VOLUME 26, NUMBER 22
APRIL 10-APRIL 23 2014
TRibeca Film Fest Preview Pgs. 19-23
Gateway Plaza tenants united against landlord, divided among themselves
Lower Manhattan,” Hovitz added, pointing to the loss of pre-K next year at Peck Slip and Battery Park City’s P.S. 276. In Chinatown, the reaction to the city’s announcement was naturally more positive. Alice Hom, principal of P.S. 124, which is adding one pre-K class, told Downtown Express — “We are putting the word out. It seems parents are interested.” She said her school has been underenrolled for two years, so she welcomed the expansion from two to three pre-K classrooms.
BY SAM SPOKONY hile its goal is to win a whopping $100 million in damages based on longstanding allegations of callous neglect and barely habitable apartments, a class action lawsuit against the landlord and management of Gateway Plaza has also revealed deep rifts among both the complex’s tenants and their lawyers. Numerous publications, including Downtown Express, reported on the suit shortly after it was filed on April 1, when it was being handled and promoted solely by a single law firm, Sanford Heisler. At that point, the only plaintiff was Maureen Koetz, a longtime Gateway tenant, and one of the key attorneys on the case was Sanford’s Jenifer Rajkumar, a Lower Manhattan Democratic District leader who is also a Gateway tenant. “This is about giving the tenants a voice,” Rajkumar told Downtown Express April 2. “Now is the time for the tenants to come together and make a bold effort to take care of this problem once and for all.” The lawsuit named among its defendants both the LeFrak Organization — which manages the six-building, 1,700-unit complex on a ground lease from the Battery Park City Authority — and the B.P.C.A. itself. The suit sought recovery of rent and electricity overpayments, as well as an injunction requiring LeFrak to finally rectify Gateway’s “defective” conditions, which allegedly include a lack of desperately needed repairs or upgrades to the complex’s windows and heating units. LeFrak, in a statement, vowed to defend the suit vigorously, calling it “baseless and without merit.” The B.P.C.A. declined to comment. And beside beginning a legal battle with those two organizations, the April 1 lawsuit surprised Lower Manhattan elected officials — State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Sen. Daniel Squadron and City Councilmember Margaret Chin — because it came in the middle of the electeds’ ongoing negotiations with LeFrak and the B.P.C.A., which sought to rectify the same conditions outlined in the suit. It was no secret that both Koetz and Rajkumar have clashed with two of those elected officials. Rajkumar attempted to oust Chin in the
Continued on page 6
Continued on page 3
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
March to Play Ball Downtown Little Leaguers took their traditional walk Saturday from City Hall to the Battery Park City ballfields for Opening Day. More photos, P. 17.
Pre-K up in Chinatown, down for the rest of Downtown BY JOSH ROGERS he citywide expansion of full day pre-K this September announced last week will be modest in Lower Manhattan, where Chinatown is the only neighborhood slated to get more space. “Obviously we are very disappointed… that not one new seat was created in Tribeca, Peck Slip School, in the South Street Seaport in Battery Park City and in FiDi,” said Amanda Byron Zink, a Downtown parent. “We are happy for our Chinatown neighborhood, but it doesn’t really fulfill a need here in Lower Manhattan.” Zink, a Seaport resident whose oldest son attends Peck Slip, said she was hoping there would be a slot somewhere closer to
home for her younger son. She understands the school space crisis Downtown, but said she thought there was still room to expand the number of classrooms at the Dept. of Education’s Tweed headquarters, as well as at some Lower Manhattan museums and other spaces. Even Paul Hovitz, co-chairperson of Community Board 1’s Education Committee, which has been concerned the pre-K push would crowd out the need for kindergarten space, said he thought there should be more pre-K space made available in a few parts of Lower Manhattan such as at Tweed, which is Peck Slip’s temporary home. “We’re actually losing pre-K space in
April 10 - April 23, 2014
Protected bike lane likely for Hudson St. B Y sA M s P O K O N Y Two weeks ago, Community Board 2 approved the Department of Transportation’s plan for a new parking-protected bike lane along Lafeyette St. and Fourth Ave. Last Thursday, D.O.T. returned to the board with a proposal that would provide the same upgrade to the current bike lanes along Hudson St. from Houston to W. 14th Sts. The plan, which would essentially extend the already-protected Eighth and Ninth Ave. bike lanes down from Chelsea through the West Village, was unanimously approved by C.B. 2’s Transportation Committee on April 3, and will next go to the full board on April 24. The committee had originally called for a bike-safety upgrade along Hudson St. back in 2011. In order to link up with those alreadyprotected lanes to the north, both the southbound portion of Hudson St. (which runs between W. 12th and Bank Sts.) and Hudson St.’s northbound portion (which runs from Houston St. up to Bank St.) would be covered by the upgrade. Parking-protected bike lanes, as the name implies, involve placing painted bike lanes directly next to the curb, while moving the car-parking lane away from the curb and into the street. The parked cars — along with an additional
A D.O.T. graphic showing the proposed street configuration on northbound Hudson St. between W. Houston and Bank Sts.
five-foot buffer zone — protect cyclists from traffic. Those upgrades have already led to sizable safety improvements in Chelsea, according to D.O.T. statistics. On the current parking-protected lane along Eighth Ave., between Bank and W. 23rd Sts., injuries to cyclists have dropped by 25 percent since 2009. And on the parking-protected lane along Ninth Ave.,
between W. 33rd and W. 16th Sts., cyclist injuries have dropped by 46 percent. Due to the Hudson St. proposal’s addition of seven mixing zones — which improve visibility between turning cars and bikes at intersections — and several pedestrian islands, D.O.T. said the new bike lane upgrade would eliminate 58 parking spots (or around 25 percent of the current parking along the proposed
stretch). Several residents attended the April 3 meeting to support the proposal. “I’m very excited to see them,” said Willow Stelzer, who lives at Hudson and Barrow St. and uses the Hudson St. bike lane as part of her commute to Midtown. “It makes a world of difference to have that Continued on page 10
April 10 - April 23, 2014
Charges fly in Gateway Plaza lawsuit Continued from page 1
councilmember’s bid for reelection last year, although Chin beat her by 17 points in a hard-fought primary battle. Rajkumar said last week she has no “current” plans to run again. Koetz, a Republican, and a former U.S. Air Force assistant secretary, told the media in February that she plans to run for Silver’s office, citing his alleged mismanagement of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal. Neither Silver and Chin addressed the suit in statements released on April 2, and Squadron diplomatically called it a “separate effort” from what he and his colleagues are currently undertaking. In addition, the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association — another key party to the electeds’ aforementioned negotiations with LeFrak and the B.P.C.A. — immediately distanced itself from the lawsuit (and any Gateway tenants who might join it) by voting to remain neutral throughout the process. “We have chosen the path of negotiation,” said Glenn Plaskin, the G.P.T.A. president, on April 2. He later went on to tell Downtown Express that he believed it was “unacceptable” for Gateway tenants to be suing the B.P.C.A., because the state entity has been “Gateway’s greatest ally for decades, supporting our efforts to maintain rent stabilization and improve living conditions.” So at its outset, aside from putting LeFrak and the B.P.C.A. on the legal hot seat, the April 1 suit seemingly served to create substantial friction between several parties that, ostensibly, are seeking the same ends — namely, forcing Gateway’s management to fi nally stop its alleged neglect of tenants and their needs. And then, two days after the suit was filed, new allegations came — but this time they were not against LeFrak or the B.P.C.A, but instead against Rajkumar and her firm. Two other law firms, Newman Ferrara and Morgan & Morgan, filed a motion to disqualify Sanford Heisler as the lead counsel on the Gateway suit, forcefully claiming that Rajkumar acted in an “unprofessional and devious manner” by receiving a draft of the suit from a Morgan & Morgan attorney and then plagiarizing it in order to help write her own firm’s litigation. In that April 3 motion filed in State Supreme Court, the two other firms alleged that they did the initial work on the case, and sent Rajkumar the draft because she, being a Gateway tenant, had initially agreed to act a plaintiff in the suit, rather than as an attorney. On April 8, Rajkumar did not respond to a request for comment about the allegations. David Sanford, chairperson of Sanford Heisler, further shielded Rajkumar from being interviewed that day, saying that his firm was in the process of negotiating a deal that would allow all three firms to become co-counsel on the suit. And, in fact, such a deal was reached the following day, immediately after which all
three firms jointly released an announcement declaring that they had “teamed up” in order to become co-counsel on the original suit that had been filed on April 1. “There is strength in numbers,” the firms jointly stated in the April 9 release. “By working together, we will achieve the best results for the [plaintiffs] who have been suffering for years in their units, particularly in the winter months without adequate heat and exorbitant utility costs in both summer and winter. This winter, of course, has taken a particularly brutal toll. With this powerhouse legal team, we will make sure that history does not repeat itself.” As part of the deal, Morgan & Morgan and Newman Ferrara also withdrew their allegations of plagiarism against Rajkumar and Sanford Heisler. None of the three firms commented on how the deal would affect the payout of any money won in the suit, if a settlement or judgment for the plaintiffs is eventually achieved. And after that deal was announced, Rajkumar released her own statement. “I am pleased and gratified to see that the two law firms have admitted quickly that their accusations of improper conduct were completely baseless and now have agreed to retract them in their entirety,” the district leader said. “Those statements should never have been made in the first place, and this is the appropriate step to take.” Though they did withdraw their allegations and their April 3 motion, notably, the two law firms did not say those accusations were “baseless.” When that was mentioned to Rajkumar, she remained unfazed, telling Downtown Express in a phone interview that “I categorically deny all those allegations.” However, Rajkumar declined to comment on any of specific details raised in those allegations — such as whether or not she received the Morgan & Morgan draft while telling that firm she would act as a plaintiff — because of the fact that the April 3 motion had been dropped. “I now look forward to vigorously and effectively representing the interests of the Gateway Plaza tenants, as I always have done,” said Rajkumar, who will remain active as an attorney alongside the other two firms she accused of making “reckless accusations.” So it only took eight days for major moves to take place surrounding the $100 million class action lawsuit — although none of them, of course, took place in a courtroom. It now remains to be seen how that previous fight between law firms, alongside the ongoing rift between the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association and anyone involved in the suit, will affect what originally might have seemed to be a very straightforward case against an allegedly negligent landlord. The other two firms did not comment beyond the joint statement April 9. “We stand united, with one goal only — to help the tenants of Gateway Plaza,” said the three law firms. “Together, we are confident we will prevail.”
Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Jenifer Rajkumar, far left, last year at a Gateway Plaza event honoring Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, at center with Glenn Plaskin, Gateway’s tenant leader who is criticizing her lawsuit. Next to Rajkumar was Community Board 1 chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes and U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler. Next to Silver was City Councilmember Margaret Chin and Julie Menin, former C.B. 1 chairperson.
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April 10 - April 23, 2014
ThieF TArGeTs sTrOller
An unfortunate mother had to deal with yet another headache when her wallet was stolen after she dropped off her young child at a Tribeca nursery school on March 31, police said. The woman, 37, told cops she was taking her kid into the N. Moore St. entrance of the Tribeca Community School — the main entrance is at 22 Ericsson Place — around 8:30 a.m., and left her wallet sitting in the empty stroller out on the sidewalk. When she came back outside five minutes to grab the stroller, she realized that the wallet — containing her credit card, but fortunately no cash — was gone. There were no witnesses, police said.
Cell ThieF sAYs leT’s mAKe A deAl
How’s this for a deal? The guy who stole your cell phone says he’ll happily return it — as long as you pay him. Police are now searching for the man they say tried to do just that after swiping an iPhone 5 that was mistakenly left inside a Financial District restaurant on March 31. The rightful owner, a 24-year-old man, told cops that he left the phone — along with an accompanying case that also held his debit card — behind after eating dinner in the Chipotle at 100 Maiden Ln. around 7 p.m. When he realized later than night that it was gone, the forgetful man quickly cancelled the card and began tracking his phone using a security app. He told cops he was able to track the missing phone to Bainbridge Ave. in the Bronx, after which he also learned that a quick charge had already been made to his debit card, at a McDonald’s also located in the Bronx. The man said he then called his phone in hopes of locating it — and was surprisingly greeted by a man, identifying himself as Jay, who offered to sell the phone back to
him. Jay reportedly went on to say that he would meet with him soon to make the deal, and provided his own personal cell number, which the phone’s rightful owner promptly turned over to the police in hopes of tracking the thief down. Police said they were still investigating the matter as of April 1, using those details provided by the victim.
Here’s a new candidate for “World’s Worst Ex-Boyfriend” — a guy who sends his ex’s nude selfie to all of her friends, and then attacks her after she tries to stop him. That’s what happened early on April 6, during a post-relationship dispute just outside a 23-year-old woman’s Financial District apartment, according to police. The woman told cops she was in an argument with her 26-year-old ex in the hallway of her 122 Water St. building around midnight, during which she pulled out her phone in an attempt to call 911 and have him removed from the premises. Police say the man responded by snatching the phone away and quickly texting one of her naked photos to the shocked woman’s friends, after which he smashed the phone on the ground. And as the woman continued to rage at him, the ex-boyfriend went one step further and shoved her back through the open door of her apartment, causing her to fall and suffer a cut on her foot, police said. The man then reportedly fled the scene and was not arrested, although cops said they’re still looking for him. The victim refused medical attention after calling police to report the incident.
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A senior citizen was targeted by a thief while enjoying drinks at a Tribeca pub on April 3, police said. The man, 69, told cops he walked into the Reade Street Pub and Kitchen, at 135 Reade
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St., around 7 p.m., after which he hung up his coat near the bar and sat down for the libations. When he got up and retrieved the coat several hours later, he realized that his cell phone and credit card had been stolen from the pockets. No one witnessed the crime, police said.
While strolling down a Financial District street on the morning of April 3, this woman was so locked into the music coming from her iPhone that she ended up prey for a sneaky thief, police said. The woman, 45, told cops she had her headphones on while walking past the corner of Water and Broad Sts., around 9 a.m., when she suddenly realized the tunes had stopped. That’s because someone snatched the phone out of her pocket, and made off with it so quickly that she never even caught a glimpse of the suspect before he or she fled the scene, police said.
One bad joke was all it took for a 34-yearold man to suffer a crushed eye socket, after he was punched out inside a Financial District bar early on March 29. The victim told cops he was having drinks with a friend inside Killarney Rose, at 127 Pearl St., around 1 a.m., when a male friend of his friend — someone not previously known to the victim — showed up and decided to hang out. During the resulting conversation, the victim and his friend made a wisecrack at the third man’s expense, to which he responded by socking the victim hard in the right eye, leaving him bruised and bloodied. The victim was quickly hospitalized and it was later learned that he will require surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone, cops said. Based on the police report, it was unclear how the aggressor left the scene, but he was not arrested and has yet to be identified,
although cops said an investigation is ongoing.
Less than two months after its grand opening, a trendy Financial District fashion outlet has already been victimized by shoplifters — four of them made off with over $4,000 worth of merchandise on March 28, police said. An employee for Urban Outfitters at 182 Broadway, which opened in February, told cops that the four male suspects — two of whom were reportedly wearing ski masks — entered the store around 11 a.m. and made their way downstairs to the pants section, where no security was present at the time. The men then swiped 15 pairs of pricey jeans, stuffed them into bags, and waltzed back out of the store without setting off any alarms or catching the eyes of store security, police said. Although they didn’t stop the theft, store security later informed cops that the four shoplifters were aided by a woman sitting across the street in a McDonald’s, who was scoping out the store and acting as a lookout, according to a police source.
seNTimeNTAl rOleX sTOleN
An unfortunate woman lost a pricey — and priceless — watch that was a gift from her parents, after mistakenly leaving it inside a Financial District gym, police said. The woman, 25, who is also a FiDi resident, told cops she was working out inside the Equinox Gym, at 14 Wall St., around 7:30 p.m. when she placed the silver Rolex inside a cup holder. After finishing up and walking out, she left the $6,500 watch behind, and didn’t realize it was gone until after she’d gotten home. She returned to the gym an hour later to try and recover it, but by then it was gone. The watch was particularly special, the woman said, because of its engraving: “Love, Mom and Dad.”
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April 10 - April 23, 2014
Train center to open in June, shops to come later B Y J A N E L B LA d O w M.T.A. officials did a lot of bragging about the Fulton Center last week at Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee meeting. They also hope that retail and dining inside the new transportation hub will appeal to Lower Manhattan residents and commuters, more than tourists. First, the transportation hub took home a Diamond Award in the environmental category from the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York at their 47th annual Engineering Excellence awards dinner March 29. Next, Uday Durg, a senior vice president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, noted that the glass façade on Broadway is finished, the sidewalk is open and the scaffolding has been taken down. On Fulton St., the sidewalk and façade are done and the curb is in. Then, he went through the building floor-by-floor detailing what construction is done – from turnstiles installed on the concourse level to the TV screens installed in the communications center through the curved glass handrails along the spiral staircase. “Of the 12 contracts awarded [to build the structure], 11 are completed,” he said at the C.B. 1 meeting, April 2. “We are on schedule to be done by June.” The target date is June 26. “This is amazing news,” said C.B. 1 Chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes. “You had this June target date for many years. And it’s happening.”
She had concern about the underpass connection to the World Trade Center under Dey St., which Durg said would be completed in six months. “We’re very excited,” added Eve Michel, the M.T.A.’s vice president of development and chief architect. “We are pleased with the project – transportation and shopping, – [we] see it as a destination for Lower Manhattan and want to determine the best way to maximize this $1.4 billion asset.” “We’ve wanted to do this for quite some time,” said George Giaquinto, vice president of the Westfield Group, the international mall developer that has been hired to lease the retail space in Fulton Center as well as at the W.T.C. He described how the company has leading destination shopping centers in Sydney, Los Angeles, San Francisco and “two in London.” Giaquinto said that they are just beginning to look into companies to lease space and that the company expects some retail to open in the fall. Retail shopping and dining kiosks and shops will be located on the platform, concourse and street levels while upper areas “would be perfect for incubator tech groups. We hope to draw more tech companies downtown.” Most of the spaces are small by retail standards he said and added that there will not be any “anchor” stores. “We want the neighborhood to feel a part of this,” he said. “We want them to shop there. We want to add to the mix (of retail and dining) in the neighborhood.”
Express wins 2 awards Downtown Express won two awards last weekend at the New York Press Association’s 2013 Better Newspaper Contest. in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Competing against newspapers of all circulations, the Express’ obituaries earned a third place award. “Told in a way that lets readers know who the deceased were, almost bringing them back to life,” one judge from the Pennsylvania Press Association wrote. The paper’s entry included different writings about Liz Berger, the former president of the Downtown Alliance, who died of cancer last August: an obituary by Terese Loeb Kreuzer, a personal essay written by Berger’s close friend, Madelyn Wils, president of the Hudson River Park Trust, an editorial tribute by Josh Rogers, the Express editor, and online comments posted by readers. The submission also included an obituary by Kaitlyn Meade on Geraldine Lipschutz, who was a Southbridge Towers senior citizen active in the fight against privatization, and an essay by Wickham Boyle on James Gandolfini, “The Sporanos” actor who lived in Tribeca. Photographer Milo Hess earned an honorable mention in the largest circulation division for his feature photograph of a man near Pier 25, published in the July 31 edition of Downtown Express
Image courtesy of Westfield Group.
Rendering of the Fulton Center.
Dining will be on the second and third concourse levels and he hopes “people will gather and linger there.” Service shops such as dry cleaners will not be a part of Fulton Center, he said. Nor will tourist retail be a part of the atmosphere. However, he added that retail at Fulton Center versus World Trade Cen-
ter shopping will differ yet be complementary. As a 24/7 facility, more than 300,000 people will pass through the complex daily. “We see Fulton Center as not only for New Yorkers but for visitors who want to experience what New York City is.”
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Downtown Express file photo by Milo Hess
This Milo Hess photograph at Pier 25 last summer earned a feature photo award from the New York Press Association.
“Great discovery of a moment in time, alignment and composition, with the bonus of monochromatic color — make watching someone flying a kite fun,” one judge wrote. Hess also won two awards for The Villager, a sister publication of Downtown Express. NYC Community Media, which also publishes Gay City News and Chelsea Now in addition to Downtown Express and The Villager, finished fifth in the state in total contest points.
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April 10 - April 23, 2014
Pre-K up in one Downtown nabe, Chinatown Continued from page 1
In addition to P.S. 124 at 40 Division St., the other Chinatown schools getting one more pre-K classroom are P.S. 1 at 8 Henry St. and P.S. 130 at 143 Baxter St. Each room will have 18 students, bringing the expansion to 54 students in Lower Manhattan, although more could
‘Notably the proposed U.P.K. seats in Manhattan appear not to adequately align where the demand is highest.’ — Gale Brewer be added to community-based organizations or C.B.O.’s in May. Mayor Bill de Blasio had visited P.S. 130 earlier this year to highlight his push to expand the number of full-day pre-K programs this September, so it was probably the only school expected to be on the expanded list, which includes over 4,000 new seats across the city. “For months, we have been planning every facet of these programs to ensure
we were ready to launch the moment funding was secured,” de Blasio said in a statement, April 2. “Today, the rubber hits the road, and families will have more options for their children.” “For decades, families have clamored for more high quality full-day pre-K seats in their communities,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in the same press release. “Today, this becomes reality. Families are eager, teachers are ready, and we have an unprecedented commitment that will ensure the highest quality pre-K that every 4-year-old so deeply deserves.” Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Silver also spent time with pre-K students at P.S. 1 on April 3, the day after the announcement. The expansion was made possible with this year’s state budget, which provides about $300 million more for the city. Prior to the budget agreement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had been skeptical that the city could expand pre-K so quickly, but as it turned out, the city could have easily expanded in more places particularly in new school buildings in School District 2, wich covers a large part of Manhattan including almost all of Downtown. “Notably the proposed [Universal Pre-K] seats in Manhattan appear not to adequately align where the demand
Photo courtesy of the Speaker’s office.
Mayor de Bill Blasio and Speaker Sheldon Silver also spent time with pre-K students at P.S. 1 on Thursday.
is highest,” Gale Brewer, the borough president, wrote in a letter to the mayor last week. Brewer, who supports the mayor’s
expansion, said there are school buildings in District 2 and 3 that should be considered. The pre-K applications are due April 23.
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April 10 - April 23, 2014
C.B.1 gets 4 new members previously served as a public member on C.B. 1’s B.P.C. Committee, and will now become a full board member after getting the nod from Brewer. The other appointees include Andrew Zelter, who last year became president of the Downtown Little League, Alice Blank and Francis Curtis. C.B. 1 had previously announced, at its March 25 full board meeting, that three longtime members would be stepping down. Those outgoing members were Ruth Ohman, Paul Viggiano and Mark Costello.
Rent freeze likely for more seniors with SCRIE Thousands of New York City seniors living in rent-regulated apartments may soon be able to celebrate a rent freeze, after a budget deal reached by the state Legislature. The state’s 2014-15 budget, which was approved on March 31, allows for a huge increase to the income limit for eligibility in the city’s Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption, or SCRIE, program. Pronounced “scree,” the exemption freezes housing costs for rent-regulated residents older than age 62 who already pay more than one-third of their income for rent. Currently, households with seniors earning $29,000 or less are eligible for SCRIE. The new state provision would raise that income cap up to $50,000 — a 72 percent increase — allowing around 24,000 additional households to enter the program, according to state estimates.
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The city currently pays the full cost of SCRIE, but the new provision would have the state foot the bill for any newly eligible applicants. The plan to expand SCRIE eligibility was first introduced by state Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh. “SCRIE enables us to protect some of our neighbors who are most vulnerable to being displaced by ever-increasing rents,” Kavanagh said on March 31, after the state budget passed. Before it can go into effect, the program’s expansion will have to be approved by the City Council. Councilmember Margaret Chin, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Aging, took a step toward that end by introducing a bill on April 10 that would make the new SCRIE provisions official.
worship SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 10:45am Palm Sunday Liturgy and Procession Begins at St. Paul’s Chapel followed by a festive procession down Broadway to Trinity Church for the continuation of the liturgy and the Eucharist at 11:15am. St. Paul’s Chapel & Trinity Church WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 6:30pm Tenebrae The Office of Tenebrae is sung by the Choir of Trinity Wall Street. Trinity Church THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 6:30pm Maundy Thursday Holy Eucharist The Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper, with foot washing, procession to the Altar of Repose, and the stripping of the altar. Trinity Church FRIDAY, APRIL 18 Good Friday Worship: J.S. Bach, St. John Passion, Sermon by the Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen, 12pm Trinity Church Good Friday Family Service, 4pm St. Paul’s Chapel The Liturgy of Good Friday with Veneration of the Cross and Communion, 6:30pm Trinity Church
2014 ANNUAL MEETING Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 4 P.M.
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The meeting is open to the public and all registered members are eligible to vote. 120 Broadway, Suite 3340 New York, NY 10271 (212) 566-6700 www.DowntownNY.com
SATURDAY, APRIL 19, 8pm The Great Vigil of Easter with Holy Baptism St. Paul’s Chapel SUNDAY, APRIL 20 EASTER DAY St. Paul’s Chapel, 8am & 10am Trinity Church, 9am & 11:15am
FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 6pm Family Friday Yoga and Veggie Night Relax with your kids and meet other downtown families for free pizza, children’s movies, and community. All families with young children are welcome. Charlotte’s Place SUNDAY, APRIL 27, 5pm The Family Table A guided family supper for families with preschool and elementary age children, of any or no religious affiliation, seeking a spacious spiritual dimension to their family lives. Registration required. $25 per family. Contact (212) 602-9622 or email@example.com 74 Trinity Place
A former deputy mayor will now be joining the ranks of Community Board 1, along with three other new members recently appointed by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Ninfa Segarra, who served as deputy mayor under former-Mayor Rudy Giulani in the ‘90s, also served as the final president of the New York City Board of Education (from 2000 to 2002, when the board was abolished by the state and power over city schools was transferred to the mayor). A Battery Park City resident, Segarra has
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April 10 - April 23, 2014
College’s ‘temporary’ 9/11 trailers are gone BY JOsH ROGERs The “shantytown” temporary trailers educated displaced B.M.C.C. students after 9/11 and assisted in Lower Manhattan’s recovery after Hurricane Sandy, are finally gone from West St. after more than a dozen years Downtown. “It’s finally, finally over,” a happy and relieved Barry Rosen, spokesperson for the Borough of Manhattan Community College, said March 31, when the process was well underway. “Oh my God, that’s such excellent news,” Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson, told Downtown Express the same day. She and the board had been pushing to have the trailers removed, but hadn’t gotten advance word as to when it would happen. She said the makeshift classrooms were definitely needed after the school’s Fiterman Hall was severely damaged on 9/11, but they turned into a blight in the neighborhood. She was also happy that the sidewalks on the east side of West St./Route 9A would be restored. Rosen said it does not look like the sidewalks have been damaged too much, which means their restoration should not be complicated. He said the college wants to put plantings there as well, but he said it was too early to determine when either would be done. The trailers near the highway and across from Hudson River Park provided classroom
space to students, after a newly-refurbished Fiterman Hall was destroyed on 9/11 by the collapse of 7 World Trade Center. The new Fiterman reopened to students the summer of 2012, at which time the school stopped using the temporary spaces, but Rosen said it was a long process to get the last six trailers on West St. removed. “The big problem has been getting the New York City agencies to approve it,” he said. On Friday, March 28, school contractors began cutting the last of the six trailers in half for removal, and Rosen said they were all gone by April 3. Contractors are continuing to clean up the area. A few months after Fiterman reopened, the trailers were used to aid the recovery from another Downtown emergency — Hurricane Sandy. Rosen said the Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA, set up an assistance area in the trailers, and office workers with District Council 37, which includes most of the city’s municipal unions, also used the trailers after phone and other service to its Lower Manhattan headquarters were damaged by the storm. B.M.C.C. donated the trailers’ furniture to other CUNY colleges, Rosen added. It took many years to get the remnants of Fiterman demolished safely, and to secure the money to rebuild it. In 2008, when the city was holding up the money to rebuild it, a school professor called the trailers a “shantytown.”
Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.
Assemblyman Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Louis Chan/courtesy of B.M.C.C.
B.M.C.C. removed most of its temporary trailers on March 28, and the last one was gone from West St. by April 3. Aerial view of the trailers before they were removed.
April 10 - April 23, 2014
Veterans keep fighting — against curfew for memorial
Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel
Richard Lynch of Staten Island, a constant presence in Zuccotti Park during Occupy Wall Street, being arrested at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on April 4.
B y J effer s on Siegel A group of local veterans have put the lie to General Douglas MacArthur’s famous saying, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” For the fourth time in three years, several indomitable gaffers were arrested late last Friday night at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Water St. in Downtown Manhattan. Their chief complaint has been the memorial’s posted closing time of 10 p.m. The vets believe they should be able to visit their own monument anytime. “We believe that the need to grieve, and the need for reflection, cannot be legislated,” said Bill Perry, 67, a disabled veteran, who was one of three vets and three supporters arrested. Just before the 10 p.m. closing time, Walter Gafforio, 67, stood in the rain holding a banner reading, “Nightmares of War Don’t End at 10 p.m.” “I can’t see how the police arrest a bunch of old vets for standing in front of their memorial, when they leave the bankers alone,” said Gafforio, who served in the Army in Vietnam. A police commander gave several warnings through a bullhorn before officers, their belts holding clumps of plastic handcuffs, began lining the six up against a glass wall of the memorial. “There’s no reason for this park to be closed,” said John Spitzberg, 76, a member of Veterans For Peace, before
he was led away. As the crowd chanted, “Shame,” the six were walked to a police van, where their photos were taken before they were loaded inside. Perry, a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, said police were patient and respectful of those who were cuffed. They were taken to the 7th Precinct, given summonses and released an hour later. At their trial last July, more than a dozen vets arrested for trespassing under similar circumstances in 2012 were found guilty but had their charges dismissed. At that trial’s conclusion, Judge Robert Mandelbaum, looking over a courtroom of defendants aged 50 to 86, reasoned that, “Justice cries out for a dismissal.” However, Mandelbaum cautioned, “A dismissal here can in no way be taken as a license for anyone here to return to the plaza after 10 p.m.” The six will be back in summons court on June 18. While past demonstrations at the memorial have coincided with the anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan, last Friday’s was part of Wave of Action, a worldwide effort marked by gatherings and protests at former Occupy Wall Street locations. Almost lost in the cluster of Friday’s events was another sad milestone, as 2,301 Americans were listed killed in Afghanistan since the start of that war.
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extra protection, and to feel confident that you can get to work unscathed, without having to avoid traffic or dodge trucks parked in your way.” However, similar to reactions to the previously approved plan for a parkingprotected bike lane along Lafayette St. and Fourth Ave. (between Prince and E. 12th Sts.), some Hudson St. merchants said they aren’t happy about the idea. Along with losing some parking spots, the new bike lanes would impact businesses dependent on daily deliveries by trucks or vans that use the curbside spaces. “I just hope [the bike lane upgrade] doesn’t happen, because it would definitely cause problems for us in terms of deliveries,” said Rodolfo Goncalves, owner of Sweet Corner Bakeshop, at 535 Hudson St. He said it’s already challenging to move
his shop’s large and intricately designed cakes to the curb without damaging them. “Bad things can happen to the cakes, and it could become dangerous for whoever’s carrying them, especially if it’s raining or snowing,” he said. “I know it’s safer for the bikes, but I have to think of my business.” But Michael Burst, owner of Hudson River Flowers, at 541 Hudson St., said he could accept the negative impact on deliveries because of a particularly positive side effect. “Sometimes cops from the Sixth Precinct [on W. 10th St. near Hudson St.] leave impounded cars sitting along the curb outside our shop, and it stops the street cleaner from coming through,” Burst said. “I’d support [the bike lane upgrade] because they won’t be able to leave those cars there.” If C.B. 2 approves, work to upgrade the bike lanes would begin in July, according to D.O.T.
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April 10 - April 23, 2014
B y J anel B lad o w
Is it spring yet?
I recently heard that what we’ve experienced the past few weeks is a new season: Spwrinter…come May flowers. We’re anxiously waiting.
Get dirty, bloom pretty…
So if you’re a bit like me and can’t wait any longer for Spring to spring and summer to come, get involved with Friends of DeLury Square Park. The sitting/strolling garden created in 2010 and named for John DeLury, Sr., who founded Local 831 of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association in 1956 is an expansion of the former plaza at the corner of Fulton and Gold Sts. honoring DeLury and the city’s sanitation workers. The next meeting of Friends is Sun., May 4, 4-5 p.m. in the small community room of Southbridge Towers courtyard. The group meets the first Sunday of every month and notes “we are pretty good about keeping it to an hour.” The upcoming meeting is to gather new volunteers and plan Spring Planting Day on Sat., May 17 (which, by the way, is also the New York City Parks Department’s It’s Our Parks Day). Friends is working with the city agency and the Partnership for Parks, which will supply equipment, new plants, flowers, shrubs and a professional gardener to guide volunteers. Neighbors are needed to plant, prune and clean up the park. “This small park gets a lot of hard use,” said Veronica Ryan-Silverberg, the group’s coordinator. “As one of the few green spaces in the neighborhood, DeLury Square Park is extensively used by the many tourists coming and going between the South Street Seaport, and the 9/11 Memorial and [World Trade Center] tower along Fulton Street’s ‘Freedom Corridor.’ “Additionally, the rebirth of Downtown…after the chaos and destruction after Sept. 11, 2001, has brought many new residents and families…. Delury Square Park stands as a respite in the midst of explosive neighborhood, business, and cultural growth.” If you’d like to pitch in or dig in, email email@example.com or come to the meeting. No heavy lifting required.
Our ow n Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra plans a delightful evening soiree and fundraiser, Virtuosity and Majesty, hosted by neighbors and K.C.O. Board members Lynda Davey and Alan Schiffres on Thursday, May 15, 6 – 8 pm. During the evening of hors d’oeuvres, wine, and classical music, guests will hear the brilliant 19-year old violinist Shir Levy performing in this intimate setting overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. She will perform Debussy and Poulenc on her
priceless 1772 Nicolo Gagliano violin. Three days later, Sunday, May 18, 2:30 pm, Ms. Levy again joins KCO and Maestro Gary S. Fagin at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Place) to perform “Pièces de Résistance: Music Celebrating the Polish Spirit.” She will play Karol Szymanowkski’s hauntingly beautiful Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35. The program also includes Waltz in the Olden Style by Wladyslaw Szpilman, subject of the award-winning film, “The Pianist.” Ms. Levy was the youngest musician (at 8 years old) to win the Kaufman Center Concerto Competition and has played such stellar international venues as the Tel-Aviv Opera House and Carnegie Hall. She is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Reservations are a must for both events. To purchase tickets or get more information: www.knickerbocker-orchestra.org and click on 2013-2014 season tab on left.
The Saturday afternoon roll your own sushi classes for kids at SuTeshi was such a success that the Old Seaport Alliance has picked up the idea and launched Old Seaport Kids Academy with an array of one-hour classes in everything from pasta-making to pet care. Starting April 12, the program is primarily for kids from 5 to 12 (but check the schedule) and classes cost $25 each, with 20 percent going to O.S.A. A sampling of classes: Make your own Pizza, Know your Gnocchi, Build a Better Burger. Pub chefs at Keg 229 will guide 10 students in creating a custom burger with a variety of toppings. At Acqua, chef Ivan Beacco will make pasta from scratch with the kids and explain the tasty stories behind each fun noodle shape. But if your child is more of a naturalist than a foodie, there’s flower crown making class with spring blossoms, wines and ribbons (clippers will be used!) at Emily Thompson Flowers. For the full class schedule, descriptions and to register: info @oldseaportny.com.
Gearing up for summer outdoors...
Two establishments presented their cases to sell liquor outside at the April 2 Community Board 1 Financial District Committee meeting. Owners of a new boutique hotel, The Artisan, at 24 John St., asked to be allowed to serve alcohol at their planned rooftop lounge. They plan the space to be a brunch spot as well as relaxing location for an afternoon or evening drink. Committee members voiced concern about loud music and noise but co-owner Mike Maisano of DUC Construction Corp. promised there’d be no “weddings or bar mitzvahs.” Also requesting a permit to sell alcohol outdoors were the owners of The Trading Post, 170 John St. They plan to put one
Downtown Express file photo by Kaitlyn Meade
DeLury Square Park, seen last year, is once again gearing up for its Spring Planting.
row of six tables for four along the building setback. Food and drinks would be served from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a half hour for clean up. One building resident came to object, citing loud music now being heard through the building’s lower floors. Committee members
suggested he talk with the owners and his building’s board about the issue since this wasn’t the topic before them. Both liquor licenses were approved. And as you may have heard, Mark Joseph Steakhouse, 261 Water St., will also have a table or two outside this season.
April 10 - April 23, 2014
Parents group organizing to build more schools Downtown
Downtown Express photo by Zach Williams.
Parents at the April 1 Build Schools Now meeting, including education advocate Campbell Brown, the former national news anchor, seated on table.
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BY zAcH w ILLI AM s Success and setbacks alike inspire a growing group of Lower Manhattan citizens aspiring to alleviate a shortage of space in neighborhood schools with grassroots pressure on policymakers. Buoyed by last year’s success of keeping P.S. 150 located in Tribeca, a group of Downtown parents formed Build Schools Now toward the end of 2013. It is now continuing efforts to bring parents together while advocating for more schools in Lower Manhattan. The recent funding of a planned 456-seat school, which still lacks a building site, is only a partial success, group leaders said at a meeting Tuesday night, It falls far short of the 1,000 new seats originally recommended by the city’s Dept. of Education last year. As the planning process for the nowfunded expansion and universal pre-K get underway, the group continues to organize in hopes of realizing the additional seats. Two dozen parents attending the April 1 meeting of the group at the Manhattan Youth Community Center, including parents who have children attending P.S. 150, 89, 234, 276 and 397. Wendy Chapman, a leader of Build Schools, said they plan an active spring in an effort to inspire city and state officials to approach school building with the same zeal as economic redevelopment in Lower Manhattan. “We don’t want to be political. We want to be supportive,” Chapman who is also P.T.A. president at P.S. 150, said of targeting policymakers. A petition circulated by the group has gathered at least 251 signatures. The group intends to further publicize their cause at the Taste of Tribeca festival in May. The activists are also currently cooperating with elected officials such as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Councilmember Margaret Chin, State Senator Daniel Squadron to join them for a demonstration at City Hall in the late spring, according to group member Lisa Midyette. Parents at the meeting repeatedly voiced
frustration at waiting lists for kindergarten students in Lower Manhattan, where a dramatic increase in population has taken place. Plans by city officials for accommodating the booming school-age population continue to look above Canal St. such as a proposed location of a new school on the northern side of the street’s intersection with Sixth Ave. “The way we have to fight for space has really become the issue,” said Sonni Mun, a resident of the Financial District who attended the meeting. “It’s totally unfair.” A March 2013 report by Community Board 1 stated that from 2000 to 2010, the Financial District saw a 242 percent increase in children aged 0-4, and a 158 percent increase in those aged 5-9. During the same period, children ages 0-4 and 5-9 increased by 149 and 75 percent respectively in Battery Park City, Downtown Express reported last year. “They’ve encouraged development, but haven’t acknowledged the fact that we need schools,” said Paul Hovitz, co-chairperson of C.B. 1’s Youth and Education Committee, who attended the meeting. While the newly-funded school seats are welcome, “continuous pressure” is necessary to see that a new school is “sited, funded, built and occupied,” according to Buxton Midyette, who mediated the meeting. An “acute crisis” is developing with a “best-case scenario” shortage of 228 kindergarten seats in Lower Manhattan by 2018, he added. Such statistics could endanger the revitalization of the Downtown area which followed the Sept. 11 attacks, according to Midyette. “Overcrowding has such a destructive impact on Downtown and really puts at risk all the development and recovery that has taken place,” he said in an email. The group enjoyed some success at the meeting in expanding its membership. “This sort of thing takes time, so we wanted to get involved,” said Chris Marcia, a Battery Park City resident with a two-year old daughter who attended the meeting with his wife Christina.
April 10 - April 23, 2014
Ferry riders grumble as weekend fares go up B Y N I cO L A s FE R NA N d E s Passengers on the East River Ferry to Long Island City and DUMBO were annoyed last Saturday, the first day the weekend price for a one-way ticket jumped from $4 to $ 6 in order for service to resume. “Six bucks seems like a little much,” said John Chinn, who was waiting to board a ferry at Pier 11. The cost of a one-way weekday ticket remains $4. An unlimited monthly pass, which includes weekends, increased from $140 to $160. In addition, on-board payments are no longer accepted. Passengers must purchase a ticket at vending machines, the Pier 11 ticket office, or through the NY Waterway mobile app. The East River Ferry is operated by NY Waterway. Monika Bolino, a frequent passenger, was disappointed by the new policy, which went into effect April 5. “Whipping out four bucks on the fly is quick and efficient, even better than using the ticket machine,” Bolino said.
T he ferry, which also goes to Governors Island in warm months, began as a pilot project in 2011 and has been funded mainly with a $3 million city subsidy. In December, the city awarded East River Ferry an extension until 2019 and authorized the fare hike. The program needs to raise the fare because it is now getting a smaller subsidy from the city and the price of fuel has risen since 2011. ”We understand the impact that increased fares have upon our customers and we implement them only when necessary,” read a message on the East River Ferry website. The ferry departs at Pier 11 and travels to East 34th Street before going to Brooklyn, Queens and Governors Island. This comes at a time when there are no ferries to or from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Service there was suspended in February after the dock ramp collapsed and fell into the water. The East River Ferry says the ramp is still being repaired and that the terminal should reopen before August.
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April 10 - April 23, 2014
New York CitY’s teaCher exodus 516 Orange/
Former New York City Teachers
730 In addition to one of the highest percentages of needy children, New York City has the largest class sizes and the lowest teacher salaries in the region.
ew York City is in the midst of a teacher exodus. More than 32,000 teachers walked away from jobs in New York City classrooms in the last eleven years, with more than one in eight leaving for jobs in nearby suburban systems that have higher pay, lower class sizes and better teaching conditions. The previous mayor claimed poverty while rolling up multi-billion-dollar surpluses. His Department of Education raised class sizes, focused instruction on test prep rather than real learning, and forced teachers to generate reams of unnecessary paperwork. Tens of thousands left, and more than 25 percent of all city teachers are now contemplating leaving within three years. For me as an educator, the most troubling part of this teacher exodus is that the number of resignations among mid-career teachers (6-15 years of experience) nearly doubled between 2008 and 2013, even
Class Size Grade 3
Half Hollow Hills
in the teeth of the recession. These are teachers who have honed their craft, know how to reach struggling students, and are invaluable as mentors for their newer colleagues. But under the circumstances it’s hard to blame the thousands of teachers who left our classrooms for the suburbs – or the
Attrition of Mid-Career Teachers is Growing ---------------------- vs. ---------------------In 2008, mid-career resignations were 15% of the total. In 2013 they were 43%. 1000
teachers who say they are now planning on leaving. Or the thousands of highly qualified graduates who will choose one of these districts rather than New York City for their first teaching job unless conditions improve. Obviously teachers have a personal stake in this. But so does every public school parent. If New York City is serious about having a first-class school system, it has got to find a way to slow the loss of teachers, particularly to the suburban areas where pay and working conditions are so much better. The city’s economy is steadily improving, and honest budgeting will show that new resources are available from the city and the state.
Resignations ons off teachers h with h 6 to 15 years’’ exper experience. Source: NYC DOE payroll
United Federation of Teachers A Union of Professionals
ritics keep saying that New York City cannot afford to treat its teachers and students fairly. But the real question is this — can we afford not to? — Michael Mulgrew
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Officers: Michael Mulgrew President, Emil Pietromonaco Secretary, Mel Aaronson Treasurer, LeRoy Barr Assistant Secretary, Mona Romain Assistant Treasurer Vice Presidents: Karen Alford, Carmen Alvarez, Catalina Fortino, Anne Goldman, Janella Hinds, Richard Mantell, Sterling Roberson
April 10 - April 23, 2014
transit sam Thurs., April 10 – Wed., April 16 ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES ARE SUSPENDED TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY FOR PASSOVER Passover-Easter parking break! Get a good parking spot on Monday, April 14 and you won’t have to move your car for alternate side parking until Wednesday, April 23! The only exception is where A.S.P. is in effect on Saturday. In addition, New York City public schools go on spring break beginning Monday. That means no school buses and a respite for parents and commuters and yes, parking allowed adjacent to public schools. POTUS gridlock alert! President Obama heads to New York on Friday to speak at the National Action Network’s 2014 Convention. While the event will take place in Midtown at the Sheraton Times Square, it’s likely that he’ll chopper from J.F.K. to Wall St., and motorcade up the F.D.R. The motorcade will cause freezes up the East Side from the Financial District to Midtown. Follow me on Twitter @gridlocksam for the latest updates, including the timing of POTUS movements. Carpocalypse hits Jersey City: The northbound (New York-bound) Pulaski Skyway will close for two years beginning Saturday. For Lower Manhattanites, this will make getting Downtown by car from N.J. difficult. The brunt of the traffic will be felt
on the New Jersey Turnpike Extension and Route 1 & 9. My advice, steer clear of the Holland inbound for the first two weeks; take the Lincoln Tunnel or head through Staten Island to the Verrazano Bridge to Gowanus to the Battery Tunnel. The beginning of the closure will coincide with the onset of Passover, with the first Seder Monday night. You’ll have an easy answer to “Why is the traffic worse on this night than any other night?” Mayor de Blasio’s 100 days speech will cause hubbub around Cooper Square / Astor Place 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. Affected streets include Cooper Square between E 5th and Astor Pl., Fourth and Third Aves. between Astor Pl. and E 9th St., and E 7th St. between Cooper Sq. and Second Ave. In the Holland Tunnel, one New Yorkbound lane will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday. Inbound gridlock won’t be nearly as bad as when the Pulaski closure starts, but beware of this overnight lane closure returning. All the Manhattan-bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. As usual, the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges will see extra traffic, as will Canal and Delancey Sts. The Broadway reconstruction project will close the east intersection of Broadway and Liberty St. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
From the mailbag: Dear Transit Sam, I have family members coming to town for a wedding. They will be traveling between New Jersey and New York a few times during their stay. Do you know if E-ZPass is sold for a certain number of trips like MetroCards? If so, can you tell me how to go about getting one?
like a MetroCard. With the “pay per trip” E-ZPass plan, instead of buying trips in advance, you link your E-ZPass account to your bank account. The cost of the trips is deducted from the account once per day on the days of toll usage. The account can be set up online (e-zpassny.com) and the tag can be picked up at any number of retailers.
Phyllis, New York
Dear Phyllis, Yes, although it doesn’t work exactly
Email your transit, traffic, and parking questions to email@example.com.
Wishing Everyone a Happy Passover & Happy Easter Assemblymember
Deborah J. Glick First openly LGBT Assemblymember — proud to serve since 1991. 853 Broadway, Suite 1518, New York, NY 10003 Tel: 212-674-5153 / Fax: 212-674-5530 firstname.lastname@example.org
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April 10 - April 23, 2014
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Campaign money flies high A few dozen protesters gathered at City Hall last week on April 2, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down certain campaign donation limits in deciding McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. As a result, Shaun McCutcheon, an Alabama man, and other donors are no longer subject to the $120,000 limit they can give to national candidates over two years, although the limits to individual candidates remains.
Southbridge privatization To The Editor: Re “Decision Day Coming to Southbridge” (UnderCover, March 27 – April 9):
Published by NYC Community Media, LLC 515 Canal ST, UNIT 1C New york, NY 10013 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.downtownexpress.com email@example.com Downtown Express is published every week by Community Media LLC, 515 Canal St., Unit 1C, New York, N.Y. 10013 (212) 229-1890. The entire contents of the newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2012 Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.
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I will preface this letter by saying until I go through the black book, I don’t how I will vote. I just want to rehash one argument some cooperators had against privatization. They contended that property values were going lower and lower. At the time, they were somewhat right. Awhile back, every tenant received a document showing the expected value of various Southbridge apartments. Since that time, property values rose and to date are going higher and higher. The latest quarterly real estate reports are out and the news is New York City prices are going up and inventory keeps shrinking. Those quotes we received for our apartment values should be much higher now. if we go private and if those that choose to sell their apartments at high rates do so, it will benefit Southbridge and keep costs down. Read the black book carefully to make a knowledgeable decision. I personally will not commit either way until I read and understand what privatization entails. Michael Wishner
HIGH RENT IN SOHO BUILDING: IS IT LEGAL? (POSTED MAR. 27):
Thank you for this Article (although one correction: Cleveland Place is in Little Italy/ Nolita rather than SoHo). New York is losing more and more affordable housing stock, in no small part due to Airbnb. Last fall, curious, I searched Airbnb for whole apartments available in Little Italy, NoLita, and SoHo. I got over 300 hits. I… found that more than 75% of the ones I looked at Hosted more than one apartment. That means it is a business for them, not just extra pocket change while the Host is temporarily away. New York really needs to crack down. We are losing housing stock, real tenants’ are endangered and their quality of life worsened, and the City (which means all of us) is losing 15-20% of the cost of the visitor’s stay due to various hotel-stay taxes not being levied. Lora Tenenbaum Excellent investigation, this is the way rent stabilized units are lost, preserving affordable rent stabilized units is as important, possibly even more important than building
new affordable housing. Thank you. Max555 TALKING POINT: W.T.C. NEEDS PORT SUPPORT, NOT MORE DELAYS by David Stanke (POSTED: MAR. 27):
It is completely understandable why residential neighbors of the W.T.C. would be “in favor of accelerated completion of the site.” What is mind-boggling is why he thinks a segment of the two states’ population has a “moral obligation” to subsidize Larry Silverstein’s ambitions and pretensions. Mr. Silverstein has been the beneficiary over and over again. It is high time for the public to see exactly what he has invested in the site and what he has received before WE give him another penny. It is ridiculous that the banks won’t lend to him, but we, his captive lenders, don’t get to see this balance sheet. Meanwhile, a third-rate developer before 9/11 is now world famous and putting billions in to China, Park Place, and everywhere but the WTC. Also specious is the idea that it won’t cost anything — it has to effect the PA’s ability to borrow for other necessary projects -- like the archaic bus terminal. ML Donovan
April 10 - April 23, 2014
Downtown Express photos by Milo Hess
Little Leagueâ€™s Opening Day Former Yankee great Bernie Williams, top, was the featured guest at the Downtown Little Leagueâ€™s Opening Day ceremonies Saturday in Battery Park City. He signed autographs and spoke to the players, who heard many cheers from parents along with some from Councilmember Margaret Chin, bottom left.
April 10 - April 23, 2014
BARNES & NOBLE 97 Warren St. 212-587-5389 Laurie Berkner: Lullabies: Laurie Berkner will perform from her new CD, Lullabies. For children. Free. Apr. 10, 4 p.m. Children’s Storytime: All ages. Free. Apr. 12, 19, 11:00 a.m. CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS 103 Charlton St., Admission - $11 (seniors and 0-12 months free, from 4-6 p.m.)212274-0986cmany.org Technique-Based Workshop: Every weekday, join workshops focused on process and experimentation in the Fine Arts Comic Book Basics: Non-Photo Blue: Learn
Toddler/Adult Preschool Afterschool Arts Academy Rock the House Foundations of Fine Art 72 Teen Program Private & Group Instrumental Senior Chorus Birthday Parties Spring semester begins Feb. 4th. Register Today! FREE Open house Feb. 9th
IN PRINT OR ONLINE w
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to draw and make mistakes without the reliance of the eraser. Ages 5 and up. Apr. 10, 3 – 6 p.m. Collected Collages: Observe the collaged artworks of Barton Lidice Benes and create your own collage using collected paper goods. Ages 5 and up. Apr. 11, 3 – 6 p.m. Framed Insects: Make an insect using various materials. Ages 5 and up. Apr. 12, 13, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Rainbow Spider Web Weaving: Create your own colorful spider webs. Ages 5 and up. Apr. 15, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Paper View: Wonder Rooms: Learn to draw the interior of a wonder room using a basic paper balloon and a box. Ages 5 and up. Apr. 17, 3 – 6 p.m.
Post-it Pad Animations: Create a flip book, using a post-it pad. Ages 6 and up. Apr. 19, 20, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fabric Jelly Fish: Create a simple hanging art piece focusing on the flowing tentacles of jellyfish. Ages 5 and up. Apr. 21, 3 – 5 p.m. Plants From Plastic: Learn to re-use materials to make potted plants and wearable flowers. Ages 6 and up. Apr. 22, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Junk Drawer Jewelry: Create your own costumes using repurposed “junk.” Ages 6 and up. Apr. 23, 3 – 5p.m.
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave (at Murray Street) 212-790-3499 nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: Enjoy simple stories, lively songs and rhymes. Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; first-come first-served. Ages 0-18 months. Free. Apr. 10, 15, 17, 22, 11:30 a.m., Apr. 14, 21, 9:30 a.m. Toddler Story Time: A librarian will share lively picture books, finger plays, and action songs with toddlers and their caregivers. Ages 18-36 months. Free. Apr. 12, 16, 19, 23, 10:30 a.m., Apr. 14, 21, 4 p.m. Bedtime Stories: Wear your pajamas. Showand-tell for those who bring a toy. Children of all ages are welcome. Free. Apr. 10, 6 p.m. Modern Masters: Sonia Delaunay: Explore the mediums, messages, and techniques of modern and contemporary artists, presented by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Ages 5 – 12. Free. Apr. 16, 4 p.m. Family STEM: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) promotes the opportunity to explore the world through workshops and project-based learning. Bring the whole family. Children should be able to use scissors. Free. Apr. 17, 4 p.m. Modern Masters: Jackson Pollack: Explore the mediums, messages, and techniques of modern and contemporary artists, presented by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Ages 5 – 12. Free. Apr. 23, 4 p.m. CHATHAM SQUARE BRANCH 33 East Broadway 212-964-6598 nypl.org/locations/chatham-square Fun Time: Enjoy stories, toy musical instruments, finger plays, and coloring. Infants to age 5. Free. Apr. 10, 17, 10:30 a.m. Board Games & Chess For Children: Play board games, chess, and card games of all levels. Basic instruction provided. No registration required. For families and kids ages 5 – 11. Free. Thursdays, 3 – 5 p.m. Call Karen Ginman at 212-964-6598 for more information. Math Tutoring: Free. Kindergarten to 3rd grade – 3 – 4 p.m., 4th to 8th grade – 4 –
Hungry for more news? Visit downtownexpress.com to sign up for our weekly email blast, friend us on Facebook and follow us @downtownexpress
4:45 p.m. Registration required. Space is limited. Apr. 12, 19. Reading Aloud: A librarian will share favorite picture books. Ages 5 – 12. Free. Apr. 12, 19, 11:30 a.m.
NEW AMSTERDAM BRANCH 9 Murray St. (between Broadway and Church St.) 212-732-8186 nypl.org/locations/newamsterdam Story Time: Enjoy interactive stories, action songs, fingerplays, and spend time with other children in the neighborhood. Ages 18 – 36 months. Free. First come, first served. Apr. 10, 15,, 17, 22, 10:30, 11:30 a.m. Scene it @ the Library: Family Movie Matinee: Come see a fun family movie every Saturday on the big screen! For all ages. Free. Apr. 12 – Frozen, Apr. 19 – The Jungle Book, Apr. 26 – Muppet Treasure Island, 2 – 4 p.m. Pinocchio: Performance of the classic tale about the lying wooden marionette. Presented by the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company. Recommended for children 4 and older. Free. Apr. 14, 3:30 p.m. Leggo My Legos – Block Time: Play with piles of blocks and bring a toy car to drive around the tiny town on the floor. Ages 18 – 36 months. Free. Apr. 16, 23, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Monday Madness: Enjoy either a fun craft, short movie, or a surprise activity. Ages 3 – 12. Free. Apr. 21, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
SMITHSONIAN’S NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN 1 Bowling Green 1st Floor 212-514-3700 americanindian.si.edu Daily Screenings: Especially For Kids: Family friendly screenings of live action shorts and animations. For kids and families. Free. Apr. 10 – 22, 10:30, 11:45 a.m. TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL tribecafilm.com/festival/ Tribeca Drive-In: Mary Poppins: Come see the 1964 classsic musical. Come early for Disney-themed trivia contests, a spelling bee, face painting, food trucks and a high-flying kite show. For all ages. Free. Apr. 17, 8 p.m. (Activities start at 6) Brookfield Place (World Financial Center Plaza),220 Vesey Street. TRINITY CHURCH 74 Trinity Place 212-602-0800 www.trinitywallstreet.org Family Friday Movie and Pizza Night: Relax with your kids and meet other downtown families for free pizza and children’s movies on the third Friday of every month. All families with young children are welcome. Free. Donations are welcome. (107 Greenwich St., rear of 74 Trinity Place, between Rector and Carlisle Sts.) Apr. 18, 6 – 7:30 p.m. For more information contact Lisa Bridge at bridge@ trinitywallstreet.org. IN PRINT OR ONLINE w
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April 10 - April 23, 2014
TRIBECA FILM FEsTIVAL
Tribeca Film Festival, you’ve got style Likely crowd pleasers, broken down by genre BY scOT T sTIFFLER Choosing what you’re going to see at the Tribeca Film Festival on its opening date, April 16, is like waiting the day before to file your taxes. It’s possible, but not practical — and a very good way to end up waiting in line. Experience has taught us that you’re better off arriving just in time and with a ticket, rather than terribly early but with nothing more than cash in hand and good intentions. Advance purchase will get you a seat. As for your enjoyment of the films, there are no guarantees. But the ones that made our by-genre list, filled with world premieres, famous actors and postscreening talks, seem more than promising. Keep checking downtownexpress. com throughout the festival, for reviews (and let us know your verdict, by leaving a reader comment). NEW YORK STORIES Before arriving on Broadway, John Carney’s Dublin busker tale “Once” clicked with moviegoers, and scored the 2007 Best Original Song Oscar for “Falling Slowly.” The Irish writer/ director is back, this time using the soundtrack of a NYC summer to connect the dots between damaged souls and music as a bonding agent. “Begin Again” has romantically involved songwriters Gretta (Keira Knightley) and Dave (Adam Levine) moving to the big city after the latter scores a major label deal. When rising star Dave’s infidelity forces Gretta to become a personal and professional solo act, her raw performance on an East Village stage catches the attention of a disgraced record exec (Mark Ruffalo) who’s also in need of reinvention. This film closes the festival, with an April 26 screening at BMCC Tribeca PAC. Based on the Tony Award-winning play, writer/director Stephen Belber’s “Match” lands a Seattle couple (played by Matthew Lillard and Carla Gugino) in New York to conduct research for a dissertation on the 1960s dance scene. Their subject is Toby (Patrick Stewart), a former hoofer-turned-hermetic-balletinstructor, who regales them with colorful anecdotes — but drops the social niceties when their line of questioning becomes uncomfortably personal. In “Ballet 422,” cinematographer and
Photo by Jeong Park
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow star as a Manhattan couple whose union comes with a price. See “Love is Strange” (part of the LGBT roundup).
documentarian Jody Lee Lipes takes a quiet but unf linching f ly-on-the-wall look at 25-year-old choreographer Justin Peck, as he pools the collective resources of New York City Ballet’s musicians, designers and dancers in order to create the company’s 422nd original piece. T V writer Amy Berg (“Person of Interest” and “Leverage”), whose Catholic priest sex abuse documentary “Deliver Us From Evil” was nominated for a 2006 Academy Award, makes her fiction feature debut. “Every Secret Thing,” an adaptation of Laura Lippman’s novel, takes place in a New York suburb. Seven years after a baby goes missing from her front porch, a pair of young girls blamed for the crime are released from prison — and face the scrutiny of two detectives called into town when another child disappears. Diane Lane and Dakota Fanning are among the cast members. Brooklyn writer-director Onur Tukel stars in “Summer of Blood,” his dark comedy about relationships, attraction and commitment. After rejecting his successful girlfriend’s proposal, misanthropic Eric (stuck in a dead end job) has an alleyway encounter with a vampire that leaves him with newfound confidence, an insatiable liquid diet and an ironic perspective on what it means
to be human. Brooklyn blood of a more serious nature is front and center in Director Keith Miller’s “Five Star.” Taking place over several hot summer weeks, a longtime member of the Bloods (both in the film and in reality) tutors a young boy in the code of the streets, while deciding whether his vow to become a better father and husband trumps all that gang culture has to offer.
REEL STORIES: DOCUMENTARIES Director Lloyd Handwerker brings an insider’s edge to “Famous Nathan’s,” his documentary about the humble origins and lasting legacy of Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters. Packed in a casing of home movies and rare archival footage, Handwerker uses interviews with colorful family members and Coney Island characters to show how his immigrant grandfather’s American dream became a culinary reality — and a cultural touchstone. Tribeca Film Festival alum Jeff Reichart — whose 2010 documentary “Gerrymandering” scrutinized the redistricting process — teams up with Farihah Zaman for “This Time Next Year.” Together, they document the efforts of Long Beach Island, New Jersey residents to recover from Superstorm Sandy in time for the make-or-break
summer season. Set in the American West, “Fishtail” has another group battling the elements and changing times, in a bid to maintain their way of life. Narrator Harry Dean Stanton’s voice gives gravitas (and gravel) to this unsentimental portrait of Montana’s Fishtail Basin Ranch cowboys, as they navigate another calving season. Cultural preservation is the goal of “Tomorrow We Disappear.” When high-rise developers purchase the land occupied by New Delhi’s Kathputli colony of puppeteers, performers and magicians, an already vanishing form of Indian folk art is threatened with extinction. “We are the flying birds,” they tell the filmmakers, “here today and gone tomorrow.” “The Overnighters” finds a small conservative North Dakota town overwhelmed by the influx of desperate men in search of employment, when hydraulic fracturing uncovers a rich oil field. The compassion shown to them by a local pastor soon puts him at odds with those who don’t embrace the church’s far-reaching “love thy neighbor” policy. James “The Amazing” Randi gets some long-overdue love, in “An Honest Liar.” For the better part of his 50-year career, Randi has been exposing con artists who use the professional magician’s bag of tricks to hoodwink and swindle the gullible masses. Hated by faith healers, fortune-tellers and gurus (including self-professed spoon-bender Uri Geller), Randi’s masterful debunking of these phonies has earned the admiration of Penn Jillette, Bill “The Science Guy” Nye and “Mythbuster” Adam Savage — all of whom appear in the film to back up the assertion that every one of us is vulnerable to deception (even Randi, as it turns out). Music documentaries, always a strong presence in the festival, don’t disappoint with this year’s crop. “Super Duper Alice Cooper” delves beyond the chicken-slaughtering and dead-babyeating theatrics of the man born Vincent Furnier, while showing requisite respect to the “School’s Out” singer’s outrageous (and outrage-inducing) stage antics. Using a stylistic blend of performance footage, animation and candid interviews meant to
FOR TICKETs, sCHEDULE & VENUE INFO, VIsIT TRIBECAFILM.COM/FILMGUIDE OR CALL 646-502-5296
Continued on page 23
April 10 - April 23, 2014
of gods and men and women THE QUESTION:
Who is the new voice in morning radio that everyone is talking about?
JOE PISCOPO! • He’s Funny • He’s Smart • He’s Informative – and a great way to start your day!
Photo by Pawo Choyning Dorji
Shahana Goswami as Vara.
PHOTO BY DANNY SANCHEZ
FILM REVIEW VARA: A BLEssING Directed by Khyentse Norbu Runtime: 96 minutes 4/21, 6:45pm | 4/22, 7:30pm 4/25, 4pm | 4/26, 9:45pm At Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea 260 W. 23rd St., btw. 7th & 8th Aves.
BY RANIA RIcHARsON Spiritual devotion ripens into carnal passion for a young temple dancer in “Vara: A Blessing.” The modern-day tale is a glimpse into the practices of an intriguing Hindu subculture of devadasis. As a practitioner, Lila (Shahana Goswami) spends her days worshiping Krishna and studying the classical dance form, Bharatanatyam, in her mother’s school. When a low caste laborer, Shyam (Devesh Ranjan), invites her to pose for a statue of the goddess Saraswati, Lila’s motivation is spiritual at first. Soon she finds that in her dreams, the glowing
blue image of Krishna seems to resemble Shyam, and she is his female counterpart. At one time, devadasis enjoyed the patronage of kings and held a high social status as religious devotees and performers. During the British rule of the Indian subcontinent, the patrons lost their power and some devadasis turned to prostitution. Lila’s reputation is called into question and Shyam is victimized in their traditional village that is run by provincial mores. The story of forbidden love is complicated by a well-positioned secret admirer who is entranced by Lila as she blooms into adulthood. The sight of sexualized Bollywood dancing on his television screen is a counterpoint to the sacred nature of her movement style. An expert in Bharatanatyam, Geeta Chandran was the choreographer for the film and plays Lila’s mother. The third feature for filmmaker and Buddhist monk Khyentse Norbu (“The Cup,” “Travelers and Magicians”) is his first in the English language, and is adapted from Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Bengali short story, “Blood and Tears.” Shot in a verdant palette by Bradford Young (cinematographer for “Pariah”), Sri Lankan locations stand in for rural India. A nexus of holy and worldly passions, the film is a sensual feast of luscious colors, religious imagery and the aural artistry of crystalline sound effects and music both traditional and new.
April 10 - April 23, 2014
The friendliest kidnappers you’ll ever meet FILM REVIEW THE KIDNAPPING OF MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ Directed by Guillaume Nicloux Runtime: 97 minutes 4/18, 5:30pm | 4/19, 9:45pm 4/21, 3:30pm | 4/25, 10:30pm At Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea 260 W. 23rd St., btw. 7th & 8th Aves.
BY SA M SPOKONY Stories about abductions which purposely blur the lines of fact and fiction are certainly nothing new — and in fact it was 16th-century tales of Englishmen falling into the hands of Barbary pirates, and then 17th-century recounting of New England colonists taken by Native Americans, that
laid the ground for the wildly popular “captivity narratives” of those days. Now, “The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq” rebrands the captivity narrative with a humorously postmodern stamp, purporting to tell the “real” account of the (actually real) disappearance of the (actually real) French novelist Houellebecq — starring the author as himself. As that true story goes, Houellebecq (whose writing has offended many people, notably including those of the Muslim faith) mysteriously vanished for several days during a promotional book tour through Europe in 2011, leading fans and journalists to speculate on a range of possibilities that included his being taken hostage by Al-Qaeda. The mystery was later compounded by the fact that the author, upon reappearing, refused to explain the circumstances behind whatever took place. And this new film, directed by fellow countryman Guillaume Nicloux, would have us believe that, yes, Houellebecq was held captive — by a bumblingly comic group of criminal middlemen whose underlying intentions or employers are never quite made clear. So, after a brief introduction to the wryly philosophical and perpetually cig-
© LES Films Du Worso
French novelist Michel Houellebecq gets a home-cooked meal, and a smile.
arette-smoking writer, we find him inexplicably kidnapped by three brothers — the obese head honcho Luc, bodybuilder/ martial artist Maxime and emotionally introspective Mathieu. And where, of all places, do they keep their hostage? Why of course, it's the quaint little country house of the brothers’ charming elderly parents, who later introduce themselves to the placid-yet-confused Houellebecq over a home-cooked meal. Throughout the increasingly strange ordeal, Houellebecq is kept entertained by his captors with a copious amount of booze and smokes, along with discussions leading to absurd arguments and other
forms of incidental bonding that include Maxime teaching the middle-aged novelist how to put Luc in various wrestling choke holds. And the whole array of events — including the hiring of a local prostitute for the protagonist’s enjoyment — definitely hits its comedic goals, drawing laughs with zinger after zinger, even as we continue struggling to understand just what the hell is going on here. It’s no spoiler to say that Houellebecq eventually makes it out alive — he is, after all, playing himself in a movie about himself — but the question is, what do he and his captors learn about each other, and themselves? How do they go about making the best of a bad situation, and where does it leave them when it’s all said and done? Keeping to the film’s theme of overall mystery, some of those are of course left unanswered, but some, on the other hand, give engagingly deep insight into the very real mind of one of Europe’s great living authors. And in the end, whether or not one has actually read Houellebecq, we’re left thinking that there’s something remarkably keen about this guy’s uniquely self-deprecating wit, not to mention the feeling that the old captivity narrative — in its most ironically authentic, quasifictional form — isn’t dead yet.
For tickets, SCHEDULE & VENUE INFO, visit TRIBECAFILM.COM/FILMGUIDE or CALL 646-502-5296
April 10 - April 23, 2014
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April 10 - April 23, 2014
Full house potentials at The Tribeca Film Festival Continued from page 19
evoke the frenzied Alice Cooper persona, this sprawling “Doc Opera” is from the team whose 2010 Rush documentary (“Beyond the Lighted Stage”) won the Tribeca Film Festival’s Audience Award. Multimedia artist One9 snagged the festival’s opening night honor, with “Time is Illmatic” — which follows the creative trajectory of Nas’ 1994 opus, “Illmatic.” Then a young street poet from Queensbridge, this debut album helped to define hip hop and immediately cemented his reputation as a visionary MC. Nas will perform, after the film’s April 16 screening at the Beacon Theatre. For tickets, visit tribecafilm.com/openingnight. Those of us old enough to remember the punkish pixie who fronted The Sugarcubes can appreciate the decades-long creative arc of Björk, a seriously avant-garde performer and video artist to whom the current pop vanguard owes an enormous (conscious or otherwise) debt. “Biophilia Live” blends concert footage of songs from her eighth studio album with animation as well as science and nature footage.
COOL FOREIGN FILMS With its April 16-27 run, the Tribeca Film Festival occupies that sweet spot where sightings of spring jackets finally trump those of the de Blasio family shoveling snow. But a trio of foreign films never got the memo. Lingering shots of Northern China’s wintry industrial landscape give atmospheric depth to director Diao Yinan’s “Black Coal, Thin Ice.” The Golden Bear winner for Best Film at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival injects social realism into its familiar cop redemption plot. Five years after being suspended from the force, the only work Zhang Zili can find is as a security guard at a coal factory. When new crimes fit the pattern of his old botched serial murder case, Zhang follows a trail leading to an enigmatic laundromat proprietor, whose possible connection to the deaths gives their dynamic a noirish edge. Opening on a classic dark and (snow) stormy night in northern Italy, “Human Capital” is director Paolo Virzi’s adaptation of Stephen Amidon’s best-selling novel — about how two loosely linked families become intertwined by conflicting perspectives on love, class and ambition. Revenge is a dish best served in the cold, and with a pitch black sense of humor — at least according to director Hans Petter Moland’s “In Order of Disappearance.” The stylish action-thriller takes place in the dead of a frozen Norwegian winter, as Nils (recent winner of his community’s “Citizen of the Year” award) comes undone after his son’s heroin overdose. Upon discovering a connection to Serbian drug dealers and
Photo by Erik Lang
The rainbow connection: best friends Sasha and Paige show their pride and explore their options, in “Life Partners.”
a local criminal mastermind, the grieving father goes from a one-note vigilante to the centerpiece of an escalating gang war.
LGBT Everyone who’s ever pined for something, or someone, that they’re just not meant to have will appreciate the burgeoning dilemma at the core of “Life Partners.” This world premiere, the feature directorial debut of co-writer Susanna Fogel, has its main characters staring down the barrel of thirty and wondering if their friendship is more than the sum of its codependent milieu. After breezing through the last ten years largely on the strength of their complimentary temperaments, straight Paige and lesbian Sasha have an intense friendship that seems more like a happy marriage. Their seemingly unbreakable bond begins to shift, though, when Paige meets Tim. A sea change in the lifestyle of one partner also threatens the couple at the center of “Something Must Break.” Set in the back streets and forgotten parks of Stockholm, Andreas has an intoxicating connection to Sebastian that owes more to their rooftop tangos than the beer they stole from that 7-Eleven — but soon, Sebastian’s androgynous fluidity becomes as much of a threat to their deepening romance as the questions straight-identifying Andreas is forced to face. Ira Sachs’ follow-up to his acclaimed “Keep the Lights On” is a different kind of emotionally intense look at long-term gay relationships being tested by outside forces. “Love is Strange” benefits from the star power and dramatic chops of Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as a Manhattan couple who face unexpected discrimination after making their union official. Set in the housing projects of Caracas,
Venezuelan screenwriter Mariana Rondon directs newcomer Samuel Lange, in “Bad Hair.” When nine-year-old Junior decides he’ll be sporting straight hair instead of tight curls for an upcoming yearbook photo, the change in identity earns a fit of homophobic panic from his overtaxed mother. Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini celebrate the transgender community of Puerto Rico, in the documentary “Mala Mala.” The highs and lows of fighting for acceptance — personal and communal — are captured through candy-colored cinematography as well as interviews with LGBTQ advocates, activists, business owners, sex workers and entertainers (specifically, a drag troupe who call themselves “The Doll House”). The directors, along with subjects Ivana Fred, Denise Rivera, Alberic Prados, April Carrión, Queen Bee Ho, Sophia Voines and Paxx Moll will be on hand to take questions from the audience, after the April 19 screening (at Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea). Our country’s first openly gay Congressman gets quizzed by Alec Baldwin, following the April 27 SVA Theater screening of “Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank.” The documentary, which promises insights as unvarnished as its subject’s last name, questions how Frank’s homosexuality impacted his various campaigns for social justice during 40 years in office.
SPORTS Actor, New Yorker and unwavering Knicks fanatic Michael Rapaport makes his feature directorial debut, with “When the Garden Was Eden.” Based on Harvey Araton’s popular 2012 tome, this documentary begins in the 1960s and proceeds to chart the unlikely transformation of
a group of players from the point of no respect to their position as one of the NBA’s most dynamic squads. Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Earl Monroe, Willis Reed and others from the Knicks’ championship years reflect on a volatile era in New York’s cultural and sports history. Plenty of fighters have also had careerdefining moments at Madison Square Garden. Some of them are featured in “Champs,” director Bert Marcus’ look at how boxing promises a way out of poverty and, ironically, delivery from violence. Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins reflect on their personal histories, giving candid accounts of life inside and out of the ring. After the April 19 screening at Chelsea’s SVA Theatre, Tyson and Holyfield will participate in a Tribeca Talks panel discussion, alongside NYC boxing promoter Lou DiBella. In “Maravilla,” Sergio Martinez’s rise from the poverty of rural Argentina to a career marked by adulation, disdain, injury and conflict with the World Boxing Council is the basis for director Juan Cadaveira’s allaccess documentary — which traces the boxer’s quest to reclaim the Middleweight title. Zen priest Noah Buschel’s fifth feature film also draws on the sport’s common themes of struggle and redemption. “Glass Chin” stars Corey Stoll as Bud “The Saint” Gordon. After one well-placed jab to the chin robs him of success, fame and their accompanying trappings, Bud pins his hope for a comeback on the promising boxer he trains and the deal he makes with a crooked restaurateur (Billy Crudup). Known to the rest of the world knows as “football” and still, for some reason, unable to establish a toehold in this country, soccer at least gets some respect on Tribeca festival screens. “Maradona ‘86” examines the story behind Diego Armando Maradona’s 1986 World Cup triumph, to reveal a complex and contradictory man who was an equally determined and gifted athlete. A Tribeca Drive-In selection, the family-friendly documentary “Next Goal Wins” begins as the American Samoan national soccer team has suffered a 31-0 defeat. Having spent over a decade trying to win an official match, an eccentric new Dutch coach helps the team train for the next World Cup — and the elusive chance to redefine their unofficial title as “the worst team in the world.” Also of interest to sports fans: “Slaying the Badger” is a documentary about Greg LeMond, the only American who won the Tour de France the old-fashioned way (he earned it). Another doc, “The Battered Bastards of Baseball,” looks at the 1973 creation of independent team the Portland Mavericks — by, no kidding, an actor (Bing Russell) who left his steady gig on “Bonanza” to pursue that dream. Game over!
For tickets, SCHEDULE & VENUE INFO, visit TRIBECAFILM.COM/FILMGUIDE or CALL 646-502-5296
April 10 - April 23, 2014
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APRIL 10, 2014, DOWNTOWN EXPRESS