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Pier55 ‘arts island’ gets approval of park Trust; Height cut by nine feet BY ALBERT AMATEAU

T

PIER55, continued on p. 14

Irish L.G.B.T. activists accuse parade group of ‘trickery and bigotry’ BY GERARD FLYNN

B

ecause it falls on her brother’s birthday, local City Councilmember Rosie Mendez isn’t exactly sure what she’ll be doing this St. Patrick’s Day, when the floats and bands make their noisy way up Fifth Ave. past the cheering crowds. But despite a recent deci-

sion by the parade committee to allow an L.G.B.T. group to march for the first time, Mendez still won’t be marching, she told reporters Tuesday on the steps of City Hall. Last September, the parade committee announced plans for the first time to allow an L.G.B.T. group, Out@ NBCUniversal, made up of ST. PAT’S, continued on p. 6

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

he Hudson River Park Trust’s board of directors last week approved the $130 million Pier55 project funded by Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg. The innovative new pier, to be located between the pile

field of the historic old Pier 54, where the survivors of the Titanic landed, and the Pier 56 pile field, will still need approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation before construction can begin in May 2016.

Colin Huggins, “The Crazy Piano Guy,” lived up to his moniker as he played “Claire de Lune” in chilly Washington Square Park on Sunday afternoon. Then again, at a mere 23 degrees, it was almost balmy after the previous night’s frostbite-inducing gusts.

Group hopes to build support for tolls on East River bridges BY PAUL LIOTTA

N

ew bridge and congestion-pricing tolls would help raise money for the region’s transportation needs, one leading advocacy group says. Move NY, the organization behind the idea, has proposed an $8 toll, or $5.54 with E-ZPass, at all four East River crossings. The same toll would apply to all Manhattan streets that cross 60th St., including the West Side Highway and F.D.R. Drive.

The new tolls would apply — to drivers going in either direction — on the Ed Koch, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queensboro and Williamsburg bridges. The group unveiled its transportation master plan on Tuesday. According to the Move NY proposal, the plan would generate $1.5 billion in new revenue annually, with $375 million of that going to roads and bridges and the rest going to transit as a whole. Alex Matthiessen, the

campaign director for Move NY, said the plan can help deal with a wide range of transit difficulties. “There are a number of serious transit issues that have vexed New York for decades,” Matthiessen said. “This plan addresses those problems and does it in a way that maximizes fairness.” At the same time, the plan would cut tolls down in the outer boroughs. The oneTOLLS, continued on p. 8

Chinatown shines at Lunar New Year............page 5 Manitoba’s rocks on after A.D.A. suit.............page 7 Sketchy court artists show their stuff............page 26 She was a sixth-grade Bigfoot!....page 21

www.TheVillager.com


ma bin Laden’s son-in-law, is at Canaan U.S. Penitentiary Satellite Camp, in Waymart, Penn. The prison’s Web site describes it as “minimum security.”

EVICTION IS TOO DAMN SOON: The Rent Is Too

Damn High’s Jimmy McMillan tells us that, according to the Human Resources Administration’s Adult Protective Services, his eviction from his rent-regulated E. Seventh St. apartment has been pushed back just a bit, but only till March 3. The Vietnam vet, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, said only three elected officials have offered to help him, Councilmember Inez Barron, Assemblymember Charles Barron and Public Advocate Letitia James. A spokesperson from Councilmember Barron’s office confirmed that she has reached out to McMillan. McMillan’s landlord maintains that the vet-turned-political candidate has another apartment in Brooklyn that is his primary residence. McMillan’s last-ditch try for an injunction to block his eviction was quashed in court.

PHOTO BY JOHN PENLEY

STIRRING IT UP IN STIR: Activist John Penley reports on Facebook that he recently received a long letter from “Inmate Stanley Cohen” from federal prison. Cohen, who pleaded guilty to tax obstruction and got 18 months, is currently working in the prison library and hopes to begin teaching GED classes soon. “The funniest line,” Penley relayed, “was that Stanley requested that he be allowed to teach a class on prison uprisings in America, and of course the warden said no f------ way. ... He also talks about overcrowded conditions and the food, and since he is a nonmeat eater I know it must be hard to get enough food.” The radical attorney, who has defended Hamas members and Osa-

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February 19, 2015

TRUCE OR CONSEQUENCES: The East Village’s Elizabeth Ruf-Maldonado will be directing a new musical, “Truce,” coming up at Theater for the New City April 9 to 19. A work by Barney Griffin and Gene Ruffini, it’s inspired by the W.W. I “Christmas Truce,” when, 100 years ago, the British and Germans called a ceasefire and left their trenches to exchange gifts and talk, sing carols, even play soccer together. “Truce,” however, is set in the middle of the 21st century “after a U.S. invasion of Brazil... The action opens on soldiers from both sides celebrating a Christmas Truce with soccer and Brazilian dance.” The musical is still casting for talent, and it’s a plus if potential performers can play Latin percussion instruments and do Capoeira. If you can do a bicycle kick, you’re definitely in! Sounds cool! But why, we wondered and we asked, does the U.S. wind up attacking Brazil? Ruf-Maldonado responded: “Reasons: Natural resources? Spread of left-leaning politics and economic policies in Latin America? The play should leave audiences asking questions, finding out more and taking action.” Send head shots and résumés to nyartist123@gmail.com .

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HELL, YEAH! ROSEN DONE GOOD: The L.E.S. Dwellers’ Diem Boyd and Sara Romanoski don’t say it unless they mean it. They recently issued an e-mail press release from awash-with-alcohol Hell Square praising Dennis Rosen, the departing chairperson of the State Liquor Authority, while also expressing concern that his good work will be continued by his successor. Rosen has been tapped by Governor Andrew Cuomo to become New York State’s Medicaid inspector general, but will remain at the S.L.A. until a replacement is appointed. “Unlike his predecessors,” they said, “Chairman Rosen has allowed residents throughout the city to establish a rapport with the S.L.A. by encouraging them to file complaints and raise concerns directly with the authority. Previously, residents felt disenfranchised given that their valid complaints registered to 311, local community boards and police precincts were not always given the attention they deserved. After inheriting a dysfunctional, inefficient agency plagued by a history of corruption — an agency that was unable to properly regulate the city’s liquor license holders — Chairman Rosen leaves behind a more functional, accessible and accountable agency. We hope Chairman Rosen’s replacement will continue his vision and commitment to improving the agency, moving it forward with modern technology tools, while maintaining his senior staff, all of whom have been instrumental in the recent successes at the New York State Liquor Authority.”

B BIIS STTR RO O ******

A rare photo of Stanley Cohen and his wife, taken at Nobu restaurant about five years ago.

VINDICATION: That was the subject line of Trudy Silver’s recent e-mail about her finally having “received the check in the mail” for being arrested while protesting with the War Resisters League and then held in jail for three days during the Republican National Convention in 2004. She and her cohorts had staged a die-in near Madison Square Garden, where the G.O.P’ers were holding their conservo confab. “Ten years ago, decked head to toe in white shrouds, heartened by the balmy August weather, we marched up Broadway toward the Republicans garrisoned in their fortress,” she recalled. “Two by two, some 50 strong, we planned a ghostly assault upon the world’s richest and most powerful assembly. Symbolizing Iraqi war dead, we lay in the streets and blocked access to the convention site.” Ultimately, the city paid out $17.6 million to demonstrators jailed during the convention, many of whom were held — notably at the Hudson River Park’s Pier 57 — without being charged for more than 24 hours, in excess of the norm. “The authorities seem to take the position that law-breaking motivated by conscience poses a greater threat to the body politic than simple criminal activity,” Silver scoffed. “The authorities had years to plan for this event. Did ‘Guantanamo on the Hudson’ [Pier 57] and the Tombs constitute the city’s best efforts?” Asked what the payout was, Silver told us, “I got $1,000. Legal Aid lawyers deservedly got most of the money.” As for her 5C cafe, Silver said, “We found two Jamaican brothers from Brooklyn, master barbers who do plumbing, electrical, carpentry. They are paying the bills and we hope to open a coffeehouse during the day. We have had three memorials for musicians and a couple of fundraisers recently. Hopefully we’ll have regularly sched-

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Chinatown shines amid Lunar New Year festivities BY LESLEY SUSSMAN

G

PHOTOS BY LESLEY SUSSMAN

ot your egg rolls and dumplings yet? If not, you better hurry up. The Chinese Lunar New Year has begun. The celebration started Wednesday night when thousands of Chinese throughout the city — and millions throughout the world — rang in the Year of the Sheep with lots of food and festivities. According to the Chinese zodiac system, sheep symbolize the energy of generosity, patience and peacefulness. The goal of the sheep is to create harmony and beauty within the home and family. That’s why on Wednesday night, Chinese families — as has been done for centuries — gathered to kick off the 15-day holiday by celebrating family life and to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. They also cleaned house to sweep away ill fortune and make way for good luck, and decorated businesses and homes with red-colored paper cuttings that signify good fortune, happiness and health. A traditional firecracker ceremony will burst to life on Thurs., Feb. 19, at 11 a.m. in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. And the Chinatown Lunar Year Parade will step out on Sun., Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. In general, there will be a slew of cultural performances in Chinese communities throughout the five boroughs over the next two weeks. Not that they were “following the herd,” but Chinese community leaders and others generally said they were wishing for peace, health and happiness for everyone in this Year of the Sheep. Wellington Chen is executive director of the Chinatown Partnership Development Corporation, an organization that seeks to unite local residents, business owners and com-

Monk Taing Dee’s key words for the Year of the Sheep are “Buddha” and “brotherhood.”

munity groups under the common ongoing goal of rebuilding Chinatown post-9/11. “It’s a big deal,” he said of the Lunar New Year. “It’s a combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Western New Year all combined into one.” Asked what his organization’s wishes were for the city’s Chinese residents, Chen said, “I want everyone to be safe. I wish everyone health and prosperity — and that includes non-Chinese people as well. Health is especially important. As the Chinese like to say, ‘When you have health you have everything.’ ” Wan Yu Tam is secretary of the Chinese Consolidated Benefit Association, the oldest service organization in Chinatown, established in 1883. He said he and his organization wished all residents in the area “a peaceful and healthy new year — and a wish that taxes won’t be raised like crazy.”

Dian Dong is associate director of the Chen Dance Center, at 70 Mulberry St., a leading Asian-American arts institution established in 1978. She said her wishes for the Chinese community this Lunar New Year were “peace, creativity and a wish that we all be kind to one another.” And what would Chinese New

Year be without food? Which is why one of the wishes of Elsa Gao, manager of Congee Village restaurant and bar, at 100 Allen St., was that more non-Asians stop by and sample the delicious foods of China. “Besides introducing Westerners to some of the delicious foods of China, I also wish everyone — including myself — financial abundance and a wonderful family life,” she said. “I also want every customer who eats here to leave with a full belly and a healthy one.” A few blocks away, at the Pu Chao Buddhist Temple, at 20 Eldridge St., Taing Dee, a monk there, said he, too, wished the Chinese people everywhere a “happy New Year, with lots of peace and health.” “I wish for the healing spirit of Buddha to be with everyone,” he said, “and that the spirit of brotherhood be established throughout the world.” Actually, in addition to a sheep, the Chinese zodiac symbol for 2015 can also be interpreted as a goat or ram, leading to a bit of confusion. Regardless of the sign of the horoscope, though, one thing is unchanging at each Lunar New Year, namely the hearty wish of “Gung hei fat choy!” or “Have a happy and prosperous new year!”

A Chinatown merchant is hoping the Year of the Sheep will sound less like “baaa” and more like “ka-ching!” TheVillager.com

February 19, 2015

5


Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN

EDITOR IN CHIEF LINCOLN ANDERSON

ARTS EDITOR

SCOTT STIFFLER

CONTRIBUTORS IRA BLUTREICH SARAH FERGUSON TEQUILA MINSKY CLAYTON PATTERSON JEFFERSON SIEGEL ZACH WILLIAMS

ART DIRECTOR MICHAEL SHIREY PHOTOS BY GERARD FLYNN

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WEB MASTER TROY MASTERS

SENIOR VP OF ADVERTISING / MARKETING FRANCESCO REGINI

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES JACK AGLIATA ALLISON GREAKER JENNIFER HOLLAND JULIO TUMBACO

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PUBLISHER EMERITUS JOHN W. SUTTER

Member of the National Newspaper Association

The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 00426202 is published every week by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 (212) 229-1890. Periodicals Postage paid at New York, N.Y. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at office and newsstands is $1. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2011 NYC Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR

The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue. Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718) 260-2500 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.thevillager.com E-mail: news@thevillager.com © 2012 NYC Community Media, LLC

6

Pols, Irish Queers blast parade committee ST. PAT’S, continued from p. 3

CIRCULATION SALES MNGR.

Member of the New York Press Association

Jeff Mulligan of Irish Queers blasted the “closed-door deal” to allow a group of L.G.B.T. NBC employees to join the parade on March 17.

February 19, 2015

members of the network that televises the parade, to participate. That decision hasn’t won over many in the L.G.B.T. community, according to speakers at Tuesday’s press conference. Slamming the move as a cynical ploy by the organizers, they accused them of “trickery and bigotry.” The protest included Emmai Gelman of the group Irish Queers, who are among the many who are very unhappy that the parade organizers didn’t reach out to them before deciding to allow the NBC group to join in. They suggested that corporate sponsorship may have played a role in the parade group’s decision. In a September interview with BuzzFeed, Irish Queers called including the NBC group a “deal made behind closed doors between parade organizers and one of their last remaining sponsors, NBC.” Insufficient room is being given as this year’s reason for the continued exclusion of other L.G.B.T. groups from the parade. But Queens Councilmember Daniel Dromm — who, like Mendez, is openly gay — called on the parade committee to follow Ireland’s all-inclusive example and have a change of heart. Veteran gay-rights activist, Allen

Rosie Mendez, the East Village’s city councilmember, said she won’t be marching along Fifth Ave.

Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, warned elected officials that march that they would be “watched.” “Too many elected officials are playing politics” over the parade, Roskoff declared, adding that he would be watching those who participate. He said he was “very proud of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s decision not to attend.”

Although she was not able to attend, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer issued the following statement: “We have boycotted the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan for a simple reason: Refusing to allow Irish L.G.B.T. New Yorkers to celebrate their heritage and their identity by marching in the parade is discriminatory.”

TheVillager.com


Manitoba’s rocks on after settling A.D.A. lawsuit BY HANA RASKIN

O

PHOTO BY HANA RASKIN

n a bitterly cold Sunday evening in New York, a handful of patrons sat at the bar at Manitoba’s on Avenue B watching the Harlem Globetrotters’ antics on TV. In the background, a steady stream of punk rock music thrummed. The place’s walls are adorned with photos from punk rock’s past. There’s a signed picture of Iggy Pop, a shot of Bruce Springsteen with a Dictators T-shirt, and a photo of Manitoba’s owner, Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba, The Dictators’ lead singer. There are also a multitude of photos of musical legends in rock and the blues, including Muddy Waters. Manitoba’s has been in its home on Avenue B between E. Sixth and Seventh Sts. since 1999, and is one of New York’s few remaining punk bars. It was recently widely reported — both in the neighborhood and beyond — that Manitoba’s was at risk of closing. Many assumed the issue was the usual one about East Village bars — noise complaints. However, this case had nothing to do with decibel levels and perturbed neighbors. Last year, a wheelchair-bound man from Rye, N.Y., claiming he was unable to enter Manitoba’s, sued the bar

Handsome Dick Manitoba wasn’t about to let a disabled-access lawsuit knock out his bar.

under the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to Bedford and Bowery, the man, Luigi Garotto, has reportedly filed at least 12 different lawsuits against New York merchants for A.D.A. violations. The plaintiff sought $500 in damages and payment of his legal fees. The case was settled in December. In order to pay for the bar’s legal fees and also to help keep the place alive, Manitoba and his wife, Zoe Hansen, started an Indiegogo campaign. The effort, which kicked off

Jan. 19, had an original goal of $25,000. Contributors were offered an array of rewards, including a guitar signed by Joan Jett (which sold in less than two hours), posters of John Lennon and Yoko Ono or of The Dictators, Drew Friedman’s illustrations of John Lennon or Ernie Kovacs, or a signed bobblehead of Handsome Dick Manitoba himself. The Manitoba’s team was able to meet its original fundraising goal by the Feb. 18 campaign end date. But, according to Manitoba, there is still a

little ways to go. Manitoba’s lawyer gave him 60 days to come up with the payment. “The minute that happened, I went on tour with The Dictators NYC, so that dropped about 15 days,” Manitoba said. “I didn’t have time to look through Indiegogo with a fine-tooth comb, so I didn’t consider things like mailing costs. “I have to pay $20,000 to the quote unquote ‘lawyer’ and need to pay a company to come in and make sure all their complaints are up to A.D.A. code,” he explained. “I have to order 100 T-shirts, 150 photographs, a bunch of poster tubes, boxes and packaging for bobblehead dolls. I have to hire enough people to buy all the proper packaging, postage and for the labor of sending out hundreds of items one at a time. Indiegogo takes a percentage and PayPal takes a percentage. “I don’t want to put a penny in my pocket,” Manitoba said. “All I want to do is cover every expense.” Handsome Dick Manitoba started Manitoba’s to serve as a punk rock clubhouse, and that’s the way he still feels about it. “I do it for an occasional paycheck,” he said, “and I do it just as much or more for the culture I love that’s dying.”

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Simon of ‘60 Minutes’ killed in Chelsea car crash is such a tragedy, made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who has escaped more difficult situations than almost any journalist in modern times.” In 1991, Simon was captured near the Kuwaiti border by Iraqi forces during the start of the Gulf War. He was held hostage for 40 days and was beaten and tortured. Following the accident, it was reported that Simon’s driver, Abdul

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

B

ob Simon, the “60 Minutes” correspondent and award-winning foreign reporter, died last Wednesday evening after a car accident on the West Side Highway in Chelsea. According to police, Simon, 73, was riding in the back seat of a 2010 Lincoln Town Car at 12th Ave. and W. 30th St. on Feb. 11 at 6:45 p.m. when it collided with another car, then went out of control. First responders found Simon unconscious and unresponsive with injuries to his head and torso, pinned inside the livery cab. By cutting off the car’s top, police managed to extricate Simon, whose condition was initially reported as “likely to die.” An E.M.S. ambulance transported him to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital where he was pronounced DOA. The driver of Simon’s car, 44, was removed to Bellevue Hospital for treatment for leg and arm injuries. He was reported to be in stable condition. A police investigation revealed that the Town Car had been traveling southbound on 12th Ave. when it struck the driver’s side of a black 2003 Mercedes-Benz that was stopped at a

Bob Simon’s journalism spanned five decades.

red light on 12th Ave. at W. 30 St. According to police, after the initial collision, the Town Car then careened into metal stanchions separating the north- and southbound traffic. The Mercedes-Benz’s driver, a 23-year-old man, was uninjured. There were no arrests. Simon lived on the Upper West Side on W. 70th St., near Central Park. Earlier in his career, he won acclaim for his extensive reporting on the Vietnam War. At the conflict’s end, he was aboard one of the last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975. “It’s a terrible loss for all of us at CBS News,” Jeff Fager, “60 Minutes” executive producer, said in a statement. “It

Solutions to Save Small Businesses A Community Forum Thursday March 5, 2015 7-9 PM Judson Memorial Church 55 Washington Square South New York City Join your neighbors, local businesspeople, and a panel of experts to discuss how we can save and protect the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our community and our city. Landlords now have all the rights that determine the destiny of owners, their workers, and the character and culture of an entire community. Because the gateway to the American Dream has been locked, the key freely given to big Real Estate…let’s throw a life line and empower our struggling small businesses drowning in a sea of greed.

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Reshad Fedahi, had use of only one arm after having jumped out of a building a decade ago in a failed suicide attempt after a split from his wife, which left him with a “dead arm.” Over the last three years, Fedahi’s driver’s license has reportedly been suspended nine times. In the crash that killed Simon, he reportedly sped up instead of braking after hitting the other car.

Group pushes for tolls TOLLS, continued from p. 3

way toll on the Verrazano Bridge, for example, would be lowered by $5. Tolls at the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges would be lowered by $2.50. Tolls on the Henry Hudson, Cross Bay and Marine Parkway bridges would be cut by $1. A new surcharge for taxis and other car services below 96th St., along with a removal of parking tax exemptions for people who live in Manhattan, are also included in the proposal. The plan is very similar to a 2008 proposal by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But Move NY, says its plan does more to make a fairer transit system for all New Yorkers — as seen in the reduction on outer-borough bridge tolls. Move NY was formed in 2010 in response to what its members call “the growing crisis facing the city’s transportation system.” The group’s Web site says it includes “a growing and diverse coalition of stakeholders representing regional business associations, trade unions, clergy, civic leaders, transportation and environmental advocates and good-governance organizations.” Move NY’s centerpiece is its master transportation plan — developed by traffic consultant “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz and the Move NY team. Over all, the group says, the Move NY Fair Plan would bring toll equity to the region’s commuters and businesses, and reduce the grinding traffic jams that plague the metro region, its people and its economy. However, city and state officials obviously must first be brought onboard the plan for it to get any traction. On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that a spokesman for Carl Heastie, the new state Assembly speaker, said in a statement: “We will

review the plan with our members. In the past, the speaker has not supported tolls on East River bridges.” Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a statement: “We’ll review the plan, as will everyone who shares concern about seeing the M.T.A.’s capital plan funded and transit fares kept affordable.” Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office did not respond to requests for comment. Locally, in November, a Community Board 3 proposed resolution calling on the area’s elected officials to study the Move NY plan for East River bridge tolls hit a roadblock when the board nixed it. Back then, some C.B. 3 members warned that tolling the East River bridges would reduce the number of shoppers driving into the Lower East Side from other boroughs and would put a damper on already-struggling local businesses. Others contended that the tolls would negatively impact low-income residents who do a fair amount of driving back and forth on the bridges. After the board’s November vote to scrap the resolution, C.B. 3 Chairperson Gigi Li told The Villager, “The issue is dead. At this point, C.B. 3 is taking no position on it. If board members want to take the issue up again in a different form it can be discussed.” Jonathan Matz, a representative of Move NY who responded to some Board 3 members’ questions at the November meeting, disappointed by the board’s action, said he was perplexed by the position of C.B. 3. “I’ve spoken to about 20 community boards across the city and I’ve gotten plenty of support from them,” he told The Villager. “I just don’t know about this board. Maybe they’ll change their mind over the next few months and I’ll have another opportunity to come back.” TheVillager.com


TheVillager.com

February 19, 2015

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POLICE BLOTTER Carter, 15, was last seen at 8:10 a.m. on Tues., Feb. 10, leaving her home at 10 Catherine Slip. She was wearing a blue snorkel-hooded ski jacket, black jeans and brown boots. She is 5-feet-2 and weighs 135 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call the New York Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577TIPS. Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting them to 274637(CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

‘Had four or five’ Sierra Carter’s unknown.

whereabouts

are

L.E.S. woman missing Police are seeking the public’s assistance in finding a Lower East Side woman reported missing on Fri., Feb. 13. According to police, Sierra

A man reportedly had a few stiff drinks before passing out inside a white 2012 Acura SUV parked in front of 538 La Guardia Place. A leg protruding from the open driver’s-side door piqued the curiosity of police at about 4:30 a.m. on Fri., Feb. 13. They reportedly found the engine running and Amandeep Singh, 24, slouched behind the wheel. Singh said he “had

four or five” drinks and showed it, according to a police report, which noted the man’s watery, bloodshot eyes and crimson face. He refused a breathalyzer test at the scene, however, and was placed under arrest. A search of the car found a bit of marijuana near the passenger-side door, police said. Singh subsequent took a breathalyzer test at the Seventh Precinct, registering a .137 blood-alcohol content, close to double the legal maximum of .08 percent allowed to drive. Although he was not observed driving while intoxicated, he was nonetheless charged with driving while under the influence, a misdemeanor.

Accelerating to trouble A double-parked car in an active traffic lane at the northeast corner of W. 14th and Hudson Sts. caught the interest of police on Sat., Feb. 14, around 10:30 p.m. Thirty seconds’ worth of knocking passed before police could wake the sleeping driver. But the man reportedly then quickly

snapped to, hitting the gas as soon as he woke up. He nearly struck an officer and a taxi as he raced the 2012 BMW through a red light, according to police. Cops caught up with Joseph Barnes, 22, soon afterward. But when the arresting officer opened the car’s driver’s-side door, Barnes allegedly gunned the gas once again, lurching the car forward, further endangering the officer, police said. Barnes smelled of alcohol and marijuana, had bloodshot eyes and exhibited difficulty with proper enunciation, according to police. He reportedly blew a .02 blood-alcohol content — which is above the legal limit — during a breathalyzer test at the Seventh Precinct station and reportedly refused to offer his urine for analysis. Barnes was charged with felony reckless endangerment.

French Roast ruse An employee at French Roast restaurant, at 78 W. 11th St., skimmed $1,447.96 from the place over a sixContinued on p. 11

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Policy: • April 2013: Then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio criticizes former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s annual increases in water rates as a “hidden tax.” • February 2014: Mayor de Blasio increases water & sewer rates 3.6%. • June 2014: Mayor de Blasio calls for Rent Freeze (landlords wind up with 1% rent increase, lowest ever on record).

www.RSANYC.net

• November 2014: Mayor de Blasio calls for stricter rent regulations. • January 15, 2015: Mayor de Blasio announces a 13% increase on real estate tax assessments.

Increased Taxes and Costs + Rent Freeze = Landlords Cannot Repair, Improve, Maintain and Preserve Affordable Housing The de Blasio Affordable Housing Equation Just Doesn’t Add Up. 10

February 19, 2015

The de Blasio affordable housing policy hurts poor and middle-income families, those most in need of affordable housing – as well as landlords of rent-stabilized apartments, the largest providers of affordable housing.

It’s Time for New Solutions to an Old Problem. TheVillager.com


Continued from p. 10

week period beginning on Jan. 2, according to police. Police said the cafe’s manager, Jai Alvarez, 36, was arrested for felony grand larceny. The perpetrator allegedly adjusted the sales totals for 41 transactions on six different dates, pocketing the difference in cash. None of the money has been recovered yet, according to police.

Violent purse-snatching On Sat, Jan. 24, at 4:18 a.m., a 32-year-old woman was walking in the vicinity of Essex and Hester Sts., near Seward Park, when a man approached her from behind, pushed her to the ground and violently wrested away her purse, containing her cell phone, debit and credit cards and an undetermined amount of cash. The suspect then fled the location. The victim refused medical attention on scene. The suspect is described as a tall, dark-skinned male wearing a green snorkel jacket. Police provided surveillance video of the mugging and the suspect walking away afterward. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the New York Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting them to 274637(CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

Cuticle culprit On Tues., Jan. 20, shortly before 1 a.m., a man entered Peony Nails Spa, at 542 Laguardia Place, through the front door, removed an undetermined amount of money from the cash register and a laptop computer, police said.

Cut her face According to police, on Sat., Jan. 31, at 1:25 p.m., a 30-year-old woman was inside a residential building near the intersection of Jefferson and Madison Sts. when she was approached by a man who, unprovoked, cut her on the right side of her face with an unknown sharp object. The woman yelled and the attacker TheVillager.com

Police sketch of slashing suspect in Jan. 31 attack.

IS YOUR DATA SAFE?

fled the location. The victim was transported to Beth Israel Hospital where she was treated and released. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline.

E-zee to find him The E train attracts the homeless during winter months as one of only two completely underground subway lines. This helped a 30-year-old man identify for police a homeless man who, he said, had attacked him at the Canal St. station. It all began with the two men riding a northbound E train at about 7:20 p.m. on Fri., Feb 6. The homeless man asked the victim, “What are you looking at?” to which the other man replied he wasn’t looking at anything. Then the homeless man attacked him. The victim received some punches to the head and face resulting in a bloody nose and a fair amount of swelling, police said. A female acquaintance of the perpetrator, also homeless, reportedly joined in by elbowing the victim in the head, police said. Both assailants fled, but police caught Shawana Haidara, 39, and charged her with misdemeanor assault. She told police she didn’t attack the man, but that her purported husband did. He had fled up the stairs by that time, though. The next day the victim spotted Dwayne Lawson, 40, at the E train station at 14th St. and Eighth Ave. He alerted police via 911. Lawson was charged with misdemeanor assault.

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11


PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Is Dante the latest biz to be burned by rent inferno? Or not? BY TEQUILA MINSKY

O

n a sunny but frigid day, the sandwich board touting “100 years in business” outside of Caffe Dante didn’t quite tell the whole story. The MacDougal St. cafe exudes old-word charm. Just a few decades ago, foreign language-conversations were the norm at the cafe, which attracts locals and tourists alike with its comfortable atmosphere. Last year, the place was closed for months as the owner refurbished — a response to the doubling of its rent. But, unfortunately, business apparently didn’t increase enough to keep pace with the higher rent. According to reports, Caffe Dante will be closing after a century in business and has sold its name to an Australian concern — “not because the Australians want to carry on the Dante tradition, but to expedite licensing,” noted an article in The Observer’s real estate section. However, on Wednesday, Mario Flotta, the cafe’s owner since 1970, denied the reports and stressed to The Villager the place is not closing. It seems a rumor may have been started by an eavesdropping waitress who heard snippets of a conversation. “It’s the same as when I talked to you in the spring,” he said, referring to the renovation. He did admit the rent had been raised $5,000. Meanwhile, media outlets that had hastily posted inaccurate stories online about the “closing,” were scrambling to make retractions. The Villager will have a full follow-up report in next week’s issue.

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Lois taps into wine — by the keg — on Avenue C BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES

H

TheVillager.com

PHOTO BY PATRICK J. EVES

igh school friends from Cleveland, Phoebe Connell and Nora O’Malley decided to embark on something a little wild last year: opening a wine bar in the East Village. The area hardly lacks a good spot for wine, but trying to find a good wine on tap can be tricky. Lois, at 98 Avenue C, which officially opens March 2, will serve up wines like most beer, from the keg. Only a handful of New York City establishments have tapped into this alternative to bottles, which can make tasting and trying new wines more cost efficient without the added cost of labels and shipping. Serving draft wine gives the co-owners a chance to offer customers wine by the glass starting at $4 to $10. “We’re really trying to change the format of drinking,” said Connell. Sandwiched between local beverage spots Alphabet City Wine Co., where O’Malley serves as store manager, and ABC Beer Co., where Connell is the food buyer and manager, the new 550-square-foot bar will truly complete the Avenue C trifecta of wine and beer establishments tailored to tasting and learning. The approach with Lois is to leave any wine snobbery at the door. Patrons can toss out any wine drinking pretenses and just enjoy a different tasting experience. The wine bar will also give regular ABC Wine patrons the opportunity to have a laid-back experience. Here they can sit, relax and feel comfortable trying, tasting and learning about wine, whether a Sancerre, Vermentino or Vinho Verde. On any given night, 14 to 16 wines will be on tap at Lois. “No matter your level of knowledge, there doesn’t need to be an air of pretension or an air of any insecurity to get exactly what you want at the end of the day,” O’Malley said. “We want to find that sweet spot between dictating what people are drinking and allowing them to discover a lot, and helping out in that process.” Kegged wine is still a new phenomenon. Gotham Project brought it to the East Coast market back in 2009 with a Finger Lakes Riesling. O’Malley said that more producers are recognizing the benefits of kegging their wine, and New York distributors are realizing that there’s a demand for this alternative to bottled vino. Today, there are a few hundred producers kegging wines, including Napa’s Saintsbury, one of the wines that patrons will find on tap at Lois. Like draft beers, wines will be switched out once they’ve tapped out, helping Connell and O’Malley rotate the selections on a regular basis. Local ingredients will be used

Nora O’Malley, left, and Phoebe Connell say Lois will “change the format” of wine drinking.

whenever possible for Lois’s menu, which will feature five to six small dishes, including assorted charcuterie and cheeses. These can be paired with the wines on tap, a cheddar-topped ribollita baked up French onion soup-style and house-made, seasonal pickled vegetables. Connell received her master’s degree in food science at N.Y.U., and O’Malley first fell in love with wine while working a job in Italy after college. Cheese is Connell’s personal background, and she will concentrate on more domestic selections to pair with wines. Most cheeses served at Lois will also be available for purchase next door at ABC Beer. Lois will serve two beers in addition to its wines to give people a little more variety when tasting. “I hope and envision a lot of people trying a bunch of things,” Connell said, “and finding their favorites, discovering favorites or being surprised by what they thought were their favorites with friends, and not be afraid about how much it’s costing them.” Connell and O’Malley took a modern and light approach to the interior decor and tapped interior designer Michael Groth to help bring that vision to light. The man behind another East Village establishment, The Eddy, plugged in his reclaimed aesthetic in Lois’s wood seating, lower ceilings, custom wood floors, poured concrete bar top and lighting fixtures. Keep an eye out for a 200-year-old kilim, a traditional Turkish rug, used as upholstery for the bar’s banquette. Additional light fixtures were also crafted by Philadelphia designer Robert Ogden, who also constructed Lois’s tables, mirrors and reclaimed wood chairs.

Above all, Connell and O’Malley envision lots of laughter and a place where patrons can feel comfortable learning and talking about wine. “We don’t want to be too lofty,” O’Malley said. “We’re not trying to start a movement or anything. We just want to serve wine the way that we want to drink it.”

“Beyoncé will definitely factor in,” said Connell, who added that their musical tastes are all over the place, from Motown to O’Malley’s love of Bruce Springsteen, and will be heard throughout the bar. “It’s just simple and fun,” she said. “We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t fun.”

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13


Park Trust approves Pier55 ‘arts island’ project PIER55, continued from p. 3

14

February 19, 2015

PIER55, INC./HEATHERWICK STUDIO

At its Feb. 11 board meeting, the Trust specifically approved a 20-year lease for a new nonprofit entity, Pier55, Inc., to operate the new pier. The Trust’s approval included some modifications to the lease, as well as to the project’s overall design — suggested during several public hearings — from plans first made public last November. For example, the highest point on the square-shaped pier was reduced from 71 feet to 62 feet and the number of permitted closings per year of the new pier for events was limited. Moreover, Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s president and C.E.O., told the directors that Kate Horton, the executive director for programming for Pier55, Inc., the entity building and operating the pier, will meet with Community Board 2 to discuss creating a community advisory board for the pier. The limit on the number of closings of the new pier came in response to a suggestion by C.B. 2. The agreement limits the closings to an annual average of four times a month, with no more than five closings in any single month. Responding to questions from Pamela Frederick, a Trust director, Wils explained that the upper limit of no more than five closings in any one month was intended to avoid more closings in a single month. The pier could close in order to set up or break down permitted events, Wils said. But it doesn’t mean it would necessarily close for each event. “If we find they’re closing the pier if they don’t need to, we will intervene,” Wils said, adding that some necessary closings might not be all day but only for an hour or two. The lease agreement calls for 100 events annually. “We will need to work very closely with the community,” Frederick remarked. She added that the requirement that 51 percent of the events on the new pier must be free or low-cost is still not defined. “What if things don’t work out?” asked Joseph Rose, a developer and former chairperson of the City Planning Commission and a Trust director. “How is the downside protected?” Wils replied that if Pier55, Inc., defaulted on the agreement to build the pier, the Trust would be able to take funds from Pier 55, Inc. to complete the project, including $25 million for maintenance. In addition to the 20-year lease, the agreement has a provision for an optional 10-year extension. The agreement also allows Pier55, Inc., to terminate its operation of the pier after the first 10 years upon a year’s notice and payment to the Trust of $5 million. Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, an ap-

A design rendering of Pier55, looking from the south toward the north. The landscaped pier would have an undulating surface of varying heights, supported by “pot”-style piles, fewer of which would be needed to hold up the pier than normal-style straight piles.

pointee of Mayor de Blasio’s on the Trust board, said, “Real, substantive changes have been made in the project,” and expressed the de Blasio administration’s thanks to Diller and von Furstenberg. Leslie Wright, New York City regional director of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and a Governor Cuomo appoin-

“I hope to be able to see it,” said Franz Leichter, 84, a Trust director who, as a New York state senator, co-authored the 1998 legislation that created the Trust and the 4-mile long Hudson River Park. Leichter plans to retire as a Trust director at the end of his current term, and Diana Taylor, Trust chairperson, paid tribute to his long service to the park. Although Trust business meetings are open to the public, only directors are permitted to speak. But that did not stop Mel Stevens from rising from the audience and interrupting the Feb. 11 session. Stevens, whose zealous opposition to building in the Hudson River Park dates back to the 1980s, made his move soon after the opening and denounced Pier55 as an invasion of the river. Wils told him he could not speak and called for help to eject him from the meeting. However, Stevens was allowed to remain, holding his protest sign, after he agreed to be silent. In other actions at last week’s board meeting, the Trust took two actions concerning the old Pier 54 and the widening of the park esplanade between Bloomfield St. — on Gansevoort Peninsula — and W. 14th St. A contract was authorized with Lomma Construction

Mel Stevens blurted out that Pier55 was an invasion of the river. He was warned to keep quiet or be ejected. He agreed to stay silent, but held his protest sign.

tee on the Trust board, called Pier 55 an exciting project. “The Trust worked hard to balance the issues and the project has all the potential to be a spectacular addition to the park,” Wright said. The construction timetable begins in May 2016, with completion and an opening day currently slated for spring 2019.

to remove the remaining deck of Pier 54 and for work on the esplanade, for a total not to exceed $1,861,200. Another contract was authorized with Skanska USA for construction management on the esplanade segment for $174,500. The esplanade widening is being done for safety purposes to accommodate the crowds that will be flocking to the new Pier55 once it is built. The Trust also focused attention on the public parking facility on Pier 40, the most significant revenue source for the entire Hudson River Park. A three-year contract with SP Plus for parking garage management services was authorized for a total of $3,304,358. The Trust also authorized a $1,439,720 contract with Structural Preservation Systems to restore the vehicular ramp that gives cars access to the second and third levels of Pier 40. In addition, the Trust authorized issuance of a $120,000 contract for the restoration of the sports court at Harrison St., the nearby dog run at Pier 26 and the playground at Pier 25, all in the park’s Tribeca section. In other actions, the contract with AKRF for environmental impact statements for the Hudson River Park was authorized to add $400,000 for additional work. The total amount of the contract is not to exceed $5,285,000. Finally, the Trust approved the amendment of its Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) contract with the city Department of Parks and Recreation. The number of PEP officers assigned to the park will be increased in stages from 12 to 14 and eventually to 17. TheVillager.com


PHOTOS BY MILO HESS

Backstage pass: Primped-up pooches paws for pictures Canine contestants put on their best face Monday at Piers 92 and 94 and Madison Square Garden for the Westminster Dog Show.

TheVillager.com

February 19, 2015

15


PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

The key to a grand piano move-in How do you move a grand piano into the top floor of a five-story loft building on Broome St. in Soho? Like this!

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Resist this law change To The Editor: Re “Bratton plan to felonize resisting arrest sparks alarm among activists” (news article, Feb. 12): This article makes a very strong case against any such law. In fact, I think the penalties should be minimal, given the fact that people can be wrongly accused of resisting arrest, and can even lose their lives in the process. Witness Eric Garner.

At most, a desk ticket or even less than that should serve. Carol Yost

Lent diet is a real savior To The Editor: This Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remem-

IRA BLUTREICH

brance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert before launching his ministry. But meat-free Lent is much more than a symbol of religious devotion to Christ. It helps reduce the risk of chronic disease, environmental degradation and animal abuse. Dozens of medical reports have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases. A 2007 United Nations report named meat production as the world’s largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals being beaten, caged, crowded, deprived, mutilated and shocked. Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Christ’s powerful message of compassion and love by adopting a meat-free diet for Lent and beyond. After all, it’s the diet mandated in Genesis I-29 and observed in the Garden of Eden. Our supermarket offers a rich array of plantbased meat and dairy alternatives, as well as the more traditional vegetables, fruits and grains. Entering “vegan recipes” in our favorite search engine offers more products, recipes and transition tips than we can use. Nico Young

Watch out! Putin is puttin’ on a new push in Ukraine. 16

February 19, 2015

LETTERS, continued on p. 27 TheVillager.com


Getting an apartment in Little Italy back in ’78 NOTEBOOK BY MINERVA DURHAM

M

id-October 1978, Virginia saw someone moving furniture out of 86 Kenmare, around the corner from her loft at Spring and Lafayette. She told me to go over right away, there might be an apartment available. It was one of the larger buildings in Little Italy, with 30 units. There was a restaurant/bar downstairs named Patrissy’s. I asked the bartender in Patrissyʼs if there was an apartment for rent. He called out, “Danny,” and the owner came over to me. A nice Italian-American businessman in a suit, well-fed and contented, Danny Patrissy greeted me. “I am looking for an apartment for me and my teenage daughter,” I pleaded. “I like this neighborhood and I work as a proofreader on 19th Street.” “Someone just moved out of 25,” he said. “Iʼm curious to see it myself, Letʼs go up and look at it.” We started climbing the stairs to the sixth floor. Danny had to rest halfway up to catch his breath. Relieved that climbing stairs was an effort for him, I felt safe. If he turned out to be a maniac, I could get away. On the top floor, he used a set of keys to open a heavy metal door labeled “25.” The first room was a decent size. It was the kitchen, drab, with a small stove and refrigerator near the door. The first thing that you saw when you walked in was a rusted metal shower and a small, low sink. The apartment was a converted cold-water flat with hot running water now, a toilet in a small closet next to the kitchen sink, and one large radiator, tilting as though it might fall over at any minute. The floors sloped in and down from all sides. The kitchen had no charm except for the good-sized window between the radiator and the toilet door. A doorway without a door, but still having a transom window above the place where a door once was, led to two very small rooms, each with a window. “Horrible, horrible,” I thought to myself. “What do you think?” Danny asked me. I lied. “I like it. Itʼs perfect for my daughter and me. Can we rent it?” “How much will you pay?” he asked. Knowing that my friends were paying less than $100 for places better than this one, and knowing that there were (and still are) laws controlling the rents in this area, I stabbed at an amount: “$200.” He was not pleased. He scoffed, “You know I could get $300 for this place easily.” “Of course you could,” I shot back. “How about $250?” “O.K. The sink is pretty bad, so I will give you a new sink. Here are the keys. Take them to my agent around the corner and tell him that Danny is renting apartment 25 to you.” “And some paint for the walls?” I asked. “Yes, I will pay for paint. You buy it and bring me the bill.” Downstairs and outside, Danny told me to cross the street and to go to a building displaying large letters. He pronounced the name. It sounded to me like “Pisa Caro.” I tried to memorize the name. Thinking that “Pisa Caro” might mean “Dear Caro” in English, I chanted to myself, “Pisa Caro. Pisa Dear. Pisa Caro. TheVillager.com

Dear Pisa,” while looking for the building. As we parted, we shook hands. It was something new for me, making a deal with a handshake. Danny was the ultimate generous padrone to be trusted, I thought, even if he was breaking the rent-stabilization laws. Thanks to his sense of magnanimity, Teva and I would finally have a home. At last we could leave Mariannʼs loft on Ludlow Street. I walked across Petrosino Square, which was at that time named Kenmare Square. I looked up and saw “P. Zaccaro” in huge letters across the top of 218 Lafayette St. I walked in the front door and up steps to the second floor. “Danny sent me,” I first told a secretary, and then, escorted by her to the front office, I greeted an old man who sat behind an imposingly large desk that took up most of the space in his office. “Danny sent me. He said that I can rent Apartment 25 at 86 Kenmare.” The old man was Max Isaacs. “You canʼt rent that apartment. We have someone waiting for it,” he said. The next moment was divine and memorable, my great triumph of logic and luck. I held the keys up next to my face, jiggling them ever so gently. And I said, “Danny gave me the keys.” Mr. Isaacs never liked me after that, so it was a costly victory. Just then the phone rang.

‘You know I could get $300 for this place easily,’ he scoffed. ‘Of course you could,’ I shot back. ‘How about $250?’

“Hello,” Mr. Isaacs said. “Yes, sir.” A pause. “Yes, sir. Yes, I will.” Another pause. “Two hundred fifty a month. Yes, sir, I will prepare a lease.” Suppressing anger he looked at me and said, “Write your name on this piece of paper. Come back in half an hour and I will have a lease ready for you to sign.” Later I sat in a chair next to a desk in the center room at the P. Zaccaro office and looked over the lease that Mr. Isaacs had prepared for me. I began to write my name on the line next to the “X,” when a tall, thin man came out of a back office. Wearing a tie and white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and holding papers in one arm, he leaned over me menacingly. “I wouldnʼt sign that lease if I were you,” he said. “There will never be any repairs done in that apartment.” I looked him fiercely in the eye. “Do you do the repairs?” I asked him. He backed off a little. “No,” he answered. I learned later that he was John Zaccaro, son of the founder, P. Zaccaro,

Minerva Durham’s drawing of a wrapped loaf of bread bought at Parisi Bakery, which is still on Mott St. The wife of the bakery’s owner had lived in Apartment 25 at 86 Kenmare St. before Durham did. Whenever she ran into Durham, she would always ask, “How’s the penthouse?”

“Then I will take my chances,” I said. That night Teva and I carried our duffel bags and suitcases to our new, if drab, apartment and slept on the floor using our clothes to cushion us and to keep us warm. Our six-week stay at Mariannʼs loft had been difficult. She was renting almost 4,000 square feet of open floor space on Ludlow Street in a two-story building. She had cluttered the space with old furniture and junk from the street. There was a collection of about 30 broken umbrellas that she planned to “do something with” someday but never did, chairs, cabinets, broken bicycles. And, oh, two large unruly dogs, one of which would chew up worn underwear if he could get to it. So we had to be careful as we undressed not to allow any piece of clothing to fall on the floor, and then we had to stash our clothes in as high a spot as we could find. Even then, the dog sometimes would manage to snatch someoneʼs underpants and rip them to shreds. In the back quadrant of the open space, Mariann had built out a room of a thousand square feet for her twelve cats. Twice a day one of us would enter the room and feed the cats and empty the litter boxes. Mariann would walk the dogs most of the time because they were hostile toward people on the street and difficult to control. When she first rented the “raw” loft above a hardware store, she installed a tub, sink and toilet, all of which functioned well. Then she put up studs for drywall to enclose the bathroom space, but there was no drywall up yet when Teva and I moved in, so we all had to avert our eyes whenever anyone used the bathroom or bathed. Before September 1978, when we arrived to stay with Mariann while I looked for an apartment, she had agreed to go out with Paul, an artist who lived in the neighborhood. It was to be their first date. She was running late, so she still needed to bathe before going out with him. When he arrived, she told him to wait for her in the front of the loft while she got ready. She turned the water on to fill up the tub and undressed in the transparent bathroom. As she stepped into the tub of hot water, she saw Paul in her peripheral vision just outside the bathroom undressing. He joined her and they had sex. I didnʼt hear the details. February 19, 2015

17


Why are we at war with ISIS? Do we need to be? TALKING POINT BY TED RALL

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s there any justification at all for bombing ISIS? There isn’t any congressional authorization, much less a declaration of war. Is there even a good reason for the U.S. to be involved? There is no better time to ask this question than now, as much of the world (me included) is disgusted by the Islamic State’s beheadings of two kidnapped Japanese nationals, the second one an acclaimed journalist and humanist who lost his life trying to rescue the first. It is easy to forget, too easy, that for Americans, going to war was until recently an act undertaken only after every other alternative had been thoroughly explored and completely exhausted; that the bar for casus belli was high, and that war wasn’t the standard response to outrage or international crisis, but quite unusual, a deviation from the normal order of business. Hard to imagine now, but the United States did not declare war against Germany after its U-boat torpedoed and sank the RMS Lusitania in 1915, killing 1,198 passengers, including 128 Americans. Instead, President Woodrow Wilson demanded compensation and a promise from Germany not to do it again. War has since become much too easy. We go to war fast, without national discussion — much less debate. We go to war indiscriminately. We war against several nations (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria) at the same time we’re warring against a tactic (terrorism), as well as various so-called “non-state actors” (discrete branches of Al Qaeda, Khorasan, Abu Sayyaf). War, war, war, all the time. So much war we think it’s normal that, especially when someone/some-

thing/some group does something we deem wrong — like slitting the throats of reporters as GoPros record the bloodshed in glorious high resolution — war is the knee-jerk response. Yet, as the Lusitania example reminds us, this was not always the case, and so this is not how it necessarily must be. In just one single day, on Jan. 30, the U.S.-led coalition carried out 27 airstrikes against ISIS-held territory in Syria and Iraq. We have no way to know how many ISIS soldiers — and civilians — were killed or wounded in those bombardments. U.S.-led forces are responsible for at least 16,000 airstrikes against ISIS in the last six months, killing an unknown number of people — but guesstimates logically begin in the tens of thousands, including civilians. Despite all that carnage, the air

retary of Defense Hagel told CNN. “I would say we’re not there yet. Whether we get there or not, I don’t know.” “This is going to be a long, nasty, dirty war that in many ways is going to look a lot like the first go-around in Iraq,” Stephen Biddle, ex-adviser to Army General David Petraeus, told U.S. News & World Report. But why? Why are we in this “long, nasty, dirty war” against ISIS? Why aren’t we asking why we are at war against ISIS? No one is arguing that the Islamic State is run by nice people. ISIS has carried out ethnic cleansing, enslaved women, raped children, slaughtered POWs in summary executions and Talibanized areas under their control, imposing their brutal, brutal medieval version of Sharia law on citizens accustomed to modern life under socialist, secular states. But ISIS is not alone in its barbarism. Saudi Arabia routinely carries out public beheadings and floggings, as well as crucifixions, and treats women like dirt. Yet we don’t bomb them. To the contrary, the Saudis are close allies. President Obama cuts short important diplomatic trips in order to join the Saudis as they mourn their dead king. Another close U.S. ally, the government of the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan, either boils or freezes political dissidents to death, depending on the government’s mood. Quirky! No air raids there either. Among the worst nations on earth for human rights abuses are Yemen and Pakistan — both of which, like ISIS, are fundamentalist Islamist regimes — but receive hundreds

Saudi Arabia routinely carries out public beheadings. Yet we don’t bomb them.

campaign has not had the desired effect: ISIS is stronger than ever, continuing to conquer new territory and consolidate control over old ground, and the authoritarian government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an adversary of the U.S. and its ally Israel, is benefitting as well. American war officials concede that the air war is failing. “I think [the war against ISIS] may require a forward deployment of some of our troops,” former U.S. Sec-

of millions of dollars in American weapons and cash. So what’s special about ISIS? Why did we go to war against them? “When it comes to human rights abuses, they [Islamic State militants] are in a class of their own,” Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat-Cal.) said last summer in support of a congressional resolution supporting America’s newest war. But that’s not true. ISIS is no worse than any number of other regimes we choose to leave alone (or actively support). The New York Times’ editorial board says ISIS “poses a dire threat to the United States and its allies.” How so? They can’t attack the U.S. Yes, they’re in Iraq, which we kinda sorta view as an ally after invading it, but that war was lost in 2003. ISIS can’t invade Israel. So why are we attacking them? And why aren’t we asking why? War is serious business. It takes lives, costs money, destroys infrastructure and the environment, and creates new problems, including laying the ground for future wars. The least — the very least — we can do is think about it, and talk about it, before starting another war, and then letting inertia carry it on. Rall’s next book is “After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan.”

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Buhmann on Art COURTESY OF NICELLE BEAUCHENE GALLERY

Installation view of “and the Cream Tones,” 2015.

JIM LEE “AND THE CREAM TONES” Through March 15 At Nicelle Beauchene Gallery 327 Broome St. (btw. Bowery & Chrystie) Wed.–Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. or by appointment

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN (stephaniebuhmann.com)

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n the past, Lee has recast components of painting through a variety of experiments such as cutting, dismantling, slicing and sculpting. Testing the surface and structure of his canvases to the ex-

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COURTESY OF NICELLE BEAUCHENE GALLERY

Call 212-375-8043 Visit nicellebeauchene.com

treme, he questions their traditional physicality and the general sense of preciousness that can be associated with the medium. Stapled seams and stacked canvases seen from the back as one sculptural piece, for example, reflect Lee’s talent in finding beauty in what many would consider mundane. In order to experience his works fully, one has to look at it closely, from various angles and while considering all perspectives. In Lee, the viewer joins the artist’s exploration of what distinguishes image and object, surface and interior, or the visual and physical for that matter. Devoid of one-sided distinctions, this work disobeys categorization and finds its own niche somewhere between drawing, painting and sculpture. In his new exhibition we can expect Lee to continue to astonish, startle and amaze us. He will draw from the lexicon of art history without overt references to any one specific source.

Untitled (Cream Tone #14) / 2015 / Oil, acrylic and flashe paint on linen with staples / 69 x 48 inches. February 19, 2015

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Hearts in exile

A widowed African-American pianist and a white drag king seek a place to call home THEATER HOME IN HER HEART Written by Margaret Morrison Directed by Cheryl King Recorded Music by Cynthia Hilts Through April 19 85 minutes, no intermission At Stage Left Studio 214 W. 30th St., Sixth Fl. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.) Tickets: $22 For reservation & info, visit stageleftstudio.net

PHOTO BY KEITH GEMEREK

BY DAVID KENNERLEY

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n the arena of doomed lovers in drama, Romeo and Juliet have some pretty stiff competition from Jimmie LeRoy and Claire Hicks, the misunderstood misfits at the center of “Home In Her Heart,” now playing at Stage Left Studio. Jimmie is a white, Jewish, middle-aged male impersonator with a popular tap-dance act. The much younger Claire, an African-American pianist and composer who lost her husband in a car wreck, is her music director and lover. Which might not raise many eyebrows if the play took place in, say,

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Margaret Morrison and Ava Jenkins in Morrison’s “Home in Her Heart.’

present-day New York. But this intricately shaded drama is set in London in August 1939, just as American expats are ordered to flee Britain in advance of Hitler’s invasion. For three magical years, the duo have managed to set up house in a cozy flat, enjoying the adulation of crowds and the joys of simply being themselves. All

on the QT, of course. Now forced to return to the States, where even the suggestion of a homosexual, interracial couple would have society up in arms, Jimmie and Claire must face up to some tough decisions. Originally from Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Jimmie was disowned by her family for being a “dyke” (her father sat shiva for her). Claire, who comes from a large, tight-knit family, is not ready to reveal her sexuality and risk rejection. Bringing shame upon herself is one thing, but disgracing loved ones is more than she can bear. Not that family is the only issue. Homosexual acts are illegal and also seen as immoral, and Claire is unnerved. “I’m not sure if what we do is sodomy,” she says, eliciting one of the occasional bursts of uneasy laughter from the audience. Is it worth fighting to stay together? That’s just one of the urgent questions that keep us on the edge of our seats in this thoughtful, vibrant twohander, written by the supremely multitalented Margaret Morrison, who

also plays Jimmie. Sporting cropped, graying curled locks, she embodies the tormented performer with a heady mix of grit and tenderness. Her tap dancing is impressive as well. Portraying Claire, Ava Jenkins is at her best during the ecstatic, hopeful moments — wrapped in Jimmie’s loving embrace or flush with excitement after playing an impromptu concert on the ocean liner bound for New York. Female piano players, it should be noted, were a curiosity back then. A “negro” female piano player was borderline scandalous. Staged with razor-sharp simplicity by Cheryl King, creator and producing director of Stage Left Studio, “Home In Her Heart” is much more than a gripping love story. Although set well over a half-century ago, the thorny matters of racism, sexism, and homophobia still resonate fiercely today. There is no real set to speak of, just a few key props, like stacks of Claire’s music charts and Jimmie’s costumes hanging on the wall. Scene changes are marked by evocative audio tracks of a bustling nightclub, air raid signals, a radio announcer issuing gas mask warnings, and an ocean liner horn — brilliant touches that immediately telegraph context. The production is perked up by well-chosen snippets of popular songs of the day, like “Embraceable You” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” by the Gershwin brothers. Recorded piano solos are performed by Cynthia Hilts. This raw, often haunting piece conjures some unvarnished, intimate moments, where the extraordinary couple, often in various states of dishevelment or undress, behave like any ordinary couple — warmly reminiscing, bickering over what to pack, or making love. Although Jimmie wears the pants, so to speak, it’s Claire who sometimes calls the shots. When Jimmie suggests she travel under the guise of her maid, for instance, Claire becomes outraged and refuses. The delicate, stunning scene where Jimmie needs Claire’s help in bandaging up her breasts to flatten her silhouette before she dons a striped, double breasted suit and pink paisley tie for their farewell performance, is like nothing you will see on any New York stage this season. TheVillager.com


Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER

I WAS A SIXTH GRADE BIGFOOT

Whether prowling local burlesque stages as slinky and sweet alter ego Cherry Pitz or exposing her true self on the storytelling circuit, Cyndi Freeman has an uncanny knack for coaxing epic images from intimate moments. The two-time NY Fringe Festival award-winning solo performer — whose work as an instructor with The Moth Community Outreach Program has empowered disabled adults, nurses and the incarcerated tell their stories — has a brand new tale of her own, inspired by the long shelf life of radioactive lies. A world premiere in Horse Trade Theater Group’s annual Frigid Festival, “I Was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot” draws upon the myths, misunderstandings and outright lies that define an 11-year-old’s public image. Obsessed with the Bigfoot phenomenon, Freeman discovers that her homeroom classmates are far more adept at telling whoppers than those grown adults roaming the forest with footprint-shaped show shoes. By convincing the faculty that she was a violent pathological liar, parents lived in fear and only the bullies knew the truth. Writer/performer Freeman peppers this true tale of malicious falsehoods with fun Sasquatch trivia, perhaps arriving at some conclusions about what motivates us to spin yarns that can’t be controlled once that ball gets rolling. Occasional basketball columnist and burlesque performer Sara Peters directs. And that’s the truth! At UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, btw. First Ave. & Ave. A). Feb. 19 at 7:10 p.m. Feb 22 at 3:30 p.m. Feb 28, at 10:30 p.m. March 4 at 8:50 p.m. March 8 at 5:10 p.m. For tickets ($10, $8 for students/seniors), visit FRIGIDnewyork.info. For info on the artist, visit heroicsinhotpants.com.

THE BRAINWAVE FESTIVAL

Say what you will about Taylor Swift — but even haters have to admit her “Shake It Off” song has planted in tween hearts and minds the notion that the path to inner peace begins at the point where we let go of toxic thoughts. Whether you’re still in your juice box years or a jaded adult in need of a philosophTheVillager.com

Elusive truths and hidden agendas abound, in Cyndi Freeman’s look back on the high price of tall tales. “I Was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot” plays the Frigid Festival, through March 8.

ical reboot, the Rubin Museum of Art is the place to expand your mind and satisfy your soul. Now through April, their Brainwave Festival is exploring the Buddhist notion of attachment. “We’re looking at the basic idea of where satisfaction exists…through a diversity of perspectives on the very human tendency to cling to the things that we think will make us happy,” says RMA Director of Public Programs Tim McHenry, who has filled the festival with on-stage conversations, films and art that further the museum’s overall mission to “break down the ego-driven behavior that we have, and recognize that we are just one element of many that are connected.” Upcoming installments of their “Conversation” series, which pairs artists with scientists, include an April 8 event at which Shaolin Master Shi Yan Ming and neuropsychologist Tracy Dennis discuss “Discipline as an Art.” Curated by Oscar-nominated writer-director Guillermo Arriaga, the “Words with Gods” series (March 4–April 22) screens short cinematic meditations on faith and consciousness, followed by dialogues between

faith practitioners and scientists who study the mind. A Friday night film series addressing the theme of “fixation” includes Hal Ashby’s 1971 romp between a very young Bud Cort and a very old Ruth Gordon (“Harold and Maude” on April 17). A Wednesday lunchtime series (“Lunch Matters”) screens past recorded Brainwave events. On March 4, a 2014 conversation between Hunter College neuropsychologist Tracy Dennis and former NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski has the duo discussing the mindset required to

endure extreme space missions. Brainwave Festival events take place through April 22, at the Rubin Museum of Art (150 W. 17th St. at Seventh Ave.). Ticket prices vary. Museum Hours: Mon. & Thurs., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed., 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sat. Sun., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 212620-5000 or visit RubinMuseum.org/ brainwave.

JUST DO ART, continued on p. 22

February 19, 2015

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Just Do Art JUST DO ART, continued from p. 21

GREENWICH VILLAGE ORCHESTRA presents “MOMENTOUS MAHLER”

“Momentous Mahler” is performed on Sun., March 1, 3–5 p.m. at Washington Irving Auditorium (40 Irving Place, at 17th St.). Suggested donation: $20 ($10 for students/seniors). Visit gvo.org or call 212-932-0732.

AXIS COMPANY presents “THE GROUNDLING”

Set on playwright Marc Palmieri’s home turf, “The Groundling” gets its gears turning when Bob Malone comes upon an outdoor Shakespeare production somewhere in

Manhattan. Inspired, the Long Island landscaper returns home and resolves to pen a play depicting scenes from his troubled marriage. Cast with neighborhood oddballs and set to premiere in his cleared out garage, Malone hires two skeptical New York theater professionals to oversee the creative process — which, from your seat in the Axis Theatre, plays out like a heartfelt meditation on the waning moments of “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” That title’s last word is the operative one here, as the motley crew (all fish out of water in some sense) find themselves deeply affected by the shared experience of putting on a play. Feb. 19, 25, 26; March 4 & 5 at 7:00 p.m. Feb. 20, 21, 27, 28; March 6 & 7 at 8 p.m. Feb. 22; March 1 & 8 at 3 p.m. At Axis Theatre (One Sheridan Square, just off Seventh Ave.). For tickets ($50, $35 for students/seniors), call 212-8079300 or visit axiscompany.org.

COURTESY OF THE RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART

It’s a case of the Fifth on the first, when Greenwich Village Orchestra’s March 1 “Momentous Mahler” program comes in like a lion and never goes the way of the lamb. “From the opening fanfare to the closing chords, through marches, dances, storms and the famous Adagietto, a love song to his wife,” promises the GVO, “Mahler ’s Fifth Symphony will envelop you in an intense musical world filled with humanity, spirituality, and emotion. The classy cultural venue has yet to ban selfie sticks, so bring them to post-concert reception, in anticipation of mingling with Music Director Barbara Yahr and the musicians. GVO’s 12th season continues on April 12, when they return to

Washington Irving Auditorium for an all-Tchaikovsky program led by guest conductor Pierre Vallet (from the Metropolitan Opera), and featuring young virtuoso Siwoo Kim. May 17’s “Summer in the City” program has favorites by Gershwin and Rossini, with mezzo-soprano Naomie O’Connell singing Berlioz’s song cycle “Les nuits d’été” — and “Symphonie Fantastique” anchors the orchestra’s first-ever music video.

Monkey see, monkey want…but what happens when monkey gets? Rubin Museum of Art’s Brainwave Festival contemplates attachment and happiness.

Win Tickets to “ Horseplay: Or, The Fickle Mistress”

Jerry Matz, Kendall Rileigh (at table), Eva Kaminsky (by door), Benjamin Russell, Emily Kratter and Robert Ierardi in Axis Company’s “The Groundling.”

PHOTO BY DA PING LUO

Long before the first Madonna song or Kim Kardashian skin shot, Adah Isaacs Menken rode to international superstardom after being stripped, strapped to the back of a horse, and sent up a fourstory-tall papier-mâché stage mountain in the Broadway melodrama “Mazeppa.” Ridiculed in 1861 as “unhampered by the shackles of talent,” this reimagining of Menken’s life aims to reclaim her rightful place in popular culture and lore — but as what: Black? White? Jewish? Catholic? Lesbian? Poet? Actress?

PHOTO BY JOHN PAINZ

Photo by James Eden

Equestrienne? Written by this publication’s Downtown theatre columnist, Trav. S.D. — and presented by Theatre Askew as the latest entry its celebration of the history of queer presence in New York — “Horseplay: Or, The Fickle Mistress, A Protean Picaresque” stars Molly Pope as Menken and features longtime Ridiculous Theatrical Company member Everett Quinton. The winner of our giveaway will receive two tickets for the Thurs., Feb. 26, 8 p.m. performance. To enter, email HorseplayTix@TheVillager.com, along with your phone number (only enter once, please). A winner will be selected at random, and contacted by phone on Feb. 23. The show, which runs through March 1, takes place at La Mama’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. Fourth St.). But why leave it to chance? Purchase tickets ($18, $13 for students/seniors) by calling 646-430-5374 or visiting lamama.org.

The Greenwich Village Orchestra returns to Washington Irving Auditorium for three Sunday afternoon concerts, on March 1, April 12 and May 17.

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The admirable inscrutability of ‘Young Bodies’ Betzer’s debut follows its vision, for better or worse FILM YOUNG BODIES HEAL QUICKLY Written & Directed by Andrew T. Betzer Runtime: 102 minutes Opens February 27 At Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Ave. (at Second St.) Info: 212-505-5181 or anthologyfilmarchives.org

BY SEAN EGAN

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COURTESY OF FACTORY 25

he title of writer/director Andrew T. Betzer’s debut feature, “Young Bodies Heal Quickly” is a minor puzzle. That evocative, mildly cryptic phrase somehow seems fitting, despite the fact that its meaning is never made entirely clear. It’s the first indication of something that becomes increasingly obvious as the movie plays out: Betzer is not one to dispense meanings or morals. His film isn’t the kind that deals with niceties like conventional narrative structure, dialogue or character names. It’s an uncompromising, inscrutable movie that, for better or for worse, stays true to its highly unusual, distinctive vision. The plot, as it were, concerns two nameless brothers — one an adult (listed simply as “Older” in the end titles) and one a preteen (similarly credited as “Younger”). After an opening sequence in which some aimless destruction culminates in the accidental death of a young woman at the hands of the siblings, the film follows its leads as they go on the lam. The episodic tale that follows finds the two encountering a series of oddball characters: first their un-amused sister and her carpenter husband, then a French maid, and finally their gruff, estranged father — an Australian groundskeeper obsessed with war. The decidedly informal narrative is rendered even looser by the decision to have it play out with minimal dialogue. Thankfully, in Gabriel Croft (Older) and Hale Lytle (Younger) are capable of turning in performances that anchor the proceedings. While

Odd couple siblings Older (Gabriel Croft) and Younger (Hale Lytle) flex.

they don’t share much in the way of conversation, they expertly allow their body language play off one another and communicate the essence of their relationship — the hulking Older is all intense physicality and incessant beer swigging, while spindly Younger possesses wide eyes and observant facial expressions. Croft and Lytle let the physical tics of the characters speak volumes, and create acutely realistic characters — the two brothers simply are. The problem is, Betzer also lets “Young Bodies Heal Quickly” simply be. That is to say, the lyrical aura derived from the movie’s intentional lack of structure frequently veers over to the wrong side of indulgent aimlessness. This causes the pacing to suffer, and makes the film’s 100-or-so minutes feel far longer than they actually are — though admittedly, one’s mileage may vary when it comes to a feature as outthere as this one. Mileage may also vary when it comes to its strange tone. “Young

Bodies” can be quite sobering, sometimes moving into genuinely disturbing places — particularly in a sequence where Younger’s father pushes him to model some highly offensive war memorabilia. However, it also features a prominent comic streak, the effect of which makes the whole film feel uneasy. The longest verbal exchange, for instance, is a hysterical but narratively inconsequential deadpan argument between Older and his father (about crabs’ swimming abilities). And an attack by a meat cleaver-wielding chef (shouting about semen in French, naturally) is borderline surrealistic, more blackly comic than terrifying — though Betzer never explicitly encourages laughs. It seems then that Betzer and the movie love living in gray areas — and to its credit, this often pays dividends. This is most obvious in the intense final act, where the line between real and feigned violence becomes blurred, and the distinction between acts of caring selflessness and insid-

iousness is played with intriguingly. The film also probes at questions about masculinity, justice and the consequences of actions, though the way in which Betzer refuses to answer any of these questions (as well as obscuring causality and characters’ motivations) is both refreshing and frustratingly confounding. Nonetheless, the movie is never less than original — and if the narrative falters, it always looks amazing, thanks to Sean Price Williams’ cinematography. Shooting on gorgeous, grainy 16mm, and highlighting the everyday sprawl of rural America with his roaming camera, Williams gives the film a striking visual palette that makes it feel like a work out-of-time. Ultimately “Young Bodies Heal Quickly” is easier to admire than to love, and more likely candidate for appreciation rather than enjoyment. Hopefully it is just the opening salvo of a talented young director who will continue to sharpen his narrative and structural skills — without sacrificing his tenacity and clearness of vision. February 19, 2015

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Sketching history judiciously in federal court BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL

C

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Christine Cornell’s sketch of Martha Stewart’s securities-fraud trial. Stewart — shown, at left, as her attorney looks on with his hand to his head — was sentenced to five months behind bars.

PHOTO BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL

ivilization’s oldest form of artistic expression, sketching, is thriving in 21st-century federal courthouses. As part of a year-long series of events celebrating the 225th anniversary of the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York, the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, at 40 Foley Square, is hosting an exhibit, “Courtroom Art: Eyewitness for the Public 1972-2011.” Twenty-one examples of artwork from notable court cases are on display in the courthouse’s main lobby. Among the individuals illustrated are Imelda Marcos, Leona Helmsley, Martha Stewart and Bernard Madoff. Art from the criminal trial against former U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, the trial of General William Westmoreland against CBS, and the trial of Ariel Sharon against Time, Inc., as well as several high-profile organized crime and terrorism cases, offer the public a rare glimpse inside the rarefied precincts of federal justice. Despite advanced technology and a voracious 24-hour news cycle, photography is still prohibited in federal courthouses. Thus, courtroom artists who capture the daily drama of trials do become the eyewitnesses for the public. Downtown resident Elizabeth Williams, an artist for the Associated Press and other news organizations, drew the “Somali Pirate,” “Pizza Connection” and “42nd Street Bomber” trials, among countless others. “The art is the harmony to the reporter’s words,” Williams said. “In court they don’t smile for the cameras,” she added. Williams praised the news media as the true patrons of courtroom art. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, you’ve just added a thousand more words to your story,” she said. Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska joined several of the artists at a recent reception in the courthouse’s soaring lobby for the exhibit’s opening.  “Through their great talent, courtroom artists animate the range of emotions that are so frequently evoked in the courtroom, and they do so in a far more intense way than a mere photograph could,” Preska said. “Their ability to capture the emotions in such a vivid way makes their drawings much more evocative than a mere photograph.” Another federal Judge, P. Kevin Castel, reflected on the historical significance of courtroom sketches. “Think about a drawing of Aaron Burr, who swore his oath of office in the first Federal Court in 1789,” Castel said, recalling America’s third vice president. “What was on Aaron Burr’s face that day? Courtroom art is history.” Judge Deborah Batts noted, “While the courts are always open to the public, we have more public than capacity. Our courtroom artists provide access to significant and poignant aspects of the trials.” Jane Rosenberg draws regularly for the New York Daily News and others. She sketched the trials of Leona Helmsley and Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff. “I love to study human nature,” Rosenberg said, “the facial expressions and gestures of people who tell the truth or lie. Some people try to mask their emotions; others can’t hold them back.” Christine Cornell was only 21 and on spring break when she accompanied her sister, WCBS

Newsradio 88 reporter Irene Cornell, to a trial. “I can do this,” she thought, and enrolled in fine-art courses at Pratt. After art school, Cornell went to a Long Island trial and pitched her sketches to CBS News. Soon she would be drawing for CNN and NBC. “Nothing beats it for the excitement, for observing and being part of the story,” she said. These historical works by artists Rosenberg, Williams and Cornell, as well as Aggie Kenny and Richard Tomlinson, are on display in the courthouse lobby until May 4. The exhibit is free.

At the opening of “Courtroom Art: Eyewitness for the Public 1972-2011,” from left, courtroom sketch artist Elizabeth Williams, Judge P. Kevin Castel, artist Jane Rosenberg, artist Aggie Kenny, Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska, artist Christine Cornell and Judge Deborah Batts.

A sketch by Jane Rosenberg of Bernard Madoff testifying in court at his sentencing to 150 years in jail. TheVillager.com


PHOTOS BY MILO HESS

Hot fashions help take big chill off Big Apple It was brutally cold outside but New York Fashion Week, happening all over the city from the runway to the street, was hot. The guy at right had an outfit made up of sample fabric swatches.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Continued from p. 16

Art park is a beautiful gift To The Editor: I have been a resident of Chelsea for 24 years. My three daughters all attend New York City public schools: Manhattan Academy of Technology, the Clinton School for Writers and Artists, and LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.  I am so excited, as a member of this dynamic community, to welcome Pier 55, another venue for arts and recreation, into the neighborhood! I love Hudson River Park and marvel at the improvement along the riverfront from what used to be there. When the kids were little, we played at Pirate Park (the Jane St. Pier) and on Pier 46 a great deal. This new park, Pier55, offers more opportunity for older kids to enjoy the beauty of our waterfront and our cityscape. I can’t wait to see what programming the people involved come up with. And I hope very much that local schools will get a chance to use these unique performance spaces, which I see as inspiring venues for dance, music and theater for young artists. I went to the first public hearing about Pier55, to learn and to listen, and came away with a TheVillager.com

very positive perspective. Most of the complaints against the project are either about noise or traffic, which I can’t see being a problem, or worries about control of the pier, which seem to have been hashed out already. I cannot come up with additional concerns, though I have tried, for the sake of being thorough. What a beautiful gift the city has been offered! Let’s move this forward! Liz Craig

A lot to fear about Pier55 To The Editor: There is little to say that is good about the Pier55 development. The organizers are real estate speculators who are making this project a linchpin of their privatization of the West Side waterfront. It is not being reviewed by anyone and is being rushed through as if the world is coming to an end.  The community board, which should be protecting the area from this, is instead a front for the real estate interests in this case, just as it was in the privatization of Washington Square Park. Projects that are set up in secret are invariably bad and will not withstand extensive and professional examinations. The lack of vetting will

speed things up, but not for the better. The governing structure for Pier55 is dubious and appears to be beyond public review.   This all comes because the Hudson River Park has no dedicated source of funding. We have already seen legislation passed to allow the unwanted and unnecessary transfer of air rights from Pier 40 to real estate speculators so that the Pier 40 park could be “saved.”  It is a vicious and bitter blow to have $35 million suddenly appear from the state and the city for Pier55 when there was “no money” to help Pier 40.  This will continue until all of the waterfront is privatized and it becomes a “destination,” like the High Line. This will be worse for everyone but a wealthy few. Projects like this in the city are engines of inequality. We are driven down by our own government.  John Wetherhold E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published. February 19, 2015

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February 19, 2015

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Narwhals get shot down by Vaughn yet stay upbeat SPORTS BY ROBERT ELKIN

C

halk this one up as part of the learning curve for the new Narwhal Nation. The New School men’s basketball team got blown out, 99-54, by Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology on Mon., Feb. 9. As the basketball game progressed at the Elmcor Recreation Center in East Elmhurst, Queens, the point margin just kept on widening and widening. Vaughn College is a member of the NCAA Division III and is heading into a post-season Hudson Valley tournament, whose winner has a chance of going into the Division III tournament. The New School, on the other hand, plays an independent schedule during the basketball season, with no NCAA tournament at stake, and ends its schedule with a four-team local tourney at Baruch College this weekend. “We went up against a really good team in Vaughn,” said Dave Privat-Gilman, The New School’s coach, after the 45-point shellacking. Along with playing outstanding defense and offense, the Warriors pressed most of the time. The New School hoopsters didn’t have a chance of keeping it even reasonably close. Vaughn was admittedly the toughest game on the Narwhals’ schedule, with the loss dropping them to 6-4. “We have a good record and played against some good teams this season,” Privat-Gilman said. Jesse Futterman, a 6-foot-2 forward for the Narwhals, was upbeat despite the drubbing. “On the positive side this winter, there has been a certain cohesion from our game plan to our execution,” he said. “Early in the season, we looked disjointed and our game plan didn’t live up to our execution throughout the games. But slowly, as our games went on, the ‘X’s and ‘O’s and the playing have come together.” Futterman is one of two freshmen on the team, the other being 6-foot1 forward Benjamin Irving. Futterman and the rest of his teammates don’t have a regulation-size gym at The New School for their practices

TheVillager.com

The New School men’s basketball team.

and games. “It’s a grind,” Futterman said, speaking after the trouncing by Vaughn. “Sometimes we have to practice in undesirable and strange places. “Still, we have a close group who will practice even outside if we have to. But for my progress, this was my best game, even though it came in a loss.” Another Narwhal, Max Resetar, also has a positive attitude about the team’s progress. “I see a lot of play, pride and heart in being a member of the team,” said the junior guard. “And I think that’s the best way to play basketball. It’s fun to play with a group that cares.” Of course, The New School has always been known more for its leftist academics than athletics. In fact, it never really has been known for sports at all. Resetar, a journalism major, who writes for The New School Free Press, said, “It’s interesting to play for this type of team at The New School. All the coaches and players are committed to play here — but the school and administration isn’t quite as committed as we want to be.”

d a l g h a y t Arch ’n r u o y g n i to be read per? a p s w e n y communit Don’t miss a single issue! ! r e g la il V e h T o t e ib r c s Sub Call 646-452-2475 February 19, 2015

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