The Paper of Record for East and West Villages, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown
March 6, 2014 • FREE Volume 4 • Number 8
C.B. 3 delays vote on landmarking old dispensary BY LESLEY SUSSMAN
DISPENSARY, continued on p. 9
Bill blocks U.N.H.S. and Bergtraum school co-locations BY SAM SPOKONY
he previously planned charter school co-location at Murry Bergtraum High School will no longer go forward, the city’s Department of Education announced last week. Last year, D.O.E. under former Mayor Bloomberg had proposed to place a
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
he fate of a historic dispensary located at 75 Essex St. remains uncertain as Community Board 3 decided to postpone a vote last week on whether to support its landmark designation. The former Good Samaritan/Eastern District Dispensary was constructed in 1890 with
charitable donations and operated for 60 years with city funding. C.B. 3’s full board voted overwhelmingly for the delay at its Feb. 25 meeting despite an earlier vote by C.B. 3’s Landmark’s Subcommittee and the board’s Executive Committee in favor of such a designation. Board mem-
Success Academy charter school, serving grades K to 4, in part of the Murry Bergtraum building, a District 2 school at 411 Pearl St. But that move was heavily criticized and protested by many Downtown parents, education advocates and elected ofCO-LOCATE, continued on p. 19
Frances Goldin signed copies of her new book, “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA,” at a screening of a documentary on the Cooper Square Committee. See Page 16.
HealthPlex E.R. opening June at St. Vincent’s site BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
he North Shore-LIJ Health System announced on Thurs., March 6, that its new comprehensive-care center now under construction in Greenwich Village will be called the Lenox Hill HealthPlex. Located at Seventh Ave. between W. 12th and 13th Sts., the facility, according to a press release, “represents a new model of communitybased care that integrates health and wellness services with seamless ac-
cess to 24-hour emergency care and a full range of medical specialists.” The first phase of the more than $150 million project is set to open in late June, with the debut of Manhattan’s first freestanding emergency center, which will provide patients with around-the-clock access to board-certified emergency physicians, specialty trained nurses, specialist consultations and other healthcare professionals. Future plans for Lenox Hill HealthPlex include imaging services,
an ambulatory surgery suite, home care and other programs designed to meet the current and future needs of the community. Michael Dowling, president and chief executive officer of North Shore-LIJ Health System, said, “In the shadows of buildings that housed St. Vincent’s Hospital for 160 years, Lenox Hill HealthPlex represents the dawning of a new era of healthcare for West Side residents, who have had to travel out of their E.R., continued on p. 2
Ukraine’s Maidan journey...................................page 4 Progress Report...............page 13 De Blasio cuts NYCHA bucks for cops...............page 7 www.EastVillagerNews.com
Lenox Hill HealthPlex E.R. set to open this summer West Village,” said John Gupta, executive director of the Lenox Hill HealthPlex. Gupta added that, in addition to “filling a healthcare void on the West Side,” the new medical complex will bring hundreds of new jobs to the neighborhood, giving a boost to small businesses that have suffered in the wake of St. Vincent’s closing.
E.R., continued from p. 1
March 6, 2014
‘Lenox Hill HealthPlex represents the dawning of a new era of healthcare for West Side residents.’ Michael Dowling
PHOTOS COURTESY NORTH SHORE-LIJ
neighborhoods to access emergency and other critical healthcare services for the past four years.” North Shore-LIJ Health System has 16 hospitals across the metropolitan area, including Lenox Hill Hospital and the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, both on the Upper East Side. The HealthPlex Emergency Center, which will occupy the first floor of the six-story building, is designed and will be staffed and equipped to accommodate up to 45,000 emergency visits annually, according to Dr. John D’Angelo, senior vice president of emergency medicine at North Shore-LIJ. It will serve as a receiving facility for the city’s 911 Emergency Medical System, have 24/7 access to lab services and advanced radiology, and include an ambulance to transport patients who need to be hospitalized. “The advanced life-support capabilities at the facility will enable local residents to receive emergency care at their most critical time of need,” D’Angelo said. Among other areas of expertise, the HealthPlex will also include sexual-assault nurse examiners who have received special training to perform sexual-assault evidentiary exams for rape victims. The emergency center anchoring this neighborhood medical complex is “based on a successful model for emergency care being implemented across the country,” according to North Shore-LIJ. “The approach is designed to reduce waiting times and enhance customer convenience for emergency care that is efficient, accessible and linked to a continuum of care available to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay,” D’Angelo said. To ensure success, the press release states, Lenox Hill HealthPlex is drawing on the collective knowledge of North Shore-LIJ’s 200 emergency physicians, more than 300 paramedics and emergency medical technicians (E.M.T.’s), and roughly 2,000 emergency department staff, who have gained their experience operating 14 emergency departments that treated nearly 665,000 people and transported more than 102,000 patients in 2013. “Even though the HealthPlex will not open until June, we are already hiring nursing staff, who will undergo intensive training in the coming months,” said Carleigh Gustafson, RN, the health system’s vice president of emergency services and a longtime Lenox Hill nurse. The HealthPlex will be housed in the historic National Maritime Union Building, which was known for the past four decades as the O’Toole Building. North Shore-LIJ is investing more than $150 million to redevelop the interior of the 50-year-old, Albert Ledner-designed building, while maintaining all of its exterior nautical features. “We took great pains to respect the architecture of this landmarked building, recognizing the distinctive character of the
Work is ongoing inside the former O’Toole Building to open the new E.R. at the new Lenox Hill HealthPlex by the end of June.
A construction worker in a tunnel that leads to the roof of the former O’Toole Building and what used to be a small elevator, which, from the outside, looks like a ship smokestack. Belowground tunnels that used to link O’Toole to other parts of the hospital campus are being filled in.
Among its outreach efforts to the community, the HealthPlex has created a partnership with the L.G.B.T. Center on W. 13th St. Also, in 2013, Lenox Hill donated $100,000 to the AIDS memorial that will be created in the park located in the triangle across from the HealthPlex at the intersections of Seventh and Greenwich Aves. and W. 12th St. Neighborhood critics of the new facility have repeatedly slammed it — and may well continue to do so — for not being a full-service hospital with many beds, like the old St. Vincent’s. The HealthPlex will only have two beds, plus these will not be used for long-term patient stays, but only briefly. If patients require longer or more intensive treatment, they’ll be transported by ambulance to a local hospital. However, the most important thing that people said they wanted restored after St. Vincent’s closed was a top-notch emergency room. North Shore-LIJ assures that the new HealthPlex’s E.R. capacity will be “vast,” plus will be complemented by the services offered by the comprehensivecare center to follow. In fact, the new facility, taken as a whole, represents a growing trend in healthcare. “As part of a new model of care that North Shore-LIJ is developing for the communities it serves across the metropolitan area,” the press release states, “the HealthPlex’s vast emergency capabilities will be complemented by imaging services, an ambulatory surgery suite, rehabilitation, health/wellness, home care and other comprehensive medical programs that will be rolled out in future years.” North Shore-LIJ is one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems. Its 16 hospitals, plus long-term care facilities, have more than 6,000 beds, employ more than 10,000 nurses and have affiliations with more than 9,400 physicians. With a workforce of more than 47,000, North Shore-LIJ is the largest private employer in New York State.
GOING NOWHERE FAST? What the heck is going on at 544 E. 13th St.? As we reported this past summer, Isabel Celeste, actress Rosario Dawson’s mom, was caught jackhammering a hole from her first-floor apartment down to the squat’s basement for a spiral staircase, all without
WHEN WILL THEY LEARN? Scam super-sleuth Doris Diether has sussed out yet another ruse that someone tried to use on her. Diether recently received a postcard stating she could get $100 in gift cards to Walmart and other big-box retailers if she called the number on it. She called. She was told that for a $4.95 fee, she would receive the $100 in gift cards. She gave them a credit card number to pay the $4.95. She was told someone would call back
in 15 minutes with a confirmation number. But no one called back, so Diether canceled the card. But then someone did call her back, saying that she would be charged $69.95 a month for canceling unless she took the offer. So the octogenarian Community Board 2 member sicced the U.S. Postal Service on the fraudsters. She noted that the con artists dumbly used a printed permit number on the envelope, with a Lakeland, Florida, address, instead of a stamp, so it’s easily traceable. Another case solved by Inspector Diether. … Cue the “Dragnet” music… . Actually, we think the same knuckleheads recently called us at The Villager with the same bogus $100 gift-card offer, though they didn’t say we had to pay any fee. But they probably wanted to suck out some of our info. We just hung up on them — but we should have sent up the Diether Signal.
PHOTO BY SCOOPY
BLAME IT ON THE VORTEXES: Last we heard, Phase III — the final part — of the Washington Square Park renovation, was supposed to be finished by the end of last year. Two or three polar vortexes and, oh, a couple of soggy slushapocalypses later, Phase III still isn’t open yet, and the park’s southwestern corner remains cordoned off by a chain-link fence. The new park building, which will include facilities for Parks Department employees and new public restrooms is looking pretty good from what we saw of it at a distance through the fence. However, preservationists might take exception: It looks sort of like it might fit in better up at Lincoln Center, and it’s got a lot of the “G” word — glass — which we sincerely hope is tinted in the bathrooms. Which is another thing to think about. Hopefully, there won’t be another panic in a park like the one with the Standard Hotel on the High Line with its floor-to-ceiling windows. Anyway, getting back to the main point, when will Phase III finally be finished? “We’re looking to have it all complete and open by April — end of March / possibly early April is likely,” Parks spokesperson Phil Abramson told us. So what was the delay? Blame it on the vortexes? Apparently, yes, they didn’t help things. “Winter weather conditions were a large factor,” Abramson said.
permits. The Fire Department and Department of Buildings responded and the place was slapped with violations, including for a flimsily attached exterior fire escape and a dangerous parapet. Those conditions have since been fixed, at least partially, we’re told. But the place has got bigger problems. For example, the building hasn’t had any gas for about a year and a half, not since September 2012. Which means the building’s occupants — while braving the Winter of the Vortexes — have been surviving by using electricity to heat their apartments and heat water, and hot plates to cook. According to a source, a representative of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board — who had not been seen at the building for quite some time — finally recently paid a visit to check things out. It turns out the gas meters have been moved and gas lines rerouted, meaning that, for the building to have gas service properly restored, everything would have to be totally redone. “We’re looking at $30,000 to $40,000 to install a whole new system,” our source told us with exasperation. Meanwhile, the building should have already been converted long ago into an affordable co-op per the deal under Mayor Giuliani when 11 remaining East Village squats were sold to the squatters for $1 apiece. But there has been zero progress toward bringing the building up to code. The place is evenly divided between two factions: one group that says they are the original squatter group and another led by Celeste and the Dawson family and their friends and allies. Can anyone get control of this out-of-control building? City Councilmember Rosie Mendez told us the first thing that’s needed is that there has to be one tenants group for people to deal with. A gardener who is a member of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) told us this past summer that there had been some constructive meetings with Celeste and her allies. But the other side accuses local community leaders — and even UHAB — of being “starstruck” by Celeste and Rosario, and thus doing nothing. The squatter group also say they are the ones that signed the contract with UHAB after the deal with the city. And, they further charge, Celeste is not even a legitimate tenant of the building, since, after she broke up with her husband, he kept his unit, while she went and just took another unit illegally in the building without getting everyone’s approval. Meanwhile, Celeste and the Dawson faction rent out some of their units and other commandeered spaces and are using the building as a cash cow, the other side says. It’s a mess, to say the least. How about — just for starters — if the gas is restored? If UHAB refuses to sort things out, shouldn’t the city get involved?
NEWS ON NEWS VENDOR: Astor Place newsstand operator Jerry Delakas hasn’t had his kiosk open lately due to health concerns. He told us he was recently walking up the subway stairs when he lost his breath. A doctor gave him a breath test and told him he has bronchitis, and also gave him a CAT scan. We happened to catch him opening up the stand briefly earlier in the week with this sign, above. Delakas, from what we understood, is resting up a bit and waiting for the doctor’s O.K. before returning to work. Meanwhile, down the block at Astor Place Hairstylists — where de Blasio gets his hair cut, but not that day — Worrell St. Ange a.k.a. “Speedy” noted he hasn’t seen the vendor lately. Told about Delakas’s taking some time out to rest up, he said he wasn’t surprised. “Just coffee and cigarettes — he never eats any food!” Speedy said with concern.
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“It’s Worth The Trip Down The Street!” March 6, 2014
Ukrainians rejoice at revolution yet mourn BY TEQUILA MINSKY
March 6, 2014
A woman served potato pierogis at the fundraiser.
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
ast Saturday, hundreds of Ukrainians and other New Yorkers walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of democracy demonstrators in Ukraine. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Ukrainians gathered outside the White House, commemorating heroes of the “Heaven’s Hundred” — those who had fallen just days before. They sang songs dedicated to Kiev’s Independence Square, or Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the epicenter of the “Euromaidan” uprising. More than 80 demonstrators were killed there during Feb. 18-20, ruthlessly picked off by the Berkut, special-forces snipers, who aimed for the head, neck or heart. In a fast-moving, daily-changing political landscape, on Feb. 22, the Ukrainian Parliament impeached the country’s president, Viktor Yanukovych. Antigovernment demonstrations had been ongoing since November. Protesters ramped up actions last week, as government forces fired on their own people, to the outrage of the international community. The escalated skirmish was brief, costly, but ultimately victorious for the opposition. On Monday, an arrest warrant for the president was issued for the “mass murder” of protesters. However, as of press time, Yanukovych’s whereabouts were unknown. He was last seen fleeing toward the eastern, pro-Russia part of the country. On Sunday, yellow-and-blue balloons — the colors of the Ukrainian flag — decked the outside of Plast Domivka, next door to Veselka restaurant on Second Ave., where a fundraiser was being held for the pressing needs of the people in the Maidan in Kiev. The event was held by Razom (which translates to “Together”), an organization that formed in November with a mission to support democratic institutions in Ukraine. Ukrainian music and food were enjoyed alongside sales of crafts and traditional floral headdresses. Among those attending the event was Marta Zahaykevich, 60, from E. Seventh St. She was born after World War II in Ukraine in a displaced-persons camp. “We entered the U.S. by lottery in 1952 — part of the last big wave of Ukrainians — and settled in Newark,” she said. She moved to New York while attending Columbia University and currently works as an emergencyroom psychologist. Zahaykevich shared many thoughts on the unfolding events. “Today is a very important day,” she said. “Parliament passed important legislation yesterday. Yanukovych said those votes are illegal. But the laws are veto-proof, having been voted on by over 75 percent of Parliament, and do not require the president’s signature. “We have a new [interim] president and [acting] interior minister with May 25 elections projected,” she added. So how did Yanukovych ever get elected? “The elections were fraudulent,” Zahaykevich said. “Everyday life is based on
corruption. Every step you take, you have to pay someone.” With police no longer guarding Yanukovych’s lavish palace, the people are now getting a chance to see how he lived. “Do you know that the toilet seats are in the shape of gold thrones, with armrests?” Zahaykevich asked. She said Ukraine faces serious problems with unemployment, hunger and healthcare. Yet, the former president was unconcerned. “Yanukovych didn’t do anything,” she said. “We want to be part of Europe,” she declared. “We don’t want to be part of Russia anymore.” Regarding the past three months of protest, Zahaykevich pointedly noted that it was the Berfut, the special forces, that fired on their own people. In 2010 — under Yanukovych — a new constitution was implemented. “Parliament has voted to revert back to the 2004 constitution,” she said. “With this Parliament’s newly enacted laws, he’ll have to face his own Parliament. “People are thrilled, pragmatic, realistic, working step by step in a parliamentarian fashion. We want to take care of him in a legal way,” she said. Razom was raising money for medical supplies, bulletproof vests, cots, oxygen and whatever else was requested, she added. Just a few doorways down the street, in front of the Ukrainian American Youth Organization, at 136 Second Ave., passersby paid homage at a sidewalk memorial to those who died during the Ukraine uprising.
“We want to be part of Europe,” East Villager Marta Zahaykevich said of Ukraine.
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POLICE BLOTTER L.E.S. hit and run Police arrested Shenequa Gayle, 20, after she allegedly ran over an elderly man on the Lower East Side and then fled the scene. Gayle was driving a 2014 Infiniti Q50 west on Hester St. shortly before 7 a.m. when she made a left turn onto Bowery and struck the 63-year-old pedestrian, who was within the crosswalk, police said. The man suffered injuries to his head and hands, and after witnesses reported the incident, paramedics rushed him to Bellevue Hospital where he remains in critical condition, according to police. After barreling the man over, Gayle reportedly stepped outside her car, took a look at him, and drove away. But a witness was able to snap a photo of her, which he quickly provided to police. An immediate investigation by the Police Department’s Collision Investigation Squad soon revealed that, following the incident, Gayle fled to Brooklyn over the Manhattan Bridge, police said. Later that day, cops learned that the same Infiniti had been slapped with a parking ticket in Prospect Heights, after which officers there canvassed the area and spotted the car — although they found it was now being driven by a man, Tyrone Morant, 23. Shortly after that, both Gayle and Morant were arrested. Gayle was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, and both were charged with unlicensed operation and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Thwarted robber An alleged robber was nabbed nine days after he tried to rip off two banks, including one in the West Village. Police said Rodney Griffin, 49, reportedly walked into a Bank of America near the corner of E. 63rd St. and Third Ave. shortly after 11 a.m. on Feb. 18, and passed a note to the teller in which he demanded cash. Moments later he fled empty-handed — but five hours later, Griffin hit a Chase Bank near the corner of W. Fourth and Christopher Sts., and tried the same act, passing a note and demanding cash, according to police. He once again ran away with nothing to show for it, and was able to elude cops until Feb. 27, when he was arrested and charged with two counts of third-degree robbery.
Hudson hit again An unlocked door led to a West Village residential burglary on Feb. 25, police said. Sometime between 9:20 a.m. and 12:45
March 6, 2014
p.m. that day, two unidentified men reportedly got inside the 512 Hudson St. apartment and made off with numerous pieces of electronic equipment. The fact that there were no signs of forced entry made it clear to cops that the suspects had been able to enter through an unlocked door. That incident happened just two doors down from a similar burglary at 516 Hudson St., which took place on Feb. 11. Both buildings are just a block away from the Sixth Precinct.
Got his Galaxy Police are still searching for three unidentified men who reportedly attacked another man and then stole his cell phone on the Lower East Side back in January. The victim, 28, told cops he was walking past the corner of Ludlow and Canal Sts. around 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 16, when the three alleged thugs approached from behind and punched him in the head. The blows caused the man’s Samsung Galaxy phone to fall to the ground. He tried to pick it up, but the the suspects kicked him in the back, swiped the phone and fled west on Canal St., police said. The victim wasn’t seriously injured and declined medical attention. All three of the suspects are described as black males, about 18 to 20 years of age, police said.
Dishonorable theft Police arrested a brazen woman nearly three months after she allegedlystole $3,500 from her employer — a Meatpacking District museum dedicated to remembering the recovery efforts that took place in Lower Manhattan following the 9/11 attacks. Phoenix Toliver, 28, was working at the Ground Zero Museum Workshop, at 420 W. 14th St., when she reportedly pocketed the cash on Dec. 8, police said. Her manager later realized that the money was missing after looking through his financial documents, after which he reportedly sent four of his friends to check on Toliver at work in February. Those friends apparently confirmed the boss’s suspicions, and after he confronted Toliver she confessed to stealing the cash and wiring it to her mother, police said. Cops eventually apprehended Toliver on Feb. 24, and although the money hasn’t yet been recovered, she was charged with grand larceny.
device to steal customers’ credit card information. Nigel Wilson, 24, was working the register at Crate and Barrel, near the corner of Broadway and Houston St., when someone spotted him using the skimmer and immediately reported the activity, police said. When officers arrived on the scene minutes later to check out the situation, they found that Wilson was in fact in possession of not one, but two card skimmers, along with two illegally altered credit cards that he’d doctored using stolen information. After further investigation, cops said they also learned that the cashier had used a skimmer at work on Feb. 16 and 18. Wilson was charged with two counts of possession of a forged instrument, two counts of criminal possession of a forgery device and identity theft.
Scary fares Police arrested two teens on March 2 after they allegedly threatened a cab driver with a knife following their refusal to pay him. The cabbie, 35, told cops that he dropped off Jakwon Ramos, 18, and his 17-year-old male friend near the corner of MacDougal and Bleecker Sts. around 4:45 a.m., after which they walked away without paying the $3.50 fare. And when the driver got out of the taxi and again asked for payment, Ramos reportedly whipped out a large, serrated knife and waved it at him, while the 17-year-old friend yelled, “Get back in the car!” The cabbie then drove away and circled around the block until he could flag down a cop, after which he led the officer to the two teens. Ramos had reportedly thrown the knife away into a pile of garbage, but cops recovered it before apprehendeding the two perpetrators. Both were charged with criminal possession of a weapon.
Car break-in A potential carjacker was caught in the act early on March 1 and was stopped before he could finish the job, police said. Officers said they spotted Art’emdi Doe,
25, inside a parked car — which he did not own — at the corner of Hudson and Barrow Sts. around 2:15 a.m. They also saw that Doe was holding pliers — possibly in an attempt to hotwire the vehicle and drive it away. He was arrested and charged with possession of burglar tools and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Wallet snatcher Police arrested Gustavo Lins, 25, after he allegedly snatched a woman’s wallet in a Meatpacking District bar early on March 1. The victim, 22, told cops she was hanging out inside Brass Monkey, at 55 Little W. 12th St., around 2:20 a.m. when she suddenly felt someone rifling through her purse. After looking into it moments later, she realized the wallet was gone — and when the woman then spun around, she reportedly spotted Lins with the wallet tucked under his arm. She immediately confronted him and took back the property, after which security stepped in and detained Lins until officers arrived on the scene. He was charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.
Glass smasher In another instance of Meatpacking District mayhem, police arrested Brendan McCafferty, 22, 10 days after he allegedly smashed a bar glass over another man’s head. The victim, 35, told officers he was in 675 Bar, at 675 Hudson St., around 1 a.m. on Feb. 15, when he got into an argument with McCafferty. After the dispute heated up, McCafferty reportedly hit him three times with the glass, leaving three cuts that were later treated by paramedics. McCafferty fled the scene before police could nab him. But his friends — who were at the bar and apparently felt bad about the incident — handed over his name and phone number to the officers. McCafferty was eventually arrested on Feb. 25, and was charged with assault.
Card-skimmer busted A department store cashier was busted on Feb. 25 after he allegedly used a skimmer
Mayor stops NYCHA police payments, but for how long? BY SAM SPOKONY
ayor Bill de Blasio took what he called a “crucial step” toward fulfilling one of his campaign promises when, on Feb. 12, he released a preliminary budget plan that, among other things, temporarily allows the New York City Housing Authority to stop paying millions of dollars extra for police services. The mayor earmarked $52.5 million in his budget plan specifically for NYCHA’s thousands of long-overdue building repairs — and he was able to set aside that funding by relieving the housing authority of what it owed to the New York Police Department through the end of the current fiscal year. Ever since a 1994 agreement was signed between the two agencies, NYCHA has had to pay the N.Y.P.D. around $70 million each year for policing of public housing. De Blasio also provided a matching $52.5 million to the N.Y.P.D. in his preliminary budget — which will have to be approved by the City Council in June — in order to offset the cost of temporarily releasing NYCHA from that agreement. In announcing the plan, the mayor described his decision as a “crucial step forward for NYCHA.” The housing authority
has also said that, along with tackling its repair backlog, part of the newly available funding will go toward creating an independent inspection unit that will make sure building repairs are properly completed. The N.Y.P.D., which currently assigns roughly 2,000 officers (or nearly 6 percent of its total force) to public housing, declined to comment on the announcement. “It’s a beginning, at least,” said Aixa Torres, the tenant association president of NYCHA’s Smith Houses, on the Lower East Side. Along with many others, Torres has condemned the extra policing payments as a kind of double taxation on public housing residents. And to Torres and her allies, it’s hopefully the beginning of the end of the hefty “tax” as they call it. During his mayoral campaign last year, de Blasio promised he would permanently stop the payments by tossing out the 20-year-old policing agreement — known as a memorandum of understanding, or M.O.U. However, even though he has now broken ground on the issue, de Blasio, since taking office in January, still has not actually publicly committed to ending the M.O.U. permanently. Practically speaking, this means that, unless the mayor takes further action, NYCHA will have to begin paying the
Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.
Police Department all over again once the current fiscal year ends on June 30 — just four months from now. When The Villager asked if de Blasio will commit to ending the M.O.U. later this year, his office declined to comment. “We have to get rid of [the M.O.U.], but I’ll give the mayor some time to take baby steps on this, since there are so many things on his plate right now,” said Torres, when asked about the mayor’s reticence. “It takes time to rebuild.” But the NYCHA tenant leader also said she believes the mayor should, sooner rather than later, reaffirm his campaign promise. And she pointed out that he could take a next step in that direction by publicly supporting legislation introduced last November by state Senator Daniel Squadron, whose district includes the Lower East Side’s public housing. Squadron’s bill — which was also introduced in the state Assembly by Democratic Assemblymember Walter Mosley of Brooklyn — would, among other things, end the M.O.U. once and for all. When asked for the mayor’s views on that legislation, de Blasio’s office once again declined to comment. Squadron, who has been calling for an end to NYCHA’s policing payments long before introducting the bill, said he applauds the mayor’s recent action, while
adding that there are still steps “we need to take” as time goes on. “The important thing is that this puts us in a very different starting place as things go forward,” said Squadron, contrasting de Blasio’s stance with, what he called, the largely antagonistic relationship between former Mayor Bloomberg and public housing advocates. However, Squadron still did not seem optimistic about the prospect of his bill swiftly passing the Senate, where a powersharing agreement between Democratic and Republican leadership has often stymied such issues. “Unfortunately, conversations in the Senate generally focus less on substance than on politics,” Squadron said, when asked about the likelihood of getting sufficient Republican support. “But,” he added, “the goal isn’t just passing the bill; it’s about changing the policy.” And now — unlike under Bloomberg — changing the policy is at least a possibility. “We think our goals and the mayor’s goals are closely aligned,” said Squadron, “and going forward we’re just going to have to see what the best legislative partnership is.” And for Torres, the sooner the better. “It’s not like we’re asking for charity, or for handouts,” she said, of the push to end the M.O.U. “This is our right.”
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March 6, 2014
Preservation push to protect L.G.B.T. historic sites BY SAM SPOKONY
garnered immense support over the past two months from city elected officials, as well as upport is growing for an effort by presmajor L.G.B.T. advocacy and preservationist groups. ervationists to secure stronger and Those backing the effort now include City more specific landmark protections for Councilmembers Corey Johnson and Margathree local sites that have played key roles in ret Chin, state Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemthe city’s L.G.B.T. History. blymember Deborah Glick, Borough PresiAll the sites in question — the Stonewall dent Gale Brewer and Public Advocate Letitia Inn, at 53 Christopher St.; Julius’ Bar, at 159 W. James. 10th St.; and the Gay Activists Alliance Fire“It would be a tragic loss to the city’s history house, at 99 Wooster St. — already lie within and communities if we do not act to protect landmarked districts, the first two within the these sites from future development and give Greenwich Village Historic District and the latthem the recognition they deserve in the dester within the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District. ignation report,” wrote Johnson and Chin in a Thus, any changes to their buildings require joint Feb. 20 letter to L.P.C. Chairperson Robert approval from the city’s Landmarks PreservaTierney. tion Commission. In a March 3 statement, James told The VilStonewall, of course, was the site of the lager she supports further protections for the iconic 1969 riots which carried the gay rights three sites because it is “incredibly impormovement forward; and Julius’, along with tant to recognize the historical significance being the city’s oldest gay bar, was the site of L.G.B.T. landmarks throughout New York of a 1966 “Sip-In” protest that helped spur City.” the movement to overturn the state law that In addition to Berman’s initial letter to banned serving alcohol to gay people. The Tierney, leaders of both the National Trust Wooster St. site (actually a renovated 19thfor Historic Preservation and the Preservacentury firehouse) served from 1971 to 1974 tion League of New York State have written as the headquarters for the Gay Activists Alto L.P.C. to urge for the additional recogniliance — a group founded after the Stonewall tions. And Glennda Testone, executive direcriots by dissident members of the already tor of the West Village-based L.G.B.T. Center, radical Gay Liberation Front. has also written in support of the G.V.S.H.P. But because L.P.C.’s designation reports for Proposal. their respective districts were drawn up in But amid all this, L.P.C. has still not comthe late 1960s and early ’70s — the Greenwich mitted to either individually landmarking Village Historic District report was written Stonewall, Julius’ Bar and the Gay Activists just months before the Stonewall riots — they Alliance Firehouse, or updating its historic do not specifically cite those facts that mark districts’ reports. the buildings’ historical importance to the The three sites will be included in an ongoL.G.B.T. Community. ing, citywide L.P.C. study of culturally signifiSo, fearing that their cultural significance cant buildings that already lie within historic could be lost over time, preservationists are districts, putting them up for consideration calling on L.P.C. to either individually landfor individual protection or amended reports, mark each building, or to update its historic according to Kate Daly, executive director of district reports with information on their roles L.P.C. within the gay rights movement. Daly added, however, that approaches to “This is long overdue, and it’s a vital step In the early 1970s, 99 Wooster St. was home to the pioneering Gay Activists Alliance the study “would have to be balanced among toward further preventing future changes to Firehouse. various priorities, potential regulatory issues, these sites that could compromise their histoand the need to make the designation process ry,” said Andrew Berman, executive director for that significance at the state and federal levels. Stoneas inclusive as possible.” of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, wall was named a national landmark more than a decade Responding to the L.P.C. position, Berman said he was which is leading the push. ago, and is listed on New York State’s Register of Historic Berman stressed that, although the Wooster St. build- Places, while Julius’ has since been named eligible for “perplexed” that the agency would need to take so much time before acting to further protect the sites. ing has not yet been considered for its L.G.B.T. history, the both the state and federal registers. “This should be a no-brainer, and it’s really surprising other two sites have already been specifically recognized Along with those precedents, G.V.S.H.P.’s proposal has to me that [L.P.C.] hasn’t been more receptive and given a clear ‘Yes’ on this,” the preservationist told The Villager in a Feb. 24 phone interview. And Berman apparently has already begun looking forward to different possibilities in the future, pointing out that he doesn’t believe Tierney — who was appointed by at St. Anthony’s former Mayor Bloomberg in 2002 — will remain the L.P.C. chairperson for much longer. “So now we’re looking to see who the new chairperson will be, and hopefully that person will be more receptive to this,” said Berman. Although Mayor de Blasio has shown great support for 10 am till Dusk the city’s L.G.B.T. community — most recently with his West Houston Street actions regarding the St. Patrick’s Day Parade — he has thus far remained silent on the issue of further protectBetween Thompson St. & Macdougal St. ing Stonewall, Julius’ Bar and the Gay Activists Alliance 325 W. 14th St. New York, NY 10014 Firehouse. www.themarketplaceatstanthonys.com (212) 242-1456 When asked for comment on whether he supports the www.reddenfuneralhome.net NY State law mandates that funeral trust funds for Medicaid recipients preservation push for the three sites, the Mayor’s Office did (718)332-0026 pay for funeral and burial only. The contracts are irrevocable. not respond.
EVERY FRIDAY SATURDAY & SUNDAY
March 6, 2014
C.B. 3 delays vote on landmarking old dispensary DISPENSARY, continued from p. 1
bers wanted to give the building owner, Shalom Eisner, more time to present his case against landmark status. The free-standing, four-story brick building was designed by noted architects Rose & Stone in the Italianate style and is the only structure of its kind in the area. The dispensary, which closed in the 1950s, served as a free and low-cost walkin community healthcare facility for the impoverished immigrant community of the Lower East Side. The now mostly vacant building is located adjacent to the proposed Essex Crossing development, a mixed-used project set to break ground this year on a former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area site. The building now houses a sports retail store owned by Eisner on the ground floor. The property has been on and off the market in recent years, and is reportedly now on sale for $21 million. At the C.B. 3 full-board meeting, attended by about 100 local residents, Eisner told the board that he and his family have devoted years to the building’s upkeep and that a landmark designation for the historic structure would make him lose up to 60 percent of the building’s value because it would place development restrictions on any new buyer. “It was a very bad neighborhood in 1985 when my brother and I bought the building,” he said. “I was almost going to leave. Finally, things changed for the better, although my business is still zero. The only way my property is valuable is by not landmarking it. If it is landmarked, this is not fair to me and my family for all the work I’ve done there over the years.” Speaking in support of Eisner was Jan Sasson, a local businessman, who concurred that landmarking it would sharply decrease the building’s value. “Sure, it would be good for the community,” he added, “but it will put a hole in the life of his family and that’s not fair to him. While the whole area is being redeveloped, he will be left out in the cold. I think there’s a middle ground we can reach here somehow.”
Now home to a sports retail business, 75 Essex St. was for 60 years a low-cost healthcare facility serving the Lower East Side.
Speaking in support for landmark designation were members of Friends of the Lower East Side, a preservation group that, last January, asked the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect 75 Essex St. The preservation group is concerned that the building could be damaged from construction work on the Essex Street Crossing project and would be “vulnerable to inappropriate alterations or demolition” by whoever purchases the structure. They noted that the building is a prime candidate for conversion to a luxury hotel, an upscale condo or any number of uses. Joyce Mendelsohn, author of “The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited” and a member of the preservation group, said it was essential that the building be protected. “It is our responsibility to preserve buildings that reflect the core immigrant character of the Lower East Side,” she said. “Plans for the new Essex Crossing present a vision of the future. The former dispensary provides a reflection of the past.”
Mitchell Grubler, a founding member of Friends of the Lower East Side, told C.B. 3 members that the building must be landmarked “in recognition of its architectural and historical significance.” “Surrounded on three sides by the planned new construction of the massive Essex Crossing development, and, as yet, unprotected by landmark designation, this historic structure is vulnerable to demolition or inappropriate alternations,” he said. “The former dispensary needs to be preserved, not just for its architectural excellence, but saving it will have a positive effect on the environment.” As the moment arrived for a final vote to be taken on the issue, board member Morris Faitelewicz was one of several members who asked C.B. 3 Chairperson Gigi Li to send the measure back to the board’s Landmarks Subcommittee for more discussion. “There’s no rush on this,” he said. “It shouldn’t be approved just by the Executive Committee. Eisner should be given more time to present his arguments and
show his community support.” Li said that the proposal came before the Executive Committee because “the ball was already rolling. Eisner wasn’t present at the Landmarks Subcommittee meeting, so we got it to vote on.” Carolyn Ratcliffe, chairperson of the subcommittee, said that Eisner “was aware of the meeting and it’s not our responsibility to notify people.” She admitted, however, that there was “some confusion” and that her committee would be willing to reconsider the matter. After the full-board meeting, Eisner told The Villager that he didn’t make it to the subcommittee meeting because of the “snowy weather” that day. He said that all he wanted was a “compromise” regarding the fate of the former dispensary building. “If I could get air rights for my building I would be satisfied,” he said. “I have no special strategy. I just want things done that are right for me and my family.” The Essex Crossing project is being developed by Delancey Street Associates, and calls for an Andy Warhol Museum to be built right next door to 75 Essex St. The parcel of land has frontages on Broome and Ludlow Sts. In addition to the museum, the developers plan to develop residential units on SPURA Site 1. The former dispensary building is about 12,400 square feet, and the property has nearly 32,000 feet in additional air rights. The developers, to date, have not indicated whether they would be interested in purchasing the privately owned building. The building is located in the Lower East Side Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The four-story structure, which is in excellent condition, is clad in orange and tan brick, and laid in Flemish bond with a brownstone trim. It features a series of five round-arched openings on the first story along Essex St. The former dispensary building survives as a testament to social reformers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries whose vision and commitment propelled New York City to pioneer progressive change.
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March 6, 2014
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March 6, 2014
Board 2 calls it right on garden and housing EDITORIAL
ousing and open space are essential commodities. In New York City, especially, both can be extremely hard to come by — especially affordable housing. What’s going on right now in Community Board 2 is very encouraging on both fronts. In January, the board bucked both City Councilmember Margaret Chin and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development by voting to recommend that the Elizabeth St. Garden, between Spring and Prince Sts., be preserved permanently as open space. Chin and H.P.D. would like to see the 20,000-square-foot through-lot developed with up to 70 units of affordable housing as an add-on to the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area project. But where the garden is located — whether you call it Nolita or good, old Little Italy — is one of the most open-space-starved spots in a sorely open-space-starved community board district. Yes, the garden couldn’t really be called public in the past; it was rented on a monthly basis by Allan Reiver of the Elizabeth Street Gallery. He cleaned it up, planted it with foliage, and has used it to display his artifacts and monuments, as well as host private, paid events. But realizing they had a precious resource at risk of being lost, neighbors rallied togeth-
er and are creating a nonprofit to operate the space as a garden permanently. Reiver would no longer be involved. In backing the housing project for the site, some local advocates — and a couple of board members — said there is nowhere else in C.B. 2 to create affordable housing. Yet, what’s transpiring in Hudson Square puts the lie to that argument. In short, the rezoning’s inclusionary-housing component — which offers increased development square footage in return for including affordable housing in a project — is, as C.B. 2 predicted, panning out, and even quicker than anticipated. The first residential project — a 22-story building planned at 68 Charlton St. — would include 25 affordable units out of 116 total apartments. C.B. 2 approved this project last week. The unanimous vote was accompanied by members’ applause, acknowledging the significance of their vote. Indeed, it’s been a long time since genuine affordable housing was created in Board 2. And now we hear the board has received an application by The Related Companies for the second new residential project slated for Hudson Square, which calls for 41 affordable units. Clearly, it’s a trend; developers want the extra square footage — not to mention the tax breaks they are eligible for under the pre-existing 421a program — for adding affordable units. So, just a month after C.B. 2 — in its resolution recommending preserving the garden —
said it would focus on locating sites for affordable housing elsewhere in the district, there are already plans for 66 new affordable units on the table. That already equals what H.P.D. and Chin envision at the Elizabeth St. Garden. And plenty more is likely coming down the pike. According to the draft environmental impact statement for the Hudson Square rezoning, up to 3,330 residential units could be created in the district, of which up to roughly 700 would be affordable. Admittedly, the inclusionary-housing program is voluntary, but, again, developers seem to really like it. As for the garden, Chin has indicated it could be developed partially with housing, and with part of it left as open space. But, according to C.B. 2, H.P.D. says a “viable” affordable housing project would need the entire site. The board is also going to work on preventing the loss of existing affordable units. And, if the St. John’s Center building, across from Pier 40, is eventually developed, hopes are it would include affordable housing, too. As for linkage between SPURA and the Elizabeth St. Garden, frankly, they are nearly 20 blocks away from each other. Plus, let’s get real: Fifty percent affordable housing at SPURA was a great achievement. One hundred percent affordable housing was never going to gain consensus. Open space and housing aren’t just some boxes on a Monopoly board, but are, again, precious commodities. It’s time for Chin and H.P.D. to back off from the garden.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Sad about Savoia To The Editor: For a number of years Michele Savoia’s clothing and tailor shop was in a small space on E. Seventh St. between First Ave. and Avenue A, across from where I lived. He was a familiar and noteworthy sight, even by East Village norms. Neither my wallet nor my less-flamboyant style made me a prospective customer, but that did not stop him from being as friendly and neighborly as you can find in the neighborhood. On nice days, he was often at the door of his shop, keeping an eye on things and delivering cheery greetings. I felt my two young children were especially safe because I was sure he would watch out for them. I was saddened by the news of his death at such an auspicious point in his career, and we offer
our condolences to his family and friends. Michael Claes
Working too hard To The Editor: Re “They’re work horses” (letter, by Olga Humphrey, Feb. 13): I’m not a member of NYCLASS. Just saddened by the anachronistic spectacle of depressed, withdrawn horses in our streets, denied a healthful, natural life — for our “entertainment.” I know horses. This issue isn’t about whether or not horses enjoy working. It’s specific to dense conurbations like 21st-century New York City, no longer safe for horses — and where carriage horses have nothing but relentless work: seven days a week, heavy pulling in dangerous streets — noise, crowding, asphalt, fumes, fearfulness — and
too-cramped stalls. No turnout to pasture with other horses; no setting hoof on grass, prisoners to our desires. Work shouldn’t preclude welfare. Clayton Patterson fears we’re nature-deprived; horses must never be. Smoothie, Spotty, Juliet, Misty and 15 other carriage horses died from accidents, collapse, workrelated ailments, and 46 people were seriously injured — that we know — from 1982 through 2009. Charlie died in the street in 2011, but the fates of most horses involved in accidents or collapse are withheld from us. We do know that “nose-to-tailpipe” toil on asphalt in extreme weather and humidity induces lameness (from arthritis, hoof problems, infections, tendon issues), heat stoke, respiratory distress. These and hardship can shorten their lives. Some carriage horses are harshly overworked. Some end up at kill auctions.
“Nine hour workday”? Work restrictions (hours, temperature, breaks, watering) are routinely transgressed; and the ASPCA has relinquished monitoring duties. With only one exception, every poll for years has shown the majority favor a ban on carriage horses. Homes and sanctuaries await them all (per ASPCA and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries). New Yorkers care. It’s time to free them. Casey White 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, 515 Canal St., Suite 1C, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.
Birth of a Voice, Chapter 4: The best job in the city NOTEBOOK BY JERRY TALLMER
ules Feiffer and Bill Manville not even didn’t get paid, they schlepped their weekly drawing and/or written contributions in by hand — their own hands and feet — every Sunday, to where I, all alone in the office, was preparing the next edition for the printer. One such Sunday I looked up from proofreading all of next week’s ads ($4.50 an inch) to find “Saloon Society’s” Bill Manville, the hotshot $30,000-a-year uptown advertising executive — that would be $300,000 today, or maybe $3 million — looking down at me as, handing over his copy, he said, with wonder and astonishment: “Why, you have the best goddamn job in this whole f------ city!” I thought I did — knew I did — too. So I was — we all except Susan and Florence were — at zero income, followed by a couple of years at bare-survival income. Until I gritted my teeth and squeezed out from Ed a bare-subsistence raise when, four years on or so, it became apparent that new wife Louise and I were soon going to become the parents of twins. Forget all that. I wasn’t in it for that, for the money. None of us were. Not in the beginning. We were out to change the shape and scope of journalism — in my own case, to restore the id, the ego, the personal statement, the vocally identifiable point of view — oh hell, the soul — of journalism in general and theatrical / cinematic / literary / artistic criticism in particular… . Off Broadway was bursting into bloom at that very instant in American culture. A perfect match. The Off Broadway theaters were almost all within walking distance of the VV’s dingy little floor-through, one flight up at 22 Greenwich Avenue, next to Sutter’s Bakery, across 10th Street from the Women’s House of Detention where Dorothy Day and her warrior Catholic Workers would stand on the sidewalk for many frozen days at a time, singing Christmas carols to the inmates calling down from behind iron bars above. Let me tell you two things Susan Ryan and Florence Ettenberg did to keep The Voice alive and breathing in its first few months of existence: When we had gone from a printer down on Warren Street to a printer in Washington, Pennsylvania, the other side of New Jersey, and had no other place to go after they each had thrown the job out as too difficult and finicky, Susan looked at me and said: “How about Clay Matthews?”— the agreeable Irishman out at Bay Shore, Long Island, whom we had talked with, had drinks with, and had forgotten months earlier. Clay now took us in, like orphans from the storm, and that’s where The VV was cheerfully printed from that week onward for a number of years. P.S. Anybody who for some strange reason thumbs his way through ancient issues of The Voice, may be curious about a tiny item between hairline rules in the middle of a theater review by yours truly back in November of 1960. Here it is:
Years later, long after John-John had saluted that coffin and pierced the heart of the world, around the time he was fooling around in New York with actress Daryl Hannah, I was introduced to him at an Upper West Side restaurant for which Frances was doing publicity. I seized the moment to mention that tiny 1950 birthday joke to J.F.K. Jr. He looked at me as if I were in need of help. Every newspaper — print newspaper — has what are called fillers: Short half-inch or 3/4-inch items to plug a space at the bottom of a column. (It was one such oneinch filler in The New York Times that in those same 1950s would draw the attention of a Chicago-born rebel named Barney Rosset to a strange new play in Paris called “Waiting for Godot” — a play that, as it happened, a young New Yorker named Howard Fertig would actually have seen, in London, before he showed up at The Village Voice one day to write about it.) At The Dartmouth, the college daily — “oldest college newspaper in America” — on which I learned my trade and had edited before and after WW II, we had a filler that became a running gag: I guess it was originally plucked off some AP wire. Here it is: “In 1938, the State of Wyoming produced one-third of a pound of dry edible beans for every man, woman, and child in the nation.”
That ran, unexplained, every now and then in The Dartmouth during my tenure and the tenure of those who proceeded and, I should guess, followed me. I ran it in The Village Voice from time to time, as a beloved joke, and once, some months after Rupert Murdoch took over the New York Post, I planted it there. And nearly got fired for my pains. (The firing would come after Murdoch broke the union — the New York Newspaper Guild and its contracts.) I seem to have left Flo Ettenberg dangling on a limb. But to get to that incident we have to go back to Norman Mailer, whom I met for the first time in my life — two weeks or so after that lunch at the Chinese joint on Eighth Street — at another schlocky Village restaurant, this one up some stairs on the corner of Sixth Avenue at Ninth Street. It was Dan Wolf’s idea, I guess, to bring Norman and me together because we were all going to work together. At some point during the lunch, Norman took the opportunity to tell me what I’d already been told: That he was a silent partner who was only interested in this new (then nameless) newspaper as an investment — to make money. He might contribute an occasional — very occasional — short piece on something or other from time to time, if we asked him. Here I have to borrow from myself — steal from myself — from what I wrote in The Villager (not The Voice) about Norman right after his death on November 10, 2007. As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; They kill us for their sport. And the greatest sport for the gods is when they can knock off two for the price of one. That happened this past week. On Sunday’s obit pages in The Times there is a photograph taken in 1969 by Fred McDarrah, the longtime Village Voice picture editor who died at 81 in his bed in Greenwich Village, sometime during this Monday / Tuesday birthday night of November 5 and 6, 2007. The photo is of Daniel Wolf, the first (and best) editor of The Village Voice, at his desk in Sheridan Square, listening with amusement to a dramatic arm-waving harangue by Voice founding partner and sometime columnist Norman Mailer, who is now himself dead, in Manhattan, at 84, of acute renal failure, THE BEST JOB, continued on p. 12
Final score, November 25 Kennedy 1, Tallmer 2 November 25, 1960. That was the day John F. Kennedy, Jr. was born. It was also the day that Abby and Matthew Tallmer — Louise’s and my twins — were born.
March 6, 2014
Birth of a Voice, Chapter 4 THE BEST JOB, continued from p. 11
early Saturday morning, November 10. These two men, McDarrah and Mailer, together and separately, mostly separately, live on in the photo gallery — more properly, the timeless, spaceless, dimensionless, ceaseless, motionpicture screening room — in my own head. On the opposite page are some of the things I remember about Fred McDarrah. Here, what I remember first is the early morning in 1956 when, with one more issue of the struggling young Village Voice put to bed at the printers, I came into the office — there was no one else there — as the telephone was ringing. I picked it up. A raging voice — Mailer’s voice — said: “Tallmer, you schmuck, why don’t you take your thumb out of your asshole? It’s nuance … nuance,’ not ‘nuisance!’ ” I said: “Norman, don’t talk to me like that,” and hung up, still body-weary and half-asleep, not having the least idea what the hell he was talking about. And thus began the great Village Voice battle of the typo, an internal war that almost strangled that infant newspaper in its cradle. Brief explanation. Norman Mailer, the silent partner (“I’m only in this for the money”), waited about 15 minutes after Volume I, No. 1 of The Voice, to launch himself as a weekly columnist, beginning with a great quote from Andre Gide: “Please do not understand me too quickly.” He wrote the columns — an exploration of hipness intermingled with sneering put-downs of Village intelligentsia — by hand, with pen or pencil, in a sort of looping grade-school script, and brought or sent them in, always too late, much beyond deadline, and always, always, far exceeding the allotted space. Our two secretaries, Susan Ryan and Flo Ettenberg, would decipher them, type them, and off we’d all (less Norman) go at 6 in the morning, having had little or no sleep whatever the past 72 hours, all the way across New Jersey to the printers in Washington, Pennsylvania. Somewhere along in there, the three words “nuances of youth” in Norman’s column that issue, had come out “nuisances of youth.” Nobody had caught it. We were lucky, in our blinding exhaustion, to have caught “t-h-e.” And when you come to think of it (as I did, much later), “nuances of youth” and “nuisances of youth” aren’t all that far apart and make almost equal sense. But not to Norman. Dan Wolf was one of Norman’s oldest friends. Danʼs wifeto-be, Rhoda Lazar, was best friends in Brooklyn with Norman’s kid sister, and
March 6, 2014
worshipped Norman himself. To Norman Mailer, extreme Socialist, who prided himself on “trying to throw a ladder from Marx to Freud,” Dan now acidly declared: “Norman, you’re acting like the worst caricature of a capitalist in The Daily Worker.” Long story short: Ed and Dan stood by me. Norman and a rich boy named Howard Bennett tried to grab the paper from them. The war raged, legally and otherwise, for I think almost a year, complicated by the fact that Norman’s father, I.B. Mailer, had been the Voice’s first bookkeeper. In the end, Ed and Dan held onto the paper by some magical numbers and the skin of their teeth. Norman to me, at a party, sometime during all that, as his eyes (which never missed anything) took in my battered off-white saddle shoes: “When are you going to stop being a college boy?” (I was then 35 years old — and, until The Voice came along, going nowhere fast.) When Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” arrived on these shores, and I was among its earliest and warmest admirers, Norman took pains to write a full-page put-down of the masterpiece he had never yet either seen or read, terming it a hymn to impotence. Later, after he had seen it, and his then wife, Adele Morales, said, as they were leaving the theater, “Baby, on this one you f----- up,” he took out and paid for a full page in The Voice — his own newspaper, so to speak — in tiny type so as to get it all in, an apologia of sorts. Which is to his credit — and Adele’s. Here’s another story to his credit, a counterbalance you might say: In its earliest days and months, The Voice had huge distribution problems. Most of the distributors were thugs of one sort or another. Finally, Norman volunteered to do the distribution to newsstands by hand, himself, by car, taking along Flo Ettenberg for assistance. One night during this process, Florence said to him with a laugh: “Someday I’m going to tell my grandchildren how I helped Norman Mailer hand-deliver The Village Voice to newsstands.” Norman with his own burst of laughter said: “Yes, and they’re going to ask you: ‘Was that before or after he wrote ‘The Naked and the Dead’?” Norman later said The Village Voice was his name. I thought — still think — it was mine. The truth probably is that we both hit on it at the same time. I do know that the long-running masthead tagline — “A weekly newspaper designed to be read” — was mine. Until it was killed by some later regime. A further truth is that from the beginning The Village Voice looked to be four newspapers.
2014 A SPECIAL
PAGES 13 - 15
Taking control of traffic to protect safety of all STATE SENATE BY BRAD HOYLMAN
fleet vehicles are equipped with technology that records speeding and other dangerous driving behavior; and conducting public health surveillance on traffic-related hospitalizations and fatalities. Community interest in these measures seems high. A town hall forum on Vision Zero I sponsored last week with D.O.T. Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was packed with supporters from across the Senate district. Public support will be key, since both city and state action is required to enact many of the laws and regulations in the Vision Zero plan. I’m proud to have introduced two of the bills necessary to fully enact Vision Zero. My first bill (S6651) would grant New York City home rule to set its own, lower speed limit. Reduced speed limits have been proven to reduce fatality rates and give pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and drivers increased response time. Under current New York State law, citywide speed limits in New York City cannot be set below 30 miles per hour by the City Council. My bill would amend the state law to give New York City home rule power over establishing its own citywide speed limit as low as 25 miles per hour. The second bill (S6648) would require side under-ride guards for large trucks operating in the city to protect pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and smaller vehicles from sliding underneath them. Perhaps the tragedy that befell Jessie Blue might have been avoided had the tractor-trailer that hit her had an under-ride guard to prevent her from being dragged under its wheels. There are other bills on the mayor’s Vision Zero state legislative agenda that I
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
his fall, the principal of P.S. 41 in the West Village saw firsthand the dangers of New York City streets. In front of the school’s W. 11th St. entrance, she witnessed an out-of-control taxi careen into a child and caregiver. Such accidents are not uncommon on our streets. According to the New York Police Department, last year more than 16,000 pedestrians and cyclists were injured in traffic accidents and 178 were killed, many of these incidents occurring in my state Senate district. Last July, a driver jumped the curb in the East Village, killing one bystander and seriously injuring several other pedestrians. Just last month, an M.T.A. bus driver was killed when his bus was struck by someone driving a stolen truck at 14th St. and Seventh Ave. And in 2012, Jessica Dworkin, a.k.a. Jessie Blue, a fixture in the Soho community, died after being struck and dragged by a tractor-trailer at Sixth Ave. and Houston St. There seems to be no end in sight to these tragedies. At the current rate, pedestrian deaths in New York City are on pace to surpass homicides this year. The good news is that the de Blasio administration has developed a bold strategy, the “Vision Zero Action Plan,” to address this epidemic head-on with the ambitious goal of eliminating traffic deaths within a decade. The plan (available at nyc.gov/visionzero) is a unique interagency effort developed by the Department of Transportation, the N.Y.P.D., the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The plan’s 63 initiatives include: increasing enforcement against dangerous moving violations; increasing speeding enforcement at the precinct level; developing borough-wide safety plans; implementing safety engineering improvements at 50 intersections and corridors; implementing eight new neighborhood slow zones and 25 new arterial slow zones; installing speed cameras at 20 new authorized locations; issuing summonses to T.L.C. drivers identified by red-light cameras; creating a T.L.C. safety enforcement squad; ensuring all city
Blue stencils recently appeared on the sidewalk near where Jessica Dworkin was killed by a tractor-trailer in April 2012.
am co-sponsoring, including ones that would grant New York City full local authority over the placement and number of red-light cameras; increase penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license; update state driver education to improve interactions with pedestrians and bicyclists; and (in legislation sponsored by Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh) crack down on careless drivers who injure pedestrians and bicyclists. The most challenging piece may be the support from the state Legislature in Albany, where New York City’s priorities
sometimes fall victim to Republicans in the state Senate. There is much work to do but the effort will be worth it. In other U.S. communities that have tried Vision Zero tactics, the number of traffic deaths has fallen at least 25 percent faster than the national average. With so many lives at stake, as Mayor de Blasio said, there’s “nothing more urgent” than getting Vision Zero right. If you want to get involved in the effort to support Vision Zero, contact me at hoylman@ nysenate.gov or call 212-633-8052. Hoylman is state senator, 27th District March 6, 2014
Delayed decades, L.E.S. mega-project set to start DEVELOPMENT
n September, after nearly 50 years of inertia at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, then-Mayor Bloomberg announced that developers had been selected for a $1.1 billion plan for the site’s nine remaining city-owned lots at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. The developers are L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners and Taconic Investment Partners. The nine vacant lots will be transformed into a mixed-use complex of commercial space and 1,000 residential apartments. Half the residential units will be permanent affordable housing for low-, moderate- and middle-income families and senior citizens. The other half will be market rate. Some highlights of the 1.65-millionsquare-foot development, to be called Essex Crossing, include an Andy Warhol Museum, an expanded Essex Street Market, office space, a dual-generation school run by The Educational Alliance, a rooftop urban farm, a movie theater and a bowling alley. Designed by SHoP Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle, the project is anticipated to break ground in spring 2015 for five build-
Designs for the sprawling SPURA project on the Lower East Side by the Williamsburg Bridge feature rooftop gardens.
ings. Essex Crossing will also be home to a future potential school, along with a hub for entrepreneurs and the technology sector. Former SPURA residents will receive top priority when applications are processed for apartments, and can seize the opportunity to return to the neighborhood decades later if they so desire. “In 1967, the site was demolished by government with promises of revitaliza-
tion. What happened was only neglect,” Bloomberg said in September. “That promise of 1967 is now going to be fulfilled.” Half of the affordable housing is scheduled for completion three years after ground is broken on the mega-project. Two more buildings should be constructed by 2021, with the entire project finished by 2024. Kyle Kimball, president of the city’s
Economic Development Corporation, said the project — notably, its small office spaces — would improve on the neighborhood’s historic strengths. “The 250-square-foot office spaces for creativity and technology will nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs on the Lower East Side,” he said. Smaller spaces will also help to keep the commercial use more affordable. Charles Bendit, co-C.E.O. of Taconic Investment Partners, said, “Essex Crossing will transform New York City into an incubator for economic growth.” Bloomberg applauded City Councilmember Margaret Chin for helping shape Essex Crossing. “This is such a historic day,” Chin said at the press conference last fall. “People put aside their differences,” she added, referring to how a divided community was finally able to reach consensus on guidelines for the plan. The councilmember mentioned that people were critical of her for not securing 100 percent affordable housing at SPURA, but she acknowledged that 50 percent affordable housing was pretty good. When asked if Essex Crossing could be reversed by the next mayor, Bloomberg indicated no. “We’ve signed contracts,” he said. “It’s a done deal.”
Protecting neighborhood character and small businesses COMMUNITY BY SARA ROMANOSKI
ntering our tenth year, the East Village Community Coalition continues to address with concern the preservation of the neighborhood’s architectural and cultural character. In many ways we have made great progress; in others, the work has just begun. In the newly formatted, more accessible Web site www. evccnyc.org, we have a strong digital platform to aid our preservation and advocacy initiatives. The shell of the old P.S. 64 is one such initiative that still remains just out of the community’s grasp even 15 years after the building’s improper sale by the city to private hands. Since April, a revised proposal for a multi-institutional dorm by the building’s controversial owner has inspired action, investigation, and patience as we await the city’s decision. We all know a dorm on the east side of Tompkins Square Park would overwhelm residential E. Ninth and 10th Sts. and does not satisfy the true intent of the deed restriction requiring the magnificent Beaux Arts landmark to be dedicated for community use.
March 6, 2014
We consider streetscapes composed of independent and local businesses to be essential to the character of the East Village. The products and services provided by local storefront businesses both meet the needs of locals and positively contribute to the neighborhood’s quality of life. Demographic, economic and policy shifts have created an increasingly difficult environment for these enterprises to thrive, and has resulted in the closing of many local businesses — some of which could be considered staples of the East Village in their own right. While we lament each individual loss, in aggregate, they threaten distinct qualities captured in the East Village’s diverse retail environment. In response to pressures on small business owners, E.V.C.C. has launched a three-pronged strategy to advocate for stability in the East Village’s retail sector. The first strategy is to guide consumer spending choices. We encourage consumers to commit more local dollars to local businesses. In its seventh edition, E.V.C.C.’s free “Get Local! Guide” to East Village shops now lists nearly 500 businesses and is available in local shops and cafes. In 2013 we introduced two new publications: December’s “East Village Holiday Shopping Guide,” and the “Local Alternatives to 7-Eleven” map, that latter which is a campaign that redirects shoppers toward more
The old P.S. 64, the former CHARAS / El Bohio Cultural and Community Center, has sat vacant 15 years. Developer Gregg Singer plans to open a dorm there.
than 20 local businesses offering the same products and services as the Texas-owned 7-Eleven outpost on Avenue A. Our second strategy is to make new policies to protect small businesses. The 7-Eleven wayfinding maps reintroduce the concept of Formula Retail Zoning, a tool to limit chain stores’ expansion in the East Village and prioritize the new and existing small businesses. This spring, E.V.C.C. will release a study on ways that the East Village can bring formula retail restrictions to
New York City’s zoning code, followed by actions individuals can take to start challenging their spending patterns. The third strategy is simple: Support local merchants. Earlier this month, E.V.C.C. convened the first informational meeting for the East Village Independent Merchants Association (EVIMA), a growing collective of several dozen business owners working to connect, support and promote small and independent businesses in the East Village. We are excited to have a community partner which shares our commitment to protecting retail diversity and its positive effects on the community. Join us! If you are a merchant, please consider joining EVIMA. Finally, the Host Committee responsible for planning regular outreach events kicks off E.V.C.C.’s new monthly meetup series on April 1 at Dorian Grey Gallery, 437 E. Ninth St. Stay informed by visiting www.evccnyc.org. Our efforts over the past decade and all that is to come are being chronicled in an organizational archive. In celebration of 10 years, we will share elements of this collection to showcase E.V.C.C.’s experience advocating for the protection and celebration of our neighborhood’s incomparable character. Romanoski is managing director, East Village Community Coalition
Lower East Side: A livable neighborhood in progress COMMUNITY BY DIEM BOYD
s an organization, we believe that livable and diverse neighborhoods emerge and are sustained long term through an informed and empowered community. We are proud of our efforts that have brought those who were once active stakeholders back into the process, and have welcomed new people to claim a stake in their community. A strong city needs strong communities working toward common goals, and this is what we have been building on the Lower East Side. Revitalizing the Lower East Side also means partnering with other communities and organizations that share our common ethos. We share collective experiences and expertise with our neighbors in Hell’s Kitchen, the Meatpacking District, Harlem, Inwood, Flatiron and across the Williamsburg Bridge. The mutually supportive relationships we continue to foster with our extended neighbors allow for the sharing of vital information and resources as we fight on multiple fronts to protect our neighborhoods and quality of life. The broad concerns we face as a neighborhood are the same concerns shared by all neighborhoods in all five boroughs. It’s this common purpose that led us to become actively involved from its inception with the Downtown Action Coalition (D.A.C.), a diverse group of 31 community organizations spanning Lower Manhattan from east to west, unified in response to the often drastic and unwelcome transformation of our neighborhoods.
Being suspended by C.B. 3 last year only strengthened our resolve, and we renewed our commitment.
In the Lower East Side, we envision a future in which the entrenched blight of liquor license oversaturation, especially at the hands of negligent operators, is a distant memory. In the past year alone, L.E.S. Dwellers directly addressed more than 50 liquor applications in our tiny area of the Lower East Side, already the most liquor license-saturated neighborhood in the entire city. There were many hard-fought battles that brought much-needed attention — not just at the community level, but also at the local, city and state government levels — to the relentless decimation of our quality of life, plus the public health and safety issues that have resulted from the nightlife free-for-all that we face as a community. These battles have catalyzed a forgotten, disheartened and resigned community into action, paving a way for long-overdue, significant change. With 51 liquor licenses within 500 feet in any direction of the center of Hell Square, our nine small blocks already contain 17 times the legal amount. Twelve percent of all liquor licenses in Community Board 3 are concentrated in this area that represents only 1.7 percent of the entire district. We have worked tirelessly to curb the increase of
A map by the LES Dwellers showing how disproportionately oversaturated Hell Square is with liquor licenses.
that number, and are beginning to see the results as liquor license applications and approvals drop precipitously. On average, we were faced with as many as 11 license applications in any given month. As of February 2014, we are down to four. The steep decline in both applications and approved licenses can be attributed to a three-pronged strategy of organizing and empowering community stakeholders against liquor license expansion; pushing for denials from C.B. 3; and community advocacy at both the State Liquor Authority 500-foot hearings and full board hearings. Advocating on behalf of our community, we have impressed upon the S.L.A. the statutory considerations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law’s Section 64(6-a), which imposes a “public interest” standard for on-premise applications. This has resulted in the S.L.A. siding with us the majority of the time, concluding that applicants will need to meet an extremely high “public interest” threshold to be granted a license. The Authority further confirmed that our area is not underserved for alcohol, with the attendant conditions and problems created by high alcohol-outlet density unlikely to change anytime soon. Additionally, despite Ludlow House being granted a “club” liquor license, the prohibiting of alcohol on the exposed section of the rooftop and limiting its hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. has set a critical precedent for the licensing
of outdoor spaces in close proximity to residents. This is one of many victories for a community overburdened by more than 60 venues with open windows, rooftops, backyards and sidewalk tables and counters. We will continue to fight against the increase of liquor licenses in our neighborhood and continue to press the S.L.A. to take negligent operators to task. The reporting of nonconforming and noncompliant businesses operating outside of ABC Law and local and state laws and regulations will be ratcheted up from our efforts last year, as we continue to expand our objectives to include real-time action and solutions. We will also continue to partner with business owners on initiatives to improve residents’ quality of life and opportunities for responsible business. Hotel Chantelle was one such partner in relaying the neighborhood’s message that SantaCon is a disrespectful and disruptive event for both residents and local businesses. Just recently, The Meatball Shop has become an integral asset for the neighborhood by organizing a monthly sit-down for local restaurateurs to address both resident and business concerns. We believe these working partnerships are the right step toward developing mutual solutions to the common objectives we face as we try to revitalize and protect the Lower East Side for residents and businesses, so that we all can flourish. With liquor license applications decreasing in our area, we are broadening our focus to include initiatives around enforcement. We believe it is essential that residents play a role in identifying the conditions that give rise to public safety issues, such as crime and social disorder. Equally important is that residents collaborate on the solutions. This is why we are pushing for more-proactive, community-oriented policing for our area. When communities under duress are able to establish trust in and develop close working ties with their local police precinct, solutions that are responsive to the real needs of the community emerge. This interdependent and vital relationship restores social order, safety and quality of life to beleaguered communities, fosters mutual respect between all community stakeholders, and encourages sound, stable and diverse economic growth. Finally, near the end of last year, we found ourselves briefly distracted by the controversy that ensued after being suspended as a community group for three months by our local community board. This incident only strengthened our resolve, renewing our commitment to ensuring that all community stakeholders are represented in a manner that encourages citizen involvement and empowerment, enhances public trust, and promotes open, transparent dialogue and information sharing. Despite this unwarranted distraction, we stayed the course, encouraged by the support we received from our elected officials throughout the year. Assembly Speaker Silver, state Senator Squadron, former Borough President Stringer and Councilwoman Chin stood alongside their constituents when it mattered most. They have been positive examples how government can work, and at times eagerly, to help solve our problems. And now with new leadership at the city’s helm, we are more hopeful than ever that the needs of local residents in this embattled neighborhood will be made a priority after years of neglect. This is why we are pushing forward with a clear vision for our community: widening our focus to proactively seek solutions, not just highlight the problems, working toward creating a community where people feel proud, protected, secure and happy with the quality of life to which they are entitled. We are far from our goal, but we are on the right track. We are making progress. Slower than we would like, yes, but progress, nonetheless. Life abounds with daily distractions, fresh challenges and new hurdles, but we are making lasting positive change, together. Boyd is founder, LES Dwellers (www.lesdwellers.org) March 6, 2014
Mophie Juice pack plus PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
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If you can just imagine it… The Cooper Square Committee recently hosted an audience test screening of the still-in-progress documentary ﬁlm “It Took 50 Years: Frances Goldin and the Struggle for Cooper Square.” Directed by Ryan Joseph and Dave Powell, below right, the ﬁlm chronicles a Lower East Side community struggle that spanned ﬁve decades, in which residents fought a sweeping urban renewal plan for a 12-block area from Ninth St. to Delancey St., envisioned their own community-driven alternative plan, and ultimately saved their homes. The ﬁlm also explores the life of Frances Goldin, a Cooper Square Committee cofounder, organizer and literary agent, whose clients include Barbara Kingsolver and Mumia Abu Jamal, as well as the late Adrienne Rich. At the event, Goldin, 89, also signed copies of the recently released “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA,” which
she co-edited and which contains essays by the likes of Michael Moore and Angela Davis. During a Q&A with Goldin and the ﬁlmmakers, Goldin pointedly stressed that “only The Villager” covered the story when, in 2012, members of the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association — in roughly 300 co-op closings — were ﬁnally able to purchase their units for, as one activist described it, the “jaw-dropping price” of $250 apiece. Based on a Northern European model, it’s the ﬁrst mutual housing co-op in New York State. Also at the screening, along with many community activists, were Valerio Orselli, the M.H.A.’s executive director, who enjoyed the free popcorn, below left, as well as academics Frances Fox Piven and Tom Angotti, who appear in the ﬁlm. The screening was held at the Cooper Square M.H.A. ofﬁce, at 59 E. Fourth St.
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March 6, 2014
People are P.O.’d over P.O.’s moving on E. 14th St. BY LIZA BÉAR
PHOTO BY LIZA BÉAR
n Fri., Feb. 21, after months of uncertainty about the fate of the Peter Stuyvesant Station Post Office, a plain sheet of typed paper affixed to the station’s glass doors announced, to the surprise of most, that it was closing early, at 1 p.m., because it was in the process of being moved. The single-story brick building, built in 1952 to post office specifications, sports a 100-foot-long frontage on a busy strip of E. 14th St.’s south side between Avenue A and First Ave. Adjacent on its eastern flank is the long-shuttered and graffitied Stuyvesant Stationery store — an indication, perhaps, that the strip is being readied for development. Lisa Pakulski, a jazz singer who lives on St. Mark’s Place, held out her arms in a what-can-we-do gesture, as she waited online. “The only reason they’re relocating,ˮ Pakulski said, “is obviously because of redevelopment, which seems to be happening regardless of what people in the neighborhood want. Every day something closes and other things open that are not as relevant to us, like a Starbucks or a Duane Reade. I prefer it when things are stable,” she said. “There’s a lot of instability in the fact that maybe that whole block is going to disappear.” To the west of the shuttered post office are functional shops — a 99-cent pizza store, a dry cleaners, a shoe-repair shop and a barber shop — serving the neighborhood, which includes the sprawling Stuyvesant Town residential complex. According to Conchetta Chirichello, a U.S. Postal Service spokesperson, the station’s lease expired at the start of this year, and they were unable to reach agreement on a new one. “The landlord had other plans for the building, which is not within our control,ˮ Chirichello stated in an e-mail. Asked what she thought of the relocation, a thin, elderly lady who was leaving the post office, vividly attired in a turquoise coat and purple scarf, carrying two large bags and bent over a cane, mumbled one word, “Disgusting.” The new location is a long cross-town block to the west at 333 E. 14th St., formerly home to a Duane Reade. The purportedly state-of-the-art facility, designed by CTS Group, is sharply angled, a constricted “V,” because of the location of the air-conditioner unit, and the fact that, at 6,940 square feet, it’s only one-tenth of the closed station’s size, 56,900 square feet. The general contractor showed this reporter the architect’s stamp on the drawings. Downsizing translates also into 1,000 fewer P.O. boxes — from 2,622 to 1,600. A question about how many boxes had, in fact, been rented at the old location was referred to the supervisor, and has not yet been answered. On Saturday morning, a smaller sign over the closed station’s shutters read, somewhat melodramatically, “This post office location is closed forever” with the word “for-
A postal worker moved equipment along E. 14th St. to the new post office location last week.
ever” in boldface print. Customers were shuttling hurriedly along 14th St. between old and new locations to collect the keys to their new P.O. boxes and wondering where they could pick up their packages. “It’s a major inconvenience, because of the cost of changing my address,” said a tall blonde woman in red tartan pants and a black leather jacket who wished to remain anonymous. A longtime Downtown resident, she runs a business translating Argentinian tangos and as a language coach. She said she had called the supervisor a week ago about the exact date of the relocation, but that it wasn’t available until Friday. The new facility boasts a U.S.P.S.-brand blue color scheme and pencil-thin radial LED ceiling lighting. “This is a little cold for me,” said a computer engineer working in the space. “I prefer the old architecture.” A postal employee pushing office furniture on a dolly into the narrow side entrance of the facility — which also has a 1,500-square-foot basement — said that 432 E. 14th St., the station’s former location, had been sold. Just before the 1 p.m. closing time, Marilee Santos, a school paraprofessional in a flared black wool coat and sunglasses, a 33-year neighborhood resident, was rushing to pick up her P.O. box key. Now living on Avenue D and
10th St., she said the new location was quite a trek for her. Accompanied by one of her sons in a green Ninja Turtle T-shirt, Darleen, 50, a homemaker with seven children who lives on Eighth St. and Avenue D, echoed Santos’s sentiments. The relocation did bother her, Darleen said, with resignation, because she has scoliosis and can’t walk too well. The movers, pointing toward the new facility, signaled that the new manager, Yvonne Mullings, was now on the premises. An April 25, 2013, article in The Villager on the Community Board 3 public hearing on the Peter Stuyvesant P.O. relocation noted that services would be divided between three locations: The storefront at 333 E. 14th St. would offer retail services, such as stamp sales and P.O. boxes; the carriers who sort and deliver mail to homes and businesses would be moved to the Madison Square Station, on E. 23rd Street near Third Ave.; and large parcel services would operate out of the F.D.R. Station, at E. 54th St. and Third Ave. However, U.S.P.S. Facilities Management must have had a change of heart, perhaps in response to public outcry, because, according to Mullings, “There will be no change in the services offered at the new location.” The new post office was slated to open at 9 a.m. on Mon., Feb. 24.
With E. Broadway escalator back in action, it’s easy riding
fter 19 months of delays and several missed deadlines, the M.T.A. has finally gotten its escalator up and running at the East Broadway subway station. Although the new escalator reportedly went out of service — due to electrical problems — just hours after at last being restarted on Feb. 20, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it now has
those issues resolved, according to an announcement by local elected officials. As a result, Lower East Side residents, commuters and visitors the neighborhood can now once again use the F train station without climbing its tiresome, 81-step staircase. “After far too many months, things are finally on the up and up for Lower East Side riders as our escalator returns to service,” said state Senator Daniel Squadron
in the Feb. 24 announcement. “Thank you to the M.T.A. for finally heeding our calls, and to the community for standing together to make sure we were heard.” “I expect that it will remain in service without any more lengthy interruptions,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver added, in his statement. Joining Squadron and Silver in the announcement were U.S. Congressmembers
Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Margaret Chin. Last month the politicians, along with local residents, gathered outside the station, at the corner of East Broadway and Rutgers St., to push the M.T.A. to finish the job. The escalator had been out of service since August 2012.
March 6, 2014
Opponents want Bill to block bistro pavilion plan BY SAM SPOKONY
eaving park advocates and local elected officials dismayed, the state’s highest appeals court ruled last week that the city’s plan to place a restaurant in Union Square Park’s northend pavilion can go forward. The ruling will allow the hotly disputed bistro to open as early as mid-April. This follows a decade-long debate over the plan, which was then further delayed by legal battles after the city signed a deal with entrepreneur Simon Oren — the restaurant’s owner — in 2012. In a statement responding to last Thursday’s ruling, the city’s Law Department called it “a win for the community.” But members of that community, in assocation with the park advocates, said they are now undertaking yet another effort to kill the plan, by making a direct appeal to Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re not giving up on this, and the fight is far from over,” said Carol Greitzer, speaking in a phone interview the day after the ruling. A former city councilmember, Greitzer was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the project. Under the court’s ruling, the city’s Parks Department has the authority to terminate the restaurant’s license at any time. So
de Blasio could tell Parks to block the plan once and for all — and that’s exactly what its opponents are hoping he will do. “We are calling on the mayor to cancel this Bloomberg-era contract and instead return the historic Union Square pavilion to the children and the community,” said Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, in a statement released immediately after the decision. “The area around Union Square Park has the least amount of playground space and the highest concentration of restaurants in the city, and it is therefore terrible public policy to transform municipal parkland into a commercial use. Our parks should not be for sale.” Geoffrey Croft, of New York City Park Advocates, explained that he and his allies have been prepared to take the fight in this direction ever since it began. “We always knew there were two options,” he said on Feb. 21, the day after the ruling. “One was legal, the other was political. The fact is that it’s very simple for the mayor to just kill this.” And de Blasio did, in fact, oppose the restaurant when he served as the city’s public advocate. Last fall, amid the ongoing legal battle, he even sent a letter to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of the restaurant’s opponents, urging denial of its request for a liquor license. Croft pointed out that this issue will now be a “test” for the mayor, specifically
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A rendering obtained by NYC Park Advocates showing the design for the seasonal restaurant in the Union Square pavilion that was approved by the Bloomberg administration.
of whether or not he will stand by his previous position on the issue. “And there’s nothing more progressive than maintaining desperately needed open space for seniors and children who live in that area,” said Croft, referring to the political buzzword found in many of de Blasio’s statements and proposals. A particularly impassioned and strongly worded appeal to the mayor has come from Mary Brosnahan, president of the Coalition for the Homeless and a longtime E. 17th St. resident. In a letter sent to de Blasio last Thursday, she defended the pavilion as an essential public space for both residents with children — like herself — and for homeless kids. “I write today as a 25-year resident of the Union Square community — as well as an advocate for homeless children in NYC — to ask you to please preserve the historic pavilion space so our children, their caregivers and everyone in our community can continue to enjoy this public space for years to come,” Brosnahan wrote. “Homeless kids need green space perhaps even more than those fortunate enough to have a home,” she continued, later in the letter, “as parks provide essential respite and restore hope to those most in need. I know you agree that turning over public park space to commercial interests will only increase the massive gulf in opportunities between the rich and everyone else in New York City. So, please,
stop this plan to give away yet another piece of New York’s heritage to the highest bidder.” But with all the power now in his hands, de Blasio still has not yet taken a public stance on the issue. The Mayor’s Office did not respond to request for comment. The Union Square Community Coalition was the lead plaintiff on the suit and paid the legal fees. “We just don’t want the pavilion commercialized,” said Edith Charlton, U.S.C.C. chairperson. “And they’re not only taking the pavilion, they’re taking the outside space for tables and chairs.” The restaurant’s price point is irrelevant, according to Charlton. “We don’t want high-end food or lowend food,” she said. “We do not want anything commercial in there.” Under the city’s plan, the pavilion would remain open on its northern and southern side; though there would be a trellis for greenery on the southern side to provide a bit of a barrier with the playground. The restaurant would be seasonal, operating only during the warm weather. “They’re very happy to give it back to the public in the winter,” Charlton noted. “There’s no heat.”
With reporting by Lincoln Anderson
Murry Bergtraum High School had been set for a Success Academy charter school co-location. Now it’s reportedly in line possibly to get two other co-located schools, including one that was planned for University Neighborhood High School on the Lower East Side.
Bill blocks two school co-locations
Ray just keeps on rolling CLAYTON
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MUSIC & DANCE WORKSHOPS
How time flies — and cigarette prices rise — when you’re serving up delicious fries. Ray a.k.a. Asghar Ghahraman, above in 1992, recently marked the 40th anniversary of running his “candy shop” on Avenue A at Seventh St. He turned 81 on Jan. 1. His holein-the-wall store is the go-to spot for tasty snacks that hit the spot. After a night on the town, revelers flock by for freshly made beignets or Belgian fries with the choice of an array of toppings, from cheese to chipotle sauce. Of course, there are always the popular standbys, like chili-cheese hot dogs, egg creams and lime rickeys. In the summer, Ray has the best soft-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt on Avenue A.
PHOTO BY CLAYTON PATTERSON
ficials. The Feb. 27 announcement showed a clear shift — by Mayor Bill de Blasio and his new education officials — away from the charter school-friendly policies of Bloomberg’s D.O.E. under ex-Chancellor Dennis Walcott. “If there is one thing school communities should know, it’s this: We’re going to do things differently,” said new D.O.E. Chancellor Carmen Fariña, in a statement released with last Thursday’s announcement. Today, we are turning the page on the approach of the past. We are going to listen and be responsive like never before, and that will be reflected in everything we do.” The reversal of the Murry Bergtraum co-location plan was one of nine such reversals throughout the city, and one of three blows dealt to Success Academy that day. D.O.E. also blocked the charter’s proposed move into a Jamaica, Queens, high school, plus removed a Success Academy school from a Harlem location — which also serves two other schools — where it had been co-located since 2008. Success Academy, which is run by former City Councilmember Eva Moskowitz, immediately shot back after the announcement, with harsh words for de Blasio. “With so few good school options in many of the city’s neighborhoods, it’s shocking that Mayor de Blasio would limit families’ access to high-performing schools,” said Success spokesperson Ann Powell. “Instead of the progressive politics he ran on, the mayor is waging a campaign of personal politics that hurts the very communities he vowed to protect.” As part of Thursday’s announcement, D.O.E. also said it is shutting down a previous proposal to co-locate a new public high school at University Neighborhood High School, a District 1 school at 200 Monroe St. That co-location plan had also faced heavy opposition, as supporters of U.N.H.S. said there was no way its building could successfully house two schools
due to severe lack of space and resources. D.O.E.’s announcement was enthusiastically applauded by Downtown education advocates. “I am pleased that the Department of Education heard the voices of the parents, students and educators who understand firsthand the educational needs of our community,” said Councilmember Margaret Chin in a statement released last Thursday night. Chin had written letters to D.O.E. and joined parents in rallies against both Downtown co-location proposals. “This is a major victory for U.N.H.S. and M.B.H.S., and I thank Chancellor Fariña and Mayor de Blasio for putting our children first,” she said. Lisa Donlan, president of the District 1 Community Education Council, said she was “pleased that the new administration heard the real concerns raised by District 1 parents, students, staff and community members about the negative impact the proposed co-location would have had on [U.N.H.S.].” Shino Tanikawa, president of the District 2 Community Education Council, said she was “delighted by the decision that responds to the needs of the community, and I am deeply grateful to the chancellor for listening to the parents.” However, D.O.E. said on Thursday that it still plans to propose two co-locations at the Murry Bergtraum campus, including both the public high school that had previously been planned for the U.N.H.S. building, and another public high school that had previously been planned for colocation in Long Island City. In a memo detailing the plans, D.O.E. spokesperson Devon Puglia called those new proposals “better building matches” for the schools. In fact, despite the city’s axing a number co-locations, over all, the de Blasio administration is still moving forward with about 36 other previously planned school co-locations — about 10 of which are charter schools. In addition, Governor Cuomo is now pledging to ensure that the city’s charter schools have adequate space and funding to thrive.
CO-LOCATE, continued from p. 1
March 6, 2014
Paul Colby, 96, owner of Bleecker St.’s Bitter End OBITUARY BY ALBERT AMATEAU
March 6, 2014
FILE PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
aul Colby, owner of The Bitter End, the little club on Bleecker St. where countless folk singers and comedians, the celebrities and the obscure, first found their fans, died on the night of Feb. 13 at his home in Montclair, N.J., at the age of 96. Fondly known as “Our Colonel” to The Bitter End staff because he had been in the Army in the 1940s, Paul Colby was also loved by his Greenwich Village neighbors. Last year, the neighborhood civic association Friends of LaGuardia Place honored him. Along with former City Councilmember Alan Jay Gerson, Colby was involved in the effort to create a folk music museum in Greenwich Village. “I will always remember with gratitude how Paul, with his good friend Art D’Lugoff, produced one of my first campaign fundraisers at The Bitter End,” Gerson said in a recent online tribute. “Pete Seeger and Odetta were on the stage, and my beloved folkie mother, Sophie, in the audience or directing or chatting with them backstage,” Gerson recalled. The Bitter End announced Paul Colby’s passing on Feb. 14. “It is with a heavy heart The Bitter End announces the loss of our colonel, Paul Colby, who passed away last night at the age of 96,” the club said. “In his 70-plus years in the business, Paul has touched the hearts of countless musicians and patrons and helped to launch many great careers in the music industry. Paul was sharp, witty and happy until the end. Paul will never be forgotten as his legacy will live on Bleecker St. The name says it all: Paul Colby’s The Bitter End. A memorial celebrating his amazing journey will be announced shortly,” the club said. Paulʼs friend Doug Yeager, a music producer and manager, recalled that although Paul had a leg amputated last year, he was adjusting and remained upbeat. “We became friendly when I was managing artists who worked at the club,” Yeager recalled. “Our friendship grew as we dedicated ourselves along with Art D’Lugoff, Odetta and Councilman Gerson to create a National Museum of Folk Music in Greenwich Village,” Yeager recalled. “Paul was always devoted to the artists who played his club. I remember when Mickey Newbury was ill, Paul got on a plane and flew across the country to be with him,” Yeager said. Newbury, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and a recording artist, died in 2002 in Oregon. The list of folk singers and comedians that Paul Colby presented and nurtured at the club at 147 Bleecker St. includes the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Woody Allen,
Last November, Paul Colby was among the honorees who received a LaGuardia Medallion award from the Friends of LaGuardia Place at the group’s 18th annual gala event. The LaGuardia Medallion is presented to individuals “who have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life of Greenwich Village.”
Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Neil Diamond, Jackson Browne and Stevie Wonder. The club was opened in 1961 by Fred Weintraub, who quit a family baby-buggy business to run Cock and Bull, a Bleecker St. cafe that he eventually renamed The Bitter End, booking musicians and comics. After a series of managers who didn’t work out, Weintraub hired Colby, who had worked in the music business years before, plugging sheet music to big bands in New York and eventually becoming an assistant to Frank Sinatra. His Sinatra duties included picking up Ava Gardner at the airport, delivering Frankʼs gifts to her and squiring her to events when Sinatra was busy elsewhere. In his 2002 memoir, written with Martin Fitzpatrick, “The Bitter End, Hanging Out at America’s Nightclub,” Colby immodestly proclaimed that he was the best manager the club had ever had from 1965 until 1974, when Weintraub fired him. Despite Colby’s success as manager,
Weintraub was displeased because Colby had bought a bar, Now Bar, adjacent to the club, where patrons and artists repaired for drinks because The Bitter End had no liquor license. Nevertheless, Colby was able to buy the club in 1975 because he got to know the landlord, who drank at the bar, which Colby called The Other End. Colby eliminated the wall between the two locations and ran it as The Other End until the name The Bitter End became available a few years later. Born in 1913 in Philadelphia to a tailor and his wife, Paul Colby moved five years later with his parents and three brothers to the Lower East Side. He went to Textile High School on W. 18th St. (now the Bayard Rustin Education Complex) where he learned how to design and make furniture. A friend who worked for music publishers introduced him to the music business, which eventually led to Sinatra. But Frank moved to Hollywood, and in 1950 Paul
and his then wife also went to California. On the West Coast, Paul did not achieve the success he sought in the music business, so he returned to New York and started a new career designing furniture. Doing business as Colby Associates, Paul created furniture for clients who included Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, Diahann Carroll and Miles Davis, according to Paul’s memoir. In 1961, a friend took him to the Village for the folk and rock scene — very different from the big band/Sinatra era of the previous decade. He first went to Weintraub’s The Bitter End with a friend who suggested that they might see Simon and Garfunkel. “When we got there, I was confused. I thought Simon and Garfunkel was a drug store,” Paul wrote in his memoir. But 50 years later, his name is forever linked with the folk stars of the era. His wife, Pamela Ann Wilson, and a brother, Morty Colby, survive.
All the city’s a stage, its pedestrians major players Pillsbury’s long exposures slow the urban swarm PHOTOGRAPHY © MATTHEW PILLSBURY, COURTESY BONNI BENRUBI
CITY STAGES: PHOTOGRAPHS BY MATTHEW PILLSBURY Through March 27 At Aperture Gallery 547 W. 27th St. Btw. 10th & 11th Aves. (4th Floor) Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-6pm Aperture recently published Matthew Pillsbury’s book, “City Stages” Call 212-505-5555 or visit aperture.org
“Sitting on the High Line, New York, Thursday, November 10, 2011.”
BY NORMAN BORDEN
© MATTHEW PILLSBURY, COURTESY BONNI BENRUBI
atthew Pillsbury is a photographer with a unique vision of contemporary metropolitan life. For the last decade or so, he’s been taking long exposure, large format (8x10 inch film) black and white photographs that compel viewers to slow down and smell the roses, so to speak — or at least take a closer look at their urban environment. His current exhibition features 31 images selected from three bodies of his work: “Private Lives,” “Hours” and “City Stages.” Together, they illustrate how urban spaces serve as a backdrop, or stage, for a city’s source of energy: its inhabitants. With his tripod-based view camera — and using exposures that can last well over an hour — Pillsbury lets us view human activity in a palpable way. The time exposures allow us to see indi-
“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, 2011.”
viduals interacting in their bedrooms or living rooms, or the isolation they experience in front of TV or computer screens. He shows us huge, blurred crowds of people swarming against recognizable cityscapes, landmarks and interior spaces. Although most of the pictures were taken in New York, Pillsbury also photographed sites in Paris, London, Venice and other cities. Nothing is lost in translation. In the Louvre, a blurry mass of visitors crowd around and walk past the Mona Lisa — who remains motionless, still unsmiling and oblivious to her admirers. I’ve watched (and photographed) the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade many times, but Pillsbury has captured it in an unexpected and original way. His camera is perched above the crowds, with the rock-steady buildings along Seventh Avenue a stage for the blurred masses, mostly faceless because of their activity. Even more interesting are the marchers and balloon handlers directly in front. Their balloon’s movement makes it look more mysterious, while hiding its identity. “Sitting on the High Line” adds a new perspective to one of New York’s most popular and iconic destinations. Shooting at night, Pillsbury creates a new cityscape by using the sunken overlook at West 17th Street and the buildings behind them as a stage. The long exposure makes the two people sitting on the steps transparent, while the two (look closely for them) in the first row are ghost-like. One or two ghostly figures seem barely visible in the facing windows. The night setting and the graphic effect created by the crisscrossing lines enhance the image’s strength. It’s one of my favorites. The artist adds another perspective PHOTOGRAPHY, continued on p. 22
March 6, 2014
Magnifying the details of urban existence
PHOTOGRAPHY, continued from p. 21
to the “Tribute of Light, New York,” the much-photographed twin beams of light that shine above each year to commemorate the events of 9/11. Photographing them from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, his long exposure captures people walking past, including the tripods set up by other photographers. They’re all transformed into ghost-like figures, which add a mournful touch to a sad event. In Pillsbury’s “Screen Lives” series, the artist took long exposures of friends in their apartments while they were sitting in front of their television or computer screens. When interviewed by the
School of Visual Arts magazine, he explained that he grew up in France and wasn’t allowed to watch TV. He said, “I realized the role these objects (TV and computers) were playing and the time we’re spending with them.” He then began taking long exposures that would last as long as a TV program and show how people interact with the screen. One example is “Tanya and Sartaj Gill, CSI: Miami, New York, Monday, November 25, 2002, 10:00–11:00 p.m.” Over the course of the hour, the couple on the couch has barely moved — their empty dishes and cake plate on the coffee table, the scene lit by the TV’s glow and ambient light from outside. While the cityscape as seen from the windows
© MATTHEW PILLSBURY, COURTESY BONNI BENRUBI
© MATTHEW PILLSBURY, COURTESY BONNI BENRUBI
“La Joconde, Salle des Etats, Musée du Louvre, Paris, 2008.”
“Tanya and Sartaj Gill, CSI: Miami, New York, Monday, November 25, 2002, 10:00– 11:00 p.m.”
looks vibrant, they seem isolated from it. There’s more to see and savor in this show: images of Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park, the sweet joys of Economy Candy on the Lower East Side, crowds swarming among the motionless dinosaurs in the American Museum of Natural History, more images of the artist’s family life and self-portraits. Take your time. After all, Matthew
Pillsbury did. Norman Borden is a New York-based writer and photographer. The author of more than 100 reviews for NYPhotoReview.com and a member of Soho Photo Gallery and ASMP, he currently has an image from the 2013 Village Halloween Parade in the juried show, “Masquerade,” at the New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery. See more at normanbordenphoto.com.
© MATTHEW PILLSBURY, COURTESY BONNI BENRUBI
"Dinosaur Coming to Life, American Museum of Natural History, NY, 2004."
March 6, 2014
Improvised exploration, no net required Lucas Pino’s nine-piece group carries the torch, and moves it forward
MUSIC LUCAS PINO: NO NET NONET March 11 & April 8, at 10:30pm At Smalls Jazz Club 183 W. 10th St., at Seventh Ave. Admission: $20 Venue info: smallsjazzclub.com Artist info: lucaspino.com
PHOTO BY MIGUEL MENGUAL
BY SAM SPOKONY
he nonet has long been an enticing format for jazz composers, filling that space that exists somewhere between a nimble trio and a hulking big band. Tenor saxophonist Lucas Pino is one young musician who already understands the nonet’s unique energy, having formed his first nine-piece group five years ago as a student at the New School. Now Pino, 26, is drawing attention with his No Net Nonet. The band has played monthly at Smalls in the West Village, since last summer (with a couple of breaks here and there). And aside from leading a group that showcases some of the city’s rising instrumental talent, he’s given it a very personal voice — by writing most of the material. “I want the tunes to draw people in, not push them out,” said Pino, who was emailing from his recent engagement at Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha, in the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar. “I feel like it’s popular in jazz right now to keep the audience at arms length, and I’m trying to do the opposite — to bring everyone in, because we’re all part of this music.” The nonet’s March 11 gig at Smalls will feature most of the group’s working members, with two notable subs: trumpeter John Raymond, and bassist Rick Rosato. On his own time, Rosato also plays in a fantastic trio with pianist Glenn Zaleski and drummer Colin Stranahan — two regular members of the nonet who will also be present that night, which should lead to some especially dynamic interplay from the rhythm section. Zaleski and Stranahan already play key
Lucas Pino’s No Net Nonet, during a recent performance at Smalls Jazz Club.
roles in the No Net Nonet, Pino noted, with the pianist contributing an arrangement of Kurt Rosenwinkel’s tribute to Mitch Borden (the founder of Smalls) to the group’s repertoire, and the drummer acting as a “huge facilitator,” as Pino puts it, for the band’s tightly woven sound. “When our rhythm section is playing together, sometimes the measures just shift and glide,” the leader explained, “but essentially, everyone in the band really trusts each other. Like improv comedy, we want to always say ‘yes’ to one another — let’s go there!” Pino added that he’ll be bringing a new tune to the March 11 gig, entitled “The World Ahead,” which draws influence from one of the most iconic groups in jazz history — namely, the Miles Davis Quintet of the '60s. “It’s a picture of an imagined future,” the saxophonist said of his new music. “It’s pretty wild, and takes some unexpected turns, and it’s full of the things that just make me smile and want to shout joyfully at the band.” That feeling of navigating the unexpected is probably the most exciting part of watching a group like this perform live. And it’s not just about the budding virtuosity of these young players, as they grow and discover their powers. In this case, it’s also about the sheer tensile strength of the nonet
format, with all of its members sonically bouncing around, building and expanding upon each other’s ideas until a greater sum bursts forth out of those many parts. “Everyone is bringing their distinct personality to the ensemble and creating an entirely new sound within the band,” said Pino, who’s quick to add that, like Stranahan, Zaleski and Rosato, each member brings the sounds of their own personal projects into the mix. “Coming together, we can create something unique, compelling and new,” he stressed. “I always keep coming back to
that word, ‘new.’ It’s become somewhat of a cliché holy grail idea within the jazz idiom. But for what it’s worth, I believe in it. And I just love this band.” It shouldn’t be too hard for New York’s jazz fans — both experts and new listeners alike — to start believing in the No Net Nonet, as the group will continue its run at Smalls with another appearance on April 8. The fact is, Pino’s band is only going up from here, and now’s as good a time as any to start getting acquainted with nine of the young cats who are carrying the torch, and moving the tradition forward.
Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net
SOTTO VOCE The World Premiere of a new play
Written & Directed by NILO CRUZ
Featuring: Franca Sofia Barchiesi, Andhy Mendez & Arielle Jacobs
FINAL WEEKEND!!! Wednesday - Sunday, March 5 - 9
Wed-Sat at 8pm, Sun at 3pm All Seats $20 Students & Seniors $15/tdf
NOTHING BUT TRASH
Thurs. - Sun., March 6 - 16
(Previews March 6 - 8)
Written by DOUGLAS LACKEY Directed by ALEC HARRINGTON Thu-Sat at 8pm, Sun at 3pm
All Seats $15 Studt’s & Srs $10/tdf
Written by ANDY HALLIDAY Directed by G.R. JOHNSON
March 6 - 23
Tuesday - Saturday at 8pm Sunday at 3pm All Seats $20/tdf Tuesdays: Pay-What-You-Can
TNC’s Programs are funded in part by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts
March 6, 2014
Your Local Drop Dance music around New York
COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
On March 13, Julio Bashmore (a house music prodigy who began producing at age 14) appears at Output, along with fellow Brit Huxley and Berlin's Thomas Schumacher.
A product of electronic music’s golden age, Quentin Harris has achieved immense success producing R&B, hip-hop, techno and house. He’s at Cielo, on March 15.
New school Renaissance woman Honey Dijon brings her transcendent flair to Cielo, on March 15.
BY M. VAUGHAN
dle You.” These tracks have even crossed over to other genres. I once heard a footwork DJ spin a Bashmore track at seizure-inducing tempos. As he put it, “Yo, that joint is icy.” Huxley is another fellow Brit who has heavy ties to the UK garage scene. His earlier productions labels, like Tsuba and Hypercolour, propelled him into DJ booths across Europe. More recently, he has put his own watermark on deep house with a sound that incorporates lush pads, simplistic rhythms and a wink at lower frequencies. As a DJ, his mixes include cuts that cross genres: house, garage, techno — it’s all fair game. Berlin native Thomas Schumacher breaks our Brit trend — and as most DJs from Berlin do, he makes Techno. His productions are certainly less industrial than a lot of the connotations that seem to surround modern techno. Schumacher tracks enjoy radio play across the
Atlantic. Vocals and major tonalities lighten up what has become a mostly dissonant genre. Yet here, they maintain enough darkness to wake up a sleepy dance floor like aural cocaine. His show should be a blast. Thurs. March 13, 10pm. At Output (74 Wythe Ave., btw. 11th & 12th Sts., Brooklyn). For tickets ($20 Presale/ $25 Door), visit residentadvisor.com.
JULIO BASHMORE, HUXLEY AND THOMAS SCHUMACHER
ot oF choc P r ou nd of the Ra ol
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This is Webster Hall’s personal flavor of dance-party. Girls & On March 13, Brooklyn’s Output might as well be a UK club. Julio Bashmore — who, despite the ethnically ambiguous name, is actually a redheaded, red-bearded producer borne out of Bristol’s bass scene. He has enjoyed releases on San Francisco’s notoriously subwoofer-friendly label Dirtybird as well as the fun and reputable Futureboogie. The UK native has minted some tunes that are already being considered underground classics, such as “Au Seve” and “Battle for Mid-
All your favorite St. Patrick’s Day Chocolates
March 6, 2014
HONEY DIJON & QUENTIN HARRIS
In this lineup, new school meets old school. Quentin Harris is a 90’s DJ who has achieved immense success producing R&B, hip-hop, techno and house. Born in Detroit, during the golden era of electronic music, he has certainly sharpened his skills in producing and spinning in some of the most revered venues in the world. As an openly gay DJ, he has been active in the LGBT nightlife scene for decades. Recently, Harris has been making his due rounds on the NYC club circuit, dominating the booth as only a Motor City DJ can. Opening is Miss Honey Dijon, a Renaissance woman from Chicago. Known for her fashion sense as much as her music, Dijon has combined her two loves by musically catering events for brands such as Louis Vuitton and Givenchy. Her sound, like that of Harris’, transcends genre. There are accessories from R&B tied in with matching colors of Chicago and NY underground, with a flair for techno added in when need be. In addition to running her own label, Digital Disco, she has released on major labels like England’s Toolroom and Nervous. To top it all off, she is as much of a maverick as she is musician, with an unbelievably photogenic profile and a formidable social media presence. Miss Honey Dijon works. Sat., March 15 at 10pm. At Cielo (18 Little West 12th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) For tickets ($15), visit residentadvisor.com or call 212-645-5700.
Just Do Art
PHOTO BY JIM CHOW
COURTESY OF JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY & THE ARTIST
Richard Mosse: “Vintage Violence” (2011, 72 x 90 in.). Part of the “Fly Zone” group exhibit, on view at Westbeth Gallery through March 16.
L to R: Talia Lugacy, Monique Vukovic and Grant James Varjas in “the Shape of Something Squashed.”
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
lines drawn on beeswax-covered paper to depict a series of children at play. Armed only with a jump rope, her carefree figures transcend culture, politics and all manner of oppression. Free. Through March 16, 1-7pm daily, at Westbeth Gallery (155 Bank St., enter through courtyard btw. West & Washington Sts.). For info, visit flyzoneshow. com, christophermorrisphotography.com, richardmosse.com, martharosler.net, elliottsharp.com, nicholesobecki.com, claudiavargas.net and mariangoodman.com/ artists/lawrence-weiner.
GROUP EXHIBIT: FLY ZONE
COURTESY OF VAGA & THE ARTIST
Living in an age of interconnectivity and information overload has done little to awaken the global consciousness, when it comes to reducing the toll war takes on its youngest victims. But greed, anger and theft of resources haven’t shattered the “joyful innocence that children carry within them” (according to the organizers of this Westbeth Gallery exhibit). With work both subtle and graphic, seven artists navigate the “Fly Zone” — a contradictory realm in which both inhumanity and resilience exist. That’s hardly the only irony at work here, though. In a series of photographs taken during President Obama’s 2009 address to the nation regarding the addition of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, Christopher Morris looks upon the “hollow sea of gray” and wonders if the stoic West Point cadets are about to receive Karmic payback for the Russian counterparts “we, America, killed by shooting their helicopters out of the sky” three decades ago. “How would we feel today if the Russians were supplying stinger missiles to the Taliban?” On the same walls, Nichole Sobecki takes a nine-month-old boy — who has just died of severe acute malnutrition — on his mile-long funeral procession from a South Sudan refugee camp to a makeshift burial site. Richard Mosse shoots the eastern Congo conflict with Kodak Aerochrome infrared film — a discon-
Claudia Vargas: “Rope Jump IV” (2013, Charcoal & beeswax on etching paper, 56 x 42 in.). Part of the “Fly Zone” group exhibit, on view at Westbeth Gallery through March 16.
tinued military surveillance technology developed for camouflage detection that keeps the flesh of soldiers as is, but transforms the surrounding greenery into a vibrant landscape of lavender, crimson and hot pink. Bringing a contrasting perspective to these disturbing images, Claudia Vargas uses charcoal
THEATER: the SHAPE OF SOMETHING SQUASHED
A high-strung leading lady, a playwright in need of funding and an aging, once-promising actor: these usual suspects of the greasepaint circuit are certainly a motely crew. But hardwired insecurities, a script of dubious quality and the loss of a legendary star who was the ace in the hole for a looming backer ’s audition aren’t enough to quash their dreams. Whether driven by love for the work, love of self or the simple fact that they’re far too damaged to find gainful employment beyond the footlights, Tom Noonan’s latest play has sharp claws — and a genuine soft spot — for those who’ve spent their lives in the theater. He should know. After three decades spent shepherding original works to the stage, longtime East Village resident Noonan closed his Paradise Factory doors in 2012, for a two-year renovation. Un-
like the desperate, abovementioned thespians who pin their hopes on a cash infusion from coked-up hedge fund types, real-life “Something Squashed” playwright/director Noonan funded his theater ’s $4-million upgrade (a second performance space, vastly improved facilities and room to rehearse!) with a grant provided by the City of New York. Fellow taxpayers, rest assured that it was money well-spent — just as “the Shape of Something Squashed” seems (from the script we were given) to be a solid bet for getting a rich return on your investment of time. Packed with emotionally fragile schemers and dreamers who’ll do anything to ensure that the show goes on, this warts-andall depiction is a decidedly unglamorous inaugural production for the new, much-improved Paradise Factory. It would have been easier to launch with a revival that celebrated past glories. But Noonan and his colleagues (a cast of equally accomplished Factory regulars) take a far more challenging path: lay bare what makes these people tick, and ask for little if any sympathy. By the time the curtain comes down, you may not be cheering for the choices they make — but you’ll at least admire their ability to take a hit, absorb the shock and keep on moving. Through March 16. Wed.-Fri. at 8pm, Sat. at 7:30 & 10pm and Sun. at 5pm. At the Paradise Factory (64 E. Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($30), call 866-411-8111 or visit paradisefactory. org. March 6, 2014
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March 6, 2014
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Tent City to tattoo artists, etched in L.E.S. history
PHOTOS BY CLAYTON PATTERSON
Around 1992, Stanley Sydorowitz a.k.a. “Cowboy Stan” spoke at a memorial in Tompkins Square Park for a woman named Barbara. She had reportedly been struck in the head by a police officer a year or two earlier in one of the neighborhood’s many street clashes during that turbulent time. Also pictured, from left, are Robert Lee Marion a.k.a. “Loanshark Bob,” a man named Alfredo and Barbara’s husband, Chris Henry. Marion was known for stridently proclaiming his theory of “povercide,” that the government was killing people through poverty. Henry and Barbara were members of the sprawling homeless Tent City that had occupied a large swath of the park until it was dismantled under Mayor Dinkins in 1989.
Tattoo artists recently came together to pay homage to Tom DeVita and enjoy his artistry at a show of his drawings, sculpture and shadow boxes at King’s Avenue Tattoo, on the Bowery at Spring St. From left, Nick Bubash, a tattoo artist from Pittsburgh who used to work in New York and learned from DeVita; Lori Leven, owner of New York Adorned, on Second Ave. at Second St.; DeVita; and, standing, Chris Grasso, who recently filmed a documentary on the legendary ink maestro for Vice. “DeVita was famous on Fourth St., between C and D,” said Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson. “He would work from early in the morning until noon. Ed Hardy admired and supported him. DeVita tattooed a lot of the Puerto Rican guys from around here and the Chinese gangs, Sanitation workers who were getting off of their shifts, or starting their shifts. … Things like that.”
March 6, 2014
March 6, 2014
MARCH 6, 2014, EAST VILLAGER NEWS