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HillArY PrAiSeS lOcAl Girl Pg. 5
IN A SHIFT, W.T.C. RESIDENTS LIKE WHAT THEY HEAR ON SECURITY BY JOSH rOGerS ill it be a kinder, more flexible N.Y.P.D. protecting the World Trade Center when the new security plan begins to be implemented next month? That message comes not from police officials trying to reassure the Downtown community, but from beleaguered W.T.C. area residents who have been fighting with police for years over what they say are excessively tight security restrictions. Last week, several resident leaders said that for the first time in over a dozen years, they felt their voices were being considered. “I’d like to say first of all thank you,” Mary Perillo, told W.T.C. police officials at a Community Board 1 meeting April 16. “I see the logjam moving, I see that you’re seeing what
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Cool Film, Colder Night
Intrepid “Splash” fans braved the cold last Friday night for the Tribeca Film Festival’s “Drive-In” screening of the ‘80s classic. Much better weather — mid-60s — is predicted for the fest’s annual Family Fair Saturday (P. 21).
“I think it’d be pleasant to have cats around,” she said. The venues are especially popular in other countries, especially with individuals unable to keep cats at home but who yet pine for the opportunity to interact with them. While caressing fur, scratching chins and feeling the purr is attractive to many humans, some said they view the animals in a more intellectual light. Cats’ disdain for disturbances and preference for some alone time, are two ways Soho resident Eric Chan feels “solidarity” with them. The viral popularity of cats and kittens online might be borne out of an innate mixture of cuteness and rebellion, he added. “They do what they want, when they want,” he said. “At the same time, when they want attention, they’ll do whatever they need to.”
BY SAM SPOKONY t’s been said many times before — earlier this year, last year, five years ago, ten years ago. And now it’s being said again. Tribeca is full of rats — and since they don’t have to worry about rising condo prices, the critters are showing no signs of leaving their homes within nests burrowed in soil and sidewalks. “I’ve walked along Greenwich St., from Beach down to Chambers, many times in response to complaints, and I can see that there’s clearly a rat problem in this neighborhood,” said Caroline Bragdon, a research scientist for the city’s Department of Health, during a “Rodent Academy” presentation at Community Board 1’s April 17 Quality of Life Committee meeting. A rat problem — as if the locals still needed anyone to tell them that. “Yeah, it was like a rat farm,” said Diane Lapson, a C.B. 1 member and president of Independence Plaza North’s tenants association, recalling a February walk along Greenwich St. that she attended alongside Bragdon and other officials and area residents, and which was undertaken specifically to gauge the problem. “I just want to stop them from eating my flow-
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Sipping coffee with cats B Y Z A cH W ill iA MS he first cat cafe in the United States will open its doors this week in Downtown, but they won’t stay that way for long. For four days starting on Thurs., April 24, clientele at 168 Bowery will frolic with dozens of affection-seeking felines — a ‘cat’achino’slinging barista a short walk away. While the duration of Cat Café will be short, educational programs as well as adoption opportunities will be available for cat lovers poised for longterm commitment, according to organizers. “Our goal for the Cat Café is to create a rich, interactive environment that empowers cat owners to learn more about their cat’s health and nutritional needs,” reads the statement released on April 21 by pet food company Purina which is sponsoring the event. Cat cafes are a popular cultural phenomenon in Japan but the concept has spread in recent years throughout Asia, Europe and North
America — including Canada and California. Two Bay Area cafes are expected to open later this year. Despite additional popularity within social media such as Facebook and YouTube, many people Downtown have yet to hear of the concept of combining two popular pastimes within the local community: drinking coffee and enjoying cats. However, the idea of getting a caffeine fix while petting a kitty has rubbed some the right way. “I’ll be one of the patrons there,” said Soho resident Gilberto Miranda who said he had never heard of cat cafes before walking by 168 Bowery with his daughter and grandson Tuesday. While Sarah Gonzalez, a Boston resident on vacation, expressed dismay that the Cat Café would be short-lived on the Bowery, her girlfriend Pam Schwartz said she has been intrigued by the concept.
CITY CONFIRMS: TRIBECA IS A RAT RACE
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
WAITING HERE, NOT THERE
Kindergarten waiting lists in the city are shorter this year even in perennially overcrowded Lower Manhattan, but Battery Park City’s P.S. 276 was not immune as 52 zoned students haven’t been offered a spot, Erica Weldon, the school’s parent coordinator, tells us. It may be easier to find seats close to home this year compared to last, when a whopping 148 5-year-olds were initially denied seats at three Downtown schools including P.S. 276. Last year the city, under the watchful eye of Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver’s Downtown school task force, found seats at nearby schools for all of the students who remained on the waitlist. There was a second piece of big news about the Downtown waitlists: There wasn’t one at Tribeca’s ever popular P.S. 234 (as well as at the other Downtown schools). In another place, that might read like “dog bites man,” but many of you readers know better than that. The last time the “guaranteed” zone kindergarten seat meant anything in Tribeca was five years ago. We were able to get P.S. 234 principal Lisa Ripperger on the phone Tuesday — probably because she was working on a day schools were supposed to be closed for Spring Break. She was matter-of-fact about the news. “I’ve grown very used to waitlists,” she told us. “We’ve always managed to work though them. ...It’s not been stressful to me.” Ripperger said she’ll have room for seven kindergarten classrooms in September compared to five last year. The space will come from the usual attrition that comes in the older elementary grades as well as from a large graduating class this June.
TRAFFIC COPS CLOGGING UP…
Some Financial District residents aren’t happy about a group of new neighbors around their block. But it’s not an influx of fellow residents that’s causing the trouble — it’s a fleet of Police Department vehicles clogging up several narrow streets by illegally parking in “No Standing” zones all night. About a month ago, the N.Y.P.D.’s Traffic Enforcement Unit moved its main office to the 59 Maiden Lane tower (which also holds numerous other offices), and since then, dozens of N.Y.P.D. Traffic vans and trucks have begun crowding the adjacent roads along Nassau and John Sts. The reasoning seems to be that, since the curbside spots being taken are “No Standing” zones from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m — meaning that members of the public can’t legally use the spots during that time — they’re fair game for cops who need to leave their
Traffic enforcement cars on Nassau St.
vehicles by the office overnight. Or at least that’s what Luis Sanchez, the Department of Transportation’s Lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner, expressed in a recent email to Community Board 1, in which he responded to C.B. 1 complaints from Nassau St. residents and essentially said that the parking influx is fine by his office. But one of those Nassau St. residents, David Colman, doesn’t think the N.Y.P.D. deserves a free pass on this one. “It’s like living in a police precinct, and I just shouldn’t have to come home to this every night,” Colman told us in a phone conversation on April 22. “It’s depressing, it’s ugly, it’s dispiriting and it’s just not appealing. It looks like a crime scene, and it’s not something we should be dealing with in a neighborhood where we’re paying such high taxes to live here.” And, he pointed out, the fact that these are traffic cops who are brazenly parking illegally just adds insult to injury. Aside from reaching out to C.B. 1, Colman said he and several of his neighbors have also filed complaints directly with the N.Y.P.D., but haven’t gotten a response. We reached out to the N.Y.P.D. as well, but, alas, have also been met with silence thus far. In any case, Colman and his neighbors seem to make a pretty good point — shouldn’t traffic cops be following the same parking regulations they enforce, especially when flouting those regs comes at the expense of local residents?
In better parking news, the victory resident Gustavo Suarez won last month with the help of Downtown Express appears secure although things appeared in doubt last week. Suarez had been trying for months to get someone to move the vehicles that blocked the sidewalk outside the U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green every day, but after Downtown Express placed a call to the federal General Services Administration, the feds moved on the scofflaws and the problem seemed solved. But last week on his regular dog walk, Suarez saw two different vehicles blocking the same sidewalk near the National Museum of the American Indian. “It appears bad habits die hard,” Suarez told us. “Whomever is doing this — and those at the museum that are allowing it to happen — grew accustomed to breaking the law day in and day out, seeing as they did it routinely without repercussions for over ten months.” But to his relief and ours, it turned out to be a one-day problem.
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Landlord stays casual as troubled Greenhouse plans renovation BY SAM SPOKONY A lot of new tension has certainly risen around Greenhouse, the crimeplagued Hudson Square nightclub that has apparently shut down, for now, following recent violence and increased pressure from police. Party fiends and celebrities love it (unless they’re being injured there), neighboring residents hate it and the club’s new management is, at this point, nowhere to be found. But there’s at least one person who doesn’t seem to be too worried about the situation at the 150 Varick St. club. “Whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen,” John Maltz, the club’s landlord, said in an April 23 phone interview. In addition to his role overseeing the Varick St. building, Maltz also wields some additional influence in the area as a board member of the Hudson Square Connection, the newly rezoned neighborhood’s business improvement district, or BID. The BID has declined to comment on the ongoing Greenhouse situation. “A lot of people around here are looking at me and saying, ‘Hey, why don’t you do something about this?’ ” Maltz said. “But I’m just an observer here. I’m just sitting back and watching it all.” Well, maybe not quite all. Maltz claimed he had no idea that the S.L.A.
sent a notice to Greenhouse on March 11 (in which his building management company was also named), alleging 11 different violations of the club’s liquor license since last March — citing brawls, illegal overcrowding and extreme noise — and threatening to revoke the license pending future hearings. The S.L.A. didn’t respond to request for comment about the status of those proceedings, but the March 11 notice also specifically stated that, if the club’s license is revoked, the S.L.A. could also take action affecting the landlord, by prohibiting the issuance of any alcoholic beverage license, for any business, on the premises for two years. “Well, it is what it is,” he said, upon reading the document (emailed to him by Downtown Express) and seeing the possible two-year prohibition, after which he went on to somewhat freely speculate about what he could do with the Varick St. space if Greenhouse were to go by the wayside. “You know, it’s a prime location,” he said. “If I get the space back, it could be used for any number of purposes. And then if it became a wine-tasting book club someday, the S.L.A. probably wouldn’t have any problems with that.” In any case, that notice could have something to do with why Greenhouse’s operators may have temporarily rescind-
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John Maltz, the landlord of Greenhouse’s 150 Varick St. building and a board member of Hudson Square’s business improvement district.
ed a recent application to renew their liquor license — which expires at the end of this month — although they couldn’t be reached for comment. Some media outlets have reported that the operators never filed that application, but they did file it back in March, according to Community Board 2, which wrote a resolution opposing the application after receiving word of it from the S.L.A.
Speaking of the club’s operators, although they haven’t said anything publicly, it’s been reported that the club — which still has several years left on its lease, Maltz noted — will soon be undergoing renovations and rebranding. “Their plan is to remodel and improve the venue in order to create a better relationship with the community,” Maltz said of the unnamed ownership, which, he added, took over from the previous operators several months ago. Specific details about the nature of those improvements are still unclear, but the landlord stated that, “a lot of times, it’s just about changing the kind of music you play, because that can change the clientele. “[The new operators] are not being thickheaded about this, and their intent is to be a responsible neighbor,” he said. But a local resident who’s helped lead the charge against a renewal of Greenhouse’s liquor license — citing alleged drug deals on the block, along with frequent street fights and both urination and defecation around neighboring buildings — didn’t share Maltz’s easy-going spirit about the future of the club. “They have zero credibility with the Continued on page 6
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
GANG BEATS AND ROBS STRANGER ON A TRAIN
It could’ve been you, your friends or anyone who doesn’t think twice about riding the subway late at night, or in the wee hours of the morning. But early Sunday morning, April 20, it was one unsuspecting man who faced the urban nightmare of being surrounded by 12 thugs on a quiet train car, and then pummeled and robbed with no one there to stop it, according to police.. The victim, 29, told cops he boarded the southbound 1 train at Christopher St. around 1:30 a.m., along with the dozen men who at first seemed to present no danger. But after the train had passed the next couple of stops and was on its way to Franklin St. in Tribeca, the attack began. All 12 of the men suddenly surrounded the defenseless victim and began repeatedly punching him all over his body, and then snatched away his wallet while he was down, police said. The assault continued until the Franklin St. stop, when the vicious group reportedly got off the train, leaving the beaten man alone on the train. Minutes later, the victim — who suffered minor injuries but refused medical attention — got off at Chambers St., and immediately called police to report the nightmarish incident. Officers responded to the scene and hunted for the suspects along both Franklin and Canal Sts., but initially came up empty. But then, cops decided to check out the suspects’ point of origin, around the Christopher St. station — and that’s where they spotted five of the 12 alleged criminals, apparently hanging around and waiting for their next mark. With the victim providing a positive identification at the scene, police arrested five suspects between 18 and 23 years old, although they didn’t recover the wallet. All five men were charged with second degree robbery. The seven other suspects are still at large, police said.
L.E.S. SENIOR BEATEN AND ROBBED
Police are also searching for an unidentified man who allegedly beat up and robbed a senior citizen inside his Lower East Side apartment building April 15, leaving the elderly man hospitalized. The suspect, shown at right in video surveillance footage, reportedly followed the 65-year-old man into
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the building at Madison and Pike Sts. around 6:20 p.m., and menacingly cornered him in the fourth-floor stairwell. Police say after the robber demanded money, he punched the senior, causing him to fall down the stairs and suffer a fractured knee, for which he was later treated at NY Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital (formerly Downtown Hospital). When the elderly man was down, the suspect reportedly swiped his wallet — containing $1,600 in cash and multiple credit cards — and fled the scene. Cops described the suspect as a black male in his 30s, approximately 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, last seen wearing red sweatpants, a red hooded sweatshirt, a black jacket and a red baseball cap.
A young man was robbed at knifepoint in the Financial District on April 16, police said. The victim, 18, told cops he was walking north on Cliff St., between John and Fulton Sts., around 8:30 p.m. when he was approached from behind and surrounded by three men wearing ski masks. Two of them then pulled out knives and demanded the man’s cash, after which he complied and handed over $169 out of his wallet, police said. The masked muggers then fled south on Cliff St. and turned east on John St., according to the victim. Initial searches for the suspects have been unsuccessful, but the investigation is ongoing, police said.
An unidentified man claiming to have a gun robbed a Tribeca bank on April 19, police said. A female teller at the Capital One bank, at 96 W. Broadway, told cops that the man walked in around 1:30 pm. and passed her a note stating, “I have a [freaking] gun give me $3,000.” The teller, in fear, took out the cash and handed it over, after which the suspect fled out the door and dashed into the nearby Chambers St. subway station, police said. Initial searches for the suspect have been unsuccessful, but the investigation is ongoing, police said.
A fleet-footed thief targeted a young man from Boston on April 21 near a busy Canal St. intersection, police said.
Police are searching for this individual who allegedly assaulted and robbed a man on the Lower East Side
The victim, 19, told cops he was lost while walking along Greene St., just below Canal, around 2:45 p.m., and was looking up directions on his iPhone. While the out-of-towner was focused on the screen, the unknown thief snuck up from behind, snatched the phone right out of his hands and took off running, police said. The victim told cops he chased after the suspect, but soon lost him amid the crowds of Canal St. — and now, police are continuing their own search. Coincidentally, the crime occurred the day of the Boston Marathon, one year after terrorists killed runners and spectators at the race.
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APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Teen draws Hillary’s praise before Chelsea’s big announcement B Y SA M S P O K O N Y At a high-profile forum at the Lower East Girls Club last week all eyes were initially on the organization’s featured guests, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, who were there speaking and taking questions as part of the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings” initiative to empower girls across the world. But for one teen in attendance April 17, the event’s Q&A period quickly became one of the most important moments of her life. Nova Bajamonti, 19, a student who began attending L.E.S. Girls Club programs several years ago and has now become a proud Girls Club employee, raised her hand, stood up and made an admission that drew gasps and applause from the crowd. “For the first time publicly, I want to say that I’m an undocumented immigrant,” said Bajamonti, speaking through tears. “It’s been very hard for me because I don’t have the documentation I need to get a job, to vote, which is essential to women’s representation, or to buy an apartment, or to take out a loan for college,” she continued, going on to explain she came with her parents from their native Croatia at the age of 5 and has lived in America ever since. Bajamonti, who now lives in Woodside, Queens with her mother, later said she’s soon graduating from the Borough of Manhattan Community College in Lower Manhattan, and will be going on to Brooklyn College this fall. Although she’s struggled after her green card application was denied — her mother’s has been pending since 2006, and her father’s was also denied, leading him to leave America — Bajamonti now works at La Tiendita, the L.E.S. Girls Club booth in the Essex St. Market, which sells products made by club members and is operated through a job-training program that focuses on professional development and culinary arts training. The Girls Club’s main center, where the Clin-
ton Foundation forum was held, is located on E. Eighth St. During her question for the Clintons, the teen went on ask: “What do we need to do to make [immigration reform] a priority when it comes to Congress? Because this is an extreme glass ceiling for me that I can’t even control.” And before answering, Hillary Clinton took a moment to praise the girl for her courage to come out. “That was really brave, and I thank you for doing that,” said the former U.S. Secretary of State who is considering another run for president, “because it’s important to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. One of the big hopes I have is that we can get back to being a country where people can understand what others are going through, and have empathy for it, and really try to help each other.” Clinton went on to stress her strong support for immigration reform legislation that has passed the U.S. Senate — a bill that would create a path to citizenship for Bajamonti and America’s 11 million other undocumented immigrants — but has not made it through the Republicandominated House of Representatives. Later, Bajamonti said that response from one of the world’s most idolized women made her declaration worthwhile. “It was very empowering,” she said. “It was a very big and liberating moment for me. I’ve been keeping this secret in order to protect myself for so many years, but after seeing inspiring women and seeing this conversation, I felt empowered to say what I’m going through, and what I’ve had to live through all my life. “When we’re talking about empowering women, it’s great to get politics involved,” she continued, “because of the fact that I can’t apply for the same jobs, can’t get financial aid to help
Downtown Express photos by Sam Spokony
Nova Bajamonti, 19, breathed a sigh of relief after last week’s L.E.S. Girls Club Forum, where she revealed the long-kept secret that she is an undocumented immigrant.
Continued on page 16
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Chelsea Clinton, left, and Hillary Clinton were the featured guests at the Girls Club forum, which was being held as part of the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings”initiative for girls across the world.
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APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Residents, pols want Greenhouse gone for good Continued from page 3
neighborhood, and I don’t think any of us believe they’re really going to clean up their act,” said Richard Blodgett, president of the Charlton St. Block Association, which represents residents who live just around the corner from the club. He’s been backed by a neighboring block association on Vandam St., which consists of residents who live just outside the crime-plagued haunt. “Our hope is that they will close and stay closed,” said Blodgett, who has previously met with Maltz to discuss residents’ concerns about Greenhouse. “I give him credit for meeting with us, but John just doesn’t want to acknowledge that this is a problem in the neighborhood,” the block association president said of the landlord, while also noting that at least 50 residents who live around the club have already written to the S.L.A. to oppose a new liquor license. For his part, Maltz considers residential concerns to be a natural product of a “neighborhood in transition,” since Hudson Square had previously been a largely industrial area. “The reality is that anytime they rezone an area, this is a typical friction point, and suddenly the uses that
were grandfathered in come under pressure,” he said, referring to the fact that Greenhouse was allowed to remain in place after last year’s Hudson Square rezoning banned nightclubs from the area.
railed against the nightclub — they’re now backed by the neighborhood’s elected officials. “The State Liquor Authority should shut down Greenhouse, once and for all,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman,
‘[Greenhouse has] zero credibility with the neighborhood, and I don’t think any of us believe they’re really going to clean up their act.’ The landlord explained that he sympathizes with long-term residents of the surrounding area, who’ve had to deal with the club’s raucous presence in recent years, but he didn’t express the same sympathy to anyone who might buy a home near the club in the future (if it remains open and licensed). “Nobody is sympathetic with people who buy houses next to J.F.K. Airport and then complain about the noise,” he said. But it isn’t just residents who’ve
in an April 23 emailed statement. “The operators have clearly shown they don’t know how to run a safe venue for customers, and in the process they’ve shown no respect for the local neighborhood. “The situation doesn’t call for a ‘rebranding’ of the venue, a laughable suggestion from the owners,” Hoylman continued, “but for the S.L.A. to take the strongest action possible and revoke the license for Greenhouse entirely — period, end of story — before someone else gets seriously injured, or worse.”
Back in March, Hoylman, State Assemblymember Deborah Glick and City Councilmember Corey Johnson had also written letters to the S.L.A. opposing Greenhouse’s liquor license application shortly after C.B. 2 voiced its own opposition. “Well, there you have it — there are political forces at work here,” said Maltz, when asked about the electeds’ condemnation of the club. Thinking in terms of the pols’ responsiveness to local residents, he claimed that none of the commercial tenants in Hudson Square have come to him, or the BID, with complaints about the presence of Greenhouse in the area. “From a commercial perspective, the club really has no presence, because they’re not even open during [daytime] business hours,” the landlord said. “But, of course, the commercial tenants here can’t vote for the local councilmember.” Meanwhile, Blodgett and his supporters are just hoping that the rebranding and reopening of Greenhouse is nothing more than a pipe dream for its new operators. “It’s been hell for our neighborhood,” he said. “All we want is for them to be gone, and for something that actually benefits the community to replace them.”
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APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
A busy night in the life of Gale Brewer B y H e at h e r D u b in There are seven events on deck tonight, and Manhattan’s 27th borough president, Gale Brewer, wants to hit them all. This should come as no surprise. Brewer, a Democrat, formerly was the city councilmember for the Upper West Side’s District 6 for 12 years, during which she was on 10 different committees. From passing legislation to restrict large storefronts on the Upper West Side and sponsoring paid sick leave for workers, to preventing tenant evictions and leading technology initiatives, Brewer is determined. At the borough president’s office on Centre St., before the mad scramble begins on this February night, press secretary Stephanie Hoo goes over the schedule, skeptical they’ll be able to complete it — especially since the first stop is a Community Board 1 meeting with real estate on the agenda. And then there are logistics — traveling from Tribeca to the Upper East Side, with stops along the way in Harlem, Midtown, the Upper West Side and Hell’s Kitchen. Hoo offers a quick tour of the office. Aldrin Bonilla, deputy borough president for community and borough operations, is making his own Xerox copies. The tour is followed by an in-depth discussion of the vending machine down the hall. Much to the delight of staffers, the vending machine — previously stocked with healthy treats under Mayor Bloomberg — now sports junk food. “It literally happened last week — unannounced,” Hoo said. “There are Twizzlers and actual potato chips.”
Downtown Express file photo by Sam Spokony
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer at the Feb. 25 Community Board 1 meeting where she and fellow officials announced the Seaport Working Group.
Brewer emerges from her office slightly after 6 p.m., coat on, holding a stack of manila file folders crammed with papers, and leads us out at a rapid clip. Her day started around 6:30 a.m., with letters, followed by an 8:30 a.m. meeting on business improvement districts and a press conference at 10:30 a.m. “And from there, on and on,” she said. Usually, after a busy day, she has an additional five to six meetings per night. After work, Brewer catches Errol Lewis’s “Inside City Hall” on NY 1 on TV. “FiOS won’t make a dent in New York because of Errol Lewis,” she said. “I try to get home
by 10 p.m. to watch him, and then I read two newspapers. Read, read, read — watch the news, and have dinner.” Then she views MSNBC news programs, with a 12:30 a.m. bedtime. It’s now 6:30 p.m. as Andre Davis, the borough president’s driver, drops us at Hudson and Canal Sts., where Hunter College’s new master’s of fine arts program is based. A Community Board 1 meeting is being held here tonight. Brewer joins leaders to announce the formation of the Seaport Working Group to find consensus with Howard Hughes Corp. on neighborhood development plans. “I’m new to this job, but not to bringing
people together,” Brewer told the audience of roughly 100. She acknowledged the community’s role, touting the working group’s diversity and balanced perspective. Back in the car at 7 p.m., we deconstruct the meeting. Brewer thinks the working group concept is a good one. “You don’t need it for everyone,” she said, “just the big projects.” The conversation turns to affordable housing, one of the issues Brewer campaigned on. She recalled the J-51 tax abatements under former Mayor Ed Koch, which allowed landlords to renovate apartments, and then bring them to market rate, which started the neighborhood’s gentrification. “That was happening on the West Side,” Brewer said. “They weren’t renovated. No way. They might’ve been if it was monitored correctly. What you need is a balance. It’s tipped over.” It’s 7:22 p.m. and next up is a town hall meeting hosted by State Senator Brad Hoylman at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, on W. 59th St. One hundred and forty people have turned out to learn about and voice their views on the mayor’s “Vision Zero” traffic and pedestrian safety plan. “Vision Zero” aims to eliminate traffic-related fatalities within a decade. On the same subject, Brewer shared how deeply affected she was at a recent press conference on pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents. “I’m glad I was wearing glasses,” she said, clarifying with emphasis, “sunglasses. There were Continued on page 10
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Rats have their run of Tribeca Continued from page 1
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ers,” said Anne Patterson, a member of Friends of Bogardus Garden, which cares for the green space along W. Broadway, between Chambers and Reade Sts. But while there are certainly some hot spots in the community — generally areas around restaurants and construction sites, as well as certain open spaces like Bogardus — Tribeca’s march of the rodents can’t be stopped just by dealing with individual property owners, or loading up troublesome lots with poisoned bait, according to the Health Dept. Instead, it’ll take a village, as the saying goes. “It’s really reached the neighborhood level, where you have rats feeding in communal garbage cans along the street and plastic bags sitting outside buildings, whether they’re commercial or residential,” said Bragdon. “So at this point it becomes a community issue, and it’s one that won’t be solved unless you have numerous people who live and work here participating in a rat control plan.” And a key part of rat control, she stressed, is garbage management. That means making sure plastic garbage bags aren’t overflowing or leaking when they’re taken outside — and specifically for residents and building workers, a potentially helpful approach involves taking out the trash in the early morning, rather than at night, Bragdon explained, giving rats much less of an opportunity to scrounge through the piles overnight before city sanitation workers make their morning pickup rounds. Speaking more broadly, the Health Dept. rep also pointed out that standard city trash cans — those of the steel mesh variety, often found on street corners — are often a haven for rats, who easily drag away food through the openings in the steel wire or feast on inevitable leaks onto the sidewalk. Notably, Health Department studies have shown that neighborhoods with a business improvement district, or BID, are generally more protected against rodents because they invest money in solid steel trash cans, or, as with the Downtown Alliance — the major BID below Chambers St. — they even go as far as purchasing solar-powered trash compactors, which are fully sealed and keep the rats at bay. But for now, of course, Tribecans will have to do the best with what they have. And Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who stopped by the April 17 meeting, remained relatively optimistic about tackling the problem. “We can get rid of the rats, but boy, it’s a collaborative effort,” said Brewer, who had a similar experience in her last job as an Upper West Side City Councilmember. She explained that one successful initiative involved bringing together numerous residential building superintendents to figure out shared problems and work jointly on things like garbage management. Another, she pointed out, involved focusing attention on certain “culprits” who neglected to deal with ongoing rodent infestations on their property. One of those generally recognized culprits is the owner of a currently vacant lot at 403 Greenwich St., on which an eight-story luxury residential building is planned. The lot, which has remained empty since the demolition of its previous building last year, received a D.O.H.
Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony
The front of the 403 Greenwich St. lot.
violation this year after officials found that it contained numerous nests, housing swarms of rodents that likely feed off garbage from neighboring restaurants including the adjacent Wolfgang’s Steakhouse (which has not faced any interior infestation or received any violations). During the April 17 meeting, Bragdon said that the city has since treated the lot with bait — and billed the owner, 403 Greenwich Enterprises — but added that, based on what she’s seen recently, the owner still hasn’t done much to help the situation. “After today I’ll make sure that we issue them another violation,” she said. A representative of 403 Greenwich Enterprises said in an April 21 phone interview, that an exterminator visits the site monthly, but didn’t seem concerned about the ongoing attention from the Health Dept. That’s likely because rat-related violations carry a relative miniscule fine. After $300 for a first offense, repeat incidents can only bump the fine up to a maximum of $2,000 — not worthy of much financial concern for a Tribeca developer. But in any case, that 403 Greenwich St. lot may not remain vacant for much longer, even though Department of Buildings construction permits have yet to be filed. The owner’s rep, who did not give his name, told Downtown Express that construction on the site will begin within the next two months. Meanwhile, another rat hot spot identified by Bragdon is located inside one of the sidewalk planters along Greenwich St., at the corner of Franklin St. — just outside the Tribeca Deli, which is located alongside the I.P.N. residential development. She pointed out that the soil in the planter contains “several active burrows” that house the rodents. A worker at the Tribeca Deli said he had never seen any rats outside, but he wasn’t interested in discussing the matter in much detail. The deli is just a block away from Josephine, a restaurant at the corner of Greenwich and Harrison Sts. that was briefly shut down by D.O.H. in December due to, among other things, rats spotted in the kitchen.
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
TRANSIT SAM In the Lincoln Tunnel, the New Yorkbound south tube will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday. During the same hours, one inbound lane of the Holland Tunnel will close. That’ll spell major slow downs into Lower Manhattan and on Canal St. all night long. The Tribeca Film Festival wraps up on Sunday. Watch out for extra traffic at the Tribeca Film Center on the east side of Greenwich St. between Franklin and N Moore Sts., at Tribeca Cinemas on Varick St. at Laight St., and B.M.C.C. Tribeca PAC on Chambers St. between Greenwich and West Sts. The Tribeca Family Festival (associated with the Film Festival) will close Greenwich St. between Chambers and Hubert Sts., North Moore and Harrison Sts. between West and Hudson Sts., Beach, Franklin, Jay, Duane, and Reade Sts. between Greenwich and Hudson Sts. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The 9/11 Memorial Family Day will close Greenwich St. between Cortlandt and Liberty Sts. 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. On West St./Route 9A, one lane will close in each direction between West Thames St. and Vesey St. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
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The Chelsea 8th Avenue Festival will close Eighth Ave. between 14th and 23rd St. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. This will affect northbound traffic, sending cars to Sixth Ave. The east intersection of Broadway and Liberty St. will close 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. These closures will repeat next weekend, May 3 and 4.
FROM THE MAILBAG: Dear Transit Sam, Is it true that a double decker sightseeing tour bus street N.Y.C. License costs less than a street vendor? If I’m correct, $50 or 13 cents a day gets a double decker tour bus the following: Their own Manhattan street bus lane — they begrudgingly share with the M.T.A. They dominate all M.T.A. stops anytime everyday even during rush hour. They sit, idling belching fumes beneath apartment and office buildings as long as they want all day long. They disobey traffic laws. Ever see one pulled over and ticketed by N.Y.P.D.? It’s catch me if you can. They operate 30-plus-year-old, rundown beat up imported surplus buses, violate eyesore billboard variances citywide with no limit. I’ve witnessed 4 Grayline buses at one M5 stop. Shouldn’t these buses be paying $50 or
music MONDAY, APRIL 28 & MAY 5, 1pm Bach at One The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra offer a weekly service of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantatas. Trinity Church (New Location!) WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30 & MAY 7, 1:15pm Pipes at One April 30: Sarah Jane Starcher, Organist, Church of the Holy Innocents, NYC May 7: Christopher Creaghan, Associate Organist, The Riverside Church, NYC Trinity Church (New Location!) THURSDAY, MAY 1 & 8, 1pm Concerts at One May 1: Ensemble ACJW May 8: Michelle Cann, piano Trinity Church SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2—4:30pm Chamber Recital Featuring violinist Ari Boutris and pianist Aurelia M. Chang. Reception follows. Charlotte’s Place
$100 per day for all the access?
a note saying that if you’re looking for revenue this may be an untapped source.
Charles, Tribeca Dear Charles, I confirmed your numbers and yes it seems a gross disparity to me. I have forwarded your letter to the new commissioner of finance with
Transit Sam Readers! Send in your parking and trafﬁc questions to email@example.com or on Twitter @gridlocksam.
Fireworks move East BY SAM SPOKONY The annual Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza will come back to the East River this year, Mayor de Blasio and Macy’s officials announced on April 14. The fireworks display had been held for five straight years on the Hudson River — leaving many in Brooklyn and Queens and on Manhattan’s East Side without a view of the show. De Blasio said he was “thrilled” to bring the fireworks back to the other side of town, even though the shift will reportedly cost the city an extra $500,000 in security costs. In his former job as the city’s public advocate, de Blasio, a Park Slope, Brooklyn, resident, had long pushed to bring the fireworks back east, citing complaints from outer-borough residents. This year’s show will feature pyrotechnics shot from barges along the southern portion of the East River, as well as some launched from atop
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the Brooklyn Bridge. State Senator Daniel Squadron, whose district includes both the Lower East Side and parts of Brooklyn’s waterfront along the river, was among those cheering the announcement. “This year, New York’s Fourth of July show will now be a celebration more New Yorkers can be part of,” said Squadron. The Downtown Alliance, which manages the major Manhattan businesses improvement district, or BID, below Chambers St., also praised the move. “I heartily applaud Mayor de Blasio’s decision to rotate the location of the celebration between the East and Hudson rivers,” said Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin, who formerly served as an Upper East Side City Councilmember. “This plan helps bring the pride, and the economic benefits, of our nation’s birthday celebration to more of our city’s neighborhoods.”
worship SUNDAY, 8am & 10am St. Paul’s Chapel · Holy Eucharist 8pm · Compline by Candlelight SUNDAY, 9am & 11:15am Trinity Church · Preaching, music, and Eucharist · Sunday school and child care available MONDAY—FRIDAY, 12:05pm Trinity Church · Holy Eucharist MONDAY—FRIDAY, 5:15pm All Saints’ Chapel, in Trinity Church Evening Prayer Watch online webcast
THURS., APRIL 24 – WED., APRIL 30 ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES ARE IN EFFECT ALL WEEK
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Gale Brewer Continued from page 7
about 30 families with pictures of family members killed.” The Beep did not mince words concerning bicycle delivery workers. “Merchants have to talk to delivery people in other languages, and explain rules and regulations,” she said. “It’s important.” It’s 7:43 p.m. On to Harlem, but running a bit behind schedule. “There are so many events, and tonight, I have people at every one of them — from precinct meetings to community boards,” she said. “I like to cover small meetings, as well — ears to the ground, then I can see what needs to be done.” An Uptown “storefront office” for Brewer on 125th St. is in the works. Unlike her Downtown one, it will be open daily, with no identification required to enter and get assistance. “It’s going to be awhile,” she said of her Harlem H.Q. “City agencies are so slow.” We reach P.S. 133, at 130th St. and Fifth Ave. slightly after 8 p.m. for a meeting, but everyone has already left. The next two events are nixed for time. At 8:15 p.m., Davis next ferries us to the Four Freedoms Democratic Club Kick-Off Party at Off the Rails, a bar on the Upper East Side. Davis began as a driver for the Borough President’s Office in 1987 for David Dinkins, when
the former mayor was B.P. “Gale is affectionately known as ‘Number Five,’ ” he said, referencing the number of Beeps he’s driven “Andre is very much adored in New York,” Brewer said. “You go places and that’s who people know. When I say he’s outside, people come running out.” At the steering wheel, Davis keeps the car easily flowing with traffic. “I try to keep it low key,” he said. “It’s a little less stressful with Gale.” At 8:30 p.m., the political club’s party is in full swing. Brewer speaks briefly on affordable housing and healthcare. “This is what seems to be the most pre-eminent group in the district,” City Council member Ben Kallos said of the mixed-age crowd. We edge toward the door at 8:45 p.m., waiting for various people vying to talk to Brewer. Our final destination, at 9 p.m., is a shelter, which can’t be named. Brewer spoke candidly with staff workers about preventing homelessness in preparation for testimony at a Council hearing on shelters that week. Forty minutes later, we get into the car one last time, exhausted. It was a long day, which will be repeated — by Brewer — again and again. Most people she encounters probably don’t realize how busy her days are. “People have no idea,” she said. “They see you and they want you to solve their problems.”
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APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
The Tribeca Film Fest’s youngest directors B y N i co l as F e r nand e s “It was probably the most fun I’ve had on my spring break yet,” Ty Cutler,11, said about the filmmaking workshop for middle school students, held by Manhattan Youth for the Tribeca Film Festival. Thirty students from Downtown middle schools participated — writing, shooting, and editing their films using professional equipment. Some of them even used the GarageBand software to produce their own music scores. “By the end of the day, we’ll have four finished short films and from what I’ve seen they look really cool,” Theseus Roche. Manhattan Youth’s director of after school programs, said Friday. The free workshop took place at the group’s community center last week and the films were screened at Tribeca Cinemas on Sat., April 19. There was no time limit for the films, but Roche said most of them would be about six or seven minutes. “These kids are not just consumers of digital media, but they’re actually producers of it. And their so creative, so talented, they’ve just been a great a group of kids,” Roche said. Elementary school students also partook in the workshop, making a documentary about the middle school students’ films. Some of them had experience with filmmaking and some did not. Manhattan Youth ran a smaller workshop in February without the Tribeca Film Festival involvement, in which some of the kids took part. “It’s a really fun camp and I wanna do it
Manhattan Youth’s Theseus Roche with middle school students who made their own shorts for the Tribeca Film Festival during Spring Break..
again and again and again and again. I’ve done filmmaking before, but I learned a lot in the five or six days that we’ve been here,” Cutler said. Aliyah Rigg, 11, said, “I liked being with my group and it’s a lot of fun. I learned never to look at the camera.” The workshop was funded by Out of School Time funds from the city Dept. of Youth and Community Development. Since Mayor Bill de Blasio’s expanded after-school initiative has been approved, Roche has proposed more funding so that additional schools can participate in Manhattan Youth’s free programs. He said the after school expansion is important because parents often stop sending their children to childcare, but these students still need to regularly take part in productive activities.
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APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
W.T.C. security plan pleases residents Continued from page 1
USPS Loading Entrance
USPS Loading Exit
TC 7 W g din Loa
it’s like on the ground a little bit.” Perillo lives across the street from the center and is president of the W.T.C. Neighborhood Alliance, which sued the N.Y.P.D. over the security plan, but their suit was dismissed in February. One of the most surprising things about the meeting was that Dep. Inspector Kevin Burke, who heads the World Trade Center Command, and Lieutenant Tom Ferramosca, who helped develop the security plan, said that residents like Perillo right near the site could take taxis through the World Trade Center to get home. “Traffic within the campus will be restricted, but people who have business within the campus will be permitted in and those people enrolled in [the Trusted Access Program], will be permitted in,” said Ferramosca. Under TAP, vehicles and people that regularly enter the site including nearby residents will have passes to enter in vehicles. The official line has always been that Greenwich St. would be open to at least some traffic, but the N.Y.P.D. always reserved the right to keep it closed, and few Downtowners had much hope the street would actually open anytime soon. The beginnings of the plan will be in place at the end of next month when the 9/11 Museum opens May 21, and will be fully implemented by April 2015, when W.TC. 1 and 4 as well as the
Blasio told Downtown Express that he was not inclined to make changes to the W.T.C. security plan given the N.Y.P.D.’s anti-terrorism track record, but he also said he would not worry about the political consequences if he or his police commissioner thought adjustments were warranted. “If you do that and God forbid, that becomes the beginning of a problem, yes, you’ll pay the price for it many times over, but that’s a choice you make in leadership every single day on a host of levels,” he said then. “Terrorism is maybe the most dramatic example, but you make those decisions all the time.” Dan Alterman, who’s lived and worked in Lower Manhattan for decades and was an attorney in the residents’ lawsuit, said in a phone interview this week that Downtowners are certainly aware of the potential dangers to the WT.C. particularly in light of security breaches in recent months , but it doesn’t have to be an “either or” choice between security and freer movement. He said the residents’ group made the right decision not to appeal the lawsuit’s dismissal and he was pleased to hear police are Figure now relating ES-2 wellConceptual with people Plan the neighborhood. for the Proposed Project
transit hub are expected to be open. academy. Inspector Burke said he is anticipating a visit Tour buses visiting the museum will enter on by President Obama to the museum’s preview Liberty St., which has been a long-term concern opening on May 15, although the White House of C.B. 1. had not yet given the final confirmation. “And you anticipate a row of buses lining Once the museum opens to the public, up under our windows with fumes and noise,” pedestrians will have freer access to the 9/11 asked Pat Moore, who lives across the street Memorial, which will no longer have the and is chairperson of the board’s Quality of Life timed ticketing system. Officials with the Port Committee. Authority, owners of most of the W.T.C. said “No absolutely not, that’s been one of our earlier this month that some of the barriers to concerns for some time now,” said Ferramosca, the memorial at the south end will be removed, Officials hope that by scheduling truck delivwhich will allow residents and visitors to traverse eries to the office buildings and using a two-step between Battery Park City and the Financial entry process it will avoid traffic problems in District as they experience the memorial. the area. Credentialing vehicles looking to enter Inspector Burke said pedestrians and bicy- the site is expected to be done in “a matter of clists in most cases will be able to move freely seconds,” and screening “in the vicinity of two within the complex by next year “absent some- minutes or so,” said Ferramosca. thing significant that stands out to the officer.” After the meeting, Moore also said that she He said there will be “hiccups” to the pro- now felt for the first time since 9/11, that police gram at the beginning, but he said he is open to officials were willing to listen to her and other continued dialogue with the community board residents. on either an informal basis or as part of a task The shift undoubtedly has something to do force as C.B. 1 requested. with the de Blasio administration, which took Currently there are 185 N.Y.P.D. officers over in January, although to be sure, the change assigned to the W.T.C. That number will expand, World is more in tone thanCampus in substance. Trade Center Security Plan EIS but Burke said it will likely be less than the As a mayoral candidate last year, Bill de 600 called for in the Environmental Impact Statement. Port Authority police will patrol the underground areas near the PATH commuter line. Burke said about 60 Port police officers are Vesey Park currently being trained at the N.Y.PD.’s police
Performing Arts Center
Memorial Center Green
T R DO
igh South Pool
ay of W ight
LEGEND Secure Zone
Liberty Park (VSC Below)
St. Nicholas Church
Other Delineators Roadway Direction Note: Image is schematic and for conceptual purposes only.
Map of World Trade Center security plan.
Barrier-Default Up Barrier-Default Down
Courtesy of N.Y.P.D.
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Cafe with cats pounces Downtown Continued from page 1
The café will be open on Bowery near Delancey St. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sun., April 27. Despite enthusiasm for the event, a permanent cat cafe is not likely to come soon to New York City. Cat Café will soon end at 168 Bowery and its historic distinction will be relegated to the annals of U.S. cultural history. No applications for a cat cafe has ever been made in New York City where live animals, except for service animals and fish, are currently
illegal in food service establishments, according to the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. An exemption to such regulations was not necessary in order to stage the 168 Bowery event, according to Danielle Bickelmann, an event organizer. Regardless of barriers to bringing a permanent cat cafe to the city, it is an issue of importance to those who feel it’s not safe to keep a cat at home. “They should have [Cat Café] forever,” said dog owner Isabel Deng who works in the fashion industry in Soho.
OPEN HOUSE Tuesday, May 20th
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Downtown Express photos by Zach Williams
The Cat Café, complete with felines to pet, will be at 168 Bowery through the weekend.
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APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
A Downtown superstore, J&R Music, shuts down for now
Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony
Passersby lingered outside J&R’s front door on Thursday, reading about its closing, reminiscing about its past and theorizing about its future.
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BY SAM SPOKONY It was the end of an era — and yet another sign of the music industry’s great technological shift — as J&R Music and Computer World shut its doors on Thursday, after 43 years in business. The neighborhood megastore — which had grown to fill a five -story building on Park Row after opening as a basement record shop in 1971 — was a true Downtown institution that once led the way in sales of music, movies and electronics equipment, but struggled to adapt to the growth of Internet content sharing and sales. “This sucks…it’s just so sad that it’s closing,” a 62 -year- old Brooklynite who identified himself only as Justice said standing outside the shuttered building on Thursday. A freewheeling DJ back in ‘70s and ‘80s, he explained that he and so many others had relied on J&R for the best records and turntables, as well as an atmosphere that was key in cultivating New York’s wide array of music scenes. “This place allowed DJs to do what they did, and everybody back in the day knew that Park Row was the spot to be at for people who were really into the music,” said Justice, adding that he first came to the store in 1972 while he was a student at John Jay College. That kind of engagement with musicians and fans alike was what helped J&R grow into an iconic store that would later go on — and become one of the last of its kind — to sell DVDs, camera and computer equipment and other products in a brick- and- mortar setting, rather than just online. But it’s that same old school vibe that has now forced the store’s owners, Joe and Rachelle Friedman, to plan a “reimagination and redevelopment” of the five- story space in order to keep it
relevant, and profitable, in culturally shifting times. “A lot has changed in these 43 years, including not only the way we listen to music and the technology products we sell, but the way people shop and socialize,” the Friedmans said in a public statement released on Thursday. “As part of these evolutions, we too have to continue to adapt to the technology, retailing and real estate trends and reinvent ourselves as we continue to look ahead.” The owners said they’re going to be redeveloping the location into an “unpecedented retailing concept and social mecca,” but have been tight-lipped about the details, stating only that they hope to reopen a new business there in 2015, and that they’ll be sharing more about the changes in coming months. No official renovation plans have yet been filed for the Park Row building, which covers the block between Ann and Beekman Sts., according to city records. However, the Daily News reported on Wednesday that the Friedmans are already planning to find retail partners to redevelop the site. Meanwhile, many would- be customers, locals and Financial District workers — as well as more nostalgic New Yorkers like Justice — crowded outside the covered -up J&R doors April 10, lingering while reading the Friedmans’ statement, which was posted on the windows. “I’m not too surprised by it,” said Josif Fatkhivey, who works in the area and had bought camera lenses and other equipment at the store. “It makes sense that they couldn’t keep a retail space going, since everyone’s buying online…although I did like being able to actually come into Continued on page 15
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
A rendering of the possible “reimagination and redevelopment” of the Park Row building, released with the statement by J&R’s owners.
Continued from page 14
the store and try something out before buying it.” And a number of passersby muttered about the possibility — surely feared by some Downtown — that the Park Row building, in such a prime location, would be sold and put some other use…maybe for luxury condos? A spokesperson for the Friedmans didn’t address the possibility of a sale to a residential developer when this newspaper asked about it on Thursday, saying only that the “reimagining” of the space is an ongoing process. Whatever the future might hold, Justice remained sobered by the realiza-
tion that the good old days were long gone. “The thing is this,” he said. “Anybody over the age of 45 knows that you didn’t just come to the record store to buy something from one artist. You came to learn about everything, and J&R was where that was happening. Man, I remember learning about [jazz pianist] Chick Corea for the first time, way back then, just because I saw something about him on the back of a Herbie Hancock record. “Now, kids don’t learn about any of those classic bands because they’re just worried about looking up what’s popular online and getting one song, or one band,” he said, wistfully, looking up at the building. “It’s just sad.”
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APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Sailing into the season B y Z a ch W ill iams My first day onboard a sailboat and I was already deemed fit to assume the helm as we passed Ellis Island cruising at top speed. The undulating waters of the Hudson River were just as big from my perspective as the assembly of steel, glass and brick of Lower Manhattan. This maiden voyage though involved something bigger than either. The New York archipelago reveals itself within its dividing lines. Liberty Island grows more dominating upon approach, Governors Island retains the quaintness of a bygone coastal defense while the most developed of them all, Manhattan, naturally attracted my gaze as I aimed the Toreador Red J-24 sailboat named Surprise towards the home port of the largest congregation of sailing enthusiasts in the United States. Such a craft was one-third of a small flotilla destined for Battery Park City’s North Cove Marina where the Manhattan Sailing School is assembling a 28-boat fleet and the mothership of the 900-member associated sailing club lies at anchor. All are deployed for a mission to make sailing on the Hudson an endeavor of local residents not confined to the history books. Students will study basic sailing, cruising and racing once the season begins on April 26 while those with more experience will sail the boats which bring new people to Lower Manhattan not only for the pleasures of going with the flow but also the opportunities of America itself. “Sailing brought me from Ireland,” said Siofra Neary, school director and boat-mate of this reporter. Negotiating the waters of New York Harbor introduced her to a new home city though the Dublin native first learned how to sail nearly two decades ago from her grandfather. “It’s like nowhere I’ve sailed before. The view is fantastic,” she said. “You get a unique perspective of the city both physically and emotionally.” As we cruised ever closer to the marina tucked before the shadows of the World Trade Center, another club member Angelo Valitutti turned the Winged Racer portside. From 50 yards away, it seemed easy to remain standing as a passing ferry swept across the water at a deceptively serene speed inspiring waves which knocked me off balance soon after. Sailing has taken Valitutti away from his native Salerno, Italy as well as the men’s clothing business. Two decades ago, he bought his first vessel after seeing the America’s Cup on television. By 1998 he was instructing others on the lessons learned after an admittedly choppy autodidactic experience. “I never had any sailing course, it’s all me,” he said. By 2010 his longtime business dried up as companies shifted production to China, he said. He and his American wife decided to move to New York City. Six days after arriving, Valitutti secured a position as a sailing instructor known among peers for
Downtown Express photo by Zach Williams
View aboard one of Manhattan Sailing School’s vessels.
an instinctive sense of how to fix the small mechanical breakdowns often occurring during any one voyage. It took Battery Park City resident Bob Woodring two seasons at the school to rise from zero experience to skipper. He subsequently left his previous work to devote his life to teaching others the ways of the liberating sport. “You experience a waterfront which most people don’t know about ... if you do something you love doing, it’s not work,” he said onboard the Honorable William Wall, a houseboat which serves as both an office space and social venue for club members. The sailing life extends beyond the water, he said. The social atmosphere of the club — which allows members to forgo purchasing their own vessels and associated financial costs — brings together people in more ways than one, he added. “You walk in. Everybody knows your name,” Woodring said. “It’s just like ‘Cheers.’ ” As he engaged Neary in conversation on an upcoming black tie social, the sweetness of the club’s signature drink — rum and tonic water — sunk into the reporter just as the activities of daily life and adventures across the world alike assumed growing prominence in the conversations spread among the approximately two-dozen 21stcentury sailors. Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh, who first founded the club in 1988, said events such as the 9/11 attacks and the 2008 economic crisis, temporarily reversed years of growth for the expanding club, he added. However the marina’s location and the
resources of the club enable a certain level of resilience to such setbacks as well as convenience to people in Lower Manhattan wishing to fit a few hours on the water into their busy daily lives, according to Fortenbaugh. “We do things differently in the city,”
he said. He stated further confidence in the prospects of the upcoming season as temperatures continue to warm. “After a long, cold winter like this,” he said, “I think everybody is dying to get out on the harbor.”
Clintons on the L.E.S. Continued from page 5
pay college tuition, and I haven’t seen my family [in Croatia] in seven years. It’s just my mom and I here, and so all of that is why I felt the need to share my story.” The event drew widespread media interest for an entirely different reason— Chelsea Clinton announced she was expecting a baby, which drew about the same level of applause as Bajamonti’s remarks. After the forum, Lyn Pentecost, founder and executive director of the L.E.S. Girls Club, said she had no idea that Bajamonti was going to declare her status publicly that day, but felt proud of her for doing so. “I was moved,” said Pentecost, beaming. “How could you not be moved by that? And it was really the most appropriate venue to come out about this very important issue.” Pentecost explained that she learned Bajamonti was undocumented about four years ago, while the teen was enrolled in education programming at the Girls Club. A group of girls in her program were scheduled to take an an-
nual trip to Chiapas, Mexico, but Bajamonti wasn’t able to go because she couldn’t get a passport. “So we knew about it, and we’ve known about the struggles Nova and her mother have gone through,” she said. A Girls Club staff member, Annette Rodriguez, who teaches sign language and dance at the organization, said she’s friendly with Bajamonti and knew that she’s had a hard life, but didn’t realize she was undocumented until her announcement at the forum. “It was heartwrenching,” Rodriguez said of the teen’s speech. “It made me tear up. Because all the girls that attend here, and especially if they become employees, we treat them as if they’re our girls. So it feels like she’s one of my daughters. “The fact is that a lot of our girls have had their share of struggles,” she continued, “but that’s part of what makes the Girls Club so wonderful. Bcause these girls are able to come here, to come together, and we help each other find ways to overcome those obstacles. We’re like a family.”
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Historic district approved
The southern border of the new South Village Historic District reflects the carve-outs of some parks and buildings. Advocates hope to extend the district further downtown.
B Y SA M S P O K O N Y Four months after the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the South Village Historic District, the City Council on April 10 resoundingly seconded the motion. By a 47-to-0 vote, the Council officially landmarked the new historic district, which is roughly bounded on the west by Sixth Ave., to the north by W. Fourth St., on the east by Sullivan St. and LaGuardia Place and to the south by W. Houston St. “This new historic district will protect centuries of history,” said Councilmember Corey Johnson after the vote. He noted the pressure of potential development throughout the area that “threatens to forever scar the low-slung, light-filled Village.” The 13-block swath, which includes around 250 buildings, was an affluent area in the early 19th century, and later became an immigrant enclave after around 1850, when existing buildings were repurposed for multi-family dwellings and new buildings were constructed to house waves of Italians and other newcomers. The South Village also gained fame in in the 1950s and ’60s as a bohemian scene that welcomed iconic artists like Bob Dylan and other folk singers to the neighborhood. “The South Village is an enduring testament to the vibrant cultural and immigrant history that makes New York City so unique,” said Councilmember Margaret Chin. “The South Village Historic District will ensure that this neighborhood’s rich architectural character is preserved and protected in the face of the city’s rapidly
changing landscape.” Meanwhile, local preservationists are still pushing for the city to landmark another section of the South Village that was notably left out of L.P.C.’s recent designation. That triangle-shaped portion would extend the historic district south of Houston St. to Watts St., bounded on the east by a line midway between West Broadway and Thompson St., and on the west generally by Sixth Ave. “We’re hoping whoever the new L.P.C. chairperson is will be more open to including that section,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, referring to the fact that Mayor de Blasio will likely soon appoint a new L.P.C. head, since current chairperson Robert Tierney is a holdover from the Bloomberg administration. De Blasio has not given any clear indication as to who will take over from Tierney. “But when it happens, we’ll certainly be reaching out to the new chairperson immediately to push for that addition,” said Berman. In addition, last month, the federal government finalized approval of G.V.S.H.P.’s proposed full South Village Historic District, so it is now on the National as well as the State Register of Historic Places. That means that state and federal tax breaks and financial aid are now offered for restoration work on properties in the district. The area is now also protected from harmful state and federal actions, and the use of state and federal monies is subject to historic preservation review.
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APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Jennifer Goodstein eDitOr
Josh Rogers ArtS eDitOr
Scott Stiﬄer rePOrter
Sam Spokony Sr. V.P. OF SAleS & MArKetiNG
Francesco Regini retAil AD MANAGer
Allison Greaker Alex Morris Mike O’Brien Andrew Regier Rebecca Rosenthal Julio Tumbaco Art / PrODuctiON DirectOr
Troy Masters SeNiOr DeSiGNer
Michael Shirey GrAPHic DeSiGNer
Andrew Gooss PHOtOGrAPHerS
Milo Hess Jeﬀerson Siegel PubliSHer eMerituS
John W. Sutter
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
Firefighters were conducting training drills on Duane and Staples Sts. last Saturday in Tribeca.
GAteWAY PlAZA teNANtS uNiteD AGAiNSt lANDlOrD, DiViDeD AMONG tHeMSelVeS (POSteD APr. 10):
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Re “Pre-K up in Chinatown, down for the rest of Downtown” (news article, April 10 – 23): Thanks for covering this story. No one has pointed out the obvious — Lower Manhattan was completely ignored in the revised pre-K program. With a kindergartener at Peck Slip and a 3 1/2 year old eligible for pre-K next year, I am incredibly disappointed that we did not benefit from the expansion program. We will be paying for private pre-school in order to give our daughter exposure to basic skills and social experiences. But, hopefully it will happen in the future and other families will benefit. Denise Courter IN PRINT OR ONLINE w
W W W. D O W N T O W N E X P R E S S . C O M
This lawsuit is just the pressure we need to get the politicians moving. Gateway has been freezing for years. I am glad we will have these powerhouse law ﬁrms taking up our cause together, as well as our hometown district leader Jenifer Rajkumar on the case, who is also a Gateway tenant. I agree that Rajkumar was given unfair treatment by the Downtown Express, which blasted her with questionable allegations from outsiders in a sensational headline yesterday and now buries exonerating facts about her in this article. Guest The ﬁrms withdrew their allegations so they could work together instead of spending money and resources ﬁghting each other in court. It has no bearing on the original allegations. Dismissing the motion (and the allegations against Rajkumar) was a necessary part of the settlement of the grievance; it has nothing to do with its veracity. In fact, if the claims were meritless, why would Rajkumar’s ﬁrm agree to split its fees with two other ﬁrms and give up the proﬁts it rightly stood
to earn from its own lawsuit? They wouldn’t. It is really pathetic that Rajkumar is trying to spin this as some sort of vindication of her position. Downtowner Reading all these comments is a great entertainment. Every body is an expert. Were you people sleeping all those years ? It appears instead of the Landlord you have found another adversary. Guest the bottom line is that Lefrak contributes a lot of money to political campaigns, so no politician will push them. They just don’t care what happens to the residents. I think that is fairly obvious. wake up Time for SOMETHING to be done. I lived at Gateway in 3 different units from 1987 - 1992 and the insides of the windows were covered in sheets of ice each winter even back then. Gordon Lee
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Drinkers run amok on Lower East Side’s ‘Hell Square’ B Y D IE M B O Y D Bill Bratton’s return as commissioner of the New York Police Department brings with it his trademark “broken windows” policing policy. Bratton’s strategy advocated for a hard-line approach on low-level crime and qualityof-life violations predicated on the belief that a “disorderly city is a dangerous city.” The crack in Bratton’s “broken window” strategy of the ’90s is that this policy overwhelmingly targeted the poor and minorities — where a police record for petty crimes had such devastating long-term effects as risking housing and work eligibility among these groups. Now, in the Lower East Side’s Hell Square, new-old Commissioner Bratton has a chance to fairly implement the “broken windows” style of policing that avoids the failures of past policy that may have disproportionately targeted minorities and the poor. Currently, loitering and open containers in Hell Square is more lawful than in the Bronx or Bed-Stuy. A mere nineblock area, Hell Square is bounded by E. Houston, Essex, Delancey and Allen Sts. In this small section of New York, the city has created a destination playground for outsiders from Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and college students to party and commit offenses that would get other New Yorkers ticketed in their own neighborhoods. The disparity in the implementation of the “broken window” policy — against the poor and minorities — should compel Bratton to address how lawless this section of the Lower East Side has become. If “broken windows” are symbolic of unaccountability, then this is a community of “broken bars” with little-to-zero accountability. In the last five years, the escalation of low-level crimes in Hell Square — such as public urination, open containers (people drinking alcohol on the sidewalk and in public spaces), public intoxication, littering, verbal harassment, loitering, disorderly conduct, etc. — has increased discomfort and fear among neighborhood residents. The accumulation of these incidents forces residents to retreat as a sense of neglect pervades the area. A reduction of community efficacy has resulted in more serious crime, such as grand larceny (often theft of personal electronics), felony assault (up 32 percent in the first quarter of 2014), drugs, vandalism, trespassing and violence, plus greater signs of incivility, perpetuating a spiral of neighborhood decay. The rampant anti-social behavior resulting from high alcohol-outlet density in Hell Square demands a police policy shift from passive crowd control and traffic mitigation to active, realtime policing of crimes consistent with citywide policing of other neighborhoods. To start fixing this community that is suffering “broken bar” neglect, we need to strictly enforce regulations
The open-container law is regularly flouted in Hell Square, as seen in this recent photo, contributing to the area’s quality-of-life nightmare, the writer says.
against public urination and vomiting, open containers, public intoxication, littering, loitering, verbal harassment and disorderly conduct. Ticketing will send a message that the Lower East Side is no longer a place where negligent behavior is above the law. Through hyper-focused concentration on enforcement centered around a zerotolerance policy for minor offenses and disorderly behavior infractions, the negative impacts of alcohol saturation in this community can be significantly reduced. Moreover, police officers simultaneously must develop an understanding of which venues are the source of these issues, not just limit focus to the end result on the street. Once the root causes can be identified, responsible liquor license holders will be among
the beneficiaries of a commercially and socially viable community. Situating “broken windows” policing within the broader context behind community policing is the vision we see to help advance the changes necessary. The prevailing perception among residents is that we have been unable to exert any social control over our community, and seemingly have been left out of the process. And despite the strong police presence, enforcement is not addressing the immediate concerns and problems this community faces from high alcoholoutlet density at the hands of negligent operators and offenders. Moreover, enforcement may not be familiar with the rules, regulations, stipulations or procedures needed to effectively address community
concerns and safety, especially regarding particularly bad operators. One solution is Bratton’s “conscious uncoupling” with the ’90s version of “broken windows” toward a modern implementation of the policy: one that emphasizes police integration into communities, developing trust and a working partnership between enforcement and residents to solve problems and crime. This approach will decrease the assumption by police that anyone in a particular area is a potential criminal. But at its base level, “broken windows” policing has to take a blanket approach toward all low-level crimes in all parts of the city, treating all offenders equally. A strong relationship between residents and police officers is paramount to reversing the current course. We advocate for having officers that patrol the neighborhood get to know residents in order to help solve problems. Under the leadership of new commanding officer Joseph Simonetti at the Seventh Precinct, there is an opportunity for police and community collaboration to directly address immediate problems and persistent crimes, promoting a lawful environment for all members of this community. Reliance on the city’s 3-1-1 quality-oflife complaints hotline cannot substitute for the community policing needed in Hell Square. The 3-1-1 system separates the community from government agencies, delaying resolutions to nonemergency, yet urgent, problems. In this data-driven system, there is no accurate way to truly measure the needs of a community or hold government agencies and / or businesses accountable for resolving issues and conflicts. By redirecting the police focus toward community safety and quality-oflife infractions, any disconnect between data and actual conditions on the ground will be self-correcting. Past strategies have failed, and trust in our governance has eroded. As liquor licenses ballooned, overtaking an entire community, low-level crime has become epidemic. Licensing without emphasis on strong and consistent enforcement is a recipe for the social disorder found in Hell Square. Reversing this community’s blight will only succeed if residents and the local police precinct establish a trusting, working relationship. We need the collective will and participation of these three parties — residents, all business owners and the police — with substantive support from the New York State Liquor Authority and our elected officials. By marrying “community policing” with “broken windows” policing, all of us working together — residents, responsible liquor license holders and nonalcohol businesses — can restore social order and create an opportunity for a sustainable future that allows for economic diversity and a livable community. Diem Boyd is the founder of Lower East Side Dwellers.
BARNES & NOBLE 97 Warren St. 212-587-5389 Children’s Storytime: May 3, 11 a.m. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Anniversary Celebration: 45th Anniversary of Eric Carle’s A Very Hungry Caterpillar and coloring event. Ages 4 and up. Space is limited. Ask an employee to sign up. Free. Apr. 26, 11 a.m. BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 75 Battery Place 212-267-9700 bpcparks.org Preschool Art: Learn art with paper, clay, wood, and paint. Ages 4 and under. Free. Drop in. Nelson A. Rockefeller Park. Thursdays, May 1 – Oct. 30, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Art + Games: After school art activities and games. Ages 5 and up. Free. Drop in. Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, Thursdays, May 1 – Oct. 30, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Sunset Singing Circle: Sing folk songs together. Led by folksinger Terre Roche. All ages. Free. Drop in. Wagner Park. Wednesdays, May
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
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
2 – June 27, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Preschool Play: Interactive play on the lawn. Toys, books, and play equipment provided. Ages 4 and under. Free. Drop in. Wagner Park, Mon, Tues, Wed, May 5 – Oct. 29, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Children’s Basketball: Adjustable height hoops and fun drills to improve skills. Closetoed shoes required. Ages 5 – 6. Free. Drop in. Rockefeller Park, Mon., May 5 – Oct. 27, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Soccer: Learn the basics of soccer. Close-toed shoes required. Free. Drop in. Rockefeller Park. Tues., May 6 – Oct. 28, Ages 3 – 4, 2:30 – 3:15 p.m., Ages 5 – 7, 3:30 – 4:15, Ages 8 – 11, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Drop-in Chess: Play chess and get pointers from an expert. Ages 5 – 15. Free. Drop in. Rockefeller Park. Wed., May 7 – Oct. 24, 3:30 – 5 p.m. Wednesdays at Teardrop: Come enjoy lawn games and art projects. Art supplies provided. Ages 5 and up. Free. Drop in. Teardrop Park. Wed., May 7 – Oct. 29, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
CHINATOWN YMCA 273 Bowery 212-912-2460 ymcanyc.org/chinatown Healthy Kids Day: Come get a jump on summer with activities from sports to crafts. All ages. Free. Apr. 26, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS 103 Charlton St., Admission - $11 (seniors and 0-12 months free, from 4-6 p.m.) 212-274-0986 cmany.org Junk Drawer Jewelry: Create dynamic costumes and collars using repurposed “junk.” Ages 6 and up. Apr. 25, 3 – 6 p.m. Performance By Tada! Youth Theatre: See songs performed from the musical Samantha Spade, Ace Detective: The Case of the Maltball Falcon. All ages. Apr. 26 – May 18, 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. Get Creative With CMA at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street: Create a spring-art project. Create “rooftop gardens” out of recycled materials. All ages. 1000 3rd Ave, 8th Floor, Young World Section, Apr. 26, 1 – 4 p.m. Necktie Tie Knots: Custom design a necktie and learn to tie several knots. Ages 6 and up. Apr. 26, 27, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Vaulted Collections: Make your own collage and create a security system to protect it. Ages 6 and up. Apr. 30, 3 – 5 p.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, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; first-come firstserved. Ages 0-18 months. Free. Apr. 24, 29, 11:30 a.m., Apr. 28, 9:30 a.m. Bilingual Story Time: Enjoy classic stories, songs, and rhymes in French and English. Children of all ages. Free. Apr. 24, 4 p.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. 28, May 5, 4 p.m., Apr. 30, 10:30 a.m. Picture Book Time: A librarian will read classic stories and new picture books. Children of all ages. Free. Apr. 29, May 6, 4 p.m. Modern Masters: Joan Miro: Explore the mediums, messages, and techniques of modern and contemporary artists, presented by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Ages 5 – 12. Free. Apr. 30, 4 p.m. Tween Book Club: Kiki Strike: Reading of Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kristen Miller. Includes snacks, trivia, and more. Ages
9 – 12. Free. May 1, 5:30 p.m. Modern Masters: Marc Chagall: Explore the mediums, messages, and techniques of modern and contemporary artists, presented by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Ages 5 – 12. Free. May 7, 4 p.m.
CHATHAM SQUARE BRANCH 33 East Broadway 212-964-6598 nypl.org/locations/chatham-square Get Your Game Face On! YuGiOh and Magic at Chatham Square: Ages 13 – 18. Free. Apr. 24, 3 – 5 p.m. Board Games & Chess For Children: Play board games, chess, and card games of all levels. Basic instruction provided. For families and kids ages 5 – 11. Free. Thursdays, 3 – 5 p.m. Math Tutoring: Kindergarten to 3rd grade – 3 – 4 p.m., 4th to 8th grade – 4 – 4:45 p.m. Registration required. Space is limited. Apr. 26. Reading Aloud: A librarian will share favorite picture books. Ages 5 – 12. Free. Apr. 26, May 3, 11:30 a.m. Game On: Challenge your friends to a game on the Wii or PS3. Ages 13 – 18. Free. Apr. 28, 4 – 6 p.m. Saturday Movie at Chatham Square Library: “Annie”, 1982. All ages. Free. May 3, 2 – 3:30 p.m. NEW AMSTERDAM BRANCH 9 Murray St. (between Broadway and Church St.) 212-732-8186 nypl.org/locations/new-amsterdam Story Time: Stories, action songs, and fingerplays. Ages 18 – 36 months. Free. First come, ﬁrst served. Apr. 24, 29, May 1,6, 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. 26, May 3, 2 – 4 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. 30, May 7, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Monday Madness: Enjoy either a fun craft, short movie, or surprise activity. Ages 3 – 12. Free. Apr. 28, May 5, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
74 Trinity Place 212-602-0800 www.trinitywallstreet.org Family Veggie and Yoga Night: Bring the family the fourth Friday of every month to learn yoga. Veggie snacks will be served. For families with children under 18. Free. (Charlotte’sPlace - 107 Greenwich St., rear of 74 Trinity Place, between Rector and Carlisle Sts.) Apr. 25, 6 – 7:15 p.m.
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
Family game night, all day long Tribeca Film Fest’s street fair is a real free-for-all THE TRIBECA FAMILY FESTIVAL STREET FAIR On Greenwich St. from Chambers to Hubert Sts. TRIBECA/ESPN SPORTS DAY On N. Moore St. (btw. Greenwich & West Sts.) Both events are FREE Sat., April 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For info: tribecaﬁlm.com/family and tribecaﬁlm.com/espn BY ScOtt StiFFler Move over, Union Square Zip Line! Take that, Super Bowl Boulevard slide! Pop Up urban adventure is about to get a serious sports and movie-themed upgrade — when the annual Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair and Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day return, to take over Downtown streets for this rain-or-shine event that’s always packed but rarely waterlogged. Live Broadway performances, socially conscious arcade games, a bubble garden, kite making, puppet shows, storytelling, chess, chalk art and great local food (with plenty of sports activities to burn it off) have all been designed with families in mind. For the fi rst time in festival history, the street fair’s Studios Backlot will use movie magic to give a Tribeca street the Hollywood makeover treatment. Learn all about what really happens when the director yells, “Lights, camera, action!” There will be “Red Carpet” photo ops and “Animation Chefs” to help you cook up animated fi lms on iPads and other mobile devices. At the ‘Take Two Film Academy,” kids 7-15 can play the “Pitch Your Movie”
game (the winner gets a free summer workshop to help make their great idea a big screen reality). The whole family can sit in the director’s chair (one at a time, please), when the Tribeca Film Institute’s “You Call the Shots!” activity challenges you to create a fi lm of your own by using interactive storyboards. Nearby, at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day, hang out with members of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers and WNBA New York Liberty — with the busy Mr. Met on hand from 12-1 p.m. only. ESPN New York will get you ready for baseball season, with interactive challenges for all ages. The Fathead entertainment graphics company will have life-sized cut outs of famous athletes, for sports fans to pose with. Test your QB accuracy IQ at the New York Jets football toss, assess your putting skills at a City Parks Foundation practice green and perfect your swing at the at the Chelsea Piers Golf Hitting Bubble. You’ll also get some great basic instruction from members of The National Lacrosse League, elite fencing athletes, and The National Hockey League Foundation. Reps from New York Women’s Baseball, Tribeca Sailing, the Downtown United Soccer Club and Sure Skateboards will be on hand to provide tips and perform demonstrations. Sure, there’s plenty of fun outside — but there’s no place like home, and nobody understands that better than a little girl from Kansas. If you already know her story, you’ll probably want to see it again. Follow the road of your choosing, yellow brick or otherwise, to BMCC/Tribeca Performing Arts Center. There, at 199 Chambers St., “The Wizard of Oz” screens on Sat., April 26. Admission is free and ticketed on a fi rst-come, fi rst-served basis. Lines at BMCC begin 30 minutes prior to the 11 a.m. start time.
Borough of Manhattan Community College Foundation 2014 Scholarship Gala Benefiting BMCC Students
Reachıng Stars for the
the Next 50 Years at BMCC honorinG
Kurt D. Woetzel Ceo, GloBal Collateral ServiCeS, BnY Mellon
elizaBeth MarGaritiS ButSon ForMer PuBliSher, THE VILLAGER anD DownTown ExpREss
Special Guest Star honoree
roBert De niro Co-FounDer, triBeCa FilM FeStival anD ChaMPion oF loWer Manhattan
BMCC provides a pathway to success for 24,000 bright, deserving students every year. please join us in helping our students “Reach for the stars.”
tuesday, May 13, 2014, 6:00 pm 4 World trade Center, 54th Floor For details: 212.220.8020 Courtesy Tribeca Film Festival
Adventure, excitement and fresh air — all for free, at the Tribeca Family Festival and Sports Day.
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
RE/Mixed Media Festival embraces the theoretical and the practical New tech intersects with the old art of creative appropriation RE/MIXED MEDIA FESTIVAL IV Sat./Sun., April 26/27, 10am-5pm Various locations, at The New School Registration at Arnhold Hall (55 W. 13th St. | at Sixth St.) Sat., April 26, 6-10pm At Culture Hub (47 Great Jones St., 3rd Fl. | btw. Bowery & Lafayette) Tickets & schedule: remixnyc.com Use coupon code VILLAGER for 30% discount on a festival pass
B Y T O M TE N N E Y In November of 2009, four Brooklyn artists sat at a dinner table in Bushwick, discussing the phenomenon of “remix culture,” the informally connected network of students, scholars, organizations, writers and policymakers who advocate for copyright reform and the artistic practice of systematically reworking and transforming existing works of art in the creation of new ones. Remix, these artists agreed, was nothing new — it had been the de-facto methodology of art making for centuries. With contemporary discourse about remix focused on piracy and copyright infringement, these four wondered how contemporary artists could have more of a voice in a conversation that seemed to be increasingly dominated by corporations, lawyers and mass media. The result was the first RE/Mixed Media Festival, which premiered in May 2010 as an 11-hour marathon event in DUMBO, featuring such artists as Moby, Steinski, Jesper Juul and over 60 other musicians, performers, artists, designers and activists. Now in its fourth year, the festival will cross the river into Manhattan, where the weekend-long event will be hosted on April 26 and 27 by the School of Media Studies at The New School in the West Village, and at CultureHub, La MaMa’s art and technology incubator on Great Jones Street. Established in 1975, The School of Media Studies holds the distinction of being the first media studies program in the United States, with a reputation for embracing both the theoretical and practical elements of media, making it the perfect breeding ground for an event that aims to wed critical theory with real-life
aesthetic practice. RE/Mixed Media Festival began their partnership with CultureHub in November 2013, as co-curator for a night of performances at REFEST — CultureHub’s annual celebration of new work emerging at the intersection of art and technology. RE/Mixed Media Festival is itself a remix, a hybrid. Built on the idea that the creative work of artists and theoretical work of scholars are merely two sides of the same coin, the festival aims to infuse the traditional academic conference with films, performances, installations and exhibits. Operating on a theory of “cross-pollination,” a festivalgoer may wander from a lecture entitled: “The Next TV: The Aesthetic Possibilities of Online Remix Audiovisual Rhetorics” and into a film screening or installation which puts the academic theories into practice. In fact, this element of discovery is fundamental to the festival’s mission. The event presents itself as a collaborative work, the whole adopting the shape of its constituent parts. While the festival embraces both the theoretical and the practical, its focus leans decidedly towards the aesthetic. The very word remix has an artistic pedigree, coined in the 1970s as DJ lingo for extended dance versions of disco songs, created by reworking the original or mixing in new elements, often appropriated from other recordings. This practice evolved into sampling, a sine qua non of early hip-hop, in which DJs used segments of existing recordings as building blocks in the creation of new tracks. “Paul’s Boutique,” the Beastie Boys’ 1989 acclaimed second album, included over 100 samples, and became one of the best-selling hip-hop records of all time. Sampling survived as a popular practice amongst DJs and musicians until 1991, when rapper Biz Markie was sued by 70s pop musician Gilbert O’Sullivan over the former’s use of his 1972 hit, “Alone Again (Naturally).” Markie lost the case, and the judgment changed the sound of hip-hop music forever, requiring that all musicians using samples must first acquire permission from the copyright owners — a practice that, by definition, requires the payment of royalties prohibitive to most emerging artists. As digital technologies took root in the 1990s and professional production tools became available to consumers, the term remix began to be adopted by other arts, such as film and video makers who used these tools to appropriate and re-arrange media content, often as a subversive cultural critique of the original. Video remixers, or “vidders” as they came to be known, created fan-videos of movies and television shows, often constructing alternate narratives by cutting and pasting pieces of the original content. As these practices grew
Photo by Bob Gruen
Tammy Faye Starlite (here, as Nico) will perform an adaptation of her acclaimed performance piece, “Nico/Chelsea Mädchen.”
in popularity, they caused more than a few raised eyebrows in Hollywood, and resulted in further lawsuits, anti-piracy campaigns and proposed legislation that would limit technology’s ability to share content across digital networks. Although the word remix has only been in the cultural lexicon for four decades, one point that the RE/Mixed Media Festival hopes to drive home is that creative appropriation — borrowing, sampling and reworking existing texts — has been used as an aesthetic practice for centuries. Nearly all of Shakespeare’s plays, one of the festival’s producers pointed out, rely on plots borrowed from other stories and poems, a practice not uncommon at the time. “King Lear,” for example, is a retelling of “Historia Regum Britanniae,” written in the 12th century by Geoffrey of Monmouth. In the 20th century, entire genres of art relied on appropriation, such as the Dadaist practice of photomontage, the Pop Art of Warhol and Lichtenstein and the sound experiments of Pierre Schaeffer. By building on these traditions and exhibiting work that continues to utilize such tactics,
the producers of RE/Mixed media festival hope that festivalgoers will come away with a newfound appreciation of creative appropriation, as well as its historical importance. Some artists embracing remix culture argue that its foundational principals reach beyond both the aesthetic and political and into the realm of metaphysics. Robert Prichard, one of the festival’s producers and former owner of the downtown NYC performance space Surf Reality, is a practicing Buddhist. He explains his conception of remix by quoting Gertrude Stein, who said, famously, “There’s no there, there.” According to Prichard, Stein’s statement sums up both the Buddhist approach to ontology and the concept of remixing, i.e. creating new works out of old. “There is nothing intrinsic to a table that makes it a table,” Prichard explains, ”and a good carpenter can make it into a bookshelf or a chair by altering its arrangement and the interdependence of its parts.” The oft-misunderstood Buddhist conContinued from page 22
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RE/Mixed explores the intersection of art and technology Continued on page 23
cepts of emptiness and interdependence, he says, mean “nothing has a fixed meaning or identity, but is constantly shifting and moving, things arise from other things, relationships change and everything is dependent on something else. So according to Buddhism, the nature of reality is constant flux, or remix.” As technology continues to evolve and nations around the world struggle with their own questions surrounding copyright, piracy and file sharing, remix culture has become a global movement. International artists have had increasingly strong representation as RE/ Mixed Media Festival has grown over the past three years. In 2012, festival producers teamed up with Italy’s nascent MashRome festival, an annual event that celebrates remix in film, and the partnership resulted in a nearly threefold increase in submissions from international artists. This year, nearly a third of the festival’s artists reside outside of the United States, and represent a total of 13 countries. There are plans in the works to create versions of the festival in Berlin, Tokyo and Amsterdam, in addition to other cities within the US. This broadening of the festival’s talent pool and audience, along with this year’s move from Brooklyn to the more centrally located Manhattan, has also attracted
sponsors hoping to reach an international and culturally engaged audience. One of the 2014 sponsors, ThoughtWorks, a Chicago-based software company, is an outspoken champion of the open-source ideal, and sees the festival as an opportunity to expose their company’s work to a new generation of programmers. Since its inception, RE/Mixed Media Festival has attracted artists of all disciplines who embrace the concepts of collaboration, sharing, appropriation and a strong cultural commons from which they draw, and to which they contribute. This year, one of the most outspoken proponents of remix culture, Paul D. Miller — aka DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid — will curate an exhibit at the festival entitled “The Imaginary App.” The exhibit is a companion piece to Miller’s forthcoming anthology of the same name, edited by Miller and Svitlana Matviyenko. “The Imaginary App,” as noted on the festival’s website (remixnyc.com), features original icons of nonexistent apps contributed by artists and designers from around the world. Lev Manovich, author of the 2013 book “Software Takes Command” as well as the seminal 2001 text “The Language of New Media,” will deliver the festival’s keynote speech on Saturday, highlighting the “remixability” of software as a cultural phenomenon. Another featured speaker, author David Shields, will speak about his 2010 literary mashup, “Reality
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Hunger,” a manifesto constructed entirely from existing texts ranging from Picasso to Jonathan Lethem. In addition to speakers and exhibits, and true to its credo, the festival will also feature a variety of installations and performances throughout the weekend. One of the performers, electronic musician and singer Erin Barra, recently released “Dear John,” a single from her upcoming album “Undefined,” through the website blend.io — an online collaboration tool for musicians that has been used by Moby, Prefuse 73 and Plus/Minus. Barra’s strategy is to make the “stems,” recorded segments of the song, available online to fans for “listening, remixing, and reimagining.” Barra maintains that the sharing of culture is a winwin proposition for musicians and audiences alike. “It’s the inheritance of the masses,” she said. “A 15-year-old kid in Lithuania gets to have the files and mess around with them because that is his right and I have granted it and whatever he does with that is his own prerogative. I’m alright with that.” Another performer at this year’s festival, Tammy Faye Starlite, has been a staple in the NYC and international music and cabaret scenes since the mid-1990s. Starlite, who is best known for her satiric characterization of a bible-thumping country singer, has recently charted new territory with her portrayal of Nico, erstwhile Velvet Underground singer and Warhol super-
star. On Saturday afternoon, Starlite will perform “Ein Nacht Mit Nico: A Funereal Cabaret,” a production that has been adapted from her much-lauded performance piece, “Nico/Chelsea Mädchen.” All told, the 2014 RE/Mixed Media Festival will host over 70 artists and speakers over the course of the weekend, with Saturday programming broken into two parts — daytime events will be held at The New School from 10am-5pm and, after a break for dinner, will continue at CultureHub from 6-10pm. Both halves of the day will employ the “cross-pollination” programming strategy and include performances, installations and discussions. Sunday is dedicated mainly to hands-on workshops in everything from media literacy to hip-hop. At the festival’s closing event on Sunday, Erin Barra will perform a live remix of all the festival’s works — the films, music, talks and installations — a fitting culmination to a weekend devoted to the art of remix Tom Tenney — a contributor to this publication on the topics of music, media and technology — is an artist, educator, writer and producer. He is the co-founder and director of the RE/Mixed Media Festival, a contributor to the forthcoming anthology “The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies” and a professor of media studies at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY..
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“Everybody talks about the weather,” quipped Mark Twain, “but nobody does anything about it.” The same might be said for the general sense of loss that comes with each devolutionary shift of the Lower East Side’s demographic plate. Clayton Patterson leaving town and A Gathering of the Tribes closing down? Nobody can say what the ongoing residential and creative exodus means for the neighborhood — but at least somebody’s hard at work, year after year, making sure there’s a public record of their contributions. Currently at the tail end of a season dedicated to exploring the theme of “Justice,” the Metropolitan Playhouse has always had our admiration for calling attention to forgotten American plays of the past. So it’s worth noting that once a year, their East Village Theater Festival documents the “ever-vital life and lore” of a neighborhood whose identity may be changing, but whose artistic spirit is still very much alive. Now through May 4, short plays and monologues will depict past and present life in the East Village, accompanied by a lobby exhibition of neighborhood photographs by Lower East Side native John Milisenda. The festival brings into alignment two series currently celebrating their 10th year: The East Village Chronicles and the Alphabet City Monologues. “Resistance” is one of the six short “Chronicles” plays. Written by East Village resident Armand Ruhlman and set
Photo by Jim Chow
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Riverfront revewal up by Hell’s Kitchen BY LAUREN PRICE Go West: Not so many years ago, it might have been unimaginable for someone to suggest living in Hell’s Kitchen. Today, the gentrification of what was once a rough and tumble swath of tenements, factories, warehouses, and parking structures into a white-hot neighborhood – – from Eighth Avenue west to the Hudson River, between 30th and 57th Streets – – is the talk of the town. Driving forces behind the transformation include the evolution of Hudson River Park, the nation’s second largest waterside urban open space, the development of the High Line and Chelsea Piers, and, most dramatically, the sale of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s storage yards to make way for the creation of the mixed-use Hudson Yards community on what is Manhattan’s largest undeveloped parcel of land. Some Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood favorites, of course, have been around for decades. Officially christened as Restaurant Row in 1973, the block of 46th Street between Eight and Ninth Avenues offers diners the choice of some 35 eateries. Established in 2000, Theater Row, on and around 42nd Street mostly between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, is a beloved complex of renovated historic theaters, including the Acorn, the Beckett, the Clurman, and the Lion. The weekend-long Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, since 2003, has turned the block of 39th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues into a value-hunter’s paradise. There, vendors hawk everything from greenmarket goods to vintage clothing, antique jewelry, collectibles, furniture, books, and toys. The Hudson Yards property, however, is an historic, even unprecedented gamechanger. “When there is an opportunity to develop a very large area of land, builders have the freedom to create projects that cannot be accomplished elsewhere in Manhattan,” said Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats. “As our city continuously evolves, Hell’s Kitchen has steadily grown into a booming neighborhood where everyone wants to live.” Take the no-fee rentals at Gotham West – – a new building at 550 West 45th Street with LEED-certification, a green construction seal of approval – – as an example of how the neighborhood is changing at lightning speed. In-home amenities include floor-to-ceiling windows, wide-plank quarter sawn oak floors, washers and dryers, and kitchens outfitted with KitchenAid appliances and granite worktops. Some have walkin closets and separate kitchen pantries. This full-service building boasts complimentary weekday breakfasts, curated art works, a business center, a demo kitchen used by invited professional chefs, a billiards room, a fitness center, three outdoor spaces – – including the Sky Terrace with an outdoor movie
New Real Estate section
This real estate section covering the broader Downtown area is a new feature of NYC Community Media and will appear periodically in Downtown Express. For questions, comments and story ideas email email@example.com.
Photo courtesy of Related Companies
A penthouse at Related’s One MiMa Tower, 460 West 42nd Street.
Photo Courtesy Of Cityrealty
CityRealty’s tally of coop and condo average price per square-foot from the first quarter of 2011 through the first quarter of 2014.
screen – – a bike porter for last minute tune-ups, complimentary shuttles to Sixth Avenue for weekday morning and evening commutes, and on-site parking. The block-long Gotham West Market features artisan vendors and excellent dining choices. Rents begin at $2,975 per month. (gothamwestnyc.com) No-fee rentals are also on tap at the brand new LEED Gold-registered Abington House at 500 West 30th Street. Leasing studios to two-bedroom units with open plans, the building offers some units with private outdoor space. All homes feature large windows, oak floors, and washer/ dryers, with some also affording breathtaking views of the High Line, the Hudson River, and the skyline. There are three communal ter-
races, one of them dedicated to barbequing, along with party rooms, indoor/ outdoor screening rooms, lounge areas, and the exclusive grooming, walking, training, and play date services offered by Dog City. Rents start at $3,000 per month. (related.com) The Ohm at 312 Eleventh Avenue at 30th Street was built with no-fee rental units ranging from about 560 to 1,020 square feet, 20 percent of them in the affordable housing category. They all showcase floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors, open kitchens, washer/ dryers, and safes. Communal amenities include a lounge, a sky deck, a fitness center, complimentary shuttles to and from Penn Station for weekday morning and evening commutes, and on-site park-
ing. Rents start at $2,695 per month. (ohmny.com) For no-frill renters willing to pay a broker’s fee – – especially those who don’t mind living in a building without an elevator – – the Oxford Property Group has dozens of listings in Hell’s Kitchen from as low as $1,600 per month for a renovated studio with new Thermopane windows, high ceilings, hardwood floors, a walk-in closet, and granite worktops in the kitchen. For $2,100 a month, this brokerage also offers a number of onebedroom homes. (opgny.com) For buyers who prefer mid-rise dwellings, 540West, on 49th Street, is made up of two seven-story interconnected buildings. With a unit mix that runs from studios to two-bedrooms, including duplexes and penthouses, square footage ranges from 501 to 1,625 square feet. As expected in a newer building, this one offers residences with floor-toceiling windows, white oak floors, and washer/ dryers. Resident-only amenities include a fitness center, two roof decks, a lounge, a courtyard with reflecting pool, an open-air movie theater, and a pet spa. This building is sold exclusively through Halstead Property Development Marketing and priced from $725,000. Owners can expect to move in by the end of the year. (540west.com) A Rail Yard Awakens: What was once an isolated area of rail yards, empty factories, warehouses, parking lots, and even strip clubs, Related Companies’ 28-acre Hudson Yards, between 30th and 34th Streets west of 10th Avenue, will include 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space, including 100plus stores (with negotiations reportedly underway with Neiman Marcus), 20 restaurants, a luxury hotel, park areas, and a 750-desk public school. An extension of the number 7 subway line from Times Square to 34th Street and 11th Avenue is set to open in late 2014. The LEED Gold-registered 10 Hudson Yards commercial tower, with a direct link to the High Line, has inked deals to lease commercial space to world-class names including Coach, L’Oreal, and German software powerhouse SAP. An enormous Fairway Market will be developed under the High Line. The first residential tower, LEED Gold-registered 15 Hudson Yards will open in 2017. Made up largely of condominiums, the building will have a 20 Continued on page 27
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
A Neighborhood Full of History Where So Much is New Continued from page 26
percent set-aside for affordable rentals. Adjacent to that, the Culture Shed, the much talked-about multi-purpose venue offering seven levels of flexible performance and gallery space to host a dizzying range of art, design, and special events, including New York City’s Fashion Week, is also slated to open in 2017. LEED Gold-registered 30 Hudson Yards, a commercial tower with the city’s highest outdoor observation deck, will be ready by 2018. Time Warner has already acquired more than one million square feet of office space in this building for about 5,000 employees from corporate operations, including HBO, Turner Broadcasting, and Warner Bros. Condominiums, a hotel, and both retail and entertainment spaces at LEED Gold-registered 35 Hudson, with direct access to the High Line, Hudson River Park, and Hudson Boulevard & Park, a planned ribbon of parkland that will wind it way between 10th and 11th Avenues, is also expected to open in 2018. (relatated.com/hudson-yards) View from the Top: In 1925, when the George Fuller Construction Company wanted to develop a new residential building on Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, they had to convince cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post Hutton to give up her townhouse that stood on the site. She agreed, but only if Fuller created a 54-room penthouse for her on the top three floors. Interest in living at the pinnacle hasn’t flagged since. Penthouses with considerably fewer than 54 rooms remain a hot commodity, particularly when they offer the best views and outdoor living space. With new builds and conversions proliferating on the Far West Side, there are a number of available posh aeries facing the Hudson
River, for both rental and purchase. Penthouse seekers might check out the 959-square-foot two-bedroom with river views in the Atelier’s 35th floor at 635 West 42nd Street. The asking price is $1.9 million, and there’s a tax abatement through 2018. Communal amenities include a resident-only lounge with complimentary weekday breakfasts, a basketball court and gym, a swimming pool, two roof decks with grill areas, complimentary shuttles across 42nd Street for weekday morning and evening commutes, and on-site parking. (halstead.com) A sprawling triplex co-op on floors 13 through 15 is on the market at 347 West 39th Street, priced at $2.75 million and marketed through Douglas Elliman. The building has no flip tax. A loftlike, three-bedroom penthouse in a 2010 converted garment factory, it’s outfitted with high ceilings, huge windows, an open chef’s kitchen overlooking the dining/ living spaces, and a private corner terrace accessed from the 15th floor. Two other standout features are the pair of wood-burning fireplaces and the private wraparound planting terrace on the triplex’s second level. (elliman.com) No-fee renters willing to pay skyhigh to live sky-high will find the 2,200-square-foot, convertible four-bedroom penthouse (including two master suites) on the 61st floor of the LEED Gold One MiMA Tower, at 460 West 42nd Street, just the ticket. Building extras include an Equinox and indoor lap pool, full-size basketball and volleyball courts, three landscaped terraces with private dining pods and BBQ areas, party rooms/ catering kitchens, outdoor/ indoor screening rooms, an Internet café and business center, a game room, and on-site training, grooming, walking, and scheduled play date services from Dog City. This home will set you back $19,000 a month. (related.com)
Photo courtesy of Related Companies
View of the High Line from Related’s Abington House at 500 West 30th Street.
Recreation rocks on the river BY LAUREN PRICE Restored and reimagined piers, dazzling water views, lush grassy expanses, and a 32-mile bikeway – – the nation’s most heavily used – – are among the highlights at Hudson River Park, which has become the elegant front lawn for Manhattan’s West Side neighborhoods Comprised of multiple ball fields, tennis and basketball courts, skating venues, and myriad aquatic pleasures, the park is also home to an 18-hole miniature golf course with sand traps, foot bridges, a pond, and a waterfall, a children’s carousel with hand-carved wood figures of Hudson River Valley animals, a Trapeze School that had
Carrie Bradshaw flying through the air on HBO a decade ago, and a seasonal sand area for beachfront volleyball. Annual summertime events for all ages are neighborhood favorites, too. Starting July 12, kids can enjoy movies at Pier 46 at Charles Street in the West Village, while adult fare is screened at Riverflicks at Pier 63 at 23rd Street in Chelsea. Pack a picnic dinner for concerts at RiverRocks beginning July 11 at Pier 84 at 44th Street, and, from July 14 on at this same pier, the city’s largest, you can dance the night away to some of the best bands around at MoonDance. Pier 84 also offers the annual Blues BBQ Festival on August 24, an inter-
active outdoor water play area, and bicycle rentals. Hudson River Park hosts youth enrichment programs throughout the year, ranging from Riverside Rangers, where kids explore the river’s ecosystem through discovery-based science experiments and nature-inspired crafts, to big city fishing – – all led by experts. “Our educational programs are a vital resource for thousands of families and students,” said Nicolette Witcher, the park’s vice president of environment and education. “This summer, our line-up is better than ever. And we’re thrilled to be partnering with New York Hall of Science this fall to
present SUBMERGE!, a free, day-long marine science festival devoted to New York City’s coastal waters that will feature noted marine scientists, interactive demonstrations, and hands-on activities for all ages.” (hudsonriverpark.org) Summertime is a particularly active time for youth at Chelsea Piers, with 16 specialty sports camps for children and teens, ages 3 to 17. Programs include golf, gymnastics, soccer, iceskating, bowling, and basketball. Camps run from June 16 to August 29, and enrollments range from one week to 11 weeks. Sign up before May 23 and early bird pricing will apply. (chelseapiers.com/camps)
APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014
SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 10AM – 6PM GREENWICH STREET TRIBECA Mark your calendars for the neighborhood’s biggest party! Food, games, shows, movies, sports, crafts and more.
Published on Apr 24, 2014