VOLUME 24, NUMBER 36
DOWNTOWN’S HISTORY IN ART, PG. 12
express THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN
JANUARY 25-31, 2012
Angst over possible dismissal in Chen case
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
Monday was the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year. 2012 is the Year of the Dragon.
Pols push to make Lunar New Year official school holiday BY ZACH WILLIAMS If state legislators and other elected officials representing Lower Manhattan have their way, Chinese New Year will be a public school holiday next year. In a Jan. 20 letter, NYS Assembly-
member Grace Meng and NYS Senator Daniel Squadron urged Mayor Michael Bloomberg to establish the holiday in order to recognize the growing role of the Asian-American community in the city. Local school officials expressed
support by saying such recognition is due considering the historically low attendance levels on the holiday and the impact that has on state funding to
Continued on page 16
BY ALINE REYNOLDS Community advocates and family members of U.S. Army Private Danny Chen are railing against a preliminary suggestion by the Army that Specialist Ryan Offutt’s manslaughter charge be dismissed. The Article 32 military hearing of Offutt, one of eight American soldiers who face criminal charges tied to Chen’s Oct. 3 death in Afghanistan, concluded on Monday, Jan. 23. The Army’s investigating officer proceeded to recommend forwarding all of Offutt’s charges, which range from negligent homicide to reckless endangerment to dereliction of duty, to a courtmartial, with one exception. “In this case, the investigating officer recommends that the involuntary manslaughter charge be dropped,” according to Amy Spokesperson George Wright. The recommendation, however, does not guarantee the dismissal of the charge, Wright said. “Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” he explained, “a
superior command could still send the charge to trial but could also follow the recommendation and dismiss the charge.” The multistep, multi-player procedure, Wright noted, is designed to protect the rights of the accused. This explanation was of little consolation to Chen’s family, friends, and OCA’s (Organization for Chinese Americans) New York chapter, a leading advocate in the Chen case. “It is not enough,” said Chen’s cousin, Banny Chen, on behalf of the soldier’s family. “Offutt and all the suspects should be tried on the maximum charges possible because of what they did to Danny. Elizabeth R. OuYang, president of OCA-NY, said the community is “extremely” disappointed that Offutt might not be tried for manslaughter, and continues to urge the Army to prosecute the suspects to the greatest extent possible. “There is a big difference between a three-year and a ten-year maximum prison sentence,” said OuYang.
Continued on page 17
January 25 - 31, 2012
Tower 3 tenant issue is â€˜old newsâ€™
Your company insurance changed again?
Another reason to call.
Media reports published in the last week concerning the building of 3 World Trade Center are partially inaccurate and are otherwise relaying old news, according to Silverstein Properties spokesperson Dara McQuillan. On Sunday, Crainâ€™s New York first came out with a story highlighting developer Larry Silversteinâ€™s troubles in securing a 400,000-square-foot office tenant in order to complete the tower. Citing â€œsources close to the company,â€? the article reported that Silverstein was planning to halt construction by the yearâ€™s end if the developer was unable to secure a â€œmajor office tenantâ€? by then. The latter statement is not true, McQuillan said. According to a pre-leasing agreement made in 2010 between Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the developer would build a temporary roof atop a seven-story retail and mechanical podium at 3 W.T.C. â€” and thereby halt construction of the upper floor office space â€” if he doesnâ€™t find a 400,000-square-foot tenant by the end of 2013 and not by the end of 2012. Silverstein is also required to secure a $300,000 equity loan by that time. â€œThereâ€™s nothing new here,â€? said McQuillan. â€œThis is exactly what was called for in the 2010 agreement with the Port Authority, the city, and the state. Keep in mind that, with 7 W.T.C., we didnâ€™t sign any leases until we opened the building in 2006. Obviously, this is a different situation with a pre-lease requirement, but itâ€™s still early.â€? Responding to the media reports, Silverstein
himself issued a written statement insisting that the firm is 100 percent committed to complete 3 W.T.C. â€œas quickly as possible.â€? â€œWe are currently speaking with a number of potential tenants and remain fully optimistic that we will sign a lease in time to complete the tower as scheduled in 2015,â€? said Silverstein. â€œThat agreement, which anticipated the completion of the podium in 2013, in no way prevents us from moving full steam ahead as soon as we secure a tenant.â€?
â€” Aline Reynolds
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January 25 25 - 31, 2012 January - 31, 2012
PACE UNIVERSITY NAMES NEW CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Pace University has appointed its treasurer and finance executive, Toby R. Winer, as the institution’s new executive vice president and chief financial officer. Winer will be the first woman in Pace’s history to hold these positions, according to the University’s president, Stephen Friedman. Prior to joining Pace in 2006, Winer spent 20 years in senior administrative roles at various institutions including Baruch College, City University of New York, University of California, and Vanderbilt College. Winer is a certified public accountant. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University. Winer succeeds Robert C. Almon who served as Pace’s executive V.P. and C.F.O. for an 18-month bridge period following the 2010 departure of the University’s prior C.F.O.
O.W.S. DROPS LAWSUIT The major legal battle Occupy Wall Street took on against the city and Brookfield Properties seems to be over, at least for now. On Friday, Jan. 20, the protestor’s group abandoned their lawsuit disputing the occupancy rules governing Zuccotti Park that were enforced by Brookfield Properties the day of the Nov. 15 raid. The decision was made following the lifting of security barricades two weeks prior, according to O.W.S. lawyer Alan Levine. The police fencing surrounding the park was removed on Jan.
10 after attorneys representing the protestors wrote a letter to the city Department of Buildings contending the security measure was breaching zoning laws that mandate unfettered access to the park. The protesters also deemed Brookfield’s ban on tents in the park a violation of their first amendment rights. “Once the barricades came down and the searches stopped and the protestors had unimpeded access to the park, there seemed to be no reason to continue that litigation,” Levine told the New York Times. “If that changes, we will be back in court.” An attorney representing city’s law department approved of the protesters’ withdrawal of the suit, alleging that it “has no merit.” Brookfield Properties wasn’t immediately available for comment.
L.M.C.C.C. ANNOUNCES NEW DOWNTOWN HOTELS A new, 30-story hotel is coming to 30 Fletcher St. in the South Street Seaport. Construction of the foundations of the Fairfield Marriott Hotel have already begun, and the building’s superstructure will be completed toward the end of the year, according to the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, who announced the news at Community Board 1’s Jan. 19 Quality of Life committee meeting. The hotel is scheduled for completion in late 2013. Meanwhile, a six-story office building at 24 John St. is being converted into a new, 21-story hotel to be dubbed the “L.” “The building will have new steel added to raise its total height,” according to a description of the project on
NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-9, 12-21 EDITORIAL PAGES . . . . . . . . . . 10-11 YOUTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 ARTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 - 27 CLASSIFIEDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
C.B. 1 EE TING S
A schedule of February’s Community Board 1 committee meetings will be available on the C.B. 1 website in the next week. Visit www.nyc.gov/html/mancb1/ html/home/home.shtml for a complete listing of meetings and agendas.
L.M.C.C.C.’s website. The building’s foundation was completed in 2010, and construction has commenced this month. The project is expected to be finished in first quarter 2013.
FORMER O.E.M. CHIEF DIES Richard Sheirer, former director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, died last Thursday, Jan. 19 at the age of 65 from lung complications. Sheirer took the helm at O.E.M. in 2000 and was applauded for his leadership of the city’s rescue and recovery mission on 9/11 and in the weeks thereafter. Sheirer was known for having formed a temporary command center at the Police Academy at 20th St. and 3rd Ave. that day.
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P.S. 89 students overcome hearing loss in the classroom BY ALINE REYNOLDS Ten-year-old Owen Gallagher, who attends P.S. 89, lives the life of a typical fifth grader: He goes to class and, afterwards, plays sports and hangs out with his friends. Owen, however, can’t hear on his own. In third grade, he was diagnosed with moderately-severe sensorineural hearing loss and has relied on a pair of hearing aids to make out sounds ever since, according to his mother, Leslie Gallagher. The impairment appears to be genetic, since Owen’s older brother, Niall Gallagher, was diagnosed with the same condition at age two. At the time, the diagnosis was emotionally difficult for Owen to swallow, according to his mother. “I suppose in his eyes, it diminished who he was, since he’s never not been in mainstream [schooling] and he was old enough to recognize and identify it as a stigma,” said Gallagher. By promoting hearing loss awareness in schools such as P.S. 89, the Center for Hearing and Communication in Bowling Green is trying to diminish that stigma. Audiologists at the center provide speech-language therapy to Owen and more than 50 other children Downtown and citywide, which helps them assimilate into everyday life. “We want to make sure [the children] have the language, the speech and the listening abilities to be able to function in a mainstream setting,” said Lois Heymann, director of the Shelley and Steven Einhorn Communication
Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds
Henry Babowal, a kindergartener at P.S. 89, with his teacher, Matt Halem, working on an assignment in class last Friday.
Center at the C.H.C. “Our goal is to get the information to them. Once they get it, they should be able to handle it,” she noted, since hearing loss does not adversely affect the children’s cognitive functions. The C.H.C. also recommends schools like P.S. 89 with hearing impaired children to use FM systems, which transmit vocal sounds from a teacher’s clip-on microphone to the
children’s hearing aids. Bolstered by this technology and some side coaching, Owen has learned how to succeed in many class activities. On Friday, Jan. 20, he scored a 39 out of 40 on a math division quiz and partnered with a friend during history class to illustrate a hideout house for American soldiers upon the homeroom teacher’s verbal instructions.
“We have to draw a battle scene, and we’re doing it from what a soldier would see,” explained Owen. What Owen does have difficulty with, however, is following group conversations and understanding idiomatic expressions. “I do think he misses some subtle aspects of the collaborative work,” said Owen’s teacher. “If he doesn’t respond, others might perceive it as not being polite, not realizing that he didn’t hear.” These difficulties manifest themselves outside the classroom as well, according to Owen’s mother. “A lot of the boys will meet after school and will be talking at the same time, which is sometimes hard for Owen to follow,” she said. Last Friday, Owen was dismissed from class to get extra help in hearing with P.S. 89 kindergartener Henry Babowal, who lost much of his sensorineural hearing as a toddler for reasons unknown. Together for the first time, Owen and Henry played listening and speech games and perused a threedimensional shark book. “They were great together. It makes both of them feel good that there’s another person in the school with hearing loss,” said hearing education services provider Jasmine Stobbe, who teaches speech recognition, lip reading and sign language to Owen, Henry and three other hard-of-hearing students at P.S. 89. While Owen and Henry are generally
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January 25 - 31, 2012
POLICE BLOTTER Canal St. accident
Shoplifts in Soho
A heavy-duty truck east bound on Canal St. struck and injured a 71-year-old man at 2:14 p.m. Fri., Jan. 20 as he was crossing from north to south midblock on Canal St. near Mulberry St., police said. The victim, who was unconscious when police arrived at the scene, was taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition. The truck driver, 47, remained at the scene and was not arrested. Police said this week that there was no criminality suspected but the incident was still under investigation.
A man walked into Kirna Zabete, a clothing boutique at 96 Greene St. near Spring, around 3 p.m. Fri., Jan. 20, took a monk jacket valued at $4,295 from a rack and fled without paying for it, police said. A man carrying a red bag walked into the True Religion clothing boutique at 132 Prince St. near Wooster St., around 12:35 p.m. Wed., Jan. 18, took 10 pairs of jeans with a total value of $3,190 from a shelf, stuffed them into the bag and walked out without paying, police said. A surveillance camera taped the theft but the suspect was not apprehended.
Clinton St. Burglary Seventh Precinct police are looking for a burglary suspect who entered an apartment at 43 Clinton St. between Rivington and Stanton Sts. through a fire escape window while the residents were out between 9:35 p.m. Fri., Jan. 13 and 3:40 a.m. the next morning. Police did not say what was stolen.
Jewelry store snatch Police arrested Tevin Bisseau, 17, on Fri., Jan. 13 and charged him with stealing a gold neck chain from a jewelry store on Canal St. near Lafayette St. 10 days earlier. Tevin fled from the Popular Jewelry Corp, with an accomplice, but on Jan. 12, he turned up at another Canal St. jewelry shop nearby with two accomplices and tried to grab a chain from an employee’s hand, according to the compliant filed with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The employee, however, held onto the chain and Bisseau was arrested the following day.
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Stools are for sitting A patron of The Irish Punt, a bar at 40 Exchange Pl., told police he was in the place with a friend around 12:35 a.m. Fri., Jan. 13 when an unknown suspect hit him in the face with a bar stool and fled. The victim, 26, a Brooklyn resident told police the suspect made off with another man in a dark Mercedes Benz.
Cell phone snatch A woman, 26, who got on a Downtown express train at Union Sq. around 3:30 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 19 was using her cell phone when a stranger grabbed it from her hand and fled from the train when it pulled into the station at Broadway and Fulton St.
Bags gone A woman who was trying on shoes at 9 West, 577 Broadway near Prince St. around 1 p.m. Tues., Jan. 17 put her bag down and discovered a half hour later that someone had stolen it. The bag contained her wallet, credit cards, cell phone and driver’s licenses as well as a pair of Tiffany earrings valued at $200. A Brooklyn woman, 22, who hung her bag on the back of her chair at Anchor Bar, 310 Spring St. around 8 a.m. Fri., Jan. 20, discovered it had been stolen when she went to pay her tab. A woman patron of Manhattan Bistro, 129 Spring St. near Greene St. was with friends in the bar around 9:30p.m. Thurs., Jan. 19 and discovered two hours later that her bag, which she had hung on the back of her chair, had been stolen. A Brooklyn woman who hung her bag on the back of her chair at 4:30 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 19 discovered a half hour later that it had been stolen. The victim, 63, lost her wallet, two cell phones and credit cards. One card later proved to have an unauthorized charge of $100, police said.
— Alber t Amateau
Downtown Digest Continued from page 3 Sheirer was born in a working class family in 1946 in Brooklyn, N.Y. and graduated from St. Francis College. Prior to his post at O.E.M., he worked for the FDNY for approximately three decades.
STOP ‘N’ SWAP MEET UP ON JANUARY 28TH
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A woman, 24, told police she was with a friend in the second floor lounge of Greenhouse, the club at 150 Varick St. at Vandam, around 3 a.m. Wed., Jan.18 when she got into an argument with a woman who bumped her and hit her in the face with a glass. The victim said she thought her assailant was a waitress at the club, but police said no suspect turned up in a canvass of the place.
If you are looking to get rid of some unwanted items or hoping to find some long lost New York treasures, GrowNYC has a solution for you. On Saturday, Jan. 28, GrowNYC will be hosting Stop ‘N’ Swap, a seasonal community swap meet. The public is encouraged to bring clean, portable, reusable items to share, including but not
limited to books, toys, fashionable clothing, houseware and electronics. No one is required to bring an item; participants are allowed to show up with just a bag to bring home something valuable. GrowNYC has been hosting swap meets since 2007. “In this economy, they’re a great way for residents to find things they need without having to pay, and they are reducing the amount of garbage that the city generates,” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen. “Don’t forget, one person’s trash is another’s treasure.” Stop ‘N’ Swap will be held on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at P.S. 126, located at 80 Catherine St. at Cherry St. For more information visit GrowNYC.org/ swap.
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January 25 - 31, 2012
Trinity cuts back on ‘ambitious’ music program BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER The catalog for Trinity Wall Street’s 20112012 season of music and arts programming, published in the fall of 2011, was 40 pages long. But on Jan. 6, 2012, the Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee announced during a Bach at One performance at St. Paul’s Chapel that much of the scheduled programming wouldn’t be happening. After calling the first year of programming under the direction of Julian Wachner, “ambitious and wonderful,” Mallonee went on to say, “Bach at One [a series of free concerts on Mondays at St. Paul’s Chapel] will be on a short hiatus as we begin assessing the best ways to sustain music and arts programming at this level of excellence to which Trinity is committed.” Bach at One was not the only Trinity Wall Street music program to get the axe. The New Music Festival announced for May 24-June 3 has also been cancelled. Linda Hanick, a spokesperson for Trinity Wall Street, said, “We are still exploring whether we will proceed with [Bach’s] St. John’s Passion,” which had been scheduled for performances on March 31, April 1 and April 2. Candlelit Compline services of new music on Sunday evenings at St. Paul’s Chapel were cancelled. Choral music at Trinity’s 9 a.m. Sunday services was also cancelled, but retained for the 11:15 a.m. services.
The problem appears to be funding. “We’re not doing drastic budget cuts,” Hanick said. ”We’re still funding the [music] program at the level we’ve always funded it but it’s become more expensive.” Bach at One will get a temporary reprieve starting on Monday, March 5 and running for five consecutive Mondays at St. Paul’s Chapel when the Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra will perform a series of concerts for Lent. These concerts were underwritten with earmarked donations from private donors. Holy Week observances will also take place, beginning with a procession from St Paul’s Chapel to Trinity Church on April 1, Palm Sunday and ending with Easter services at Trinity on Sunday, April 8. Trinity’s Family Choir, Youth Orchestra and Youth Choir along with other congregational music and arts programming will continue as will Concerts at One of emerging artists on Thursdays at Trinity Church. For the winter of 2012, three performances of Handel’s “Messiah” have been scheduled — always a sell out. Should this be the sum total of Trinity Wall Street’s music programming, it will be more or less what it was before Julian Wachner was hired as Director of Music and the Arts in July 2010 after a two-and-a-half year period in
Continued on page 21
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Julian Wachner conducting Part 1 of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on Dec. 26, 2011 at St. Paul’s Chapel as part of the Bach at One series.
Zadroga advocates dismayed by cancelled conference call BY ALINE REYNOLDS Federally subsidized cancer treatment is still the number one topic of discussion within the 9/11 health community. Thanks to the push of advocates and politicians, it has also become a major talking point of the recently formed World Trade Center Health Program Scientific and Technical Advisoary Committee, which scheduled a teleconference for Tuesday, Jan. 24 with 9/11 responders and volunteers, Downtown residents and physicians, and anyone else that wished to call in. Participants planned to discuss the possible addition of cancer to the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and health treatment eligibility criteria for first responders that assisted in the Sept. 11 plane crashes at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, among other topics. Minutes before the teleconference was slated to begin that afternoon, however, the virtual meeting was unexpectedly aborted because of a glitch in the government’s phone system. “Due to technical difficulties, we were unable to use the call-in phone number, and it unfortunately caused us to cancel the meeting at the last minute,” said Christina Spring, a spokesperson for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which was charged with coordinating the logistics of the meeting since it oversees the health portion of the Zadroga bill.
Rescheduling the teleconference doesn’t appear to be feasible, according to S.T.A.C. Chair Elizabeth Ward. “There was obviously a serious technical problem. It’s just really unfortunate,” said Ward. “I’m optimistic that if we can’t have a teleconference, we’ll be able to catch up and accomplish what we need to in the S.T.A.C. meeting,” which she noted is scheduled for mid-February and will have teleconference capabilities. This was hardly reassuring, however, to 9/11 health advocate John Feal, who had corralled 50 first responders and recovery workers to the NYC Police Museum in order to partake in Tuesday’s teleconference. “It was unprofessional,” said Feal of the mishap. “They should have had a ‘Plan B’ or done a test the day before to ensure the phones were working properly. This is a serious issue to us and we find it to be disrespectful that they couldn’t find a way to communicate with us.” The primary goal of the conference was to shed greater light on possible ties between certain forms of cancer and the aftermath of Sept. 11, according to S.T.A.C. member and Chair of Community Board 1’s W.T.C. Redevelopment Committee Catherine McVay Hughes. “We’re hoping to create a dialogue of the association between W.T.C. exposure and cancer, and to create the framework for the government’s second periodic review of cancer studies,” she said. On behalf of
Community Board 1, Hughes introduced a resolution this week that cites multiple cancer studies dating back to 2008 and that urges the committee to “strongly” consider the emerging medical evidence of cancer
“They should have had a ‘Plan B’ or done a test the day before to ensure the phones were working properly.” — John Feal
among 9/11 responders and survivors. The debate on whether to add cancer to the bill percolated last summer when N.I.O.S.H. director Dr. John Howard vetoed the addition of the disease to the list of eligible illnesses covered by the law, claiming there was insufficient evidence to do so. Howard’s decision sparked a wave of fierce pushback that included a September 7 petition from the New York State delegation. Howard promised at the time that N.I.O.S.H. would release a second review
based on scientific studies published since last summer in early-to-mid 2012, though he hasn’t since disclosed exactly when the review will come out. In the meantime, he is soliciting a formal recommendation from the S.T.A.C. to review the available scientific data and make its own assessment about the prospect of granting federally subsidized care to 9/11 victims with certain forms of cancer. The S.T.A.C. is expected to vote on the issue at the February meeting and is required by N.I.O.S.H. to submit the recommendation by March 2. “We’re not necessarily required to say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” explained Ward. “We can respond with the best advice we think we can give at that time.” Ward continued, “The issues related to the long-term health effects of exposures that occurred in and around at the W.T.C. are scientifically complex and evolving, particularly as new studies and information becomes available. One of the roles of the advisory committee is to respond to issues as they arise, bring our various perspectives to the evidence, and draw conclusions based on the data that we have.” Ultimately, however, all decisions pertaining to the Zadroga bill rest in the hands of of Dr. Howard. Feal and other 9/11 victims and health advocates are closely watching from the sidelines and continue to press for defini-
Continued on page 17
January 25 - 31, 2012
School rezoning continues to vex Downtown families BY ALINE REYNOLDS Four-year-old Max Roodman might not be able to attend the school a stone’s throw away from his home next year due to the imminent rezoning of Lower Manhattan’s public schools. Roodman’s parents, Joel Roodman and Jill Tafrate, are dismayed by the prospect of sending their child to P.S. 234 in Tribeca, where their fourth grade daughter Sophia goes to school. Max, who lives at 85 John St., is one of more than 50 P.S. 234 siblings that will be automatically offered a seat there due to the city Department of Education’s preference-granting to younger siblings of current elementary school students. It is as much out of principal as it is convenience that Max deserves to attend P.S. 397, where he is enrolled in pre-kindergarten this year, according to his parents.
Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds
Joel Roodman and Jill Tafrate, with their son, Max, remain concerned over the D.O.E’s latest rezoning plan that could keep Max from attending the Spruce Street School in the bottom of the Gehry building only a few blocks from their home.
Trinity Wall Street WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 1:05pm Trinity Institute Presents: Wall Street Dialogues James Copland, Director, Center for Legal Policy at the Manhattan Institute, asks the question “What are the moral values of capitalism?” as he discusses “Capitalism, Inequality, and Scripture.” Trinity Church THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 1pm Concerts at One Emerald Trio: Karen Bogardus, ﬂute Orlando Wells, violin, viola James Matthew Castle, piano Trinity Church SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 10am How Do I Experience God. . . as a Hispanic American? Explore the experience of God from diverse perspectives. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parish Hall
All Are Welcome All events are free, unless noted. 212.602.0800
Let’s do something together
MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 1pm The Broad Way Discuss how the Gospels can be interpreted and applied to contemporary life. Bring lunch. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parlor TUESDAY, JANUARY 31 12pm Creative Business Solutions Free weekly one-on-one small-business consulting advice, ranging from startup advice to marketing strategy and business management. Charlotte’s Place 12:45pm Brown Bag Lunch Ministry Volunteer to distribute lunches Tuesdays and Thursdays to people in need. 1pm Gospel on Greenwich A Bible study and prayer group with seminarian Joe Mitchell. Bring lunch. Charlotte’s Place
Continued on page 21
worship SUNDAY, 8am and 10am St. Paul’s Chapel Communion in the round SUNDAY, 9am and 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
TRINITY CHURCH Broadway at Wall Street 74 Trinity Place is located in the ofﬁce building behind Trinity Church.
“He’ll continue to walk by the school every day, see his friends, and not be with them anymore,” said Tafrate. “We watched Spruce be built for the last five years from our own window, and now we’re having it pulled out from underneath us.” “We probably would have left Max in private day care this year, which takes up a full day, had we known that he couldn’t go to Spruce next year,” chimed in Roodman. Now, the father explained, he or Tafrate have to baby-sit their son in the afternoons,
since P.S. 397’s pre-K class lets out before noon. “We feel like we’ve been excised from a community we’ve been in for so many years and supported [through] our taxes,” said Roodman. A week after the D.O.E.’s third rezoning proposal was approved, which zoned the Roodmans and a group of other families out of P.S. 397, the couple reached out to the D.O.E. requesting a waiver for Max to matriculate into the school’s kindergarten class. In a Jan. 6 letter addressed to Max’s parents, a spokesperson of NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott responded, stating that out-of-zone students such as Max will not receive priority for kindergarten enrollment at P.S. 397. “Please be advised that pre-kindergarten students no longer zoned to the Spruce Street School do not automatically matriculate into kindergarten,” the letter reads. “Instead, prekindergarten students will be provided a seat at their new zoned school.” However, spokesperson Frank Thomas said the D.O.E. is contemplating making an exception for the Roodmans and the other Spruce Street pre-kindergartners. Giving kindergarten students preference based on their pre-k attendance “is not a policy that’s permitted any longer in individual schools,” according to
On Tuesdays and Thursdays at Trinity Church, join others and volunteer to distribute brown bag lunches to people in need.
ST. PAUL’S CHAPEL Broadway and Fulton Street CHARLOTTE’S PLACE 109 Greenwich St, btwn Rector & Carlisle The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, Rector The Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, Vicar
an Episcopal parish in the city of New York
January 25 - 31, 2012
Pace unveils the future of student teaching BY MARSHALL JAMES KAVANAUGH It was a scene out of science fiction. Trina Schattenkirk, a Pace University School of Education graduate and New York City Teaching Fellow, stood in front of a class of five animated students projected onto the wall. She wore a headset with headphones, a microphone, and an antenna with a small metal sphere projecting out the top. The device looked like something you would see in an episode of Star Trek. The display in front of her followed Schattenkirk’s every motion, so when she stepped forward to the left, the projection zoomed in on the student in the back left corner of the classroom. When she stepped back, the camera zoomed out and again the virtual class was displayed. Schattenkirk spoke as a teacher would speak to her class during their first week, introducing herself and asking the digital students to introduce themselves to each other through various exercises. The virtual students had lifelike and very thoughtful responses making it difficult to tell whether the whole performance was scripted or if this was some form of new artificial intelligence, at least 20 years ahead of its time. This wasn’t at a conference for technological advancement, though.
It was at the ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Wednesday, Jan. 18 for a new technology that will be part of the spring semester curriculum for student teachers at the Pace University School of Education. The technology is called TeachLivE, with an emphasized “E” for education. It was developed at the University of Central Florida (UCF) about four years ago to help student teachers build their confidence before entering the classroom. The software is much like a flight simulator for pilots. It gives the teacher a chance to practice creating a positive learning atmosphere with students of various personality types. They can even record their performance for later review with their instructor. The student teacher can learn from their mistakes and get used to a teaching style that works without the pressures of being put into a classroom with real life students for the first time. “TeachLivE helps a student teacher learn how to build the classroom community and get students excited,” said Schattenkirk who teaches middle and high school students at the Henry Street School for International Studies.
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Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.
Assemblyman Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email email@example.com.
January 25 - 31, 2012
N.Y.U. takes heat on school and open space at hearings BY ALBERT AMATEAU New York University presented two more aspects of its 2031 redevelopment plan to hostile Village audiences over the past seven days. On Thurs., Jan. 12, Community Board 2’s Parks Committee heard an outline of the open space proposed for the university’s large-scale redevelopment of its two superblocks over the next 20 years. On Tues., Jan. 17, the board’s Education and Social Services Committee hosted a forum on the proposed public elementary school space proposed as part of the project, which is intended to add 2.5 million square feet of new construction on the superblocks, including 1.5 million of that aboveground and the rest belowground. While the public school space is included in the 2031 land use review, it was still uncertain this week when or whether the proposed school would be built. N.Y.U. is proposing to provide 100,000 square feet of space for a 650-seat kindergarten-to-eighth grade public elementary school on the first seven floors of a new building, where the Morton Williams market is now located on the northwest corner of the south superblock. The proposed building, at the corner of Bleecker St. and LaGuardia Place, would also rise an additional six or seven stories for an N.Y.U. student dorm — but the dorm would be set back at the eighth floor to allow for a children’s playground on the roof of the school space. Alicia Hurley, N.Y.U. vice president for government relations and community engagement, said the university is providing the property for the school for free, but that the city’s School Construction Authority would have to construct the “core and shell” of the school at its own expense. There would be separate lobbies and entrances for schoolchildren using the public school and N.Y.U. students using the dorm. The S.C.A. would be able to build the public school by 2025 or before. Although N.Y.U. and the S.C.A. have been discussing the school space, Hurley acknowledged that the agency has not yet agreed to build. Moreover, the school does not appear on the Department of Education’s five-year capital plan. “I don’t want to speak for the S.C.A.,” Hurley said. “You will have to ask them. The S.C.A. is the main driver on the timing of the school.” C.B. 2 members and speakers at the Jan. 17 hearing were outraged about the lack of certainty on the school. Brad Hoylman, C.B. 2 chairperson, said N.Y.U. should be responsible for a firm commitment on the school. Moreover, he declared, the board and school advocates want a school sooner than 2025. “We don’t want this space to become a windfall for N.Y.U.,” Hoylman said. Because N.Y.U. has agreed to ensure that
the Morton Williams supermarket would operate continuously, construction of the Bleecker St. building must wait until completion of the large “Zipper Building” on the Mercer St. side of the south superblock, where the new food market will be sited. Of the four proposed new buildings in the two superblocks currently undergoing the city’s uniform land-use review procedure (ULURP), the building proposed for the Morton Williams site is the only one that could be built as of right — meaning without the approvals needed for the entire 2031 plan — said Will Haas, N.Y.U. planner on the project. Hurley said the university is donating 100,000 square feet of its private space for a public purpose as part of the 2031 project under review.
‘They owe the community a school before anything gets built.’ Annette Evans
“If the whole application goes down in flames and N.Y.U. has to go back to the drawing board, the school space would be out,” Hurley said. However, she said the school space would remain available if the plan is approved with modifications. “It is untoward of N.Y.U. to say we have to approve the whole project for the community to get the school space,” said Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Berman insisted that N.Y.U. Senior Vice President Lynne Brown told a public forum a few years ago that the school space would be offered to the community without being tied to approvals of the entire plan. “I have yet to find a single person who would say, ‘Yes, I’ll accept a 2.5 millionsquare-foot project in exchange for a public school,’” said Berman, urging the community board to vote no on the entire project. Responding to a question by committee member Keen Berger, Hurley said the university was not considering providing space sooner for a neighborhood school outside the superblocks. Mary Johnson, a resident in a superblock residential building, urged N.Y.U. to consider outfitting a school in the state-owned but underutilized building at 75 Morton St. Annette Evans recalled that N.Y.U. promised to build a school in 1954, again in 1960 and yet again in the late 1970s. “They owe the community a school before anything gets built,” Evans said. “I don’t want a school as part of a
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January 25 - 31, 2012
Back to the Future For the Financial District
Stone Street in the Financial District
Downtown Express photo by Marshall James Kavanaugh
On Tuesday, following the arrest of an Occupy Wall Street activist, Zuccotti Park was again in the NYPD’s crosshairs.
Funding not an issue; OWS in hibernation BY ZACH WILLIAMS While the difficulties of winter have taken their toll, Occupy Wall Street organizers say they are confident that an ‘American Spring’ is in the making. Occupy events in recent days have not drawn the same volume of participants as months ago. The movement continues to remain active in the area though, including Tuesday when at least one activist was arrested at Zuccotti Park. A recent spending freeze has curtailed many of the movement’s activities. However, recent events in Lower Manhattan underscore an increasing collaboration between ‘occupiers’ and progressive organizations that, organizers say, will keep the movement moving. “The Occupy Wall Street movement re-ignited, revitalized, rekindled the spirit of struggle, the spirit of movement build-
ing among all peoples,” said Dr. Benjamin Chavis, an organizer for Occupy the Dream and an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. “An American spring, it’s coming,” he added. “You are going to see mass mobilizations, but they are going to be orderly. They are going to be organized. They are going to be disciplined ... it’s our responsibility to out-maneuver, out-smart, out-organize the enemies of the movement.” Ongoing meetings between civil rights leaders and Occupy Wall Street activists are focusing on how to stage joint actions in the coming months, according to Chavis who declined to provide specific details. Many ‘occupiers’ say the movement will remain in “hibernation” in Lower Manhattan until warmer weather prevails in the upcom-
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PUBLIC NOTICE The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has received a Brownﬁeld Cleanup Program (BCP) application from Bridge Land West, LLC for a site known as the West & Watts Development, site ID #C231076. This site is located in the City of New York, within the County of New York, and is located at 281 West Street and 456 Washington Street. Comments regarding this application must be submitted no later than March 2, 2012. Information regarding the site, the application, and how to submit comments can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/60058. html or send comments to Shaun Bollers, Project Manager, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 2 Ofﬁce, One Hunter’s Point Plaza, 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City, NY 11101, 718-482-4096, firstname.lastname@example.org. TO HAVE INFORMATION SUCH AS THIS NOTICE SENT RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL, SIGN UP WITH COUNTY EMAIL LISTSERVS AVAILABLE AT WWW.DEC.NY.GOV/ CHEMICAL/61092.HTML .
Our mission at the Alliance for Downtown New York is to advance Lower Manhattan as a global model for a 21st century central business district, a compelling place to work, live and visit. This objective contemplates the future as well as the past, because for much of the last 400 years our community has been both commercial and residential. Though the canyons of 20th century Wall Street were business-only, the Financial District first took shape in the 1700s as securities traders who lived in the neighborhood met to make deals under a buttonwood tree near what is now 68 Wall. So it’s back to the future for the Financial District. I’ve been proud to witness firsthand its most recent resurgence—as New York City’s premier live/work community. The transition from business-only to business-plus was just starting when I moved below Fulton Street in 1982. The neighborhood was starkly different then. In fact, it wasn’t yet a neighborhood, or hadn’t been one for more than a century. Wall Street was the world’s best-known business address, which meant lots of action during business hours but not much in the evenings or on weekends. Though 10,000 of us lived below Chambers Street, there was only one all-night diner, and forget about buying a quart of milk after hours. But we loved life on the cusp of New York City’s past, present and future. No supermarket? We lugged our groceries home on the subway. No chic Saturday night bistro? We dined in. No gift shop? We found great things at J&R, Century 21, Brooks Brothers, Dick’s Hardware and the Nassau Street specialty stores memorialized by Red Grooms in Ruckus Manhattan. The adventure was worth the challenge of being pioneers. Slowly, then all of a sudden, things changed. The Financial District remains a prime business address, but it has also become a hot residential neighborhood. New restaurants and markets opened, and old ones expanded their hours.
The past 10 years, especially, have brought a dizzying array of companies, merchants, schools and parks—and a new generation of people who call this part of Lower Manhattan home. Nowhere is this more evident than on Wall Street itself, home to some of the world’s most prominent financial institutions but also to thousands of residents, more than a dozen new retailers and a museum. In other words, Lower Manhattan has become a community, a place that hosted nine million visitors last year alone and where 309,000 people work and 56,000 live together. There is a powerful commonality of spirit and interest, the shared belief that, here in Lower Manhattan, Wall Street and Main Street are the same street. This was obvious when the Community Board 1 Financial District Committee recently considered a proposal to open a methadone clinic on Maiden Lane. The proponents must have been surprised to learn that 20,000 people live within four blocks of the proposed location and that there are four primary and elementary schools within the same radius. Led by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a group of property owners, small-business people and residents made the case that this is not your father’s week-day Wall Street but the heart of a 24/7 residential and commercial district. The application was withdrawn. As Speaker Silver often says, Lower Manhattan is a great place to live, work and raise a family. Nowhere is this truer than in the Financial District. No longer Manhattan’s postmodern frontier, Lower Manhattan gets better and better as more companies, more nonprofits, more entrepreneurs, more open space, more hotels, more restaurants, more stores and more people combine to make it New York City’s most dynamic place to work, live and visit. Liz Berger is President of the Downtown Alliance
January 25 - 31, 2012
EDITORIAL PUBLISHER & EDITOR John W. Sutter
Seaport Museum’s re-opening provides teachable moment
ASSOCIATE EDITOR John Bayles ARTS EDITOR Scott Stiffler REPORTERS Aline Reynolds Albert Amateau Lincoln Anderson SR. V.P. OF SALES AND MARKETING Francesco Regini ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Allison Greaker Colin Gregory Julius Harrison Alex Morris Julio Tumbaco BUSINESS MANAGER / CONTROLLER Vera Musa ART / PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Troy Masters ART DIRECTOR Mark Hasselberger GRAPHIC DESIGNER Vince Joy CONTRIBUTORS Helaina N. Hovitz • Terese Loeb Kreuzer • Jerry Tallmer PHOTOGRAPHERS Milo Hess • Jefferson Siegel • Terese Loeb Kreuzer
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This week’s reopening of the Seaport Museum is cause for celebration. The maritime museum, which for years was struggling to stay afloat with dwindling patronage and sparse exhibits, was seemingly on the verge of closing altogether until a deal was struck between the museum and the city last September. That deal would never have happened without the grassroots effort that took shape over the last year to make sure the museum did not go the way of the Titanic. In the months prior to the deal, the museum was forced to lay off the majority of its staff and shutter its galleries. But even that did not deter people from doing everything they could to try and save the museum. Local elected officials, Community Board 1 and the dedicated people behind the group Save Our Seaport, are all to thank for their continued advocacy to make sure this Lower Manhattan treasure was not lost. At the same time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg recognized the institution’s importance not only as a tourist attraction, but also as a crucial thread in the fabric of this city’s history. Once called New Amsterdam due to the Dutch immigrants that settled the area, the South Street Seaport, as it is now known, is one of the remaining neighborhoods in Manhattan that cannot escape its historical significance. Even as the neighborhood changes, it remains the same. For every fancy clothing store that replaced a nautical themed thrift shop and every fancy restaurant that replaced a fish stall or a dive bar, there is a cobblestone that is no different than it was a century ago. In short, the Seaport Museum is a Downtown resource that now remains visible and accessible for everyone so that New York City’s past can continue to inform its future. With all that being said, there is news of the Howard Hughes Corporation’s impending plans to redevelop certain parts of the Seaport. We encourage them to bring this plan to the community as quickly as possible, and to work with the community to ensure the plan respects the community’s wishes. These wishes include not just preserving the character and past of a neighborhood, but also preserving buildings like the Tin Building and the New Market building, both of which are considered landmarks in our eyes and in the eyes of those who cherish the history of the Seaport. Indeed, Community Board 1 has adopted two resolutions directing the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to extend the historic district boundaries so that these buildings are protected. Another property to be considered is the north side of Pier 17, which once was Pier 18, and is not landmarked. Therefore, it remains vulnerable to development even though it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Howard Hughes Corporation should be prepared for a spirited debate on such issues, which carry deep historical significance, as well as continuity of use over four centuries. Whatever plans they have, they should take some inspiration from the fanfare that will accompany the re-opening of the Seaport Museum this week, which will revolve around the acknowledgement of the importance of the past.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR N.Y.U. is so aggressive
it with his antenna up — all he needed to camp anywhere.
To The Editor: Re “Villagers pack town hall, hoping to stop N.Y.U. plan” (news article, Jan. 11): N.Y.U. expansion plans are very aggressive. The plan asks that we rezone the Village to build oversized high-rises, that the residents of Greenwich Village live within a massive construction site for 20 years and that a private university be allowed to take public lands that are now used as parks. We want N.Y.U. to be a part of the Village — we don’t want N.Y.U. to change the Village. Build farther downtown where you are welcomed.
Clayton’s keeping it real To The Editor: Re “My times with Taylor Mead” (Clayton, Jan. 18): As usual, Clayton Patterson strives to preserve and promote the real history of art in Downtown New York at a time when art is king but completely ruled by the marketplace. Great piece, Clayton!
Sara Jones Penny Arcade
The people have spoken To The Editor: Re “Notes from a heckler: The Angry Buddhist returns” (talking point, by Carl Rosenstein, Jan. 18): Councilmember Chin, there were 500 of your constituents at the Jan. 9 Community Board 2 Land Use and Business Development Committee meeting on the New York University expansion plan. Not a single one supports the plan; all were there to oppose it. Please assure your constituents that you stand with us on this issue. Be unequivocal; do not hesitate. Say no to N.Y.U. Georgette Fleischer Fleischer is founder, Friends of Petrosino Square
Ground Zero agendas To The Editor: Re “9/11 Museum squabble must end” (editorial, Jan. 4): For years, 9/11 families called for a plaza-level museum. Instead, an elite handful, including Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris, dictated that in order to bury all evidence of the attacks out of sight, the museum would go underground — thus adding wildly exorbitant costs. All to be borne by you, the taxpayer, in one fashion or other. Had Lower Manhattan Development Corporation officials listened to the families, the museum would already be open and generating revenue. Private agendas, however, have been prioritized above common sense, what makes economic sense and our duty by 9/11.
My first meeting with Mead
To The Editor: Re “My times with Taylor Mead” (Clayton, Jan. 18): Taylor Mead is a great poet. We read together in Baltimore, of all places, one time when Herbert Huncke found the best hamburger and fries in town. But I’d like to add my “first meet” sketch, if I may. I think it was 1962 in Venice when Taylor used to hang at Big Eric Nord’s. Taylor’s scene was minimal(ist). He secured a grocery cart for his belongings and pickings and had a transistor radio attached to
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 e-mailed to news@DowntownExpress.com or can be mailed to 511 Canal St., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.
Keep on top of local crime, every week in
THE POLICE BLOTTER
January 25 - 31, 2012
ON THE SPOT WITH ELIZABETH WILLIAMS BY ALINE REYNOLDS Financial District resident Elizabeth Williams, who has served on Community Board 1 for close to four years, will be resigning from the board in March. Williams discusses her accomplishments on the board, why she’s leaving and recalls recent memorable moments as a Downtown courtroom sketch artist. When and why did you join the community board? I became a member in April 2008. What really got me was that, after 9/11, we always had illegal vending and crime on our streets. I was the one to harass the First Precinct Commanding Officer about it. I had ended up being involved in a lot of other community board stuff already, like harassing the city Department of Transportation to stop the 24-hour-a-day jackhammering Downtown, so somebody suggested that I join the board, and I did. Why are you leaving? It’s been a lot of work — a lot of very rewarding work… It’s just I have other things to move on to. At Borough of Manhattan Community College, I’ve joined a strategic planning group to service college students with autism like my son. I know I’m going
to have to devote more time to that, since it’s such an unknown area. I’m still on the First Precinct Community Council, I’m on the New York City Police Museum board, and I also work in the courts. Some people said to me, ‘Why don’t you just stay on at C.B. 1 and come to the meetings and vote?’ But that’s not what this job is about. What are three issues or projects you helped see to fruition as a C.B. 1 member? I knew Aggie Kenny, a courtroom colleague who did drawings at Ground Zero, so I pitched the idea of an exhibit to Julie Bose at the Police Museum. I also conceived the idea of the shields exhibit, which really helped with the last, six-month push of the Zadroga [9/11 healthcare] bill. In 2009, I helped to eliminate a ponding problem in Battery Park City. What happened was, there were two different contractors finishing a sidewalk near Pier A — one was the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the other was the state D.O.T. — and they couldn’t come to an agreement on how to handle it. Meanwhile, the whole sidewalk was filled with water, and when it would freeze, people could literally not walk down it. It was dangerous. Somebody could have killed themselves. It took me months to get it fixed, but it finally happened. I also thought of a Civic Center map that the Downtown Alliance designed last year
to direct people who want to get a marriage license, a birth certificate, or a passport to the federal courtrooms and offices. Their address is 26 Federal Plaza, but the entrance is on Broadway, which makes it rather confusing. The map is placed on the construction fencing that borders the building, across from Foley Square. What are you going to miss most about being a part of the community board? I really like the people. But also, there will be things that are going to bother me that I’m not going to be able to devote the time to. I’m really bugged, even though I don’t have a car, that there’s no parking Downtown for residents. But unless I really scream and yell and make a big stink, it’s probably not going to go anywhere.
What exciting courtroom art projects have you been assigned to recently? I covered the Occupy Wall Street hearing the day of the cop raid at Zuccotti Park. It was very crowded and really chaotic, but it wasn’t as intense as some other things I’ve covered. I was in court every single day Bernie Madoff and Dominique Strauss-Khan were there. I’ll never forget the Madoff assignment. It was a rainy night on Dec. 11, 2008, and I got a call from the news desk saying, “We got a guy with a $20 billion fraud [case]. Can you make it to court?” I said, “Did you say billion?” The largest case I had sketched before was $2 billion. I remember sitting in the jury box looking sheepishly around, and Madoff tried to look at me with a smile. I was disgusted.
TALKING POINT The Left-Libertarians — the last of an ancient breed BY BILL WEINBERG Last year, I was approached by Peter Lamborn Wilson — the elusive underground intellectual who is a refugee from the Lower East Side — who beseeched me to revive the Libertarian Book Club. Revolution was shaking the Arab world, although the wave had not yet come to Europe, Wall St. and Oakland. At this propitious time, New York City’s oldest anarchist institution could not be allowed to die, I was implored. We had worked together in the L.B.C. for years, before Peter left the city and the Book Club became moribund. Old members were getting older, and we lost our longtime office at 339 Lafayette St., the notorious “Peace Pentagon” run by the pacifist AJ Muste Institute. But more significant, ultimately, was our identity crisis. The L.B.C. was founded (to the best of anyone’s reckoning) in 1946, by anarchist exiles from fascist Europe, mostly Jews and Italians. At that time, the word “libertarian” was basically synonymous with “anarchist” or “antiauthoritarian” — although with a more intellectual and perhaps slightly euphemistic ring. One of the founders, Jack Frager, had actually known Emma Goldman, so we could claim an unbroken lineage back to the “classical” era of revolutionary anarchism.
Jack was gone before my time, but I did know Valerio Isca — the last of the old-timers. Walking with a cane, in his trademark black beret, he rarely said a word. But I was privileged once to hear him boast in broken English, his face beaming, about how he had fought followers of Mussolini’s Black Shirts in the streets of Brooklyn in the ’30s. He died in 1996. (The words of these heroes can be read in the classic of oral history, “Anarchist Voices,” by the late Paul Avrich of Queens College, himself a longtime friend of the Book Club.) I gravitated to the Book Club as a young, aspiring radical seeking a sense of heritage and continuity with my forebears, back in the ’80s. I was on the tail end of a “second wave” of New Left types, hippies and punks who were revitalizing the L.B.C. at this time. Peter Wilson, then producing the “Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade” on WBAI, became our new leading light. Although the Book Club had actually printed a few books over the years, its primary activity was by then a monthly discussion series, hosted by the lefty Jewish fraternal organization Workmen’s Circle in the rec room of one of the Penn South buildings. It was also at about this time that some of the younger members (myself included) began protesting that the word “libertarian” had been
appropriated by the free-market right, and sent the wrong message about who we were. Eventually, we decided on a compromise: The ongoing discussion series would be dubbed the Anarchist Forum, while — in stubborn deference to the past — the organization holding the event would continue to be the Libertarian Book Club. The years of my involvement with the L.B.C. saw the 1988 Tompkins Square Park riot, and subsequent backlash of squatter evictions and gentrification on the Lower East Side; the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe, shortly followed by capitalist restoration; the 1994 Zapatista rebellion in Mexico, which I witnessed firsthand as a journalist; and the 1999 Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization, and ensuing anti-globalization campaigns. Despite the hopes represented by Chiapas and Seattle, the general trajectory of society worldwide was to the right — and there was a growing sense that anarchism, especially, was an irrelevant ideological artifact. Not surprisingly, the L.B.C.’s real decline began after 9/11, with its unleashing of paranoia and war fever. By then, we had lost our meeting space as Workmen’s Circle moved out of the Penn South complex. For a while, we met at the Brecht Forum (a.k.a. the New York Marxist School) in the West Village, and at the
Living Theater on Clinton St. But sometime around five years ago, the Anarchist Forum sputtered out. The Muste Institute, facing the prospect of expensive repairs on the old building at Lafayette St., rightly requested that we vacate the office. Last year, at Peter’s urging, the Anarchist Forum rose from the ashes (now office-less, in the age of social media). I organized three discussions, back at the Brecht Forum space. I spoke about anarchist perspectives on the Libyan war and the Arab Spring; Peter gave a talk on the poignant question, “Does Anarchism Have a Future in the 21st Century?” And we gave a focus-group screening for Wall St. Occupiers of the soon-to-be-released film “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” — on the 1990 terror attack in California on ecological defenders struggling to protect some of the last old-growth redwoods from the timber barons. Today, when I look at the generic masked protester featured as “Person of the Year” on the cover of Time magazine, I see the anarchist instinct — if not quite the ideology — re-emerging on the world stage. Even anti-capitalism — officially anathema since the fall of the Soviet bloc — is back in popular discourse. Economic grievances (despite the
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January 25 - 31, 2012
Two new exhibits highlight Lower Manhattan history BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER In the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new galleries of American painting and sculpture, which debuted on Jan. 16, Downtown residents can come face to face with some of the people who once walked Lower Manhattan’s streets. George Washington emerged from the American Revolution as a totemic figure, but his preeminence was not always assured. Gallery 753 holds three portraits of Washington and one of his subordinate and adversary, Horatio Gates. Both men, at one point in their lives, lived in Lower Manhattan. Washington came here at the end of the war, was inaugurated here as the first U.S. president in April 1789 and served the first months of his presidency here until the capital moved to Philadelphia. Gates lived in New York City at the end of his life and is buried in Trinity churchyard at Broadway and Wall Street, in an unmarked grave. Horatio Street in Greenwich Village is named for him. In the early years of the war, Washington was disastrously defeated at the Battle of Brooklyn and was again trounced in and
“I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
A portrait of Gen. Horatio Gates painted by Gilbert Stuart around 1793-1794 hangs in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stuart painted Gates long after the Battle of Saratoga, which took place in 1777 and which the American forces won under his leadership.
— Nathan Hale
around Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Gates with the help of the brilliant general Benedict Arnold, who ultimately betrayed the Colonial cause, defeated the British in upstate New York at the Battle of Saratoga in September and October of 1777. Some people wanted to demote Washington and put Gates at the head of the Continental armies. That didn’t happen, of course, and Gates may or may not have been an active participant in that plan. No one knows. The portraits of Gates and Washington in the Met are probably good likenesses. The same cannot be said of a statue of the 21-year-old Connecticut schoolmaster Nathan Hale, who undertook the dangerous mission of entering British-held New York City in September 1776, trying to gain information for George Washington. Hale was caught and hanged as a spy. His last words were, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” In 1893, the Sons of the American Revolution in the State of New York erected a statue of Hale in City Hall Park. A miniature version of the work by sculptor Frederick MacMonnies is in the Met. MacMonnies had no idea what Hale looked like. He depicted him as a handsome, young man — his eyes closed as a shield against his
A drawing of Cornelis Bicker (1592–1654), a merchant and politician in Amsterdam, by David Bailly (1584–1657) in the exhibit “Rembrandt’s World” at the Morgan Library & Museum.
impending fate. Aside from these specific references, the American galleries at the Met display furniture, silver, glassware, china and even complete rooms from the era before, during and after the Revolutionary War. Under construction, the streets of Lower Manhattan often yield fragments from that era. The Met galleries show gleaming and whole what otherwise could only be pieced together or imagined. The American wing of the Met is a permanent installation, but the exhibit of drawings, “Rembrandt’s World,” which opened at the Morgan Library & Museum on Jan. 20 will only be there until April 29. Four remarkable Rembrandt drawings are in the exhibit. The rest are by his contemporaries. Rembrandt van Rijn was born in 1606, three years before Henry Hudson, sailing for the Netherlands, entered what is now New York harbor. The Dutch relinquished control of Nieuw Amsterdam to the English in 1664 — five years before Rembrandt died. So the span of the great artist’s life — and the years covered by this exhibit, roughly coincided with the founding of what is now New York City and its growth under Dutch rule. “Rembrandt’s World” shows what the colonizers of Nieuw Amsterdam left behind — the buildings, the markets, the frozen canals in winter where they skated, the ships they used to fight the Spanish and the English, and to explore the world. It shows windmills, churches, bridges and ordinary homes. It shows how people dressed and what they celebrated. It even shows what they looked like. One portrait in the exhibit is of a merchant and politician named Cornelis Bicker (15921654) by an artist named David Bailey, who also depicted Bicker’s wife, Aertgen Witsen. The description reads, “They both descended from old patrician families in Amsterdam, where their fathers were successful grain merchants and mayors. Cornelis and his three brothers came to dominate world trade, controlling goods coming in and out of the Netherlands from the Americas, East Asia, and the Mediterranean.” So this well-dressed man with intense, dark eyes, only in his early thirties but already with a crease in his brow, would have been among the wealthy investors in the Dutch West India Company that financed Nieuw Amsterdam and who profited from the riches that this and other colonies returned to the mother country. This wealth, in turn, financed the artists whose drawings of contemporary life were eagerly collected by the newly affluent Dutch burghers. For more information about visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, go to www. metmuseum.org For more information about the Morgan Library & Museum, and the special programming of lectures and films associated with the exhibit, “Rembrandt’s World,” go to www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/exhibition. asp?id=58. The Morgan is at 225 Madison Ave.
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New software replaces live students with avatars Continued from page 7 This learning experience would hardly be possible without the virtual students called “avatars.” Some actions are automatic and part of the programming, such as laughter and other small disruptions, but a single paid screen-guild actor from UCF called an “interactor” controls the majority of the avatars’ actions. The interactor does everything from the simple task of mimicking a different voice for each avatar to the more difficult task of providing separate personalities with complete backstories. The instructor can customize the personalities and the behavior of each avatar. The virtual class that Schattenkirk worked with had a mild setting. One avatar named Monique, for instance, was a very enthusiastic student. While Schattenkirk was speaking, Monique would persistently raise her hand with a question that was off topic from the current discussion. Instead of ignoring Monique’s hand, Schattenkirk talked to her specifically in a calm, relaxed manner reminding her to save her questions until the end of the instructions. Eventually, Monique was called on and allowed to ask her question. Another avatar named Maria seemed shy but also delivered some of the more eloquent responses to the teacher’s questions. After recognizing Maria as this type of student,
Schattenkirk made sure to call on this avatar more often since the avatar was less likely to respond to a discussion on her own.
‘Another avatar named Maria seemed shy but also delivered some of the more eloquent responses to the teacher’s questions.’ TeachLivE is constantly evolving based on feedback; the simulation already is in its third generation. An adult avatar is also in production for student teachers to prepare for their first parent-teacher conferences. Pace University happens to be the only school in the northeast and one of only ten schools in the United States to use this technology. During the spring semester, ten Pace classes with a total of over 300 students are scheduled to use TeachLivE. For the next generation of real-life students, TeachLivE may turn out to be quite groundbreaking, producing experienced teachers that are confident enough to take on any and every type of classroom.
Downtown Express photo by Marshall James Kavanaugh
The TeachLivE technology, developed to help future teachers learn to interact with students, was unveiled at Pace University last Wednesday.
BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER P.S./I.S. 276 WINTER CARNIVAL: A snowstorm couldn’t dampen spirits at P.S./I.S. 276’s second annual winter carnival on Jan. 21. There were games, face painting, crafts and a delectable array of international food prepared by the school’s parents. Money raised by the PTA-sponsored carnival will go for such things as more books for the library, the librarian’s salary, the music program, chess lessons and teacher enrichment. Several businesses contributed to the fundraising event, among them Manhattan Youth, Abel/Noser Corp., the Albanese Organization, Brookfield Office Properties and 1 Rector Park. One third-grader, Darshan Singh, 8, made his own contribution. He came up with the idea of telling jokes — one joke for $1 — that brought $103 into the school’s kitty. Darshan was adamant that there would be no free jokes and no refunds. Some examples from Darshan’s repertoire: How do French fries get married? (With onion rings.) When is chicken soup bad for you? (When you’re the chicken.) What starts with T, ends with T and is full of T? (A teapot.) “We have a variety of fundraisers throughout the school year,” said Gabriela Newman, a member of the winter carnival committee and the mother of a second-grader. She said the fundraisers include Run For Knowledge in September, held in collaboration with PS/IS 89, a pie sale in November, a holiday bazaar in December, and an auction in May. The school at 55 Battery Place currently has approximately 520 students from pre-K through third grade plus a middle school. Next year, fourth grade classes will be added. BLOCK PLAY: A young child who is fortunate enough to live in Battery Park City (or anywhere near by, for that matter) has unparalleled educational opportunities available through the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s programs and through the parks themselves, where the natural world can be experienced and explored. To its already impressive roster of classes and programs for children ranging in age from babies to teens, the Parks Conservancy is adding Block Play for three- and four-year-olds. Modular blocks were developed by (and perhaps invented by) Caroline Pratt, who, in 1913, founded the City & Country School in Greenwich Village. Pratt came from an industrial arts background and had uncon-
January 25 - 31, 2012
ventional ideas about how children learn. Rather than giving children pre-made toys, she gave them materials with which to exercise their imaginations and create what they needed. Modular blocks have enabled generations of City & Country children to learn about spatial relationships, the fundamentals of mathematics and how to work cooperatively. Beginning at the age of two and continuing until they are seven, they build entire cities from blocks, populating them with everything that they experience. Stores sell merchandise and payments change hands. There are homes, hospitals, police stations, fire departments, boats that steam up and down the rivers. Signs have to be written, and the children learn to read and write. Working with blocks that are fractional sizes of larger blocks, they learn math skills. The B.P.C. Parks Conservancy Block Play sessions will be led by Doug van Horn, a programming leader at the Conservancy and a former teacher at City & Country. The program takes place at 6 River Terrace and is limited to 10 children per session. Tuesdays, Feb. 21 to April 10, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m., three-year-olds and caregiver; 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m., four-year-olds and caregiver. The fee is $160. Call (212) 267-9700, ext. 348 to register. BENVENUTI OPENS: Samantha’s at 235 South End Ave. closed a year ago, ending a 15-year run in Battery Park City. But on Jan. 23, a successor opened with Nick Liuzzi, formerly a partner in Samantha’s, now the sole owner and manager. The new store, Benvenuti, sells pizzas and Italian specialties such as homemade mozzarella, fresh pastas, soups (Italian wedding, pasta fagioli and minestrone are on the menu), Italian cookies and a variety of cheeses, olives and artisanal breads. Liuzzi’s grandfather came from Bari, a city of around 320,000 on the Adriatic Sea in southern Italy, where the family still owns three supermarkets. That’s where Liuzzi spent his high school years. “I grew up in the family business,” he said. “I love to cook. My love and my passion is Italian cuisine.” The opening of Benvenuti was greeted with applause by some customers. Shirley Feinberg, who has lived at Gateway Plaza for 24 years, stopped in to say hello on opening day. She recalled that on 9/11, Nick drove her and her husband, Wilfred, to Bowling Green so that they could escape. “This is family over here,” Liuzzi said, as she told the story. “This is kids I saw grow
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
At P.S./I.S. 276’s second annual winter carnival on Jan. 21, third-grader Darshan Singh, 8, thought of telling jokes to raise money for the school — an idea that netted $103. His father, Harry, held a sign that said “$1 for a joke” as Darshan’s brother, Veer, 3, watched.
up, that I knew as babies. This neighborhood is my family.” For now, Benvenuti is open from Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with catering available. For deliveries, call (212) 9452100. TRIBATTERY POPS SEEKS MUSICIANS: The TriBattery Pops, founded nine years ago by B.P.C. resident Tom Goodkind, is seeking a few more musicians. “Another tuba, trombone or sax would really go well!” Goodkind said. Auditions are not required. The band practices at 7 p.m. on the last two Fridays of the month, January through May, at the Church Street School for Music and Art, 74 Warren St. “This year, we’re celebrating the end of the Mayan calendar by wearing black,” Goodkind said. Goodkind is proud of the fact that Stan Lee of Marvel Comics designed the TriBattery Pops logo. “I grew up next door
to Stan and we’re still close,” he explained. “He did a comic strip for the New York Daily Mirror based on the way I talked as a threeyear-old in the 1950s. The invisible girl, Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four, is styled as my mom. I wrote a Strange Tales comic for Stan when I was 10. All this can’t make up for when my mom threw out all my collectors edition comics when I turned 18 - including 10 Spider Man No.1s! When I started the Pops, I asked Stan to design our logo, and he commented, ‘Wait a minute, Tommy. I have to put Steve Spielberg on hold.’ In less than a week Stan drew for me three batteries against a skyline of New York City.” Goodkind said that, “Being in the Pops is a lot of fun and requires little work.” To sign up or for more information, email TomGoodkin@aol.com. To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@ mac.com.
Nick Liuzzi, the owner and manager of Benvenuti, a pizzeria and Italian food shop that opened on Jan. 23 at 235 South End Ave. With his uncle Dominick, Liuzzi previously owned Samantha’s at the same location.
January 25 - 31, 2012
N.Y.U. takes heat on school and open space at hearings Continued from page 8 ULURP,” said Shino Tanikawa, president of the District 2 Community Education Council, which covers Greenwich Village. “If John Sexton [N.Y.U. president] wants to leave a legacy, he doesn’t have to bulldoze the neighborhood,” Tanikawa said. Timing was not the only problem with the school proposal. Speakers said a rooftop playground was a bad idea. “Children are terrified of them,” said Teresa John, a Village resident and former N.Y.U teacher. Mixing schoolchildren and N.Y.U. students in the same building, albeit with different lobbies and entrances, worried others. Board members and local residents at C.B. 2’s crowded “open space” hearing on Jan. 12 were critical of the official criteria defining open space in the two superblocks. Of the 4 acres of what looks like open space in the two superblocks, less than an acre currently qualifies as accessible open space, said an N.Y.U. consultant on the 2031 plan. The consultant said the redevelopment would add 3.1 acres of useable public space to the superblocks. Outraged neighbors mocked the promise of “useable” public space. “It will be crowded with students,” they shouted. “It’s all concrete,” was another
Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
remark. On the north superblock, two large academic buildings are planned — a taller one on the Mercer St. side and a shorter one on the Bleecker St. side — between the two residential buildings. Beneath the two new buildings, about 1 million square feet of underground space is planned. However, the underground space would mean eliminating the Sasaki Garden in Washington Square Village’s courtyard,
which would be relandscaped, and granting easements to allow the university to dig through the green strips to construct and repair, if necessary, the subterranean spaces. While the garden, which is 3 feet above grade, is not considered an open space accessible to the public, Washington Square Village residents hold the garden in high regard and oppose its planned elimination. Milton Polskey, a Washington Square Village resident, and Allan Horland, a tenant leader in the complex, spoke about the awards earned by the designer, Hideko Sasaki, who died in 2000. G.V.S.H.P.’s Berman said the park space on the north superblock would be grossly overshadowed by the two new buildings. Berman also denounced the proposed relocation of the dog run and playground now on the Mercer St. side of the south superblock to a space west of the “Zipper Building” planned to replace the Coles Sports Center. “We want to stay where we are,” said Beth Gottlieb, the dog run’s president. “For over 30 years, 325 families have been able to run a dog run for the community.” Berman characterized the proposed dog run location west of the planned 300-foottall “Zipper Building” as “the equivalent of a back alley.” Berman said the plan would eliminate most of the usable open space and public green space on the two blocks. The univer-
sity’s proposal to acquire the green strips along Mercer St. between Houston and Bleecker Sts. and between W. Third and W. Fourth Sts. from the city Department of Transportation “is completely unacceptable,” Berman said. Enid Braun, a member of L.M.N.O.P., the civic group that promoted the construction of the Mercer St. playground on the north superblock, criticized the criteria that rule out fenced areas as being denoted as accessible public space. “By law, all playgrounds must have fencing,” Braun said. She also observed that the proposed new playground has no area designated for older children. An elderly Washington Square Village resident noted that many in the audience looked older than 60. “If we have to live for 20 years on a construction site, we won’t even be here,” he said. C.B. 2 Chairperson Hoylman told the July 12 crowd at Our Lady of Pompei Church that it was the largest public attendance that he had seen on the N.Y.U. 2031 plan. “Keep it up in the coming weeks when we are planning further meetings,” Hoylman said. “I’m sure that the representatives of elected officials will want to hear you and report your feelings about this project [back to the politicians].”
New shop in B.P.C. targets ‘wine-geeks’ BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER Even a glance through the window of Vintry Fine Wines, which opened on Jan. 14 in Goldman Sachs alley, suggests it is no ordinary wine shop. Around a thousand different wines are displayed on undulating shelves that lead to a climatecontrolled room where the most precious bottles are stored. Additional bottles are in an off-site warehouse said Michael Martin, 39, Vintry’s general manager and wine director. Though Vintry currently offers more than 2,500 different wines, the collection is growing. Martin, who has been in the wine trade all his life, is responsible for making purchases for the store. A set of iPads in the front of the shop allows staff and customers to search for wines by name and find how many bottles are in stock, where they are located, and the price. Soon to be operational, a Napa Technology wine tasting machine at Vintry will dispense tastes of four wines at a time. Vintry’s stock ranges in price from $10 to $11,000. Among the more expensive offerings, a case of 12 bottles of 1982 Chateau Petrus goes for $95,000. A three-liter bottle of 1990 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux is $7,500. “We have a lot of wine-geeky stuff here,” said Martin. As an example, sales associate Sarah Chappell pulled a bottle of 2008 Ribolla from the shelf. It comes from Movia, a producer in Slovenia, and sells for $27. “It has nutty complexity with a fresh acidity,” she said Chappell. The Ribolla grape was first mentioned in a notarized contract dating from the late 13th century. The grape was greatly prized for the next 600 years but was nearly wiped out by the phylloxera epidemic of the 19th century that destroyed most vineyards in Europe. Martin also anticipates that Vintry will hold wine tastings and special events. “We have a lot of venues,” he said,
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Elana Effrat, a sales associate at Vintry Fine Wines, uses one of the store’s iPads to check stock on bottles of certain wines, their price, and their location on the store’s shelves. Similar information will be accessible on the store’s website.
where these could be held. He noted that the shop is partially owned by the Poulakakos family, and that Harry’s Italian, another Poulakakos venture, will be opening this spring in Goldman Sachs alley, just across from Vintry.
Vintry Fine Wines is at 230 Murray St. The phone number is (212) 240-9553. The website is vintryfinewines.com. The store is open daily, Mondays to Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays, from noon to 6 p.m.
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Pols want Lunar New Year to be official school holiday Continued from page 1 their schools. “About 14 percent of school children in the NYC public school system are Asian American,” states the letter. “Our City prides itself on its multiculturalism -- and designating the Lunar New Year as a school holiday would be an important gesture to Asian Americans that their customs and contributions to our City are appreciated.” On Tuesday, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer echoed the sentiment in a statement saying, “I’m with Sen. Squadron and Assemblymember Meng. Make Lunar New Year a NYC school holiday. Asian-Americans play a huge role in NYC; let’s honor their celebration.” Lunar New Year is celebrated by cultures across East Asia including China, Korea and Vietnam. Attendance at schools in Lower Manhattan dropped considerably Monday, as Asian American children took absences in order to observe the holiday with their families. About 80 percent of students at P.S. 130 did not come to school Monday, according to Principal Lily Woo. “We usually have one of the highest attendance rates in the city excluding that one day,” said Woo. “We generally
Downtown Express photos by Milo Hess
Crowds gathered at Roosevelt Park on Monday for the Fireworks Festival, one of the day’s many events marking the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
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fall above 98 percent but because we are located in Chinatown and because we have such a high number of Chinese students, our attendance that day fell to 200 students.” New York City Councilmember Margaret Chin also acknowledged the fact that many students already take the day as an excused absence. “I think it is a wonderful initiative and I am very supportive,” said Chin. “This week we celebrated the first day of Lunar New Year and anyone who was there can tell you the streets were full of children and families from all over Manhattan.” 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, considered one of the most auspicious and prosperous Chinese Zodiac symbols. “This year is the Year of the Dragon, which is a time to do big things. It is a perfect time to pass this legislation,” noted Chin. The letter urged Bloomberg to declare the holiday while bills sponsored by Meng and Squandron addressing the issue attempt to gain traction in the state legislature. According to Amy Spitalnick, a spokesperson for Squadron, Bloomberg has not yet replied to the letter. A request for comment on the issue to Bloomberg’s office resulted in a response from Marge Feinberg, a spokesperson for the city department of education. “With so many religions practiced throughout our city, we have to weigh additional school closings with the need to give our students as much time in the classroom as possible,” said Feinberg in an email. She did not respond to further
requests for comment. Should the effort be successful, New York City would join San Francisco as one of the few U.S. cities to recognize the holiday. Gentle Blythe, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Unified School District, said the adoption of the holiday there resulted in a higher “average daily attendance” for the district which ultimately led to more state funding. “It actually created a cost savings for the district,” said Blythe of the Lunar New Year holiday. Currently, students in New York City who wish to celebrate the holiday with their families must take an excused absence and miss class that may affect their academic records, according to local school officials. Though the excused absences are granted for “religious observances,” the holiday is not particularly religious but rather a time for families to join together, according to academics. University of California at Berkeley Professor David Johnson, an expert in Chinese culture, said in an email that historically there have been some religious elements within holiday celebrations; they “have been radically weakened over the past several generations... and in the U.S. they do not exist in any significant way. I
New York council member Margaret Chen.
think in the end Chinese New Year does not qualify as a religious holiday in the ordinary meaning of the term.” Whether the holiday is religious or not should not determine whether the holiday is adopted in New York City, according to UC Berkeley Chinese Professor Paula Varsano who added that comparing Lunar New Year to Christmas puts the issue into perspective. “It is doubtful that anyone would decide that Christmas should not continue to be a public school holiday,” she said in an email.
— with repor ting by John Bayles
Court martial not enough, says community Continued from page 1 “We hope that all the charges will be recommended for the remaining seven suspects, including those who have been initially charged with involuntary manslaughter.” OuYang and other advocates are also requesting that the Army televise the Afghanistan-based hearings for the remaining suspects, which begin on Mon., Feb. 6. Wright, however, said the request would likely be denied. “Our rules do permit closed-circuit video or audio transmission in very limited circumstances as determined by the judge,” said Wright, “but the Army typically doesn’t record or broadcast Article 32 hearings or court-martials.” While NYC Councilmember Margaret Chin also expressed her dissatisfaction, she said, “This is only a recommendation regarding one charge against one soldier. I am hopeful that this recommendation will be ignored and that the charges in the other cases will be upheld.” “Investigators have confirmed that Private Chen was a victim of egregious maltreatment prior to his death,” Chin continued. “If the Army has zero tolerance for bullying and hazing, as they claim to, then they need to prosecute these eight individuals to the fullest extent of the law.” The Councilmember is holding a hearing Fri., Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. at 250 Broadway on the resolution she introduced to the
tive, immediate action. “They’re playing God right now,” said Feal of the S.T.A.C. “You know the saying, ‘It’s better late than never?’ Here’s a chance for them to prove it.” In the meantime, N.I.O.S.H. has begun to finance scientific research of cancer and other health conditions thought to be linked to 9/11 exposure. The law directly allocates $15 million for the cause in 2012 alone. “Until the law was passed, there was really no [federal] money set aside specifically for promoting research,” noted N.I.O.S.H. Spokesperson Fred Blosser. Of the $15
BROADWAY PANHANDLER Fam i ly o w n ed a n d o p e rat e d s i n ce 1976 Thru Jan 30th
“If the Army has zero tolerance for bullying and hazing, as they claim to, then they need to prosecute these eight individuals to the fullest extent of the
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law.” — Margaret Chin
Council earlier this month urging the U.S. Department of Defense to scrutinize the Army’s cultural diversity training for its soldiers. Wright said the Army has responded to the community’s list of previously asked questions about its training policies. Neither the questions nor answers were immediately available to the press. Asked for an update on the location of the anticipated trials of the soldiers, Wright said, “It’s something procedurally we’re not ready to discuss yet, because the CourtMartial Convening Authority has yet to rule on whether or not the trials will or will not take place.”
Fight to add cancer continues Continued from page 5
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million, $11.25 million is available for new research projects, while the remaining sum will continue to fund eight studies that were budgeted last year, including one being conducted by Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and another by the FDNY. Meanwhile, Feal vows that he and his supported wouldn’t rest until cancer is incorporated in the bill. “If they choose not to,” he said, “don’t worry about Occupy Wall Street; it’s going to be, ‘Occupy Ground Zero.’” For a more detailed agenda of the S.T.A.C.’s February meeting, visit www.cdc. gov/NIOSH/topics/wtc/stac/meetings/ in the coming days.
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January 25 - 31, 2012
Students with hearing loss find help at P.S. 89 Continued from page 3 “thriving” this year, Stobbe said, the youngsters still have room for improvement. During a game of Simon Says, for example, Henry accidentally touched his toes instead of his nose. “With Henry, I’m working on sounding out words,” said Stobbe. “We talked about how the two words sound familiar.” Despite certain challenges, Henry, who also wears hearing aids accompanied by an FM system, is excelling this semester, according to his teachers. During class last week, he was the first student in a group of five to come up with a “pattern” sentence on his sheet of paper and interacted fluently with fellow classmates during a game of “racing words.” “He just flows right in,” said Henry’s kindergarten instructor, Matt Halem. “He can figure out a lot of what you’re saying.” “One of the most remarkable things is, for a child who is hard of hearing, he knows letter-sound correspondence better than some of the other children in the class,” remarked co-teacher Alysa Essenfeld. Though most of Owen’s and Henry’s peers are aware of their hearing loss, neither is mocked in class for being different, according to the school staff. “The other kids are used to it,” said Halem. “We tell them it’s just like wearing glasses.” Despite their condition, Owen and Henry also participate in cross-grade reading time, when the fifth graders narrate picture books to the kindergarteners. “Owen does really well with it — he really likes little kids,” said his teacher. “He’s the youngest of four in his family, so I think he really likes the chance to be the big kid.”
Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds
Owen Gallagher, a fifth grade student at P.S. 89 who suffers from hearing loss, working on an assignment last Friday.
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January 25 - 31, 2012
Funding not an issue says O.W.S. Continued from page 9 ing months. Protests, marches and other actions continue to mobilize supporters, though in smaller numbers than in prior months. Symbolic victories though continue to give Occupy Wall Street attention from the media. A week before the Jan. 17 four month anniversary of the movement, Brookfield Properties dismantled the metal barriers which had encircled Zuccotti Park since a Nov. 15 NYPD raid ended the encampment there. Private security still remains in Zuccoti with the barriers now stored in a corner of the park. The move followed the release of a Jan. 9 letter from the New York Civil Liberties Union to Commissioner Robert LiMandri of the city Department of Buildings. The letter stated that the barriers violated first amendment protections, city zoning ordinances and a 1968 agreement which required Brookfield Properties to allow public access to the park. A spokesperson for Brookfield Properties declined to comment on the letter’s effect on the company policy concerning the park. Though many activists said no new efforts at occupying public spaces in the area are currently underway, a few holdouts continue to maintain a presence at the park. Activists interviewed there said it was important to have information available for tourists who visit the once obscure park in addition to maintaining visibility at what had become the symbolic center of the movement. Ned Merrill, a resident of the Upper West Side who joined the movement in September, said that the ongoing deployment of private security in the park underscores the need to maintain a presence there, regardless of size. “All we need here is a symbolic presence, you know, five, ten people is fine,” Merrill added. Members of the New York City General Assembly, which ostensibly governs Occupy Wall Street, reached consensus on Jan. 14
to freeze most spending among its working groups. Medical and food services received exemptions along with the housing working group, which will be allowed to submit one more funding proposal to provide housing for activists who are currently homeless, according to Christine Crowther, a member of the accounting working group. Before the freeze, working groups had been allowed to incur up to $100 in expenses per day without needing to secure approval from the General Assembly. Occupy Wall Street currently has about $340,000 in the bank of which about $100,000 is reserved for legal expenses, said Haywood Carey, a member of the accounting working group. A discussion of the spending freeze Monday night centered on whether it applied to the Spokes Council as well. At the meeting members of the facilitation and archives working groups said that the freeze was inhibiting their respective efforts to set up meeting venues for the council and properly record events within the movement. Whether the council can approve additional funding for the groups has yet to be decided. The issue cannot be resolved until the exact wording of the spending freeze is determined by consulting meeting records, which as of Monday were not available, according to sources. Despite the financial and organizational challenges facing the movement, many ‘occupiers’ said they remain patiently confident their movement will maintain its vigor through the winter. Tony Zilka, a singer from Portland, Oregon, came to NYC recently on his way to “Occupy Congress” last week. He said recent media coverage suggests the movement has lost vitality, though he feels that events in Lower Manhattan indicate Occupy Wall Street remains active. “Coming out and seeing all of these amazing civil rights leaders, all of these amazing mega-organizers are still here and still want to help us,” he said at a holiday event celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “They want to see this movement grow so badly.”
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On Tuesday, an Occupy Wall Street activist was arrested in Zuccotti Park, once again drawing attention to the symbolic home base of the nearly four-month-old movement.
January 25 - 31, 2012
The Left-Libertarians — the last of an ancient breed Continued from page 11 best efforts of the Western media and politicians to obscure this) animated the protests in the Arab world; the wave that began in Tunisia a year ago has swept through Athens, Madrid and Barcelona, London and Birmingham, and finally Manhattan, Oakland and nearly every city in the U.S. Industrial actions and peasant protests rocked China’s Guangdong province, police massacred striking oil workers occupying a public square in Kazakhstan, and rent protesters erected a street encampment for weeks in downtown Tel Aviv. Students protesting budget cuts repeatedly shut down Santiago and Bogotá. At year’s end, mass protests over contested elections broke out in Russia. And, with several Arab dictators overthrown, the uprisings continue in Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Bahrain. Nigeria appears to be next. This made it all the more frustrating to see partisans of the “libertarian” Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul maintaining a prominent (if, one hopes, unrepresentative) presence at Zuccotti Park. On the ’Net, Paul won enthusiasm from leftist talking heads for his antiwar and civil libertarian rhetoric. There is, of course, a legitimate right-libertarian tradition that takes its tip from Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises rather than Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. But Ron Paul’s positions aren’t even as progressive as those of the Libertarian Party on issues like abortion and immigration. The Libertarian
Party at least has a consistent position on personal freedoms, while Paul says he wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned and birthright citizenship expunged from the Constitution. If Paul and his supporters don’t believe in fundamental freedoms like reproductive rights and birthright citizenship, they shouldn’t call themselves “libertarian.” They give the word a bad name. They seek to restrict rights for women and immigrants, and it makes little difference if the oppressor is Arizona or Alabama rather than the federal government in their “states’ rights” utopia. (Paul has even said he would overturn the Civil Rights Act!) Their “freedom” too often means the “freedom” of the states to deny others their freedom. For those outside the propertied, disproportionately white elite, their utopia would be completely dystopian. Apart from the inconsistencies on civil liberties issues, the economic prescriptions of the Paulistas would be utterly oppressive for the fabled 99% — the dismantling of OSHA and the E.P.A.; the abolition of the federal minimum wage, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and public education; the sale of the national parks to oil companies. Et cetera. Left-wing anarchists — libertarian socialists, in the more polite formulation — make no distinction between authoritarian power exercised by state or federal bodies, through governmental or economic means. A landlord, banker or industrialist owns the lives of his wards (tenants, debtors, employees) no less than a public-sector bureaucrat. The state is an entity of capitalism, and you can’t struggle
against one without struggling against the other. An unheeded lesson of the Cold War is how state “socialism” inevitably degenerates into capitalism. We seek inspiration in such historical episodes as the Zapatistas in Mexico (191019), Makhnovists in the Ukraine (1917-20), Spanish anarchists in Catalonia (1936-37), and Zapatistas in Mexico again (1994 to date) — peasants and workers who took back the land and the factories, building socialism from below, without commissars or politburos. Yet, nor (we hope) are we mere history buffs or impractical dreamers. Contrary to the rightwing libertarians, we recognize that as long as we live under capitalism, individual liberties are best served by massive public restraints on its workings. This need not be seen as reformism or an abdication of revolutionary aspirations. The British Marxist historian E.P. Thompson wrote of a principle of “moral economy” — the pressure that common people can bring to wrest a better deal from the system. New York tenants certainly understand this about rent-control laws — or they should, anyway. There can be unity between left and right libertarians around issues of personal freedom — opposing the surveillance state, Internet censorship, the war on drugs. In fact, a few right-libertarians (albeit, the long-haired, cannabis-smoking type) did gravitate to the L.B.C. in the ’80s. And some of the books the L.B.C. published were written by co-founder Enrico Arrigoni, an Italian veteran of the Spanish Civil War, who became an “individualist” in reaction
against Stalinism. But politicians like Paul shouldn’t be allowed to usurp the “libertarian” label — and the leftlibertarian tradition shouldn’t be erased from history. The memory of fighters like Valerio Isca should not be allowed to die. More than that — can the left reclaim the libertarian legacy from the right? With Occupy Wall Street, the left has very effectively taken back the populist imperative from the right, which had cornered the political protest market with the Tea Party. A libertarian left movement wouldn’t have to adhere rigidly to 19th-century anarchist dogmas. But it would have to be fundamentally serious about freedom — rooting for the protesters, not the despots, in Syria and Iran and China and Russia; unequivocal on “libertine” or “lifestyle” issues like (yes) cannabis legalization; testing the limits of police control rather than acquiescing in it; and functioning (as O.W.S. does) with an ethic of internal democracy. I don’t know if the Libertarian Book Club’s Anarchist Forum series will resume in 2012. But, for the sake of humanity’s future, the libertarian left tradition deserves a political renaissance. And now, for the first time in my conscious life, I think it stands a fighting chance to get one. Weinberg for 20 years co-produced the “Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade” on WBAI. He now produces the Web site WorldWar4Report.com.
Donors needed for â€˜Bach at Oneâ€™ Continued from page 5 which there was no music director. Wachner embarked on an ambitious schedule of programming that included bringing in new musicians, starting the Bach at One and Compline series, planning several music festivals and taking the Trinity Wall Street â€œMessiahâ€? to Alice Tully Hall, where it was well received.
â€œOur heart wants to continue the Bach at One series.â€? Linda Hanick
In an effort to upgrade the quality of the already excellent choir, Wachner added some singers and some who had been there previously were dropped. Trinity Choir is over a hundred years old. Choir members are part-time employees of Trinity, and always sing at the church on Sundays. They are paid on an hourly basis, so the abbreviated music schedule cuts into their income but not into their relationship with the church. The members of the Trinity
January 25 - 31, 2012
Baroque Orchestra are freelancers. Trinity hopes that donors will come forward to allow Bach at One and other concerts to continue. The Concert at One program at Trinity Church on Thursdays has been running for more than 40 years. â€œIn 1980, it received a very significant gift from a donor and weâ€™ve been able to add to that over the years,â€? said Hanick. â€œOne of the things weâ€™ll be looking at is whether we can partner with donors for the Bach at One series. Both are given freely to the public. Our heart wants to continue the Bach at One series.â€? She said that within the next couple of months, Trinity Wall Street would be hiring a staff member to work on funds development. â€œMusic and the arts would be a prime candidate for attention,â€? Hanick said. She added that anyone interested in donating to Trinityâ€™s music program can email the rector, Dr. James Cooper, at jCooper@TrinityWallStreet. org. Donations of any size would be welcome and would be tax deductible. â€œMusic and the Arts plays a vital role in the parishâ€™s life,â€? Rev. Mallonee said in the introduction to the programming catalog for the 2011-2012 season. On a previous occasion, she had remarked, â€œWe believe the arts are transformative and in our world, beauty is much needed. It feeds peopleâ€™s souls â€“ and thatâ€™s what weâ€™re about.â€? Hanick said that Trinity Wall Street remains committed to the music program. â€œItâ€™s balancing doing excellent programming with the economic realities,â€? she said.
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School rezoning woes persist Continued from page 6 Thomas, citing a 2009 D.O.E. regulation. â€œWhat is undecided is if these students will get any preference over other out-of-zone students who have always been out of the zone,â€? Thomas continued. â€œThere was some ongoing conversation about whether they can make an exception in this school, but that hasnâ€™t been decided yet.â€?
â€œWeâ€™re in limbo at this moment, and itâ€™s quite stressful.â€? â€” Yanet Cruz
In a recent resolution, Community Education Council District Two asked the D.O.E. to consider admitting current Spruce Street pre-k students into the kindergarten class if additional seats remain once students in the schoolâ€™s new zone are accommodated. â€œThe D.O.E.â€™s not obligated to follow that particular recommendation, because itâ€™s not a zoning issue,â€? said C.E.C. District Two
President Shino Tanikawa, â€œbut we [included it in the resolution] because residents who lived next door to Spruce felt a certain level of emotional investment in the school.â€? Due to the uncertainty, P.S. 397 parent Yanet Cruz is thinking about moving with her four-year-old son, Logan, out of the neighborhood. â€œ â€œWeâ€™re in limbo at this moment, and itâ€™s quite stressful,â€? said Cruz. â€œIâ€™m feeling pretty bummed that we have to go somewhere else. I donâ€™t see why he canâ€™t continue in the school.â€? William Street resident Mark Rasso and his four-year-old son, David, are in the same boat. â€œWeâ€™re applying to Spruce, although weâ€™ve been told by their administration that the odds arenâ€™t good,â€? said Rasso. â€œI thought it would have been more of an intelligent solution that would allow anyone currently in the zone at Spruce to continue their journey.â€? Pre-k grandfathering wasnâ€™t an issue during Downtownâ€™s last rezoning in 2009, according to various sources. The only school that even had a pre-k at the time was P.S. 89, noted Eric Greenleaf, a former member of C.E.C. District Twoâ€™s zoning committee. â€œA lot of the people who were going to pre-k at P.S. 89 that were put into the 276 [due to the rezoning] preferred going to 276 because it was closer to where they lived,â€? said Greenleaf. â€œPeople who would have been most inconvenienced were people who had an older sibling in P.S. 89, but I didnâ€™t hear an uproar about that.â€?
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THE PICCOLINI TRIO: CIRCUS IN A TRUNK Just for the record, we have it on good authority that performers booked for shows at the Canal Park Playhouse almost always show up. But that’s not the case when The Piccolini Trio sits down
to enjoy a performance from a circus that never arrives. Fortunately, clowns always travel with an antique trunk full of all the props, costumes and surprises necessary for putting on a show of their own. Combining contemporary as well
Photo courtesy of Chinese Theatre Works
Young dancers perform a traditional Chinese dance at CMA’s 2011 Lunar New Year Festival.
LUNAR NEW YEAR FESTIVAL On January 28, in celebration of the Lunar New Year, the Children’s Museum of the Arts will explore the arts and culture of New York’s Chinese community. The festival will include a variety of visual art experiences to teach families and children about traditional and contemporary arts in China. The Chinese Theater Works will perform “Tiger Tales” — a shadow puppet show. The day will be capped off by a special performance of the Chinese Lion Dancers of P.S.124! Events unfold from 10am-5pm, with special performances between 1pm and 4pm. Regular museum admission fees apply. For more info on the Children’s Museum of the Arts, see the listing on this page.
YOUTH ACTIVITIES as classic European clowning, the Piccolinis (Joshua Shack, John Stork and Joy Powers) also draw from the collective experience of having performed with the likes of Circus Smirkus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and the Moscow State Circus. The result is a repertoire of routines that use music, acrobatics, physical comedy, juggling and pantomime in unique and unexpected ways. Their show, “Circus in a Trunk,” is part of Canal Park Playhouse’s Classic Brunch Matinee series — at which audience members can enjoy a selection of items from The Waffle Iron Café (open from 10am-6:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays, for ticket holders only). Among the Café’s repertoire: Hot-off-the-waffle-iron spinach, mushroom, smoked chicken sausage frittatas; French toast and traditional Belgian waffles. Greek yogurt, granola and fresh fruit provide a nice alternative to those making good on their New Year’s resolution to live on slightly less grease and sugar. Appropriate for all ages. Through Sun., Jan. 29; Sat. and Sun., at 2pm and 4pm. At Canal Park Playhouse (508 Canal St., btw. Greenwich and West Sts.). General admission is $20, with a pre or post-show pre-fixe brunch available for an additional $8 in advance or $10 at the door. For reservations or more info, call 866-811-4111 or visit canalparkplayhouse.com. For info on the artists, visit piccolinitrio.com. THE BULLY This musical from Vital Children’s Theatre (part of their touring repertoire since 2005) returns to NYC for an extended run. “The Bully” tells the story of a bus mix-up stranding Lenny (the nerd) and Steve (the bully) at the wrong school — where they both get picked on for being “the new kids.” When the boys are forced to work together to get back to their school, they begin to learn that they might not be so different after all. Appropriate for ages 4-12. Through Feb. 26; Sat. & Sun. at 11am & 1pm. Weekday 11am & 1pm school holiday performances on Jan. 27 and Feb. 20, 21, 22, 23. At Vital Theatre (2162 Broadway, 4th Floor, on the North East Corner of 76th St. and Broadway). Tickets are $25 (seating in the first three rows, $30). For reservations, visit call 212-579-0528 or visit vitaltheatre.org. JIM HENSON’S FANTASTIC WORLD If you grew up on “Sesame Street” and have seen the new Muppet reboot currently in theaters (“The Muppets”), then a seen visit to this
downtown express exhibit is a must. “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” has much more to offer than just the chance to see Miss Piggy and Kermit under glass. There are also drawings, storyboards, props and a reel of witty commercials from the black and white era of television. “Fantastic World” can be seen through March 4. At the Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave., Astoria). Museum hours: Tues.-Thurs., 10:30am-5pm. Fri., 10:30am8pm. Sat. & Sun., 10:30am-7pm. Admission: $10 for adults; $7.50 for college students and seniors; $5 for children under 18 (free for members and children under three). Free admission every Fri., from 4-8pm. For info and a full schedule of events, visit movingimage.us — or call 718-777-6888. THE FROG PRINCE The Galli Theater’s season continues with “The Frog Prince” (through Jan.29) and Aladdin (through Feb. 26). These productions are appropriate for all ages. All shows take place at 347 W. 36th St. (btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). For tickets ($20 for adults, $15 for children), call 212-3523101 or visit web.ovationtix.com. Also visit gallitheaterny. com. POETS HOUSE The Poets House Children’s Room gives children and their parents a gateway to enter the world of rhyme — through readings, group activities and interactive performances. For children ages 1-3, the Children’s Room offers “Tiny Poets Time” readings on Thursdays at 10am; for those ages 4-10, “Weekly Poetry Readings” on Saturdays at 11am. Filled with poetry books, old-fashioned typewriters and a card catalogue packed with poetic objects to trigger inspiration, the Children’s Room is open Thurs.-Sat., 11am5pm. Free admission. At 10 River Terrace. Call 212-4317920 or visit poetshouse.org. CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS Explore painting, collage and sculpture through self-guided arts projects at this museum dedicated to inspiring the artist within. Open art stations are ongoing throughout the afternoon — giving children the opportunity to experiment with materials such as paint, clay, fabric, paper and found objects. Museum hours: Mon. & Wed., 12-5pm; Thurs.-Fri., 12-6pm; Sat.-Sun., 10am-6pm. Admission: $10; free for seniors and infants (0-12 months). Pay as you wish on Thurs., 4-6pm. At 103 Charlton St. (btw. Hudson and Greenwich Sts.). Call 212-274-0986 or visit cmany.org. For group tours, call 212-274-0986, ext. 31. WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOUR EVENT LISTED IN THE DOWNTOWN EXPRESS? Send information to scott@ chelseanow.com. Please provide the date, time, location, price and a description of the event. Information may also be mailed to 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C, New York City, NY 10013. Requests must be received at least three weeks before the event. Questions? Call 646-452-2497.
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Photo courtesy of the Piccolini Trio
Don’t stop clowning around. See listing for “The Piccolini Trio: Circus in a Trunk.”
January 25 - 31, 2012
DOWNTOWNEXPRESSARTS&ENTERTAINMENT Back to The Piano Store John Clancy revisits not so long lost era of LES theater THEATER THE PIANO STORE PLAYS Saturday, January 28 at 10pm Sunday, January 29 at 5pm At the Barrow Street Theater 27 Barrow St., at 7th Avenue, South of Christopher St. For tickets ($15), call 212-868-4444 or visit smarttix.com BY MARTIN DENTON Indie theater cognoscenti in New York City will all be heading to the Barrow Street Theater on January 28 and 29 (and so will I, and so should you). Why? Because on those two evenings, “The Piano Store Plays” will be performed by Nancy Walsh, Kevin Pariseau, and their author, John Clancy. It’s the first time that Clancy has appeared on stage in New York in a decade, and the first time these seminal early works have been seen anywhere in more than two decades. If you’ve never seen John Clancy on stage — or if, like probably the majority of NYC indie theater artists/mavens, you’ve seen him on stage only in the capacity of master of ceremonies/executive or artistic director/rabble-rouser/activist — then you won’t want to miss this rare chance to see him exercise one of his oh-so-many theatrical muscles. Clancy is probably best known as one of the founders of the New York International Fringe Festival (with Elena K. Holy, Aaron Beall and Jonathan Harris; until 2001, he was its artistic director). Theater-makers in their 20s and 30s regard him as one of indie theater’s elder statesmen (though he’s not yet 50), as co-founder and executive director of the League of Independent Theater and as a teacher and advisor who has offered counsel and support to countless emerging companies and artists. But Clancy is also, first and foremost, an artist himself — a Renaissance man of theater, in fact. His directing credits include THE seminal indie show “Americana Absurdum” (Brian Parks’s manic but clear-eyed comic view of life in America near the end of the millennium), as well as works by C.J. Hopkins such as “Horse Country” and “screwmachine/ eyecandy.” Working with a corps of excellent actors that has included Nancy Walsh, David Calvitto, Paul Urcioli, Matt Oberg
Photo by Dixie Sheridan
Back in the day: John Clancy, with FringeNYC co-founder Elena K. Holy.
and many others, Clancy created a style of fast-fast-fast relentless and razor-sharp brutal satire that’s as distinctive as it is piercingly effective. The first John Clancy play I ever saw was “Horse Country,” at the 1999 New York International Fringe Festival. I caught a 10pm performance at the old Present Company Theatorium, after a full day of Fringe-going (it was my sixth show of the day). Though I was pretty tired, his galvanizing production of Hopkins’ sly, brilliant script woke me right up. Clancy’s work demands attention, the way that, say, Yul Brynner did as the King of Siam. “Horse Country” made me a fan not only of the Clancy style but more importantly of his aesthetic — theater that doesn’t so much jolt or shock the audience as slap them silly (and silly is very deliberately chosen in this context); theater that not only makes you think but may well prompt you to some overt and/ or subversive action. Perhaps no John Clancy work exemplifies this idea more than his solo show, “Notice of Default and Opportunity to Cure” — which he performed for a few
weeks in March, 2000. The show was inspired by a legal document (whose title was the same as this play’s) sent by the Present Company’s landlord regarding some owed funds. Clancy shaped his own reaction to this notice, and his deeper and larger thoughts about the nature of money and art and the uncomfortable ways the two are made to intersect in contemporary society, into an unforgettable show. Director Margarett Perry recently said on Facebook about this piece, “Still one of my favorite nights in the theatre! When he burned that $20 bill after going through the finances I was beside myself.” (I should note here that “Notice of Default,” along with several other of Clancy’s plays, is published on Indie Theater Now, a new website that I created and curate that’s devoted to contemporary American drama.) “Notice of Default” showed me two aspects of Clancy’s talent I had not heretofore witnessed — his charismatic acting ability, and his incisive, insightful playwriting style. Since then, he has had significant success as a playwright with “Fatboy,” which reworks Jarry’s “Ubu the
King” as a grotesque latter-day Punchand-Judy show, and with “The Event” — a solo piece that explores the very nature of performance itself, in a manner that might best be described as part postmodern deconstruction and part “Our Town.” He is also the author of an amazing and scary comedy called “Captain Overlord’s Folly, or The Fool’s Revenge,” in which a group of anarchic rogue clowns hijack a traditional theater performance, which was commissioned at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2007 but has thus far not had an American production. And now we have Clancy heading back on the boards in a triptych of his earliest plays. I got this wonderful scenesetting email from Nancy Walsh, John’s frequent collaborator, business partner and wife: “Remember the old Piano Store back when it was an illegal speakeasy? Before there was a Present Company or a New York Fringe? Back when we were performing at midnight on the Lower East Side when the Lower East Side was the Lower East Side?”
Continued on page 24
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Back to The Piano Store Continued from page 23 â€œThe Piano Store Plays,â€? coming to Barrow Street Theater on January 28 and 29, takes us back to that time and place â€” with John and Nancy reprising roles they performed 20 years ago in that (in)famous old storefront space, joined by Broadway veteran Kevin Pariseau (â€œLegally Blonde,â€? â€œI Love You, Youâ€™re Perfect, Now Changeâ€?). The evening will be comprised of â€œAnyoneâ€? (described as â€œa love story on stageâ€?); â€œFalling Out,â€? in which a marriage ends on stage; and â€œSolo for Spoon and Birdcageâ€? (a metatheatrical ballet of ineptitude with singing and loud noises). Clancy writes, â€œThese three plays were first performed on the Lower East Side in the early 90s, what was then the epicenter of the independent theater world. In a weird way, they are blueprints for all of the work weâ€™ve done with Present Company and Clancy Productions ever since. Back then, Nancy was working Off-Broadway and doing some soap opera work. I was writing crazy shit that no one wanted to produce and auditioning for roles I didnâ€™t want in shows that sucked and getting a few callbacks but no gigs. Nancy recognized the larger implications and said, â€˜Letâ€™s do it ourselves. Letâ€™s just put up these
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