The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
March 19, 2015 • $1.00 Volume 84 • Number 42
It’s chemistry: Hamilton is the perfect fit for new N.Y.U. prez, board says BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
he N.Y.U. board of trustees on Tuesday announced the appointment of Andrew Hamilton, the current vice chancellor and senior officer of the University of Oxford, as the 16th president of New York University.
The British-born Hamilton is a noted chemist and was formerly the provost of Yale University. He will officially take up his duties at N.Y.U. in January 2016. Professor Hamilton’s selection follows an eight-month, international search process conducted by a search comN.Y.U. PREZ, continued on p. 4
BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC
lected officials and community groups rallied in front of City Hall last Friday afternoon to push Mayor Bill de Blasio to fulfill his campaign pledge that the Lunar New Year would be a school holiday. The rally came on the heels of de Blasio announcing last
week that two Muslim holidays — Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr — will be added to the school calendar. Schools will be closed on Sept. 24 in observance. State Senator Daniel Squadron started off the rally by stating that the mayor had more than enough time to add the Lunar New Year to HOLIDAYS, continued on p. 10
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
Asians feel eclipsed after mayor snubs Lunar holiday but taps two Muslim ones
Some paradegoers were really flipping out on St. Patrick’s Day!
Schools take to the streets to protest Cuomo’s reforms BY ZACH WILLIAMS
eachers, students, parents and administrators across the city rallied on March 12 against Governor Cuomo’s education agenda. Particularly vexing for opponents are proposed reforms announced in January that would make standardized-testing scores 50 percent of teachers’ evaluations, as well as grant them tenure only after five consecutive years of “effective” ratings
under the plan. In response, union representatives, as well as teachers, students, and staff from dozens of city schools, participated in demonstrations throughout the day, mostly on a school-by-school basis. In Lower Manhattan, actions were scheduled at a half-dozen schools south of 14th St. These included the Neighborhood School and the Earth School in the East Village, Downtown’s Spruce St. School, P.S. 2 Meyer London School in the Lower East
Side, and P.S. 3 and City As School High School in the Village. For teachers and students at City As School, the governor’s proposed changes are at odds with the alternative high school’s effort to boost student achievement through internships and student projects rather than more traditional pedagogical approaches. About 100 people associated with the high school congregated SCHOOLS, continued on p. 8
Leonard Cecere, something special...............page 13 Woman killed by construction debris.............page 25 Red Bulls help kick off new mini-pitch..........page 27 Love and greed: Play it again.......page 21
TALKING L.E.S. POLITICS...OR NOT? Depending on who you talk to, either all is not well between the Democratic district leaders in the 65th Assembly District, Part C, or, well...everything’s fine. We recently had a sit-down with John Quinn, the area’s Democratic state committeeman, and he tells us that Paul Newell and Jenifer Rajkumar, the part’s two young co-district leaders, have not been talking to each other for the last three or four months, which roughly coincides with when former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was starting to feel the heat over his repeated refusal to report his outside income. Then, of course, in late January, Silver was arrested on federal charges, and soon after, was pressured into resigning his speakership, then indicted for allegedly scheming to garner $4 million in graft over the past decade. Quinn is concerned, first of all, because he is a big
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STEALTH E.V. HOUSING PLAN: It started off with one East Village squat. Then it was two squats. Now, we hear that two buildings owned by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development that were in the TIL (Tenant Interim Lease) Program are also in the mix. As we previously reported, the de Blasio administration is working on a plan to bring in a so-called “white knight” developer, BFC Partners, led by Donald Capoccia, to renovate a couple of former East Village squats — 544 E. 13th St. (where actress Rosario Dawson grew up) and 377 E. 10th St. — that, after more than a decade, just haven’t been able to get it together and fix up their buildings as up-to-code affordable coops. Now, word has it that BFC and the city are trying to work a deal for two H.P.D.-owned buildings, 507-509 E. 11th St. and 66 E. Third St. (The former was the subject of a 1992 book, “Rock Solid,” about police and drug dealing, we’re told.) In return, for renovating all these buildings, BFC would get the unused development rights from these sites, which it could then use for new market-rate construction elsewhere in the Community Board 3 district. Could all these air rights even be stacked up on top of each other to create a new luxury building? No one really seems to know. John Shuttleworth, a former C.B. 3 member who lives in the E. Third St. building, noted that under the 2008 East Village / L.E.S. rezoning, the area was actually “upzoned” somewhat, which means there are more unused development rights floating around out there now that folks like Capoccia can capitalize on. BFC reps recently met with the E. Third St. tenants. “They came here and they talked to us, and they said absolutely nothing,” scoffed Connie Barrett, Shuttleworth’s partner. “We asked for a written proposal, and they didn’t want to put anything in writing.” The 22-unit building currently has eight vacant apartments. The tenants would all have to be behind the plan for it to go forward. “How can we do anything until we see something in writing?” Barrett asked. “All we’ve been shown is a fact sheet.” “It’s very dangerous, in my opinion,” Shuttleworth told us. “De Blasio is changing things, where inclusionary zoning things can be moved around.” Under the plan, the property would be transferred into the hands of a community-based group, similar to Cooper Square Mutual Housing, he said. So far, the city is being tightlipped about it all. SCOOPY’S, continued on p. 11
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John Quinn — with his granddaughter Ariel, 5 — says he is concerned about his district leaders.
fan of Silver and all he has done for the Lower East Side, but also because the district leaders appear to be on the outs — the assumption being that they both would want to run for Silver’s seat should he eventually step down. But both Newell and Rajkumar told us that everything’s hunky-dory between them, even if they’re not exactly BFF’s right now. “Jenifer Rajkumar is my co-district leader and we continue to work together,” Newell said. “We talk all the time together at events. It is untrue that we don’t talk. When we’re working on a thing together, which is a lot, we’re talking.” As for whether he and Rajkumar would run for Assembly, he said, “I can’t comment on anyone else’s intentions. We’re talking about a potential race a very long way away. I would very seriously consider the race. I’m sure, if there is a contested Assembly race in Lower Manhattan, there will be a number of well-qualified candidates. Right now, I’m focused on renewal of rent regulations and other issues.” Newell added he was planning to go up to Albany this past Monday to lobby for increased capital funding for the New York City Housing Authority. “Lots of balls in the air,” he said. As for Rajkumar, she told us, “When this happened with Shelly, it really was a huge torpedo that changed the landscape. ... If the seat does open, I’d consider it.” She added that she and Newell did recently speak to each other at the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club at a planning session for another “Candles for Clemency” rally to pressure the governor to grant more pardons for prisoners. Meanwhile, Rajkumar, in fact, is doing quite a lot of talking — though not to Newell — in an exciting new gig as a panelist on PBS’s “To the Contrary,” which she described as a “women’s perspective on national issues.” The show airs nationally, and locally on Channel 13, on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. The panel usually includes two Democrats and two Republicans, and Rajkumar will be a frequent panelist. The last installment discussed healthcare and the economy. Although the conversation is vigorous, it’s “without the tone of ‘Crossfire,’ ” she said. “Everyone politely disagrees.” Another name that has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Assembly is Gigi Li, chairperson of Community Board 3. As for Quinn, he wants anyone who runs for the seat — should Silver vacate it — to voluntarily pledge to serve no more than three twoyear terms. “I need somebody in there who’s going to pick a fight,” he explained, “to come out of the gate, not someone who’s there to settle in.” Above all, the third-generation Lower East Sider is crestfallen over Silver’s downfall. “With Shelly, the Lower East Side had the power. Shelly has been the best thing to happen to the Lower East Side since Alfred
Corne r of Jane & West 4th St. (at 8th Ave.) 212-2 42-95 02
City nixes Chinatown / L.E.S. special district BY GERARD FLYNN
PHOTO BY GERARD FLYNN
t’s been more than six years since the push began for a “special district” for the Lower East Side and Chinatown. The idea drew together community groups, residents and urban planners from around the city, scrambling to save a community facing hyper real-estate development — and growing tenant harassment. The Chinatown Working Group fleshed out a proposal for a “community-based plan.” On top of capping large-scale development in certain areas, the proposal calls for giving New York City Housing Authority residents some say on any push for “infill” development on public-housing property. It also sought to stymie any large-scale development looming along the East Side waterfront. But this month a letter from the Department of City Planning brought disappointment to many from the more than 60 organizations involved. In calling the proposal “far-reaching,” the letter, signed by Planning Chairperson Carl Weisbrod, expressed “appreciation” for the community’s efforts and said that he and the agency “share many of the goals of the C.W.G.” However, the coalition’s plan, the city concluded, is “not feasible at this time.” The letter added that, in a “spirit of shared vision...targeted areas of opportunity for development” were under consideration. A Planning spokesperson said, “The Special Chinatown and Lower East River District study has not been advanced to become an application at City Planning.” Cathy Dang, the director of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, told The Villager that the plan proposes changes in five subdistricts, but only one of them, the “Chinatown Core” district — which runs roughly south from Grand St. — would be looked at. She sounded deeply disappointed at a rally held on the steps of City Hall last week.
Cathy Dang, of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, spoke at a City Hall rally after the bad news on the proposal.
“We knew, we knew this was going to happen,” she told the crowd, mostly members of tenant-rights groups, who gathered to call for a more inclusiveness planning process. Mayor de Blasio came by, but was headed for business inside the Council chambers. Dang promised that the effort has been a “long process” but was far from over. “We are going to push it to the end,” she said. She said City Planning had been in conversation with Community Board 3 about the proposal, and that during those talks, agency officials said, “We are not going to consider your plan.” The agency’s interest in preserving the historic district has raised eyebrows, she said. “My concern with City Planning’s interest in the Chinatown Core was
— ‘I will give you Chinatown Core and we will take everything else around it,’ ” she said. She denied rumors that the city feels the plan is asking for too much. “It downzoned some parts and upzoned some parts,” she said. “It’s not an ambitious plan. We compromised in many parts of the plan.” Gigi Li, C.B. 3 chairperson, noted the proposed special district had “far-reaching boundaries,” reaching as far north as E. 14th St. The plan included some areas — such as the long swath of public-housing developments east of Avenue D — that were left out of the big East Village / Lower East Side rezoning that was approved at the end of 2008. The area roughly between the Brooklyn Bridge and E. Houston St., over to the Bowery and Centre St., was also targeted in the proposal. “C.B. 3 will continue working with City Planning on shared priorities in certain targeted areas of the plan,” Li told The Villager. The mayor, Dang said, is not pursuing the proposal because Chinatown is “not developable” right now. “There’s not much land to develop,” she noted. “The mayor wants to rezone 15 neighborhoods and we are not a priority.”
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N.Y.U. names Hamilton new president N.Y.U. PREZ, continued from p. 1
mittee of trustees, faculty, students and administrators. The Committee — which began the search with over 200 nominees — unanimously recommended Hamilton to the board of trustees. Hamilton will preside over the largest private university in the U.S., with roughly 50,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. In addition to its “campus core” in Greenwich Village — where the university has had a presence since the early 1830s — N.Y.U. has recently been building up a network of global campuses including in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, as well as 11 additional “study-away” sites throughout the world. According to the university, N.Y.U. both educates more international students than any other U.S. college or university, and sends more students to study abroad. In addition to his duties as president, Hamilton plans to actively teach and do research. Martin Lipton, chairperson of the board of trustees said, “New York University is very pleased and excited to welcome Andrew Hamilton. N.Y.U. — which has done so much over the previous four decades to transform itself into the world-class university it is today and remains committed to sustaining that academic trajectory — demands much of a potential president: wisdom, intelligence, courage, energy, perseverance, stellar credentials as a scholar, and academic leadership of the highest caliber. Andrew Hamilton brings all these qualities and more. We know he will be a superb president and that he will advance N.Y.U.’s teaching and research missions to a new level of excellence. My fellow board members and I are completely confident we have found the right person to lead N.Y.U. and its global network, and we are proud and glad to have him join our community. William Berkley, chairperson of the search committee and chairperson-designate of the board of trustees, said, “What focused us on Andrew Hamilton and set him apart from a formidable field of candidates was the unusual combination of his outstanding scholarship in his field, his record of achievement in leadership posts at top universities, his commitment to academic excellence and support for the faculty, his commitment to teaching and undergraduate education, his accomplishments in fundraising at Oxford, and his global background and outlook. “We were also struck by his great intelligence, personal warmth, energy and entrepreneurial spirit, and natural feel for complex institutions. ... And it was clear to us that he understood N.Y.U. — our urban character, our distinctive global presence, our vibrancy, our focus on the future, our innovative spirit, our sense of being on the move and our hab-
Andrew Hamilton will take over as N.Y.U. president next January.
it of exceeding others’ expectations. Hamilton said, “I am delighted to be selected as N.Y.U.’s 16th president. I have been a keen observer of N.Y.U., its accomplishments, its trajectory and its renowned president, John Sexton, for some time. It is difficult not to take notice of an institution that has proven itself again and again to be a game-changer in a field in which that is uncommon. I am looking forward with great eagerness to working with N.Y.U.’s faculty, students, administrators and staff, and to joining a university that is so manifestly energetic, innovative and successful.” Hamilton has been vice chancellor of Oxford since 2009. Prior to that, he was the provost of Yale, where he was also the Benjamin Silliman Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; he joined the Yale faculty in 1997. He joined the University of Pittsburgh in 1988, where was a tenured professor of chemistry and chairperson of the chemistry department. Before joining the faculty at Pittsburgh, he was an assistant professor of chemistry at Princeton University. His area of scholarly interest lies at the intersection of organic and biologic chemistry, with a focus on the use of synthetic design for the understanding, mimicry and potential disruption of biological processes. He is widely published and the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Among his many honors and awards, he is the recipient of the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2004, and was also elected a member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Hamilton received a first-class bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Exeter, his master’s degree from the University of British Columbia and his doctorate from the University of Cambridge. He did post-doctoral work at the Université Louis Pasteur.
Hamilton is married. He and his wife, Jennie, have three adult children who all live in the U.S. — in New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles. N.Y.U. President John Sexton said, “I love N.Y.U., and I could not be more thrilled with the selection of Andrew Hamilton. I know and admire him, and I am certain he will do great things for the university. For my own part, I have had no higher calling in my life than to be a teacher and to contribute to building strong institutions. For nearly 35 years, I have had the exceptional privilege of being able to do both those things at N.Y.U.” Sexton served as the dean of N.Y.U. School of Law from 1988 until becoming the university’s president in 2002. “That N.Y.U. could attract an academic leader of Andrew Hamilton’s stature is proof of how far N.Y.U. has come,” Lipton said. “Many people had a hand in building this great university over the decades, but arguably none more so than John Sexton. Doubling the applicants for freshman admission, more than doubling the financial aid budget, improving student diversity, expanding the tenured and tenure-track faculty, launching new areas of scholarly inquiry, growing our international stature, opening new campuses abroad, raising some $5 billion, and tripling the endowment — it seems hard to believe all this and more was accomplished in just a single presidency. For his more than 30 years of distinguished and dedicated service to this university, he has the unflagging thanks of the N.Y.U. community.” As Sexton’s tenure is ending, however, the community is still waging its all-out legal battle against the university’s mega-development plan for its two South Village superblocks. Under the plan, N.Y.U. hopes to add four new buildings with 2 million square feet on the two blocks, which are bounded by W. Houston and W. Third Sts. and Mercer St. and LaGuardia Place. The Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court — recently agreed to hear the community plaintiffs’ appeal. N.Y.U. and the city had won at the Appellate Division, overturning a ruling at the State Supreme Court that would have blocked two and possibly three of the buildings from being constructed. The plaintiffs — a broad-based coalition of N.Y.U. faculty, community and activist groups and local residents — argue that the “open-space strips” of parkland along the superblocks’ western and eastern edges cannot be used for the project in any way unless they are formally “alienated” — removed as parkland — by the state Legislature. The decision on the case will have far-reaching ramifications for the fate of public parkland all over New York State, N.Y.U. PREZ, continued on p. 25 TheVillager.com
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POLICE BLOTTER Subway Samsung bandits Rock thrower caught Sixth Precinct police say a group of young thugs, between the ages of 16 and 21, have been stealing cell phones from people in the F/M/L subway station at 14th St. and Sixth Ave. On Tues., Feb. 10, at about 8 p.m. they reportedly swiped a Samsung Galaxy phone from a 48-year-old man. Three minutes later, they filched an iPhone 6 from a woman, age 40. On Mon., March 2, at about 10:15 p.m., they victimized a 38-year-old woman, making off with her Samsung Galaxy phone, according to police. On Tues., March 3, at about 5:20 p.m., they targeted a 33-yearold woman, absconding with her Samsung Galaxy phone. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www. nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637(CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.
Rug tale unravels A mystery of missing rugs concluded on March 11 with the revelation that a neighbor had lifted the goods. A 31-year-old woman alerted police on March 4 to the caper after she arrived home to find an expected delivery from UPS was missing. An e-mail notification confirmed that a woven rug valued at $1,509 and a hand-knit one worth $1,989 were delivered to her residence at 190 Waverly Place. However, the fancy floor coverings were nowhere to be found at about 3:30 p.m. that day. Police interviewed people in the building, including Wesley Murphy, 35, who said at that time that he had no knowledge of the missing carpets. Several days later, the rugs suddenly reappeared in the hallway. Days later, Murphy was arrested for an unrelated minor offense, according to police. He then allegedly confessed that he took the rugs, explaining that he had believed that they were rubbish that would be discarded. He was charged with felony grand larceny.
Police tossed a 21-year-old in the slammer after he allegedly threw a rock at a man’s automobile just before 1 a.m. on Sat., March 14. The impact caused more than $250 in damage to the vehicle, which was near the front of 216 Bowery at the time. John Taormina was charged with felony criminal mischief.
Withdrawal got weird Neither violence nor threats were needed to cajole a 22-year-old man into letting another man accompany him to an ATM located at 320 W. 14th St. Police said Ramel Davis, 26, then asked the other man to withdraw money, only to attempt to take it as the man was putting the cash into his wallet. Davis then allegedly grabbed the victim’s debit card from a pocket. The two men, along with another man, then began arguing, which drew the attention of nearby police. When the cops got closer, Davis cupped the debit card in his hand against the victim’s chest, police said. Davis was charged with felony grand larceny. It was unclear from a police report who the third man was.
Feels the gravity Police seized a gravity knife after stopping a man who was observed illegally moving between train cars at the subway station at Eighth Ave. and W. 14th St. The weapon was found in the man’s right, front pocket at about 9:30 p.m. on Wed., March 11, police said. Dane West, 52, who was described as a “transit recidivist,” was charged with felony criminal weapon possession. (A gravity knife is any knife that can be opened with a flick of one hand.)
‘Get on the ground!’ A train operator alerted police on Sat., March 14, that a man was sleeping with an exposed firearm on a northbound A train. Police arrived at about 8:45 a.m. at the W. Fourth St. station platform, BLOTTER, continued on p. 7 TheVillager.com
BLOTTER, continued from p. 6
where the witness identified the suspect to police by his distinctive black jacket featuring red and white stripes. The officers did not take any chances when they found the man walking there. “Police! Get on the ground!” they ordered, according to a report of the incident. The man complied and kneeled. He was promptly taken into custody. Police reportedly found a .40-caliber Glock handgun and 14 rounds of ammunition on the suspect’s person. Kenneth McIntosh, 27, was charged with felony criminal weapon possession.
Whiskey wild woman On Sun., March 8, a 33-year-old man had a verbal dispute with a woman
who was accompanied by another male inside Whiskey Ward, at 121 Essex St., when the first man asked the woman to leave the bar. The female struck him in the head with a glass bottle, causing minor lacerations, police said. The victim was removed to Woodhull Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. Police are looking for the female suspect. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637(CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.
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Schools take to streets to protest gov’s reforms SCHOOLS, continued from p. 1
March 19, 2015
Students, staff and parents at P.S. 41, the Greenwich Village School, rallied on Thurs., March 12, against Governor Cuomo’s school reform plans.
PHOTO BY ZACH WILLIAMS
PHOTO BY DAVID ALLEE
near its entrance on Clarkson St. in the afternoon, then marched to a “teach-out” in Washington Square Park. “Standardized testing can’t judge what we do,” said Marcus McArthur, an English and social sciences teacher at the school. “We are here and we are raising and creating innovators not test takers. We got the next great generation of poets and authors and artists and scientists — and the tests, they have nothing to do with that work.” Momentum continued for their cause over the weekend when Public Advocate Letitia James held a rally at City Hall on Sunday criticizing Cuomo’s pairing of increased funding with the proposals. Cuomo announced education reforms in January that would make $1.1 billion in new funding contingent on the state Legislature approving his plans. In addition to the changes in teacher evaluations and tenure, the new approach would also require that, if a school fails to show adequate progress through student test scores for three consecutive years, then another school district, nonprofit organization or a “turnaround technocrat” — as the critics put it — would take over management of the “failing” school. Under the current teacher-evaluation system, 40 percent of teacher scores are determined by student growth based on assessments or tests — with half of that from state evaluations, and as much as 20 percent over all from “locally determined” measures that Cuomo is seeking to eliminate. The remaining 60 percent of the scores comes from observations of teachers, which vary by school district. According to a February 2015 report from the Governor’s Office, there is a stark disparity between teachers rated as effective — more than 90 percent statewide in the 2013-14 school year — and the amount of students judged proficient in English and math in state testing, roughly 35 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Four local Manhattan schools below 14th St. were labeled as “failing” in the governor’s report: Henry St. School for International Studies, Marta Valle Secondary School, P.S. 15 and University Neighborhood Middle School. “How can so many of our teachers be succeeding when so many of our students are struggling?” the report asks. Cuomo’s education plan also seeks to raise the cap on charter schools in the state by 100 from 460, as well as make the cap apply statewide rather than by region. Under the current limit, New York City could only add 24 more charter schools. Mayoral control of New York City schools, which is due to expire this year, would also be extended for three more years under Cuomo’s proposal. Many people at the City As School demonstration, as well as others across the city, voiced suspicion that Cuomo’s plan would benefit corporations more than students. They urged the governor to visit more local schools and to address student poverty instead of overhauling the teacher-evaluation process. During the City As School rally last Thursday, current and former students spoke about how
City As School students and staff held a press conference in front of the Clarkson St. school, then marched up to Washington Square for a rally.
traditional education had failed them until they arrived at the Clarkson St. building’s nurturing environment. One current student said she had a troubled experience at another school due to her ADHD. But she said that, thanks to the encouragement she received from teachers at City As School, she now plans on attending a local college after she graduates. The Washington Square Park rally also was an opportunity to highlight the need for curric-
ulum flexibility, especially at schools like City As School that serve students who have experienced difficulties elsewhere, noted Principal Alan Cheng. “People had a chance to talk to our students, talk to our staff, to be able to understand what it is we do,” Cheng said, “our interdisciplinary courses, our project-based learning, our internships and the kind of impact we’ve been able to have on youngsters in our city.” TheVillager.com
Tenants get info on Campos, E. 4th renovations BY ZACH WILLIAMS
bout 50 local residents came to a Community Board 3 meeting on March 9 to hear more details about a deal that recently made Campos Plaza 1 and the E. Fourth St. Rehab developments half privately owned. A partnership between the New York City Housing Authority and two developers, L&M Development Partners and Preservation Development Partners, in December established Triborough Partners LLC as the owner of the two project-based Section 8 East Village complexes, as well as a total of four others in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The entire deal is expected to generate about $360 million over 15 years for the cash-strapped Housing Authority and finance about $80 million in repairs and renovations for the six properties. Out of the $80 million, Campos Plaza 1 and E. Fourth St. Rehab are respectively slated for $26 million and $7 million in renovations. NYCHA will retain 50 percent ownership of the properties and a first right of refusal — essentially a “first among equals” status within the partnership, according to the agency. The two development partners were chosen for their experience managing similar properties, said Bill Crawly, NYCHA vice president of development. “We have no reason to think that they will not perform,” he said, “but we can replace them if necessary.” Partnership representatives highlighted the renovations planned
A rendering of the spiffed-up exterior treatment planned for Campos Plaza 1 as part of the renovations.
for Campos Plaza 1, at 635 E. 12th St., and E. Fourth St. Rehab, at 227 E. Fourth St., at the meeting of the C.B. 3 Public Housing and Section 8 Housing Subcommittee, held at Campos Plaza. The renovations and repairs are slated for completion by the end of 2017. New roofs and exterior facade treatments are part of the plan, as well as upgrades of building systems, such as boilers and hot-water heaters to make them more energy efficient. New windows will be installed, plus emergency generators, according to the plan. Residents will get new bathrooms and kitchens, plus other necessary repairs, including paint-
ing, window guards and electrical system updates. Building lobbies, entrances, community spaces and outside public areas will receive aesthetic and safety upgrades. No one will be displaced by the renovations, and rents and tenant protections will remain the same under the new management, reps said. Tenants’ concerns will be addressed within 24 hours, according to Richard Doetsch, whose company C and C Apartment Management, now oversees maintenance and operations of the properties. “What I want to emphasize — and this is the most important thing — is communication,” he said. But fears linger that the deal could lead to the properties’ conversion into market-rate housing after 30 years, when the deal expires. Crawly said the buildings’ future Section 8 status depends on whether the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will choose to renew the Section 8 contract — which cannot be guaranteed at the present time. There were complaints about a perceived lack of transparency around the deal. Councilmember Rosie Mendez told the representatives that her office still has not received records from public meetings that were purportedly held about the deal. She was told that these would be provided to her office soon. Mendez also chastised the representatives for canceling a meeting with community members in January, as well as not meeting with E. Fourth St. Rehab residents. Brian
Honan, NYCHA director of intergovernmental relations, responded that the lack of a tenants association there made it hard to schedule a meeting, but that better efforts would be made to engage her office and the community. Further concern arose after Honan told Mendez that not only did NYCHA sell a 50 percent stake in the buildings but also the land beneath them. But Honan called The Villager on March 10 stating that he misspoke on that detail. Consultation with NYCHA attorneys confirmed that the land was still entirely owned by NYCHA, he said. Although audience members said they feel the partnership would provide much-needed repairs to the buildings, some questions remain unanswered. C.B. 3 member Lisa Kaplan disagreed with the notion floated by the representatives that the buildings were not de facto public housing. “Although I believe these developers are going to do a reasonable job in the short term, I think we need guarantees for the long term and I don’t see that,” she said. The representatives also dodged local resident Thea Martinez’s question about why union jobs would not be required for the rehab work. Similar complaints were voiced at a Feb. 10 City Council hearing about the deal. The deal’s proponents only said that about $80,000 would be spent per residential unit for repairs. “They were stonewalled at the [Feb. 10] hearing and it seems that they were stonewalled here,” Martinez said. “It would seem that within that $80,000 budget there could be room for union laborers.”
Pols, officials urge a surge of local input on ‘Big U’ design BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
he federal government has allocated $335 million to protect the Lower East Side against future storm surges. Now officials and local activists want community members to get involved in helping figure out exactly how to spend those anti-deluge dollars. Two workshops will be held to gather input. The first will be on Thurs., March 19, at Bard High School Early College, at 525 E. Houston St., and the second will be on Mon., March 23, at Washington Irving High School, at 40 Irving Place, at E. 17th St. Doors open both nights at 6:30 p.m. Presentations begin at 7 p.m. An engagement exercise and Q&A will follow the presentation. TheVillager.com
As part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design competition, in November 2013 the BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) Team was picked to focus on the protection of Manhattan. Their winning project, the Big U, calls for a protective system around the borough from W. 57th St. down to the Battery and up to E. 42nd St., comprising coordinated plans for three individual but connected regions of waterfront. Each of these areas, called “compartments,” is a physically separate flood-protection zone. In June 2014, HUD awarded $335 million for the compartment from Montgomery St. to E. 23rd St., dubbing it the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. When completed, this section
— which will feature a protective, planted berm, similar to a levee — will not only shield the area from flooding, but is expected to provide greater access to the waterfront, more open space and other benefits to the community. Last Friday, pols and other stakeholders gathered at Solar One, at E. 23rd St. at the East River, to urge a surge of community involvement. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the waterfront along the East Side in a way that will increase resiliency and protect our neighborhoods from future storms,” Maloney said. “It’s up to us to design a project that will use these funds in a way to provide maximum protection and benefit for the neighborhood. The meetings in March are an opportunity for residents to come
out and have your thoughts, opinions and wishes heard.” Said Councilmember Dan Garodnick, “Sandy taught us a lesson about our need to better prepare Manhattan’s vulnerable coastline from storm surge. And we will need to design carefully in a way that protects our property while not cutting us off from the waterfront.” There will be more opportunities for community input, said Gigi Li, Community Board 3 chairperson. “Looking ahead in the next couple of months,” she said, “there will be a series of engagement sessions to garner input from the community. We encourage residents and stakeholders to share their thoughts and be part of the planning process in determining the next steps for this historic project.” March 19, 2015
Mayor is leaving Lunar school holiday in lurch HOLIDAYS, continued from p. 1
PHOTO BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC
the 2015-2016 school calendar. While applauding de Blasio for making the Muslim holidays part of the school calendar, Squadron said the mayor should keep his promise on the Lunar New Year. Next year, Squadron said, it will fall on Mon., Feb. 8, and families should not have to choose between celebrating the holiday and missing a day of school. “We’re really pushing this,” added Councilmember Margaret Chin, who also called on the mayor to be true to his word. “There is enough time to plan for next year’s schedule. It must be declared a school holiday,” Chin declared. Asian Americans make up about 15 percent of the student population in New York City. Students who miss school to celebrate the holiday receive an “excused” absence that is marked on their record. Congressmember Grace Meng said she was “very puzzled and concerned” when the Muslim holidays were made part of the school calendar, but not the Lunar New Year. Many have rallied for years to make this happen, she said. No one community is more import-
Assemblymember Ron Kim spoke about making the Lunar New Year a school holiday at City Hall, as Assemblymember Sheldon Silver and Councilmember Margaret Chin looked on and state Senator Dan Squadron glanced at a group’s press release.
ant than another, stated Assemblymember Sheldon Silver, who reiterated the call for the mayor to keep his promise. Councilmember Peter Koo said he was “disappointed.”
“Mayor de Blasio, let’s do it now,” he said to applause. “The Asian New Year, the time is here,” said Councilmember Paul Vallone — as others began to chant the phrase with him.
Gee Yeon Ro, 24, and Eunhye Kim, 32, came to the rally to show their support. “I think it should be a holiday,” said Kim. “I think it would be really discriminatory if it wasn’t.”
Becoming a Leader: A Conversation with Wendy Alvarez A Leadership Workshop and Networking Event for Women in Nonprofit and Business Management The GVCCC Women in Business Committee and NYU invite women leaders at local businesses and nonprofits to a free workshop with leadership coach Wendy Alvarez. Communication and leadership skills for women (and men) are a must to succeed in the professional sphere. Join Wendy Alvarez, Founder of W Education & Consulting, LLC, and facilitator for W Corporate Training, for an active conversation on professional growth for current and aspiring business leaders. Wendy will share stories from her personal leadership development experience and lead attendees in a discussion about the impact of successful leadership on lasting career success. Participants will leave this workshop with new insights on leadership development and real world tools to help them get to the next stage in their careers.
March 19, 2015
Tuesday, March 24, 6:30 - 8:00 pm King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center 53 Washington Square South, Room 113 This event is free and open to the public. An RSVP is required: visit nyu.edu/ nyu-in-nyc, or contact NYU Community Affairs at email@example.com or 212-998-2400. TheVillager.com
SCOOPY’S, continued from p. 2 ARTISTS UPRISING: Tenants at Westbeth have found themselves at legal loggerheads with their own board of directors. George Cominskie, president of the resident-elected Westbeth Artists Residents Council, said WARC recently filed a Freedom of Information Law request with the state Attorney General’s Office for public records for the artists’ affordable housing complex, and the A.G. was all ready to release the documents. But the board of directors of the Westbeth Housing Development Fund Corporation sued the A.G., filing an Article 78 lawsuit — a whopping 101 pages long — to block the records’ release. The A.G. moved to dismiss the suit, so it’s now up to a judge to decide. Basically, residents feel it’s their right to know what’s going on with their legendary full-squareblock housing complex, at West and Bethune Sts. Cominskie recently presented a report, “Future of Westbeth Update,” at a tenants meeting. All the tenants really want to do, as the report details, is assure the place’s financial health and future affordability, plus — critically — “develop a culture of transparency.” And there are lots of specific questions, such as about the artist-in-residency program — which the board certified a year ago without
any WARC input — the outside waiting list for the place’s coveted apartments and the in-house moves list, to name just a few. “My gut feeling is why is the board fighting so hard to keep the A.G. from releasing these records?” Cominskie told us. Carmi Bee, the president of the board of directors, did not respond to requests for comment. But Cominskie sent us a copy of the Article 78 suit, the 101 pages of which can be simply summed up by one word, “confidentiality,” which appears repeatedly throughout and which the board seems to feel applies to virtually everything action it takes.
INSIDE POOP ON CHARAS: So what’s going on with the stalled dorm project at 605 E. Ninth St., the old P.S. 64 and, more recently, home to the CHARAS/El Bohio Cultural and Community Center? A partial stop-work order appears still in effect, after the Department of Buildings, last fall, found problems with developer Gregg Singer’s contracts with potential tenants. Susan Howard of SOCCC64 (Save Our CHARAS Community Center 64) gave us the update. “Nothing to report yet, except porta potties arrived at CHARAS recently, so work must be immi-
The Church of the Ascension
Fifth Avenue at Tenth Street • www.ascensionnyc.org • 212-254-8620 March 29 The Sunday of the Passion Palm Sunday 9 a.m. – Blessing of the Palms 11 a.m. – Blessing and Procession of the Palms A reading of the Passion According to St. Mark 7 p.m. – Meditation and Sacraments April 2 Maundy Thursday 7 p.m. – The Maundy Thursday Liturgy (with Full Choir), With Washing of Feet, Stripping of the Altar, Setting of the Altar of Repose, and Watch with the Blessed Sacrament April 3 Good Friday 12 noon – The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ (with Choir) With Veneration of the Cross, and Communion from the Reserve Sacrament
Please join us for Services in Holy Week. April 4 Holy Saturday The Vigil of Easter (with Full Choir) 8 p.m. – The Great Vigil of Easter with the Lighting of New Fire, The Paschal Candle, Baptism and Renewal of Baptismal Vows. This is the culmination of Holy Week, including the Celebration of the First Eucharist of the Resurrection.
April 5 Easter Day: The Day of Resurrection 9 a.m. – The Second Eucharist of Easter 11 a.m. – Festal Eucharist (with Full Choir), Easter Egg Hunt for children following the service 7 p.m. – Meditation and Sacraments
Parish Office at 12 W. 11 St. • Office Hours: Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
SCOOPY’S, continued on p. 13
ALL ARE WELCOME!
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Policy: • April 2013: Then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio criticizes former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s annual increases in water rates as a “hidden tax.” • February 2014: Mayor de Blasio increases water & sewer rates 3.6%. • June 2014: Mayor de Blasio calls for Rent Freeze (landlords wind up with 1% rent increase, lowest ever on record).
• November 2014: Mayor de Blasio calls for stricter rent regulations. • January 15, 2015: Mayor de Blasio announces a 13% increase on real estate tax assessments.
Increased Taxes and Costs + Rent Freeze = Landlords Cannot Repair, Improve, Maintain and Preserve Affordable Housing The de Blasio Affordable Housing Equation Just Doesn’t Add Up. TheVillager.com
The de Blasio affordable housing policy hurts poor and middle-income families, those most in need of affordable housing – as well as landlords of rent-stabilized apartments, the largest providers of affordable housing.
It’s Time for New Solutions to an Old Problem. March 19, 2015
Heroic auxiliaries honored at Village memorial BY ZACH WILLIAMS
PHOTO BY ZACH WILIAMS
n a year featuring renewed debate about community-police relations, a March 14 memorial held in honor of two auxiliary police officers recognized two of the best among New York’s Finest. The annual event commemorated Yevgeniy “Eugene” Marshalik, 19, and Nicholas Pekearo, 28, who — like all auxiliary officers — were unarmed on March 14, 2007, when they were killed while trying to stop a rampaging gunmen near the intersection of Sullivan and Bleecker Sts. Two corners of that intersection were subsequently co-named in their honor. Another result of the two officers’ tragic deaths was that the New York Police Department now issues bulletproof vests to all auxiliary police officers. But a bill in the state Senate that would increase criminal penalties for those who attack or kill auxiliary officers remains stuck in committee. In addition, Pekearo, an aspiring writer, even had a novel, “The Wolfman,” published posthumously. Members of the N.Y.P.D. Auxiliary Police Program — the largest volunteer law enforcement force in the country at more than 4,500 members — perform patrols in uniform but typically serve as observers for local precincts rather than directly confronting suspects. But Pekearo and Marshalik disregarded the danger when they tailed David Garvin, who had just fatally shot a pizzeria employee on W. Houston St. They pursued him onto Sullivan St., and Garvin turned and killed both of them. Minutes later, their assailant died nearby on Bleecker St. in a hail of bullets during a shootout with police officers. Many people say that without the intervention of Pekearo and Marshalik, more people would have died that day. Last Saturday, a group of 75, including police officers and auxiliaries, family members of the two men and community members marched from the Sixth Precinct station on W. 10th St. to Sullivan and Bleecker Sts. James O’Neill, the N.Y.P.D. chief of department, said in his remarks that the two men were the quintessential police officers. “For them to show the courage and strength to do what they did exemplifies not only what the auxiliary officers do but also what police officers do for this city,” he said. “They keep us safe. Sometimes people fail to acknowledge that there are people in this world that are looking to hurt people.” O’Neill added that time does not necessarily “heal all wounds,” though the effects of selfless police work have brought change to the city. “If you look at the city 10, 20 years ago, it’s just
Iola Latman, the mother of slain Auxiliary Officer Nicholas Pekearo, got a warm hug from a police officer at Saturday’s memorial service.
not the same place,” he said. “It’s safe, and it’s safe because of what you do and because of what the brave men and women of the N.Y.P.D. do,” he told the officers and community activists. But department practices during that period, notably the use of stop-and-frisk as part of the “broken windows” theory of policing — which calls for enforcement against minor offenses — spawned resentment among many in minority communities. That anger, amplified greatly by the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, helped fuel the recent #BlackLivesMatter movement. Protests have lessened in recent months, only to re-emerge within City Hall itself during a recent hearing on police-community relations. Protesters chanted, “No new cops!” at a March 12 hearing where Police Commissioner Bill Bratton testified in support of adding 1,000 more officers to the force. Two days later, though, the focus at the memorial was firmly on the sacrifices and contributions of the heroic auxiliary officers, Pekearo
and Marshalik. “What the police do, in general, is protect us, and how could that be under question for the auxiliary police officers who were uniformed but unarmed and gave their lives,” said Terri Cude, first vice chairperson of Community Board 2. “I don’t see that there is a relationship between national political issues and this memorial.” Cude added that she attends the event each year. Meanwhile, a bill announced at last year’s memorial by state Senator Brad Hoylman has continued to slowly make its way through the legislative process. If signed into law, the measure would make the penalty for killing an on-duty auxiliary officer as serious as killing a police officer. “If you wear the uniform to safeguard the public, you should be protected from deadly assaults,” Hoylman said in a statement. The bill was reintroduced this legislative session and referred to the state Senate’s Codes Committee on Feb. 20. A hearing has yet to be scheduled.
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Leonard Cecere, 91, vet who ran celeb mailbox store OBITUARY BY ALBERT AMATEAU
eonard Cecere, whose mailbox-and-notions store, Something Special, has been a Greenwich Village institution for 36 years, died at his home above the MacDougal St. shop on Feb. 25. He was 91. At his Feb. 27 funeral at Our Lady of Pompeii Church, where he was married 64 years ago, an Army honor guard performed a ceremony on the church steps in recognition of his military service during World War II, said his daughter, Francine Cecere O’Brien. “Lenny was one of the people who held the fabric of our community together,” said Assemblymember Deobrah Click, who attended his funeral. “His shop was a place for people to stop in to talk about the community. He was a quiet man, a warm and friendly man and we’ll miss him.” The shop, where customers, including many Village-dwelling celebrities, rented boxes to receive mail and packages, will be phased out over the next four months, according to his son, Leonard Jr. “My father continued going to the shop six days a week from 8 in the morning to 6 at night until the beginning of the year,” his son said. “For the last four or five years, he had help in the store from Laura Susana. We’ve decided to give mailbox customers until the end of June to close out their accounts. Laura will take care of that,” he added. In an article in The Villager in 2007, Cecere, known as Lenny, was
SCOOPY’S, continued from p. 11 nent. SOCCC64 will be meeting soon to discuss plans.”
OCCUPY TOUR? HEL-LO? Relieve the human-microphone experience. (Re-live...the....hu-man.... mi-cro-phone....ex-per-i-ence!!!) See where hundreds of tents once blanketed a private park in Lower Manhattan, where activists pilloried the 1 percent, and where Ben and Jerry doled out free Cherry Garcia to the revolutionary masses. A new #Occupy TourNYC was set to launch this week. Sounds like fun. Activist John Penley recently put us in touch with the guy running it...but by this week information about it had vanished from Facebook and Twitter. Hmm... maybe just finding the radical tour is part of the experience? ... Occupy! TheVillager.com
the subject of a profile, along with Something Special, where the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Patti Smith and Lucy Lawless received their mail. “Celebrities come in, but I wouldn’t know who they are until they tell me,” Lenny told The Villager back then. Born in Brooklyn to Italian immigrants Carmella and Frank Cecere, Lenny was drafted into the Army in 1943 after graduating from high school, his son said. “He became a Villager when he married my mother in 1949. They met on a blind date,” he added. Lenny’s wife, Lucy Cecere, born and raised in the Village, was a founder 40 years ago of the Caring Community, which serves elderly residents of Lower Manhattan. She was also part of the successful effort to rescue the imperiled Village Nursing Home, which was eventually taken over by VillageCare, a community-based, nonprofit healthcare organization for the elderly and frail and for people with AIDS. Lucy Ce-
cere died at the age of 87 in 2011. “My father was especially proud of his service during World War II,” his son said. Lenny was in a unit attached to the First Army and was responsible for salvaging material from the battlefield. “He landed in Normandy two weeks after D-Day, was involved in the Normandy hedgerow battles and in the Battle of Saint-Lô,” his son said. “The unit went through France and Belgium and was near Bastogne when the Battle of the Bulge began. My father told about his hour of glory during a freezing night when he defended a bridge with a bazooka against attacking tanks,” his son said. Discharged from the Army at the end of 1945, Lenny worked for an American branch of a French company that sold machines that repaired nylon stockings. In the mid-1950s, he began a 23-year-long career at Kodak. “Looking through his papers, we found that Dad held a patent on a microfilm process,” his son said. From 1949 to 1962, Lenny and Lucy lived on Sullivan St., where they raised their family. In 1962 they bought 51 MacDougal St., the building at the southwest corner of Mac-
Dougal and Houston Sts., and moved into the top two floors. The street-level store was occupied by Morrison’s Bakery as an office that also displayed some of the company’s pastry products under a sign that read, “Something Special.” When Kodak moved its regional operation first to Fairlawn, N.J., and then farther away in New Jersey, Leonard retired and took over the street-level store. At first, he sold doughnuts, bagels and candy, then greeting cards and, finally, hit on mailbox rentals and key copying, plus a few small items. His son, who was his father’s primary caregiver in the final years, said that his dad’s health began to decline at the end of last year. “People loved him because of his transparency, what you saw was what you got,” said his son. “He was a longtime member of the Fathers’ club at Our Lady of Pompeii School, where my sister and I went to school. He belonged to the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion post in the Village.” In addition to his son and daughter, a granddaughter, Clare, survives. Perazzo Funeral Home, at 199 Bleecker St., was in charge of arrangements. The wake was on Feb. 26 and the funeral Mass was Feb. 27 at Our Lady of Pompeii, at 25 Carmine St.
CORRECTIONS: Last week’s article on the Spectra pipeline raised the fear that a vault the pipeline connects to that is located near the new Whitney Museum on Gansevoort St. would be near artwork purportedly stored in the museum’s basement. However, Amanda Angel, the Whitney’s communications manager, said that is untrue. “I want to make clear there will be no art stored in the basement of our new building,” she said. “In fact, no art will be below grade, and almost all of it — with the exception of a small lobby-level gallery — will be on the fifth floor or higher.” ... In addition, an article on the new glass dome approved for the former Tammany Hall building at 17th St. and Park Ave. South incorrectly said the dome would be illuminated at night. It won’t be. March 19, 2015
De Blasio staying the course on St. Pat’s inclusivity
arching in the inclusive St. Pat’s for All Parade in Sunnyside, Queens, a few weeks ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked if the decision by the organizers of the annual March 17 parade on Manhattan’s Fifth Ave. to allow an L.G.B.T.-identified group from NBC, the event’s broadcast sponsor, to participate would get him to end his boycott, which is joined by most other progressive leaders in the city. The mayor offered the correct perspective on the question. “Look, we’re still waiting for more information from the parade organizers,” he responded. “At this moment, obviously, I’ve said I’m not ready to commit to marching because all we’ve heard is that one delegation, related to NBC, will be allowed to have members of the L.G.B.T. community in it. A lot of
people feel — I think, rightfully — that that is too small a change to merit a lot of us participating. We would have wanted to see an inclusive parade.” Then, perhaps referring to what some sources say are ongoing negotiations to finally put an end to the exclusionary policy across the board — maybe in exchange for giving organizers the few extra blocks in their route they would like — de Blasio added, “But there’s still time, and we look forward to, you know, some additional discussion, and, certainly, I welcome any discussions with anyone who wants to try and make it more inclusive.” The parade’s decision to give the NBC gay group a slot this year — announced with great fanfare in September, with Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who was grand marshal on March 17 — was greeted by some as a victory for inclusiveness, after more than two decades of explicit exclusion. The mayor is right to
be skeptical about whether a real change is at hand. When the participation of the NBC contingent was announced, some Irish-American activists who had long fought to overturn Fifth Ave.’s discriminatory policy asked whether other groups — such as Irish Queers and the Lavender & Green Alliance — would also be welcomed. The response suggested the organizers were disingenuous in their NBC maneuver — the parade was all full up for 2015, they said. And they would not comment on what might be in the offing for 2016 and beyond. Meanwhile, NBCUniversal, which eagerly put out a press statement celebrating its employee group’s freedom to march this year, declined to O.K. Gay City News’s request to talk to an employee who was all over Facebook celebrating the news. Since then, parade organizers had come off as even shadier. Last month, when the Wall Street Journal asked Hilary Beirne, a top pa-
rade official, if the inclusion of the NBC group this year meant other L.G.B.T. groups might be able to march in future years, he responded, “Not necessarily.” Beirne added, “We have to take it one step at a time, reassess, and then make a judgment.” In other words, the mayor might actually be overstating the significance of what has transpired in calling it “too small a change.” Parade organizers have not made any permanent concession at all. With gay groups participating in St. Patrick’s Day parades all over Ireland for years, the situation here in New York is beyond pathetic. The mayor is well advised to continue to hold out for real progress. Using a major event sponsor as cover for the parade’s unwillingness to truly welcome the L.G.B.T. community is a dishonorable dodge. This editorial was first published in Gay City News, a sister paper of The Villager and East Villager.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ‘Quiet crisis’ is deafening To The Editor: Re “Let the S.B.J.S.A. finally come up for a vote!” (editorial, March 12): Kudos to The Villager for running this timely and important editorial. Any reasonable New Yorker who is not a billionaire and who cares about the future of our city will agree that the Small Business Jobs Survival Act must be passed. Small business (and, I may add, the art com-
munity) is being strangled by unsustainably high rents. Chipping away at the edges with little tax breaks for landlords and reducing fines can never address the severity of the problem, which everyone knows is high rents. Hundreds of small businesses go under every month in New York City, taking with them the life’s savings of families, as well as neighborhood jobs and a way in to the middle class for many immigrant families. Meanwhile, artists, dancers, musicians and other artisans and makers are simply fleeing the
city. I know, because I am a lifelong artist and native New Yorker, and many of my mid-career artist friends, many of them with respectable careers and galleries, are leaving: They simply cannot make a life here anymore with no affordable workspaces. This is a quiet crisis, and the S.B.J.S.A. is the only legislation on the table that will even begin to address this. We need lots more pressure on our City Council — and our mayor — to step up and save commercial renters in NYC. Jenny Dubnau Dubnau is co-founder, Artist Studio Affordability Project
Help mom-and-pop shops To The Editor: Re “Forum on small businesses offers a solution within reach” (news article, March 12): We should be urging the City Council to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. There should be some form of rent control on the leases of small businesses, plus a means of negotiating a new lease when the old lease expires. The city is losing too many of our small businesses to giant chain stores. Soon there will be no shoe-repair stores, no cleaners, no small bakeries,
Where is Hillary Clinton headed? 14
March 19, 2015
LETTERS, continued on p. 16 TheVillager.com
Mayor’s rezoning would undo years of progress TALKING POINT BY ANDREW BERMAN
standard apartments, that certainly has not been the case in the Village and East Village, or seemingly anywhere in contextual districts. People are lining up to live in developments that abide by the current rules, and the developers are making a hefty profit from them. But perhaps the developers see an opportunity to make an even heftier profit. Fewer restrictions on height, allowing grander floor-to-ceiling heights and apartments with more commanding views, would fetch even higher prices. But it certainly would not make these new apartments more affordable. And neighborhoods would pay the price, with less light, air and sky, and a loss of the character and scale that these communities fought so hard to maintain. The main beneficiaries of these aspects of the “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” plan appear to be real estate interests — not those who care about quality design or affordable housing. It’s likely no coincidence that these proposed changes are ones that the real estate lobby has sought for years. Now, wrapped in claims about quality and affordability, they finally have a chance to get them. The Mayor’s “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” plan is not without good points, and its purported goals are worthy of support. But substantial modifications are needed for it to live up to its lofty premise, and real changes are necessary to protect the character of our neighborhoods. These changes must come before this plan, in any form, is considered for adoption. Berman is executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
n February the de Blasio administration quietly released a citywide rezoning plan called “Zoning for Quality and Affordability.” Despite the innocuous-sounding name, this plan would actually undo years of hard work by West Village and East Village residents to protect their neighborhoods from oversized development, and maintain their neighborhoods’ scale and character. This scheme would also torpedo plans in the works for the South and Central Village. The plan has many facets, but a key element would be increasing the allowable height of new development in “contextual” zoning districts — areas where specific height limits and streetwall requirements help ensure that new buildings fit their context. In 2005 and 2010, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation worked with West Villagers to secure contextual zoning protections for much of that neighborhood to stop out-of-scale new construction. And in 2008 and 2010, G.V.S.H.P. and a coalition of East Village groups and elected officials secured two contextual rezonings there to similarly preserve neighborhood character. These rezonings took years to achieve, and did not always go as far as we and residents would have liked. But they were compromises we accepted, an improvement over the conditions then, and prevented a lot of bad development that would have otherwise occurred. More recently, G.V.S.H.P. has worked closely with residents of the South Village and along the University Place and Broadway corridors to propose contextual rezoning protections for those areas, where current zoning allows towers of 300 feet or more in height. But now the city wants to loosen those contextual zoning protections — for the existing districts, and for any future districts — lifting height caps by as much as 20 percent to 30 percent. These changes would apply to contextual districts throughout the city, but the Village and East Village would be particularly hard hit by them. The city’s rationale for these proposed changes are improvements in “quality and affordability.” But, arguably, neither of these will result from the current plan. For example, in many cases the proposed height-limit increases would apply to purely market-rate housing. In the most common contextual zoning districts in the Village and East Village, developers would automatically get to build about 20 percent taller than currently allowed for new luxury development. But in the fraction of those districts that are also “inclusionary zones” — where developers get more square feet if they reserve 20 percent of the units for affordable housing — there would be an additional roughly 10 percent bump in the allowable height for such “inclusionary” construction. In short, that adds up to a total of as much as a 30 percent increase in allowable height over what’s currently allowed for market-rate and “inclusionary” developments. Such inclusionary zones currently exist along every East Village avenue. Because the city has said that they will only entertain future rezon-
ings that include this affordable housing provision, any future contextual zoning in the South and Central Village will likely require applying these inclusionary provisions there as well. The rationale for the increase in allowable height in these zones that encourage, but do not require, the inclusion of 20 percent affordable housing, is that it will result in more developers opting to do so. But this conclusion is questionable at best. In the inclusionary contextual zoning districts in the East Village, with the existing height limits we fought for, some developers have chosen to include affordable units, while others have not. These mixed results show no clear evidence that the height limits are an impediment to including new affordable housing. Arguably, instead, it this program’s optional nature, along with a variety of other factors that this proposal would not change, that appear to have a much bigger impact upon the program’s rate of participation. But for argument’s sake, let’s say raising height limits would increase participation. Advocates for this approach point to the two areas of the city where participation rates in this program are highest, West Chelsea/Hudson Yards and Williamsburg/Greenpoint. These areas, however, have much looser height restrictions on new development, and a significant number of the tidal wave of new, luxury developments there include 20 percent affordable housing. At the same time, though, in the 10 years since that program has been implemented in West Chelsea/Hudson Yards and Williamsburg/ Greenpoint, those neighborhoods have seen an astronomical rise in rents and housing prices. In other words, in the two cases where this program has been most successful — where we have seen the highest rates of developers choosing to include 20 percent affordable housing in their new developments — we have also seen among the most dramatic decreases in overall affordability of any areas of the city. That leads to the inevitable question: Is this therefore really the model to follow? Is tying the production of every new affordable apartment to the construction of at least four market-rate, super-luxury ones, as enshrined in this proposal, really the way to solve, or even improve, our city’s affordability crisis? The affordability issue aside, the other rationales for the increased height limits in the plan are also dubious. The city claims current contextual zoning rules result in flat, boxy buildings, undesirable street-level ground-floor apartments, and substandard floor-to-ceiling heights that discourage development. Boosting buildings’ overall height and loosening the contextual zones’ streetwall requirements, they claim, will result in more attractive and livable market-rate buildings that are cheaper to construct. In fact, while some new buildings in contextual zones are mediocre in design, some are actually quite handsome — it really depends upon the architect and developer. But noncontextual zones, with no height limits or streetwall requirements, routinely see some of the most unappealing new buildings in the city, poking a big hole in the theory that less restrictions will lead to better design. So there is little evidence that such changes will result in “better” buildings, and much evidence that they won’t. But we do know they will result in noticeably taller and larger new buildings. And as for the notion that current height limits are discouraging development or producing sub-
‘In feminists’ footsteps’ Chirlane McCray, New York City’s first lady, was among the featured speakers at the International Women’s Day rally in New York City on March 8. “Today, you are marching in the footsteps of generations of feminists,” she told the crowd of thousands. She noted that in 1908, throngs of women marched through the city demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. “We still have a long way to go before we get to equality,” she added. McCray said her husband is a feminist, and she hailed his administration’s progress on key issues affecting women, in particular, universal pre-K and paid sick leave. March 19, 2015
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR LETTERS, continued from p. 14
no Avignone pharmacies, no small liquor stores, no services that residents need in our neighborhoods. It’s time for us all to support the small mom-and-pop stores that have served our communities for decades. Sylvia Rackow Rackow is chairperson, Committee to Preserve Our Neighborhood
Sorry, still in blast zone To The Editor: Re “Gas pipeline protests no longer burn, but could problems flare in future?” (news article, March 12): Thank you, Ms. Stukane and The Villager for steadfastly following the story of the Spectra pipeline from the early moments of the review process through now, when the Whitney Museum is about to open on top of it. We are eager when any new showcase for art opens, and support the cultural and economic boost the Whitney
will bring to the West Village; and we are cognizant of the lack of real estate to build museums in Manhattan. However, the choice to site anything so close to the Spectra pipeline is a choice we find utterly lacking in judgment. We wonder how this decision came to be. Building the Whitney on top of the pipeline puts visitors, workers and irreplaceable art, not to mention a Renzo Piano creation, at risk. The museum’s spokesperson appears to express no worry, saying that the art will be stored five stories above the pipeline and that they are “trusting that the appropriate government agencies will stay on top of it.” Such trust is misplaced. In the event of an explosion at the site of the vault, a crater at least the size of the museum itself is likely, and would affect an area about a block and a half in radius; with smoke, broken glass, closed streets and secondary fires affecting a much larger radius. When a pipeline of similar size and pressure exploded in San Bruno, California, in 2010, it blew a crater
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March 19, 2015
four stories deep, and destroyed 38 suburban houses. Being five stories higher will do little to save the art or anyone viewing it. One wonders if the museum is adequately insured. As for protection from the agencies charged with oversight, the federal regulations that Spectra’s spokesperson, Ms. Hanley, is so fond of referring to require internal inspection for corrosion only once every seven years. The 24-hour monitoring she refers to is done by remote computers in Texas. Such remote monitoring has been shown to fail on many occasions. Secondary monitoring may be done by someone walking the route of the pipeline looking for dead grass or plants. (Gas leaks kill the roots of plants.) One may notice that most of the area stretching from Gansevoort Peninsula to the Whitney consists of the West Side Highway and sidewalks. In other words, it’s paved. The Whitney is hardly the only institution that looked at the risks of the pipeline and shrugged. There are many businesses in close proximity to the route of the pipeline, including the Standard Hotel. The Friends of the High Line declined to take a stance against it when the pipeline was under review. One wonders what motivated them to put their own interests at risk the way they did. In fairness, shouldn’t businesses and institutions be able to trust when regulatory agencies declare a project safe? The reality is they can’t, and they shouldn’t. The reality is that such agencies review projects with the interests of corporations in mind, not the interests of the public. The Hudson River Park Trust, under the leadership of then-Mayor Bloomberg’s companion, Diana Taylor, saw to it that the easement for the pipeline was approved in a disgraceful display of influence over intelligence and for a pittance. Bloomberg, with close ties to fracking founder George Mitchell, wanted the city to convert to shale gas and made sure this pipeline was built, over the objections of thousands of New Yorkers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that approves (and they always approve) pipeline projects, reviewed an environmental impact statement that was paid for by Spectra Energy. FERC declared, in the final environmental impact statement
that not to approve the pipeline was impossible because to do so “would not meet the needs of the Applicant” (Spectra). I am quoted as saying, “At this point, there isn’t anything more we [Sane Energy Project] can do,” as far as legal action to stop Spectra from operating this particular pipeline. However, there is plenty we can do — and continue to do — to educate the public and elected officials about the dangers and climate impact of pipelines and the use of shale (“natural”) gas, which contributes to climate change and sea level rise with an effect that is 86 times worse than carbon dioxide. Sane Energy Project and our many allies continue to advocate for the city to halt the building of any additional fossil fuel infrastructure, and advocate for this city to build only renewable-energy infrastructure. We continue to advocate for an energy system that is democratically decided and takes the public’s input seriously. We remain hopeful that Mayor De Blasio is truly committed to his “80 by 50 plan” — to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050 — and that he will discontinue the shale gas buildout that his Republican predecessor began. Clare Donohue Donohue is program director, Sane Energy Project
Spring fling the meat To The Editor: After a month of persistent and crippling snowstorms, I do look forward to spring weather, green grass and flowers in bloom. The advent of spring is also a great opportunity to turn over a new leaf in our dietary habits. In fact, hundreds of communities welcome spring on March 20 with an observance of the Great American Meatout. Participants are asked to go vegan, at least for the day, and to explore a healthy diet of vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes and grains. This year’s 30th anniversary celebration of Meatout is particularly significant because of the massive shift in America’s eating habits. LETTERS, continued on p. 25 TheVillager.com
Vital, compelling and still trusted at 30 Atlantic Theater Co. champions great plays, truthfully told BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC
PHOTO BY DOUG HAMILTON
n early 1988, a young theater company got its first big break: a show at Lincoln Center. “We got very lucky,” Neil Pepe told Chelsea Now. “It really put us on the map.” Pepe was talking about “Boys’ Life,” the first of many milestones in the Atlantic Theater Company’s evolution, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with a gala. Another production had been cancelled, explained Pepe, who has been the company’s artistic director since 1992, and “Boys’ Life” took the spot. The play got get excellent reviews, was extended and “publicly launched us.” The Atlantic Theater Company was the outgrowth of a series of workshops famed playwright David Mamet and actor William H. Macy taught at New York University. The company was founded in 1985, said Pepe, who joined as an actor in 1986. “I found them to be the hardest working group I’d ever met,” he recalled. After the success of “Boys’ Life,” the next landmark moment, said Pepe, was creating a permanent home in Chelsea in the early ‘90s. They had been looking for spaces throughout the city, when they happened upon the former Parish house at 336 W. 20th St. between Eighth and Ninth Aves. It is now the company’s Linda Gross Theater (their Atlantic Stage 2 space is located at 330 W. 20th St.). Pepe said that the space in Chelsea was just what they needed and the fact that it used to be part of a church with arched windows, high ceilings and brick seemed right. “But at that time, Chelsea was very different,” recalled Pepe. “It was an edgier neighborhood.” There was a wonderful mix of people with art galleries and restaurants starting to flourish. It was a Downtown space that matched what the young company was trying to do: edgy work that pushed boundaries, said Pepe. They renovated the Parish house, which has a beautiful, historic feel to it, said Pepe. They opened up the space and added more seats. In 1991, the company moved in. “It just seemed like a vibrant neighborhood
L-R: Dale Soules, Hamish Linklater, John Noble, Mickey Theis and Henry Stram, in “Posterity” (at the Linda Gross Theater through April 5).
that was willing to embrace change,” he said. “We loved that community feeling that Chelsea has. I really feel like Chelsea was a big part of who we became.” Pepe said that the company’s mission is to produce “great plays simply and truthfully, utilizing an artistic ensemble. Our approach to theater became very attractive, especially to writers,” explained Pepe, who noted that the company has long and strong relationships with Mamet, Jez Butterworth and Ethan Coen — names that stand among those Pepe was referencing when he described Atlantic’s commitment to serve the story of the play, and choose works by writers who have a command of their voice and language. In turn, writers enjoy the culture at the Atlantic, which is one of high-quality productions with an atmosphere of honesty and fun that is, at the
same time, incredibly professional, he said. The company exercises “practical aesthetics,” a reaction to method acting, which “could feel abstract at times.” Practical aesthetics is a “hands-on approach” to plays, he said, helping an actor to get to the essential action of a scene — a set of tools that an actor can call upon at anytime, he said. The company has great foundational principles that have served it well throughout the years, said Pepe. There is a “certain amount of democracy in our work,” meaning that the theater has a culture that is trying to produce great plays and one that is transparent — not about power or hierarchy. “One of the early reason we did well is we have these amazing mentors, Mamet and Macy,” he said. VITAL, continued on p. 20 March 19, 2015
Buhmann on Art: Michael Snow ©MICHAEL SNOW. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY
“That/Cela/Dat” (1999 | DVD projection | 60 min. | loop.).
MICHAEL SNOW: A GROUP SHOW Through April 4 At Jack Shainman 524 W. 24th St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves.) Hours: Tues.–Sat. | 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 212-337-3372 Visit jackshainman.com
BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN (stephaniebuhmann.com)
hough Snow’s oeuvre is multidisciplinary — including painting, sculpture, video, film, sound, photography, holography, drawing, writing and music — his contemplation remains the same.
He is focused on exploring the nature of perception, consciousness, language and temporality. Snow has received honorary degrees from the University of Toronto (1999), the University of Victoria (1997) and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1990), among others, as well as many prestigious awards, such as the Guggenheim Fellowship (1972) and the Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres, France (1995, 2011). While considered a leading experimental filmmaker, having inspired the Structural Film movement with his groundbreaking 1967 film “Wavelength,” for example, Snow has also been active as a professional musician since the 1950s. He has played piano and other instruments with various ensembles, but most often in free improvisation with the Canadian Creative Music Collective, Toronto. Along these lines, one can expect an exhibition that is multi-faceted and hard to pigeonhole, reflecting the artist’s various interests and substantial expertise.
“Times” (1979 photograph | 74 1/4 x 77 1/8 inches | 73 3/4 x 76 3/4 x 2 1/4 inches | Artist proof | Edition 2 of 2, with 1 artist proof).
Installation view, “Michael Snow: A Group Show.”
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March 19, 2015
A picturesque, Prussian suicide pact ‘Amour Fou’ is thoroughly pretty, surprisingly witty AMOUR FOU Written & Directed by Jessica Hausner Runtime: 96 minutes In German with English subtitles At Film Forum COURTESY OF FILM MOVEMENT
209 W. Houston St. (btw. Varick St. & Sixth Ave.) Info: 212-727-8110 or filmforum.org
BY SEAN EGAN
here’s no real reason that “Amour Fou” should work as well as it does. On paper, it seems to encompass all of the elements that drive people away from so-called “art house cinema.” Its story is a downer. The themes and ideas it plays with are complex and heady — and played out entirely in German. Despite these hurdles, all candidates for limiting its appeal to a wide audience, the movie’s creative team has managed to produce an engaging, beautifully crafted and surprisingly witty little film from some unlikely source material. Set in the early 1800s, “Amour Fou” tells the story of real-life German poet Heinrich von Kleist, during the last few months of his life. Ever the depressive, the film finds Heinrich taking his melancholic worldview — namely that life is inherently meaningless and full of unbearable pain — to its logical extreme, as he begins to plot out his suicide. The catch, though, is that Heinrich is determined to find a female companion to accompany him in his epic act of self-destruction. Enter the demure Henrietta Vogel, whose admiration for Heinrich’s poetry and recent diagnosis with a mysterious and deadly illness make her uniquely receptive to Heinrich’s eccentric offer. The film tracks the development of their strange relationship, as they march forward towards their violent demise. The whole thing hangs together, and overcomes the pitfalls inherent to its unbearably heavy content, largely thanks to Jessica Hausner’s carefully measured and impressiveTheVillager.com
Odd couple Friedel and Schnoeink contemplate ending it all in a beautifully shot park.
ly stylized direction. There’s a certain lightness of touch to it, which ensures that things never end up feeling too oppressive or excessively bleak. Hausner favors striking, symmetrical, masterfully framed shots, gorgeous in the precision of their composition. She also uses unobtrusive editing techniques, and frequently allows action to play out in long, lingering takes. Her work behind the camera establishes “Amour Fou” as a film beautiful in its elegant simplicity. Rounding out the visual palette is the lush cinematography of Martin Gschlacht, who renders aristocratic Prussia awash in eye-catching, saturated color. The costume design uses the film’s setting as an opportunity to deck out its characters in handsome, quietly flamboyant, period-appropriate dress. All of these aesthetic pleasures would be for naught, however, if they weren’t in service of a well-told story. Hausner, who also penned the screenplay, brings the same lightness of touch to her writing as she does her direction, smartly avoiding a melodramatic or overly somber tone. Instead, the screenplay simmers with disarmingly dry wit, accentuating the absurd aspects of the tale and never quite taking anything seriously or at face value (least of all its protagonist). The film finds amusement in poking fun at the pompousness of 19th century Prussian social conventions, and playing up the pretentiousness and self-centered navel-gazing Heinrich indulges in throughout.
It’s a far more clever and entertaining approach to tackling its thematic concerns than playing things straight could ever be. The actors handle their material
with aplomb. As Heinrich, Christian Friedel plays the poet as a sad sack who possesses streaks of pettiness and misplaced confidence. Speaking in a dry, sweetly matter-of-fact tone, Friedel waxes philosophic about existential despair — somehow managing to sound earnest in his fatalism while wringing comedy out of his delivery. On the other end of things, Birte Schnoeink turns in nuanced work as Henrietta, and her ill-fated journey of self-possession is touching without ever being cloying. “Amour Fou” is equally willing to point out the absurdity of its protagonist’s romantically nihilistic worldview, while also seriously considering its implications. It’s not a film that claims to have any answers to life’s big questions, but is content to at least poke at ideas about mortality, love and social conventions with a sense of humor and style to spare. “Amour Fou,” simply, is art house cinema done right.
March 19, 2015
Atlantic’s anniversary season one of legacy and ‘Posterity’ VITAL, continued from p. 17
March 19, 2015
A view of the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater space, at 330 W. 20th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.)
PHOTO COURTESY ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY ARCHIVES
For more information, visit atlantictheater.org.
PHOTO COURTESY ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY ARCHIVES
There are also certain prescriptions that the company follows, such as do your job and do only your job, explained Pepe. This means focus on your task. So, for instance, if you are an actor, you act, not direct. The company also has an acting school, and if you are late to class, you will not be admitted, he said. The Atlantic has several current and upcoming productions that continue the tradition of working with great playwrights, said Pepe. Written and directed by Doug Wright, “Posterity,” was commissioned around four years ago. Wright had seen a bust of Henrik Ibsen and started to wonder about the relationship between the sculptor and the playwright, explained Pepe. Wright, who has won the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his play “I Am My Own Wife,” explores themes of fame and posterity as the sculptor and playwright “wage war over both [Isben’s] legacy and his likeness,” according to a press release. “Posterity” is at the Linda Gross Theater through April 5. Directly following at the Linda Gross Theater is “Guards at the Taj,” from May 20 to June 28th. Written by Rajiv Joseph, a “wonderful writer that we’ve been watching for a long time,” said Pepe, the play takes place in 1648 India, when two imperial guards are “ordered to perform an unthinkable task,” according to the press release. Joseph also wrote “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.” Amy Morton will direct “Guards at the Taj.” It has been a great season so far, said Pepe. “It’s a nice combination of world premieres and the revival of our founder,” said Pepe, referring to the Mamet’s “Ghost Stories: The Shawl & Prairie du Chien,” playing from May 27 through June 28th at the Atlantic Stage 2. Pepe said that the company wants stories that are vital and compelling (regardless if it is a comedy or tragedy) and shed light on the times we live in. The longevity of the company is also attributed to its incredibly loyal staff, board and ensemble members, said Pepe. Over 500 people attended the company’s 30th anniversary gala — its most successful to date — and Pepe called it an amazing celebration. “It’s been an exciting 30 years,” he said.
A cast photo from “Boys’ Life,” the 1988 production that put Atlantic Theater Company on the map.
Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER
In “Washeteria,” Tribeca-based Soho Rep transforms a Brooklyn laundromat into a fantastical, kid-friendly space.
PHOTO BY JONATHAN SLAFF
The Barn Series may evoke visions of scrappy kids putting on a show in a farmhouse setting to raise funds — but in the hands of Labyrinth Theater Company, it’s an annual reading series that retains the upstart scrap, trades the barn for its Bank Street Theater and welcomes the public free of charge. The featured works, all new plays written by or starring Company members, are: Alex Lewin’s “The Interview” (March 23), in which a potential Big Brother volunteer has a cat-and-mouse interview with a social worker; Cusi Cram’s “…in the fountain” (March 27) finds private school headmistress Kate Maxwell in picturesque Rome, molding young minds while confronting the dangerous behavior of her staff; and Mona Mansour’s “The Way West” (March 30) spins epic tales of pioneer life, as a modern-day California mom on the verge of bankruptcy distracts her squabbling daughters.
I’ve got a Barn Series, let’s put on a show: Labyrinth Theater Co.’s reading series features three new plays.
PHOTO BY DANIEL MURTAGH
LABYRINTH THEATER COMPANY’S 16TH ANNUAL BARN READING SERIES
COURTESY OF LABYRINTH THEATER COMPANY
PHOTO BY LOUISA THOMPSON
Art! Finance! Morality! They collide with unpredictable results, in Untitled Theater Company #61’s “Money Lab” — where the audience is required to purchase tokens whose value fluctuates during performances based on various fiscal scenarios. A rotating cast of four puppeteers, dancers, economists, musicians, and other creative types are on hand during any given installment of the 16-show run. They include Patrice Miller and cohorts dancing to jargon about the 2008 banking collapse; former economist Steve Zimmer spinning a story about the Fed; and (suckers beware!) showbiz historian Trav S.D. explaining P.T. Barnum’s theories on entrepreneurship. Also making a grab for your precious tokens: skilled conjurer Magic Brian frames his classic Monte hustle with questions about gambling and the stock market, while Tatiana Baccari and Hannah Allen’s fleshy dance theater piece parks itself at the intersection of money and stripping. March 20 through April 11. Performance schedule varies. At HERE (145 Sixth Ave.; enter on Dominick, one block south of Spring St.). For tickets $20 (plus a required $5-$10 buy-in), call 212-352-3101 or visit here.org. Also visit untitledtheater.com.
L to R: Jenny Lee Mitchell and Maria Dessena, from “Love and Greed (An Economic Collapse Cabaret)” — part of the mad goings on at “Money Lab.”
Free. All readings at 8 p.m. At the Bank Street Theater (155 Bank St. btw. West & Washington Sts.). Tickets available beginning at 6 p.m. on day of the reading only, released on first-come, first-served basis. For more info, visit labtheater.org.
Tribeca’s Soho Rep goes off-site and into another borough, with its first-ever theatrical experience created for “children and their adults.” This two-episode event (each the length of a single wash cycle) transforms a Brooklyn storefront into a fantastical
“When Black Boys Die” investigates the root causes of gun violence in urban centers. Through March 22 at Theater for the New City.
laundromat where very different people have the same goal in mind. March 21–April 5 at 321 Broadway in the South Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Subways: J, M, Z to Marcy Avenue, L to Lorimer St. or G to Broadway or Metropolitan Ave. For tickets ($10), call 212352-3101 or visit sohorep.org (where you can access the full schedule of 11 a.m., 3:30 p.m. & 4 p.m. performances).
WHEN BLACK BOYS DIE
Writer and director William Electric Black returns to Theater for the New City with the latest drama in his gutsy
and compelling “Gunplays” series, which addresses inner city violence and guns. “It’s no longer about black boys dying — it’s about them living — their hopes, their dreams,” says a character in “When Black Boys Die,” which follows a teenage girl’s determination to understand the circumstances of her brother’s death and the all-consuming effect it has on her mother. Through March 22 at Theater for the New City (155 First Ave. at E. 10th St.). Thurs.-Sun. at 8 p.m. Sat./Sun. at 3 p.m. For tickets ($15, $12 for students/seniors, $10 each for groups), call 212-254-1109 or visit theaterforthenewcity.net. Info on the series at gunplays.org. March 19, 2015
March 19, 2015
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March 19, 2015
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Hamilton named N.Y.U. prez LETTERS, continued from p. 16
“Meatless Monday” has been making huge advances in public schools, universities, institutional cafeterias and restaurants. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is recommending reduced meat consumption. Stock market analysts are warning clients about the potential “death of meat.” Almost 50 percent of the respondents in a special GlobalMeatNews poll said they had actively reduced their meat consumption. Accordingly, per capita U.S. meat consumption has dropped by more than 10 percent since 2005. Each of us can celebrate our own advent of spring on March 20 by checking out vegan foods in our local supermarket and vegan recipes on the Internet. Nico Young
Airbnb irony is heavy To The Editor: Re “Airbnb helped me get my startup off the ground” (talking point, by Michael Radparvar, March 5): There is a lot of information missing here, as well as one troubling assumption, and a clear, ironic lack of understanding of the core issue by these obviously well-intentioned young men. The irony, as well as the disingenuousness, is in the phrase “but we could not scale the sheer wall of affording the rent for our apartment.” First of all, why did you rent an apartment you couldn’t afford? And second, don’t you see through your pro-Airbnb blinders that the issue affecting all young entrepreneurs is overpriced rents? Are you seriously suggesting that the way to overcome skyrocketing rents is to require the assistance of a commercial online partner? Why not just add Airbnb to your lease? That is even more troubling when
you open the door to the idea that Airbnb ought to be considered a crowdfund source for entrepreneurship. Failing to separate the idea of entrepreneurship from the core civic need of affordable housing, or even unaffordable, overpriced housing — an issue that affects every city resident — is naive at best, politically false at worst. Finally, using the emotionally charged facts of fleeing oppression to prop up an argument on behalf of a strictly for-profit entity is not just wrong, it is insulting to any New Yorker who fights for both affordable housing and for peace and justice. And how about some facts? For example, did you have a rent-regulated lease? Did you occupy the apartment when you rented through Airbnb, as your lease required? Or did you rent it out and stay with your parents or partners, for instance? In other words, did you have a legal right to rent your apartment? Were you capitalizing on taxpayer subsidy? These facts are crucial to your argument, yet you conspicuously omitted them entirely from your column. Why? How can you make the argument for turning rental real estate into a “brokers as concierges” transient zone, with the potential to evict longtime tenants and neighbors, and eviscerate neighborhoods, and then tell us that your online entrepreneurship is aimed at building “community”? I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but your generation has a lot to learn about how things work in the real world, in real communities. Patrick Shields E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.
N.Y.U. PREZ, continued from p. 4
the plaintiffs warn. The case will be argued this spring. The N.Y.U. administration has reportedly been telling employees at the school’s Coles Sports Center that a ruling may not come down until October. Under the university plan, N.Y.U. would raze Coles for a new multiuse “Zipper Building” that would be 300 feet tall at its highest point and also include a new sports gym. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said, “Relations between New York University and its neighbors, as well as many of its faculty and staff, have reached an all-time low in recent years, largely due to the university’s unrelenting drive to physically expand in Greenwich Village without regard for the concerns of neighbors. We can only hope that Mr. Hamilton will do a better job of listening to his neighbors than President Sexton, and of thinking about ways to address the university’s desire to grow while also respecting the limitations of the
historic, humanly scaled residential neighborhood in which it is located. “We consider N.Y.U. a valued part of this neighborhood; we simply do not want to be overwhelmed, swallowed up or dismissed by it. We welcome the opportunity to work with the new president, and we hope he will feel similarly. But ultimately it will be Mr. Hamilton and the university’s actions that determine how that relationship will work.” G.V.S.H.P. is a plaintiff on the lawsuit against the N.Y.U. 2031 expansion plan. State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “I congratulate Dr. Andrew Hamilton on his appointment as the new president of N.Y.U. and look forward to meeting and working with him on the steep challenges ahead, including ensuring that the university’s expansion plans don’t harm the historic character of Greenwich Village. Dr. Hamilton’s broad experience in dense urban academic settings like New Haven and Oxford should serve him well in establishing good relations with the local neighborhood, and I sincerely pledge to help him in this regard.”
Woman killed by flying debris at the former St. Vincent’s site BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
woman was killed on W. 12th St. near Seventh Ave. on Tuesday around 6 p.m. after she was struck by a piece of plywood that flew off the construction project at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site. The woman was identified as Trang Thuy “Tina” Nguyen, 37. It was reported that she was talking on her cell phone when she was hit by a 4-foot-by-8-foot piece of construction fence that blew loose in high winds. The piece of wood knocked her against a building. She was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital. The Department of Buildings has issued a full stop-work order, plus a violation to safeguard the site. The hospital closed in 2010 and its former campus is being redeveloped into high-end residential condos. According to D.O.B. records, someone filed a complaint against the project in August 2014, saying debris had fallen off it and struck someone in the head. State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “I’m angry and sickened by the death of a passerby near the luxury condominium development at the site of the former St. Vincent’s
Hospital. The proximity of this construction site to 800 elementary students at a local public school on the block and thousands of residents and workers in the area makes this a matter of the utmost importance. I’m grateful to the Department of Buildings for swiftly issuing a stop-work order and urging a thorough investigation of the tragic circumstances of this accident to ensure the safety of the public and the workers on the construction site.” Assemblymember Deborah Glick said, “I am deeply saddened by the news that a pedestrian was killed as a result of unsecured construction fencing at the Rudin luxury housing development on W. 12th St. yesterday evening. This is particularly troubling because it is so close to an elementary school where students walk in view of the construction site. “However, I am pleased that the Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order and an Environmental Control Board notice of violation for ‘failure to safeguard,’ as this is the only appropriate response. A total stop-work order must remain in effect until we can be certain that the site will be properly monitored and operated in order to ensure the safety of pedestrians and residents.” March 19, 2015
March 19, 2015
Red Bulls pitch in on new East Village mini-pitch SPORTS BY ROBERT ELKIN
our players from the New York Red Bulls recently came to help break ground for a new minipitch in the East Village to be used for soccer and other sports. The park, which already contains basketball courts, is between E. 11th and 12th Sts. east of First Ave. The new field is hoped to be ready by later this spring. In addition to soccer pros Mike Grella, Andrew-Jean Baptiste, Connor Lade and Sean Davis, also in attendance was Marc de Grandpre, the general manager of the Red Bulls. This field, though not regulation size, will certainly help promote and build soccer in the neighborhood as the popularity of the “beautiful game” continues to rise in the city with a new pro team, New York City FC, now playing home games in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium as of this past Sunday. The Red Bulls were also joined by Ed Foster-Simeon, president and C.E.O. of the U.S. Soccer Foundation; Mitchell Silver, commissioner of the city’s Parks Department; staff from the neighboring East Side Community High School, including its principal, Mark Federman; Monique Flores, senior program director of University Settlement’s Beacon and Cornerstone afterschool programs; and Councilmember Rosie Mendez and C.B. 3 Chairperson Gigi Li. East Side Community High School uses the existing outdoor sports facilities during schooldays and on weekends. A youth soccer team that practices inside the school, however, must travel for its home games. When completed, the new field will also be available for use by community members. “I think that we’ll be able to go by the summer,” Coach Louis Azar of the Beacon Program said of when the field will be up and running. “We asked for a better place for the kids to practice. We had no other choice where they would go.” Flores spearheaded the process for getting money for the project from the
At groundbreaking for new E. 11th St. field, from left, Mark Federman, principal, East Side Community High School; Darryl Rattray, assistant commissioner of Beacon, Cornerstone and Service Learning; Monique Flores, program director, University Settlement’s Beacon and Cornerstone afterschool programs; C.B. 3 Chairperson Gigi Li; Councilmember Rosie Mendez; Red Bulls player Mike Grella; Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver; Red Bulls General Manager Marc de Grandpre; and Ed Foster-Simeon, president and C.E.O., U.S. Soccer Foundation.
U.S. Soccer Foundation. The foundation, in turn, helped bring in the Red Bulls as a co-sponsor. “Soccer is really exciting for our Beacon program,” said Amanda Peck, the University Settlement’s assistant director for external affairs and donor relations. “We run the Beacon program out of this school,” she said of East Side Community High School. “For two and a half years we’ve been asking people in the community so we can help fix the field, so we can have competition,” Peck added. “The Parks Department, along with Community Board 3 and the City Council were all very supportive.” At the groundbreaking event this past Monday, the kids of course got autographs from the pro players, who said they were very impressed by their skills in the sport.
FAMILY THEATER IS BACK IN GREENWICH VILLAGE! Bozomoon Productions in association with
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Young soccer players showed their skills on what will soon be a top-notch small sports field. TheVillager.com
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