168 children in Pakistan alone. And in recent months, more than 100 people have been killed by unmanned aerial vehicles (U.A.V.’s) in the same area. And Americans don’t care. Actually, that’s not fair. The truth is, Americans are pro-mass murder. Barack Obama makes Adam Lanza look like a peacenik, but we love him. A whopping 62 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s extrajudicial drone war. Let’s give you, dear reader, the benefit of the doubt: Let’s assume you’re one of the 38 percent of Americans who disapprove of one man acting as judge, jury and executioner of people half a world away, seen through a video feed taken thousands of feet up. The fact remains, you probably don’t lose a hell of a lot of sleep over the drone victims. Which is understandable. You don’t know them. They wear funny clothes. They do live, after all, half a world away. Which is why reporters don’t cover their funerals. Why “The Today Show” doesn’t interview their grieving relatives. Why our politicians don’t shed tears (real or imagined) for them. Which is why we don’t ask each other: “Why?” Even the Left doesn’t care. Not much.

America’s most recent major progressive movement, Occupy Wall Street, focused on economic injustice and corporate corruption. O.W.S. hardly had a word to say about the drone strikes that killed so many children. America’s “liberal” media — NPR, The Nation, Mother Jones, etc. — barely mention them. Which is fine. Americans have the right not to care about anything we want. Including dead kids. Even dead

of New York City where many reporters, editors and other members of the national media reside. We owe it to the little, cute, brown kids we’re killing in Pakistan. Stop caring about all kids. “They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” Obama said of the Connecticut victims. That was equally true

‘Drone strikes approved by Bush and Obama have killed at least 160 children in Pakistan alone.’ kids killed by U.S. missiles. Even dead kids killed by a president re-elected by a comfortable majority. Since Americans have made a collective national decision to be a bunch of coldhearted bastards, however, we have to be morally consistent. And that means not caring about American kids either. Even when they are little, cute, white, and live in Fairfield County, an upscale suburb

of the children Obama murdered — some whose snuff videos he watched. It is also true of the children Obama is planning to murder. “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” the president continued. Not that he cares. Rall’s most recent book is “Wake Up, You’re Liberal! How We Can Take America Back from the Right” (Soft Skull Press).

Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess

Hot Dogging A piece of Americana on wheels, one of eight active Wienermobiles rolled down on Chambers St. last week. Passerbys “relished” the sight of the vehicle which hung a right and headed uptown. The free-wheeling frankfurter drivers are officially known as “hotdoggers.” The prototype of the hot dogon-a-bun car was created in 1936 by a nephew of Oscar Meyer.


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January 9 - January 22, 2013

BY KAITLYN MEADE & SCOTT STIFFLER

P O E T S H O U S E T h e P o e t s H o u s e C h i l d r e n ’s R o o m gives children and their parents a gateway to enter the world of rhyme through readings, group activities and interactive performances. For children a g e s 1 - 3 , t h e C h i l d r e n ’s R o o m o f f e r s “ Ti n y P o e t s Ti m e ” r e a d i n g s o n T h u r s d a y s a t 1 0 a m ; f o r t h o s e a g e s 4 - 1 0 , “ We e k l y P o e t r y R e a d i n g s ” t a k e p l a c e every Sat. at 11am. Filled with poetry books, oldfashioned typewriters and a card catalogue packed with poetic objects to trigger inspiration, the Children’s Room is open Thurs.- Sat., 11am-5pm. Free admission. At 10 River Terrace. Call 212-431-7920 or visit poetshouse.org. S AT U R D AY F A M I LY P R O G R A M S AT T H E S K YSCRAPER MUSEUM Dinosaurs aren’t the only big and tall creations to fascinate the very young and very short. Towering skyscrapers also have a pull on the seven-plus set — and there’s no better place to see them than right here, in the world’s foremost vertical metropolis. But why crane your neck looking upwards? Explore tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction and places of work and residence (and build one of your own!) at The Skyscraper Museum. Their winter/spring “Saturday Family Program” series features workshops designed to introduce children and their families to the principles of

architecture and engineering through hands-on activities. On Jan. 12, the “New Year’s Calendar Construction” workshop challenges you to make an architectural calendar (also known as a 12-sided rhombic dodecahedron). Learn about geometric shapes used in architecture, and construct a 3-D calendar for 2013 that celebrates skyscrapers and geometry. On Jan. 26, “So Sew Tall” takes its inspiration from the museum’s current “Urban Fabric” exhibition— which tells the story of New York’s Garment District. Back in the 1920s, the area from 35th to 41st Sts., from Seventh to Ninth Aves., produced nearly three-fourths of the apparel worn by American women and children. After a series of activities exploring factory designs and production methods, build your own factory and organize the production of a product! All workshops ($5 per family) are for ages 7+ and take place at 10:30am. Registration is required. Call 212-945-6324 or email education@ skyscraper.org. At 39 Battery Place (btw. First Place & Little West St.). Regular museum hours are Wed.-Sun., 12-6pm. Admission is $5 ($2.50 for students/seniors).

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Center

THE LITTLE PRINCE The most read and most translated book in the French language is also one of the world’s most beloved and interpreted stories. Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince” has inspired a ballet, an opera and a museum in Japan. Full of whimsy and wonderment, this Target Storybook Series version of the classic tale incorporates puppetry, multimedia projections and original music as it follows one brave little boy’s journey through the universe — exploring the mysteries of grownups and the stars, and searching for what is most important in life. Sun., Jan. 27, at 2pm. At the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College (2/5 trains to Brooklyn College/Flatbush Ave.). For tickets ($7), call 718-951-4500 (Tues.-Sat., 1-6pm) or visit brooklyncenteronline.org.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOUR LISTING IN THE DOWNTOWN EXPRESS? Please provide the date, time, location, price and a description of the event. Send to scott@chelseanow.com.

Photo by Michael Kosch

CREATIVE DANCE CLASSES Children’s dance expert Rachael Kosch kicks off her new classes in the West Village, with free open houses on Wed., Jan. 16 or Mon., Jan. 21. At 3:45pm, children ages 3-5 take a free half-hour class — and at 4:15pm, children ages 6-9 have their turn, as parents observe. Afterwards, refreshments will be served while you talk with Rachael and Michael Kosch. This will be a Modern/Ballet based class, with live music by classical composer Michael. The basics of classical ballet, musicality, the ideas of Modern Dance pioneer Martha Graham and movement derived from the imagination of the students are the main ingredients of this fun yet disciplined class. Classes are every Mon. & Wed., 3:30-4:15pm for 3-5 year-olds, 4:15-5pm for 6-9 year-olds. Price: $420 for Mon., $360 for Wed., $780 for twice a week, through June 26. At The Community Room at Westbeth (55 Bethune St., corner of Washington St.). To reserve a space or for info, call 212-566-3097 or email rachael.kosch@gmail.com — or just come to one of the open houses.

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January 9 - January 22, 2013

An array of musical moods from improvisers, songwriters Winter season brings musical diversity to Downtown BY SAM SPOKONY If you’re like me, the idea of actually following through on a typical New Year’s resolution has become a meaningless myth. Quit smoking? Meh. Stop eating McDonald’s or go back to the gym? Maybe next year. Make more money? No thanks. I’m good with my ramen and shared twobedroom in Bed-Stuy. On the other hand, with both the supposed apocalypse and several genuine disasters behind us, I do think that the end of 2012 has brought with it an excitingly unpredictable future for all of us. What better way to celebrate than by opening your ears and embracing new (or old) colors dashed amid an endless aural palette? Downtown’s winter season is packed with improvisers and songwriters who represent an array of musical moods — but what’s especially great is the diversity of ethnicities and nationalities that’s about to hit the scene. We’ve got African roots, a group of Scandinavian electro-rockers and, as always, a few domestic mainstays. As if that weren’t enough, some of these gigs feature album releases from young performers on the cutting edge — and everyone knows it’s cooler to be one of the first to hear those new tunes live. So, as I curse the arrival of sub-freezing

Photo by Michael Weintrob

Vocalist Andrea Wolper celebrates her birthday alongside her trio, at the West Village’s Bar Next Door, on Jan. 14.

temperatures, here are my picks through March. Keep an open mind this year! And remember, people…music is always there to share the golden secrets that hide within our culture of fear and lies!

JAZZ Andrea Wolper is, I think, one of the best vocalists you’re going to hear these days — and it’s because her creativity and musicianship consistently stretch beyond generic limitations. I’m an especially big fan of her work with pianist Connie Crothers — a disciple of free jazz pioneer Lennie Tristano — as part of TranceFormation; and on Jan. 14, Wolper will perform at the Bar Next Door, 129 MacDougal St. (btw. W. Third & Fourth Sts.) in a trio with TranceFormation bassist Ken Filiano and guitarist Michael Howell, another one of her regular sidemen. They’ll play two 75-minute sets, one at 8:30pm and another at 10:30pm, and the $12 cover must be paid at the door. And on a side note, Wolper will be celebrating her birthday that night (even though it’s not really until Jan. 16). Ever the gentleman, I decided not to ask her age. When strong musical traditions merge across continental boundaries, beautiful things happen. A perfect example is Afrobeat — which blends African rhythms, jazz harmonies and funk attitude to create a soulful, high-energy atmosphere. And it’s not hard to argue that multi-instrumentalist Femi Kuti and The Positive Force remain the top suppliers of those particular jams. The son of activist and Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, Femi will lead his ensemble at Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th St. (btw. Third & Fourth Aves.) on Jan. 26, for an 8pm set. Tickets cost $30, and can be purchased in advance by visiting ticketmaster.com and searching for the artist or venue. Only a handful of mid-century jazz icons are still going strong in the 21st century, and Ron Carter is certainly one of them. The 75-year-old bassist has become a veritable institution, gaining fame with Miles Davis’ second “great quintet” in the early 60s and subsequently appearing on thousands of albums, including dozens as a leader. What does this mean, you ask? It means that when the guy’s playing Downtown, you take out your wallet and get your ass there! Fortunately for us, Carter and his quartet — featuring pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Payton Crossley and percussionist Rolando Morales-Matos — are playing every night from Feb. 5-10 at the Blue Note, 131 W. Third St. (btw. MacDougal St. & Sixth Ave.). They’ll perform two sets each night, one at 8pm and another at 10:30pm. Bar

Photo by Takehiko Tokiwa

Bassist Ron Carter will join his quartet for six nights at the Blue Note, starting on Feb. 5.

seating is $20 per person, while each table seat costs $35 — but remember, only table seats can be purchased in advance! For tickets, visit bluenotejazz.com. I always like to include at least one player whose musical experience spans the oft-crossed gap between jazz and classical. This winter, Argentinean pianist Fernando Otero is a great choice in that regard — not just because of his worthy skills, but because his March 2 concert at 92Y Tribeca celebrates the release of his new album, “Romance,” which features 11 tunes written by Otero and performed by a nine-piece group that includes strings and vocals. The pianist’s rich compositions are characterized by a sense of tonal exploration that shifts between tender, flowing melodies and dense counterpoint. The gig will be played at 92Y Tribeca’s Mainstage, at 200 Hudson St. (btw. Vestry & Desbrosses Sts.) at 9pm, and tickets cost $12. To purchase in advance, visit 92y.org/tribeca.

INDIE We find another record release taking place over in West Village, this one for lo-fi rockers Ducktails, whose new album “The Flower Lane” will be per-

formed in its entirety. Led by singer/ guitarist Matt Mondanile, Ducktails has morphed over the years from a solo project into a more adventurous, full band effort. That should be especially apparent on the new album, which features more diverse instrumentation, like synths and saxes, along with laid back tunes that are less hipster and more head nod. You can catch the release show at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St. (btw. Sullivan & Thompson Sts.) on Jan. 23, starting at 8:30pm. Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 at the door, and can be purchased online at lepoissonrouge.com. Scandinavian people are just nicer than Americans! I learned this firsthand in 2011, when, while working for a different rag, I went to Oslo, Norway to interview a jazzturned-electro-pop trio named Pelbo. And now, you can have the treat of seeing Urban Cone, a group of forward-thinking Swedes — vocalist Rasmus Flyckt, keyboardist Jacob Sjöberg, guitarist Tim Formgren, bassist Emil Gustafsson and drummer Magnus Folkö (they have better names, too) — when they hit up The Mercury Lounge, 217 E.

Continued on page 26


22

January 9 - January 22, 2013

Just Do Art! BY SCOTT STIFFLER

SUPERMAN AT 75 From the pulpy Fleischer brothers cartoons of the 1940s to the fleshy George Reeves of 1950s TV to Christopher Reeve’s chiseled 1978 big screen incarnation, the last son of Krypton has been reimagined dozens of times since his first appearance in 1938’s issue #1 of Action Comics. Throughout 2013, as Superman turns 75, you’ll be seeing much more of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s creation (including this summer’s cinematic reboot, “Man of Steel”). DC Comics will officially acknowledge his birthday in June — but the Center for Jewish History is getting the celebration started with a panel that discusses the muscled crusader’s wide appeal, hidden depth and Jewish roots. “Superman at 75: Celebrating America’s Most Enduring Hero” features Former DC Comics publisher and president Jenette Kahn, Denny O’Neil (who spearheaded a remake of the Superman storyline in the 1970s), Jim Shooter (who sold his first Superman story as he was turning 13), Nicky Nicholson Brown (granddaughter of the founder of the company that became DC Comics) and Sam Norich (publisher of The Jewish Daily Forward). Larry Tye, author of “Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero,” moderates the event. After the panel discussion, an exhibit will be unveiled featuring Joe

Image courtesy of Random House

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…a Superman panel discussion!

Shuster’s pencil sketches of Stanley Weiss — who, in 1945, was stopped on the street by Shuster because of his remarkable resemblance to the comic book hero. David Weiss, son of Stanley, will also be on the panel, to talk about his dad’s chance meeting with Superman’s co-creator. Sun., Jan. 27, 1pm. At the Center for Jewish History (15 W. 16th St., btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.). Admission is $25 (includes a copy of Larry Tye’s “Superman: The HighFlying History of American’s Most Enduring Hero”). Seating is limited, and advance res-

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PARSONS DANCE Blink and you’ll miss him. That challenge is nothing compared to the pressure on the man tasked with performing David Parsons’ “Caught.” One wrong step, and he’ll miss his target, in this extraordinarily impressive display of timing that uses strobe lights to follow a dancer’s trajectory from planted feet to leaps and bounds to soft landings on the precise point at which a spotlight is aimed. The masterwork will

be performed in both Program A and the family-friendly Program B — when Parsons Dance makes its annual January return to The Joyce Theater. The ensemble will also premiere two new works. Set to the music of Grammy Award-winner Andrew Bird and Miami’s legendary Tiempo Libre, Parsons’ “Dawn to Dusk” celebrates the people and landscapes of Southern Florida — by merging high-def footage of dancers in the sunshine state’s Big Cypress, Biscayne, Dry Tortugas and Continued on page 23

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January 9 - January 22, 2013

Photo by Gregory Costanzo

“Tribes,” at the Barrow Street Theatre, closes Jan. 20.

Continued from page 22

Everglades National Parks with their onstage counterparts. In “Black Flowers,” former Parsons dancer Katarzyna Skarpetowska explores her Polish roots with choreography that guides six dancers through a mystic lamentation and a mourning ritual (set to the music of Poland’s greatest composer, Frédéric Chopin). Jan. 15-27. Program A is performed Tues.Wed. at 7:30pm; Thurs.-Fri. at 8pm; Sat. 2pm (Jan. 19 only) & 8pm; Sun. 1pm & 5pm. Program B, the family matinee, is performed Sat., Jan. 26, at 2pm. At The Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Ave., at 19th St.). For tickets ($10$59), call 212-242-0800 or visit joyce.org.

BARBARA RUBIN’S “CHRISTMAS ON EARTH”

Boo-Hooray Gallery extends the holiday season through the middle of the month, with an exhibit comprised of images and ephemera from 1963’s “Christmas on Earth.” Filmed at 56 Ludlow Street (which at the time was occupied by John Cale and Tony Conrad, and later home to Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison), “Christmas on Earth” was among the first sexually explicit films of America’s post-war avant-garde. All about “fantasies that freely expressed our sexual needs and dreaming beliefs” painted on the nude bodies of both gays and straights, filmmaker Barbara Rubin spent three months “chopping the hours of film up into a basket” until its contents were ultimately separated onto two different reels, with one reel projected at half size inside the other reel’s fullscreen image. In 1966, the film was projected onto the performing Velvet Underground as a part of Andy Warhol Up-Tight (an early incarnation of his Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia events). Rubin, who introduced Bob Dylan to Allen Ginsberg (and, according to John Cale, Edie Sedgwick to Andy Warhol), died in 1980 (in childbirth, in France) at the age of 35. In conjunction with the exhibition, Boo-Hooray is publishing a limited edition book of still images from the film, which comes with an extended biographical essay and bibliography by art historian Daniel Belasco, alongside rare ephemera and correspondence. Free. Through Tues., Jan. 15. At BooHooray Gallery (265 Canal St., 6th Fl., btw. Broadway & Lafayette). For more info, visit boo-hooray.com.

“TRIBES” CLOSES JAN. 20 The most nominated new play of the 2012 season is set to close in early 2013, after almost 400 regular performances at Image courtesy of Boo-Hooray Gallery

A still, from “Christmas on Earth” (doubleprojected 16mm film, 1963).

Continued on page 24

23


24

January 9 - January 22, 2013

Just Do Art! Continued from page 23

the Barrow Street Theatre. Directed by David Cromer (whose outstanding production of “Our Town� also had a similarly long, acclaimed run at Barrow Street) and written by Nina Raine, “Tribes� concerns the emotional awakening of Billy — who, born deaf into a hearing family, ventures beyond his parents’ politically incorrect and idiosyncratic cocoon when he meets a young woman on the brink of deafness. Through Sun., Jan. 20. At the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow St., at Seventh Ave. South). For tickets ($79.50), call 212868-4444, visit smarttix.com or purchase in person at the box office, open at 1pm daily. Performance schedule: Tues.-Fri. at 7:30pm and Sat./Sun. at 2:30pm & 7:30pm. For more info: barrowstreettheatre.com and oandmco.com.

PS122’S COIL FESTIVAL PRESENTS “MAGICAL� In this collaboration between director Annie Dorsen and choreographer/performer Anne Juren, the canon of historical feminist performance art is placed into the context of a magic show. Referencing seminal 1965-1975 works by Martha Rosler (“Semiotics of the Kitchen�), Yoko

Ono (“Cut Piece�), Marina Abramovic (“Freeing the Body�) and Carolee Schneemann (“Interior Scroll� and “Meat Joy�), “Magical� uses the illusionist’s skillful employment of trickery and transformation to reveal the contradictions that exist in contemporary feminism, contemporary art by women and the contemporary female body. Tues., Jan. 15 through Sat., Jan. 19 (Jan. 15, 17, 18 at 7:30pm and Jan. 19 at 6pm). At New York Live Arts (219 W. 19th St., btw. Seventh & Eigth Aves.). For tickets ($30), call 212-924-0077 or visit newyorklivearts.org. For info on the COIL Festival, visit ps122.org.

FOCUS 2013: DANCE GOTHAM Presented as part of Gotham Arts Exchange’s FOCUS 2013 event, Dance Gotham’s annual performance series at the Skirball Center expands to three nights, with an expanded roster of companies whose aesthetic ranges from post-modern athleticism to seasoned theatricality. Among the offerings: Keigwin + Company’s “12 Chairs,� Parsons Dance’s “A Stray’s Lullaby,� Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo’s “Patterns in Space,� Armitage Gone! Dance’s “Quantum� (an excerpt from “Three Theories�), Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s “Square None� and Lucky Plush Productions’ “Cinderbox 2.0.� FOCUS 2013 events are also taking place at New York City Center and Chelsea’s The Joyce Theater (where Parsons Dance will have a stand-alone run Jan. 15-27).

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(566 LaGuardia Place, at Washington Square South). For tickets ($18), call 212-352-3101 or visit nyuskirball.org. For info on other FOCUS 2013 events, visit focusdance.us.


25

January 9 - January 22, 2013

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January 9 - January 22, 2013

A blizzard of jazz, indie and record release gigs Continued from page 21 Houston St. (btw. Ludlow & Essex Sts.) on Jan. 24. The five-piece has a tight, electronic sound that packs an aggressive punch without ever getting cheesy, with steady rock beats holding it all together. After Ski Lodge opens the show at 6:30pm, Urban Cone will take the stage at 7:30pm. Tickets cost $12, and can be purchased in advance at mercuryloungenyc.com. Although you’ll generally find me in the jazz bars these days, my time as a suburban youth was mainly spent listening to the kind of post-punk/alt-rock/ whatever that all the kids were digging around the turn of the millennium — and that’s the kind of throwback feeling I get while hearing Balance and Composure. So if you’re up for some distortion, edgy vocals and moody songwriting, check those guys out on Feb. 24 for their set at Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St. (btw. Bowery & Chrystie St.). The show starts at 8pm, and also features opening acts The Jealous Sound and Daylight. Tickets cost $13 in advance and $15 at the door, and can be purchased online at boweryballroom.com. The Canadian five-piece Stars have certainly earned their continued presence on the indie scene over the past dozen years, with a sound that ranges from up-tempo, synth-laden jams to reserved chamber pop. They also released a new album of their own, “The North,” in September — so go check out how those new tunes sound live! Stars will perform with opener Milo Greene on both Mar. 8 and 9 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. Sixth St., Brooklyn (btw. Kent & Wythe Aves.). The show starts at 9pm, and tickets cost $25. To purchase online, visit musichallofwilliamsburg.com. That’s that! And on a more serious note — since I haven’t been around the arts section in a while — I think it’s worth mentioning that, even though they may not have all sustained physical damage, the vast majority of Downtown arts venues did take a serious financial hit as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The storm took place over two months ago, and those in Manhattan — unlike, sadly, some other affected areas — are by this point finishing the recovery process and moving on with their lives. Let’s not forget that, as true music fans, this is a time at which we should be really, really, really focused on supporting our local sources of live entertainment. As they reemerge, we need to be there. So whether it’s the venues I’ve listed above, or your own favorite hole in the wall, go check out a show soon. Buy a few drinks. Tip the bartender — and imagine how awful it would be if the world’s hippest scene didn’t exist right outside your door. In the meantime, happy listening! Stay warm! If you have any questions, suggestions or hidden secrets about sweet shows on and under the Downtown radar, drop me a line at sam@downtownexpress.com.

Photo by Danielle Parsons

Balance and Composure, a five-piece from Doylestown, PA, will rock out at the Bowery Ballroom on Feb. 24.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Femi Kuti and The Positive Force will bring good vibes to Webster Hall on Jan. 26.

Photo courtesy of the artists

Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, the five members of Urban Cone will make a stop at the Mercury Lounge on Jan. 24.


27

January 9 - January 22, 2013

Freeing Liberty Street from scaffolding Continued from page 1

tive consequences. “When Occupy Wall Street was around, it was a place for people to hide,” said Pat Moore, a Community Board 1 member who lives on the block. She said the block’s blight also attracted garbage and held cigarette smoke. It was even worse for people living at 114 Liberty St., Moore added, because their entrance is consumed by the protection. The scaffolding went up soon after a boy was hit and slightly injured from a piece of debris in 2011. Silverstein agreed to the shed soon after at the community board’s request. “Even though it was terrible, it certainly would have been much worse if someone got seriously hurt,” Moore said. When told the scaffolding was likely to come down next month, she had a simple reaction: “Fantastic.” Small business people on the block couldn’t agree more. “It’s a disaster for business. “ said John Costalas, manager of Essex World Café. “It killed us. Even my relatives can’t find the store,” he added, echoing a problem cited by some of the half dozen businesses on the block. Does he think business will pick up once the ehd is down? “Plentytime!”

Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers

This scaffolding, which has hurt businesses across from the World Trade Center is expected to be taken down next month.

W.T.C. Progress The World Trade Center mall was once the world’s most profitable per square foot, a feat this space below hopes to help recapture. It will someday be part of the 4 World Trade Center retail space and could open as soon as next year. At right, Port Authority contractors work near the Vehicle Security Center, which will be needed to complete the construction of Tower 4 by the end of the year.

Downtown Express photos by Josh Rogers


28

January 9 - January 22, 2013

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DOWNTOWN EXPRESS, JAN. 9, 2013