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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

April 30, 2015 • $1.00 Volume 84 • Number 48

Outspoken critic of Li’s leadership of C.B. 3 is booted from E.V. board BY LESLEY SUSSMAN

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C.B. 3, continued on p. 24

The long goodbye is over for old Lithuanian church in Hudson Square BY TEQUILA MINSKY

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n Sunday, Elena Naujikinene was looking for the familiar form of Our Lady of Vilnius to guide her. But she had lost her way; her visual reference was no longer there. Demolition began at least a month ago on her beloved 105-year-old church on this

obscure spur of Broome St., sandwiched between a Varick St. parking garage and three small residential buildings hard by the Holland Tunnel entrance. What was left of Our Lady of Vilnius was hidden from sight behind green plywood construction walls. Through a peephole, one could glimpse O.L. VILNIUS, continued on p. 10

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

n harshly worded language, recently ousted Community Board 3 board member Ayo Harrington lashed out Tuesday night against Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, charging that Brewer’s refusal to reappoint her

as a member of the board was “shameful and disappointing.” Harrington’s comments were made before the full board at its meeting at P.S. 20 on Essex St. just a few days after Harrington — a fierce critic of C.B. 3 Chairperson Gigi Li — was informed by

The eastern end of the new Whitney Museum, featuring its fire escape-like stairs, viewed from the High Line.

The Whitney sets sail, floating on light and air BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

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tanding on one of the new Whitney Museum of American Art’s outdoor terraces, one can take in the whole sweep of the surrounding neighborhood. According to the museum, this was the intent: to have the terraces face inward toward the city, as opposed to outward toward the Hudson River. (Plus, right now, the view directly west of the museum is dominated by Gansevoort

Peninsula, still occupied by unsightly garbage trucks and sheds. A park is coming on Gansevoort — but it will be a while.) From the museum’s terraces, one can visually track how the Meatpacking District has evolved. Just to the north is the Standard Hotel, completed in 2009, perched on a massive trestle, straddling the High Line below. The elevated park opened the same year and immediately became one of the city’s top tourist attractions.

Last Sunday, the High Line was teeming with people swirling about below tree boughs blooming with white and purple petals — almost like some sort of wildly busy Jackson Pollock painting when viewed from the Whitney’s terraces above. Over on Washington St., a former row of meat lockers — with forgotten names like Lamb Unlimited and Diamond Meats — has been transformed into an office MUSEUM, continued on p. 8

Hung jury in Patz murder case..........................page 3 Focus on C.B. 2’s Tobi Bergman.........................page 4 Fearing a Balazs noise barrage.......................page 6 ‘The Visit’ will stay with you.........page 21

www.TheVillager.com


CASTLE OF AAAAUUUGGGHHHH! IN THE HOUSE: Monty Python members, at right, from

POETRY OF PIER 40: You didn’t think David Gruber, former chairperson of Community Board 2, would just “go gentle into that good night” (to quote Dylan Thomas, and why not?) after recently wrapping up his final term leading the Village board, did you? O.K., so he’s not exactly “rage, rage, raging against the dying of the light,” but he will be chair, chair, chairing a new Pier 40 Working Group that will be involved in trying to get a handle on the mega-project that will soon, no doubt, be taking shape at the St. John’s Center across from the W. Houston St. pier. Joining him on the working group will be a really ragin’ crew, including Rich Caccappolo and Dan Miller, two former presidents of the Greenwich Village Little League, along with Ritu Chattree and Robert Woodworth. Also joining the group “ex officio,” as Gruber put it, will be Tobi Bergman, another former G.V.L.L. president, bringing the total of ex-leaders of the baseball league to three. Some might wonder if that’s a bit of stacked lineup. But, let’s face it — other than local car parkers — no one cares about the massive pier more passionately than the local youth sports leagues. ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES: Speaking of past community board chairpersons, David McWater, who formerly headed C.B. 3 for a good stint, from 2004 to 2008, e-mailed us last week. “I’m

ES & MORE SINCE 1982 I P ! CO

managing boxers (5) and am applying for licenses to represent athletes in other sports,” he said. “It has all gone very well, I travel all the time and am having a grand time. I’m a partner with Bob Perl in the former DBA space.” He said he doesn’t miss all the community board politics a bit.

STILL MISSING: We were hearing some rumors from readers that people think Michael Thomas of 61 Jane St. might possibly not really be missing. As reported in our Police Blotter last week, according to police, Thomas, 46, had been officially missing as of Mon., April 20, and had last been seen at the Pennsylvania Hotel that day at 4 p.m. After seeing the Blotter item, at least a couple of Villager readers subsequently poked around 61 Jane St., inquiring of staff there what was up, and there apparently was some speculation and skepticism about Thomas’s whereabouts. So we asked a police spokesperson at the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information about it this week, and he promptly checked it out. “The case is still open and being investigated at this time,” the sergeant reported. GIVE PEACE MARCH A CHANCE: Part of the

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April 30, 2015

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Pie Man, spoke about at the recent East Village fire benefit, John Penley called us from Carolina this week to tell us about the upcoming Vietnam Peace Commemoration in D.C. on Fri., May 1, and Sat., May 2. The group will sit in the New York Presbyterian Church for a conference, then — to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Vietnam peace march — will ambulate at 5 p.m. on May 2 to the Martin Luther King Memorial. Speakers at the memorial will include Julian Bond, Holly Near and Tom Hayden, among others, while speakers at the conference will also feature Phil Donahue, Leslie Cagan, Congressmember John Conyers, Dan Ellsberg, Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Peter Yarrow and more.

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left, Michael Palin, John Cleese and Eric Idle, mugged for the cameras at the Beacon Theater last week during the Tribeca Film Festival. They’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Corne r of Jane & West 4th St. (at 8th Ave.) 212-2 42-95 02

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A missing-child poster from 1979 for Etan Patz that was shown to Pedro Hernandez by police during his first confession, in Camden, N.J. Hernandez wrote on the poster that he was sorry he had choked Patz.

Etan Patz jury deadlocked BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

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n Wednesday, it was reported that that the jury in the Etan Patz missing-child murder case told the judge they could not reach a verdict on whether Pedro Hernandez is guilty in the boy’s disappearance in 1979. After deliberating for 10 days, the jury informed the judge, State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley, that they were deadlocked and could not reach a unanimous decision. As usually happens in such an instance, the judge issued a so-called “Allen charge,” asking them to try one last time to reach a verdict. If it remains a hung jury, it will be declared a mistrial. As of Wednesday, the judge was said to be “reviewing options.” The jury had previously asked for a read-back of closing arguments by both sides, which will start Thursday and should take two days. The trial thus reportedly could conclude by

this Friday. Hernandez, who was arrested in 2012, told police that he lured the 6-year-old Soho boy, with the promise of a soda, into the basement of a bodega at West Broadway and Prince St. where he worked, and then choked him to death. He said he then dumped the body in an alley about a block away on Thompson St. But Patz’s body was never found. The lengthy trial has been going on since early this year. Hernandez’s defense team has argued that his confessions were coerced by police, and that he has a very low I.Q., hallucinates and is extremely suggestible. They say Jose Ramos, long the main suspect in Etan’s disappearance, is guilty in the boy’s death. Ramos, who is serving time in Pennsylvania on child-molestation charges, was brought to New York City in December for the trial pursuant to a “material witness order.” But, exercising his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, he refused to take the stand.

Request for Bids (“RFB”) for the Renovation, Operation and Maintenance of a Newsstand at the Avenue of the Americas and West 3rd Street, Manhattan. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (“Parks”) is issuing a Request for Bids (“RFB”) for the renovation, operation and maintenance of a newsstand at the Avenue of the Americas and West 3rd Street, Manhattan. Hard copies of the RFB can be obtained, at no cost, commencing on Friday, April 10, 2015, through Friday, May 8, 2015 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays, at the Revenue Division of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which is located at 830 Fifth Avenue, Room 407, New York, NY 10065. All bids submitted in response to this RFB must be submitted no later than Friday, May 8, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.

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The RFB is also available for download, Friday, April 10, 2015 through Friday, May 8, 2015 on Parks’ website. To download the RFB, visit www.nyc.gov/parks/businessopportunities, click on the link for “Concessions Opportunities at Parks” and, after logging in, click on the “download” link that appears adjacent to the RFB’s description. For more information related to the RFB contact Glenn Kaalund at (212) 360-1397 or via email: glenn.kaalund@parks.nyc.gov. TELECOMMUNICATION DEVICE FOR THE DEAF (TDD) 212-504-4115

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April 30, 2015

3


Punchball to Pier 40, making a play for parks Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association Editorials, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009

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

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

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April 30, 2015

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hen Tobi Bergman was a young boy growing up Downtown, he and his friends used to play punchball in Washington Square Park — like baseball except using a fist rather than a bat to self-hit a tennis ball. They played on the asphalt surface in the park’s then-bus turnaround. The buses didn’t go too fast, so it wasn’t dangerous. But, then again, it wasn’t a real field. The Village had fewer permanent green spaces back then. It would be decades until the dream of sports fields on Pier 40 — in a movement organized by Bergman — would become a reality. Elected chairperson of Community Board 2 in November, Bergman brings a wealth of experience to the position, acquired over his 18 years as a member of the Village board, on top of having grown up here. He sat down with The Villager recently to touch base on key issues that C.B. 2 is working on now — and will be working on in the near future — and also to share a bit more about himself and his background. He had just been at a meeting with local education advocates and School Construction Authority officials about the new middle school planned in a converted former state office building at 75 Morton St. The agency had finally relented and agreed to the community’s call for a more functional “gymatorium” — a combination gym, theater and auditorium — by dropping its plan to outfit the space with 800 individual movable chairs. “S.C.A. is now saying they will put in the retractable seating that we wanted,” Bergman explained. “Putting 800 chairs in and out would be a problem.” The community also had initially pushed for a small gym and a small auditorium separate from each other, but came around to seeing it S.C.A.’s way that a larger, combined “gymatorium” would “give more space,” Bergman noted. “We were persuaded this was the way to go,” he said. On Mon., May 11, the S.C.A. will present the latest plans for 75 Morton to the community. The task force, of which Bergman is a member, will continue to meet and offer input as part of the ongoing process. As for Pier 40, the aging 14-acre structure at W. Houston St. and the sale of its unused development rights for the anticipated redevelopment of the St. John’s Center site across the highway comprise a massive item on C.B. 2’s future agenda. But the city, the Hudson River Park Trust and the expected developer — Atlas Capital Group — are all reportedly moving slower than had been hoped for in the process, under which the money from the air rights’

in the mix. This project needs to bring many good things.” As for the de Blasio administration’s “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” plan, as The Villager recently reported, Bergman — like other community activists — strongly opposes the “one size fits all” initiative. Under the city’s plan, contextually zoned areas in the West and East Village could see building-height caps raise anywhere from 5 to 15 feet to — if senior or affordable housing is included — 25 feet. “This is affecting all future contextual zoning,” Bergman said. “It will result in taller buildings. The contextual zoning that was put into place, that we have now, was the result of years of community planning.” Having grown up in Tobi Bergman, at the Elizabeth St. Garden’s Harvest Downtown Manhattan, Fest last year, has been a staunch advocate for pre- Bergman, 68, has seen the serving the garden as permanent open space, and an community go through opponent of a plan by the city and Councilmember many changes. Margaret Chin to build affordable housing on it. He was born on the Upper West Side, but when sale would be funneled back into Pier he was age 4 his family moved to the 40 to repair its badly corroded under- Lower East Side, and he’s mostly lived Downtown since then, and on the Lowwater support piles. Details of the preliminary Atlas er West Side since the 1980s. His father was a typesetter whose plan were leaked last November, when handwritten notes of a meeting be- work included producing influential tween the developer’s reps and Bor- publications like the Evergreen Review, ough President Gale Brewer became founded by Grove Press’s Barney Rospublic. The notes said, for example, that set. Bergman attended City and Counthe project, at its highest point, would include a tower more than 400 feet in try School, in the Village, one of whose height, and also have senior and afford- signature teaching techniques is for able housing — though none of it with young students to work with large river views — along with market-rate wood blocks to create models of the city’s bridges and buildings. (So perhousing, a hotel and more. Asked what he thought of those haps it’s not so surprising that the adult specs, Bergman would only say that Bergman would become drawn to he supports the concept of selling the large-scale monolithic structures, like waterfront park’s unused development Pier 40.) “The Village was my hangout,” rights to help fund the park, particularBergman recalled of his youth. “After ly the ailing “sports pier.” “I’m in favor of the idea,” he said. school, we went to Washington Square “I’m not in favor of a plan I haven’t seen Park. We walked around the Village.” His good friends growing up were yet. the twin sons of Shirley Hayes, the “I think it’s a good idea,” he said of the state law, passed in late 2013, that grassroots activist who led the fight to allows the park to cash in on its air get auto traffic out of the park. “Robert Moses wanted to build an rights. “Developers have already obtained a huge benefit from Hudson expressway through the park, from River Park,” he noted. In other words, Fifth Ave. to Canal St.,” he said. “Everyit’s high time for the park to reap some one wanted to keep the expressway out of that “New Gold Coast” value that it of the park, but Shirley Hayes demanded buses and cars out of the park. Tony clearly helped generate. As for what should be included in the Dapolito himself said that she was askSt. John’s project — senior housing? a ing for too much,” Bergman recalled of school? a hotel? — he offered, “I would BERGMAN, continued on p. 16 say everything. Everything should be FILE PHOTO

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

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Weeknight Service Changes

L Apr 13 –17, Apr 20 – 24, Apr 27– May 1, May 4– 8, May 11–15 Mon to Fri 11:30 PM to 5 AM No L service between 8 Av and Lorimer St A F J , M14 and free shuttle buses provide alternate service L service operates between Rockaway Pkwy and Lorimer St only Weekend service changes are also in effect. Visit mta.info for details. Travel Alternatives:

• M14 buses provide alternate service between 8 Av and 1 Av. • Free shuttle buses operate between Lorimer St and the Marcy Av J station, stopping at Bedford Av. • Transfer between free shuttle buses and J at Marcy Av. • Consider using the A or J to/from Manhattan, via transfer at Broadway Junction. Stay Informed

Call 511 and say “Current Service Status,” look for informational posters in stations, or visit mta.info where you can access the latest Planned Service Changes information, use TripPlanner+, and sign up for free email and text alerts.

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April 30, 2015

5


Mahfar tenants file more suits over conditions BY GERARD FLYNN

PHOTO BY ANGEE CORTORREAL

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eleaguered tenants from four Lower East Side buildings recently announced three additional lawsuits in Housing Court against landlord Samy Mahfar of SMA Equities. Outfitted in a hazmat suit to protest the hazardous conditions he said he has faced, one tenant from 211 Rivington St. described living under siegelike conditions. He said unprotected workers had blasted layers of paint off tenement walls, raising dust tainted with dangerous levels of lead-based paint. He was joined by other members of the Coalition of Mahfar Tenants at an April 20 press conference. Another 211 Rivington St. tenant spoke of heat and gas interruptions on some of the winter’s coldest days, plus collapsing ceilings. These were just some of a long list of complaints against Mahfar, who couldn’t be reached for comment. Lab tests on air quality during construction at another Mahfar-owned building revealed lead levels “nearly 3,000 times the federal threshold,” tenants said. Rent-stabilized tenants, many of them minorities or immigrants with poor English skills, were visited by “tenant relocators” who tried to per-

Councilmember Rosie Mendez, center, spoke at an April 20 press conference flanked by hazmat suit-wearing Mahfar tenants.

suade them to leave with buyout offers. Among these was Michel Pimienta, who state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last October made pay a $40,000 fine and agree to stop his relocation activities. “Numerous times representatives would ask me to move to another borough every time they came to my apartment,” one tenant alleged. The Mahfar Tenants Coalition also claims that guards were posted at one building’s entrance to block Department of Buildings inspectors from investigating complaints, and that they were successful all but once in turning D.O.B. personnel away. Dust levels got so bad at one building that children were hospitalized

following asthma attacks. Their mother also ended up getting sick due to having no heat for a month during construction, tenants said. As if the hazardous conditions weren’t bad enough, there were also frivolous lawsuits, the coalition charged. These were used to drive terrified tenants out of their units, which were quickly put back on the market at rents up to five times their original value. Repairs were not made, except in renovated apartments, according to the coalition. A speaker from another Mahfar-owned building, 22 Spring St., vividly recalled what happened after Mahfar took over: The lead-dust

levels rose, a phone line was cut, and the relocation specialists turned up, stressful enough to allegedly cause one tenant to suffer a heart attack, prompting her to leave. Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin praised the tenants’ courage in bringing the lawsuits. Chin called for greater coordination between the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Department of Buildings, the latter which, she said, needs comprehensive reform. Chin questioned why D.O.H. is not working with D.O.B. to ensure that proper procedures for lead-paint removal, for example, are being followed. State Senator Daniel Squadron demanded change in Albany and the end of vacancy decontrol, which he said offers incentive for landlords to harass rent-protected tenants. Garrett Wright, a senior staff attorney with the Urban Justice Center, which filed the three lawsuits in Housing Court, said the process favors wealthy landlords, who can afford expensive attorney fees. Tenants, Wright said, often end up “so scared, they will wind up leaving the apartment without going to court because they are afraid of being hit with attorney fees and costs, and landlords know that.”

Standard E.V. is pushing envelope on open spaces BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES

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April 30, 2015

PHOTO BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES

eighbors of The Standard East Village are worried about increased noise following the hotel’s proposal to add hours for its outdoor seating areas. The Standard East Village hopes to increase service and extend closing times for its E. Fifth St. garden area, as well as the outdoor seating at the hotel’s Narcissa restaurant. Residents fear the changes would disrupt the neighborhood, including an assisted-living facility directly across the street from the hotel garden. On March 23, E. Fifth St. Block Association members met with hotel officials to review the plans. The Standard said it wanted to keep the garden — located directly across the street from JASA’s Evelyn and Louise Green Residence — open two hours later, until 11 p.m. Additionally, the hotel wants to add another hour to its Narcissa garden’s weekday and weekend closing times, currently 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., respectively. In addition, neighbors charge

that The Standard never followed through with its original plan from May 2012, when owner André Balazs Properties signed an agreement that would keep noise levels down for neighbors by shifting its bar service from its second-floor patio downstairs to its Café Standard. Under its original stipulation, The Standard promised that sound from the outdoor seating — with no music — on the Bowery would not carry to surrounding neighbors, according to an acoustic study. That agreement called for the lobby to be expanded and, in turn, for 60 percent of the garden to be enclosed. However, none of the garden was ever enclosed. “They made a promise they could not keep,” said Stuart Zamsky, a member of the E. Fifth St. Block Association. Zamsky said the hotel insists it attracts a different crowd from other neighboring establishments, and that extending the hours should not impact nearby tenants. Yet, most neighbors do feel that the Café Standard on the Bowery is loud, according to Zamsky, and that increasing

Neighbors worry that The Standard wants more hours for two outdoor areas.

the two open spaces’ hours would just worsen the noise. Block association members note that 2 Cooper Square residents also are already dealing with noise from B Bar at 40 E. Fourth St. and are anxious about the completion of the Village Plaza outdoor public seating

area and park, which has been under construction since 2013. “The Café, when it’s open, is shockingly loud,” said Zamsky. “We want to avoid the same thing in the garden. The Standard is creeping toward table service in the garden, in the exact area that they promised to close. “The hotel comes to us every year asking for things,” he said. “They primarily abide by the stipulations and try to be good neighbors. They’re not difficult, but they’re always asking for more.” Representatives for The Standard are expected to present the hotel’s proposal at the May meeting of the Community Board 3 State Liquor Authority & Department of Consumer Affairs Licensing Committee. “The Standard holds the East Village community in the highest regard, and as such, we are unable to comment on our current decisions,” said Moya Hewitt, a hotel spokesperson. “We are just people trying to live,” Zamsky said. “We don’t want to tell them how to run their business. We just don’t want another Bowery Bar.” TheVillager.com


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Whitney Museum is a great clipper MUSEUM, continued from p. 1

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April 30, 2015

PHOTOS BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

building sporting a twisting black metal lattice and grass lawns. It’s the new home of the cutting-edge cellphone giant Samsung. Farther to the west can be espied the rusty former head-house arch for Pier 54, where the Titanic’s dazed and exhausted survivors disembarked. Barry Diller and Diane van Furstenberg plan to create a glittering new $130 million “arts island” there — Pier55 — that would attract top performers. Unlike Hudson Yards, however, the Meatpacking District’s evolution wasn’t planned in one fell swoop, but has happened organically, one step after the other. The last remnant of the once-thriving Meat Market is still visible just below the museum in the “co-op building,” which carries a deed restriction that has preserved it for market use. Now, rising majestically at the center of it all, is the new $422 million Renzo Piano-designed Whitney Museum, which will officially open to the public on Fri., May 1. First Lady Michelle Obama will be on hand on Thurs., April 30, joining Mayor Bill de Blasio and museum officials at the dedication ceremony. On Sat., May 2, the Whitney throw a free block party for the neighborhood. Sponsored by Macy’s, there will be karaoke, puppetry, poetry, mapmaking, music and more. Rising eight stories tall and stretching along Gansevoort St. between Washington and West Sts., the museum boasts light-filled gallery spaces and high ceilings. The opening show, “America Is Hard to See,” features more than 600 works from the museum’s collection of American art, mixing pieces well known with those rarely seen, in an attempt to shake up conceptions of the artistic canon. There’s a wall-length painting by Lee Krasner done right after her husband, Jackson Pollock’s, death; plus “Calder’s Circus,” a diorama of small wire sculptures of big-top performers by Alexander Calder, with which he would do live performances; as well as Willem de Kooning’s famously frenetic “Woman and Bicycle”; Jean-Michel Basquiat’s cynical “Hollywood Africans”; and an inyour-face nude by Carroll Dunham, father of Lena Dunham of “Girls” fame. Works by Mark Rothko, Georgia O’Keefe and Thomas Hart Benton hang near those of other artists whose names are unfamiliar to most.

On Sunday, museum members seemed to like sitting on the couches on the fifth floor’s west end, which face floor-to-ceiling windows, currently offering a view of, well...the garbage trucks on Gansevoort Peninsula.

People enjoyed the museum’s fifth-floor balcony, which overlooks both the meat co-op building, left, and the High Line, center.

The museum’s top floors can all be accessed by exterior stairways. Walking down the sleek metal-grate steps, one has the feeing of climbing down through a great clipper ship’s rigging. It also provides a nice breath of fresh air and a visual recharge after viewing each floor’s artworks. The work is arranged chronologically, becoming more contemporary as you descend. Particularly poignant, in the ’60s section, in light of the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam War’s end, is Howard Lester’s video installation “One Week in Vietnam,” which rapidly flashes the names and photos of all the U.S. soldiers killed during a single week, while the Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love” plays along. Even the bookstore / gift shop, on the first floor, has an open feeling: It has no walls. Last Sunday, the museum was open for free for members. “Oh, it’s wonderful,” said Harriette Silverberg Natkins, an Upper West Sider, after visiting the museum. “Have you been to the other Whitney? This one lets the art

breathe.” Standing on the plaza out front, Karen Groner, a designer from Bank St., said, “It’s visually beautiful inside. All three elevators are different. Each floor sort of has a different window configuration. And I love the wooden floors — besides its being really pretty, I think it works to dampen sound, as opposed to raw concrete floors. And I think the plaza is going to be a zoo all summer.” Ting Chen, 23, an entrepreneur who grew up nearby in Chelsea and now lives in the Village, said she enjoyed the art on the seventh and eighth floors the most. “I though the outdoor stairway was very cool,” she said. “Fresh air is a break.” With the Whitney’s presence, she said, the area is “getting a lot more dynamic.” Will, however, the Whitney be a bit too dynamic? The place’s V.I.P. grand opening last Friday evening brought a reported crowd of 3,000 partiers to celebrate Downtown’s new art mecca. It was so packed, some people were reportedly worried about the safety of the art on the wall, accord-

ing to the Post’s Page Six. Among the boldface names rubbing shoulders were artists Julian Schnabel and Kiki Smith, actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Dakota Fanning, singer Solange Knowles, “Noah” and “Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky and Andre Balazs, who built The Standard Hotel, just two blocks away. Zoe Kravitz and St. Vincent spun tunes, and John Cale of Velvet Underground fame performed. In addition to partying, the Whitney has been doing plenty of outreach to the community. “I was there Friday night,” said Elaine Young, a member of Community Board 2 who lives on Jane St., a block away from the new museum. “There were probably 7,000 people. I said, ‘How is this different from a club?’ There was a bar on the ground floor and at least two or three bars on the other floors. ... I had a Scotch.” Over the past decade, Young and her neighbors have been vigilant about trying to keep the Meatpacking District’s nightlife revelry from becoming too loud and disruptive for the surrounding area. “One thing the neighborhood is very weary of — they’re going to have a lot of events,” she noted. “All these terraces they have, we don’t want to see rock bands on them blaring on Friday night.” Last Friday night, however, she said, around 11 p.m., a D.J. on one of the balconies was manning a soundboard and beaming out “a New Age-y thing.” “It was kind of depressing and kind of droney,” said Young, who was looking down on the scene from the museum’s eighth-floor terrace. It wasn’t St. Vincent or Zoe Kravitz, though, she said, but a male D.J. An e-mail was promptly fired off to a top Whitney community-relations official and, within 10 minutes, the throbbing tone had faded away. Young said she and fellow Village activist Zach Winestine “negotiated a very complicated S.L.A. agreement” with the Whitney, under which Danny Meyer’s ground-floor restaurant will close at midnight Sunday to Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, with only six events with amplified sound on the terraces per year. The State Liquor Authority approved the stipulations, Young noted. Although Young said they’ll “have to be very careful about use of the terraces,” over all, she’s bullish on the new museum. MUSEUM, continued on p. 9 TheVillager.com


ship of art, floating on light and air MUSEUM, continued from p. 8

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

“There’s always people who say it’s too much traffic, too much noise,” she said. “I think the Whitney brings a glow to the neighborhood.” Ivy Brown has lived in the Triangle Building, at Ninth Ave. and W. 14th St., where she also runs a gallery, since long before the Meatpacking District’s transformation. From her central perch — a grandfathered residential apartment in the manufacturing-zoned enclave — she has watched the neighborhood evolve from meat hooks and transgender hookers to hotels, high-end boutiques, nightlife and now, high art. “This is major,” she said of the Whitney. “And of all the major things — like the High Line and Chelsea Market — despite the massive wave of humanity that is about to come flooding in, we’re pretty excited. It’s cultural, it’s not a nightlife place, it’s not transient,” she said of the museum. Because much of the museum’s concept is “indoors/outdoors,” Whitney officials gave a special presentation last week to the Meatpacking District Improvement Association, which Brown attended, about

At a press preview, last Thursday, a woman looked at her museum guide in front of “Calder’s Circus” and George Bellows’s classic boxing painting, “Dempsey and Firpo,” showing the moment when Dempsey tumbled out of the ring.

what is to be expected. “They explained the philosophy,” Brown related. “They don’t want to mimic an old industrial building, but they want it to be in that flavor.

The outdoor staircases are supposed to have the feeling of fire escapes, which I think is great.” Brown also thinks it’s terrific that the museum’s terraces will be free

for the public to use. “Anybody can go to the outdoor spaces without paying a penny,” she noted. Yearly membership for the museum will reportedly be $80 a year, which, by New York standards, seems almost affordable. “Eighty dollars — I am so becoming a member,” Brown gushed. “That is so accessible.” On the flip side, the neighborhood only keeps getting busier. On particularly nice weekends, she’ll gaze out her window and still be stunned to see massive crowds streaming along W. 14th St. “Where do all the people come from? I’m gobsmacked,” she said. “I’ll say, ‘What’s the demonstration?’ Then I’ll realize, it’s just people going someplace around here.” But Brown will deal with it the way she always has since the area started becoming a destination. “I go to Chelsea Market at 9:30 in the morning and it’s mine,” she noted. “That’s how I’ll treat the Whitney.” MUSEUM, continued on p. 25

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Lithuanian church’s long goodbye finally ends O.L. VILNIUS, continued from p. 1

I N THE

HEART OF

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

the old concrete front steps, arched window openings in the remnants of a wall abutting the parking garage, a pile of bricks and other rubble. Eventually, Naujikinene was joined by other Lithuanian community members and parishioners, 22 in all, coming from around New York City and Long Island — plus former parishioner Gitana Merkeliene visiting from Lithuania — for the final goodbye to their spiritual and cultural home. The church had required structural repairs and had a dwindling congregation, and so the archdiocese decided to close it. The doors were abruptly locked in 2007. But the church community resisted the closing. “We were self-sustaining. We didn’t ask for money,” said Ramute Zukas, the congregation’s president. “We tried to fight with the Vatican. We involved the Lithuanian Embassy and Consulate. We went to civil court. We took it to Albany.” But they didn’t prevail in court. Zukas explained that Lithuanians fleeing mandatory service in the czar’s army before World War I settled in the Lower West Side area and worked on the Hudson River docks. Community member Mindaugus (“Gus”) Bladziunas, who video-documented the church’s ongoing struggles, noted, “Building the Holland Tunnel in the ’30s decimated the community.” In more recent years, Italian and Portuguese parishioners came to the church for services from neighboring Broome, Dominick and Van Dam Sts., joining members of the dispersed Lithuanian community. The church records were moved to nearby St. Anthony of Padua on Sullivan St. Two men in their 40s were among those at the “church’s wake” last Sunday. One admitted not having attended services. “It’s heritage that’s more important than religion,” he said. “It was like a Lithuanian club.” The church served as a community center. Bladziunas organized jazz and other musical events in its basement social hall. “We’re a small nation, but we have guts,” he said. “We didn’t disappoint the founders. We fought until the last brick of the church had fallen.” The Catholic Archdiocese sold the building for $13 million. It was then flipped a year later for $18.4 million. The adjacent residential building was purchased for $12.3 million, creating a site allowing for a planned 18-story, 30-unit condo building by SoHo Broome Condos LLC.

Congregants held lilies as they offered testimony about the significance of the Church of Our Lady of Vilnius to them.

Last weekend, the congregation members lit 105 memorial candles — one for each year of the church’s life — at a small shrine they had put together by the curb. Solemn-faced, they stood facing the site of their former house of worship, holding lilies, as they offered recollections and tributes, all in Lithuanian. Rita Stelmokiene, their community officiate, said passionately, “This was not a demolition of a supermarket or coffee shop. We are standing near our historical church that our grandparents and people who came in 1900 built.” Even after the church was shuttered, every Sunday, winter or summer, no matter the weather, people used to come and pray on the steps.

Merkeliene lived in Brooklyn for 10 years before moving back to Lithuania. Her son Kristupas was the last one baptized in the church in 2004. She just happened to be in New York for this memorial gathering. “It is so sad moment for our Lithuanian community in New York and for me personally, too,” she said. “I was engaged with this church and the people so much!” Following the public remembrances, a “Communion-like” wine was served, along with koldunai, a traditional Lithuanian pierogi-style dish with fried onions, mushrooms and sour cream. It was a final taste of fellowship at this location for these folks who fought so hard.

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A young boy helped light some of the 105 memorial candles, one for each year of the church’s existence. TheVillager.com


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POLICE BLOTTER Booty Benjamin Something did not look right to the cashier of a deli at 78 Eighth Ave. on Wed., April 22. A customer had just provided a $100 bill as payment for food and beverages just after 9 p.m. that night. Perhaps it was the paper or the lack of telltale watermarks, but the 44-year-old man confronted the counterfeit-toting customer, who subsequently fled. Police found Ricky Lebron, 28, a block away in front of 49 Seventh Ave. and identified him as the perpetrator. A search revealed another fake Benjamin within his underpants. He was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, a felony.

Deadly police shooting A man was fatally shot during a violent struggle with police inside an E. Sixth St. building on Saturday. On Thurs., April 23, at 6:20 p.m., a woman, 21, was giving a presentation at City College in Harlem when a man interrupted and demanded to see her, according to police. The victim went

out into the hallway where the two argued and the suspect punched the woman in the body and face. The suspect then removed the victim’s purse, containing cash, her keys, cell phone, ID, bank cards and gift cards, and fled. The victim identified the suspect as a 22-year-old male known to her. Detectives determined he was staying at 538 E. Sixth St. On Sat., April 25, at 1:48 p.m., two detectives responded to the address. While they approached a sixth-floor apartment, the suspect fled out a window and down the fire escape. The two detectives ran down the stairs and confronted him in the lobby. There, a violent struggle ensued between the suspect and the detectives. During the five-minute-long fight, the suspect was able to grab a police radio, and began to strike both detectives in the head with it, causing lacerations and abrasions to both of their heads. During the beating, one detective drew his firearm and fired once, striking the suspect in the torso, police said. EMS responded and transported the suspect to Beth Israel Hospital where

he was pronounced dead. The officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital, both with bruising and lacerations to the head and one with a dislocated shoulder. They were listed in stable condition. The suspect’s identity is being withheld pending family notification. The investigation is ongoing. The Daily News quoted a neighbor describing the E. Sixth St. building as a “halfway house for mentally ill people adjusting to society. It’s been there for 20, 25 years,” the man said. “They treat all kinds of things, including drugs. I’ve never felt scared before. But there’s been some tension.”

Packages perp The landlord of 175 Thompson St. spied a man opening packages in the building lobby on the morning of Mon., April 27, according to police. Police arrived at about 8 a.m. and found that the suspect, identified as Ty Sumpter, 29, was also in possession of two credit cards belonging to other people. He was charged with criminal possession of stolen property, a felony.

Reservoir rough stuff A “touchy feely” conversation among three men did not end warmly on Tues., April 21, police said. A 35-year-old man was talking with two other guys at about 1:30 a.m. that day when an argument arose. The two men then attacked the other man in unison. One hit the victim with a glass while his accomplice punched him in the head and face, according to a police report that did not state the nature of the dispute. Both of the perpetrators fled the Reservoir Bar, at 70 University Place. The victim meanwhile was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he received 12 stitches and five staples to the right side of his head. Police arrested Edwin Sanchez, 32, about two hours later after he returned to the scene to retrieve his cell phone. He was charged with felony assault. The second suspect, known only as Jose, remains at large.

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PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

Gansevoort is hard to look at

This may be part of the reason why the Whitney Museum of American Art’s terraces face inward, toward the city — the garbage trucks and sheds on Gansevoort Peninsula. The trucks will soon relocate to Spring St. and the peninsula is slated to become a park, but there will also be a marine waste-transfer station for recyclable garbage. “America Is Hard To See” is the name of the Whitney’s opening show. But, well, Gansevoort right now is hard to even look at.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Sixties 2nd Ave. flashback To The Editor: Re “Alleged gas siphoning only further fuels turmoil at another E.V. building” (news article, April 16): I lived at 128 Second Ave. during the second half of the 1960s. It was great! Eighty-nine dollars a month in 1966 for a fifth-floor walk-up. The Orpheum could get kind of loud on a summer night with the windows open, though,

and I sure do wish the Stage restaurant and its great food had been there then. Lulu Katz

Creativity in captivity To The Editor: Re “The trials of collage artist Kasoundra Kasoundra” (news article, April 16): I have known Kasoundra more than 30 years.

IRA BLUTREICH

Will de Blasio challenge Hillary for the nomination? 14

April 30, 2015

She is the most creative person I know! As a fellow artist, it breaks my heart to see her trapped in the system and unable to continue making her art. Free Kasoundra! Larry Schulte

Eat plants, save the planet To The Editor: Just in time for the recent 45th anniversary of Earth Day, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee made it official: Consumption of animal products is not environmentally sustainable. Their conclusions match those of a massive 2010 United Nations report that concluded that a global shift toward a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and climate change. Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to operate farm machinery, trucks, refrigeration equipment, factory farms and slaughterhouses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal-waste cesspools. Moreover, animal agriculture contributes more LETTERS, continued on p. 25 TheVillager.com


Mother’s Day mission: Finding the will to chill RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY

M

other’s Day is usually marked by burned toast, dandelion bouquets and crayon drawings of mommies and children with hearts all around them. It is a great day. This Mother’s Day, I’ll be giving a talk at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on how come mommies feel so worried all the time. Not that moms haven’t always been worried for their kids. Of course we have. Jewish moms (like me) are famous for it. In fact, the old joke is, “Did you hear about the Jewish telegram? ‘START WORRYING. DETAILS TO FOLLOW.’ ” But for the past 20 or 30 years, worries have come to almost define the job of parenting. We worry about what our kids are eating, watching, reading, wearing, learning, not learning, saying, thinking, texting, sexting (well, maybe that one’s valid), doing and not doing. Not to mention what is in their goodie bag. We worry even under circumstances when most of our own mothers would have breathed a sigh of relief: “Ah, they’re outside for a few hours. Now I can get some work done.” Or, “Now he’s down for a nap. Phew.” 

What has made us so nervous? I boil it down to four big cultural shifts: 1)  The Media. Of course it is easy to blame the media, because the media are to blame. My mom could not have named 10 kidnapped children off the top of her head. Today’s moms usually can, and not because there are more “sickos” around, or even more crime. Crime is at a 50-year low. It is that we hear about everything from everywhere all the time now. When I was on Nancy Grace recently, she showed heart-stopping clips of Adam Walsh (murdered in Florida, 1981), Etan Patz (disappeared in New York, 1979) and Elizabeth Smart (kidnapped in Salt Lake City in 2002), as if to say, “See! These things are happening. All. The. Time.” Even though we’re talking three cases separated by decades and thousands of miles. Not flashed on the screen was the fact that

tens of millions of children were not kidnapped when they walked to the bus stop. Pretty much whatever we see on television is there because it is the scariest of the scary and the rarest of the rare. If we publicized every time a child died in a car crash in this same hammering way, no one would ever put their kids in the car again.  2)  We live in litigious times, and this outlook is catching. We, too, have started looking at life the way trial lawyers do: Is that playground absolutely safe? Well, no. Nothing is. But thanks to the litigious belief that if something isn’t 100 percent safe, then it is dangerous, we get situations like the one in Richland, Washington, where the school district decided to remove the swings from all its playgrounds. 3)  Thanks to the expert culture we live in, parents are constantly being told what they’re doing wrong. There are experts on everything now, including (I kid you not) how to write a non-upsetting letter to your kid at camp. As if there is one right way to keep kids safe and sound. Please! But hear enough warnings and you start to feel you are endangering your kid if you let him do anything on which you haven’t done Ph.D.-level research. 4)  The marketplace knows there is no easier dollar to extract than the one from the wallet of a worried parent. And so we have a whole aisle of the baby store filled with pivoting, infrared monitors that sweep the nursery

at night, as if checking for terrorists in the caves of Yemen. (If there actually are caves in Yemen. You get the idea). Suddenly, just putting your child to sleep in her room seems like it is too dangerous to do without backup. So this Mother’s Day, the gift I would give all moms is the gift of chill. Our kids are not in constant danger, no matter what the media, the marketplace and the experts (aside from me) are saying. If you can make it to the museum for my lecture, great. If not — no hard feelings! And if you want to try something else that might help you relax, consider participating in “Take Our Children to the Park...and Let Them Walk Home By Themselves” day on Sat., May 9. The idea is to bring your kids, ages 7 or 8 and up, to your local park and let them play and walk home unsupervised. This may sound nerve-racking, but once you do it and see your happy kids bounding home, the fear gets replaced by pride and joy. At 10 that Saturday morning, I’ll be at the Ancient Playground at 85th St. and Fifth Ave. in Central Park, offering encouragement. Lenore Skenazy will be speaking at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place at First Place, on Mother’s Day, Sun., May 10, at 2:30 p.m. Admission: $15. For information, call 646437-4202 or e-mail info@mjhnyc.org . Skenazy is founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids.”

Why workers will march and rally this May Day TALKING POINT BY BHAIRAVI DESAI AND EDGAR ROMNEY

R

ecently, thousands of workers all over the country took to the streets demanding a hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Our Fight for $15 campaign highlighted the income inequality that has made the gap between the haves and have-nots as wide as the Grand Canyon. The campaign has also spurred some in Congress to act. Still, the ever-widening gap between an average worker’s wages and a C.E.O.’s seven-figure salary is only one of many reasons union members and our allies will take to New York City streets for a May Day march and rally. TheVillager.com

On Fri., May 1, we will be joined by a coalition of fast-food workers, taxi drivers and homecare, retail, transit and construction workers, as well as community, social-justice and immigrant-rights groups, because the Fight for $15 campaign is only the tip of the iceberg. Our umbrella group — The Coalition for Real Jobs, Real Wages and Real Rights — supports, not only a minimum wage hike, but pay parity for women, the right of all workers to join unions, immigrants’ rights and a path to citizenship, affordable housing, good public education, policies that show that black and minority lives matter, and a host of other issues that impact us and the communities our members live in and serve. Ever since May 1, 1886, when it was first organized, May Day, has highlighted those issues that make the difference between a job that is demeaning and one that has dignity, between a job that endangers our lives and one that protects workers’ health and

safety, between a job that grinds up workers and their families and spits them out and one that uplifts them. What kind of employer closes retail stores in order to lay off thousands who want decent wages and dignity? What kind of employer ignores unsafe working conditions that endanger workers’ lives while constructing buildings that will reap him billions in profits? What kind of employer undermines taxi drivers who play by the rules by granting licenses to others who don’t? And what kind of employer seeks to destroy jobs that provide safety-net services needed by millions? May Day has always been about workers standing up for their rights. This May Day will be no different. On this Fri., May 1, workers will gather in front of the Park Ave. home of an owner of one of our most egregious employers — billionaire Alice Walton of Walmart — to call attention to that corporation’s unfair treatment of workers. Workers from a California Walmart will represent 2,200 of

their brothers and sisters whose attempts to unionize were halted when Walmart closed nine stores, claiming “plumbing issues.” They will not be alone. Joining them will be RWDSU car-wash workers whose four-month strike recently won a new contract, wage hikes and stronger worker protections. Also with them will be members of CWA1180 who recently won back pay thanks to a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling that black and Latina women supervisors deserve to be paid the same as their male counterparts. They will march side by side with New York TWU and ATU bus operators who are being unfairly excluded from the protections of the city’s Vision Zero initiative and are being arrested on the spot for issues stemming from faulty equipment and employer-directed left turns in crosswalks. Desai is president, New York Taxi Workers Alliance; Romney is secretary-treasurer, Workers United, SEIU April 30, 2015

15


Evening the playing filed for kids and families BERGMAN, continued from p. 4

the late “Mr. Parks” of C.B. 2, one of his mentors. Bergman would go on to college at the University of Wisconsin. When he graduated and returned to the city, they had just finished renovating Washington Square Park. “I was upset about it,” he remembered, but added that he eventually came to like it. As for the park’s latest renovation, he said, “It’s working…except for those four trees in the small pits toward the middle that keep dying. People seem to be enjoying it — that’s how you measure success.” At the same time, he said, “The community was told it was going to be a refurbishment. And then they were presented with a plan that was more drastic than anyone had imagined. That part of the process was very poorly done. I argued in favor of the renovation.” In terms of recreation, the Village has seen a boom in youth sports, and Bergman and his fellow parent allies have played a big role in making that a reality. “For most of my life, there was really no space,” he said. “J.J. Walker Field, Seravalli Playground — everywhere you went, it was adults, bar leagues. It was really hard to get in there.” It all started with Jon Bennett, the founder of the Greenwich Village Little League. “He had a couple of girls,” Bergman recalled. “He wanted to go out and play on the fields. They told him, ‘You need a permit,’ and then that he needed insurance. The only way he could get insurance was through Little League.” Dapolito was able to persuade the Parks Department commissioner to give the local children J.J. Walker for three hours on a Saturday. “That first day, 200 kids and family members showed up,” Bergman said. “The Parks commissioner was there, and said, ‘O.K., you got the whole day from now on.’ ” Eventually, the families got the field, at Clarkson and Hudson Sts., on Sundays, too. The C.B. 2 chairperson has two grown sons, Patrick, a journalist, and Mackey, the director of Steady Buckets, a free youth basketball league. When G.V.L.L. began, J.J. Walker was a dirt field, variously prone to puddles and sandstorms. Before games, they would have to ask the homeless people who slept on the seating to leave. Before long, the league got artificial turf installed at J.J. Walker, which is also the surface for the sports fields at Pier 40.

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Bergman was a leading member in the struggle to get playing fields on Pier 40. A rooftop field on the sprawling Lower West Side pier was won just before the turn of the century, after the community sued the pier’s previous owner, the state Department of Transportation, for failing to make good on its promise to provide recreational space on the pier. As the Pier 40 lawsuit was being settled, in 1997, Bergman founded P3 (Pier Park & Playground Association) to push for more youth athletic fields in the C.B. 2 area. Then, in 2004, after a request for proposals (R.F.P.) to find a developer to fix up the crumbling pier failed, the Trust agreed to create a 400-footby-400-foot “interim” field in the pier’s courtyard. It rapidly became a treasured community amenity. Although many see Bergman as the father of the Pier 40 ball fields, he doesn’t claim the idea was originally his. “I don’t know who first thought of putting ball fields at Pier 40,” he told The Villager. “The idea was introduced to me by Vince McGowan. I just helped organize parents to support it.” McGowan was vice president for operations for the Hudson River Park Conservancy, the Trust’s predecessor. It’s not surprising that Bergman has been a parks expert — and a former Parks Committee chairperson — on the community board. He was chief of operations for Central Park from 1983 to 1995. Before that he was director of operations for the Brooklyn Museum. However, for this article, Bergman said that he didn’t want to rehash the various plans he’s supported or even personally pitched — along with local youth leagues — for Pier 40 in the past. At one point, about a dozen years ago, he even flew to France to work with an architect on how best to incorporate playing fields into a proposed redesign by C&K Partners for the pier. More recently, the youth leagues supported the idea of building housing first on, and then next to, Pier 40 to raise revenue for the pier. Within the past couple of years, saying his help was no longer needed, Bergman stepped down from his position at P3, whose office is based on Pier 40. While sports fields have been on the rise, local diversity has been on the wane. “We have in C.B. 2 a half dozen great neighborhoods or more,” Bergman said. “It’s very difficult when you see your neighborhood change. The biggest harm to our neighborhoods, as I see it, is it’s become less

diverse — economically, ethnically and in all diversity. We had Italians and Irish. The whole West Side was Irish. There were a lot of Portuguese and there were artists. Everyone was here. That was the biggest loss. “On the other hand, parks and playgrounds were pretty rundown. We didn’t have Hudson River Park. Now we’re getting the Whitney. I still can’t imagine living anywhere else.” Speaking of parks, the fate of the

sold their Watts St. building, which was in the rezoned Hudson Square district, and the property will likely be incorporated into a larger development project on Varick St. Another concern is the influx of large chain stores and restaurants. “People want to rent to chain stores — even if smaller stores can afford it — because these are known as ‘high-credit’ stores,” he noted. “It’s good for the landlord. It allows an owner to take more equity out of a building. It’s a little like redlining, in my mind, because banks are encouraging landlords to rent to chains. If you think about loss of character in our neighborhoods, for many, many years, chain restaurants were not so prevalent. Now they’re taking over.” In addition, he said, the Department of Buildings is not enforcing an existing prohibition on retail uses of more than 10,000 square feet in Soho. R.E.I. is an exception since sporting uses are allowed, he said. But it should be applied against Topman, Uniqlo and Bloomingdale’s, according to Bergman. “D.O.B. apparently fails to enforce the requirement,” he said. Bergman supports Citi Bike. “It surprised everybody how big these bike racks were,” he admitted. “But I think most people are used to them by now.” As for perennial issue of bars and quality of life, Bergman said it’s a delicate balance. “What makes New York different from the suburbs is we have life on our streets,” he noted. “Stores bring life to our streets. Jane Jacobs felt bars brought life to the streets. I do, too. People need to sleep at night. On the other hand, it’s the city that never sleeps. I like to walk down streets at night that have activity. I don’t like to walk down streets at night where people are behaving badly. It’s a very difficult balance. I don’t like walking through Soho at night: There’s no life, everything closes down and it’s dead. “We have to accept both: a livable neighborhood and a special neighborhood with special activities,” he said. “Places that play music can be the worst, but they also contributed a lot to the cultural existence of our neighborhood. The ’60s wouldn’t have happened without loud music — and sometimes bad music.”

‘That first day, 200 kids and family members showed up at J.J. Walker.’ Tobi Bergman

“open-space strips” along LaGuardia Place and Mercer St. — which were declared “impliedly parkland” by one state judge — will determine, in large part, whether the N.Y.U. 2031 mega-project sinks or floats. The case is set to be heard by the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. “Let’s keep our fingers crossed,” Bergman said. “I think there’s still a great chance that this will be stopped. I don’t see that you can call those anything other than parks — and if they’re parks, it needs to go to the state Legislature. Hopefully, the court will do the right thing.” Bergman is upset that residentially rezoning Hudson Square doesn’t seem to be panning out in terms of creating affordable housing. Developers can get a height bonus by voluntarily including affordable units in their projects, but are choosing not to do so. “We got sold a bill of goods,” Bergman charged. He’d also like to see Trinity Real Estate get moving on developing its residential tower in Duarte Square, at Sixth Ave. and Canal St. Not only will this project contain a new public school in its base, but it “will help connect Tribeca and Hudson Square,” he noted. Meanwhile, that lot’s various interim uses, from food trucks to, more recently, Nike’s Zoom City Arena for NBA All-Star weekend, have been “one disaster after the next,” he complained. Bergman and his wife recently

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Re-Inventing The Whitney New space has a strong sense of place

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN

O

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COURTESY OF THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART

n May 1, the Whitney Museum of American Art will open its newly Renzo Piano-designed home to the public. That night, the Empire State Building will light up in its honor by re-interpreting 12 iconic works from the Whitney collection by Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol and others. It will seem as if the whole city is celebrating — and the opening certainly has the potential to become New York’s most important cultural event of the decade. However, it will also mark the beginning of a fresh chapter in the Whitney’s history, and not simply a geographical one. Considering its new location, impressive architecture and upcoming programming, the Whitney has embarked on a major identity overhaul, readying itself for a future of growth. In contrast to the Whitney’s previous Upper East Side location at 75th St. & Madison Ave. (1966-2014), its new neighborhood is infinitely more youthful and tourist-laden. It also happens to be closer to its original address on West Eighth St. in Greenwich Village, where Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney founded it in 1931. While on the Upper East Side, the Whitney was mere walking distance from other major museums, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Neue Galerie, the Frick Collection and the Guggenheim Museum, among others. Now, it stands proudly alone. However, situated at the southern tip of the High Line and within the buzzing Meatpacking District, the Whitney is part of a much more lively scene. It is only steps away

Like a good neighbor: the Whitney takes a good first step in establishing itself as a welcome new arrival by throwing a free Block Party on May 2, 10:30 a.m.–10 p.m. in front of its 99 Gansevoort St. location.

from the Standard Hotel, the Gansevoort Hotel, the Headquarters of Diane von Furstenberg, the Chelsea Market, Google, an Apple Store and countless boutiques, fashionable restaurants, bars and clubs. Along these lines, on May 2, the Whitney Block Party (Gansevoort St., in front of the museum, 10:30 a.m.–10 p.m.) will embrace this neighborhood’s youthful spirit. Sponsored by Macy’s, just like the beloved Thanksgiving Parade and 4th of July Fireworks, this party intends to welcome visitors of all ages with free art and

performances. It is further proof of the Whitney’s strong desire to embrace its new location wholeheartedly, while making its architecture a vivid experience for all. No matter how much immediate attention will be focused on the surrounding events and the Museum’s elegant outer appearance, stunning improvements are to be found on the inside. Certainly, Piano’s boat-like vision of a building deserves ample contemplation. It pays splendid homage to the Hudson River and the history of Chelsea

Piers, where in the early 20th century, most major trans-Atlantic liners docked and survivors of the Titanic disembarked. It also respectfully nods to the Frank Gehry-designed IAC building just a few blocks north, whose form is also inspired by ships. Nevertheless, the Whitney’s inaugural exhibition “America Is Hard to See” (May 1–Sept. 27, 2015), whose fantastic title was taken from a Robert Frost poem, is certainly capable of drawing its own significant attenWHITNEY, continued on p.18 April 30, 2015

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The Whitney Achieves an Impressive Identity Overhaul WHITNEY, continued from p. 17

COURTESY OF THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART

tion. It is organized by a whole team of Whitney curators, led by Donna De Salvo, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs, including Carter E. Foster, Curator of Drawing; Dana Miller, Curator of the Permanent Collection; and Scott Rothkopf, Family Curator and Associate Director of Programs; with Jane Panetta, Assistant Curator; Catherine Taft, Assistant Curator; and Mia Curran, Curatorial Assistant. Spanning several floors, “America is Hard to See” celebrates the Whitney’s acclaimed permanent collection in an unprecedented way. No less than 600 works by 400 artists fill up the significantly expanded 50,000 square feet of gallery space and 13,000 square feet of terraces. The show marks the Whitney’s most ambitious presentation of and in-house reflection on its acclaimed collection, which spans from about about 1900 to the present. “America is Hard to See” is organized chronologically with the eighth and highest floor featuring the oldest work. The exhibit is also organized thematically however. Themes are introduced as chapters, and there are 23 total. Bringing together related artworks, each is named after a work that appears in that particular section of the show. This makes for an incredibly extensive but well-structured, and therefore manageable, survey of the many different ideas, beliefs, and passions that have preoccupied American artists during the past 115 years. For those well familiar with the Museum’s collection, “America is Hard to See” holds many surprising treats. Artists rarely featured and works that have never been exhibited before are seamlessly merged with beloved icons. On the eighth floor, for example, the impact of the Industrial Revolution and urban innovation loom large. Here, one of the themes explored is titled “Machine as Orna-

Open spaces flooded with sunlight compliment, rather than compete with, the art on display.

ment” and various depictions of the Chrysler Building help to illustrate an era when machines and technological advances were viewed with romantic enthusiasm. Floors seven and six present works from the mid20th century, while five, the building’s largest and column-free space, covers the late 1960s to the present. Throughout the different floors, it is a pleasure to follow the detailed curation of the installation. There are plenty of witty pairings to be found, such as George Tooker’s “The Subway” from 1950 and Edward Hopper’s “Early Sunday Morning” from 1930. Though different in style and aesthetic, both paintings fit thematically, as well as compositionally. Both of these WHITNEY, continued on p.19

PHOTOGRAPH © TIMOTHY SCHENCK 2015

Terraces enable visitors to leave the museum temporarily to rest and soak in the stunning textures of the neighborhood.

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WHITNEY, continued from p. 18

Renzo Piano’s boat-like building design pays homage to the Hudson River and the history of Chelsea Piers.

about this transparency. The new version of the Whitney is no longer a dark temple for art, but rather a continuously morphing cloud, on which art hovers just above the city. It remains a wonderful space to view modern art, but for the first time, the Whitney is a fantastic museum to view contemporary work. This will certainly aid the reputation of the Whitney Biennial (spring 2017) and assure interest of a younger generation of artists. Looking at the advance exhibition schedule, it becomes clear that there will be room for both prominent names, such as Frank Stella, whose retrospective will run from Oct. 30– Feb. 7, 2016, as well as the emerging ones, including Jared Madere, Rachel Rose and Sophia Al-Maria. There remains plenty to discover no doubt. I personally look forward to returning one evening in the near future, specifically to visit Edward Hopper’s “Railroad Sunset.” This well-known masterpiece can be found on the seventh floor, installed right across a major window facing the Hudson. It promises to be an epic battle of the city’s two most stunning sunsets. The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort St. (btw. 10th Ave. & Washington St.). Call 212-570-3600 or visit whitney.org.

PHOTOGRAPH © TIMOTHY SCHENCK 2015

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PHOTOGRAPH © TIMOTHY SCHENCK 2015

compositions are rooted in strong vertical lines that, not unlike prison bars, succeed in stressing an overall sense of isolation. Some chapters thrive thematically but feel somewhat cramped. One entitled “Scotch Tape,” for example, features artists, who worked with non-traditional materials. Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson, Lee Bontecou and Jay DeFeo, are among those presented here. However, these works rank among the most complex and significant in the Museum’s collection and finding them so closely installed to each other seems like overkill. In fact, they begin to cancel each other out. In contrast to the old Marcel Breuer building, which to me personally always felt like entering dark catacombs, the new galleries couldn’t feel lighter. Each floor features large windows and the eighth floor has some of the best skylights in town (including an elaborate shading system). Meanwhile, spaces are simple and to the point; they are functional and ready to vanish behind the works of art they are supposed to feature. The ceiling shows an elaborate grid of tracks, from which movable hanging walls can be configured freely. It is clear that Piano’s galleries are supposed to move for, and in the name of, art. It is a nice surprise, because too often museum architecture seems to defy its main purpose: to showcase the art housed inside. Other much-welcomed features include a theater-performance space on the third floor, something the Whitney has lacked thus far. On May 16, a major documentary on the legendary Eva Hesse will premiere here in the context of a private event. The fact that the new theater also features a window with a scenic view of the Hudson River makes it especially enticing. Here, Piano, who might have taken inspiration from Jazz at Lincoln Center at the Time Warner Center, whose characteristic feature is a monumental view of Central Park, has made sure that the Whitney now owns one of the most sought after event spaces in the city — for their own purposes and luxurious private functions. Overall, the Whitney seems to strive for a new sense of openness that goes with its new youthful location. This is reflected in its fresh contemplation of its permanent collection, as well as in the architecture, which fuses art and cityscapes throughout. Terraces enable visitors to leave the museum temporarily to rest and soak in the stunning textures of the neighborhood. In addition, higher floors also allow for views into offices and storage rooms. There is something democratic

An elaborate grid of ceiling tracks allow moveable hanging walls to be configured freely.

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‘Vengeance” is violent, absurdist fun Vampire tale weak at dawn, strong at dusk THEATER SIX ROUNDS OF VENGEANCE Written by Qui Nguyen Directed by Robert Ross Parker A Vampire Cowboys Production At Betty At the New Ohio Theatre 154 Christopher St. (btw. Washington & Greenwich Sts.) Through May 16, Wed.–Sun. at 8 p.m. For tickets ($18) and info: newohiotheatre.org Artist info: vampirecowboys.com

BY SEAN EGAN

“S

ix Rounds of Vengeance,” the latest offering from “geek theater” company Vampire Cowboys, is set in “Lost Vegas” — a post-apocalyptic spin on the city of sin. The stage is set with the remnants of once lively and bustling attractions and businesses abandoned and falling into disrepair, surrounded by rough-hewn wooden fences. Behind this, a video projector periodically displays the vast desert surrounding the city — and the whole stage is framed by gaudy, oversized vanity lights, creating a playful atmosphere. This rendering of the city serves as something of an apt visual metaphor for the play itself. “Six Rounds of Vengeance” provides audiences a fun diversion tinged with a sense of darkness, and an expansive sandbox for its actors to play in — but, unfortunately, also is undeniably rough around the edges. The story concerns Malcolm, a former cop, who joins forces with a duo of bounty hunters: the feisty, self-proclaimed “badass” Jess and her burly, hulking sidekick, Lucky. His goal? To avenge the fate of his husband Nathaniel by murdering Queen Mad — a leader amongst the vampires (called “longtooths” here) that have ravaged the country. Yes, true to their name, Vampire Cowboys have pro-

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Queen Mad (Nicky Schmidlein) and Jess December (Jamie Dunn) face off in one of the titular rounds of vengeance.

duced a vampire revenge western in “Six Rounds.” The most obvious point of reference for this (which the nerdy audience Vampire Cowboys hopes to court are sure to be familiar with) is the collaborative work of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. It resembles the modern exploitation flick-style they popularized with “Grindhouse,” (which is particularly echoed in the play’s campy action and the hysterical Blaxploitation-parody cell phone PSA that runs before the show), and works from a similar plot and setting found in “From Dusk Till Dawn.” Fans of these films are sure to get a kick out of the similar aesthetic the company offers, and they get a lot of comic mileage from the set-up. Unfortunately, with such well-known forbearers, whenever Qui Nguyen’s script falters, it comes across as a pale imitation of those artists’ distinctive sensibilities. This is most notable in the front half of the play, which is burdened with excessive exposition, and pop culture references and zippy quips that should read as effortless, but come across as laborious. Thankfully though, Nguyen seems eager, and his script is bursting with ideas. It doesn’t ever linger too long on things that aren’t working — zooming between flashbacks, video clips, action scenes,

and even a surprise musical number to keep the momentum going. And in the back half, after we’ve invested time with the characters, their titular vengeance comes out in full swing. Everything snaps into place here, and the play becomes the bloody and funny romp it aims to be. The acting is uniformly great. Nicky Schmidlein has an infectious, manic energy as the psychopathic serial killer vampire, Queen Mad, camping things up to dark perfection. With their adorable chemistry Sheldon Best and John Hoche, respectively, bring Malcolm and Nathaniel’s relationship to life, which anchors the best stretches of the show with its tragic trajectory. Here, when the show pushes past its layers of irony to get to the heart of the situation, the play becomes, against all odds, quite melancholy and touching. This makes the Jess/ Lucky pairing work less well by comparison though, as Jamie Dunn and

Tom Myers operate better playing them as an odd-couple comic creation, and can never quite wring the pathos out of their relationship that the show wants to. But when “Six Rounds” is firing on all cylinders — as it does in a climactic fight sequence, bringing its emotional center to the fore, and placing it in the context of a comic and intense battle rendered in slow motion — it’s highly entertaining and strangely moving. Plus, it’s hard to argue with the play’s cracked logic when it leads the uncomplicated pleasures of sword-wielding BDSM vampires, profane and demented Claymation tumbleweeds and a giant, rampaging monster puppet. When staring these things down, it’s easy to forget all the production’s flaws, and simply be swept away by the violent, absurdist humor, and be glad that something this proudly weird and, yes, geeky made it to the stage.

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‘The Visit’ will stay with you Dark work by Kander and Ebb is Broadway’s brightest THEATER THE VISIT Book by Terrence McNally Music by John Kander Lyrics by Fred Ebb Based on the play by Friedrich Durrenmatt as adapted by Maurice Valency Directed by John Doyle Choreographed by Graciela Daniele 100 minutes (no intermission) Tues.-Thurs. at 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed. & Sat. at 2 p.m. | Sun. at 3 p.m. At the Lyceum Theatre 149 W. 45th St. Btw. Sixth Ave. & Broadway PHOTO BY THOM KAINE

Tickets: $29-$149, at thevisitmusical.com

Michelle Veintimillia, Matthew Deming, Roger Rees, Chita Rivera, Chris Newcomer and the cast of “The Visit.”

BY SCOTT STIFFLER

“I

heard it’s really dark,” said a patron who stood underneath the marquee for “The Visit” on Tuesday night. Sadly, the tone suggested this was not meant as a compliment. It should have been. You’d think that somebody lucky enough to be attending on the very day the show earned five Tony nominations could muster a bit more enthusiasm — if not for the buzz factor, then certainly in recognition of being among the first to see a new Kander and Ebb show, starring a living legend whose early career flourished long before Broadway was dominated by caramelized kiddie shows, jukebox junk food and dead on arrival revivals. Refreshingly adult in its themes and appeal, this morally conflicted battle of wills plays out in the bankrupt European town of Brachen, whose seemingly quaint citizens are in fact driven by greed and regret. Sober but engaging, “The Visit” has a well-marinated nasty streak that wraps itself around you like the vines that have overtaken TheVillager.com

scenic designer Scott Pask’s symbolically decaying wrought-iron train station — where bright white rays that shine through broken windows cast shadows and, more often, an unforgiving harshness. Kander’s alternately celebratory and ominous carnival-tinged score, as the track record suggests, is a sublime fit with Ebb’s dark ride lyrics, which repeatedly stab at the heart of why desperate people so easily abandon their better nature. Terrence McNally’s book, full of icy exchanges, won’t allow for anything lighter than nervous laughter — and the transgressions committed in “The Visit” make the crimes of those murderous folks from “Chicago” seem like minor breaches of etiquette. Still reading? Then you’re the kind of person for whom “The Visit” is worth a stay, and maybe even a return. It’s a quite good show about very bad people, both the opportunistic townsfolk and the returning royalty over whom they fawn. That would be (Tony-deserving!) Chita Rivera’s Claire Zachanassian, who fled after a public smearing made the thought of staying

intolerable. In the many years since, she’s widowed often, and quite well. Dripping in jewels and immaculately dressed, the once-shunned woman of Gypsy/Jewish heritage triumphantly returns with a butler, two blind eunuchs, tons of luggage and a sleek black coffin (which glides around the stage, serving as everything from soap box to transportation to the grim thing it was made for). Although every member of this well-traveled group walks with a support stick, the strong-willed lady who pays the bills has little tolerance for crutches — emotional or otherwise. A sparkling, steely-eyed Rivera even uses her cane to put the kibosh on thunderous audience applause, after a look washes over her face that rebuilds the fourth wall and commands the entire house to get back to the business at hand: settling old scores. Patience also wears thin as the townspeople serenade Zachanassian with “Out of the Darkness,” an ode that casts her as a descending angel. “She’s come back to save us,” the song assures, “the town that she loves.” Zachanassian is happy to oblige. Of

course, there’s a catch that requires them to turn on one of their own — dignified but threadbare shop owner Anton Schell (Roger Rees), who stole, broke and still holds the heart of the world’s richest woman. “Claire is one of us,” reasons Schell. “When I tell her how we’re suffering, she will listen.” Listen she does, but is it any use? Though they openly flirt and meet in secret at the trysting place of their youth, Schell has clearly overplayed his hand, betting on forgiveness and losing big. Even so, he strives to make an honorable choice as the clock ticks on Zachanassian’s sinister ultimatum. Literally haunted by the past (younger, ghostly versions of the former lovers hover about), this tense standoff between a revenge-seeker and a betrayer who still can’t keep their eyes off each other is what gives “The Visit” its wings. Late in the evening, an increasingly soaring score and piercingly introspective lyrics put the show on track to a place where greed is good, codependence is king and satisfaction belongs to the queen of mean. April 30, 2015

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Outspoken critic of Gigi Li is booted off C.B. 3 C.B. 3, continued from p. 1

the Borough President’s Office that she would not be reappointed to the East Village community board. Li was not present at the meeting because she was reportedly on vacation. Harrington, an African-American, had charged that Li “consistently and regularly failed to appoint any black or Latino members of our community board as the chairperson of a committee, subcommittee or task force,” a charge that Li strongly denied. As first reported in this newspaper in January, an Equal Employment Opportunity investigation into these allegations by the Borough President’s Office determined that the charge was “unsubstantiated,” and that Li — the first woman of Chinese descent to lead a New York City community board — had not chaired C.B. 3 long enough (one year) nor made enough appointments (six) to have established a “consistent pattern” of failing to appoint qualified blacks and Latinos. The final report on the matter, which this paper obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request, did, however, find that Li and the board’s leadership “failed to sufficiently emphasize the value of diversity and inclusion.” Harrington, who was passed over by Li last year to head the board’s Human Services and Education Committee, was not the only board member to make the complaint. Li has come under heavy criticism in the past year from a group of board members who were also displeased with several of her key appointments. Harrington, however, became the loudest voice calling for reform and had incurred the wrath of Li, although in past months the two of them seemed to be getting along

Ayo Harrington, who sharply criticized Gigi Li’s appointments on C.B. 3, found out last week that she was not reappointed to the East Village board.

quite well at board meetings. In her remarks at Tuesday night’s board meeting, which drew loud applause — but few voices of support from other board members — Harrington said she had decided as a matter of principle to “speak out about issues like race that made other people uncomfortable. I am the kind of person who is not afraid to speak out, and I’m also unstoppable,” she said. In her statement, Harrington, who was the interim chairperson of the board’s Health, Seniors and Human Services / Youth, Education and Human Rights Committee, went on to say that she had received broad support from board members and community residents alike for speaking out about the issue of race and inclusion on C.B. 3. “That’s why I’m so ashamed and totally disappointed by this outcome,” she said. “But I also know, without a shred of doubt, that my raising of this issue contributed to the recent appointment of three black and Lati-

no people to positions of leadership on this board.” Harrington, who directed her remarks to Lucille Songhai, a spokesperson for the Manhattan borough president, had just finished giving a report to the board on Brewer’s community-related activities. Harrington said the borough president’s action in not reappointing her — after having served the minimum one twoyear term — was “an embarrassment for this community, which claims to be so progressive. It’s a shameful outcome. “As a result of all this, my voice in speaking out about issues of racism, inclusion and transparency has gotten much stronger, and my voice will get much louder,” Harrington vowed. Songhai, asked after the meeting for her reaction to Harrington’s remarks, said she had “no comment” and referred questions to the borough president’s press office. The Villager last week tried to find out exactly why Brewer had decided not to reappoint Harrington, only to receive the response: “The Manhattan Borough President’s Office does not comment on the specifics of individual community board appointments.” For her part, Harrington last week told The Villager that the B.P.’s office only told her she wasn’t put back on C.B. 3 because the board had so many applications — more than for any other Manhattan board. Her term officially ends on April 30. Earlier in Tuesday evening’s meeting, only two board members spoke out in support of Harrington. One of them was Vaylateena Jones, a member of Harrington’s committee. “As an African-American, I was very saddened by the news of her non-reappointment,” she said. “This  was an African-American woman who used

her voice to say something about racial conditions on this board. It sends a message to young African-American females that they should not speak up about racial matters.” Anne Johnson, a former C.B. 3 chairperson, added, “What kind of signal is it that people are appointed to the board but not allowed to speak up? What message does it send when someone like Ayo is censored for speaking out? This is a despicable action and must be rectified.” Asked after the meeting why so few board members spoke out in support of Harrington, a board member who requested anonymity said there was a “climate of fear” on the board.  “People don’t want to alienate their political sponsors who might be in support of Gigi,” he said. “There’s a lot of hypocrisy on this board.” In other board business, a proposal in support of making Lunar New Year a city Department of Education holiday was delayed and sent back to committee. Several board members said that while they favored a school holiday marking the Chinese New Year, not enough consideration had been given to the problem of more and more school days off and its effect on working parents who cannot get or afford childcare. Board member Chad Marlow, echoing the concerns of other members, said that while he had the “utmost respect” for this holiday, the proliferation of school holidays puts pressure on working families to find childcare or else they will have to miss work. He said that a better approach was to “let each school choose what best fits their peoples’ needs.  Holidays should work both for children and the parents of those children.”

With reporting by Lincoln Anderson

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Whitney Museum sets sail MUSEUM, continued from p. 9

Is she, like Young, worried about the Whitney’s terraces turning into musical minarets, blasting beats out into the neighborhood? “That’s kind of T.B.D. right now,” she said. “I’m not concerned. And they’ve shared contact numbers in case there are issues. Hopefully, it won’t come to that, but you never know.” As for the music that Young dissed as drone-like, Brown said her friend was out walking her dog and heard it, and called it “the most magical sound. She thought it was phenomenal.” Young noted that M.P.I.A. and the Chelsea Improvement Company will formally become the new Meatpacking Business Improvement District in about a month. The BID will have a novel Impact Area Advisory Committee, which will represent the concerns of residential neighbors living around the commercial BID’s edges, which could be helpful if the museum generates noise complaints or other issues. Lauren Danziger, who will head the new BID, said the organization is

LETTERS, continued from p. 14 pollutants to our waterways than other human activities combined. Principal sources are animal wastes, soil particles, minerals, crop debris, fertilizers and pesticides from feed croplands. It is also the driving force in worldwide deforestation and wildlife habitat destruction. In an environmentally sustainable world, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar and other sustainable energy sources, animal foods must be replaced by vegetables, fruits and

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eager to work with the museum and help incorporate it into the area. Unlike the two pseudo-BID organizations it will replace, the BID will be funded by a special tax assessment on property owners. “The Whitney is a world-class art institution now located in a world-renowned neighborhood,” Danziger said. “It adds a spotlight on culture to an area already brimming with interesting and cutting-edge business. It’s true, the area has previously been known primarily as a nightlife hub, but the Whitney shines light on the truth of the neighborhood; there is so much depth of business located in the Meatpacking District. “We do anticipate that there will be a major influx of visitors,” Danziger said, “and this is one of many reasons we’ve worked to create the Meatpacking BID, voted on and approved by the City Council last week. As the steward for the area, we knew we would not be able to support that district’s changing needs via a straight donation basis (at M.P.I.A. and C.I.C.). Forming the BID allows us to evolve with the neighborhood as it becomes increasingly visited.”

grains. Our next trip to the supermarket is a great starting point. Nico Young E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.

CALL TO SUBSCRIBE 646-452-2475

April 30, 2015

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April 30, 2015

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DOWNTOWN UNITED SOCCER CLUB

TRYOUTS 2015-16

PHOTO BY N.Y.U. ATHLETICS

GIRLS TRYOUTS U8

8/1/07 to 7/31/08 Monday, May 4th

5:30 - 7:00pm Pier 40 Courtyard East

N.Y.U.’s Evan Kupferberg averaged 18 points per game.

U9

8/1/06 to 7/31/07 Monday, May 4th

5:30 - 7:00pm Pier 40 Courtyard East

N.Y.U.’s Kupferberg scores spot on All-Met D-III team

U10 8/1/05 to 7/31/06 Wednesday, May 6th 5:30 - 7:00pm Pier 40 Courtyard East

SPORTS BY ROBERT ELKIN

T

wo N.Y.U. basketball players, as well as a player and the head coach from Baruch, were honored as local Division III standouts at the 82nd annual Haggerty Awards dinner. The awards were hosted last month by the National Invitational Tournament and the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association at the Westchester Marriott Hotel in Tarrytown, N.Y. Granville Gittens, a senior forward at Baruch College, a member of the City University of New York Athletic Conference, and senior Evan Kupferberg, a forward from New York University, a member of the United Athletic Association, earned firstteam honors for their excellence on the court. Kupferberg led the Violets with 481 points and was second in average with almost 18 points a game. In addition, Baruch Coach John Alesi was named Coach of the Year in Division III. Kupferberg’s N.Y.U. teammate junior Hakeem Harris, who will return for his senior year, earned second team honors. “It’s a tremendous honor to get the Coach of the Year award,” said Alesi, whose father, Jack Alesi, is a longtime TheVillager.com

coach at Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School. “I had a great season and I’m very proud to get the award,” he said. “We did an unbelievable job.” The coach’s award is really a team award and is not about the individual. “I was very fortunate to have a great team,” said Alesi. “All the players helped out.” In fact, Alesi has all the ingredients to be a successful college coach at any level. He knows the game well, works very hard and has a great basketball background. Jack Alesi coached his son John when the latter was a student at Xaverian and is very proud of what the younger Alesi has accomplished. Baruch posted a 21-7 record this past season, while N.Y.U. went 19-9. “It’s awesome to be here around these guys,” Harris said at the awards dinner. “It’s really humbling. I want to thank my coaches for giving me the opportunity to put me in this position. I had so many big games. And I can’t think of one that stands out.” “Harris and Evan led us in so many big games and led us to many victories,” said John Pelin, N.Y.U. assistant coach. “And Evan also had a great year as a junior. On the distaff side, N.Y.U.’s Megan Dawe made All-Met first team and Baruch’s Sheridan Taylor made the second team.

U11

8/1/04 to 7/31/05 Wednesday, May 6th 5:30 - 7:00pm Pier 40 Courtyard East

U12

8/1/03 to 7/31/04 Saturday, May 9th

8:30 - 10:00am Pier 40 Rooftop

U13

8/1/02 to 7/31/03 Monday, May 4th

5:30 - 7:00pm Chelsea Waterside Park

U14

8/1/01 to 7/31/02 Monday, May 4th

5:30 - 7:00pm Chelsea Waterside Park

U15

8/1/00 to 7/31/01 Thursday, May 8th

7:00 - 8:30pm Pier 40 Rooftop

BOYS TRYOUTS U8

8/1/07 to 7/31/08 Sunday, May 3rd

8:00 - 9:00am Chelsea Waterside Park

U9

8/1/06 to 7/31/07 Sunday, May 3rd

9:00 - 10:00am Chelsea Waterside Park

U10 8/1/05 to 7/31/06 Saturday, May 2nd

2:00 - 3:30pm Pier 40 Rooftop

U11

8/1/04 to 7/31/05 Saturday, May 2nd

4:45 - 6:00pm Pier 40 Courtyard East

U12

8/1/03 to 7/31/04 Saturday, May 9th

6:00 - 7:30pm Pier 40 Courtyard West

U13

8/1/02 to 7/31/03 Sunday, May 10th

7:00 - 8:30pm Pier 40 Courtyard West

U14

8/1/01 to 7/31/02 Sunday, May 10th

7:00 - 8:30pm Pier 40 Courtyard West

U15

8/1/00 to 7/31/01 Saturday, May 16th

6:00 - 7:30pm Pier 40 Courtyard West

U16

8/1/99 to 7/31/00 Saturday, May 16th

6:00 - 7:30pm Pier 40 Courtyard West

U17

8/1/98 to 7/31/99 Sunday, May 17th

7:00 - 8:30pm Pier 40 Courtyard West

U18

8/1/97 to 7/31/98 Sunday, May 17th

7:00 - 8:30pm Pier 40 Courtyard West

All players are required to register in advance at dusc.net.

#WeAreDUSC facebook.com/DowntownUnitedSoccerClub twitter.com/DowntownUtdSC instagram.com/DowntownUnited youtube.com/DUSCNYC

DUSC.NET INFO@DUSC.NET

April 30, 2015

27


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