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MOLIERE COMEDIES AT WFC, P. 14

®

VOLUME 24, NUMBER 39

express ss THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN

FEBRUARY 15 - 21, 2012

Audit calls for ‘top-tobottom’ redesign of Port Authority

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

An exhibit currently on display at the African Burial Ground National Monument shows how slaves in New York City lived and died.

Remembering the slaves who helped build New York BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER Lower Manhattan has a special claim to prominence during February’s commemorations of black history. It is the site of one of the largest African-American

cemetery in the United States. Late in 1991, workers began to excavate the foundation for a 30-story federal office building at 290 Broadway. In May, they came on the bones –

hundreds of human remains, all that was left of the thousands of enslaved African men, women and children who

Continued on page 15

BY ALINE REYNOLDS Rebuilding the World Trade Center is turning out to be considerably more expensive than the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s initial budget projections. An audit released last week revealed that the total cost to redevelop the World Trade Center has surged to an estimated $14.8 billion, up from the 2008 projection of $11 billion. The audit, performed by Navigant Consulting, Inc. and at the behest of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and NJ Governor Chris Christie, was initiated in response to last year’s toll and fare hikes. The audit’s executive summary deems the Port Authority to be a “challenged and dysfunctional organization” in need of a “top-to-bottom redesign.” The audit also pointed to the agency’s lack of transparency and “effective oversight” at the W.T.C. site that has “obscured full awareness of billions of dollars in

exposure.” More specifically, the agency was accused of “inconsistent leadership, poorly coordinated capital planning, and inadequate cost control.” Additionally, the Port Authority’s overall debt, which is expected to climb to $20.8 billion by the year’s end from $19.5 million in late 2011, “will remain a burden for years to come,” according to the audit. The auditors attributed the W.T.C. budget overrun principally to the rush to open the National Sept. 11 Memorial in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The audit also notes that costs also rose because of accelerated construction of the W.T.C. Transportation Hub as well as construction the agency undertook on behalf of the 9/11 Memorial Foundation and other parties involved in the redevelopment of the W.T.C. site. At a press conferences last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed the Port Authority’s decision to pri-

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Downtown Express photo by Marshall James Kavanaugh

At the C.B. 1 W.T.C. Redevelopment Committee meeting on Monday, the board passed a resolution honor the life and work of Dr. Stephen Levin.

C.B. 1 passes reso in Levin’s memory Dr. Stephen Levin, a pioneer in securing medical treatment for scores of first responders, cops, and firefighters that were exposed to harmful toxins after 9/11, died last Tuesday, Feb. 7 of lung cancer at the age of 70. At its monthly meeting last Monday, Feb. 13, Community Board 1’s World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee proceeded to draft a resolution commemorating Levin’s life and accomplishments. Levin served as the co-director of the Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Mt. Sinai’s School of Medicine from 1987 to 2001. He was one of the first medical authorities in the New York area to publicly recognize the dangers of the chemicals released in and around Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 attacks and subsequently mobilize fellow physicians to tend to those who became ill. Many believe that Levin’s extensive research precipitated Congress’s passage of the James L. Zadroga

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9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010. “With the passing of Levin, the city of New York and C.B. 1 has lost a leading medical expert and advocate for care for people with both physical and mental environmental health conditions related to 9/11, many of whom continue to receive health care at the Mt. Sinai Center for Excellence,� the C.B. 1 resolution states. “Levin’s findings,� the resolution continued, “helped form the knowledge base for care at other W.T.C. Centers of Excellence and guidelines.� W.T.C. Redevelopment Committee member Marc Ameruso spoke fondly of Levin. “I knew Levin, as a first responder. He was a great doctor,� he said. “I remember going to a City Council hearing where I heard the phrase, ‘synergistic effects of toxins,’ for the first time [from him].� If not for Levin, Ameruso added, “I don’t know if we’d be where we are today.�

DOWNTOWNEXPRESS .com


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February 15 - 21, 2012

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NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-9, 12-21

OWNTOWN

EDITORIAL PAGES . . . . . . . . . . 10-11

DIGEST

DE BLASIO TARGETS CITY, NYPD OVER 9/11-RELATED CANCER DATA Elected officials and other 9/11 health advocates are railing against the city’s refusal to release data revealing the number of police officers who worked at Ground Zero and who were subsequently stricken by cancer. The numbers, they believe, could shed light on the link between the illness and exposure to Ground Zero toxins. In a Feb. 13 letter addressed to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio demanded the city release information collected by the NYPD’s Medical Division about the officers’ health conditions and their full names. De Blasio cited a section of the NYC Charter that purportedly allows him access to the information. The city has recently refused to publicize the information on the grounds of protecting the cops’ confidentiality. “As you may be aware, experts are currently investigating whether there may be a link between individuals who served at Ground Zero and cancer,” said de Blasio, who requested the data by “no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24.”

MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT “OCCUPIED” Occupy Wall Street is now occupying the desk of Manhattan Federal Court judge. The infamous “pepper spray” incident, when on Sept. 24 NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna doused a group of demonstrators marching to Union Square, drew national media attention and ignited the O.W.S. movement. Jeanne Mansfield and Chelsea Elliot filed a lawsuit last

YOUTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Wednesday against Bologna and New York City that accuses Bologna and the city of violating their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. The two women are seeking damages of an unspecified amount for physical and emotional suffering resulting from the encounter.

ARTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 - 27 CLASSIFIEDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

J&R DEBUTS JUNIOR STORE Downtown families now have a new kid’s shop in their own neck of the woods. On Sat., Feb. 11, Park Row electronics store J&R opened up a new, 15,000-square-foot store for children. Targeting toddlers and youths up to age 9, J&R Jr. sells hundreds of items including strollers, high chairs, car seats, bags, educational toys, movies, video games, and laptops. Featured at the store is a floor track with a variety of surfaces including cobblestone, grass, and shag carpeting, enabling parents to “test-drive” the strollers on site. J&R Jr. will also have a state-of-the-art events space that will lend itself to weekly performances by kids’ acts such as “Rockin’ with Andy,” as well as parenting seminars and luncheons on birthing, school admissions and other such topics. MoonSoup, an early child development programming provider that is slated to manage the events space five days a week, has plans to offer arts & crafts workshops, hands-on music lessons, yoga classes and other youth activities. “When you step through the doors of J&R Jr., you will be entering a kids zone — a judgment-free world where you can

Continued on page 13

C.B. 1 EE TING S

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A schedule of this week’s upcoming Community Board 1 committee meetings is below. Unless otherwise noted, all committee meetings are held at the board office, located at 49-51 Chambers St., room 709 at 6 p.m. ON WED., FEB. 15: The Waterfront Committee will meet. ON MON., FEB. 20: The C.B. 1 office is closed for Presidents’ Day. ON TUES., FEB. 21: The Seaport/Civic Center Committee will meet.


February 15 - 21, 2012

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downtown express Feb. 8, punched and head-butted one of them and grabbed her cell phone and neck chain. The suspects fled into the nearby subway station.

POLICE BLOTTER

Sleeper awakes Rape suspect arrested Police arrested Michael Torres, 29, on Thurs. Feb.9 and charged him with raping a victim, 36, around 1 a.m. the day before on the track of the J train station on Bowery at Delancey St. Torres, who had 27 prior arrests for drugs and assault since 1996, threw the victim onto the tracks and dragged her down the tunnel where he beat and raped her while menacing her with a screwdriver, police said. A Transit Authority track worker heard the victim scream and scared off the suspect, police said. Torres was being held pending a grand jury action on the case.

Fatal head-on crash A head-on collision on the FDR Dr. near the Houston St. exit shortly before 3 a.m. Sun. Feb. 12 killed two people and injured two others in a third car, according to reports. The 26-year-old driver of a car headed north on a southbound lane of the drive was killed along with the 62-year-old driver of a southbound car. The 22-year-old driver of another car and her passenger, 31, were injured went she hit the southbound car after the initial collision, according to a New York Post item.

Delancey/Bowery water main The 20-inch water main at Bowery and Delancey St. broke shortly before 7 a.m. Tues., Feb.14, flooding the intersection for about five hours. Delancey St. from Elizabeth to Christie Sts. and Bowery from Delancey to Broome Sts. were closed to traffic for four or five hours. The Department of Environmental Protection opened one lane of Bowery and one lane of Delancey St. around noon, restoring the M103 bus service. D.E.P. crews were replacing a section of the 1906 line at 4:30 p.m. when water was restored to all but four businesses.

Shuang Wen Network vandalized Unknown vandals tore up the Shuang Wen Academy Network office in the P.S. 127 building on Cherry St. at Montgomery St. some time between Tuesday night, Feb. 7 and Wednesday morning. Nothing was stolen from the office of the troubled not-for-profit group that runs the afterschool Mandarin language program. Although the office was not locked, the entire building was closed and there were no signs of forced entry. No other offices in the building were trashed. The Shuang Wen School has had a few administration changes over the past year. The Department of Education is investigating the role of the

network, which began charging $1,000 for the afterschool program after it lost city funding.

Giant parade arrest A football fan from the Bronx got into an argument at 12:50 p.m. Tues., Feb 7 on Church St. near White St. with a group of fans after the New York Giants parade. The argument became violent when someone in the group punched the victim in the face and grabbed his gold neck chain with a gold Teddy Bear pendant and fled. Police soon arrested the suspect, Christian Barahona, 21, and charged him with larceny.

Runaway girl cries rape The NYPD Special Victims Unit is investigating the claim of a runaway girl, 13, that a man dragged her into a Battery Park men’s room near the gardens at State St. around noon on Fri., Feb. 10 and raped her. She told police she saw her 5’8” assailant, wearing a blue down jacket and dark trousers, follow her out of the men’s room after the rape and run from the scene down State St.

Shoplifting Police arrested a shoplifting suspect as he was fleeing from the True Religion clothing boutique at 132 Prince St. around 4:45 p.m. Fri., Feb. 3. The victim was in possession of stolen merchandise with a total value of $1,509 from True Religion as well as the Adidas, Urban Outfitters and Ralph Lauren boutiques in Soho, police said. The suspect locked his arms and refused to be handcuffed when he was apprehended, police said.

A man who fell asleep on a southbound subway train around 3:40 a.m. Fri., Feb. 10 woke up at the Whitehall St. station when he felt someone going through his pants pocket. The victim, 37, held onto the suspect until transit police arrived and arrested Myles Williams, 22, and recovered the $4 stolen from the victim’s pocket. Williams was charged with larceny.

Car gone A city worker who parked his city-owned car at the Bankers Trust Plaza on Greenwich near Morris St. around 5 p.m. Tues., Feb. 7 returned after two hours to find it was gone. Three other cars parked in the same location were also missing but they were found later at the city tow pound.

Not a bargain Three suspects approached a visitor from Singapore on Mercer and Prince Sts. around 3:30 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 9 and offered him a CD for “a small donation,” police said. The victim took the disc and paid $10 but one of the suspects demanded more and grabbed a $100 bill from the victim before the three of them fled.

Out of the van A USPS driver was taking boxes from his van and putting them on a hand truck at 89 Greene St. around 1 p.m. Fri., Feb 10 for delivery nearby when a suspect ran by, grabbed the box at the top of the hand truck and fled with it. The box contained Burberry apparel valued at $11,845, police said.

Magazine rack stolen

A thief got into the bag of a woman patron of Los Feliz bar, 109 Ludlow St. around 3:15 a.m. Sun. Jan. 22 and made off with her cell phone, police said.

An employee of Sneeze Magazine received a Twitter message at 4 a.m. Wed., Feb. 8 with a picture of the magazine rack at 101 Prince St, between Greene and Mercer Sts. being removed. The rack, with a credit card reader, is valued at $4,000, police said.

Steals phones

Car break-in

A thief with a pair of wire cutters walked into the Verizon Store at 100 Wall St. on Friday evening Feb 10, cut two cell phones from their displays and made off with them.

A New Jersey man parked his car on King St. between Sixth Ave. and Varick St. around 1 a.m. Wed., Feb 8 and returned three hours later to find a rear window smashed and a Gucci wallet with credit cards and $635 in cash stolen along with the car’s Global Positioning System and an emerald and diamond bracelet valued at $1,400.

Picks bag in bar

Teen girl muggers Five girls in their mid teens attacked two 15-year-old girls on the corner of Nassau and Fulton Sts. around 3 p.m. Wed.,

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February 15 - 21, 2012

Students get a peek into Downtown’s underground BY ALINE REYNOLDS Downtown’s underground isn’t just made up of subway trains and tunnels. It is also home to an intricate network of water mains and other pipes that help transport water from the Catskill Mountains to New Yorkers’ kitchens and bathrooms, second graders from P.S. 276 learned during a field trip to the South Street Seaport on Monday, Feb. 13. The expedition, arranged by the city Department of Design and Construction as part of the city’s Neighborhood Infrastructure Curbside Education (N.I.C.E.) Program, fit neatly into the second graders’ social studies curriculum, which is focused on the evolution of New York City, according to the students’ teacher, Emily Schottland. “There’s just so much you can learn from books and writing and reading about it,� said Schottland, “but to actually come [here] and see so concretely how it’s changing, it’s just such a great experience.� Sporting junior-sized hardhats and bright orange construction vests, the children attended a safety demonstration at Peck Slip

Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds

Second graders from P.S. 276 received a lesson in construction safety and city infrastructure during a field trip to the South Street Seaport on Monday.

D.O.E. presents familiar news on Downtown schools BY ALINE REYNOLDS The total number of kindergarteners anticipated to attend Lower Manhattan elementary schools is higher than it was this time last year, according to the city Dept. of Education, a fact that has Downtown parents concerned. Elizabeth Rose, the D.O.E.’s former director of portfolio planning for Lower Manhattan, delivered the news to Downtown parents at NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s School Overcrowding Task Force meeting on Thursday, Feb. 9. This time last year, 362 prospective kindergarteners were zoned for Downtown schools, down from the March 2010 count of 436. “This year, we have 407, so we’re kind of right in between those two data points,� Rose pointed out. “But there’s still a ways to go between this number and March 2010. We’ll be expecting more kids to come over the next couple of weeks.� Still, Rose expects that attrition, which is around 20 percent, will bring the total count down come fall. Rose also announced her new role as chief of staff of the D.O.E.’s Office of Public Affairs, which she said entails outreach to Silver and other elected officials. Rose introduced her successor, Drew Patterson, who has for the last year and a half served as the D.O.E.’s portfolio planner for Queens. “I’m not going very far,� Rose quipped, and added she would continue to attend Silver’s task force meetings. The local school principals in attendance read off the numbers of the kindergarten preregistration period, which ends on March 2. P.S. 234 has collected 156 kindergarten intake applications thus far that comprise 52

siblings of older children in the school and 104 non-siblings, according to principal Lisa Ripperger. Though the school is expecting to lose around 40 prospective students to private school between now and the fall, administrators are already anticipating waitlists. “If after March 2, we see more applicants than seats available, we’ll decide if we have to do a lottery or not,� said P.S. 234 Parent Coordinator Magda Lenski. “Based on these numbers, I expect we’ll have to hold a lottery.� The Spruce Street School, which will offer three kindergarten classes next year, has already received 53 applications, 30 percent of which are siblings. “We anticipate 30 or so more [applications] based on tours and other outreach,� said principal Nancy Harris. Based on the current numbers, Harris doesn’t expect to have a waitlist next year. “So far, we’re not frighteningly close to 75, and we expect some attrition as well, but you never know,� said Harris. Ninety-nine children have pre-registered for P.S. 276, which will have four kindergarten classes next year, according to principal Terri Ruyter. The principal added however, that she expects 20-to-25 more applicants, which would result in reaching capacity. Meanwhile, Peck Slip school, which will incubate next year at the Tweed Courthouse, already has 35 kindergarten applications. “We are on target for 50, so I think we’ll be opening the two sections just as planned,� said principal Maggie Siena. “And in the event that there are waitlisting issues, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.� The next overcrowding task force meeting will be held Monday, April 23, at 3:30 p.m.

between Water and Front Streets, where workers were busy upgrading below- and above-ground infrastructure. The group then walked over to Fulton Street, where city engineer Joe Lione gave them a tutorial on the city’s utility system. “You guys are lucky – not many second

graders get to come into a construction site,� Lione told the children during a break from replacing century-old water mains along Fulton Street. Lione proudly announced to the children that his team uncovered one of the country’s very first electrical manholes at the site, then quickly delved into the city’s water system. “Every time you turn on a faucet or your shower,� explained Lione, “water comes out of that pipe and into another pipe and comes into your house.� “Ew!� several children exclaimed, peering into the hole. “It’s not, ‘ew!’� Lione replied. “Inside, it’s nice and clean.� Lione then asked, “Every time you flush the toilet, remember where does that water go?� “Into the sewer!� a few students replied in chorus. Tammy Meltzer-Kaufman, one of several second grade parents that accompanied their children on the tour, said the tour was an eye-opener for the second graders. “To see the history and to be able to experience it by looking down and seeing the artifacts and seeing where the shoreline used to end, all of those things that are so easy not to know when they’re so tech-based these days,� said Meltzer-Kaufman, “brings history to a much more lively, physical aspect for them.

Continued on page 16

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N.Y.U. will give land, but not cash, for a school

Photos by Tequila Minsky

Board 2 committee members, as well as public members of the committee, looked concerned and perplexed as they heard the latest details about the proposed public school on N.Y.U.’s southern superblock.

not include a possible money swap for development rights. “We might make it work anyway,” Berger persisted. Responding to the committee question

Trinity Wall Street WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 1:05pm Trinity Institute Presents: Wall Street Dialogues Dr. Samir Selmanovic of Faith House Manhattan discusses “Breaking Good: Why and How an Occupied Wall Street Could Join the Occupation.” Trinity Church THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1pm Concerts at One Music of Richard Hundley. Part of the American Art Song Series in collaboration with Joy in Singing, music curator and host Paul Sperry. Trinity Church

Let’s do something together

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 6pm Family Friday Pizza and Movie Night Relax with your kids and meet other downtown families. This month’s movie is Walt Disney’s Brother Bear. Charlotte’s Place SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 10am From the Pew to the Street: Praying Shapes Believing Shapes Doing Explore how the forms of our worship motivate and influence our practice. Led by the Rev. Daniel Simons. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parish Hall SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2pm Securing the Homefront A free seminar about how to avoid foreclosure for active military members, veterans, and their families. Charlotte’s Place

All Are Welcome All events are free, unless noted. 212.602.0800

on whether the university would donate money to the city School Construction Authority, in addition to offering land, to build the core and shell of the proposed school, N.Y.U. gave a flat “No.” The uni-

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22 Ash Wednesday Imposition of Ashes 7am-6pm at Trinity Church 8am-6pm at St. Paul’s Chapel

versity gave the same “No” to the question of whether students in the school would have access to a proposed belowgrade

Continued on page 16

trinitywallstreet.org

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

TRINITY CHURCH Broadway at Wall Street 74 Trinity Place is located in the office building behind Trinity Church.

Leah Reddy

BY ALBERT AMATEAU New York University responded last week to Community Board 2’s questions about the elementary school space proposed for the redevelopment of the south superblock in the N.Y.U 2031 plan. But members of the board’s Social Services and Education Committee on Mon., Feb. 6, remained unsatisfied and posed objections and further questions. N.Y.U. has said it was donating land near the southeast corner of LaGuardia Place and Bleecker St., currently occupied by the two-story Morton Williams supermarket, to accommodate a future public school. The university’s response to a committee request for clarification of the word “donating” mentioned that N.Y.U. purchased the land more than 10 years ago for $23 million. But Keen Berger, a committee member and public school advocate, told Sayar Lonial, N.Y.U. director of community affairs, “You can have the land and we’ll take the money” — as in the amount of money equal to the value of the land. Berger proposed that N.Y.U. donate the money, which could be used to convert the state-owned building at 75 Morton St. into a public middle school. Berger anticipated Lonial’s negative response: that the university’s redevelopment plan, currently undergoing the city’s uniform land use review procedure (ULURP), does

Join other downtown families for pizza, fellowship, and the movie Brother Bear this Friday.

ST. PAUL’S CHAPEL Broadway and Fulton Street CHARLOTTE’S PLACE 107 Greenwich St, btwn Rector & Carlisle The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, Rector The Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, Vicar

an Episcopal parish in the city of New York


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February 15 - 21, 2012

A love-in for the New Amsterdam Market BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER It’s a long time from December to May – too long for lovers of the New Amsterdam Market to wait for the fresh, local food and small-batch food products that sustain them during the months the market bustles on South Street between Beekman and Peck Slip. The last New Amsterdam Market of the 2011 season took place on Dec. 18. The first market of 2012 will occur at the end of April or the beginning of May. To punctuate the long wait, some New Amsterdam Market vendors set up their wares in a mid-19th century warehouse on Water Street this past weekend to observe Valentine’s Day, with enough sweets to beguile any lover. The weekend celebration started on Friday, Feb. 10, with a party for supporters of the market. They drank mead (an ancient alcoholic drink made with fermented honey) from Enlightenment Wines in upstate New York and Wölffer Estate wine from Sagaponack, Long Island. They ate bread and cheese and open-faced sandwiches from a catering company called I8NY and chicken garlic sausage and smoked chicken and bacon sausage — both from Scott Bridi, proprietor of Brooklyn Cured. “I didn’t have a business before I showed up at New Amsterdam Market with a cooler of charcuterie and a business card in the fall of 2010,” said Bridi. “Robert LaValva [founder of the New Amsterdam Market] was the first person to give me a chance. Now I have one employee and hope to have a second one soon. I think our growth has a lot to do with being part of this market.” Several other vendors echoed Bridi’s accolades. Cyrilla Suwarsa has a business called Nuts & Nuts, with her sister Caecilia. They import cashew nuts from Indonesia and roast them using recipes handed down from their mother and their grandmother. Around 2005, they started selling at some markets in Brooklyn. Just before Thanksgiving of 2010, they began selling at the New Amsterdam Market. “There are more people at this market,” Cyrilla said. “The people who come here are foodies.” She also said that she liked the New Amsterdam Market because of its mission, which LaValva describes as bringing back a space for public use that had been a market district for centuries. “Nuts & Nuts has a mission, too,” Suwarsa said. “Our mission is to help the cashew farmers in Indonesia.” At the Feb. 10 party, LaValva talked about the history of the New Amsterdam Market and its growth. His first market was a one-day affair on Oct. 2, 2005, held in the handsome, Guastavino-tiled southern arcade of the Municipal Building on Centre Street. Like some of his current vendors, who test products at the New Amsterdam Market before putting them into larger scale production, for LaValva, the Municipal Building market was “a test of an idea.” “It was important to see how it would be to bring people together in a public space,” he said. Although it wasn’t well publicized, around a thousand people came to the mar-

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Vallery Lomas, founder of a baking and catering business called “Jaune” selling macaroons at the New Amsterdam Market’s Valentine’s Day party on Friday, Feb. 10.

ket, convincing him that his idea of a market in a public space was viable. At that moment, he didn’t know where that space would be, but serendipity provided him with an answer. In November 2005, the Fulton Fish Market moved from the South Street Seaport to the Bronx. “I had known about the Fulton Fish Market, but had never visited it,” LaValva recalled. It was exactly what he was looking for. The first iteration of the New Amsterdam Market on South Street took place on Dec. 16, 2007. “It was very well promoted,” LaValva said, “in great part because Mario Batali was a vendor that day. It drew about 3,000 people despite a blizzard, hail, sleet, freezing rain and snow! That was followed by a single market in 2008, which drew about 5,000 people. In 2009, LaValva expanded to four markets — one a month in September, October, November and December. Then, in 2010, the New Amsterdam Market opened once a month in June, July and August, and weekly beginning on Sept. 12. “We are now averaging about 45 or so vendors weekly,” LaValva said. “We have had larger special markets with up to 75 vendors, and our goal is to have that many vendors weekly by the end of 2013.” LaValva’s goal is not simply to provide local farmers and other food producers with an outlet for their products but to give food manufacturers who use local, natural ingre-

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

Assemblyman Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email silver@assembly.state.ny.us.


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New Delancey St. safety plan praised and criticised BY ALINE REYNOLDS The Delancey Street corridor will soon be less intimidating for pedestrians, according to the city Dept. of Transportation, which in June will implement a new safety plan for the heavily trafficked street. Responding to the latest death of 12-yearold Dashana Santana and a slew of other pedestrian accidents along Delancey Street in recent years, the D.O.T. plans to shorten nearly three-quarters of the street’s crosswalks located between the Bowery and Clinton Street, based on data that shows pedestrians are hurrying to cross the street as the light is turning red. The Clinton Street crosswalk, in particular, where Santana was hit and killed by a minivan, will be shortened by 30 percent. The D.O.T. will also be widening sidewalks, chopping off sections of the Delancey Street service roads, adding new pedestrian-friendly signage and street markings, and increasing the pedestrian countdown time so that fewer people are forced to wait in the medians. The plan was presented to Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 8. According to D.O.T. Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan the goal is to transform the corridor from a frenzied thoroughfare into a local street for neighborhood residents and workers alike, “This is the most concerted effort ever brought to bear on Delancey Street,” said SadikKhan. “Building on four years of improvements

Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds

State Senator Daniel Squadron at last week’s C.B. 3 meeting where the city D.O.T. unveiled a new safety plan for the dangerous Delancey Street corridor.

along the corridor, this plan will dramatically enhance safety for everyone on Delancey and the Lower East Side.” The D.O.T. will also be instituting new left-turn restrictions at selected intersections along the corridor. Judging from the fact that nearly 50 percent of pedestrian crashes

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involved pedestrians crossing when they had the light, many turning vehicles are failing to yield as they’re supposed to, according to the D.O.T. Once the plan is put in place, left turns onto Chrystie and Allen Streets from Delancey Street, and onto Delancey Street from Essex Street, will be prohibited.

“The fact is, left turns aggravate congestion,” explained Josh Benson, director of bicycle and pedestrian programs for the D.O.T., who presented the plan at the C.B. 3 meeting. The improvements also include the opening of northbound Clinton Street to drivers headed to the Williamsburg Bridge, which Benson said is intended to curtail speeding and running red lights. Several C.B. 3 members applauded the plan, including David Crane, committee chair. “I’m pleased and I’m hopeful that it’ll really be a much safer situation,” said Crane. However, Lower East Side resident Martin Glass and others want to see the D.O.T.’s proposed changes happen sooner. Glass contended that another person could be killed between now and June. “Waiting three months is too long,” said Glass. “That to me is absolutely horrendous.” Others in attendance requested that the pedestrian signal countdowns be lengthened right away. “This is the most immediate remedy [and] it could happen in a day and could save lives,” said area resident Nahum Freidowitz. Until signals are altered and crosswalks are shortened starting in June, Benson advised pedestrians against crossing all of Delancey Street at one time. “When you’re crossing the street and the countdown’s ticking down, if you’re

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Waiting List Open Historic Front Street is pleased to announce the opening of the waiting list for affordable rental apartments in the Seaport area of Manhattan. The size, rent, and income requirements for the apartments are as follows: FAMILY SIZE*

APARTMENT TYPE*

MONTHLY RENT**

TOTAL GROSS ANNUAL INCOME RANGE***

1

STUDIO

$2,178.00

$72,592 - $87,150

1 2

1 BED

$2,334.00

$77,792 - $87,150 $77,792 - $99,600

2 3 4

2 BED

$2,801.00

$93,357 - $99,600 $93,357 - $112,050 $93,357 - $124,500

*SUBJECT TO OCCUPANCY CRITERIA **INCLUDES GAS FOR COOKING **RENTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE ***INCOME REQUIREMENTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE APPLICANTS WILL BE REQUIRED TO MEET INCOME AND ADDITIONAL CRITERIA. To request an application, mail a POSTCARD to: R. A. Cohen & Associates, Inc., Historic Front Street Attention Fred Fragano 60 East 42nd Street, Suite 850 New York, New York 10165 Requests must be postmarked by February 20, 2012. Completed applications must be returned by regular mail to a post office box that will be listed on the application, and must be postmarked by March 5, 2012. Applications not sent via regular mail or postmarked after March 5, 2012 will be logged in after all other applications. Applications will be selected by lottery. Priority will be given to applicants who live or work in New York City. No broker’s or application fee should be paid to anyone regarding these applications. Only the first 350 requests for an application will be honored.


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February 15 - 21, 2012

Bike racks invade Hudson Square BY MARSHALL JAMES KAVANAUGH For those who work in Hudson Square and prefer pedalpower to other forms of transportation, there are now 35 new places to secure their bikes while on the job. The new bike racks came from the city Department of Transportation and were distributed throughout a 20-block area. With ten more on the way, the racks could have a lasting impact on the area, according to Ellen Baer, president and chief executive officer of Hudson Square Connection, the Business Improvement District responsible for working with the D.O.T. to get the new bike racks installed. The mentality at the B.I.D., according to Baer, is that the bike racks that are installed will create a larger demand for more. “It’s a little bit of a chicken and an egg thing,” said Baer. “Here in Hudson Square, green culture and sustainability is really in [the workers’] D.N.A. This is the kind of place where once you have the ability to ride, there will be an increase in ridership.” Over the past few years, the Hudson Square area has seen an increase in commercial leasers, especially in the technology and media-related industries. Companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, CBS radio, and even New York Magazine have moved to the area and are encouraging growth of a younger demographic frequenting the streets. Baer describes these individuals as part of what the neighborhood is calling the young “digerati”. “These are young professionals, many in close-by areas such as Brooklyn,” said Baer. With the bridges to Brooklyn in such a close vicinity, Baer explained, there has been an increase in workers finding that Continued on page 19

Photo courtesy of Hudson Square Connection

Hudson Square recently received 35 new bike racks, like the one above, from the city D.O.T.


February February 15 8 - - 14, 21, 2012 2012

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EDITORIAL N.Y.U. has a right to build, but must scale back plan

PUBLISHER & EDITOR John W. Sutter

PROJECT IS TOO BIG BUT HAS STRONG SUPPORT AT CITY LEVEL

ASSOCIATE EDITOR John Bayles

The N.Y.U. plan to build four buildings on its two superblocks in the Village — which include the existing Washington Square Village and University Village — is grossly over-scaled for the neighborhood. That is clear. But make no mistake, there is public support at the city level for New York University’s project, for the jobs it will create, and for its contribution to strengthening one of the city’s prime educational institutions. N.Y.U.’s plan has substantial support at City Planning, in the Bloomberg administration, and probably in the City Council, where the uniform land use review procedure (ULURP) will eventually be decided. This is important support and not likely to be swayed by vehement local opposition that many in the greater city and political class see as reflexively anti-N.Y.U. and over the top. Before N.Y.U.’s 2031 planning project, begun in 2006, its history of “as-of-right” development in Lower Manhattan produced enormously unsatisfactory results for the community. It resulted in several monstrosities, including its E. 12th St. dorm, the largest building in the East Village. The community rightly for years clamored for a “master plan” from N.Y.U., so that N.Y.U.’s development could be channeled into appropriate areas with some predictability for Lower Manhattan. N.Y.U. has produced a thorough plan, but its proposal in its central core area, to build 2.3 million square feet on its own land on the two superblocks (1.3 million square feet aboveground, and 1 million belowground) is simply too ambitious. It crams too much into too small an area, and must be scaled down. But how to get N.Y.U. to scale down this plan is shaping up to be the most important battle that the Village and this community board will face in years. And the resolution of this issue will shape the future of the Village for decades.

ARTS EDITOR Scott Stiffler REPORTERS Aline Reynolds Albert Amateau Lincoln Anderson SR. V.P. OF SALES AND MARKETING Francesco Regini ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Allison Greaker Colin Gregory Julius Harrison Alex Morris Julio Tumbaco BUSINESS MANAGER / CONTROLLER Vera Musa ART / PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Troy Masters ART DIRECTOR Mark Hasselberger GRAPHIC DESIGNER Vince Joy CONTRIBUTORS Helaina N. Hovitz • Terese Loeb Kreuzer • Jerry Tallmer PHOTOGRAPHERS Milo Hess • Jefferson Siegel • Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Published by

C.B. 2 WILL MAKE A MISTAKE IF IT VOTES ‘UNCONDITIONAL AND ABSOLUTE NO’ ON PROJECT

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We believe C.B. 2 will make a mistake if they follow the maximalists who have dominated the public meetings so far and vote to oppose this project absolutely and unconditionally. From a

larger city vantage point, the maximalist opposition is playing exactly into a central casting stereotype of angry NIMBYs who want to protect their cherished and privileged corner of the world. By voting the project down in its entirety, the board would play into the hands of those who support this massive overdevelopment. Voting a “total and absolute no” on N.Y.U.’s project would make it easier for the larger political world — i.e., the deciders in the Bloomberg administration, the Speaker’s office and the City Council — to marginalize them and overlook the community board. Voting this project down in its entirety puts the whole burden of negotiating specific cutbacks in the plan on to Borough President Stringer and Councilmember Chin. The community board instead should strengthen the hand of elected leaders by weighing in on what it finds acceptable. Focusing on this task will give Chin and Stringer an important leg up in negotiating these changes with N.Y.U. and building support in the City Council for scaling back the project.

The N.Y.U. proposed dorm on top of the school should be eliminated from the project. It enormously complicates the negotiations with the S.C.A. about building and phasing in the school. Far better for the city to own the land and build a school according to its logic and schedule. This takes N.Y.U. out of the school building and scheduling deliberations. On the north superblock, N.Y.U. should either abandon the Mercer St. boomerang building permanently, or scale both boomerang buildings down by half. This scaling-down should lead to an overall reduction in the project from 1.3 million square feet aboveground and 1 million square feet belowground to approximately 650,000 square feet up and 500,000 square feet down. This spreads out N.Y.U.’s proposed project between the north and south superblocks — smaller zipper building in the south with no hotel, no dorm on top of the school, and 50 percent smaller boomerang buildings on the north superblock.

SCALE THE PROJECT BACK BY HALF

COMMUNITY BOARD MUST LEAD AND PRODUCE ROAD MAP FOR STRINGER AND CHIN

In our view, a starting point would be the principle of “half.” C.B. 2 should be working on the best way to reduce this project by half. Here is our preliminary take of the principle of “half”: On the southern superblock, Coles gym is the easiest part. Its neo-penitentiary architecture is an abomination. Its replacement, the so-called zipper building, is the building that N.Y.U. should be permitted to construct. Its massing, however, should be reduced and shifted more toward Houston St. to alleviate the pressure on the properties facing it on the half-block between Houston and Bleecker Sts. The hotel atop the zipper building should be eliminated from the project. The proposed school at the site of the Morton Williams supermarket should be put on a fast track. The community needs the school now (i.e., three to four years from now is the School Construction Authority’s lag time) and nobody believes that N.Y.U. will really build this school at some nebulous time after 2018. The ULURP for the project needs a firm resolution guaranteeing this school. Why not have N.Y.U. transfer the deed to the city with a strong deed restriction that it can only be used for a school?

There are dozens of other details to negotiate — the deed restrictions, future of the green strips, school deed transfer, massing of the buildings, placement of the parks, enhancing of the open spaces, etc. Hard work, indeed. We will see to what extent our local elected officials and community board leaders are able to focus on this, and produce results. But the community board should not think that voting an “unconditional no” on the project strengthens the ability of our political leaders to get this project scaled back. It actually gives our elected leaders less legitimacy because they have no guidance from the community board on what to scale back. Stringer and Chin should let the community board know that they expect results and a road map, not maximalist marginalization. C.B. 2 has shown enormous skill and political savvy in dealing with other complex land use and community issues. On this mega-issue, we hope community board members will lead, not marginalize themselves. Then, Stringer and Chin should work to build support at City Planning and the City Council for scaling back this project.

TM

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Parade was a waste To the editor: The front page of last week’s issue of Downtown Express shows pictures of the parade for the Giants last Tuesday. I will not be very popular but I found the parade a waste of taxpayers’ money. The Giants are a New Jersey team. That money could have been better used to help with

our education system. Our Mayor says we don’t have enough money for education but he always finds money for frivolous things like parades. I am a senior who had a doctor appointment on Tuesday I had to cancel that important appointment because I could not get transportation to the doctor’s office. All the subway stations were closed down. I live on Fulton Street and after the parade and into the evening the street was

full of garbage left by the people who went to the parade. Yes, Broadway was cleaned up but the other blocks were not cleaned up and the rats were running wild on Fulton Street Tuesday evening. Our Mayor’s priorities are narrow and the day he is no longer mayor will be a very happy day for New York. Sincerely, Phylis Salom

Focus on Delancey To the editor: Re. “D.O.T. is set to release new Delancey St. safety plan” (Downtown Express news article, Feb. 8): For years, we demanded that our politicians, the city Department of Transportation and our local community board address these issues.

Continued on page 11


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February 15 - 21, 2012

TALKING POINT Solar-powered schools could lead rooftop revolution BY SCOTT M. STRINGER At a time when middle-class families are working harder than ever to make ends meet, New York City could be taking bold and innovative steps to create thousands of new green-collar jobs, generate clean energy and cut our monthly utility bills. All we have to do is look up. The roofs of our public schools are a vast, untapped source of new jobs and energy, and if New York embarks on a campaign to install solar roof panels on them, as I’ve just recommended in a new report, “Rooftop Revolution,” we could transform the life of the city and dramatically boost a new economic sector. Schools and solar power are a perfect match, an idea whose time has come. All it takes is leadership to make this a reality in Manhattan and the four other boroughs. Consider the data: Using the City University of New York’s N.Y.C. Solar Map,

we estimated new solar installations could generate 169.46 megawatts of clean, renewable energy and eliminate 76,696 tons of carbon from the air each year — the equivalent of planting more than 400,000 trees. This would also increase solar capacity in the five boroughs by more than 2,500 percent. Just as important, the installation of solar panels on New York City’s public schools could create an estimated 5,423 greencollar jobs and give a dramatic economic boost to a new energy sector, according to an analysis by New Energy New York, an advocacy group. This is not rocket science. Solar energy programs are underway in New Jersey and California, plus numerous school districts across the nation. Globally, solar programs have also been launched in Germany and China. New York City should be a world leader, not a follower, in expanding our region’s solar economy. California and New Jersey

have installed up to 1,000 megawatts of solar electricity — enough to power 1 million homes — while New York currently has only 6.5 megawatts. New Jersey has become the nation’s fastest-growing market for solar energy. We cannot afford to lag so far behind. Here’s what we need to do: I’m calling on City Hall to develop a long-term plan to install solar panels on public school roofs, where feasible. I’m also urging the legislature to pass The Solar Jobs Act, which would establish a system of renewable energy credits, stimulate investment and create new jobs and revenues — all at an estimated cost of 9 cents per month to New York ratepayers. That’s not just a good deal. It’s a blueprint for strong economic growth and smart environmental policy. Taken as a whole, there are 2.7 million square feet of usable space for solar panels in our public schools — enough space to

cover 57 percent of Central Park. Here in Manhattan, there are over 2,776,951 square feet available, or more than 13 percent of the city’s total public school roof space. And schools could be just the beginning. If every rooftop in the city were properly fitted with solar energy installations, CUNY experts estimate we could generate half of New York’s peak energy supply. We would also create a powerful new teaching tool for our students, so they could learn about sustainable energy, climate change and other sciences. It’s time to stop talking about solar energy and make it a reality. I urge all New Yorkers to join me in this campaign, so we can harness the sun’s power and generate thousands of new jobs for our city. When it comes to new technology and a bright future, the sky is truly the limit. Stringer is Manhattan borough president

Transit Sam

The Answer man

Attention transit riders! The MTA is doing fast-track repair work again – this time on the Seventh Avenue 1, 2, 3 lines between 34th St. and Atlantic Ave. This means there will be no service on the 1, 2, 3 lines from 34th St. to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Friday morning. Taxis will be bustling on the West Side of Manhattan to pick up thwarted transit riders, so don’t be surprised to see heavy traffic along Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Avenues. For traffic updates, follow me at www.twitter.com/GridlockSam. President’s Day on Monday means smooth sailing traffic-wise, as public schools, government offices and many businesses are closed for the holiday. But parkers be forewarned: Presidents’ Day is a “summons alert day.” Federal holiday or not, the city only grants it a regular Alternate Side Parking [ASP] suspension, so meters and other parking rules are still in effect. The NYPD will be out enforcing all other parking and meter regulations besides ASP. Two days later, ASP is suspended again for Ash Wednesday. Again, all other meters and parking regulations remain in effect. Van Halen headlines Madison Square Garden on February 28th and March 1st with none other than Kool and the Gang as an opening act. Expect slow downs on Seventh Avenue between 33rd and 31st Streets. Obama is coming back to town. The president will be returning to the Big Apple on Thursday, March 1 for a 5 p.m. fundraiser at ABC Carpet & Home. Though travel plans

haven’t been finalized, a helicopter landing to the South Street Seaport seems likely considering the event’s location at the corner of Broadway and 19th Street. Be prepared for traffic freezes in Lower Manhattan as the president makes his way to and from the event. Streets around Union Square will likely be closed throughout the evening. From the Mailbag:

as three with lights flashing) north of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel entrance, but south of Rector St. I fail to see the reason for this. Once you pass the tunnel entrance, there is no reason for a checkpoint with cones that you must drive around before you can make a right turn onto Rector St. Please explain.

Dear Transit Sam, I often travel from the FDR through the Battery Park Underpass to West St. on the way to my apartment. Nearly every afternoon, there are several cop cars (sometimes as many

Dear Tim, What you’re looking at is a security checkpoint managed by the NYPD’s counterterrorism unit. The department has checkpoints set up throughout the city for near

Tim, Manhattan

vulnerable infrastructure, such as bridges and tunnels as standard security measures. Transit Sam Confused about ever changing traffic regulations and transit operations? Need winter driving tips or help navigating Lower Manhattan? Want to know when the President next comes to town, or which line is next for the MTA’s new FASTRACK program? If so, e-mail me at TransitSam@ downtownexpress.com or write to Transit Sam, 611 Broadway, Suite 415, New York, NY 10012.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Continued from page 10 They never listened until now. Eric Nagy Nagy is a member of Fathers 4 Justice

Pass the Living Wage bill To the editor: I write this with a heavy heart. As we all know Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis fighting for economic justice

when he was assassinated. He believed we could pull people out of poverty with a living wage and dignity. In New York City today, right now, where there is economic injustice, living wages are the hope of the working poor. I have worked on this issue with a group called Democratic Coalitions for a Living Wage to persuade the majority of New Yorkers that it is time to pass the ‘Living Wage’ bill before the City Council. The proposed bill has the wide support of churches, community organizations and political organizations. The New York County Democratic Committee passed a resolution on

Wednesday, Jan. 12 unanimously supporting the fair wage legislation. “There was no debate, absolutely no debate whatsoever,” said County Chairman, Assemblyman Keith Wright. The resolution, Wright said, passed “by acclamation. It was unanimous.” Passing the resolution, Wright continued, means “New York County believes in living wage.” Community boards and political clubs all over the city have also passed resolutions every day in favor of the law, and the New York Times endorsed the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, pointing to the reasons why it is

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February 15 - 21, 2012

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Sparks in San Diego, true love in Lower Manhattan The Downtown Alliance received 45 entries for their contest Lower Manhattan Love Story. On Monday Tara Clark and Matt Cooney were notified that their entry had been chosen as the winner by a special panel of judges. Clark and Cooney received a dinner for two at the upscale Wall & Water restaurant, a one-night weekend stay at the Andaz Wall Street hotel and a $250 gift certificate to Greenwich Jewelers. Entries came in from men and women, the young and old, straight and gay, neighborhood newcomers and former residents. Roughly one third of the entries focused on a love of the district while other stories described amenities, such as the waterfront views and the diverse dinning, the atmosphere, and romantic spots like the Battery Park Esplanade. “We had an amazing response,” said Jeff Simmons, senior vice president for communications for the Alliance. “If there was a common theme threaded through most of the entries, it was that people have found love in the neighborhood, be it for a person or a place. It was moving to pore through these entries. People really put their hearts into them.”

A Lower Manhattan love story BY TARA CLARK AND MATT COONEY My fiancé, Matt Cooney, and I met in San Diego in February 2009 while out with friends for a night of dinner and drinks at a bar. He is a flight officer for FA-18 fighter jets for the Marine Corps and he was due to leave for Japan in two weeks to serve a six-month deployment. We decided to stay in touch while he was gone, and got to know each other better during that time through our emails, letters and phone calls. He even called me on my birthday (not knowing it) and made my birthday wish come true: to hear from him (which he didn’t know about at the time, either). When he returned to San Diego in September 2009, we got together for our first date in Laguna Beach. Sparks flew, and we immediately started falling in love. He took me on my second date the next weekend to a U2 concert — my favorite band. We were inseparable after that, even when we discovered a month into dating that Matt had been transferred to New York City. After three months of dating, we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and decided to move to New York together in March 2009 to pursue our dreams and further

Tara Clark and Matt Cooney met in San Diego, but fell in love in Lower Manhattan. Photo courtesy of Rick and Bernadette Johnston from Narrative Images Photography.

grow our love. I had to leave my friends, family, and job behind but knew as long as we were together we would be happy. We decided to make our new home in the Financial District for several reasons. We loved the small neighborhood feeling we got when we walked down Stone Street and how quickly we made friends. The history of Lower Manhattan charmed us as well; we were charmed by how we uncovered historical spots every day. The easy access to Battery Park, running paths on the Hudson River, and running over the Brooklyn Bridge were appealing to us because we are admittedly running addicts. Most importantly, Matt felt compelled to live in the area where our country was so suddenly and heartlessly attacked because the events of 9/11 altered his remaining education at the Naval Academy and he dedicated himself to serve his country as an officer in the Marine Corps in a time of war. He felt his service was in rightful memory

of those that were lost, and a reminder of what he works for each day… of which I supported him fully. We built a new life with each other in Lower Manhattan over the next year and a half. One of our favorite things to do on Sundays was to take a walk together in Battery Park and talk about our future. This last August, Matt suggested walking to one of our favorite restaurants, Gigino Wagner Park, for dinner. As we walked along our typical path, Matt completely surprised me and proposed to me! Lower Manhattan means so much to us because the life that we built here together has further solidified the love we felt when we first met. We are getting married on August 18 — exactly one year from the date Matt proposed and we cannot wait for the next step in our lives in New York together.

Bike Share, yes — but where? At a community planning workshop on Monday for the city’s upcoming Bike Share program, Community Board 2 members, local residents and Department of Transportation representatives broke into table-based charrette groups to consider possible locations for the new “rent-a-bike” stations. Bike Share is expected to start this summer. Shirley Secunda, C.B. 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee chairperson, said of the workshop, “People liked the idea of Bike Share’s potential use for short trips to the grocery store, luncheon dates, business meetings, connecting to transit, going to the waterfront and to parks, to college, etc. — to places which may be too far to walk to but ideal to reach by bike. It also seemed they’d prefer putting the Bike Share stations in the street rather than on sidewalks, even if it means giving up some parking spaces for motor vehicles. Streets with not too much car traffic were emphasized. Otherwise, wide, uncrowded sidewalks were considered a possibility. The map included the whole C.B. 2 district [14th to Canal Sts., west of Fourth Ave./Bowery]. Near subway stops, like at Astor Place, were popular. At my table, inside Washington Square Park was a no-no, although outside the park — as long as it didn’t block the view to the arch and fountain — was O.K.”

Photo by Brad Hoylman


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February 15 - 21, 2012

White & Church is now tailored for Tribeca BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT BY JANEL BLADOW Maybe the third time is a charm. At least that’s what the executive chef-owner of White & Church is hoping. Matteo Boglione has just revised and reinvigorated his bar and restaurant menus for a new sophisticated palate designed to appeal to his Tribeca neighbors. Just last week, he brought back many of the Italian dishes he’s best known for and hired a new bar manager to whip up classic and custom-made cocktails. He’s also planning on transforming the lounge area overlooking the corner intersection to table service. “Food is what I do,” Boglione said with pride. “Maybe I went a little far out. I had my vision and it was futuristic. I’m an avant-garde person and don’t like simple stuff. Or if I do, it’s with a twist or my own touch.” When Boglione first opened in 2010 as Il Matto (the Madman in Italian; yes, he concedes, named after himself), the food was well received but the atmosphere wasn’t. It was hard and cold and uncomfortable. Then Boglione revamped the corner spot into a lounge with comfortable, warm décor and an impressive bar and reopened with a new name – White & Church – last June. It was more a hip nightspot featuring bar bites and exotic cocktails with insects, worms and scorpions as potentially intriguing ingredients. While that attracted a lot of media attention, it wasn’t drawing repeat customers or a positive neighborhood response. “I encountered a lot of problems. Many thought I was opening a bar or club with a DJ. But I wanted an elegant

Downtown Express photo by John Bayles

White & Church at 281 Church St. has been revamped to better reflect its customers and the neighborhood in general.

pre-place where you could have a wonderful cocktail and conversation,” said Boglione. Neighborhood concerns aside, it was ultimately the wacky drinks that did him in. The Health Department just wasn’t keen on bugs in customers’ drinks, no matter how safe or well prepared they were.

So in January Boglione quietly transformed the space, menu and bar into the sophisticated and modern dining and drinking spot he longed for. He brought on board mixologist Izumi Hamagaki as bar manager to create her own style of top-shelf mixed drinks. Hamagaki has an extensive menu of classic cocktails but will take time to talk to customers about their specific tastes. Do they like tart, sweet or clean drinks? “I listen for buzz words,” said Hamagaki, “then often create a custom cocktail that appeals to the individual’s palate.” Izumi started as a bartender 12 years ago in West Hollywood then was lured to New York City where she managed the bar at Fresh and studied a “new way of cocktail making based on balance and taste.” Presentation also plays an important part in coming up with the perfect concoction. Hamagaki sees her libations as the perfect complement to Matteo’s menu. “I like to think of my drinks and his food as a complete thought, a nice sensibility with a perfection about it. Matteo is so inventive in the way he presents Italian food. I want this to be an experience,” said Hamagaki. Half-Italian and half-American, Boglione grew up in Italy then moved to Boston at 19 and spent the next few years working in restaurants there, back in Italy, Japan and Los Angeles. He even did a two-year stint as chef for racecar drivers. As chef at the Village’s Gradisca on 13th Street, he transformed the trattoria into an elegant Italian eatery earning five points from Zagat’s. Boglione pays the same attention to detail and fresh ingredients in his new menu. Appetizers are as exotic as stuffed green olives with pork,

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Downtown Digest Continued from page 3 escape the busy world outside, and once more, become a kid again… whether by finding the missing piece to a puzzle, erecting a looming tower of blocks, serving tea to the princess or slaying a virtual fire-breathing dragon,” said J&R Jr. Founder Jason Friedman. “As longstanding members of this community, we wanted to create an inviting space for residents to gather, share experiences, and gain valuable parenting and consumer information.”

SECURITY PLANS FOR W.T.C. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has clandestine plans to set up military-style technology to defend the future World Trade Center against acts of terrorism, according to a report that appeared in the Feb. 13 edition of the New York Post. Port Authority Spokesperson Steve Coleman declined to comment. The high-tech security system will purportedly include thousands of “intelligent” cameras and computer processors that might be able to detect faces of individuals on terrorist watch lists with the help of government databases. The system will also include infrared sensors equipped with explosive and radiation detectors, according to the Post article. Robot-like computers will be able to track unusual movements and behavior of pedestrians, so that cops could be deployed in case of a potential emergency. Cops might also be

alerted of seemingly normal but infrequent actions, such as someone jumping, dropping a bag in bizarre locations, or someone merely walking against the flow of pedestrians. The system is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.

B.I.D. REPORT REVEALS OPTIMISTIC RISE IN DOWNTOWN TOURISM Downtown Manhattan saw a steep rise in tourism in 2011. According to the Downtown Alliance’s 2011 Year in Review, 9.8 million tourists came to Lower Manhattan last year -- 800,000 more than in 2010. “Tourism is thriving in Lower Manhattan like never before,” said Elizabeth Berger, President of the Alliance. “The secret is out – Lower Manhattan is a destination of choice in the region, nationally and around the world, for leisure and business travelers alike.” The National Sept. 11 Memorial Plaza, which opened in last fall, had a significant draw for the district by attracting one million visitors in its first three and a half months of being open, according to the Alliance. Alliance records reveal that the number of tourists who visited below Chambers Street was 7 million in 2008, increased to almost 8 million in 2009, and reached 9 million in 2010. One effect the increase in tourism has had on the Downtown area is the opening of 18 new hotels since 2001, according to the Alliance. With an average occupancy rate of 80 percent, the seven additional hotels are scheduled to be completed by 2014.

16 galleries packed with installations that will appeal to families and adults, including: t--?:C'+66#><//>+=-+:>?</.,C:29>949?<8+63=>= t3=:6+C=90>996=N=23:79./6=N=23:=38,9>>6/=N+8.79</ t 29>91<+:2C,C.A+<.?<>C8=5CN/H23/8\=3813+9N +8.#C6@3+ 6+-2C WEDNESDAY–SUNDAY 10 am–6 pm 12 Fulton Street, New York City (between Water and South Streets) $5.00 admission, children under 9 are free www.southstreetseaportmuseum.com | 212-748-8600


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BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER ASPHALT GREEN BATTERY PARK CITY IN LIMBO: According to Anat Gerstein, a spokesperson for Asphalt Green, “The Asphalt Green Battery Park City community center has not yet received a confirmed date from the Battery Park City Authority as to when Asphalt Green staff can gain access to the facility at 212 North End Ave. We don’t have an official opening date.” Gerstein said that Asphalt Green’s staff said it would need three weeks to move in, set up and test equipment but given the extensive delays, the staff is committed to working around the clock to open to members in two weeks or less once the Authority turns the premises over to Asphalt Green, which it hired to manage the community center. The facility was originally supposed to open in November. Then the opening was pushed back to January, but that deadline was not met. An opening announced for February was also cancelled. Asphalt Green Battery Park City currently has an enrollment of 1,512 adult members and 860 children. Members are frustrated with the delays but few people have asked for a refund, said Gerstein. “Members want their community center — not their money back.” The $55 million facility will have two swimming pools, a gym and a theater and will offer a large number of special classes for children and adults. While awaiting a firm opening date, Asphalt Green Battery Park City is offering some free classes. On Friday, Feb. 24, there will be a free baby sign language demo class that will show parents and caregivers how they can improve communication with babies as young as six weeks old by using sign language. A demo class for infants from six weeks to eight months will take place at 10 a.m. followed by a class for babies from eight to 16 months at 10:30 a.m. Baby sign language author Lora Heller will teach both classes. The classes will be held at the Asphalt Green Battery Park City membership office at 211 North End Ave. (between Murray and Warren Streets). To RSVP, call (212) 2982980 or email agbpc@asphaltgreen.org. GROUNDBREAKING FOR WORLD FINANCIAL CENTER ENTRANCE PAVILION: Construction seems to be on schedule

February 15 - 21, 2012

for the World Financial Center’s glass pavilion that will connect the office complex with subways, the PATH train and the World Trade Center via an underground pedestrian passageway. Groundbreaking for the pavilion took place on Monday, Feb. 13. It is part of Brookfield Office Properties’ $250 million renovation of 2 World Financial Center that will also include new dining facilities and shops. The pavilion, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013, was designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli partner Rafael Pelli. His father, César, was the original architect of the World Financial Center. MOLIÈRE COMES TO THE WINTER GARDEN: Rehearsals are now under way at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center for three one-act plays by Molière, the stage name of French actor and playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622-1673), who wrote brilliant satires of hypocrisy and duplicity. Marking its third annual appearance at the World Financial Center, the 12-year-old New York Classical Theatre will give 18 free performances of the Molière plays from Feb. 21 through March 11. The actors will move through the Winter Garden with the audience following them in what New York Classical Theatre founder and artistic director Stephen Burdman calls “panoramic theater.” Burdman said that he selected the Molière plays because they are “hysterically funny” and because they reflect “a lot of what’s going on now” in politics and society. Molière’s patron, the French king Louis XIV, “encouraged his courtiers to spend money on wigs and clothes to divert their attention from politics,” said Burdman. Molière saw through their social pretensions and made fun of his audience. The Winter Garden lineup includes Two Precious Maidens Ridiculed, about two rejected suitors who revenge themselves on the women who spurned them; The Forced Marriage, featuring the protagonist of the previous play as a middle-aged man overcome with doubts about his impending marriage to an attractive young woman; and Sganerelle or The Imaginary Cuckold, the story of a husband who questions his wife’s fidelity but who fails to defend her honor. Each actor in the company plays several

downtown express

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

New York Classical Theatre is bringing three one-act comedies by Moliere to the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. The free performances run from Feb. 21 to March 11.

roles. “I think this will be a delight for Molière fans as well as for those who don’t know much about Molière,” said Burdman. “These are forgotten masterpieces.” Rehearsals are open to the public and take place throughout the Winter Garden through Feb.17. For a schedule of rehearsal times, go to http://www.worldfinancialcenter.com/arts-events. BATTERY PARK CITY IN BLOOM: The unseasonably warm weather has hastened the appearance of spring flowers in Battery Park City. Daffodils called “Narcissus Rjinvelds ‘Early Sensation’” have been blooming on the esplanade near Rector Place for about a week. These early bloomers were first marketed in 1943 and are known for their hardiness. Even if the temperature dips into the teens, they should be able to weather the cold. “There are a few winter aconite

(Eranthis hymelis) showing their heads on the esplanade and in Wagner Park,” said Eileen Calvanese, horticultural director for the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. “Quince (Chaenomeles) is still flowering on the esplanade at Rector Place and witch hazel is flowering at the entrance to South Cove (at the Third Place cul-de-sac). These are Hamamelis ‘Arnold Promise.’ Also in Teardrop Park there are Hamamelis vernalis [another form of witch hazel] with small, orange, fragrant flowers.” Snowdrops have been blooming since December and several kinds of hellebores are blooming on the esplanade, in Rector Park and in South Cove. Most of these plants grow low to the ground with down-turned flowers, so even should we get some snow, they would not be harmed. To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@ mac.com.

A few weeks ahead of schedule because of the unseasonably warm weather, daffodils that go by the name of “Narcissus Rjinvelds ‘Early Sensation’” are blooming on the Battery Park City esplanade near Rector Place.


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February 15 - 21, 2012

Exhibit shows how slaves in NYC lived and died Continued from page 1 had helped build New York City. Slavery was not completely outlawed in New York State until 1827. In the colonial period, slaves comprised around one-fourth of New York City’s labor force. They were consigned to swampy land outside the city’s walls when they died. In many cases, their bones were scarred and deformed by the harsh and short lives they had led. What turned up under the backhoes should not have been a surprise. A map of New York City from 1755 now in the Library of Congress showed what was called the “Negros Buriel Ground” at that very spot. The 6.6 acre cemetery was used from the 1640s to 1794, when a 110-foot-tall promontory called Bayard’s Mountain two blocks to the north, near where Columbus Park is now, was leveled off and the earth dumped on the graves to create a flat surface on which to build houses for the growing city. The bones of around 15,000 people were now 24 feet below the surface. No one found them again for almost two centuries. After the first discoveries, workers continued to construct the office building. Four hundred and nineteen skeletal remains were sent to Lehman College in the Bronx for storage. “It was a major fight on the part of the black community to keep them from continuing to build,” said Denise Walden Greene, a staff analyst and administrator with New York City’s Department of Children’s Services, who was visiting what is now the African Burial Ground National Monument. African descendants, clergy, politicians, scientists, historians and concerned citizens fought to preserve the site and honor the dead. In 1992, they staged a 24-hour vigil. Congress responded, decreeing that the building plans be altered to provide for a memorial. Subsequently, the remains were transferred to Howard University in Washington, D.C., where they were studied for eight years. In October 2003, all of the remains were returned to Lower Manhattan and reburied in mahogany coffins carved in Ghana. On Feb. 27, 2006, a presidential proclamation designated the site as the African Burial Ground National Monument. Today, the African Burial Ground memorial occupies three-quarters of an acre near Duane Street and Broadway with a visitors’ center in the building at 290 Broadway. The bodies are buried under seven mounds of grass on top of which people have left offerings of flowers, money and shells. Nearby are seven serviceberry trees. “They are guardians, so the building doesn’t disturb their rest,” said Sean Ghazala, a guide with the National Park Service, which now has jurisdiction over the site. He also explained that, “In the colonial period, when serviceberry

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Sean Ghazala, a National Park Service guide, pointing to a map incised into the outdoor memorial of the African Burial Ground showing the approximate boundaries of the original cemetery.

trees bloomed in the spring, people knew that the ground had thawed enough that they could bury their dead.” A granite monument near the burial mounds designed by Haitian-American architect Rodney Leon was dedicated in October 2007. It suggests the shape of a ship such as those that brought millions of Africans to the eastern seaboard of what is now the United States. In warm weather, it is surrounded by water. It leads to a circular space centered by a map that shows Africa, Europe and the New World and is surrounded by West African and Caribbean symbols of memory and protection. A West African symbol called a “sankofa” is prominently inscribed on the monument. It means “learn from the past to prepare for the future.” The visitors’ center inside the building at 290 Broadway contains exhibits that show how New York City’s African slaves lived and died. One wall shows photographs of the bones. On the opposite wall is a photomural of the protesters who fought to preserve the cemetery as sacred ground. In between them are life-sized figures of a family mourning over simple pine boxes as they prepared to bury their dead. The African Burial Ground National Monument Visitor Center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed on all federal holidays. The

A memorial at the African Burial Ground National Monument shaped like a ship suggests the harrowing journey that brought millions of enslaved Africans to the eastern seaboard of what is now the United States. The memorial is engraved with a Sankofa, a heart-shaped West African symbol that means “learn from the past to prepare for the future.”

African Burial Ground National Monument Memorial is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for federal holidays.

During Black History Month, special programs have been scheduled. For more information, go to www.nps.gov/afbg.


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P.S. 276 students wear hard-hats for a day Continued from page 5 “I think it’s helping them get to learn about professions they don’t know much about,” chimed in class parent Christina Bhan. “What Alyssa’s doing is so inspirational for them. They can’t stop talking about it.” Last month, archeologist Alyssa Loorya, who is overseeing the Fulton Street excavations, visited the P.S. 276 youngsters at their school to showcase a bone toothbrush, a stoneware bottle, a chamber pot and others of the 18th and 19th-century artifacts she and her team recently uncovered. The Fulton Street project has been flagged for archeological digs, she explained, since it is located in a historic district. “Remember all that stuff I brought to your classroom last month?” said Loorya. “We found that right behind you, underneath the ground.” Alex Agran, Loorya’s colleague at her firm, Chrysalis Archeological Consultants, vividly described the excavation process to the children. “Is it hot down there? How do you survive down there?” asked second grader Emmett Levine. “It’s extraordinarily hot down there,” said Agran. “We had a lot of plastic buckets, and some of them were melting because of the heat. We have to wear proper clothing, drink a lot of water, and make sure to take breaks.”

“What is your favorite tool to use?” asked Jack Farber. A pickaxe, replied Agran. “I use it to break rocks or brick walls or frozen ground.” Farber followed up with, “Do you like the loud noise that it makes?” “Yes,” Agran said, chuckling. “Very much so.” Steps away at Peck Slip, the children got a run-down on basic safety precautions construction workers take when on duty. Engineer Peter Roloff demonstrated a potential construction site hazard by lifting a box imaginatively full of heavy objects and dropping it on his colleague’s toe. “Construction workers wear very special boots. The boot from the middle to the front is all made out of steel,” said Roloff. “This time I know it won’t hurt him,” said Roloff as he smacked his co-worker’s boot with a hammer. “See? You’re toes are not going to get smushed.” As they skipped to the 4/5 Fulton Street subway station en route back to school, the children shared fresh memories of their trip. “I liked that they told you what you needed to do to be able to be a construction worker – what safety parts you need to do, and what pipes give you what type of energy, or telephone connection, or whatever,” said second grader Charlotte Newman. “It’s amazing how they’re able to fit all the pipes together under another pipe [without them] getting stuck!”

Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds

Second graders from P.S. 276 received a lesson in construction safety and city infrastructure during a field trip to the South Street Seaport on Monday.

N.Y.U. will give land, but not cash, for a school Continued from page 6 auditorium and rehearsal space. The committee also wanted “a true analysis” of how many additional children would come into the neighborhood from the possible 260 new residential units that could be built in the proposed “Zipper Building” if the university choses to create faculty apartments there instead of a hotel. N.Y.U. noted that the development would introduce about 31 new elementary school students, 10 new middle school students and 16 new high school students to the area by 2031. Children too young for public school and children attending private school are also expected in the faculty housing, but the plan’s draft environmental impact statement does not identify the total number of children, the N.Y.U. response said. But committee members took issue with the finding that the potential 260 apartments would not have significant adverse impact on local elementary, middle or high schools because the number is below a threshold amount of 310 residential units. Committee members were also dissatisfied with the university response to questions about the safety of the proposed play area on the roof of the seven-story public school. “Playgrounds throughout the city are located on the roof spaces of schools and are successful,” was the N.Y.U. response. That wasn’t enough for committee members. Lois Rakoff, head of the committee, demanded names of spe-

University representative Sayar Lonial informed C.B. 2 members of N.Y.U.’s position on the public school.

cific schools and a definition of the word “successful.” Rakoff also worried about young children having to take an elevator to the playtop area. “Some children are afraid of elevators,” Rakoff said.

“What if an elevator breaks down? What about fire emergencies when elevators are shut down?” Committee members were still confused about the proposal’s giving the S.C.A. until 2025 to decide on whether to build the school on the Bleecker St. site. The proposed school building would also include three or four stories of student dorms above the school. Lonial said the plan for the entire building is driven by the S.C.A. action. “The site will not be built at all until and unless the S.C.A. makes a commitment,” he said. “The dorm cannot float seven stories above the ground.” If the agency chooses not to build a school on the site, Lonial said, N.Y.U. would reserve the right to construct a different as-of-right building for university use — “as of right,” meaning allowed under the location’s current zoning. However, Chenault Spence, a committee member, and Rakoff insisted that any building on the site should be for community use. The history of the N.Y.U. school proposal was another issue at the Monday committee meeting. Teri Cude, a member of the C.B. 2 N.Y.U. Working Group, recalled that at a public news conference in 2010 on the redevelopment plan, Lynne Brown, N.Y.U. senior vice president, said the university’s public school offer was not tied to the approval of the N.Y.U. 2031 plan. “This sounds like reneging on a promise,” Cude said. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, agreed that N.Y.U. had promised to build the core and shell of a public school not dependent on the ULURP for the 2031 plan.


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Love and food celebration at the market Continued from page 7 dients as their raw materials a place to sell their work. He envisions not just a market but a food system that stretches from the growers, fishermen and animal keepers through the small-scale manufacturers to retail consumers, restaurants, small shops and caterers. For the Valentine’s market on Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12, some of those people were on hand. Mary Woltz of Bees’ Needs in Sag Harbor was there with her honey, which she harvests from 80 hives after her bees have satisfied their own needs for sustenance. Her husband, Rob Calvert, makes lip balm and hand salves from the beeswax. “I participated in the 2007 market,” she recalled. “I had sold in Sag Harbor before that, but the New Amsterdam Market gave me the confidence to sell in New York City.” Woltz’s honey varies in taste seasonally depending on where her bees are foraging. “I love bees,” she said. “I found out how much trouble they were in and thought, ‘what better way to spend my time than to help them?’” If Woltz was the vendor with the longest New Amsterdam Market track record, Vallery Lomas was the newest. The Valentine’s market was her first with LaValva. She arrived with pastel-colored macaroons, which she spells in the French way, “macaron.” She started her baking and catering business, Jaune, in September 2011. Lomas, who was born and raised in Baton Rouge, La., has a law degree from the University of Southern California and a day job working for the Brooklyn Family Court. After finishing law school, she went to Paris for eight months, where she learned to bake macaroons. Now, she bakes at night, using ovens at Hot Bread Kitchen in Harlem. “I’m hoping to fully transition [from law to baking],” she said.

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Cyrilla Suwarsa and her fiancé Warren Kim brought roasted cashew nuts to the New Amsterdam Market Valentine’s market in the South Street Seaport. Suwarsa and her sister, Caecilia, have a business called Nuts & Nuts.

There were chocolate and ice cream and pie vendors at the New Amsterdam Valentine’s market, and a chef making egg creams and other soda concoctions with homemade syrups. Tinsel Trading was there with handmade boxes containing candy. From Anarchy in a Jar came an array of unusual, gourmet jams such as pear with chipotle and cinnamon and grapefruit marmalade

Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess

Too big for the big stage This 180 lb English Mastiff was seen crossing Park Place last week. Unfortunately, that meant he was not a contestant in the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog show.

with smoked salt. Maggie Nesciur of Flying Fox brought grapefruits and oranges that she had picked herself in Florida. Each of these was offered by an individual or a small company that cares greatly about food. Selling more than just sweets, the special weekend celebration was an emporium of passions.


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Audit portrays Port as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;dysfunctionalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; but fixable Continued from page 1 oritize completing the Memorial Plaza over meeting cost projections from earlier years, and said it would be â&#x20AC;&#x153;naĂŻveâ&#x20AC;? to think such a large project wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cost more than initially expected. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The bottom line is, this whole site is perhaps the most complex construction project in the history of the world â&#x20AC;&#x201D; legally, politically, engineering-wise,â&#x20AC;? Bloomberg told reporters. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If America couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have come up with a Memorial by the 10th anniversaryâ&#x20AC;Ś It would have been an embarrassment.â&#x20AC;? In contrast, the audit did not sit well with Governors Cuomo and Christie, who said in a joint statement that â&#x20AC;&#x153;this record of historic failureâ&#x20AC;? must be reversed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Steps have already been taken in the last two years, but much more must be done to restore the Port Authority to a responsible, highly transparent, well-managed organization,â&#x20AC;? said the Governors. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We will demand nothing short of the agencyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s implementation of comprehensive recommendations and reform to achieve this critical mission.â&#x20AC;? The results even startled Scott Rechler, who last June took the helm as vice chairman of the Port Authorityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Board of Commissioners. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I came in with an expectation of trying

to find where the challenges are, but I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect them to be as large as they were,â&#x20AC;? said Rechler. In an effort to justify the audit data, Rechler said that, prior to the 10-year anniversary, issues such as maintaining construction costs and securing third-party reimbursements were secondary to finishing the Memorial. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re past that,â&#x20AC;? Rechler said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve taken a step back and realized that we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do business like that anymore. We have to get the W.T.C. development done at the highest standards possible, but in a responsible matter. We have to create transparency and develop a plan to solve these issues.â&#x20AC;? In light of the audit, Pat Foye, executive director of the Port, has instituted a new set of financial controls and monitoring tactics to ensure that approved W.T.C. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; related budgets are met, according to Rechler, who met with Foye and other Port Authority executives last week to review expectations of accountability. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re making sure people in the finance department are monitoring any variances that might be occurring in advance [and understand] that no scope changes can occur without the sign-off of the executive director,â&#x20AC;? said Rechler. Moving forward, the Port Authority wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t begin new W.T.C. construction proj-

ects without securing funding commitments from third parties, according to Rechler. However, he wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t explain how the agency would go about enforcing such agreements. Rechler said that, with these new measures in place, the agency is confident about meeting forthcoming deadlines for the completion of the W.T.C. Transportation Hub and towers. The completion date of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, however, is still up in the air, as the Port Authorityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s construction of the Museum has slowed in the wake of a financial dispute the agency is having with the 9/11 Memorial Foundation. Rechler said the agency is working toward a consensus that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t involve court action. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My sense is thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be some negotiated settlement there thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fair to everyone, without third-party arbitration,â&#x20AC;? said Rechler. Officials at the National 9/11 Memorial said they were not consulted on the audit and confirmed that negotiations with the Port Authority about the contested costs were ongoing. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who toured Downtown residents around the Memorial prior to its opening to the public, stressed the need for the parties to reach an agreement as promptly as possible. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Reasonable minds should just get togeth-

er and resolve it,â&#x20AC;? said Silver. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would hope that if they canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t resolve it among themselves, it would go to some kind of arbitration.â&#x20AC;? Responding to the audit, Silver defended the Port Authority in a similar vein as Bloomberg. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t measure in dollars and cents what it means to have that up, and you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t measure in dollars and cents building the other buildings aroundl,â&#x20AC;? said Silver. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The fact remains that, if you live down here or you live anywhere and come down here, you see something thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blooming, something thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mushrooming â&#x20AC;&#x201D; something that really says, Downtown is back.â&#x20AC;? It is critical, Silver argued, that the agency forge ahead with the rebuilding of the W.T.C. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m concerned about is using this audit to say, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stop everything,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? said Silver. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a viable excuse, as far as Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m concerned, to delay things.â&#x20AC;? Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin echoed that the Downtown community wants to see the reconstruction of the W.T.C. site continue as expeditiously as possible. Asked about the audit, Menin said it was concerning to read about the steep price tags associated with the siteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rebuilding. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What we really need is true transparency,â&#x20AC;? said Menin, â&#x20AC;&#x153;so these numbers arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t shifting all the time and we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see costs ballooning.â&#x20AC;?

White & Church in Tribeca Continued from page 13



veal and pistachio mortadella and artichoke croquettes with saffron sauce, burrata cheese and black truffles. EntrĂŠes range from the unusual White & Church burger stuffed with mac and cheese to Lasagnetta di crespelle with beef ragu and bĂŠchamel sauce. Adding a special kick to the sophisticated atmosphere is a big screen on the back wall where classic black and white movies are shown. On any night customers can see Bogie and Bacall in an on-screen embrace or

catch a kooky moment in a Fellini film. Additionally, the restaurant plans to host events, celebrating special occasions, great food and delicious drinks. They also will offer classes to customers. Matteo â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Madmanâ&#x20AC;? will oversee three-hour cooking classes of up to six students, teaching the basics of traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine. Izumi will offer a new bar program called The Art of Drinking: a cocktail experience, highlighting market-fresh ingredients and homemade elixirs. White & Church is located at 281 Church Street. For more information call 212-2261607 or visit www.whiteandchurch.com.

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D.O.T. unveils Delancey St. plan Continued from page 8 on the median, just stay put â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I know itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frustrating, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s much safer,â&#x20AC;? said Benson. C.B. 3 member Morris Faitelewicz, former chair of the transportation committee, called for an increased presence of traffic enforcement agents, which isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t currently a part of the D.O.T. plan. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have people giving summonses on a regular basis, people will continue [making left-hand turns],â&#x20AC;? said Faitelewicz.

While State Senator Daniel Squadron praised the proposal during a brief appearance at the meeting, he also noted that additional research and improvements for Delancey Street are needed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even an aggressive, far-reaching, comprehensive plan [like this one] doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t solve everything in one fell swoop,â&#x20AC;? said the Senator. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We must continue to study and improve Delancey and the surrounding streets to prevent future tragedies and ensure the safety of all users.â&#x20AC;? The C.B. 3 Transportation Committee is set to vote on a resolution about the plan at its March meeting.


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Hudson Sq. gets 35 bike racks Continued from page 9 riding a bike is more convenient than using mass transit. The B.I.D., in return, began receiving requests for additional bike racks from various area businesses. Choosing where to install the bike racks was a three-step process, according to Baer. First, the B.I.D. worked with building owners and surveyed tenants to determine the demand. The goal, she explained, was to distribute the racks throughout the area to maximize the usefulness of each rack, since, according to Baer, demand is projected to exceed supply. Baer and her team hand-measured the placement of the bike racks according to D.O.T. rules and regulations, in order to streamline the installation process. Other initiatives are also in the works aimed at bike-related amenities, said Baer. Community Board 2 voted unanimously last November to expand the buffered bike lane on Hudson Street into a parkingprotected bike lane. Baer said the B.I.D. asked the D.O.T. to study the proposal, since commercial needs are different from residential needs. One example, she said, would be truck load-in parking. Hudson Square is an ideal place for the city-wide bike share program currently being promoted by Mayor Bloomberg with its daytime population of almost

50,000 people making short trips between offices, according to Baer, who has talked to the D.O.T. about possible locations such as subway stations and popular businesses.

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February 15 - 21, 2012

downtown express

Letters to the Editor Continued from page 11 long overdue for a city in need and that cities around the country have successfully implemented such standards to lift families out of poverty without harming development. Those who supported this bill were hopeful and united. We were going to keep going until the bill was passed. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the business interests killed the living wage bill and replaced it with a watereddown version. The original bill said that when select businesses received $100,000 in public tax dollars to subsidize large private development, the resulting jobs would pay a living wage of $10 or $11.50 an hour if the employer does not provide health coverage. The revised version of the bill would mandate a wage of $10 per hour with benefits, or $11.50 without benefits, for employees of projects that receive at least $1 million in subsidies. Small businesses with $5 million or less in annual revenue, and all manufacturing companies, would be exempt. But even this version was not acceptable to Speaker Quinn, King Bloomberg, Jessaca Lappin, and Inez Dickens. I am proud to relay that the rest of the Manhattan City Council members supported the Living Wage Bill. The people of Manhattan have spoken: Community Boards 1, 6, 11 and 12 all

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passed resolutions supporting the bill; C.B.s 2, 3 and 10, meanwhile, have votes coming up later this month. Overall, the, direct job impact on NYC by the fair wage bill represents only four percent of employment at Industrial Development Agency (I.D.A.) projects. If the bill was in place today, less than 15 percent, or 87, of the 613 projects would fall under the revised bill. So why was this bill such a threat to the real estate leaders? The bill is essential, and sets the tone more broadly for equitable economic development. There are setbacks, but we are not giving up. John Scott, Democratic District Leader

Letters policy Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be e-mailed to news@DowntownExpress.com or can be mailed to 515 Canal St., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.

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downtown express

February 15 - 21, 2012

COMPILED BY SCOTT STIFFLER

FUNKY FAMILY PURIM CELEBRATION The Mama Doni Band is returning to the Museum of Jewish Heritage for a special pre-Purim concert featuring brand-new songs and a costume parade (geared for children ages 3-10). Families will receive free CDs and giveaways. Sun., Feb. 26. From 1:30-3:30pm, there will be craft activities (free with purchase of concert ticket; the concert happens at 2:30pm). Admission to the event is $10, $7 for children 10 and under; Museum members $7, $5 for children 10 and under. At the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (at Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place). For info, or to purchase tickets, call 646-437-4202 or visit mjhnyc. org. THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE MUSEUM From Feb. 20-24 (1-3:30pm each day), the “Jr. Police Academy” is a mid-winter recess drop-off program at which children can spend a fun afternoon learning about the police and the museum’s collection. On Monday, conduct “CSI”-style chemistry experiments — including fingerprinting and invisible ink. On Tuesday, learn about the way police move around the city, then build a police vehicle. Wednesday will focus on the way police communicate with one another (by making string phones). Thursday will focus on learning about museum collections and exhibits (children will build their own shoebox exhibits). Friday, the Academy graduates will use all the skills they learned to solve a mystery. Register for one day, or all week (at nycpm.org). The cost is $30 per day. Registration is required, and space is limited. All year long, the Junior Officers Discovery Zone is anexhibit designed for ages 3-10. It’s divided into four areas (Police Academy, Park and Precinct, Emergency Services Unit and a Multi-Purpose Area), each with interactive and imaginary play experiences for children to understand the role of police officers in our community — by, among other things, driving and taking care of a police car. For older

children, there’s a crime scene observation activity that will challenge them to remember relevant parts of city street scenes, a physical challenge similar to those at the Police Academy and a model Emergency Services Unit vehicle where children can climb in, use the steering wheel and lights, hear radio calls with police codes and see some of the actual equipment carried by The Emergency Services Unit. At 100 Old Slip (btw. Front and South Sts.). For info, call 212-480-3100 or visit nycpm.org. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm and Sun., 12-5pm. Admission: $8 ($5 for students, seniors and children; free for children under 2). TEATRO SEA PRESENTS “CENICIENTA/CINDERELLA” Latino children’s theatre Teatro SEA is putting a bilingual, tango-infused musical spin on the Cinderella tale. All the classic characters are here: Cinderella still falls in love with the Prince, and she’s still overworked by an evil stepmother and a few jealous stepsisters — but “Cenicienta” parts ways with tradition when it comes to the Fairy Godmother. In this version, she’s sick and a surprise character replaces her. Sat., Feb. 18 & 25 — at 3pm. At Teatro SEA, New York’s Latino Children’s Theatre (Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center, 107 Suffolk St.). For tickets ($18; $15 for children), call 212-529-1545. For info, visit teatrosea.org. SATURDAY AFTERNOONS AT THE SCHOLASTIC STORE Every Saturday at 3pm, Scholastic’s in-store activities are designed to get kids reading, thinking, talking, creating and moving. At 557 Broadway (btw. Prince and Spring Sts.). Store hours are Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm and Sun., 11am-6pm. For info, call 212-343-6166 or visit scholastic.com/sohostore. NEW YORK CITY FIRE MUSEUM Kids will learn about fire prevention and safety through group tours, led by former NYC

THE HOUSE Created with audience ages 10 and beyond in mind, “The House” is the latest production from HERE’s “StartHERE: Innovative Theater for Young People” program — which is designed to bring unique performing arts events to family audiences. This innovative theater piece certainly qualifies. International artist Sofie Krog (Denmark’s Sofie Krog Teater) collaborates with members of HERE’s Dream Music Puppetry Program to tell a tale of creeps, thrills and laughs to be found behind the closed doors of a house doing double duty as a funeral home. Occupied by the reclusive Mrs. Esperanza (and her faithful dog), this house has many rooms filled with devious inhabitants and oddball visitors. A revolving set brimming with intricate lights and complex contraptions will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Fri., Feb. 24 at 7pm; Sat., Feb. 25 and Sun., Feb. 26 at 2pm & 7pm. At HERE (145 Sixth Ave., one block below Spring St.). For tickets ($20 general, $15 Youth Ticket, for ages 10-18), purchase at the Box Office day of show, call 212-352-3101 or visit here.org.

YOUTH ACTIVITIES firefighters. The program — which lasts approximately 75 minutes — includes classroom training and a simulated event in a mock apartment (where a firefighter shows how fires can start in different rooms in the home). Finally, students are guided on a tour of the museum’s first floor. Tours (for groups of 20 or more) are offered Tues.-Fri. at 10:30am, 11:30am and 12:30pm. Tickets are $3 for children and $5 per adult — but for every 10 kids, admission is free for one adult. The museum offers a $700 Junior Firefighter Birthday Party package, for children 3-6 years old. The birthday child and 15 of their guests will be treated to story time, show and tell, a coloring activity, a scavenger hunt and the opportunity to speak to a real firefighter (the museum provides a fire-themed birthday cake, juice boxes and other favors and decorations). The NYC Fire Museum is located at 278 Spring St. (btw. Varick and Hudson). For info call 212-691-1303 or visit nycfiremuseum.org. THE BULLY This musical from Vital Children’s Theatre (part of their touring repertoire since 2005) returns to NYC for an extended run. “The Bully” tells the story of a bus mix-up stranding Lenny (the nerd) and Steve (the bully) at the wrong school — where they both get picked on for being “the new kids.” When the boys are forced to work together to get back to their school, they begin to learn that they might not be so different after all. Appropriate for ages 4-12. Through Feb. 26; Sat. & Sun. at 11am & 1pm. Weekday 11am & 1pm school holiday performances on and Feb. 20, 21, 22, 23. At Vital Theatre (2162 Broadway, 4th Floor, on the North East Corner of 76th

21 St. and Broadway). Tickets are $25 (seating in the first three rows, $30). For reservations, call 212-579-0528 or visit vitaltheatre.org. POETS HOUSE The Poets House Children’s Room gives children and their parents a gateway to enter the world of rhyme — through readings, group activities and interactive performances. For children ages 1-3, the Children’s Room offers “Tiny Poets Time” readings on Thursdays at 10am; for those ages 4-10, “Weekly Poetry Readings” on Saturdays at 11am. Filled with poetry books, old-fashioned typewriters and a card catalogue packed with poetic objects to trigger inspiration, the Children’s Room is open Thurs.-Sat., 11am-5pm. Free admission. At 10 River Terrace. Call 212-431-7920 or visit poetshouse.org. CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS Explore painting, collage and sculpture through self-guided arts projects at this museum dedicated to inspiring the artist within. Open art stations are ongoing throughout the afternoon — giving children the opportunity to experiment with materials such as paint, clay, fabric, paper and found objects. The CMA’s Multicultural Festival Series continues, with Sun., Feb. 19’s “Arty Gras Festival & Parade.” Celebrate Mardi Gras — and the 25th anniversary of New York’s legendary Two Boots Pizzeria — with masks, noisemakers and floats. A 4pm parade will be led by the Raya Brass Band. The day will also feature a special pizza snack from Two Boots! Regular museum hours: Mon. & Wed., 12-5pm; Thurs.Fri., 12-6pm; Sat.-Sun., 10am-6pm. Admission: $10; free for seniors and infants (0-12 months). Pay as you wish on Thurs., 4-6pm. At 103 Charlton St. (btw. Hudson and Greenwich Sts.). Call 212-274-0986 or visit cmany.org. For group tours, call 212-274-0986, ext. 31. WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOUR EVENT LISTED IN THE DOWNTOWN EXPRESS? Send information to scott@chelseanow.com. Please provide the date, time, location, price and a description of the event. Information may also be mailed to 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C, New York City, NY 10013. Requests must be received at least three weeks before the event. Questions? Call 646-452-2497.


February 15 - 21, 2012

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downtown express

DOWNTOWNEXPRESSARTS&ENTERTAINMENT â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;STREET.LIFE.LIVE.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; charts a course from 1968 to the present Women photographers document life on the Lower East Side BY SCOTT STIFFLER If you want to see for yourself â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in sharp black and white and crisp, dynamic color â&#x20AC;&#x201D; why veteran New Yorkers get misty when rhapsodizing about the Lower East Side of both now and then, invest an hour or so to fully digest the photographs currently snaking their way around the first floor walls and columns â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and the second floor hallway â&#x20AC;&#x201D; of the 14 Street Y. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find, until February 29 and maybe a few days after that, the exhibit â&#x20AC;&#x153;STREET.LIFE.LIVE. Women Photographers of the Lower East Side.â&#x20AC;? Curated by Shell Sheddy and featuring her work as well as that of Rebecca Lepkoff, Silvianna Goldsmith, Marlis Momber and Anna L. Sawaryn, â&#x20AC;&#x153;STREET.â&#x20AC;? is a remarkable collection not simply because it functions as a time capsule charting everything from art to activism to the revolving ethnicities who took turns dominating the neighborhood. It does that, of course, with potency and skill. The exhibitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more impressive achievement (and its own contribution to local history) is how it successfully graphs the past and the present so that subject matter shot decades apart says more about what we have in common than it does about what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lost. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s loss, of course (Shell Sheddy documents murals that have long been painted over, and artists whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve passed). But there are also images that could have been captured decades or days ago (Anna L. Sawarynâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pinhole photographs of churches and tenements, devoid of people and taken during the winter, are literally frozen in time).

Photo by Marlis Momber

From 1984, by Marlis Momber: Bimbo Rivas, on top of Charas/El Bohio rooftop overlooking LOISAIDA.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would go by it all the time,â&#x20AC;? says Sheddy of an old dive captured in the photo â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mars Bar.â&#x20AC;? For Sheddy, â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was an everyday bar that had a lot of character, always good for a whisky or a beer. You could draw, and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d put it up on the wall.â&#x20AC;? The particular mural she captured outside of the bar in 2009, she recalls, â&#x20AC;&#x153;was just one of a long seriesâ&#x20AC;? that came and went. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some were simple, some were complex. For a dive bar, it had such an artistic, independent spirit.â&#x20AC;? Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bother scouring Second Avenue for it, she warns. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not there anymore.â&#x20AC;? Photo by Rebecca Lepkoff

Continued on page 26

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February 15 - 21, 2012

He hunts ghosts, and shows you how

Lecture charts investigation of ‘Manhattan’s most haunted house’ TALKS INVESTIGATING MANHATTAN’S MOST HAUNTED HOUSE Sat., Feb. 18, at 7pm At The Merchant’s House Museum 29 E. Fourth St. (btw. Lafayette & Bowery) For tickets ($20), call 212-777-1089 Visit merchantshouse.org, sturgesparanormal.com and thepsishow.com Regular Museum hours: 12-5pm (closed Tues. & Wed.). Admission: $10 ($5 for students/seniors). BY SCOTT STIFFLER Paranormal investigator Dan Sturges has been roaming supposedly spooked museums, theaters, restaurants and private homes ever since visiting Civil War sites and staying at the “haunted” bed and breakfast (nearly every battlefield has one, he assures). Years ago, while on one of those trips, Sturges got hooked when he tagged along with a team of ghost hunters. Times change, but the hook’s still in there. For the past year, the physically formidable but downright sweet Sturges — now an old hand at this stuff — has led a team of sober historians, gifted psychics, curious fellow investigators (and this often frightened reporter) on a monthly trip throughout “Manhattan’s most haunted house.”

Photo courtesy of the Merchant’s House Museum

Dan Sturges talks turkey, about ghosts and things that go bump.

As haunted houses go, the Merchant’s House Museum is the real deal. Dozens of unexplained events have happened there since it opened as a museum, in 1936 — and some even before that (the first ones on record occurred just after the last occupant died, and as work was being done to prepare the house for its new life as a museum). Built in 1832, it was occupied for nearly a century by a prosperous merchant family led by patriarch Seabury Tredwell (1780-1865). Daughter Gertrude (1840-1933) was born, and died, in the house. In all, seven fam-

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ily members met their makers there. Flash forward to 2012, and the Merchant’s House (celebrating its 75th year) is New York City’s only family home preserved virtually intact — inside and out — from the mid-19th century. Could it be that the presence of original Tredwell furnishings and personal possessions are helping to open a portal to the past, perhaps even to the great beyond? Maybe, maybe not — but it isn’t hurting, that’s for sure. At the very least, it sets one heck of a tone. At this lecture, Sturges will begin by offering a paranormal primer. You’ll learn the methodology, equipment and practices of “ghost hunting.” Then, he’ll recall some of the most extraordinary occurrences to have taken place since he began roaming the Merchant’s House stairs and halls and rooms with EMF and EVP equipment (as for what EMF/EVP means, you’ll learn). Many of the best evidence he has to share is from the 2011 investigations — including crystal clear audio clips, which appear to contain very specific answers to questions posed by the team. As for me, I never came face to face with a “ghost” — but I did feel something brush up against me, spotted a disembodied dress out of the corner of my eye, smelled smoke when others didn’t and heard a loud bump in the night experienced by everyone else in the room — coming from a closet whose contents couldn’t have possibly produced the sound. Does all this mean that the matter of life after death is a closed case? Not quite. Sturges refuses to say he’s ever seen a ghost, or even declare his belief in them. But if you don’t emerge from the Merchant’s House convinced there’s something strange and unexplained going on, you better have your head checked. For a weekly dose of the paranormal, listen to “The PSI Show” the Dan Sturges hosts this web-based radio show, along with friend and colleague Larry Hewitt. Visit thepsishow.com for archived episodes. New ones air 7-8pm, Mondays.


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February 15 - 21, 2012

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Celebrate Black History Month Author, muscian make the connection ARTIFICIAL AFRIKA — A TALE OF LOST CITIES The latest project from Vernon Reid — who first gained worldwide fame (and Grammy recognition) while with the band Living Colour — embraces hip hop, film and visual art. Described as “a multi-media theatrical concert,” Reid’s “Artificial Afrika — A Tale of Lost Cities” has been in development for over six years. The latest chapter in this ongoing project was created in collaboration with Akim Funk Buddha and DJ Leon Lamont. At 7:30pm on Fri. and Sat.: February 17, 18, 24, 25. At Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St., btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.). Tickets are $15 in advance online, $18 at the door ($12 for students/seniors). Visit dixonplace.org or call 212219-0736.

TALK: “BLACK GOTHAM: A FAMILY HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY NEW YORK” The Lower East Side Museum’s Tenement Talk series presents this look at the truth behind many accepted notions about African American history — including the assumption that “19th-century black Americans” means enslaved people, that New York before the Civil War was a place of freedom and that a black elite didn’t exist until the 20th century. Carla L. Peterson (a professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park) will speak on these and other topics, drawing from her most recent book (“Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York”). Free. Wed., Feb. 29, 6:30pm. At the Lower East Side

Photo courtesy of the artist and Dixon Place

Vernon Reid performs “Artificial Afrika: A Tale of Lost Cities.”

Photo courtesy of Yale University Press

Carla L. Peterson’s new book chronicles “Black Gotham.”

Tenement Museum (located at 91 Orchard St.; talk takes place at 103 Orchard St., SW corner of Delancey). Call 212431-0233 or visit tenement.org. Visit tenement-museum. blogspot.com, and follow them on Twitter (twitter.com/ tenementmuseum).

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February 15 - 21, 2012

downtown express

‘STREET.LIFE.LIVE.’ charts a course from 1968 to the present

Pinhole photograph by Anna L. Sawaryn

Anna L. Sawaryn’s “Red Tenements in the Snow” (2006, color pinhole photograph).

Continued from page 22 What remains unchanged, Sheddy says, is a sense of vibrancy and living history throughout the Lower East Side. Sure, she observes, it’s not what it used to be — but what part of New York is? “People still come here,” she notes, “for independent creativity and social responsibility. We have community groups that helped save St. Mark’s Bookshop and fight for affordable housing. There are people here who care about one another, who care about creating opportunity for everyone — not just for those who can afford it.” All of the women who contributed to “STREET.” (with the exception of Uptown resident Lepkoff, who comes back for sculp-

ture classes) live on the Lower East Side and continue to patrol it, cameras in hand and at the ready. Of the photos she’s been taking since the 1930s, Lepkoff says, “When I stepped through my apartment door onto the street, I found my subjects. It was the street, all the people, the tenements…the life — that was what I had to capture.” Free admission (photos available for purchase). Through Feb. 29, on the first and second floors of the 14th Street Y (344 E. 14 St., btw. 1st & 2nd Aves.). Available for public viewing Mon.-Fri., 6am-10pm; Sat., 7am-9pm; Sun., 7am-9pm. Closing reception: Wed., Feb. 29, 7-9pm (all artists in attendance, with poets Ronnie Norpel & Puma Perl, and singer Marni Rice). For info, call 212-780-0800.

Photo by Shell Sheddy

2009’s “Mars Bar,” by Shell Sheddy.

Photo by Silvianna Goldsmith

Silvianna Goldsmith’s “EV Avenue B.”


downtown express

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February 15 - 21, 2012

Small canvasses and big contrasts Trio of exhibitions offer unique concoctions RIDLEY HOWARD: SLOWS Through February 25

PAUL HEYER/VIRGINIA POUNDSTONE: “I KNOW THAT I AM AWAKE” Through February 26

At Leo Koenig Inc.

At Rachel Uffner Gallery

545 W. 23rd St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves.)

47 Orchard St. (btw. Grand & Hester Sts.)

Hours: 10am-6pm, Tues.-Sat.

Hours: 11am-6pm, Wed.-Sun.

Call 212-334-9255 or visit leokoenig.com

Call 212-274-0064 or visit racheluffnergallery. com

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN

In Howard’s second solo exhibition with this gallery, he has found his stride. Comprised of small (5 x 7 inches) to medium-sized portraits, landscapes and abstractions, the installation draws the audience into a world where the hectic buzz of our metropolitan city quickly evaporates. The dim lighting provides each painting with a timeless glow — and, prompted by the exhibition title, we are encouraged to slow down. Though Howard’s quest is embracive of influences, his concoction is unique. True, Alex Katz, Tom Wesselmann or Kazimir Malevich come to mind when perusing his visual vocabulary — Edward Hopper or 1970s Gerhard Richter can be found in the atmospheric treatment of light that initiates an overall sense of forlorn stillness. However, Howard’s absorption of 20th century classics is far from nostalgic. He simply applies his thorough knowledge of the latter to achieve sophistication. Meanwhile, it seems that Howard is as much interested in setting a mood as he is in harvesting unusual relationships between color and form. His paintings pull one from afar, but truly start to radiate when examined up close. Each work is an amalgam of intelligent compositional decisions. The subjects might be rendered with

Image courtesy of the artist and Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York

Paul Heyer: “Chaplets” (2012; Oil on canvas; 23 x 20 inches 58.4 x 50.8 cm)

a sense of restraint — but Howard’s handling of paint, its soft touch that makes for creamy surfaces and blurry lines, allows for a glimpse of the Romantic. “Slows” proves that Howard is one of the few artists who can work equally well in figuration and abstraction. His paintings enable us to find characteristics of the former in the latter and vice versa. His geometric shapes easily translate into flattened architectural structures seen from above, while his figures or depiction of a building can be dissected into individual abstract forms. Inspired by avant-garde filmmakers of the late 1960s/1970s, Howard stresses that the ordinary can be psychologically charged and steeped in symbolic meaning.

This exhibition brings together work by the Los Angeles-based Paul Heyer and Virginia Poundstone, who lives and works in New York. Heyer works in painting, his compositions bordering on the whimsical. Birds, blue leaves set against a yellow sky and a street lamp enveloped by a sea of swirling leaves in red light make up some of his imagery in this particular installation. They are poetic snapshots of a world that we know from children’s books illustrations rather than daily life — dreamlike meditations on a “could be-should-be” wish for reality. Heyer’s loose and spontaneous brushwork further adds a sense of animated positivism. In contrast, Poundstone’s sculptures exude post-conceptual cool. She works with ceramic tile, brass and steel. Her works are organized and largely geometric — except for the occasional swirls of steel, onto which she prints digital images of rhododendron. In Poundstone, we find a futuristic vision of nature. It might evoke some characteristics of the organic but its presentation is highly artificial. As a result, her works translate as iconic reminders that the world as we know it is fragile and seriously threatened. Both these artists ponder nature — but whereas Heyer provides an almost nostalgic look at the world, Poundstone presents her take with more reserve and dramatic impact. It is in the combination of these two unlike worldviews that this installation becomes the more thought-provoking. After all, we are only truly awake if we look back, as well as well as forward.

JEAN-FRÉDÉRIC SCHNYDER Through February 26 At Swiss Institute 18 Wooster St. (btw. Canal & Grant Sts.) Hours: 12-6pm, Wed.-Sun. Call 212-925-2035 or visit swissinstitute.net

Image courtesy of Leo Koenig Inc., New York

Ridley Howard: “Nudes” (2011; Oil on linen, 24 x 30 inches)

This solo presentation of the wellestablished and self-taught Swiss artist navigates between charm and repulsion. Small canvases (35 of them) are installed in a vast space, forcing the viewer to slowly narrow in on the subject. While coined

Image courtesy of Swiss Institute, NY

Installation View: “Jean-Frédéric Schnyder”

“Landschaft’ [Landscape], Schnyder is specifically pondering the concept of home (with all its inherent ideals, threats and colors). The series dates from 1990 and 1991, and each painting offers a variation on a small house — the archetype of a domestic microcosm. His imagination is rich and he finds as much inspiration in the witch’s shack from Hansel and Gretel as he does in the abstract silhouette of a house set against an abstract and heavily impasto-ed background. Stylistically he is hard to classify. There is tongue-in-cheek humor in a scene of two dogs watching a Pluto cartoon in a kitchy living room, for example — and there is the idyllic rendition of a house snowed in and enveloped by a mysterious pine forest. There also is darkness. One composition depicts a house set in a vast landscape with smoke pouring out its chimney, forming a Swastika. Another shows a house set next to a large burning candle, dramatically stressing that all things must pass. The startling diversity is the product of Schnyder’s dedication to a thorough investigation. He examines his subjects from all angles and works serially. For his installation at the Venice Biennale in 1993, he completed a body of work entitled “Wanderung” (“Hike”). To prepare, he hiked along a Swiss national highway from East to West and painted 119 vistas of the traffic, portraying scenic Switzerland from an unusually mundane perspective. While Schnyder’s process can be conceptual and his tone ironic, it is the sense of purity found in his hand that makes his work hard to place. He embodies the oxymoron of a naïve satirist. Despite a long and successful career — including his participation at the legendary Documenta 5 in Kassel, Schnyder has remained little known outside of Europe. This exhibition offers an excellent opportunity to brush up on an obscure visionary.


February 15 - 21, 2012

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downtown express

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DOWNTOWN EXPRESS, FEBRUARY 15