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Volume 25, Number 18

Koch on LIFe, aIds & FILm P. 6-7, 19

FebruArY 6-FebruArY 19, 2013

FacInG eVIctIon, seaPort shoPs PLead For summer BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER he clock is ticking for the tenants of Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport, but so far, there has been no reprieve from the lease termination notices issued by their landlord, The Howard Hughes Corp., who wants them out of there by April 30. Howard Hughes has a longterm lease on the pier. After Superstorm Sandy blew through on Oct. 29, 2012, Howard Hughes shut the pier down to inspect it for damage, reopening it on Dec. 6. However, some of Pier 17’s 72 merchants never reopened. “The hurricane dealt a blow to the entire Seaport, nobody will


Continued on page 11 Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

A happy Vince McGowan, right, recently retired from the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. It was an emotional annoucement for him and the conservancy’s executive director, Tessa Huxley.

Vietnam to 9/11 to Sandy: A veteran of the three retires in B.P.C. BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER Executives Tessa Huxley and Robert Serpico don’t usually cry at board meetings, but both had tears in their eyes Jan. 29 when Huxley announced Vince McGowan’s retirement from the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. McGowan joined the conservancy in January 2000 as assistant executive director. Previously, he had held executive positions at the Hudson River Park Trust and its predecessor, the Hudson River Park Conservancy. Between 1998 and 2000, he created routes and docking locations for New York Water Taxi. His earlier career included stints as a bar owner, four years of service in the Marines (two of them in Vietnam) and several years in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s with the Rand

Corporation “helping to organize the people in Guatemala to overthrow the oppressive government there.” His bond with Huxley and Serpico, chief financial officer of the Battery Park City Authority, was forged on 9/11. At the time, Serpico was president of the neighborhood conservancy. “When the buildings fell, he was literally thrown into the window of Chase Manhattan Bank,” McGowan recalled. McGowan himself was on the corner of Vesey and West Sts. when the first building came down. “I started to run because things were falling right around me,” he said. “I’ve been in combat too many times to not understand the consequences.”

tearFuL mother: Parents, saVe your KIds From Guns

He had a throwaway camera that he grabbed from a kiosk whose owner had already fled. “As I was running, I was taking pictures with this little camera of fire-sticks hitting in front of me,” he said. “I was waiting for one to take me out but I got to that cutout by the American Express entrance and I dove in there and that’s when the dust cloud swept by me and buried me in five feet of dust.” He said it was as frightening as anything he had experienced in Vietnam. “Having been under severe fire, when you think this is not going to end well, it’s extremely terrifying,” he stated. “But you go through a moment just coming to grips with yourself saying, ‘OK this

BY SAM SPOKONY Just after hundreds of Lower East Side parents and children walked together in an emotional rally against gun and youth violence, the mother of Raphael Ward — the 16-year-old Baruch Houses resident who was shot and killed on Jan. 4 — spoke candidly and forcefully to that crowd. Though she never would have asked to be placed upon this pedestal of grief, Arlene Delgado knew that the happy memories of her child might just be enough to spur the change her neighborhood needs.

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February 6 - February 19, 2013 Miller’s work was rewarded with a proclamation from the office of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, as a well as a plaque and gift of an iPad from the BID, which was presented by Executive Director Bob Zuckerman and Vice President Michael Forrest.


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“We’ve had enough of the real disasters — when did Lower Manhattan become the standard unit of destruction measurement,” Downtowner and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart asked on his show last week after showing a news clip about North Korean nuclear weapons. To illustrate how powerful the weapons were, she showed a map of Downtown covered in a red circle. It’s nice to see that Stewart — who may have been the person most responsible for shaming Congress into passing the Zadroga Act in 2011 to help 9/11 health patients — is still defending Downtown.

Slums of B.P.C.?

Battery Park City has attracted the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Andrew Cuomo and NYPD Commish Ray Kelly, but the Daily Mail headline in classic Fleet Street style was: “Fraudster Peter Madoff downsizes to a $3,200-a-month…Battery Park apartment (before he goes to even smaller quarters in jail).” After pleading guilty, Madoff, the brother of the even more notorious Bernie Madoff, and his wife sold their large Park Ave. apartment to move down to a cozy Rector Pl. one bedroom. All of the article’s comments were posted from from the U.S. Peter Sterling of Seattle seemed to have a better handle on the nabe than the Mail. “A come down for them, a step up for most people in NY,” he wrote.

BID-DING Farewell

We stopped by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District’s annual meeting on Monday night, which was held at the new Finale nightclub at 199 Bowery. By the way, that club has already become the source of some neighborhood complaints — we hear that residents are going to be storming next week’s C.B. 3 S.L.A. Committee meeting in attempt to have their liquor license revoked — but that’s a story for another day. At Monday’s meeting, it was of course all about the BID’s successes of the past year, which notably included the establishment of a $10,000 grant fund for member businesses that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Nine L.E.S. businesses received the loot: Saxelby Cheesemongers, Goodfellas, Congee Village, Georgia’s Eastside BBQ, Melt Bakery, Boubouki, Heritage Meats, Delicate Raymond Jewelry Bar and The Living Room. There was also a big “thank you” to Mark Miller, who owns 92 Orchard St. and who served as the BID’s president from 2008 until the end of this past year.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Tribeca’s historic districts but were afraid to ask will be discussed Feb. 24 by a truly expert panel put together by the Tribeca Trust. Professor Andrew Dolkart, who drew the first proposed map of Tribeca’s historic district and who directs Columbia University’s historic preservation program, is one panelist. The other is Anthony Tung, a former city Landmarks commissioner who will be contrasting in-fill construction in Tribeca and Amsterdam. The moderator is none other than Hal Bromm, the Tribeca gallery owner and former president of the Historic Districts Council who started the neighborhood committee for the Washington Market District. The event will be Sun., Feb. 24, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at New York Law School at W. Broadway and Leonard St. It’s also old school Tribeca casual: pay as you wish with no RSVP needed.

No Run

So is Terri Cude going to run for City Council against incumbent Margaret Chin, as many have reportedly been urging her to do? Cude told us, “While I am truly honored that community members find my advocacy and energy beneficial, I am not running. I am, however, delighted that District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar is...Jenifer staunchly opposed the N.Y.U. 2031 plan.”

Shooting Straight on Koch

Two things struck us the most about the reaction to Hizzoner Ed Koch’s death. One, was how so many of his persistent critics like Wayne Barrett and Al Sharpton had some genuinely nice things to say about him. It was a measure of the man that he could garner respect and warmth from many of his foes. The other was the final hashing out of the “was he gay” issue. Although the Gray Lady at the New York Times declared definitively that there was “no proof,” Andy Humm laid out a convincing case going the other way on the web site of Gay City News, sister publication of Downtown Express. Humm names a few people with knowledge that Koch was gay, and also cites numerous, unnamed members of Village Independent Democrats who were introduced to apparent boyfriends of Koch. Some still cling to the idea that it was Koch’s right to keep it private even though he did discuss the matter publicly at least once. But given that he was in charge during the worst health crisis for the city’s gay population, his sexuality does have historical significance. Regardless, nothing changes the fact that Koch did have a positive effect on the city and that there’ll never be another like him. The Times got this right: He “is survived by New York itself.”

February 6 - February 19, 2013


Celebrating the Year of the Snake BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, each with its own attributes and each assigned to a year. This year, 2013 (or 4711 in the Chinese lunar calendar) is the Year of the Snake. This is counted as a lucky year for those born in previous years of the Snake — count back every 12 years or so. People born in the Year of the Snake are said to be intelligent, charming, elegant and good at making and saving money. The new lunar year officially begins on Feb. 10, but celebrants at Pace University got a head start on Feb. 3 with instrumental music, dance, opera and martial arts. The event was sponsored by Pace’s Confucius Institute, New York City Council and the New York Chinese Opera Society.  Some of the performers were young Asian-Americans whose parents want them to learn traditional art forms. Others were widely recognized as masters here and in China. Those who missed the Pace University celebration, or who want to enjoy more Chinese lunar festivities, can watch the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade on Sunday, Feb. 17. It starts at 1 p.m. in Little Italy and goes through the main streets of Manhattan’s Lower Chinatown. In addition to the parade with its colorful floats and antique cars, there will be a wide range of free cultural activities. The Chinatown Lunar New Year Cultural Festival takes place in Sara Roosevelt Park, with a different zodiac theme each year. Events at past cultural festivals have included a dog parade, pig race and live music performances. For more information, a cultural

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Xu Lin performing a fan dance during a Chinese lunar new year celebration at Pace University on Feb. 3 to welcome the Year of the Snake, which begins on Feb. 10, 2013.

festival booth will be located in the park at Canal and Forsyth Streets. The Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival celebrate the traditions and cultures of all Asian countries including China, Korea and Japan. Last year, around 500,000 people attended the festivities.

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Performers from the New York Chinese Opera Society welcomed the Year of the Snake at Pace University with a scene depicting the flirtation between a country lad and a well-to-do maiden.


February 6 - February 19, 2013

one Phone arriVeS, another DePartS

A transit theft occurred aboard a southbound R train when a pickpocket took a woman’s cell phone near the Brooklyn Bridge stop — where another phone had been recovered earlier in the week. Th device was swiped at 5:30 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 27 on a Brooklyn-bound train. The victim, 24, reported to police that she entered the subway at a station on 34th St. and 6th Ave. While on the train, she slid her $340 iPhone in her right jacket pocket. When she put her hand back into her pocket about five minutes later in the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station, it was gone. While her phone was offline when she attempted to track it, she did speak to the man in possession of her phone — but did not get it returned. On Mon., Jan. 28, another woman, 33, walked into the First Police Precinct to report over $1,000 in missing property, including her cell phone. She said that she had left her bag unattended at the M1-5 Lounge at 52 Walker St. on Fri., Jan. 25 at about 11:30 p.m. Her pocketbook was stolen along with the other contents of her bag, mostly makeup, her $450 LG Mach cell phone, $150 iPod Nano and $50 skull earbuds. Her credit cards and monthly MetroCard were also stolen. She cancelled the cards, but the smart phone turned up on its own at the N/R station at City Hall-Brooklyn Bridge with no unauthorized usage.

iPhone aBDuCteD

An iPhone was snatched from out of its user’s hands on the street on a recent Sunday. The 23-year-old Downtown resident reported to police that her iPhone 4S was grabbed from her fingers while she was walking down the sidewalk on the corner of Church and Walker Sts. at 4 p.m., Sun., Jan. 27. The thief was described as male, 5’11” and about 195 pounds. The $320 iPhone still had active service and a ‘find my phone’ app, but had not been recovered by press time.

StarBuCkS PiCkPoCket

Hands full of coffee, one woman could do nothing as her assailant bumped into her and slipped her cell phone from her pocket. The 32-year-old woman was inside Starbucks at about 3 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 25 when someone picked her pocket. She was on her was on her way out of the 195 Broadway location when she felt contact and immediately realized what had happened. She reported it to police, but the thief was already gone. The $400 iPhone 5 was offline and could not be tracked. Video surveillance was available but unable to be immediately viewed as the Starbucks manager was not on the scene.

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The defendant, Michael Williams, 25, was arrested on Sat., Jan. 26 when police say he tried to purloin miscellaneous items from a CVS drug store at 129 Fulton St. An employee of CVS reported that Williams attempted to leave the store at about 10:30 p.m. with miscellaneous goods totaling $478 concealed in a white plastic bag. When confronted by the store manager, Williams, according to police, reached into his rear waistband and stated, “Don’t make me pop it off in here. Don’t make me pop it off in here.” The defendant then rushed at the manager and tried to punch him, but missed, police said. He reportedly pushed the manager a few times and then dropped the bag of stolen merchandise and fled the store. A police officer had witnessed the scene and was coming to intervene when Williams fled. The officer pursued and caught the suspect.

turnStile theft

An unzipped bag proved too tempting of a target to ignore as its owner made her way into the transit system, police reported. On Wed., Jan. 23 at 8:30 p.m., a 22-year-old woman entered the Fulton St. subway station at Fulton and Nassau Sts. to get on the J train. Her bag was unzipped as she approached the turnstile. Just before she entered it, she reported that a man reached into her bag and took her wallet, fleeing back up the stairs and into the street. The thief got away with a $300 pink Miu Miu wallet, $24 in cash, the woman’s credit cards and driver’s license.

leSS wallet

An unattended wallet was stolen from a convenience store on Saturday when it was left on the cashier counter. The woman, 22, told police that she had left her wallet on the counter while shopping at Less Less on 83 Chambers St., at about 5:50 p.m. on Jan. 26. When she came back for it five minutes later, it was gone. Video surveillance subsequently showed that another woman, about 40, took it from the counter. The victim canceled her debit card and there was no unauthorized usage.

auto theft

A resident of Woodmere, N.Y. had her car stolen while working Downtown last month. The victim, 39, told police that she parked her car, a 2010 Acura MDX, on the corner of West and Warren Sts. at about 1:30 p.m. on Thur., Jan. 24. When she came back at about 3 p.m., she saw that her gray SUV, valued at $30,000, was missing. Police reported that there was no sign that the vehicle had been broken into and stolen. A tow pound check and a check with the city Marshall turned up no results.

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February 6 - February 19, 2013

Beep candidate Lappin goes Downtown to Menin’s turf BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Trying to make inroads with Downtown community leaders, borough president candidate Jessica Lappin held a meet-and-greet with a small but influential group of about 30 people at the Village home of Susanna Aaron and Gary Ginsberg last week. Standing midway up a staircase leading up from the living room, Lappin addressed her audience for about 20 minutes, laying out some of her key campaign positions and concerns, then took questions and mingled with the crowd as they sipped wine and snacked on cheese and grapes. The gathering — which was not a fundraiser — was heavy on Community Board 2 members and local Hudson River Park activists, and notably included Madelyn Wils, the president and C.E.O. of the Hudson River Park Trust. Also attending was former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey. The former New School president said he is endorsing Lappin. As a condition for a reporter being invited to attend, the Lappin campaign requested that the substance or her remarks at the gathering be off the record. Elected to the City Council in 2005, Lappin represents the Upper East Side between 49th and 92nd Sts. She formerly chaired the Council’s Land Use Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses. A native New Yorker and lifelong Democrat, Lappin attended UNIS (United Nations International School) — which Aaron also attended — and Stuyvesant High School. The three other candidates in the race are Councilmembers Gale Brewer and Robert Jackson, and former Community Board 1 Chairperson Julie Menin. The borough president appoints community board members, issues advisory opinions on land-use projects and has a sizable staff. Ginsberg is a board of directors member of the Friends of Hudson River Park. Aaron said her being on the board of Friends — the waterfront park’s leading private fundraising arm — is the reason she invited Wils. However, Wils said she had been “dragged” to the event by Rich Caccappolo, a Lappin booster and chairperson of C.B. 2’s Parks and Waterfront Committee. As Wils was leaving the meet-andgreet, asked if she was throwing her support behind Lappin, she said, “No, I had a drink with Rich Caccappolo at a bar first and he asked me to come over… There’s nothing here,” she said with a flick of her hand, as if to say, “There’s no story here.” However, her presence did raise a few eyebrows. “I didn’t expect to see Madelyn here,” remarked Pam Frederick, a board of directors member of the Trust and former C.B. 4 chairperson, who was schmoozing with David Gruber, C.B. 2 chairperson. As for who she might support for B.P.,

Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson

At last week’s meet-and-greet in the Village for Jessica Lappin, from left, Gary Ginsberg, Jessica Lappin, and Bob Kerrey.

Frederick said she’s undecided. “Jessica and Julie — those are two good ones,” she said. Caccappolo did the I.T. side of Kerrey’s recent losing Nebraska Senate campaign. Asked if he was supporting Lappin, Kerrey quipped, of course, because “her husband’s from Nebraska.” “I think she’s a real fresh face and she’ll help get a contract with the teachers union,” he said, adding that otherwise $250 million for the city’s schools is at risk of being lost due to the current impasse over teacher evaluations. “I’m not speaking against Julie or the other candidates,” said Kerrey. “There are other people I speak against — but not them.” As for his own plans, he said he’s focusing on working to get reimbursements for pre-K — early childhood education. And he added, “I got a book I gotta finish.” The day before the Jan. 28th event, in what some are dubbing a “hit piece,” the New York Post reported that Menin switched political parties three times in the span of 17 months, charging that she did so to raise her political profile. Menin was registered as a Democrat in November 2001, then in February 2002 registered with the Independence Party, only the next month to switch to

Republican, and in July 2003 back to being a Democrat again. During her G.O.P. stint, Menin was named by Republican Governor George Pataki to various 9/11 panels to work on Downtown rebuilding. Brewer blasted Menin’s party hopping as “opportunistic,” saying, “[Voters] should evaluate someone who’s switched parties that often.” Lappin and Jackson declined to comment for that article. Menin’s spokesperson, George Arzt, told the Post, that Menin has “been a Democrat for all but a year and a half of her last 27. In 2002, she was working 24/7 with the [Republican Pataki] administration to help rebuild Downtown. She thought she could help her community by showing her support for the state administration’s rebuilding efforts.” However, leaders of local Democratic political clubs played down Menin’s party switches, some of which had been reported by Downtown Express and others a few years ago. Jeanne Wilcke, president of Downtown Independent Democrats, said local politicos already knew Menin wasn’t always a Democrat. “Old news,” she said, “and the party registration changes were over a decade ago. The New York Post article read like

a setup by a political rival. I guess someone is desperately afraid Menin may win. What I care about is what Menin has done for us. “She called out when everyone else had their eyes closed on the L.M.D.C. and the hundreds of millions they were hoarding from 9/11 funds,” Wilcke said, referring to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. “She wasn’t afraid to step in and address thorny issues, like Occupy Wall Street or the mosque while others were scratching their heads what to do. “The 9/11 trials got moved from Downtown New York City after she started the ball rolling. “When N.Y.U. applied for its big land grab further north, folks out of her area pleaded for help,” Wilcke added. “She lobbied N.Y.U. to move to the Financial District instead of crush Greenwich Village. Most other elected officials were nowhere to be seen.” Plus, Wilcke added, “I too was a Republican once.” “No clearheadedness to it, just everyone around me was Republican,” she said. “After awhile, I saw the light and switched to Democrat sometime in the early 1990s, I think. Anyway, we all have our stories and histories. The question to these candidates is — what have you done for me and the community?”


February 6 - February 19, 2013

Koch, 88, the feisty mayor with political roots Downtown By A l b e r t A m at e a u Edward I. Koch, three-term mayor of New York City who began his political career in Greenwich Village and defeated Tammany chief Carmine De Sapio 50 years ago, died Feb. 1 at the age of 88. In and out of hospital over the past few months, he died of pneumonia on the day that “Koch”, a documentary film by Neil Barsky, opened in the Village. Outspoken and brash, Ed Koch guided the city as mayor from 1978 to 1989 as it emerged from the depths of fiscal insolvency, a homelessness crisis and a crippling transit strike. He was by turns a pragmatic and combative politician whose philosophy shifted by the time he became mayor from progressive to what many of his old reform Democratic colleagues viewed as right of center. His third term was marred by scandals that ended in disgrace and jail for several politicos with whom Koch had been friendly, although the mayor was not tainted personally. Nevertheless, the Koch legacy includes municipal financial stability, a $5 billion middle- and low-income housing program and reform in the selection of judicial candidates. He was also an important supporter of the state-sponsored 42nd St. Development Project. “As he did for a generation that grew up in a very different city than the one in which we live today, he inspired me to pursue a career of service to our the city,” said Muzzy Rosenblatt, director of Bowery Residence Committee (BRC) — a non-profit housing agency based in Chelsea — and a former member of the city Department of Homeless Services. “At the BRC gala in 2012, he spoke with passion about his administration’s achievement of the largest affordable housing program of any city in the nation and of our duty to reach out to people in need and provide them with care. Because Ed Koch, our best champion, left this legacy to our city, he will always be with us,” Rosenblatt said. Manhattan District Attorney. Cyrus Vance said in a statement, “New York would not be one of the safest big cities in America if Ed Koch had not spearheaded one of the most important criminal justice reforms in the city’s history: the selection of Criminal Court judges based on merit instead of political connections,” Vance said, citing Koch as

Photo courtesy of Municipal Archives of the City of New York

Ed Koch with Bess Myerson during his first race for mayor in 1977.

having had foresight, vision and courage. As mayor, Koch extended the Manhattan reform policy of establishing screening panels to pass on judicial appointments citywide. He did not endorse Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s reelection in 1997 after Giuliani ended the judicial policy. His outsized personality and zealous focus on his political career and on his image kept him in the public eye long after his defeat for a fourth term as mayor in 1989. In 2008, after a couple of hospital stays, Koch bought a burial plot in Trinity Cemetery on 155th St. and Broadway for $20,000. He erected a marble headstone that proclaimed his Jewish faith with an English translation of a Hebrew prayer. The headstone goes on to say Koch fiercely loved the City of New York, its people, and, above all fiercely loved his country and served in its armed forces in World War II. Born in the Bronx and raised in Newark, N.J., Ed Koch earned a law degree at New York University in the Village where he campaigned for Adlai Stevenson for president in 1952 from a soapbox in Sheridan Sq., according to Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

A resident of the Village since the 1950s, first at 81 Bedford St., then 72 Barrow St., then 14 Washington Pl. and finally 2 Fifth Ave. after he left office, Koch was one of the founders of Village Independent Democrats. A reform club that included former members of the Stevenson campaign, V.I.D., was part of a movement to defeat Tammany, partly because the old guard did not go all out for Stevenson against the war hero, Dwight Eisenhower, who was elected president. By 1961 when Koch was the club’s vice president and Village demographics were changing, Carol Greitzer, who later became a City Councilmember, and James Lanigan, won the co-district leader race against De Sapio. But the Tammany chief ran again for male district leader in 1963. Koch, who always said he became the reform candidate because no one else wanted the task, beat De Sapio by a scant 41 votes. He won again with more comfortable margins in 1964 and 1965. “We saw him evolve into the political personality that everyone knows,” Greitzer said last week. “He was a strong speaker for Stevenson and other candidates but he was a terrible campaigner for himself,” she said. In 1962 he ran in the Democratic primary against state Assemblymember William Passannante and positioned himself to the left of the incumbent by promising to liberalize state laws against sodomy, abortion and divorce. Koch lost, taking only 38 percent of the vote. “He said himself that he ran a terrible campaign, but he became more confident the next year after he beat De Sapio,” Greitzer said. In 1967 Koch ran for City Council from the Silk Stocking District, which then included the Village as well as the Upper East Side. He won, campaigning in person at subway stations, issuing newsletters and answering every piece of constituent mail. The same kind of campaign in 1969 won him the Congressional seat. The city’s finances tumbled and its infrastructure crumbled in the 1970s, and Koch ran for mayor in 1977 as a centrist candidate who would stand up to municipal employee

unions and make the city whole. He was elected and won twice more but in 1989 lost the primary to David Dinkins. In 1982, when Koch ran for governor, his own V.I.D. club refused to endorse him against Mario Cuomo and Koch joined the rival Village Reform Democratic Club but he fell out later with that club too. Tony Hoffman, current V.I.D. president and a former Village district leader, recalled the club’s split with Koch as the mayor became more politically conservative. “It’s understandable that a progressive Village club would have a different take on things from the mayor of the city, but Koch didn’t understand that. He didn’t like to be questioned. The differences escalated. We thought his closing of Sydenham Hospital in Harlem during his first term was racially insensitive. Koch later acknowledged that. We also supported the teachers’ union when he turned against it,” Hoffman said. “I blame Ed for the bitter split. He was mayor and should have gotten people together amicably. But that wouldn’t have been Ed Koch; he was pugnacious,” Hoffman said. Koch demanded loyalty from his friends and would break completely with old comrades who did or said things he didn’t like. One permanently broken Village friendship was with the late Ed Gold, a member of Community Board 2 and a journalist who frequently contributed articles to The Villager. Sometimes, however, Koch remained cordial with old friends despite irreconcilable differences, like with the late Martin Berger, who succeeded Koch as district leader. “By the time he invited us to a dinner event at Gracie Mansion, he knew we disagreed on a lot of issues but he didn’t consider us enemies,” said Keen Berger, Martin’s wife and currently female district leader. Koch never married, and his sexuality was an issue in his 1977 mayoral runoff against Mario Cuomo. One poster in that campaign said “Vote for Cuomo, not the homo,” but Andrew Cuomo, who was running the campaign for his father, denied being responsible for it. Koch said often that his sexuality was nobody’s business but he told a radio reporter in 1989 that he was heterosexual. Koch, who often crossed party lines to endorse candidates, became friendly in recent years with the black activist Rev. Al Sharpton who used to picket the mayor’s Washington St. apartment. A civil rights marcher in Mississippi in the 1960s, Koch as mayor had lost favor with black leaders. Congressman Jerry Nadler called Koch the “quintessential New Yorker.” Nadler said in a statement that he was proud to have been at Koch’s side “…on so many issues affecting the city and the State of Israel of which he was an unflinching supporter.” “He was irrepressible,” said George Artz, a public relations executive who had covered City Hall for the New York Post, served as the mayor’s press secretary during Koch’s third term, and remained a friend. “His leadership qualities were often underestimated,” Artz said, adding, “He always wanted to do the right thing and he raised the bar for public service.”


February 6 - February 19, 2013

Money, not sex, drove Koch’s AIDS policies, archives reveal BY DUNCAN OSBORNE When Mayor Ed Koch was running in the 1989 Democratic primary, speaking to voters at what is now called the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, he talked about the AIDS epidemic. “When the history of this era is written, I believe it will show that the eventual victory over AIDS was made possible by heroes in the gay and lesbian communities who led that battle,” Koch said, according to the text of his remarks archived at LaGuardia Community College. Implicit in his comments is that one person –– Mayor Ed Koch –– was not a leader in the fight against AIDS. As evidenced by the attacks on his administration by AIDS activists when he was mayor and widespread denunciations of obituaries written about him since his Feb. 1 death that ignored his poor response to the epidemic, the “heroes in the gay and lesbian communities” as well as bisexual and transgender New Yorkers would agree that Koch did not lead on AIDS. What is disputed is why Koch’s response to AIDS was tepid and ineffective. A common explanation is that the mayor was a closeted homosexual and feared that leading on AIDS would blow open his closet door. At best, that is an improbable account of his motivations. In 1974, then Congressman Koch co-sponsored legislation that would add sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While Bella Abzug, who also represented part of Manhattan, was the leader on that legislation, few members of Congress were willing to put their names on the bill. It was re-introduced in 1975 with just 23 co-sponsors, including Koch. As early as 1983, Koch was issuing proclamations declaring Gay Pride Week and he sold the West Village building that would become the LGBT Center to the community that

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year for $1.5 million. In 1986, Koch testified in favor of and signed legislation that added sexual orientation to the city’s anti-discrimination law. He also extended a few employee benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. By 1981, when the first reports on AIDS appeared, Koch, who ran City Hall from 1978 through 1989, was already associated with the gay community and he continued that association. The LaGuardia archive records suggest that Koch was initially disinterested in AIDS. He later opposed action because he did not want to spend the money necessary for an adequate response and he was unwilling to expend the political capital to defend what he viewed as controversial actions. The first memos mentioning AIDS came from Dr. David Sencer, then New York City’s health commissioner, and were sent to Nathan Leventhal, the deputy mayor for operations. AIDS was discussed in two such memos in 1982, but it was only one of several items. In May of 1983, Koch wrote to Sencer. “I am growing increasingly concerned about the number of AIDS cases that are being reported,” the mayor wrote. “It seems we can expect a continual rise in the number of cases in the foreseeable future.” Koch asked Sencer to convene the Board of Health to consider whether the city should require H.I.V. testing of all donated blood, to recommend precautions for medical personnel, and to weigh how to create “appropriate medical facilities” for people with AIDS. He asked Sencer to convene the meeting within two weeks and said he would then meet with the board. The records show that from 1985 through 1989, the internal Koch administration discussions were as concerned with how to pay for any response to AIDS and how to navigate the politics of that response as they were with taking steps to combat the epidemic in the first place.


An ACT Up protest poster.

Two 1985 memos to Koch from Victor Botnick, a mayoral special assistant, show City Hall planning or implementing initiatives, but Botnick also discusses funding mechanisms at length and notes where there is political opposition to a program. Botnick proposes solutions –– such as giving an AIDS housing site to a private group instead of having the city develop the housing –– in instances where he notes that opposition exists. A number of obituaries said that Koch fought to reduce the city’s welfare rolls. One Botnick memo that discussed providing care for people with AIDS suggests the administration wanted to avoid establishing any new public benefits.


ASH WEDNESDAY WeDNesDAY, FebRUARY 13 Ashes All Day – Outside Make a quick stop and receive the imposition of ashes: 7am-6pm • Trinity Church 7am-6pm • St. Paul’s Chapel, Church and Vesey Streets (7am-11am) Broadway (11am-2pm) Church and Fulton Streets (2-6pm) Imposition of Ashes – Inside The imposition of ashes also takes place inside continuously: 7am-8:30pm Trinity Church & St. Paul’s Chapel Liturgy of Ash Wednesday Trinity Church, 8am, 12:05pm & 6pm St. Paul’s Chapel, 7pm

sUNDAY, FebRUARY 17 & 24, 5pm TENEbrae A Lenten early music series with TENET and Trinity Wall Street. Tickets at Series continues on Sundays, March 3-17. Trinity Church ThURsDAY, FebRUARY 7 & 14, 1pm Concerts at One International Contemporary Ensemble Trinity Church

Continued on page 10

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

sT. PAUl’s ChAPel Broadway and Fulton Street ChARlOTTe’s PlACe 107 Greenwich Street btwn Rector & Carlisle Streets

Leah Reddy

The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, Rector The Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, Vicar

an Episcopal parish in the city of New York


February 6 - February 19, 2013

Principals brace for crowds as K registration begins BY KAITLYN MEADE Kindergarten registration opened up last week for public schools in New York City, and with more kids than previous years looking for K seats, it may be an even tighter fit than last year. The kindergarten registration period for Fall 2013 started Jan. 22 and ends March 1. While enrollment is certainly not first-comefirst-served, educators are warning parents to register their kindergartners for schools now. “If they’re considering public school, parents should make sure they’re registered at their locally zoned school,” said Principal Terri Ruyter of the Battery Park City School (P.S. 276). “The more accurate account we have about how many kids in the neighborhood need seats, the better we can plan.” Some parents who are “not paying attention” show up on Sept. 1 and expect to get a school seat, Ruyter said. Others, who initially register for their zoned school but later opt for private or alternative education, should make sure to let the public schools know that that seat is free. “There are other people on the waitlist,” Ruyter noted. “It’s being a good community member.” This is all the more pressing for P.S. 276 because of Downtown’s now notorious school overcrowding. Last year, P.S. 276 opened an online petition to ask city and state representatives to find other spaces for Kindergarten students.

The petition begins by warning that the “short-sighted fixes” have pushed the capacity of the school, and jeopardizes its future, particularly for its specialized, science, art and Pre-K programs. “Since we opened our doors, the D.O.E. has forced us to take on additional kindergarten classes (4 classes in 2010, 5 classes in 2011, and 5 classes in 2012.)” The petition states that as of Oct. 1, 2012, kindergarten was 65 percent over capacity, with five sections rather than the three sections it was initially designed for — leaving no room for the fifth grade classes set to open in the 2013-2014 school year. When asked if P.S. 276 will have to take on yet another additional kindergarten class this year, Ruyter said she did not know. As for the ever-increasing pool of students, she said that there was a team of parents, educators and representatives who were monitoring the situation and looking for solutions. As for enrollment so far this year, she said, “It’s going very well.” The Peck Slip School, incubated in the Tweed Courthouse, opened in 2012 with two kindergarten classes and will also to have two K sections in the upcoming year. “It’s looking more robust than last year, but similar,” said Principal Maggie Siena of January 2013 registration. “I think we’re up to about 20 right now. I’m hoping we get 50, which is what we’re projected for. The plan is for the school to have two class-

Currently at the Tweed Court House, the Peck Slip School zone is bound on the west by Church St., Canal St. to the north, Liberty St. to the south, and stretches around City Hall and Downtown Hospital.

es of each grade until it moves into the Peck Slip Post Office location in 2015, which will allow it to expand to five kindergarten classes. However, even these additions will not alleviate Downtown’s school overcrowding. The number of kids under 5 grew by 147 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to a report to the City Council by Eric Greenleaf, a professor at N.Y.U.’s Stern School of Business and member of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s School Overcrowding Task Force. In the 2012-13 school year, elementary schools in Community District 1 admitted 72 more kindergartners than they have space for. If the trend continues over the next three years, there may be a deficit of 250-300 kindergarten seats by 2015. Families in District 2, which stretches from 96th St. in Manhattan down F.D.R. Drive and encompasses all of Lower Manhattan except for the Lower East Side, must apply in person at their zoned school. If families would like to apply to more than one zoned school, they may do so, but have to apply to each one separately and in person. Priority is generally given to students who

live within that school’s zone and who have siblings already attending. The exception is P.S. 150 in Tribeca, which is the only non-zoned public school in Lower Manhattan. This K-5 school gives priority to students zoned to P.S. 89, P.S. 234, P.S.276, the Peck Slip School and Spruce Street School, whose siblings will be enrolled in 2013. To apply, check with the Manhattan Enrollment Office at 333 7th Avenue, 12th floor. Students will receive offers from the school in April. The D.O.E. is opening a new online application process this year for “unzoned schools” in District 1, a “choice” school district in the Lower East Side with no zoned schools. To help parents browse schools in NYC, the D.O.E. recently published an elementary school directory, which can be found in schools as well as online under “Enrollment Publications.” The directories provide district-by-district data on elementary school ratings, statistics and school programs. For more info, visit or call the Enrollment Office at 718-935-2009.

February 6 - February 19, 2013


First payouts to 9/11 health victims BY KAITLYN MEADE Over eleven years after the terrorist attacks toppled the Twin Towers and abruptly cut short more than 3,000 lives, the first money was paid to people suffering from the environmental fallout of 9/11. On Jan. 29, 14 firefighters and one corrections officer with respiratory ailments were reportedly awarded payments between $10,000 and $1.5 million for a range of conditions and economic losses. The names of the 15 awardees from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund have not been released. “They’re maintaining strict confidentiality,” said Brice Peyre, a spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney. He said none of the awardees had cancer and that the highest payment went to a career fire fighter in his 40s, whose physical condition will prevent him from being able to work again. It’s just the beginning for the Victim Compensation Fund in a long-in-coming promise made to first responders, sanitation workers and civilians by the Zadroga Act to provide healthcare or compensation for physical injuries stemming from exposure to toxic substances after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The first payment will only be ten percent of the awarded amount, with the rest distributed over time by the end of 2015. “They may not collect on 100 percent of

that award depending on how many other people apply and how many receive awards,” said Peyre. They simply don’t know how many people will apply for a share of the $2.8 billion set aside by Congress for the fund. “They want to make sure that everyone gets something,” he added. To make the application more accessible, Maloney and U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler met with the fund’s special master Sheila Birnbaum to hold an information session on the fund and its application process on Wed., Jan. 30. The fund will remain open until October of 2016, but anyone seeking to apply for a condition that he or she knew of before Oct. 3, 2011 must submit a claim by Oct. 3 of this year. And while many of the attendees took notes, many more voiced their main question: What’s taking so long? “We just want a time frame,” said Al Montalvo, a volunteer who spent four months at the World Trade Center site “multitasking,” primarily as a paramedic. After volunteering Downtown, he said he was diagnosed with asthma, post traumatic stress disorder and eventually lung cancer. He said he had applied to the fund “the minute it opened” and gotten a claim number on Aug. 14, 2012 but had not heard from them since then. Over 16,000 people have registered with

the V.C.F., reported Peyre, but only “several hundred” had completed applications, which were broken down into two parts: one to determine eligibility and one to claim monetary compensation.

So far, only a few hundred with reported health problems from 9/11 have been able to complete the paperwork for compensation. “I think it’s too complex,” said Bob Schneck, a member of the W.T.C. Health Steering Committee and Community Board 1. Schneck is eligible to apply to the fund for compensation and says he is currently studying the process. “I want to go through the process so that I can help other people with it.”

One thing he learned from applying is that it is difficult enough to make it worthwhile for most people to hire a lawyer, especially since attorneys can only take a ten percent cut of the award by law. The difficulty in applying may prevent a certain amount of fraud, a major concern for the fund’s earlier incarnation, but Schneck believes it is also the result of political infighting. “No one would say that they wanted to abandon the people of New York,” he said, but added, “they allowed the legislation to pass and then put significant obstacles in front of it.” For some first responders, however, it was too little, too late. The event was overshadowed by the death of Zadroga Act campaigner and former New York Fire Department lieutenant Martin Fullam, 56, on Mon., Jan. 28. Fullam was a 9/11 first responder from his home in Annadale on Staten Island. In 2005, two years after the Victim Compensation Fund was initially closed, he was diagnosed with polymyositis, a rare lung disease. Maloney praised him for his relentless campaign to get the V.C.F. reopened and mourned the fact that he did not live long enough to receive the award himself. Fullam was one of nine first responders who had died in the 72 hours before the forum. Suzy Ballantyne of the New York state A.F.L.C.I.O., a federation of labor organizations, commented: “Those are the individuals who would have been here today.”


February 6 - February 19, 2013

New middle schools pitched for Morton St. BY l I N Co l N A ND e r s o N Two middle schools may be coming to the soon-to-be-vacant West Village building at 75 Morton St. Members of the 75 Morton Task Force discussed possible school plans for the building on Jan. 24. The committee is a joint initiative of Community Board 2 and the District 2 Community Education Council. According to a School Construction Authority official, a likely scenario for the building between Hudson and Greenwich Sts. would be two middle schools, including a number of special education students. The 177,000-square-foot, seven-story building can accommodate 900 seats for students, of which S.C.A. would like 90 seats to be for special ed students. District 2 middle schools are typically not zoned, so the Morton St. building would likely draw a sizable number of students south of Canal St., where there are not many middle school choices. The site is currently used by the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, which was supposed to have already vacated, but the move-out was delayed by Superstorm Sandy. As part

of the approval last year of the Rudin residential redevelopment project for the former St. Vincent’s Hospital campus, the city agreed to buy 75 Morton St. from the state to help address the Village’s shortage of school seats. However, C.B. 2 and C.E.C. members weren’t set on the S.C.A.’s preferred uses for the building, and are still considering different mixes of uses, notably including an elementary school. Bob Ely, a neighbor who championed obtaining 75 Morton St. for a new school, said he felt that if there are to be two middle schools, an appropriate complementary use would be a good, small high school, along the lines of the Upper West Side’s Beacon School, which one of the middle schools could feed into. A big concern of P.S. 3 parents is that they’d like students for the middle schools to be screened by geographical preference, meaning local kids would get first dibs. But, Ely said, as opposed to elementary schools, middle schools generally don’t work that way. District 2 covers a very broad area, stretching from the Battery to the Upper East Side.

Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.

Ed Koch and AIDS Continued from page 7

“I know that we were careful not to create a new entitlement program for home care since it would be very costly and we do not provide these services free of charge to any other group,” Botnick wrote. “However, the need for hospice services is unique to this group and would not be nearly as costly as home care since the number of patients are far fewer.” City Hall was also aware of the criticism of its actions. New York City’s AIDS services were regularly compared to San Francisco’s, with New York always losing. An analysis by Botnick showed that the services and absolute dollars spent by each city were comparable; the caseloads were not. As of February 1985, San Francisco had 932 AIDS cases and New York City had 3,206. Koch’s struggle with needle exchange illustrates the degree to which his administration would not champion controversial actions even when his health commissioner was telling him they would work. In mid-1985, Sencer wrote Koch telling him that by “forcing addicts to use others’ needles and syringes, we are condemning large numbers of addicts to death from AIDS… Under these circumstances shouldn’t we attempt to practice preventive medicine and do something to interrupt the transmis-

sion of the virus? I think we should.” Instead, Koch took the advice of Kenneth Conboy, his criminal justice coordinator, and first asked the city’s five district attorneys for their views on this “sensitive public policy question.” Conboy recommended that Koch not yet approach the Legislature to change the state law requiring a prescription to possess a syringe. Conboy also wrote that since this was “principally a moral question, I think you should broach the matter privately with Cardinal O’Connor and other ranking spiritual leaders in the City.” Faced with opposition that was intense in some quarters, Koch took no action until 1988 when the city’s health department opened a pilot needle exchange program that served just 200 drug injectors out of the estimated 200,000 in the city. In an email to Gay City News, a sister publication of Downtown Express, Charles Kaiser, a friend of Koch’s, wrote, “[T]here are many politicians who have tried to keep their sexuality a secret who have had terrible records on gay rights issues. Ed Koch does not fit in this category. He actually has the longest pro-gay rights record of any successful New York politician I know of… So whatever his failures during the AIDS crisis, I have never believed that they were a result of his own discomfort with who he was.”

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• • • • • • PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE • • • • • • The Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District Steering Committee in conjunction with Friends of Hudson River Park will be hosting 4 Public Meetings on the proposed Improvement District. We hope you can join us to get more information, ask questions, and show your support at one of the following meetings:

Assemblyman Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email

Monday Feb. 11th @ 3:00pm Fulton Center Auditorium (119 Ninth Ave.)

Tuesday Feb. 12th @ 6:30pm Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center (120 Warren St.)

For more information please contact Jeffrey Aser at 212-757-0981 (


February 6 - February 19, 2013

Pier 17 shops fight for summer season Continued from page 1

dispute that,” said Robert LaValva, founder of the New Amsterdam Market on South Street. “But damage to Pier 17 and the Fulton Market (Bridgewaters) building was minimal. If Howard Hughes Corp. were truly committed to ‘continuously, uninterruptedly, actively, and diligently’ operating the South Street Seaport as their lease requires, they would have jumped right onto opening Pier 17 and the Fulton Market building as soon as possible, rather than dragging their feet.” Sal Himani, whose family owns six restaurants on Pier 17, said that after reopening, it took Howard Hughes two weeks to turn on external lighting on the pier. Even with a smattering of light, few customers made their way past the boarded-up stores of the South Street Seaport’s Fulton St. corridor and through the forbidding darkness to shop or dine on Pier 17. Now Howard Hughes Corp. is finishing what Sandy started. It is requiring all tenants to vacate their stores by the end of April. Howard Hughes has a contractual agreement with New York City’s Economic Development Corp. (E.D.C.), owner of the pier, stipulating that construction of a new mall on Pier 17 must

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Sal Himani, whose family owns six restaurants on Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport, sat in the nearly empty Pacific Grill on Jan. 23, vowing to fight a notice from landlord Howard Hughes Corp. to close by April 30.

begin by July 1. The tenants have been pleading with Howard Hughes for more time, but so far, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. “Every tenant in the mall, including

myself, is losing money every single day until April 15th. That’s when the weather gets warmer and our business picks up,” Himani said. “Every winter, it’s tough, but in summer, the crowds come, and you

make it back.” The tenants ideally would like to remain on the pier until the end of September so they could recoup their losses. But even a stay of eviction until the end of June would be helpful, Himani said. “Everyone lost everything they had,” he said. “Everyone is in such a state of depression. Their hearts are broken.” In order for Howard Hughes to proceed with tearing down the existing structure on Pier 17 and replacing it with a glass-enclosed mall, it still has two hurdles to clear. Some elements of the design must still be approved by the City Planning Commission, which will vote on them on Feb. 6 and then the plan must be approved by the City Council. At a City Planning Commission meeting on Feb. 4, commissioners noted that the Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected Howard Hughes’ plan to put a large “Seaport” sign on the pier and had reiterated that opposition despite a new request made by the firm. Himani and some of the other tenants had hoped that City Planning or City Council could or would intervene on their behalf. But Michael Levine, director of planning and land use for Community Board 1, said that placing any hope in City Continued on page 13


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February 6 - February 19, 2013

Grieving mother calls on parents to end gun violence Continued from page 1

“I’m strong because of the kids,” said Delgado, who didn’t shed a tear until after she stepped away from the microphone. “If it took my son’s death to save all the kids in my community — if that’s the sacrifice that had to be made — then let’s make a change that way.” The Jan. 31 unity rally, which was organized and led by a broad coalition of youth-based organizations, settlement houses and elected officials, began at the corner of E. 6th St. and Avenue D, and concluded near the corner of Columbia and Rivington Sts., just steps away from where the unarmed Ward was murdered. And although so many mourners continue to turn to religion in this and other times of crisis, Delgado called on her neighbors to never lose sight of their personal responsibilities. “We’re gonna pull through this together,” she said. “But it’s us, the parents — we have to do this. We have to be more proactive. We can’t just let them walk out the door and say, ‘God protect my baby, I’ll leave it in God’s hands, I know my son’s going to be fine.’ That’s not it. It’s us, along with God.” Those words echoed a fast-growing sentiment among a community — one dominated by public housing — whose residents and representatives say it is dangerously lacking in positive youth programs, anti-violence outreach and support for struggling, low-income parents. Later, Delgado also announced that a sports-oriented youth foundation will soon be created in her son’s name, while adding that it is still in the early planning stages. Numerous other speakers also highlighted the need for an even stronger reaction to the plague of illegal guns. Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, who last week called for another district attorney-sponsored gun buyback event — which allows people to anonymously hand over firearms in exchange for cash — drilled those points home once again after the Jan. 31 rally. “We’ve been to many of these events in our community,” Kavanagh said, “where we’ve had to ask: Why? Why does this have to happen again and again? And part of it is that people, when they look around and believe they see danger within their community, they think, ‘I have to arm myself too. I have to get a gun. I have to be careful. I have to be ready.’ “But we have to make sure that people understand,” he continued, “that if you’re picking up a gun, you’re only making yourself more vulnerable, you’re making other people more vulnerable, and you’re only bringing on another tragedy. We just don’t need the guns in this community.” The Lower East Side’s first gun buyback event, last October, took 50 guns off the street. More recently, officials

Downtown Express photos by Sam Spokony

Arlene Delgado, the mother of slain L.E.S. teen Raphael Ward, spoke at the Jan. 31 unity rally, flanked by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, left, and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh.

announced that a Feb. 2 buyback in Brooklyn took in 113 weapons. A representative of the Manhattan D.A.’s office said, at a Jan. 17 community forum, that the office is considering holding another buyback — and Kavanagh recently said that he has been part of those discussions for the past several weeks. And those two powerful messages — one of parent and community responsibility, and another of anti-gun fervor — were perhaps most eloquently juxtaposed by Jackie Rowe-Adams, who co-founded the group Harlem Mothers SAVE (Stop Another Violent End) in 2006 after losing two sons to gun violence. “You want to talk about stop and frisk? Frisk your kids before they leave the house!” Rowe-Adams said. “Parents need to stay involved. Yeah, it’s about getting more programs, but you need to take your kids there. You gotta get up, get out from in front of the TV, stop smoking weed with your kids — yeah I said it! — and take care of your kids and pay attention.” And the cry for help came not only from parents, but from the children of the Lower East Side. Of the many young people in attendance that night, two stepped forward to share their thoughts. They were Jasmine White, 19, and Mesha Moore, 17, two Baruch Houses residents who were close friends of Raphael Ward. The two girls spoke brief-

Local children joined their parents in marching through the L.E.S. on Jan. 31, calling for an end to gun violence.

ly, but they shared a poignant reminder about the power of communication within a family. “As kids, there’s only so much we can do,” White said. “We need parents, and other adults, to help us. If you know your child is doing wrong, don’t just let them

keep doing wrong. Talk to them about it. And even if they don’t listen, talk to them anyway. “Yeah, we may argue with you, or tell you we hate you, but the things you say will always stick there in the back of our minds.”


February 6 - February 19, 2013

Your doctor retired to where?

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Although Pier 17 reopened on Dec. 6, 2012 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, many stores remain closed and there are few customers.

Another reason to call.

Seaport stores facing eviction Continued from page 11

Planning was misguided. “The issue of when the tenants are being asked to leave is not subject to the ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] process,” he said. “It’s strictly a matter of the lease between E.D.C. and The Howard Hughes Corporation. It’s the E.D.C. that’s requiring that the property be prepared for construction by June 30. Howard Hughes is responding to the E.D.C., not to the Planning Commission’s requirements to obtain the zoning changes they need to rebuild the pier.” He said that neither Howard Hughes nor the E.D.C. had made a move to change the due date. “Either party could have initiated the decision,” Levine said. “Neither party is willing to.” But the pier’s owner, the city’s E.D.C., refused to comment on the standoff between Howard Hughes and the Pier 17 tenants. “This is a landlord/tenant matter,” said a spokesperson. Nevertheless, Community Board 1 passed a resolution Jan. 22, reiterating a previous request that “the Howard Hughes Corporation delay reconstruction of Pier 17 until after the summer 2013 and extend the deadline for the Clipper City [a sightseeing ship that moors at Pier 17] and other Pier 17 businesses from June 30, 2013 to September 30, 2013 to permit operation through the important summer season.” City Councilmember Margaret Chin

and members of her staff have met with some of the Pier 17 tenants. On a Jan. 23 conference call with Hughes executives, she asked them to give tenants an extension, but has still not received a response. “The councilmember is advocating for the businesses to be allowed to operate over the summer,” said Chin’s spokesperson, Kelly Magee. “She is also talking to [New York City] Deputy Mayor [Robert K.] Steel and will soon sit down with the E.D.C.” “It’s not just about us as tenants of the Seaport,” said Himani. “It’s this whole area of Lower Manhattan from Water St. to Front St. to Fulton St. — everybody’s counting on all this tourist traffic coming here in the summer. We’ve been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The whole area has. And how is this area going to recover unless we’re here to do business in the summer time?” Tom Berton, owner of Clipper City, said he would have to lay off 40 employees if Howard Hughes proceeds with its plan of closing the pier down on April 30. Berton said that around 1,000 people are employed on the pier. Some of the Himani family’s leases on Pier 17 extend well beyond the April 30 eviction date, but Sal Himani did not want to comment on any legal action they may take. A Howard Hughes spokesperson, Alex Howe, said the firm had no comment on the April 30 eviction or the requests for extensions made by Councilmember Chin and C.B. 1.

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February 6 - February 19, 2013

B Y Terese Loeb Kreuzer

225 Rector Place on a roll:

The 24-story building at 225 Rector Place has bounced back after a few years that made headlines when its former developer, Yair Levy, converted it to condos from rentals and then dipped into its reserve fund for his own personal use. The Related Companies built the apartment house in 1985, sold it to Levy in 2005, and in 2010, repurchased it from Anglo Irish Bank, which had foreclosed on the property. By the time Levy was out of the picture (except for a court order that he repay the $7.4 million that he had nipped from the building’s reserve fund), Related had begun to revamp the building’s structure and soothe its beleaguered tenants. It hired the Irish designer Clodagh to redesign everything from the sun deck and cabana on the roof to the lobby, now handsomely decorated with huge mirrors and a dramatic floral display near the reception desk. She redid the hallways in subdued shades of brown and beige, redesigned the fitness center and skylighted swimming pool, designed a children’s play room and furnished a model apartment. Related was looking for a “Zen-like” feeling said sales director Sherry Tobak. After several years of jangled nerves in that building, Zen was no doubt welcome. Subsequently, Related also hired Jonathan Adler to decorate a few model apartments. He came up with a jazzy look that would probably appeal to prospective buyers who want some swagger in their living spaces. Now, of 225 Rector’s 286 apartments, 150 have sold and closed and 43 have sold but not yet closed. The apartments range in size from studios of around 550 square feet to three bedrooms of just under 2,000 square feet and in price from $500,000 to $2.5 million. Like the rest of Battery Park City, the building is in flood zone A and is just across West St. from several buildings that were darkened for more than a month by Superstorm Sandy. But, according to Tobak, this has not had an effect on sales. “I have not seen one single buyer who’s concerned since the storm,” she said. “We survived the storm without any problems.

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The annual CANstruction show at 2 World Financial Center is always intriguing and also helps a good cause. The canned food is donated to City Harvest after the show finishes.

No water came up this block. We’re on a hill. We did not lose any deals. We did not lose any momentum. Everything has been moving as quickly now as it did before the storm.” She also said that banks weren’t balking at giving mortgages in the flood zone that includes Battery Park City.

Canstruction at 2 World Financial Center:

Canstruction, that annual exhibit consisting of canned food stacked into wildly imaginative sculptures whose theme is hunger and how to allay it, usually comes to 2 World Financial Center just before Thanksgiving. After the show, the canned food is donated to City Harvest for distribution to New Yorkers in need. This year, Superstorm Sandy derailed that plan. Now, Canstruction is back through Feb. 11. As usual, some of the city’s top architecture and engineering firms have created amazing structures such as a top, a beehive, chess pieces, stairs that seem to have nothing to support them, a balloon dog and

more — all made with stacked cans. The sculptures are always assembled during one night of frantic work — this year, on Jan. 31. They are judged by a panel of experts who look for such things as best use of labels, well-balanced meals and structural ingenuity. Founded in 1992, there are now Canstruction events in more than 100 cities worldwide. Participating firms donate staff time and either arrange for the food to be donated or pay for it themselves. This year, 25 firms entered the New York City competition. Admission to the show is free, but visitors are encouraged to contribute high-quality, non-perishable food to the collection effort. Tuna, beans and canned vegetables are welcome and can be dropped off in designated boxes throughout the World Financial Center. The show is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except on Feb. 11, when it will close at 5 p.m. For more information, go to www.

Valentine workshop:

Anyone who has attended the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s valentinemaking workshops in past years knows how engrossing they are. The Conservancy culls materials such as flowers and ferns from B.P.C.’s gardens and also supplies a wide assortment of papers, ribbons and fabrics such as velvet, satin and lace. The room hums with creative energy capped by evident satisfaction with the finished products. This year the free workshop will be on Feb. 9 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at 6 River Terrace. It’s recommended for ages 4 years old through adult. No reservations are necessary.

Museum of Jewish Heritage and Ed Koch:

New York’s late, beloved mayor, Ed Koch, had a special relationship with the Museum of

Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City. As was noted in numerous news stories, Koch selected the last words of journalist Daniel Pearl for inscription on his tombstone: “My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am Jewish.” Muslim terrorists beheaded Pearl on Feb. 1, 2002. Koch died on that date 11 years later. On Feb. 1, Robert M. Morgenthau, chairman of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and David G. Marwell, its director, issued a statement about Koch’s death. “This morning we mourn the loss of our dear friend and ‘Godfather,’ the Honorable Mayor Edward I. Koch,” it said. “Since his death was announced early this morning, the news coverage describing ‘New York’s Mayor’ has focused on his political life as a four-term congressman and three-term mayor. But his role in our Museum has made a significant impact on this city as well. Simply put, were it not for Ed Koch, we would not exist.” The statement explained that as mayor, Koch created a Holocaust task force whose work determined that a museum and a memorial should be built in New York City. In 1982, he established the New York City Holocaust Memorial Commission, which resulted in the creation of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. “The son of Polish-Jewish parents who came to this country in the late 19th century, he took great pride in his Jewish heritage and as a young infantryman in World War II, he encountered anti-Semitism on both a personal and global level,” the statement continued. “He felt a great sense of responsibility to the Jewish people and to Holocaust memory, and to ensure that the memories of survivors would not be forgotten, he envisioned our Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. May his memory be a blessing.” To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@

February 6 - February 19, 2013


Con Ed seeks $400m rate hike to pay for Sandy BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER Facing a room full of Greenwich Village residents who had lost their electricity during Superstorm Sandy, David Gmach, director of public relations for Con Edison, said it wasn’t the company’s fault. “The flooding was on a level that had not been predicted,” he said, “and was much worse than anything we had seen.” Out of the 1.1 million Con Ed customers who lost service, around 230,000 were in Manhattan. Most were south of 40th Street on the East Side and south of 30th St. on the West Side. Some of the service was restored within a week, but some buildings remained without grid-supplied power for weeks or months, in part because their own internal electrical systems had been damaged or destroyed. Con Edison, which supplies electric, gas and steam service to more than three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, took an estimated $350 million to $450 million hit because of Superstorm Sandy. Now it’s time to pay the tab. Much of that money will come out of consumers’ pockets. On Jan. 25, the utility asked the New York State Public Service Commission to approve rate increases of $375 million for electric delivery service and $25 million for gas service. Con Ed estimates that if these increases are approved, the average electric

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

West St. two weeks after Superstorm Sandy knocked out much of the electricity in Lower Manhattan.

bill would go up 3.3 percent and the average gas bill, 1.3 percent. Steam customers would see a 10.1 percent decrease in their rate because Con Ed has converted two steam plants from burning fuel oil to natural gas, which is significantly less expensive. The new rates would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 for a period of one year. However, Con Ed said that it was open to discussing a multi-year rate plan for each service, with

revenue targets for its electric, gas and steam systems of $272 million in 2015 and $351 million in 2016. In addition to having to recoup losses from Sandy, Con Edison is looking at large expenditures to protect its equipment and wiring from future storms. The company plans on spending $1 billion through 2016, with $250 million already earmarked for this year. This money would be used to protect

equipment in low-lying areas, to build higher flood walls around Con Ed facilities and to reinforce overhead wiring or to bury it, where possible. Con Edison hopes that some of the money will come from the federal government. Gmach, addressing Community Board 2’s Environmental Committee in early January, described in detail what happened when Sandy came calling. Preemptively, on the night of Oct. 29, Con Edison shut off power to the Financial District east of Broadway and south of the Brooklyn Bridge. “You don’t want to have a lot of water, salt and energized equipment coming together,” he said. “That’s a recipe for disaster.” He said the salt water would have been devastating for the equipment. “It’s better to turn everything off beforehand so that when you can pump out the water and clean off the salt, you haven’t damaged the equipment,” he said. “It turned out that it was the right decision because had we not done that, you would have seen a lot more fires being caused and a lot more damage to equipment that would take much longer to replace.” Gmach said that Con Edison knew in advance that its East River complex on East 13th Street would flood. It includes a steam plant, a generating plant for electricity and several substations. To mitigate the damContinued on page 27


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M.A.T. bests I.S. 289 in crosstown showdown

Downtown Express photos by Kaitlyn Meade

I.S. 289 defender Althea Jackson de Rosa, left, and Emma Simmel close in on M.A.T.’s Amber Thiery.

BY KAITLYN MEADE A nine-year basketball rivalry between two Downtown middle schools culminated in the season’s final showdown between the Manhattan Academy of Technology and I.S. 289. “It’s a big rivalry,” said eighth grader Daniela Zirpolo, an M.A.T. Dragons’ team captain, and the only varsity player to be on the team since sixth grade. On Fri., Jan. 25, the girls’ and boys’ teams hit the court to demonstrate their skills for over 500 people at M.A.T. in Chinatown. The girls played first, at 3:45 p.m., followed by the boys’ game at 5 p.m.

The Dragons started out strong in the girls’ game, with early points stacking up a sizeable lead. But the Lady Cougars from Battery Park City were determined and kept the ball in their court until 289’s Emma Simmel scored a basket. The Dragons held the lead by halftime with 18 points and maintained it through the second half, widening their lead with choice shots by high scorer Zirpolo. Steals by the Cougars’ Althea Jackson de Rosa kept the Dragons working hard for their points. Cougar Audrey Kelly scored the last points with two free throws with 20 seconds left on

Downtown Express photos by Kaitlyn Meade

I.S. 289 and M.A.T. boys teams battled Jan. 25.

the clock. M.A.T. won 28 to 9, making them number one in the league. The boys’ game was closer, with a back and forth struggle for the ball with high turnovers. The M.A.T. boys won by a score of 38 to 30.   Derek Smith scored 18 points for M.A.T. and had 7 assists, and Tyler Kraehling, who played with a hurt finger, also came through for his team. I.S. 289 was led by point guard Kobi Greene and William Liotti, who tipped in a basket at the third quarter buzzer. M.A.T. coach John De Matteo said, “I

thought that it was a great event for the community and I was very proud of how my kids played and how my school rallied around our team.” He was echoed by his counterpart, Blake Hepburn, who coaches the team as part of Manhattan Youth’s afterschool program. He said the crosstown showdown “really gives the kids the feeling that they’re playing on a high level.” The post-season games have yet to be played and both schools will be working towards the league’s championships in February.

Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio

Photo by Wendy Chapman

Young builders From collage creations to Papier Mache skyscrapers, the young artists of P.S. 150 proudly displayed their work at the Tribeca Learning Center’s NYC Museum Show on Tues., Jan. 29. There were even miniature docents to give guided tours of the exhibits! First Grader Hannah Ciniglio (left) stands in front of the first grade’s cityscape. The school studied different aspects of New York City to create the exhibition. First graders studied playgrounds in NYC, while Kindergarteners studied transportation. Third grader Nicholas Perez (right) perfects his Papier Mache building in P.S. 150’s art room. Their New York content studies included field trips, art, math, reading and writing.


February 6 - February 19, 2013

transit sam ALTER N ATE S I DE PA R K ING RULES A RE SUSPE N D E D O N TUES D AY, F EBRUA RY 1 2 F OR L IN C OL N ’ S B I RT H D AY; ALL OT H ER RULES REMA I N IN E FF E C T Happy Lunar New Year! On Sunday afternoon, watch out for dancers parading through Chinatown on the following streets: Mott St., the Bowery, East Broadway, Elizabeth St. and Pell St. In Holland Tunnel news, one Manhattanbound lane will close overnight 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday. One New Jersey-bound lane will close overnight 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday. All Manhattan-bound lanes of the Lincoln Tunnel helix (the spiral approach road to the tunnel) will close overnight Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. Additionally, all lanes of the New Jerseybound helix will close 11:59 p.m. Wednesday to 4:30 a.m. Thursday, so drivers will detour to the Holland Tunnel on both sides of the Hudson. On the southbound F.D.R. Drive, there will be a 47-hour closure of the Brooklyn Bridge/Civic Center/Pearl St. exit overnight 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday

that will affect access to the Brooklyn Bridge. Take the South St./Manhattan Bridge exit (located one exit north on F.D.R. South) to the bridge instead. On West St./Route 9A, one lane will close in each direction between W. Thames and Vesey Sts. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. One southbound lane will close near W. Thames St. 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday and Friday. Tribeca street closures this week: Leonard St. will close between W. Broadway and Church St. 6 a.m. Saturday through 9 p.m. Sunday. Due to ongoing construction, Chambers St. will fully close between W. Broadway and Church St. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. At all other times, traffic on Chambers St. runs one-way westbound. Crane lifts will close Greenwich St. between Franklin and N. Moore Sts. 8 a.m. to on 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. F ROM THE MAILB AG: Dear Transit Sam, I have been parking in Battery Park City during the week and have encountered typical alternate side parking

rules, such as ‘No Parking 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday & Thursday.’ I have learned the game where you wait in your car for the street sweeper, move until it passes, and assume your spot again. I would wait in the car until 10:30 before leaving. If I move my car for the street sweeper (say at 9:30) and then re-park my car, is it necessary to wait until the full time period has elapsed to avoid a ticket? Would the police ticket an unattended car after the street has been cleaned just because it is before the time limit on the sign?

Readers! Help Tim out: If any reader has a solution to this problem, we’ll set them up with a Nobel Prize in Urban Affairs. Or at the very least, we’ll publish it in this column. Transit Sam Questions about parking or traffic? Email me at My 2013 parking calendar with Gridlock Alert Days and Summons Alert Days is available at

Tim, Battery Park City Sorry Tim, but while we may have discovered the Higgs boson particle, we have yet to figure out a way around this conundrum. You may even get a ticket for waiting in your car until the ‘No Parking’ period is over, since the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law states: “When parking is prohibited by signs or rules, no person shall stop a vehicle, attended or unattended, except temporarily for the purpose of and while expeditiously receiving or discharging passengers or load or unloading property to or from the cub.”




February 6 - February 19, 2013

Editorial Jennifer Goodstein

More park space needed in Hudson Square plan

Publisher EMERITUS

The City Planning Commission


John W. Sutter Editor


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Account Executives

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Art / Production Director

approved a major rezoning for an 18-block area of Hudson Square at the end of last month. Propelling the rezoning is Trinity Real Estate, which feels legalizing residential use in the currently manufacturing-zoned former “Printing District” will create a better, more balanced neighborhood. Trinity projects the plan — creating a 25 percent residential enclave — would add 6,000 to 8,000 new residents within the next 10 years. As we’ve previously stated, we support a residential rezoning for Hudson Square. It will create more of a 24/7 neighborhood in an area now desolate at night and on weekends. It will attract much-needed retail amenities, particularly, a supermarket, which the neighborhood’s current residents — who constitute only 4 percent of the area’s occupancy — desperately want. Also, critically, the rezoning caps building heights in a district currently with no height limits at all — which resulted in the 450-foot-tall Trump Soho condo-hotel. However, as we’ve said from the start, we think the heights Trinity seeks are too high. Its recommended height of 320 feet on wide avenues is more fitting for Midtown zoning. Borough President Scott Stringer, in his part of the ULURP (uniform land use review procedure) got Trinity to lower this height to 290 feet, the

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To The Editor: I was so happy to hear Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer on 1010 WINS news radio Thursday morning calling for safer subways when the trains are coming into the station. Here Downtown, on the now defunct Community Board 1 World Trade Committee, we had been asking for this for years as part of the new Fulton Street Station through platform screen doors. P.S.D.’s are used now in Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. The P.S.D.’s are used by the Port of Authority on their Air Train. They allow the platform to be air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter, and mostly prevent platform accidents.

level City Planning just approved. However, that’s still taller than Community Board 2’s recommendations — 250 feet with affordable housing included, and 210 feet without. We agree with C.B. 2. The board also urged that the rezoning address the issue of open space. Specifically, a new population of 8,000 residents, under city standards, requires 12 acres of open space. The proposed rezoning district currently meets standards for passive — but not active — recreational space, the latter of which is 1.71 acres per 1,000 residents. In a district where there really isn’t anywhere to “go horizontal” for open space, the community board hit upon the idea of “going vertical,” recommending that Trinity create a 50,000-square-foot community recreation center on three floors of the extra-tall (originally designed at 430 feet) residential tower it plans at Duarte Square, at Canal St. and Sixth Ave. One acre is 43,000 square feet, so this rec center would help partially address the open space imbalance. There is a desperate need for more recreation and school space in the broad Lower Manhattan area, and this plan has the potential to provide enormous help. Trinity, admirably, already has committed to including space for a 444-seat public elementary school in this building’s base, but it needs to go a step further now toward helping solve the area’s open space problem.

There have been six N.Y.C. subway related platform deaths in the last one and a half months. In C.B.1 W.T.C. meetings, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority informed us that there are no official records kept of injuries and deaths due to open platforms – but one doctor at Downtown Hospital told me all you have to do to realize the need is see one of the many who come in weekly with subway injuries. A few months back, the M.T.A. started to publish official figures. When Manhattan B.P. Stringer states that “too many people are dying,” our M.T.A needs to listen, as this will save lives. Possibly this can start here Downtown with P.S.D.’s at the new Fulton Street World Trade Center Station. Tom Goodkind Member, Community Board 1

In the end, what City Planning voted to approve was that — once building permits have been issued for 1,000 new units of housing — Trinity will pay $5.6 million to be used for the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, at Clarkson St. and Seventh Ave. South or, at the Parks Department’s discretion, for other recreation centers in the vicinity. Dapolito, however, isn’t in the actual rezoning area, though it is in the so-called affected “study area.” Needless to say, David Gruber, C.B. 2 chairperson, said he was “not happy” about this development. Gruber assures that Trinity could still construct a tower at Duarte Square with a 9 F.A.R. (floor area ratio) if both a school and rec center are included — just that Trinity would have to rejigger the building’s massing a bit. And, frankly, as terrific as the venerable Clarkson St. rec center is, it’s heavily used already. Some might argue that Pier 40, with its large sports field, is nearby. Yet that facility is extremely heavily used by local youth and adult leagues and schools. In short, we need more active recreation facilities in this neck of the woods as it is today, right now. And, after all, wouldn’t that only be in keeping with Mayor Bloomberg’s health initiatives? The City Council now has a month to vote on the rezoning, before which there will be a required public hearing. The open space issue must be addressed.

Posted To ... “Remembering Harold Reed, advocate for the arts & Downtown” (Notebook, Jan. 23): Harold Reed was a man from another age — a true gentleman. He welcomed me twice to the Seaport, in 2003 and again in 2010, and always with a smile and bon mot during many chance meetings over the years. His chosen vocation was making the Seaport district a better place to live and work, and in this pursuit he was neither judgmental nor strident. As an artist and businessman, I believe he understood and welcomed the

tension and need for both commerce and culture. He will be missed, and I daresay, cannot be replaced. Michael Piazzola So sad to hear the news. He always brightened my day with a smile or a little conversation on Water Street. He will be missed greatly. Todd H He was a good man with a ready smile and a joke. I am sad to hear this. Jean

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


February 6 - February 19, 2013


From City Hall to silver screens: The Life of Ed Koch By JERRY TALLMER Fifty years is a long time to have known somebody, and it has been all of 50 years and more since we of the new weekly Village Voice were cultivated by a cleancut Uptown reform Republican named John Vliet Lindsay and a Downtown legaleagle reform Democrat named Edward Irving Koch. Each of these gentlemen, tall, gracious, idealistic Lindsay, certified WASP, and tall, gabby, balding Ed Koch, certified “Hebe,” repeatedly — and often at the same moment — found their way up a narrow flight of stairs to the rattletrap floor-through editorial office and birthplace of The VV at 22 Greenwich Ave., next door to Sutter’s bakery, across 10th St. from the Women’s House of Detention. There, at our desks, they each in turn, or both together, Lindsay and Koch, would shoot the breeze with editor Daniel Wolf, publisher Edwin C. Fancher, and even with me, certified culture vulture of the “back of the book” — the theater and arts section — of the paper. I do not remember that we — Koch and I — ever much talked about movies. We talked about how to try to unseat the dark-eyeglassed Tammany Hall district leader Carmine De Sapio who, in conjunction with hard-driving young Robert Kennedy, this crucial year of 1960, seemed to have a stranglehold on the entire looming Democratic National Convention. We all know how that turned out — and ended in Dallas, Texas, Nov, 22, 1963. Ed Koch’s unprecedented three terms as mayor of New York City still lay distantly before us. And so did his career as film critic, much less my own as allpurpose critic, reporter, feature writer, and editorialist for Dorothy Schiff’s New York Post for 30-something years until disposed of by Rupert Murdoch in his night of the long knives. Koch knew how to squeeze a nickel. Ira Blutreich

The Spirit of Ed Koch will always live on.

Downtown Express File Photo by Jefferson Siegel

Gracie Mansion be damned. To the end, he clung onto his $450-a-month rent-controlled Greenwich Village apartment, from which you could spy all those rooftop water tanks that Joseph Kahn, veteran New York Post investigative reporter, loved to paint. I mean, paint pictures of. Koch let him come in every so often and do it, hanging out Koch’s window. When Fancher and Wolf sold The Village Voice in 1970, Mayor Ed moved Dan Wolf, as an unpaid advisor — on race relations and everything else — right to a special desk in a room next to Koch’s own locale in City Hall. Again, I doubt if Koch and Wolf discussed movies a great deal. Too much real-life Spike Lee-type cinema unreeling on all sides, So imagine my surprise when, one fine day eight or nine years ago I found myself wandering through a movie review in The Villager by one Edward I. Koch. And again the following week. And the next. And every week thereafter.

They weren’t movie reviews as such. They were reviews of other people’s reviews, and/ or stuff like the weather that day, and what this reviewer — Ed Koch — had had to nosh during the picture, and whether the movie at hand had been worth the price of admission, and if the theater seat had been too comfortable, or not comfortable enough, and whether his weekend moviegoing companion had enjoyed it or hated it, and so on and so forth. Finally, Karen Cooper, who founded and runs the invaluable, impeccable Film Forum on Houston St., and takes film (particularly documentary film) very seriously indeed, had had enough. She wrote a long, angry dissection of the Koch critical process which The Villager and this paper printed in full, and then — by way of balance I suppose — the papers’ then publisher John W. Sutter called me up and asked if I’d like to spend a Saturday accompanying Ed Koch to the movies and writing up how the former mayor went about creating his reviews. Koch would like to do it, John Sutter said. I said sure. I’m always interested in how things work. We picked a Saturday and a movie and a theater — the Angelika, I think — and one week later I was almost out the door on the way to the assignment when the telephone rang again. It was John Sutter. “It’s off” he said. “He changed his mind. He doesn’t want to do it. He’s afraid of what you might do to him.” So now we’ll never know. I’m sorry, Ed. You were many things, good and not so good, but as your old antagonist Al Sharpton said the night of the day you died, you were — unlike so many other people in your business — always authentic, always flesh and blood. And you played a supreme joke on the universe: You kicked the bucket at New York Presbyterian (where you’d arrived saying: “How’m I doing?” 88 years earlier), at 2 o’clock in the morning of the day that Neil Barsky’s “Koch”, a documentary all about you, was itself arriving at the Angelika movie theater on Houston St. That’s entertainment.

Reviewing Hizzoner, the movie critic Ed Koch wrote movie reviews for this paper and one other place I worked, so over the years I’ve heard the literal groans from at least a few arts editors who were not too happy about it. I understood their criticisms. Koch penned many books on politics and world affairs, but when it came to movie reviews, his writing was far from accomplished. He frequently quoted other reviewers and went off on tangents. But the tangents, I always thought, was what appealed to the publishers who hired him, and to many readers. They were Koch’s memories of running the city, his world views and his personal peeves. They were unmistakably Ed. If memory serves, one of my earliest of Mayor Koch is his outrage over movie theaters raising prices to $6 after years of being stuck at $5. It sounds strange and funny now, but at the time, it seemed to me like the mayor was sticking up for all New Yorkers. I edited a good number of his reviews and never wanted to change all that much. I remember his first review of a Jennifer Anniston movie. He trashed her acting, and didn’t give her career much hope. He seemed oblivious to how famous the “Friends” star was. Had any other writer conveyed their Anniston ignorance, I would have cut it without thinking, but from Koch, it seemed like an endearing quirk that revealed something. There were shows Koch watched, and those he didn’t know about. His “everyman” approach to critiques was helpful. I often agreed with him when he said the other critics were making too much of a movie. Like most movie reviewers, Koch gave away too much of the film, but his “+” and “-” ratings made it easier to tune out the plot summary to get what you need to know: should you see the movie or not. The less you know about a movie, the more likely you are to be surprised and like it. Letter writers were angry when Koch gave away the ending to “Million Dollar Baby”. They were right, but no one ever accused Koch of worrying too much about what other people thought. That was part of his charm.

– Josh Rogers


sAturDAY FAmIlY ProGrAms At tHe sKYsCrAPer museum Dinosaurs aren’t the only big and tall creations to fascinate the very young and very short. Towering skyscrapers also have a pull on the 7+ set — and there’s no better place to see them than right here, in the world’s foremost vertical metropolis. But why crane your neck looking upwards? Explore tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction and places of work and residence (and build one of your own!) at The Skyscraper Museum. Their winter/spring “Saturday Family Program” series features workshops designed to introduce children and their families to the principles of architecture and engineering through handson activities. On Feb. 9, the “Valentine’s Day Card Creations” workshop lets you climb to the top of a loved one’s heart by making them a homemade skyscraper card. All workshops ($5 per family) are for ages 7+ and take place at 10:30am. Registration is required. Call 212-945-6324 or email education@ At 39 Battery Place (btw. First Place & Little West St.). Regular museum hours are Wed.-Sun., 12-6pm. Admission is $5 ($2.50 for students/seniors). tHe sCHolAstIC store Held every Saturday at 3pm, Scholastic’s in-store activities are designed to get kids reading, thinking, talking, creating and moving. On Sat., Feb. 9, the “Chinese New Year” event invites kids ages 4 and up to break out their favorite red clothing and ring in the Year of the Snake! Make paper lanterns and find out what animal you were born under on the Chinese Zodiac. Plus, make your own

February 6 - February 19, 2013

Paper Flying Dragon! On Sat., Feb. 16, celebrate Clifford the Big Red Dog’s 50th birthday. This all-ages party has face painting, dancing and cupcakes for all — plus the chance to make a birthday hat, then wear it while having your picture taken with the birthday boy…ah, we mean, birthday dog! On Sat., Feb. 23, meet Stephen Savage, who’ll read from his new book, “Polar Bear Morning” (a follow-up to the popular “Polar Bear Night”). After meeting the author, make your own pom-pom bear to take home. This event is perfect for ages 3 and up. At 11am every Tues., Wed. and Thurs., the Scholastic Storyteller brings tales to life at Daily Storytime. At 557 Broadway (btw. Prince & Spring Sts.). Store hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm and Sun., 11am-6pm. For info, call 212-343-6166 or visit scholastic. com/sohostore.


FANCY NANCY tHe musICAl The Vital Theatre Company’s tuneful adaptation of the beloved book series finds the girl with a flair for fancy words, clothes and décor in the middle of a serious personal crisis. Along with good friends Bree, Rhonda, Wanda and Lionel, Nancy has landed a role in the school play (“Deep Sea Dances”). That’s the good news. The bad news: Nancy won’t be a glamorous mermaid, just a dreary and dull tree. After the initial disappointment, our heroine resolves to use her trademark flair to make the small part into something as entertaining and unique as she is. Every Sat. & Sun., at 3:30pm, at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre (2162 Broadway, at 76th St.). For tickets ($30), visit, or call 212-579-0528.

Shadow puppets, dance, music, storytelling and mask-making for youngsters and their families all figure into the schedule of events that will be part of “La MaMa Kids.” This new series of creative workshops, La MaMa’s first such regular series of programming for family audiences, is sure to inspire a love of theater — and probably help inspire a whole new generation of theatrical performers! The series (which runs through June) begins with “Immerse Yourself.” This hands-on workshop features longtime Downtown puppeteer Jane Catherine Shaw. The heart and soul behind “Universe Expanding” and “Folktales of Asia and Africa” will demonstrate how to make and manipulate shadow puppets. The debut installment of happens at 11am on Sat., Feb. 9, at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. 4th St., 2nd floor). Each workshop or performance is approximately one hour. Workshops happen on the second Saturday of every month, with performances on select Saturdays. Admission is $10 per family. For a full schedule of events and more info, call 212-475-7710 or visit

Photo courtesy of La MaMa


February 6 - February 19, 2013

Slow like a turtle, crazy like a fox Edward Albee and his ‘Woolf ’ still flourishing THEATER WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? Written by Edward Albee Directed by Pam MacKinnon Through March 3 At the Booth Theater 225 W. 45th St. (btw. Broadway & 8th Ave.) Running Time: 3 hours (includes 2 intermissions) For tickets, call 212-239-6200 or visit BY JERRY TALLMER They’ve taken Edward Albee’s heart apart and put it back together again — oh yes, kiddies, unlike the Tin Woodman, Edward always had a heart — but America’s threetime Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright has lost none of his salt. “You never saw the film?” Albee said (exploded gleefully) to a journalist who’d just confessed to the sin of never having absorbed the Richard and Elizabeth celluloid version of George and Martha’s long, dark, tumultuous night of truth and untruth telling, fun and games, verbal violence, a touch of physical violence and endless consumption of firewater. “Never saw the movie?” Albee exclaimed again. “Good! I didn’t want to have to talk about it. It’s a very different thing from what I wrote.” The journalist had, however, seen three flesh-and-blood state versions of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” — from its longago opener on October 13, 1962 at what was then called the Billy Rose Theatre on West 41st Street, with masterful Arthur Hill and unforgettable Uta Hagen as two people — a staid professor of history at “a small New England college” and his tumultuous wife Martha — tearing themselves and everybody else (cocky young George Grizzard, kooky young Melinda Dillon) apart; and then, 43 years later (March 20, 2005, Longacre Theatre), its topnotch rebirth at the skillful hands of Bill Irwin and (yes!) Kathleen Turner; and now, going-on-eight-years later, the Chicago

Steppenwolf (no pun) production that opened at Broadway’s Booth Theater on October 13, 2012, exactly 50 years to the day from its Billy Rose premier, and has now drawn enough enthusiastic viewers to be twice extended. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” ran for 664 performances (plus previews) in its first crack at Broadway, for 117 performances in the 1976 renewal, for 177 performances in 2005, and the current show is now a little beyond 100. Total, 1962-2013, more than 1,000 “Woolfs” and counting. What other straight play gets 1,000 performances on Broadway these days? Edward Albee, adopted child, born March 12, 1928, was 34 years old and already quite famous as progenitor of “The Zoo Story,” “The American Dream” and other short, caustic plays when the threehour “Virginia Woolf” hit the scene — and exploded it. Albee is now 84 and heir to the various human erosions of those years. This past June 4, he underwent crucial open-heart surgery conducted by Dr. Gabriele Di Luozzo at Mount Sinai Hospital in this city. It has slowed Albee down, but not stopped him. Does he mind talking about it? “I don’t care. I don’t mind. Let’s see. Well, my heart problems were getting a little complex. Then, you know, they [the medics] give you a choice, right?” Live or die? “Yes.” Some few years earlier, when a stent procedure as portal to that same heart was deemed necessary, Edward had allowed as how he’d get around to it in a couple of weeks. In a couple of weeks, you’ll be dead, he was informed. “Oh,” Edward had said. “In that case, I’ll do it tomorrow.” And did. Around that time, Albee said to the above journalist — oh heck, said to me — “I plan to go on writing till I’m 90 or gaga.” Well, he’s getting up toward 90 and he’s not gaga, even if names, dates and places have an occasional tendency to float off into Otherland. Are you happy, Edward? “I wish I were more…” he says, then stops, regroups. Then: “I wish I were more in command of…everything…of my memory. I wish I wasn’t forgetting things. But I’m still pushing ahead.” I’m not sure you’ve forgotten anything, Edward, the journalist declares, then tacks on: I myself go blank nowadays on a lot of proper names. “I go blank on improper names,” Albee

Photo by Michael Brosilow

Long night’s journey: Carrie Coon, Tracy Letts, Amy Morton and Madison Dirks.

shoots back. Slow like a turtle, crazy like a fox. How do you like this Steppenwolf version? “I thought it was a good solid production,” the playwright says. “Lots of threedimensionality and…” Yes, yes — go on. “I’m finished,” says Edward Albee. George Bernard Shaw used to divide his output into Plays Pleasant and Plays Unpleasant. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is both — funny as hell and ruthless as hell, all in one package, skillfully knitted together this time by Obie-winning director (for last year’s “Clybourne Park”) Pam MacKinnon and four skilled Steppenwolf actors: Amy Morton (Martha), Tracy Letts (George), Madison Dirks (Nick) and Carrie Coon (Honey, the skittish young booze hound who “blew up and then she went down” in a false pregnancy matching Martha’s longago real or imagined miscarriage — or had Martha and George’s hidden trauma been, gracious goodness…shhh…a darkages abortion?). Remember, this is the same Edward Albee who, 36 years after “Virginia Woolf,” would scare the bejeezuss out of us with his cryptic, remorseless “The Play About the Baby.” Tracy Letts, a Steppenwolf mainstay, may in fact be a bit too gifted. He is a playwright as well as an actor. As playwright,

he won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize for his 2008 “August: Osage County” (and repelled me with “Killer Joe”). But on stage at the Booth, he never stops acting for one minute, be it through ceaseless zigzagging vocal effects or a Saint Vitus Dance jitterbug physical underscoring of hands, feet, shoulders, elbows, fingernails, eyebrows, what have you. Which makes this George’s play, rather than the Martha’s play or the even-steven seesaw play I had absorbed through all these years. Still and all, Albee himself, in admiration of Bill Irwin’s quiet power in both “Virginia Woolf” and the even more daring “The Goat,” now says, “I always thought George was more important to this play than Martha. If you just play the real character that I wrote, it’s okay with me. It is true that George is more subtle than Martha.” To director Pam MacKinnon, who goes back a long way with Albee, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is the direct answer to Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” — where the guiding principle is “We Need Our Pipe Dreams.” And George says: “No!” There is even a touch of Sandy Hook 2013 in this drama of 50 years ago — a boy who, mocked by everyone for verbal inept-

Continued on page 22


February 6 - February 19, 2013

Together again: George, Martha, Albee, heart Continued from page 21 ness, slays his mother with a shotgun, his father with an automobile. Whose idea was it to bring “Virginia Woolf” back to Broadway at this particular time? “Some bright guy,” says Albee with a cryptic smile below his once trim, now flourishing, moustache. The bright guy — says Albee’s whip-smart young assistant, Jakob Holder — may have been Broadway producer and PR man Jeff Richards, who saw the Steppenwolf production in Chicago. It may also have been Richards who suggested holding off the New York opening until the precise 50-year anniversary. Albee may be a little bit more careful at 84 than at 24 — but he has not lost his tartness of tongue. “Truth or illusion, toots — who knows the difference? That’s what this play is all about. I don’t think: Is this going to be effective? I just try to figure out what’s happening, what’s going on. “People shouldn’t read plays — it has a bad effect. Broadway is so many revivals these days — plays that don’t deserve revival.” There is a fleeting mention of a telegraph delivery boy in “Virginia Woolf.” Well, the

young and hungry Mr. Edward Albee was once himself a bicycling telegraph delivery boy in this city. “Oh, I put myself in my plays all the time,” he says. And Martha — is she a precursor of “Three Tall Women?” Is she to any degree your, how shall we say — your adoptive mother? Albee jumps up from his chair and fairly explodes with a mix of laughter and “That - - - - !” (An ugly, ugly word — the ugliest word in the English language.) But sits back down and says, “Martha’s a total invention.” And George is not? “I didn’t say he wasn’t. I invented them both.” What would you have thought if 50 years ago somebody had said this play will still be around, 50 years from now? “I would have been delighted.” Is Edward Albee writing anything new these days? “I’m getting back to it. A couple of things. One is a play called ‘Laying an Egg.’ I’ve got two acts of it. And maybe something else that’s just called ‘Silence.’ ” Which brings us to Mr. Samuel Beckett, of late renown, whose masterwork “Waiting for Godot” seems to this hapless lifelong consumer of drama to pervade much of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” from title

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VLADIMIR: Moron! ESTRAGON: Vermin! V: Abortion! E: Morpion! V: Sewer-rat! E: Curate! V: Cretin! E: Critic! I can still see Bert Lahr collapsing in a swanlike swoon at this final thrust direct. And now…George and Martha (yes, kiddies, as in General and Mrs. George Washington): GEORGE: Monster! MARTHA: Cochon! G: Bête! M: Canaille! G: Putain! That’s fun and games. What is more serious, more telling, more of a mournful Beckettian (or Godolian) dying fall, is the final drawing together of “Virginia Woolf,” of which I reproduce just a condensed fragment. As follows: GEORGE: All right…Time for bed. MARTHA: Yes.

G: Are you tired? M:Yes. G: I am. M:Yes. G: Sunday tomorrow; all day. M: Did you…Did you…have to? G: Yes...It was time. M: Was it? G: Yes. M: I’m cold. G: It’s late. M: Yes. G: [long silence] I will be better… M: I don’t know… G: Are you all right? M: Yes. No. G: (pets her hand) Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? Virginia Woolf…Virginia Woolf… M: I am, George. I am. Edward Albee may deny it — he says he prefers the short, terse later plays of Beckett, when Beckett “was more in control” of his medium — but take it or leave it, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” with its battle between humanism (George) and letter-perfect, blue-eyed genetic fascism (Nick), resounds with the Beethoven’s Seventh chords of “Waiting for Godot”— a greater play, but not an unrelated one.

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Sword dancing is a winter celebration that’s come down through the ages from the coal mining regions of northern England. This family-friendly yet loyal interpretation of that tradition is accompanied by live fiddle and accordion music. In both stately longsword and rapper sword dancing, the dancers are linked in a ring by the “swords” they hold in their hands while they work as a team to weave intricate figures and patterns without breaking the circle. Free. Sat., Feb. 16 and Sun., Feb. 17 (throughout the day and throughout the city). The Sat. schedule includes a 9:30am performance at the Pier 17 Atrium (on the third floor of 89 South St., at the South Street Seaport) as well as 1pm & 3pm performances at Jefferson Market Public Library (425 Sixth Ave., at 10th St.). For a full schedule and more info, visit


Short of a building a time machine and quite possibly wreaking havoc with your family tree, there’s no better way

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to safely revisit risky 1940s and 1950s America than spending the afternoon of Tuesday, February 12, at 92YTribeca. At 12pm, cultural historian Richard Lingeman (a longtime senior editor of The Nation and the author of “Small Town America, Don’t You Know There’s a War On?”) looks at the cultural milieu from 1945 to 1950, tracing the effects of a period that enveloped America in the aftermath of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War (think psychological inse-




Tribeca Spotlight: The Next Voice You Hear

Sherrod Smalls’ Best Black Show Ever Friday, February 15 at 8pm $15

With Derek Gaines, Sherrod Small and Jordan Rock

Come out and hear some of New York’s top African-American stand-up comics. Headliner Sherrod Small, known for VH-1’s Best Week Ever, brings us Best Black Show Ever. Sherrod Small is known for his witty commentary on politics, city life and culture. He has been a guest commentator on VH1’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the ‘80s and 100 Most Shocking Music Moments. He has appeared on NBC’s Showtime at the Apollo, and the Chris Rock Show to name a few

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curities, cultural isolation and the overall anxiety reflected by film noir’s bathing of its moody antiheroes in harsh light shining through venetian blinds). At 2pm, film historian Philip Harwood (currently hard at work on a book about famous film couples of 1935) presents an installment of a series in which he’ll present eight Golden Age live TV dramas. After each screening, social issues and performance are discussed. This time up: Rod Serling’s 1956 Playhouse 90 production

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My moody America: Richard Lingeman tracks the post-WWII milieu, in his “Noir Forties” lecture (Tues., Feb. 12, 12pm, at 92YTribeca).

of “Requiem for a Heavyweight.” At 92YTribeca (200 Hudson St., at Canal St.). Tickets to “Noir” are $21, and $28 for “Golden Age.” For reservations and more info, visit or call 212-601-1000.


February 6 - February 19, 2013

Youthful offenders and multiple servings of ‘Cake’ Work of Ross, Butler among compelling exhibitions BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN


Ross focuses on the lives and stories of incarcerated youth. The exhibition is composed of photographs Ross has taken, excerpts from his interviews with those in the juvenile courts and detention facilities and items he has seen during his visits to juvenile incarceration centers across the United States. Over the course of five years, Ross has visited more than 200 institutions in 31 states and has spoken with more than 1,000 juveniles. This exhibition is a moving reminder that the U.S.’s heavy reliance on juvenile incarceration is unique among the world’s developed nations. Through Feb. 16, at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts (31 Mercer St., btw. Grand & Howard Sts.) Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am6pm. Call 212-226-3232 or visit


O r g a n i z e d b y N e w Yo r k - b a s e d curator Alex Gartenfeld, this exhi-

bition is inspired by Beltane — an ancient Gaelic festival celebrated in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. The custom included a cake, which would determine the sacrificial victim (whoever received the piece that had been blackened over the coals was pushed into the fire). Featuring works by Sam Anderson, Ed Atkins, Cecily Brown, Monica Bonvicini, Massimo Grimaldi, Josephine Halvorson, Tommy Hartung and Steffani Jemison, among others, “Black Cake” examines artists’ use of sweetness across mediums and treatments. Through Feb. 16, at Team Gallery. At 83 Grand St., btw. Wooster & Greene Sts. and 47 Wooster St., btw. Grand & Broome Sts. Hours: At 83 Grand, Tues.Sat., 10am-6pm and Sun., 12-6pm. At 47 Wooster, Wed.-Sat., 10am-6pm and Sun., 12-6pm. Call 212-279-9219 or visit


Butler’s canvases are stapled, washed,

Continued on page 26

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February 6 - February 19, 2013


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February 6 - February 19, 2013

Pieces of ‘Cake’ Continued from page 24



unstretched — and yet arranged on stretchers. Part precise and part casual, Butler’s abstractions are sparked by the urban setting, structures and HVAC architecture she observes from the windows of her Bushwick studio. In this new body of work, stretchers are transformed from hidden supports into integral components of the work. Wrapped

with wrinkled tarps, for example, they provide both a sense of imperfection and balanced structure. Overall, Butler embraces the imperfect and incomplete to establish an enticing tension between impulsiveness and grounded rigor. Through Feb. 17, at Pocket Utopia ( 1 9 1 H e n r y S t . , b t w. C l i n t o n & J e f f e r s o n S t s . ) . H o u r s : We d . - S u n . , 11am-6pm. Call 212-375-8532 or visit

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Orientation Training Phase (OTP), part of the Youth Offender System (YOS) Facility in Pueblo, Colorado. OTP performs intake and assessment of convicted kids and is set up to run like a boot camp, with staff yelling at kids all the time. All of the kids at OTP have juvenile sentences with adult sentences hanging, meaning that if they mess up, they will have to serve their adult sentence. For example, a juvenile could be the reserving a two-year juvenile sentence with 15 years hanging. See page 24.

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February 6 - February 19, 2013

Battery Park City veteran, Vince McGowan, retires Continued from page 1

is where it all stops.’ Thank God it didn’t, but that’s what happens to you. But I’ve been in so many cases where I didn’t think I was going to get out of it — things happened in Central America, plane crashes and stuff like that. You have to be resilient.” On 9/11, Huxley, the executive director of the B.P.C. Conservancy, Serpico and McGowan stayed behind after everyone else left. “We had assisted all the residents in leaving here by boat,” McGowan recalled. “Twelve of us received commendations from the Coast Guard for our actions that day, myself included. Tessa and I were given awards by the City for our actions and the Humane Society gave me an award for saving a woman’s dogs. I went up 15 flights of stairs to get her dogs out of her apartment.” For 11 days, McGowan, Huxley and Serpico remained in Battery Park City, patrolling the area to prevent scavenging. “The place was abandoned,” said McGowan. “Windows were broken so you needed a presence around here because the cops and the firemen were exhausted. This was before the National Guard came in.” Among other things, they put out fires started by sparks from the World Trade Center because, “All the firemen were concentrating over there. No one was paying attention here.” After the immediate crisis passed, the trio faced the grueling, long-term work of restoring the Battery Park City gardens. The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy prom-

ises to be no different. “Everything that was under water has to be looked at and brought back to a proper level of repair,” McGowan said. “All the electric is underground here. Everything will get done eventually. But that requires constant monitoring and constant tweaking and constant paying attention to make sure that power doesn’t fail at inopportune times.”

subsequent experiences as a veteran continue to shape his life. He was the founding president of the United War Veterans Council, a member of the city’s Veterans Advisory Board (appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002), and the producer of every Veterans Day parade since 1994. He is particularly proud of resurrecting the parade. “In 1985, New York City was in a downward spiral,” he recalled. “It was so bad that

‘I’ve been in combat too many times to not understand the consequences.’ — Vince McGowan The prospect of going through this prompted his retirement, which was just announced but was effective at the end of December. “I know about how much work it takes to accomplish what actually needs to get done here,” he said. “In 2001, I was prepared to put in the 15-hour days and endless weeks but now I’m 68 years old and I’m not prepared to do that any longer. It needs younger people to make sure that everything gets put back together and I’m not willing to commit that time.” Not that McGowan plans to be idle. Far from it. His years in Vietnam as a Marine and his

the veterans’ community decided to stop celebrating our service and discontinue the Veterans’ Day parade, which had started in 1990 here in New York.” But, he said, he and “two other guys – a colonel in the Air Force and a lieutenant in the Navy – we weren’t going to let the parade die. At one point with [former Mayor] David Dinkins we found ourselves – 23 of us – walking down Fifth Ave. going to the eternal light in Madison Square Park and that’s all we could muster.” Last year, the parade was nationally televised, with 60,000 people lining the parade route.

Among the projects that McGowan wants to work on now are the restoration of the city’s war memorials that were flooded by Sandy (including the Vietnam memorial at 55 Water St.) and raising money for the United Veterans War Council, which produces the Veterans Day parade and a wide range of other events and programs. McGowan, who enlisted in the Marines following John Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 and who volunteered for hazardous duty, still has shrapnel in his legs. He was deeply hurt by the reception that he and others received when they returned home. “I think Americans abandoned the Vietnam veterans in the field,” he said. “There are consequences to that.” He said that he knew a lot of veterans who committed suicide. He is the founding member of the Suicide Prevention Foundation. Now, with the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War approaching in 2014, the public attitude toward those years is different. McGowan is among those planning the anniversary observances. He also said that he won’t abandon Battery Park City if his help is needed. “I’ll be right along side of you as long as I live on the West Side, which will be for the rest of my life,” he remarked at the B.P.C.A. board meeting where Huxley announced his retirement. “I’m a phone call away. I have a lot of institutional memory if I can be of help.” McGowan’s life has been tumultuous, sometimes dangerous and enormously productive. “I’ve had a lot of fun,” he said, summing it up so far. “I have no regrets.”

Con Ed rate hike Continued from page 15

age, the company closed the complex down before the storm hit, but then, “The water came from the river, from the F.D.R. [Drive], from the sewers, from Avenue C – it was really coming from all directions,” Gmach recalled. “A block away from the plant, cars were floating.” He said that at about 8:12 p.m., some equipment failed due to the flooding but the system continued to operate for about 20 minutes thereafter. Then a fire occurred that plunged much of Chelsea, Greenwich Village and Lower Manhattan into darkness. After the storm surge receded, Con Edison crews aided by utility crews from other parts of the country began the arduous and dangerous task of replacing and testing equipment. “By November 2nd, we were able to start restoring power to much of Manhattan,” Gmach said. “On November 3 – that Saturday – we were able to restore power to that area we had shut off preemptively.” He said that Con Ed’s steam system supplies steam from 96th Street to the tip of Manhattan and has about 1,700 steam customers. One building could be a customer,

he noted. “We took our steam plant on 14th Street offline. By Nov. 11, we were able to bring back steam to all customers.” Could Con Edison have predicted any of this? Some marine scientists have been warning for years that a storm such as Sandy could strike New York City with devastating repercussions. They have also said that a storm even worse than Sandy could strike the metropolitan area. Sandy, after all, was not even a Category 1 hurricane when it came ashore. However, if Con Edison ignored the warnings, despite Hurricane Irene the previous year, which might have been viewed as a wake-up call, it was certainly not alone. At a recent lecture entitled “Adapting Cities to Climate Change” at the New York Academy of Sciences, Dr. Radley Horton, a scientist at Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research, offered this assessment of the future. “The next big event won’t be the same as Sandy,” he said. “We could be on a path where we can adapt, but we must act now. We’ve had around one foot of sea level rise in New York City in the last half century. Even weaker storms in the future could cause two or three times as much coastal flooding as Sandy.”

Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess

Snowy Pier Roxie, an English bulldog, was one of a handful of visitors who enjoyed the snowy, quiet solitude on Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 Sunday morning.


February 6 - February 19, 2013

Downtown Express