Bakery’s rising acclaim, p. 17
Volume 3, Number 15 FREE
East and West Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown
May 9 - 22, 2013
Landmarks likes 9th St. dorm; Antis plan protest march BY SARAH FERGUSON Gregg Singer’s plan to convert the East Village’s old P.S. 64 into an upscale 500-bed dorm received favorable reviews from members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday. Although L.P.C. postponed a vote on the project pending further modifications, the commissioners generally praised the proposed reworking of
Photo by Tequila Minsky
Gardens, candidates…and Pete!
Folk legend Pete Seeger isn’t a politician — at least not in the traditional sense — but he was the highlight for many at a recent candidates’ forum at The Cooper Union that focused on gardens and the environment. See Page 13.
Chin’s all in: Silver, Nydia back bid for a second term BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL On Sunday morning, Margaret Chin formally announced her campaign for a second term. Dozens of supporters, including local activists and powerhouse political allies like Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, filled the steps of Independence Plaza North in Tribeca
to show their support for the First District’s first Asian-American councilmember. “Councilmember Chin has been one of our community’s staunchest advocates, making sure that as we continue to rebuild, Lower Manhattan receives its fair share,” said Silver, offering Chin his “strong endorsement.”
the turn-of the-century elementary school as “inventive and appropriate.” “I think it’s a great application,” said commissioner Joan Gerner, an architect and preservationist who helped oversee construction of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. “A stroke of genius,” Gerner added, referring to
Continued on page 4
Pier 42 opens on interim basis; Art coming next BY SAM SPOKONY Damaris Reyes, executive director of Good Old Lower East Side, was the final person to speak before the interim opening of Pier 42 last Saturday, but she told a beginning of its history. And with her organization, which works to support neighborhood and preservation, entering its 35th year — just after recovering from the impact of Hurricane Sandy —
Velazquez also praised Chin’s commitment, saying the district needs someone to “stand up for small businesses, working families, affordable housing and access to better education and childcare.” Chin, who seemed to know every supporter personally, took pride in
Continued on page 9
5 15 C A N A L STREET • N YC 10 013 • C OPYRIG HT © 2013 N YC COMMU NITY M ED IA , LLC
Reyes seemed to be marking a moment of singular importance as she told that brief story. “When we learned several years ago that the city was looking into redeveloping the waterfront, I’m not going to lie, we were afraid,” Reyes said. “And we were afraid because of all the development that we knew was coming. And we
Continued on page 14
editoRial, letteRS PAGE 10
lUcky RhythM Machine PAGE 19
May 9 - 22, 2013
Your doctor spent 5 minutes?
Photos by Q. Sakamaki
Another reason to call.
Marching for workers’ rights and immigrants Marchers in the May Day parade made their way down from Union Square to City Hall. The big issue, along with of course workers’ rights, was immigrants’ rights. A Japanese group called attention to the Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 2011. Marchers condemned Arizona’s harsh “SB 1070” anti-illegal immigration act. Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, below, helped fly a mosaic flag representing immigrants’ homelands.
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MEET THE NEW PARK CHIEF: Sarah Neilson, above, the new administrator of Washington Square Park and director of the planned Washington Square conservancy, if it can actually be called that (see below), introduced herself at the Wed., May 1, meeting of C.B. 2’s Parks and Waterfront Committee. Because the expressive-matter vendors issue, which was also on the meeting’s agenda, was expected to have copious discussion, the committee decided to put off its consideration of the so-called conservancy — also expected to be a lengthy and intense subject — until its next regularly scheduled meeting, on June 5. Initially, we were hearing, however, that it wasn’t clear if the committee would actually take any position on the conservancy issue, as in passing a resolution for or against the idea. That clearly wouldn’t go over well with many community members. So we asked C.B. 2 Chairperson David Gruber about it, and it sounds like things are still a bit in flux. “That needs to be discussed in Executive Committee,” he told us, adding, “I’ll have to weigh in on that.” Gruber then made a quick call to Rich Caccappolo, the Parks and Waterfront Committee’s chairperson, then reported right back to us. It actually will not be a conservancy registered with the Parks Department, Gruber explained, but a “friends” group, so C.B. 2 conceivably might not feel it has to weigh in on the issue with a resolution. “Talk to Rich,” Gruber urged us. Caccappolo told us, “We may do a resolution based on what we hear, i.e. concerns and risks and fears raised that should be mitigated, pledges and promises, agendas and goals, etc. My understanding is that there will be no formal agreement, e.g. a license, between the Parks Department and this organization.”
MAGICAL MYSTERY TRICKS: A small but enchanted crowd gathered around David Blaine, above, on a quiet Tuesday night in the Village, as he was being filmed doing card tricks on MacDougal St. The world-famous magician declined to say what the footage would be used for. But he was gracious enough to stick around to pose for photos with some very happy fans. EARLIER SUNDAY EYE-OPENER? We hear from Bob Gormley, Community Board 2 district manager, that the city is proposing changing the opening time for sidewalk cafes on Sundays to 10 a.m. Currently, sidewalk cafes legally aren’t allowed to open on Sundays before noon, due to the prohibition on serving alcohol until that hour on the traditional church-going day. Under the proposal, from what we understand from what Gormley told us, not only sidewalk cafes, but obviously, bars and restaurants, in general, would be allowed to start serving booze at 10 a.m. on Sundays. Gormley, and other representatives of several other Manhattan community boards, were down at the City Council earlier this week when the proposal was being discussed. He told us that, generally, the board reps were O.K. with allowing sidewalk cafes to start serving at 10 a.m. However, since this might mean a bit more morning noise under residents’ windows during these two added hours, Gormley advocated for cutting back the Sunday night closing time for sidewalk cafes by two hours from the currently mandated midnight. “We recognized it’s very helpful to Sunday brunch,” he said of the outdoor Bloody Mary-in-the-morning-enabling proposal. “But we asked the Council to link the 10 a.m. opening time to a 10 p.m. closing time.” David Rabin also attended the Council discussion, representing the restaurant industry.
Continued on page 8
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May 9 - 22, 2013
Landmarks likes 9th St. dorm; Protest march planned Continued from page 1 the plan to replace the bulky wheelchair ramp on the Ninth St. courtyard with two smaller handicap-access ramps. There were some quibbles over the proposed addition of glass-and-steel railings, and the obtrusive HVAC units and bulkheads, which might mar the historic mansard roof. But none of the commisioners even mentioned Singer’s role in scalping the terracotta details of the facade in 2006, which he had jackhammered in a last-ditch effort to undo the building’s landmark desgination. Nor did L.P.C. take him to task for his abject neglect of the property over the last seven years — even though by law owners of landmarked buildings are required to keep them “in good repair.” “I have always said that the best way to preserve a building is to reuse it in an appropriate way, so I think this is heading in that direction,” stated L.P.C. Chairperson Robert Tierney. Such deference stood in contrast to the testimony of community members, including Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who attacked the dorm plan as “inappropriate.” Although L.P.C. has no authority to regulate [ital] how [unital] a landmarked property is used, Mendez argued that the communal legacy of the old P.S. 64 — first
A rendering of the “University House” dorm-conversion plan for the old P.S. 64, showing the historic block-through building’s 10th St. side opened up with new windows and entryways.
as a school and then as the community center CHARAS —should be recognized. “The history, architecture, cultural and community significance of this building is inexorably intertwined with the role it has played in the lives of successive generations on the Lower East Side,” Mendez wrote in a prepared statement read by a staffer. Mendez also condemned Singer’s scheme to chop out sections of the 10th St. elevated courtyard so as to provide light and air to the first floor — primarily so he can add more dorm bedrooms there. The school’s original architect, CBJ Snyder, had designed the courtyards to be open and accessible to the public — a fact noted by L.P.C. in its 2006 designation report. “Many things have changed since 1904, but the need for shared open space that is a source of community pride has not,” Mendez noted. Singer’s scheme got even worse reviews from the community members who testified. Carolyn Ratcliffe, who chairs the Ninth St. Block Association, accused Singer of “disregarding the health and welfare” of local residents when workers cleared out the building’s fourth and fifth floors “by throwing the debris out of the windows without any protection from the dust that covered our buildings and apartments, as it fell into an uncovered dumpster at the first-floor level.” More recently Ratcliffe said she sent L.P.C. pictures of large sections of copper flashing that had come loose under the dormer windows that Singer had jackham-
mered. “These violations were only repaired when the Department of Buildings executed emergency repairs when 50 mileper-hour winds were hitting the block,” Ratcliffe said. The Buildings Department Web site shows a history of “hazardous” violations, including “loose brickwork” and “loose copper flashing.” Singer could not be reached for comment on Ratcliffe’s specific allegations. When asked about his overall neglect of the property in an interview at The Villager offices two weeks ago, Singer said he could not repair the building without an approved renovation plan. “My hands are tied,” he said. After Singer amends his plans to answer the commissioners’ recommendations, L.P.C. will schedule another public hearing and vote on whether to approve the dorm renovation. It is then up to the Department of Buildings to approve the project. But thus far, D.O.B. has not weighed in on whether Singer’s proposed “University House” even qualifies as a legal dorm. In order to meet the “community-facility use” standard, D.O.B. requires proof of either ownership or a long-term lease with a school. The Cooper Union has announced plans to rent out two of the building’s five floors for 15 years, but the leasing arrangement remains unclear. Singer says Cooper is leasing 196 beds, while Cooper Union officials maintain that they have only “the right of first refusal” for these beds — meaning they might not take all of them if their students don’t want them. It is also unclear whether the students would be leasing from Singer or Cooper directly. Singer and Cooper Union have both declined to share copies of the lease, citing a confidentiality agreement that Cooper inserted. On April 30, Mendez sent a letter of complaint to D.O.B., demanding that the department review Singer’s dorm application with “precise scrutiny” and refrain from approving it until Singer can show “enforceable” leases for all 500 rooms. “As you know the Dorm Rule was explicitly adopted to guard against ambiguous and speculative actions of this type,” she wrote. Meanwhile, Mendez says she is setting up a meeting with Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha so that he can hear the “full history” of the property from community members, including former CHARAS Director Chino Garcia and members of Community Board 3. On May 15, there will be a march from the old P.S. 64 to Cooper Union to protest the school’s role in legitimizing Singer’s dorm scheme, as well as its decision to begin charging undergraduate tuition after 100 years. Members of the East Village Community Coaltion, Cooper Union alums, members of Community Board 3 and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh will be attending.
May 9 - 22, 2013
Paul Caruso, 65, musician who played with Hendrix o b i t UaRieS BY T. SCHOEN Paul Caruso, a well-known East Village musician who played with Jimi Hendrix and worked to help the neighborhood’s homeless, died of a stroke on April 20. He was 65 years old. Caruso grew up in the Bronx. After dropping out of school in the ninth grade, he later took studies through Clayton College of Natural Health. He went on to pursue an artistic career, playing the guitar and the harmonica. His musical talent secured a friendship with Hendrix, whose song “My Friend” featured Caruso playing the harmonica, a role incorrectly credited at the time of the album’s release to a “harp” player named “Ger.” Caruso’s association with Hendrix led to his appearance in a documentary about the rock star’s life, which granted him some minor fame Caruso continued his music career after Hendrix’s death, playing music alone on his E. Ninth St. stoop and in parks with his friends even into his final days. “We were playing in the park just a few hours before this happened,” said Ash Gray, another musician and friend of Caruso’s, at his funeral service at the Ortiz Funeral Home on First Ave. Caruso’s artistic talents were not only in music, but extended also into painting and cooking, according to his son, Avian, who had been estranged from his father for more than 10 years, only hearing of his death a few days after it happened. “He was writing a book that will, unfortunately, never be published,” said Brendan, a friend of Caruso’s. Brendan originally met Caruso through the Hendrix documentary, approaching Caruso on the street after recognizing him from the movie, and finding a friendship rather than rejection. “He was a celebrity, but he was a good
Paul Caruso and his wife, Carol, in 2012.
friend,” Brendan said. Even with his family, friends and music all keeping him busy, Caruso still gave his time to serve the community he lived in. “He really did like helping out,” said Ayana, his stepdaughter. “Paul was a wonderful person, he served others. He would assist homeless people,” said Dash, another friend and fellow musician. “We would do the food runs from Trader Joe’s for the homeless people,” said Gray. “He’d get a big van and we’d just drive around, picking up food.” To the people who knew Caruso, he was a passionate, intelligent and humble person. Jimmy Sims, another friend, said Caruso and Carol only recently married after having been together for years. Together, they fed the East Village’s homeless at different local spots over the years. Sims said Caruso would wear a cowboy hat when he played guitar on his stoop. He is survived by his wife, Carol, his son, Avian, his two brothers, Phil and Tony, several stepchildren, grandchildren and many other family members. “He was the most intelligent person I’ve ever known,” said his brother Phil. “Throughout his life there had always been a lack of contentment, but these last years were the greatest of his life.”
Francine Morin, 62, artist and longtime East Villager Longtime East Villager Francine Morin passed away at Beth Israel Hospital on April 27. She was 62. Raised in California and Ohio, Francine moved to New Francine Morin York City in the around 1980. mid-1970s to pursue a career as a painter and printmaker. After living briefly in Chelsea, she moved to an apartment on E. Seventh St., and main-
tained studio space first on E. 12th St., then on E. Ninth St. “Though she endured extreme difficulties in the last years of her life, Fran should be remembered as a kind, smart and funny woman,” said her friend Larry Gregory. “She was a loyal friend with a genteel presence and a fiercely independent spirit. “She never lost her love of the East Village,” Gregory said. “Those of us who cherished our neighborhood for encouraging and embracing creative energy, should celebrate not just those who became ‘art stars,’ but also those who came here to experience the joy of trying.”
May 9 - 22, 2013
Judge snorts at coke-ring clients officers were shot at because of drug gangs shooting each other in order to control the selling of drugs to idiots,” the judge said, glaring at the buyers. “You,” he said to each defendant, including Elett, “are a contributing factor in the
Lower East Side problem.” The 16 had made cocaine purchases totaling from $430 to $2,400. They are due back in court this month.
Pathmark site developer commits to building replacement supermarket
Photo by Jefferson Siegel
Alicia Elett appeared at her arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court, above, on Fri., April 26. Elett, 25, a bartender at the Bowery Hotel, was one of 16 people arrested for buying drugs from a ring that operated out of the Baruch Houses in the Lower East Side and Campos Plaza in the East Village. Two weeks earlier, 41 people were arrested, including the drug dealers and livery car drivers who made the deliveries.
As each of the buyers appeared before Justice Edward McLaughlin, he held up photos of the dealers, saying to each buyer that the “kingpins" of the drug rings would very likely go to jail for 15 years to life. “There are gun battles” in the Lower East Side because of drugs, McLaughlin told them. “Cocaine and its problem has been in all the newspapers. “In the Lower East Side, two police
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Local elected officials announced that the developer of the former Pathmark site on the Lower East Side has agreed to build a replacement supermarket as part of the project. Much to the community’s dismay, the Pathmark was closed in December to make way for the new development. Last Friday, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, state Senator Daniel Squadron and Councilmember Margaret Chin issued a joint statement on the agreement: “As part of our ongoing effort to ensure that our Lower East Side neighbors have access to fresh food and other
essentials,” they said, “we met with the developer of the former Pathmark site at 227 Cherry St. and received a commitment that a full-service supermarket will be built as part of the project. “This is an area that is underserved when it comes to the availability of fresh and affordable food. That is why we fought plans to close the Pathmark and have been advocating for another supermarket to replace it. Extell Development Company has assured us that a food market will be built,” the politicians said, “and we look forward to seeing it open. We are also advocating for a temporary market to open while construction is underway.”
May 9 - 22, 2013
Police BLOTTER L.E.S. shooter convicted The man accused of shooting and wounding three people on the Lower East Side in 2010 has been found guilty of all charges, including second-degree attempted murder, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced May 1. Mario Rodriguez, 25, was also convicted on counts of assault, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment. Around 8:45 p.m. on Oct. 26, 2010, Rodriguez was in the middle of an argument with another man in front of 195 Stanton St., when Rodriguez pulled out a 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun and began firing at the other man, hitting him in the torso, according to court documents. Bullets fired by Rodriguez also struck two bystanders — a man, 44, and a woman, 52. Rodriguez fled the scene, but was tracked to Jersey City, and was later arrested there by members of the Seventh Precinct Detective Squad, the D.A. said. Rodriguez is expected to be sentenced June 6.
Taxi thief gets 11 years The man convicted of assaulting a cab driver on the Lower East Side, stealing his taxi and then crashing it in Union Square has been sentenced to 11 years in prison, D.A. Vance also announced on May 1. Michael Findley, 33, was found guilty of robbery, reckless endangerment, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property by a State Supreme Court jury last December. Around 3:15 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2011, Findley got into a taxi at the corner of Bowery and Delancey St. After causing a disturbance, the driver asked him to get out at the corner of Houston and Lafayette Sts, according to court documents. When the hack then got out to try and remove his fare, Findley punched him and stole the taxi, speeding through Soho and Greenwich Village at more than 80 miles per hour, the D.A. said. After leading police on a wild chase through red lights and oncoming traffic, Findley crashed into a light pole at Union Square West and E. 15th St. In addition to his prison term, Findley was sentenced to five years of post-release supervision.
Who’s the big man now? Police arrested a man who allegedly threatened to cut another man with an illegal knife as they were riding a southbound F subway train past the W. Fourth St. station on Sat., May 4.
þ Choose to live the life you want.
The victim, who was with his girlfriend at the time, said that around 9:30 p.m. he got into an argument with Dwayne Brown, 49, on the train. He said Brown then punched him in the mouth — and when the victim tried to use his cell phone to take a photo of the alleged aggressor, Brown reportedly pulled out a box cutter, brandished it and said, “You wanna be a big man in front of your girlfriend?” Unfortunately for Brown, the other man didn’t have to do much, since there were a couple of Sixth Precinct officers walking along the W. Fourth St. platform — and when the train stopped, they heard the commotion and apprehended Brown. He was charged with menacing, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and disorderly conduct.
Phone snatching in bulk A sticky-fingered duo allegedly tried to steal phones, credit cards and drivers’ licenses from four young women, all in their 20s, at a Meatpacking District bar and lounge early on Sun., May 5. One of the victims called police to report that her phone had been stolen inside Gaslight, at 400 W. 14th St., around 2 a.m., and described the suspects, who were later identified as Eliza Barbosa, 40, and Johnny Thomas, 48. When officers arrived at the scene, they quickly spotted the two alleged crooks, since Thomas has been arrested numerous times before. After arresting them, the officers discovered all of the thieves’ spoils, which, in addition to the phones and cards, included a Louis Vuitton wallet. Both Barbosa and Thomas were charged with grand larceny.
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May 9 - 22, 2013
Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.
notebook Continued from page 3 DORIS DOES REHAB: The C.B. 2 district manager also brought us up to date on board member Doris Diether, who is rehabilitating at VillageCare, on Houston St. between Sixth Ave. and Varick St. The octogenarian activist should be out by May 16, Gormley said. Although she’s recuperating from a broken hip and broken shoulder, the biggest issue for her might be the fact that one of her vocal cords is damaged, preventing her from speaking above a loud whisper, he said. “I heard someone say it was possibly paralyzed,” he noted. “There’s a shot that can restore her voice for a few months, but it would only be temporary.”
Assemblyman Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
let’s do something together at TRINITY WALL STREET
All Are Welcome All events are free, unless noted. 212.602.0800
TRINITY CHURCH Broadway at Wall Street 74 TRINITY PLACE is located in the office building behind Trinity Church
ST. PAUL’S CHAPEL Broadway and Fulton Street CHARLOTTE’S PLACE 107 Greenwich Street btwn Rector & Carlisle Streets The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, Rector The Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, Vicar
THURSDAY, MAY 9, 12:05pm
Ascension Day Holy Eucharist
Trinity celebrates the Feast of the Ascension and the day the Trinity Church building was consecrated in 1846. Preacher: the Rev. Dr. Robert V. Lee, III, founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of FreshMinistries. Trinity Church
MONDAY, MAY 13 & 20, 1pm Bach at One A weekly service of J.S. Bach’s cantatas. St. Paul’s Chapel WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 1pm Pipes at One May 15: Mark Trautman, Director of Music, St. Paul’s Church, Englewood, NJ. THURSDAY, MAY 16 & 23, 1pm Concerts at One Ensemble ACJW Trinity Church
IN THE POLE POSITION: The “Mosaic Man,” Jim Power is giving it another go, as he’s ratcheting up (yet again) his legendary “Mosaic Trail” project, this time with a little help from Indiegogo. He’s aiming to raise no small sum — $80,000 — which would pay for the renovation of half of his trail of tile-encrusted lampposts throughout the East Village. You can give $5 “and Jim will love you forever,” the site promises. For $25, you
SUNDAY, MAY 12 & 19, 10am Discovery: Instruments of Grace Explore the history and practice of the sacraments. May 12: Unction (Healing); May 19: Confirmation. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parish Hall TUESDAY, MAY 14, 6pm Discovery: Lord, You Have Searched Me Out Professor Chung Hyun Kyung, Associate Professor, Ecumenical Studies, Union Theological Seminary. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parish Hall
SATURDAY, MAY 11 & 18, 10am-1pm Mosaic Art Project: Workshop Help design a large-scale mosaic for Charlotte’s Place. Facilitated by public artist Jackie Chang. Charlotte’s Place FRIDAY, MAY 17, 6-7:30pm Family Friday Pizza and Movie Night Relax with your kids and meet other downtown families for free pizza, children’s movies, and community. Charlotte’s Place
an Episcopal parish in the city of New York Leah Reddy
get an official Mosaic Trail sticker. For $100, you — yes, you! — can become a part of the trail, with your face on a tile, on a lamppost, on the most famous public art trail in history. And, no, it doesn’t stop there. For $250, you get a T-shirt with one of Power’s mosaic designs from the trail. For $500, you’ll get a one-of-a-kind, wearable-art, Mosaic belt buckle. For $1,000, you will receive an original 8-inch-by-8-inch mosaic artwork by Power. And — drumroll, please — finally, for $2,500 you can “Adopt a Light Pole,” with your name, business or brand featured on a lamppost along the trail. For more information, go-go online to Indiegogo at http://www.indiegogo. com/projects/385985/emal/3004188 . It certainly sounds like an extremely ambitious undertaking for any mortal man. We recently visited “Mosaic Man” at The Lee supportive-housing facility on E. Houston St., and he declared to us that he is ready to completely “dominate” St. Mark’s Place like it’s never been dominated before, sprucing up his poles there. He badly needs a hip operation, though, and told us he might get it in June, so we certainly wish him well with that, as well. Apparently, the idea of a Mosaic Scooter has been scrapped. “Been a longtime coming. All of this,” said “Mosaic” helper Matt Rosen. “The efforts we’ve done over the last year or two have all been leading up to this. Basically, Jim had an audience. We just needed to curate it.”
worship SUNDAY, 8am & 10am St. Paul’s Chapel · Holy Eucharist SUNDAY, 8pm St. Paul’s Chapel · Compline – Music & Prayers SUNDAY, 9am & 11:15am Trinity Church · Preaching, music, and Eucharist · Sunday school and child care available MONDAY – FRIDAY, 12:05pm Trinity Church · Holy Eucharist MONDAY – FRIDAY, 5:15pm All Saints’ Chapel, in Trinity Church Evening Prayer, Evensong (Thurs.) Watch online webcast
May 9 - 22, 2013
Margaret Chin makes it official Continued from page 1 recounting the accomplishments over her past four years, including gaining protected affordable housing at 505 LaGuardia Place, inclusion of permanent affordable housing at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, securing local space for two new schools and keeping firehouses open. No detail seemed too small, with the crowd ecstatic at the mention of a new traffic light at Duane and Greenwich Sts., a longfought battle that began before Chin was elected in 2009. With her husband, Alan Tung, a public school teacher, standing nearby among the supporters, Chin recalled her arrival in the U.S. 50 years ago, and how she took care of her younger brothers while her mother worked in a Chinatown garment factory. Also in the crowd were the parents of U.S. Army Private Danny Chen, who died in Afghanistan after a hazing incident by fellow soldiers. Chin said the groundswell of Downtowners’ anger over his death resulted in the discharge of four of the eight soldiers charged in connection with his death. After the speeches, Chin made sure she greeted and thanked everyone in attendance. Ro Sheffe of Community Board 1 said Chin has been “one of the strongest pillars in our community.” Bob Townley, founder and director of
Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel
Margaret Chin was feeling the love from supporters at her campaign announcement on Sunday.
Manhattan Youth, said Chin helped families navigate the Department of Education system. “Those issues are at the heart of working parents,” Townley said. “She doesn’t just say the words, she does the work,” said Diane Lapson, president of the I.P.N. Tenants Association. “She’s never failed to support Independence Plaza North’s issues, like preserving affordable housing.” Chin will face off against Jenifer Rajkumar in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary.
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May 9 - 22, 2013
letters to the editor
Street fair oversight Street fair season is back — and with it, the perennial issues surrounding this very public, and much-debated, feature of city life. Community Board 2, which includes Greenwich Village, annually has among the most street fairs in the city — and receives the most street fair applications. These events, when small and locally based — run by block associations and community groups — are great for bringing neighborhoods together. However, many of the longer, multi-block street fairs are run by large operators, with the same “cookie-cutter” offerings at each one — i.e., sausages, funnel cakes, tube socks, wallets, etc. These fairs clog our streets. Sometimes multiple fairs are occurring in the same neighborhood simultaneously, snarling traffic. Residents who need to drive cars onto their block, say, to pick up an elderly family member or drop off groceries, can’t. Emergency vehicles are impacted. Merchants are put out since the fairs rob their foot traffic and block views to their stores. In recent years, C.B. 2 has looked into whether the street fair applicants are legitimate and have any authentic local connection to justify their presence here. A community board, though, lacks the power and time to probe each suspect organization. And the board’s opinion is advisory only. The deciding body, the city’s Street Activities Permit Office, doesn’t rigorously vet these groups — and that is precisely where the problem lies. Further complicating matters, the city is now “bundling” several sponsoring groups together for individual street fairs. A number of street fairs in C.B. 2, for instance, are now co-sponsored by St. Stephen / Our Lady of the Scapular Church and Chapel, on E. 28th and E. 33rd Sts. — which, it also bears noting, are outside the Board 2 district. As street fair applications recently came up for review, C.B. 2 recommended denial for several groups it deemed “bogus or non-indigenous organizations.” Among these were the Stonewall Veterans’ Association (which, C.B. 2 charges, “is essentially one man and… provides no benefit to anyone else”), the International AIDS Prevention Initiative (which uses the fair’s funds to help, again, one man — but in L.A.! — travel abroad, plus had its 501c3 status revoked, C.B. 2 says), the Village Crosstown Trolley (which advocates for an Eighth St. light-rail system, but which, “in 17 years…has provided no appreciable value to the district,” in the board’s view), and the Independent Downtown Republican Club (for which C.B. 2 could find no proof of its existence). The board also rejected St. Scapular’s permit bid due its to having “NO relationship of any sort with C.B. 2.” As Maury Schott, chairperson of the board’s Sidewalks & Street Activities Committee, noted, the city doesn’t require these groups to show where the money from the fairs goes. And, Schott admitted, despite his committee’s efforts to vet these applicants for fakes and lack of local connection, it’s unlikely the city will deny any of them permits, except maybe — just maybe — the guy out in L.A. “SAPO hadn’t investigated any of these applicants in years,” Schott said. At least, he added, in a step forward, SAPO will now require applicants to prove 501c3 nonprofit status. Meanwhile, Williamson Henderson, director of S.V.A., vowed he will again prevail over the Board 2 “haters,” who have backed denying his fair in years past, as well. “We’re very indigenous,” he told The Villager. “It’s an outrageous accusation to make [that we’re not].” S.V.A. has an executive committee that meets monthly at the L.G.B.T. Center on W. 13th St., he said, plus a Web site with “over 5 million verified hits for 2012.” Bottom line, C.B. 2 shouldn’t have to screen all these groups for legitimacy and local connection. Unfortunately, though, no one else is providing any help or oversight.
Unleash the hungry hellcats! To The Editor: Re “Scaled-down dorm pitched for embattled CHARAS site” (news article, April 25): The selling-of-diplomas racket is big business. We were promised that the building was designated for community use. The community must come together again and fight like hungry hellcats to turn this building back into a broad community services station. David Leslie Leslie is a member, East Village Community Coalition
There goes Tompkins Square To The Editor: Re “Scaled-down dorm pitched for embattled CHARAS site” (news article, April 25): Great — and our community’s beautiful park will be their playground — the way Union Square Park is for the dorm on 14th St. near there. Thanks, Gregg. Eve Cusson
Money vs. artistic richness To The Editor: Re “Things change: If not Soho House, what will we get?” (Clayton, April 4): First off, I am usually in complete agreement with Clayton. But a couple of things. John Varvatos does not support just any band. You have to be established already. C.B.’s was not like that. Coupled with his high-end, unaffordable-to-the masses clothing for men, Varvatos means nothing to me, eye contact or not. He’s no different than N.Y.U.’s cancerous spread. But I have to say at least Clayton took the time and effort to meet him face to face. No one would do that but him. As for Soho House, I have a real problem with the “exclusivity” factor of this “art club.” Again, I am will-
ing to bet that art in trade for membership is going to be pretty difficult for some, including myself. I have never had an “art show” but have tried in New York City — which ain’t too easy for someone self-taught. My stuff’s not perfect, but not bad either. Better than many. I’m willing to bet that the tradeoff will need to have an extensive résumé of shows included, although, I have not checked into it yet. I am deeply saddened by the state of the Village, East and West, and the Lower East Side, hell, all of New York City. I am an artist and musician who is also fascinated with the way it used to be back then. I think the most important thing now is not to lose your voice. It is a cold, hard fact that money obviously prevails in this city. Development and gentrification mean money and greed with no regard for the “richness” of the history and disappearing generations who once owned a very real and beautiful yet dangerous culture. Dennie Hausen
Can serve but can’t smoke? To The Editor: Remember Jessica Lynch? She was a young woman who joined the military at age 18 or 19. She was trained not only to kill, but to accept the fact that she could also be killed. She was sent to Iraq during the early days of the war, and became one of the first Americans to be captured. Before her rescue, she was reportedly raped and tortured. All of this before her 21st birthday. Meanwhile, back in The Land of the Free, she wasn’t old enough to sit down and have a drink. And, if Christine Quinn has her way, hundreds of young New Yorkers returning home from Afghanistan won’t even be able to sit down and have a smoke. Jerry The Peddler E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to email@example.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The East Villager, Letters to the Editor, 515 Canal St., Suite 1C, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The East Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The East Villager does not publish anonymous letters.
WE NEWSP May 9 - 22, 2013
Bike-share in the Village: What would Jane Jacobs do? TALKING POINT By Charles Komanoff I didn’t get to speak at the Community Board 2 meeting last Thursday night to discuss bike-share — I stayed outside too long kibitzing on W. 11th St., so my speaker card landed at the bottom of the stack. Here’s what I would have said: I live in Community Board 1, on Duane St., but my first New York apartments were in or just outside C.B. 2, on W. 15th St. and Minetta St. My kids were born across the street at (now-shuttered) St. Vincent’s Hospital. My two sisters lived a few blocks away. And there were timeless evenings at the Village Gate, the Village Vanguard, etc. So there’s a lot of Greenwich Village in me. I don’t quite know what to make of the uproar and upset from so many of my neighbors last Thursday evening. I think I’ll try to channel Jane — Jane Jacobs, the immortal author-activist who led the insurrection that stopped the Lower Manhattan Expressway and whose “Death and Life of Great American Cities” laid the intellectual foundation for today’s livable streets movement. Jane famously lived at 555 Hudson St., a stone’s throw from where last Thursday’s C.B. 2 meeting was held. I met her just once, in Toronto, in 1990 or 1991, where Jane had moved in 1968, the year I moved in to the Village. Obviously, I didn’t know her well. But I’ve studied her life and her work enough to venture what Jane might want to tell us. To start, I think Jane would have understood that for Citi Bike to succeed it has to be done “at scale.” So far as I know, Jane didn’t use the term “network effects,” but that idea pervades her work, as blogger Timothy B. Lee points out: Jacobs doesn’t quite put it this way, but “Great American Cities” is really a treatise on the importance of network effects to urban wealth creation. The reason people flock to noisy, dirty, crowded cities like New York and Chicago is because most of the things we value are provided by other human beings, and being in a large city puts us in close proximity with many more of them. Network effects apply to systems as well as populations: Telephone systems
are based on them, since the value of your phone depends on my having one as well. Indeed, “network math” posits that while the cost of a network rises in linear proportion to the number of instruments, the network’s value rises geometrically in relation to that number. Just so, with bike-share. A Citi Bike won’t be fully useful unless there’s a full-blown network of stations where you can find a bike and then leave it at the end of the trip. In short, without scale, forget about bike-share, Jane Jacobs the analyst might have said. Without question, Jane Jacobs the urbanist would have wrapped bike-share in a bear hug. Jane would have relished the opportunity to always have a bike at the ready and to be unencumbered by it at her destination. She would have delighted in the sturdy, interchangeable and utterly
utilitarian machines themselves. And she would have appreciated the access to cycling the system would have provided everyone — not just those fortunate enough to live within easy cycling distance of work, as Jane did, but the throngs of workers and visitors who come in from the boroughs and the suburbs. Where my channeling gets a tad murky is with Jane’s neighborhood-activist part. I’m sure Jane would have shrugged off the NIMBYs last Thursday night who kvetched that the bike stations block “their” streets but never organized against the cars that until a week ago filled the same curb space 24/7. And she’d have scoffed at the idea that bike-share users will be endangered by speeding and fast-turning cars and cabs. Why not go instead after the miscreant drivers who threaten everyone? But some of the micro-adjustments sought at the C.B. 2 forum — a gap in the line of bike docks for a truck loading zone, shifting a
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he 2004 federal budget proposed by the Bush administration on February 3 is drawing both praise and criticism from gay and AIDS groups. “Generally, we have a mixed reaction to it,” said Winnie Stachelberg, political director at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), even as some leading AIDS groups, including the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), were more critical. The proposal includes a $100 million increase for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a $5 million dollar increase in the Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS
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this. You know that we fought back. Some of you fought with me, or are the inheritors of those who did. “We always said that reversing Moses’ monstrous legacy wouldn’t happen overnight. It won’t happen without some pain, either, even some loss. And the restored world won’t look exactly like the old. But it will be a lot better than what he left us with.” Jane concluded “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by proclaiming that “lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration.” Thanks to bike-share, New York is poised to become even more lively and more diverse, and to keep on regenerating. Komanoff is an energy-policy analyst, transport economist and environmental activist. This column first appeared on Streetsblog.
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I think Jane would have understood that for Citi Bike to succeed it has to be done ‘at scale.’
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bike station from a side street to an avenue around the corner — might have tugged at her. Yet on this point, I’ll venture that Jane would have consulted her political part, looked at the calendar, and said something like this: “Mayor Bloomberg has eight months left, and then he’s gone, along with the political and administrative power to deploy this potentially transformational program. One or two or a dozen siting changes may make individual sense, but to open the program to them now is to jeopardize the intricate schedule of startup and expansion involving hundreds of stations and thousands of docks. “Robert Moses spent billions and uprooted hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in a 40-year, highway-auto makeover that bled the life out of the city, and came this close to turning it into a cadaver. You know
� BOO Oscar Bluesto Shirley Secunda, chairperson of Community Board 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, gave this index card, filled out by Charles Komanoff, to The Villager following last Thursday evening’s discussion at P.S. 41 on bike-share and the new bike docks all over the neighborhood. It was one of only two comments submitted that were wholly in favor of the program. Of the many speakers who testified at the meeting, only a handful were strongly in support of the bike-share program and the new bike-docking stations. Almost everyone else who spoke voiced some complaint about the bike-share stations and/or the entire bike-share program.
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May 9 - 22, 2013
Wi-Fi, apps make life in square easier, tidier By Heather Dubin Locals could be tempted to set up an outdoor office this summer in Union Square Park, thanks to innovative technologies provided by the Union Square Partnership. Faster free Wi-Fi, handheld devices used to monitor sanitation and quality of life issues, and solarpowered trash compactors will make the park a more enjoyable space this season. While complimentary Wi-Fi has been available in the park and surrounding area for a few years now, more people than ever now use handheld devices, and the system was due for an upgrade. A revamp of the equipment is being conducted by Sky-Packets, a Wi-Fi installation company, to be completed by June. “It’s terrific about the new system,” said Jennifer Falk, executive director of the Union Square Partnership. “It’s so robust that it will accommodate side streets around the park,” she added of the beefed-up broadband. An extra antenna on the park’s north side near 17th and 18th Sts. will enable access at a cafe. Funding for the Wi-Fi comes from the Union Square Partnership’s budget — and the Beth Israel Medical System, one of the largest institutions in the neighborhood, will sponsor the program for its first two years. The new system has worked out a glitch, to Falk’s relief. “I’m really glad that the Apple 5 users will now stop calling and saying they can’t hook up to the system,” she said with a laugh. “We’re really looking forward to providing as many people as possible with this service.” Sponsorship money will allow for a marketing campaign to alert the public about the free service, which the business improvement district was unable to do in the past, claims Falk. Users can get onto the system through the “USP Park Wi-Fi” network, and then agree to the terms and conditions. “We’re limiting the speed to 2 megabytes per second per user, actually faster than a T-1 line, which is typically used in an office,” said Henry Quintin, C.E.O. of Sky-Packets. There will be more total bandwidth for people to use, resulting in faster speed. Equipment is strategically mounted on rooftops in the area and points back down at the park for people to get a signal, explained Quintin. He hopes to segregate Internet traffic between those with older and newer devices. “Anyone with an iPad 2 or higher will automatically connect to 5 gigahertz,” Quintin explained. This will prevent most users from being on one channel at the same time, and create a better experience for all. There are typically about 250 users per access point, and Quintin estimates about 1,000 people on the whole system at one time. “We hope that people are smart enough to go to Union Square to not go to the park and do their banking,” he advised. “It’s for fun, not for serious stuff.” In other wired doings around the square, a newer high-tech invention involves a hand-
held device that uses geo-coding to keep track of maintenance repairs needed around the park. From cracked sidewalks to broken streetlights, specific details can be electronically reported to the appropriate city agency, which will increase the pace of resolving problems. “For the business improvement districts, sanitation and quality of life issues are a huge part of what they do,” Falk said. This includes sweet sweeping, as well as monitoring graffiti and 100 trees in the district, along with many other issues. The BID’s employees have had to test phone booths for dial tones, inspect kiosks and examine trash receptacles, all manually, which amounts to, as Falk put it, “lots of man hours and foot time on the street.”
‘I’m really glad that Apple 5 users will now stop calling and saying they can’t hook up to the system.’ Jennifer Falk With the geo-coder, a worker can stand in front of a broken fire hydrant, and point the handheld device at it. A drop box will appear for the address, a description of the problem, and allow the worker to take a photo. The Fire Department is then later alerted through the system. “We can electronically track these problems in the system, along with internal reports, and additional reports to tailor to send to our partners,” Falk said. Designed by CDM-Smith, an engineering firm, this technology is a boon for cities, according to the BID executive director. “The handheld system will streamline our process,” Falk said. “It’ll be easier to generate reports and get the information to an agency that can address it in a much more coherent fashion.” Also targeted to be implemented in June, the device will be used by four employees on a weekly basis, and all the BID’s staff will receive training. “We’re hoping that it’ll make the staff more efficient to get these surveys done quicker, so we can focus on other things,” Falk said. Also on the high-tech infrastructure front, there are seven BigBelly solar-powered trash compactors throughout the park, which have already been in use for a number of years now. “They can take 10 times more than a regular can,” said Falk of the bins’ capacity. “And the benefit is that it’s not only compacting the trash, it alerts you with a light on the can when it needs to be emptied.”
May 9 - 22, 2013
Mayoral contenders try to cultivate their green cred By Sarah Ferguson New York’s community gardeners were once derided as squatters, even “communists,” for staking out flowerbeds and vegetable patches on city-owned lots. But on Sat., April 27, they were greeted by the city’s mayoral contenders as something else: political stakeholders. Seven candidates — including frontrunner Christine Quinn, Comptroller John Liu and former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion — came to The Cooper Union’s Great Hall to present their views on greening and open space at a mayoral forum hosted by the New York City Community Garden Coalition. While not all turned out — Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio were last-minute no-shows — the presence of so many candidates was testament to just how far this grassroots movement has come in the last 15 years. “We want the gardens and their preservation to be an issue in this campaign,” said Charles Krezell, an N.Y.C.C.G.C. board member. “It’s an environmental issue, it’s a health issue. We’re saying, making gardens permanent is a very inexpensive way for the city to help itself.” In general, all the candidates agreed on the need to preserve and even expand the number of community gardens in the city, though they differed in approach. Council Speaker Quinn recalled protesting alongside gardeners in 1999 as many risked arrest to stop the auction of green spaces under the Giuliani administration. Those protests, and a lawsuit by former Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, led to
an agreement with the Bloomberg administration to save nearly 200 community gardens threatened by development. But Quinn warned that the legal status of these community-tilled spaces remains nebulous. “The challenge with what we did is, it’s only as good until the end of Bloomberg administration,” Quinn noted, adding, “We need to make sure that gardens don’t become political footballs in future administrations.” Quinn advocated placing all gardens in a “land trust” to make them permanent, though she did not spell out how that trust would be administered. By contrast, Liu said he would put all community gardens under the wing of the Parks Department, because that would ensure a “permanent stream of resources.” “But we should also ensure that the organization in the community that created the garden in the first place should always have some say in how that garden is maintained and grows,” Liu added, drawing cheers from the audience. Similarly, former Bronx Beep Carrion, who is running as an independent, said he would “designate gardens as part of our parkland.” Quinn and Liu also differed when asked to comment about the Bloomberg administration’s willingness to privatize public land and resources — such as the transfer of parkland to build the new Yankee Stadium, the city’s ongoing attempt to install a private restaurant in Union Square, and the proposed transfer of at least two open-space strips in the South Village to New York University.
Photos by Tequila Minsky
Garden activists really dug what some of the candidates had to say at the April 27 forum.
Folk legend Pete Seeger, 94, inspired with his musical performance — and mere presence.
“It seems like this administration, in its last eight months and three days, is trying to sell off as much property as possible,” said Liu. He pointed to the recent proposal to allow “luxury” development in the open spaces within New York City Housing Authority projects. “That is absolutely wrong,” he said, adding, “Once you sell off a public asset, you never get it back.” By contrast, Quinn said the city should “minimize” sales of public assets to those instances when “we have no choice.” “When that does have to happen, and the developer makes real promises of other land or other compensation, we have to have real clawbacks built into those deals, so if they don’t follow through, there are real penalties and real repercussions,” she said. All the candidates advocated expanding funding for Parks to “green” the city. “We can’t want to be the greatest environmental city in the world” without a “robust and fully funded Parks Department,” Quinn noted. But Liu was more specific, saying he would add $310 million a year to the Parks Department’s coffers simply by taxing insurance companies, which are currently exempt from general corporation tax in New York City. In general, Liu received more support from the crowd, while Quinn drew a few jeers from those audience members critical of her financial backing from real estate interests. Carrion was loudly heckled for his role in overseeing the Yankee Stadium deal. There was plenty of green visioning from the other candidates. Green Party candidate Tony Gronowicz said there should by a citywide “greenhouse initiative” to stem the obesity and diabetes
epidemics. “We have to restore our connection to nature in every neighborhood,” he said, “and have children learning to grow fruits and vegetables from an early age.” Likewise, Carrion advocated a network of “urban vertical farms” to supply the city with fresh produce and build a “green collar economy.” And George McDonald, the Doe Fund president, pledged a “garden on every rooftop” supplying food to schools and communities, and the expansion of other green initiatives to create a “full-employment economy.” “Why can’t we spend a few pennies more to make apple sauce in the Bronx?” he asked. But for many who attended, these wouldbe mayors were just a warm-up act for headliner Pete Seeger. The folk singer and environmentalist, who turned 94 last week, brought the audience to its feet when he launched into his classic anthem, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” “To everything, there is a season,” the gardeners sang along, many with tears in their eyes. Seeger even debuted a few verses that he had penned years back for his children. After receiving an engraved hammer from organizers — and leading a raucous singalong of “If I Had a Hammer” — Seeger praised New York City gardeners for pioneering new models of sustainable urban living. “If we do our job right, 200 years from now, they will look back to this day when you showed people how planting gardens will bring people together,” Seeger said. For many in the house, it seemed like that milestone had already arrived.
May 9 - 22, 2013
Pier 42 opens on interim basis; Art next on the way Continued from page 1 thought, ‘If they rebuild the waterfront, it’s just going to mean more displacement. It’s just going to mean more luxury development.’ ” But as everyone present could see on that long-awaited, sunny spring day, those fears had never been realized. This wasn’t a groundbreaking for the construction of a luxury high-rise. It was a celebration on the path to a new city park — one soon to be designed by a renowned architect who worked on Hudson River Park, and which is expected to be on par with any major green space in the city. To Lower East Side community leaders, it had been a long time coming. And to local politicians, it was a step forward in bringing a little more breathing room to their densely populated and park-hungry community. “We’re building a harbor park — a Central Park in the center of the city — and it’s full of world-class open space,” said state Senator Daniel Squadron, who, along with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, secured $16 million in funding for the pier’s redevelopment in November 2011. Construction on the 8-acre waterfront space next to South St., between Montgomery and Jackson Sts., isn’t set to start for at at least a year, as a master plan is now being finalized by Lower Manhattanbased firm Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, in collaboration with the city Parks Department, Community Board 3, local advocacy groups and area residents. But the pier’s northernmost section is now open to interim public use, for picnicking, ball playing or quiet relaxation, from dawn to dusk. It was fitting that Squadron led the pier’s interim opening just two days after
Photos by Sam Spokony
With the waterfront at his back, state Senator Daniel Squadron, with community leaders and collaborators, announced the interim opening of Pier 42 for public use on Saturday.
Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, who also attended the pier’s opening, teamed with Borough President Scott Stringer to introduce the updated East River Blueway
Luther Stubblefield, a longtime member of the Baruch Houses Tenants Association, right, drew pictures with children for an interactive installation by art designer Chat Travieso, one of the Paths to Pier 42 participants.
plan. The Blueway is an innovative scheme to reinvigorate the waterfront — and also protect it from storm surges — from the Brooklyn Bridge to E. 38th St. The success of Pier 42’s redevelopment would help support the Blueway plan, which does not yet have a budget or a timeline. Saturday’s other highlight was a public preface to the Paths to Pier 42 series, which will feature art, educational and design installations on the pier’s northern portion during this summer and fall. The program was conceived by the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance — which includes GOLES, Hester St. Collaborative, L.E.S. Ecology Center, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) — and aided by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Starting July 20, five jury-selected artists and designers will display their installations at the pier, using a mix of historical and cultural visual elements to enliven the previously empty space. Jennifer Wen Ma, one of the five selected artists, a Lower East resident for more than a decade, said she’s tossing around ideas about creating a community garden, or developing a mentoring program for local children in association with other
video artists. “I actually take walks around the waterfront quite a lot, and I’ve always noticed that this portion was like no-man’s land,” Ma said Saturday. “So when I found out about [Paths to Pier 42], I thought it would be great to finally work in my community, for my community.” Signe Nielsen, principal of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, will present two master plan options to Community Board 3 on Thurs., May 9, and hopes to return with a final plan in July. “This is a rare opportunity to actually open a park before it’s capitally improved,” Nielsen said. “It’s also hugely informative for us, because it allows us to see where people are choosing to sit down, which way they’re facing and what they’re looking to do here. How many people are bringing kids? How many are bringing bikes? Looked at over the course of the summer, these are valuable things that can help influence the our design and the park’s future.” When asked about her perceptions of the concepts being put forth by the Paths to Pier 42 artists, Nielsen said she believes they all have “really good ideas,” and even hopes to make them a permanent part of the park once it is developed.
May 9 - 22, 2013
Anger over bike sites in high gear at C.B. 2 forum By Lincoln Anderson More than 400 people — many of them indignant and fuming — turned out for a Community Board 2 forum last Thursday night on bike-share and, specifically, the siting of the new bike-share docking stations. C.B. 2 Chairperson David Gruber opened the remarks by saying he was disappointed that, despite his invitations, the Department of Transportation had declined to send a representative to the meeting. He said people were caught off guard by the bike-share docks, which he slammed as “barricades.” The board received more than 100 phone calls and e-mails about bike-share in the past couple of weeks, he said, “70 percent of them negative comments” about the new docking stations. But many people, while critical of the bike docks, aren’t against the whole bike-share program, he stressed. “I think what people are upset about is the sheer volume, the size…,” Gruber said, as people in the audience shouted out, “Yes! Yes!” and applauded. “It was done really in the most heavy-handed way possible,” he said to more applause. Holding up placards outside before the meeting, Ian Dutton, a former C.B. 2 member and cycling advocate, maintained, “New York City’s streets were originally paved for bicycles.” Stu Waldman of Bedford St. was one of the few who spoke in favor of the bike-share stations and the whole program. “There’s no bike rack in front of my house — but I would love one to be put there,” he stated, “because then there wouldn’t be cars and trucks there. Our streets aren’t pristine now. Having bikes is a lot better than cars.” Bike-share is “very effective in Paris,” added his wife, Livvie Mann. But Deborah Stone of 175 W. 13th St. — which has a big bike-share station in front of it — retorted, “I don’t care what they do in Paris! I live in New York City!” sparking among the night’s biggest cheers. One bike-share advocate — only about a handful spoke during the forum — explained that the docks are “modular” and easily movable. As if one, many in the audience called out, “So move it!” Her voice rising in fury, Marna Lawrence, a Nolita quality-of-life activist, blurted out, “Why did they decided to experiment with Downtown Manhattan?” as the audience roared its agreement. “It’s unconscionable that they think they can get away with this — it’s not O.K.,” said Jerry Banu, president of the Perry St. Block Association. Architect Stas Zakrzewski said, “They installed a 40-bike rack right outside our building at Renwick and Spring Sts. There’s no access to our building. I think it’s very interesting — whenever there is someone applying for a liquor license, there are signs up all over the neighborhood. Why don’t they do that for this? It’s too large — it needs to be well thought-out.” Carlo Giurdanella of Bella Tile on E. 11th St. between First Avenue and Avenue A com-
Photos by Tequila Minsky
Carlo Giurdanella objected to the loss of his loading space.
Ian Dutton, right, shared a thought with fellow bike-share advocate Charles McCorkell, owner of Bicycle Habitat.
plained that one of the new bike docks had taken away his loading zone. Former Councilmember Carol Greitzer said her daughter is a doctor living in London who rides the bike-share there everyday, but that the stations there are smaller, for only 10 to 20 bikes per location. Singer/songwriter Jamie Bendell, a 175 W. 13th St. resident, protested, “These areas between the bike racks and the sidewalks will become new garbage pits. Will they ask our doormen to clean them?” Standing in the back of the auditorium, Charlie McCorkell, owner of Bicycle Habitat on Lafayette St., commented disapprovingly, “Most people agree the greater good is bikeshare, but nobody is willing to give up anything for it.” “These are all rich white people,” a young man standing next to him remarked of all the naysayers.
Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, likened the placing of a bike rack on the spot where public art has been shown in Petrosino Square to the Taliban’s famously blowing up an ancient Buddha cliff carving. He blasted the Department of Transportation as the “Department of Taliban.” Glen Gaylinn, who owns Dog Wash on MacDougal St., said the new bike station on the block already stinks because dogs have been peeing on the curb next to it and the urine is seeping under it. “It smells horrible,” he said, “rotting urine, uric acid.” “You have depreciated my property value,” said Dorothy Sluska of Barrow St. “People spend a lot of money to live in the West Village.” Sugar Barry of 10th St. said two potted plants on the street “that we paid for” just disappeared when the bike-station on her block was put in.
Alexandra Scott protested the loss of public art space in Petrosino Square.
Attorney Jeffrey Barr of 99 Bank St. has filed two lawsuits — one against the city and the other against Citibank, the bike-share’s sponsor — on behalf of his 100-unit building. The purpose of the litigation, he said, is simple: “We just want you to go there, see it with your own eyes, see how ridiculous it is, and move it.” The city has so far responded by removing the part of the bike station that was right in front of the Bank St. building’s entrance. Barr has said he may soon be representing more buildings in lawsuits over bike docks. The suits argue that the bike-share will cause people to ride on the sidewalk — because Bank St. is cobblestoned — and also cause the cyclists to cluster under the building’s awning when it rains, among other things. But Steve Vaccaro, an attorney who represents cyclists and pedestrians who have been in accidents and who is a cycling advocate, said that the Citi Bikes will have balloon tires and so will offer a “comfy ride” over cobblestones, for one. “Bringing in new street fixtures, there are going to be issues about what fits, where things fit,” he said. “Every square foot and every square inch of Manhattan is claimed by at least one person. “At this point, bike-share is starting in two or three weeks. Let’s put the bike stations in and see what works and what doesn’t work,” Vaccaro said. “D.O.T. has shown a willingness to adjust — they’ve adjusted the 99 Bank St. station. “This is part of the city’s transportation structure,” he said. “This is no gimmick or a passing fad — no more than a building can say, ‘We don’t want this bus station or this subway station on our street,’ or ‘We don’t want parking on our street.’ “One building cannot dictate the details of a citywide transportation system. If every building said, ‘We love bike-share but not on our block,’ you’d have no bike-share.”
May 9 - 22, 2013
Artist struggles to survive amid life on the street CLAYTON By Clayton Patterson One of the greatest blessings I have received in life is connected to my archive. How fortunate and blessed I have been to have been able to document such a wide cross-section of the people, places and events, the life and heart beat of the Lower East Side, before so much of the community was lost and destroyed by gentrification. Celebrity photography is where the glamour, fame and money are. Much of my work is closer to the street and of those people and events that tend to be off the monetary radar. In my archive, I have photos of individuals that are among the only existing images of them. One of the artists I have documented over the years is Anthony Dominguez, and currently, he has an art show at my place on Essex St. I first met Anthony in the late 1980s. This was a period of great political turmoil. The short version is that much of the political struggle was centered around real estate. Property values were going up, and our politicians worked hard to undo many of the rights and laws that protected the average tenant from being gouged by landlords. People were being forced out of their homes, mom-and-pop businesses could not keep up with the escalating cost of doing business. The courts and the police became the muscle, the driving force behind the evictions and the displacement of people. New York City had a homeless crisis on its hands. Tompkins Square Park was fully occupied with a Tent City. New York City had not had this kind of homeless takeover of public land since the Great Depression, when Hooverville was constructed in Central Park. Anthony Dominguez was one of the homeless artists who had found a place to fit in and be accepted, a place to show his art and be a part of the Lower East Side culture scene. It’s now 19 years later, and he is still one of the city’s homeless. To clarify: Anthony does not consider himself homeless, he considers himself free. He does not receive or seek any kind of
Photo by Clayton Patterson
Anthony Rodriguez with some of his artwork in his current exhibition at the Clayton Gallery & Outlaw Art Museum.
social support or handouts. He is not addicted or dependent on drugs or alcohol, and works hard at living a moral and spiritual life. Over the years, Anthony has stopped by a number of times to visit me. Usually his visit is connected to some sort of police or community harassment. Anthony has delicate features, is soft-spoken and appears somewhat meek and humble. He explains that the police and other community enforcement types label him a male prostitute or accuse him of being some sort of “homosexual pervert,” which he feels puts his life in danger. He sees this harassment as a subtle — not physically violent, but psychologically threatening — tool the authorities use to make his life too uncomfortable to be in the area where he is living. One of the ways Anthony deals with these threats is by keeping a few trusted friends informed of his situation. He sees this as a form of protection. His way of communicating his problem is to write notes or longer letters detailing this harassment. I have several of these
communications. Mild-mannered or not, Anthony lives a hard life. No question, at times, his is a very dangerous lifestyle. The city has all the appearances of a civilized society. But make no mistake, especially for the homeless or the free, there are still sections with no rules, or few rules, or rule by force, or muscle, or gun, or crew, or posse, or gang, or psychotics, or by crackheads, or whatever. Often in the places on the street where the homeless find shelter, there can be more than one exceptionally crazy, out-of-the-box, off-theradar character lurking in the foreground. And as the city becomes more gentrified, the police are pressured to move out the homeless. But no matter what hardships or adversity Anthony is faced with, he has never stopped making art. In the earlier days, he produced wonderful patch-like bleach prints. His method and tools were simple: Find some black, heavy fabric, like black denim; get a piece of thin, sturdy card-
board, or possibly a piece of thin rubber; draw the image on the material; using an X-Acto knife, cut out the image; and now you have a stencil that can be used to make multiples. Just place the stencil on top of the black fabric. Using a bunched-up, dampened cloth or a sponge dipped in bleach, press it onto the stencil, and the end result are these beautiful images. Because he has no steady place to call home and must travel light, Anthony carries everything in a small backpack. By making a few design changes to his backpack, he has figured out an ingenious way to carry his art, his art supplies and the necessities he needs to keep himself clean and alive. His art, like his backpack, tends to be neat and organized. In the winter he goes to the public library and uses one of the reading cubicles to paint in. Again, he is very neat and tidy. In the last few years, he has been painting on the white, heavy canvas used to make store awnings and the industrial, outdoor photo billboards stuck on the sides of buildings. He cuts the canvas into strips about 8 inches wide, with the height up to around 15 inches long. These pieces roll up and fit into the backpack. His palette tends to be limited to black, white and red acrylic paint. His tools are a ruling pen and a small selection of brushes, charcoal and pencils. His work is somewhat graphic in appearance, tightly painted, with figures that can include cops, hobos and workers. Some are abstract designs with titles like “Puzzle,” “Empty Full” and “The Ungrateful Hour Glass Man.” Some of his pieces include his original music scores and the lyrics he writes. He made a flute out of a half-inch piece of PVB pipe that sounds much like a wooden recorder. He can play the tunes he writes. For those who desire a taste of the old Lower East Side, I would suggest making an appointment and discovering this amazing artist’s work. Clayton Gallery & Outlaw Art Museum, 161 Essex St. (between Houston and Stanton Sts.), 212-477-1363.
Pro-marijuana mayoral candidate says legalize it By Jefferson Siegel Trailing a cloud of smoke, the annual New York City Cannabis Parade made its way from 24th St. to Union Square on Saturday. About 100 people gathered under sunny skies for speeches and music. Among the speakers was mayoral candidate Sal Albanese. “I think the time has come to legalize it,” Albanese said to cheers. “If you think the time has come to end the prohibition on marijuana, then I need your help,” he added. “I’ve always been an advocate of legalizing marijuana,” Albanese said afterward. “We’re wasting taxpayer money. It will also bring down stop-and-frisks. We’re criminalizing tens of thousands of people.” Asked how a city official could affect state and federal laws, Albanese elaborated, “The mayor has a bully pulpit. Let’s tax it and put revenue toward education.”
Photo by Jefferson Siegel
Among the marijuana marchers was Phil Hollenbeck of Brooklyn, who claimed he was smoking sage.
Aron Kay, the “Yippie Pieman” was also in the crowd. Noting he was at the first marijuana smoke-in in 1973, he said, “I have not missed a pot march in New York City since.” Phil Hollenbeck of Brooklyn stood puffing a monstersized blunt. Asked what was in it, he laughed and said, “Sage.” Also among the pro-cannabis crowd was political comedian and mayoral candidate Randy Credico. David Peel and The Lower East Side were among the afternoon’s musical highlights. An organizer said similar parades were taking place in 400 cities worldwide. The march was organized by NORML, the Yippie Cafe on Bleecker St. and others. Medical marijuana is legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Washington State has decriminalized marijuana. Last year, Colorado legalized recreational use.
May 9 - 22, 2013
Courtesy of Studio SM
Pining for some new public art Photo by Jefferson Siegel
Master baker Uri Scheft with a tray of tantalizing treats at Breads Bakery.
Acclaim is rising for famous Israeli bakery’s bread shop BY REY MASHAYEKHI Since it first opened 12 years ago, Lehamim Bakery has become famous in Tel Aviv for the delectable creations of its founder, Uri Scheft. Scheft, an Israeli national born to Danish parents, learned the art of baking bread in Europe, and caused a mild sensation upon returning home to open a bakery of his own. With a salivating variety of breads all baked on site — from crisp loaves of rye and sourdough to sweeter treats like rugelach and cheese sticks — Lehamim soon became the talk of Tel Aviv. One of the bakery’s fans was an Israeliborn, New York-raised businessman named Gadi Peleg, who came across Lehamim while in Tel Aviv. Peleg “came to love that bakery,” as he put it, and was introduced to Scheft through a mutual acquaintance. Eventually, the two discussed the possibility of bringing Lehamim — which is Hebrew for “breads” — to New York City. “I knew the level of quality was one that New Yorkers would appreciate,” Peleg told The Villager. Two years ago, as Lehamim continued to grow in popularity, Scheft and Peleg put plans in motion to open a bakery in New York. This past January, after much time spent scouting locations and ironing out the practicalities of bringing Scheft’s unique methodology across the ocean, the two men finally opened Breads Bakery — located at 18 E. 16th St., right across from Union Square.
Upon entering the very large, 9,000-square-foot space, it becomes apparent why the arrival of Breads Bakery has proven so notable among bread enthusiasts in New York. The scent of freshly baked dough hangs in the air, while the walls are covered with racks filled with a seemingly endless assortment of rolls, buns, cakes and sweets. Despite its size, the bakery only seats about 20 people — which can be explained by the massive baking operation that takes place in the back of the room, in an enormous kitchen that produces all of the products on display. So far, Breads has received a rapturous reception from patrons and food critics alike. Local food blogs have heralded it as the latest in the city’s line of boutique bakeries, such as Maison Kayser on the Upper East Side and Bien Cuit in Brooklyn. “I’m extremely flattered by the reception New York has given us,” Peleg said. “New Yorkers are spoiled by the options available to us.” Peleg mentioned that Union Square was a “no-brainer” for the bakery’s location, characterizing it as a place frequented by “people who care about food.” When asked about the possibility of further Breads Bakery locations in the city, however, Peleg said that he and Scheft “haven’t thought so far ahead” and are only focused on the Union Square location for the time being. “If things continue this way, we’ll be extremely pleased,” Peleg added. “It’s all we could have ever hoped for.”
The Parks Department and Cynthia-Reeves Projects, in cooperation with the Union Square Partnership, is debuting “Lotus,” above, by Seoul-based artist Jaehyo Lee, in Union Square Park this month. Located at the park’s southeastern triangle, the exhibition will be on view through October. Lee exhibits internationally, with recent works included at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, London’s Saatchi Gallery and Korea’s Sungkok Museum. “Lotus” follows Lee’s signature use of Korean big-cone pine. For this work, the artist meticulously carved, shaped and burned the individual wood elements, which are attached to a steel armature that stretches 12 feet high.
Saint George Ukrainian Catholic Church New York, NY
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Main Stage Shows Friday 6:30pm Saturday 2pm & 6pm Sunday 1:30pm & 4pm
A NYC tradition for over 3 decades!
Duet Oros Sisters
Soloist Bogena Dergalo For more information contact Andrij Stasiw at (212) 253-2417
ZABAVA SATURDAY NIGHT featuring Anna-Maria Entertainment sponsored by SELF RELIANCE NEW YORK Federal Credit Union
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May 9 - 22, 2013
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May 9 - 22, 2013
EASTVILLAGERaRtS&enteRtainMent Rhyme Machine Kid Lucky and La MaMa celebrate ‘the art of human noise’ AMERICAN HUMAN BEATBOX FESTIVAL 2013 Fri., May 24, 10pm: Beatrhyme Battle Sat., May 25, 11am: La MaMa Kids: Beatbox Workshop Sat., May 25, 10pm: Vocal Wars: Hip Hop Team Battle Sun., May 26, 5:30pm: “Nos States” (ﬁlm) Sun., May 26, 8pm: Baba Israel and Playback NYC: Tribute to Steve Ben Israel At La MaMa The Club, 74A E. 4th St. (btw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.). May 25 Workshop, 2nd ﬂoor of The Annex (66-68 E. 4th St.) Tickets: $10 in advance, $20 at door ($15 for students/seniors) Workshop: $10 per family (in advance & at door) Film: $10 (in advance & at door) Reservations: 212-475-7710 or lamama.org Photo courtesy of the artist and La MaMa
Kid Lucky, at the 2011 La MaMa World Block Party.
BY TOM TENNEY In a 1913 letter to the composer Francesco Balilla Pratella, Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo declared, “The variety of noises is infinite…today we have perhaps a thousand different machines, and can distinguish a thousand different noises, tomorrow, as new machines multiply, we will be able to distinguish ten, twenty, or thirty thousand different noises, not merely in a simply imitative way, but to combine them according to our imagination.” This letter, which became a known as “The Art of Noises,” advocated a new sonic vocabulary through the imitation of machines — and became one of the
most important manifestos in the history of sound. As technological advances at the turn of the century paved the way for a revolution in mass media, they also created new possibilities for individual expression. By mid-century, the computer had opened new sonic territory by permitting an unprecedented extension of sounds and scales, pushing the boundaries of music beyond what the Futurists ever imagined. In 1983, 70 years after Russolo’s letter, a British avant-garde electronic group that called itself The Art of Noise (after the manifesto) released a song that mixed sampled sounds of car engines and industrial machinery with time-warped drum
beats and orchestral stabs. This song would become one of the most influential instrumentals in the world of hip-hop, sampled by artists from X-Clan to Marky Mark. The name of that song was “Beat Box.” A year later, an 18-year-old rapper from Harlem by the name of Doug E. Fresh pioneered the art of imitating electronic drum machines using only his voice. The art of “beatboxing” was born, and the verity of Russolo’s vision was, once again, affirmed. As do all musical genres, beatboxing has evolved in the intervening three decades, spawning a variety of techniques — including the “human turntable” (a style invented by Wise of the group Stetsasonic) and
“mouth drumming” (developed by Wes Carroll). From May 24-26, the Third Annual American Human Beatbox Festival at La MaMa Theatre will give New Yorkers the opportunity to sample some of the most eclectic beatboxing styles by artists who make percussive rhythms with the human voice. This three-day exhibition of performances, workshops and film kicks off on Friday night with a battle, not of beatboxers, but beatrhymers — performers who beatbox and rhyme at the same time. Beatrhyming was developed and popular-
Continued on page 23
May 9 - 22, 2013
Concert celebrates 50 years of Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan Album’s anniversary feted by its contemporaries FREEWHEELIN’ 50TH
ANNIVERSARY ALL-STAR JAM
Tues., May 21, at 8pm At the Village Underground 130 W. 3rd St. (just east of Sixth Ave.) Purchase tickets ($5) at the door For info: 212-777-7745 or villageunderground.com
BY MICHAEL LYDON Fifty years ago this month, May 1963, Columbia Records released Bob Dylan's second album: “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.” Dylan had come to New York only two years before and, like countless young singers, actors, dancers, artists and writers before and since, he was bound and determined to make his mark on the world. “I knew whatever I did had to be something creative,” he told an early interviewer, “something I could do just for me. I was about seventeen, eighteen. I knew there was nothing I ever wanted, materially, and I made it all up from that feeling.” Dylan’s combination of Chaplinesque charm, political protest and driving ambition had already carried him far. In little more than a year in New York, he had become a friend and protegé of Woody Guthrie, headlined weeklong gigs at major clubs, gotten a rave review in the New York Times, been signed to Columbia by veteran producer John Hammond and recorded “Bob Dylan” —
Photo courtesy of Columbia Records
Steel wheelin’: An all-star roster fetes Dylan, on May 21.
his first LP. Yet “Bob Dylan,” a folk song collection released in early 1962, stiffed, as they say in the record biz, and Columbia executives whispered that Hammond’s boy genius had become “Hammond’s Folly.” Through the rest of the year Dylan kept gigging and writing, coming up with his first masterpiece: “Blowin’ in the Wind.” His new manager, Albert
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Grossman, gave it to the newly minted pop-folk trio, Peter, Paul and Mary — and while Dylan recorded the “Freewheelin’ ” tracks, the trio recorded “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Their single, released right after “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” quickly became a million-selling pop chart-topper. Other covers by Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Marlene Dietrich and Trini Lopez soon followed.
“The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” album
Photo by Michael Lydon
Bob Porco, grandson of legendary Gerde’s Folk City founder Mike Porco, is producing the upcoming Dylan tribute.
had a gritty-romantic cover of Dylan and his girlfriend, artist Suze Rotolo, huddled against a wintry Manhattan wind on Jones Street near West 4th, and featured his solo version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” as the opening track. Lacking Peter, Paul and Mary’s sweet
Continued on page 21
May 9 - 22, 2013
Air of celebration blowin’ in the wind, at Dylan tribute Continued from page 20 three-part harmonies, “Freewheelin’ ” never sold at gold record volumes. But 11 of the album's 13 songs were powerful and soon-beloved Dylan originals. With “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” the kid in the corduroy cap stepped out on his own — and through the five decades since the album’s release, Bob Dylan has remained a force to be reckoned with in popular music. To celebrate the album’s 50th birthday, a baker’s dozen of contemporary folk singers will perform the album’s 13 songs (and more) in a special concert on May 21 at the Village Underground — a most fitting venue, because 130 West 3rd was the second site of Gerde’s Folk City, the club that launched Dylan’s career. Also fitting: Bob Porco, grandson of the legendary Mike Porco (who founded Gerde’s and booked Dylan to his first paid New York gigs) is producing the celebration. “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” is an album worth celebrating. At times Dylan’s voice sounds high and scratchy, at others warm and caressing. The puzzling riddles of “Blowin’ in the Wind,”
At the May 21 tribute, spoken word artist Paul Mills (aka Poez) will deliver Dylan’s black comedy song “Talking World War III Blues.”
the winsome romance of “Girl from the North Country,” the dramatic guitar runs of “Down the Highway,” the antic comedy of “Bob Dylan's Dream,” the Biblical imagery of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” the ironic resignation of “Don't Think Twice, It’s All Right,” the howling harmonica of “Talking World War III Blues” — Dylan seeds every
track with sounds and styles that have blossomed in the dozens of masterful albums he has recorded since. “The [May 21] concert grew out of the folk revival nights I put on over several years at the old Gaslight," said producer Porco, a trim personal trainer, “and now I'm making a documentary film about my grandfather Mike and his musician friends that he helped get started at Folk City. In March, around the fountain in Washington Square Park, we shot the film’s first interview with Izzy Young. He ran the Folklore Center on MacDougal Street where Dylan, Phil Ochs and the other protest singers hung out.” Porco has put together a congenial group of Folk City alums for the May concert. Terre Roche, known both as a soloist and, with her sisters Maggie and Suzzy, as a member of the folk trio The Roches, will sing “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Judy Gorman, who describes herself as “An Analog Girl in a Digital World,” will perform “Masters of War.” Singerhumorist Willie Nininger, who has won numerous Bob Dylan imitator contests, will handle the stark “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” — and Erik Frandsen will sing “Bob Dylan’s Dream,” a nostalgic song that Dylan adapted from an old English folk melody, “Lord Franklin.” “I’ve always loved how Dylan made traditional tunes his own,” says Frandsen, adding with a chuckle, “or you could say, Bob Dylan knows how to steal!” Samoa Wilson, a singer with a richly romantic alto voice who came to prominence with the Jim Kweskin band, will sing the bittersweet love ballad “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” Paul Mills, better known as the spoken word artist Poez (who, in the 70s, busked in Washington Square, reciting poetry and wearing a black stovepipe hat), will deliver Dylan’s black comedy song, “Talking World War III Blues.” “When I started out, poets imitated Allen Ginsburg’s sing-songy, ‘Dah-dah, dah-dah’ style of reading poetry,” says Poez, now a lawyer who has defended many Occupy Wall Street protestors. “I wanted to get the drama, the music, out of poetry. I’ve always been a huge Dylan fan, especially of the Freewheelin’ album. Dylan’s songs are in the long American tradition of honesty, compassion and simplicity. He’s up there with Dashiell Hammett, John Huston and Ernest Hemingway.”
Photos by Michael Lydon
L to R: Izzy Young and David Massengill, in Washington Square.
Tribeca Spotlight: The Next Voice You Hear
Joe Matarese in Laughs For Mom Friday, May 10 at 8pm . $15 / Students & Senior $10
What better way to celebrate family, especially mom, than with stand-up comic Joe Matarese’s completely autobiographical act that pokes fun at his subtly dysfunctional Italian family, his own neuroses, his life with a four year old, and his marriage to a psychologist (his perfect match). With Adrienne Iapalucci and Paul Virzi Call 212-220-1460 for more information or
Visit the Box Ofﬁce located on the campus of the BMCC 199 Chambers St., NYC. Order single tickets online: www.TribecaPAC.org • Follow us on Facebook & Twitter • Downtown Express comedy may.indd 1
4/23/2013 1:28:29 PM
May 9 - 22, 2013
Just Do Art! BY SCOTT STIFFLER
MOTHER’S DAY TRIBUTE TO ELIZA TREDWELL, AT MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM
To the modern eye, Eliza Tredwell’s duties may seem retro — but the love that went into them is timeless. “The home was the mother’s domain,” says Merchant’s House Museum (MHM) board member Anthony Bellov, while discussing the 19th century family matriarch’s legacy. “She was expected to make the home a comfortable and beautiful and fashionable place — not just for the husband, but for the children as well.” Life must have been sweet. Of the eight Tredwell children, says Bellov, “Four of her daughters didn’t marry. They remained at home and returned the favor by caring for Eliza in her later years.” Similar loving care has gone into the museum. Packed with the family’s original furnishings and personal possessions, it offers visitors “a rare and intimate glimpse of domestic life from 1835-1865.” It’s as if the family never left. Apparently, some of them didn’t. That’s according to dozens of eyewitness accounts over the years — compiled by Bellov in the “available in the gift shop” booklet, “Some Say They Never Left.” Today, Eliza’s bedroom “is the room where we receive the most reports,” says Bellov in regards to the museum’s well-earned reputation for paranormal activity. “We have audio recordings and
unexplained photographs, and people claim the sense of another presence is strongest in that room,” he notes, while stopping short of a guarantee that you’ll come face-to-face with mama Eliza or daughter Gertrude or any of the servants and caretakers who those in “Some Say” say they’ve seen. Celebrate the life of Eliza Tredwell, and learn more about her role within the context of 19th century motherhood, when MHM offers special Mother’s Day tours of the house. Or, spend some time in Eliza’s room when you take the self-guided tour as a regular museum visitor. During the Ghost Tours (third Friday of the month), you’ll hear more
about the mysterious goings-on in Eliza’s room, and throughout the rest of the house. Sun., May 12. At the Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. 4th St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Mother’s Day tours at 12:30pm, 2pm & 3:30pm (included with regular admission). In May, when accompanied by their children, mothers visit for free (excludes Walking Tour, special events and group programs… but includes the Mother’s Day tour!). Call 212777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org.
Willy and Milo drop out of art school. Unable to make ends meet or create their own masterpieces, they fall under the spell of a mysterious artist known as “The Prophet” — who provides them with art supplies, cash, drugs and marching orders. “Occupy Wall Street meets Fight Club meets the Art World” is how the multi-ethnic Spookfish Theatre Company describes their production of Ming Peiffer’s “Advance Guard.” Through May 19, at The Kraine Theater (85 E. 4th St., btw. 2nd Ave. & Bowery). For showtimes and tickets ($18, $15 for students/seniors), visit horsetrade.info or call 212-868-4444.
RETRO PULFER: ZUSTANDSEFFEKTE
Photo courtesy of Merchant’s House Museum
Pulfer’s work navigates between architecture and performance. In his first U.S. solo exhibition, he creates an ethereal environment by suspending large swathes of hand-painted cloth from the gallery’s ceiling. Visitors enter into a mysterious backlit interior, whose walls are covered by unbleached cotton cloth. Everything sways with movement, while color accents can be found on
Courtesy the Artist, Balice Hertling Gallery, Paris and Holly Bush Gallery London
Reto Pulfer, Zustandseffekte, 2013.
the fabric-covered ceiling. The exhibition’s title (“Zustandseffekte”) roughly translates as “effects of a given state.” It refers to both stagnation and transformation, and it is up to each viewer to transition between reality and imagination. Through June 23, at Swiss Institute (18 Wooster St., btw. Grand & Canal Sts.). Hours: Wed.-Sun., 12-6pm. Call 212-925-2035 or visit swissinstitute.net.
Photo by KL Thomas
From “Advance Guard” — Mari Yamamoto and Ben Kaufman.
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May 9 - 22, 2013
Beatrhymers battle, at La MaMa Continued from page 19 ized by the festival’s curator, Kid Lucky, who coined the term, and who characterizes the new style as one that allows the performer to move beyond simply providing a beat. Beatrhyming adds language — poetry, rap, song, spoken word — to the vocal effects, freeing the piece to take off in new directions. “Beatboxers listen to the beat,” Lucky explains, “Emcees listen to the words. With beatrhyming, we listen to the whole concept of the song.” Kid Lucky isn’t the first to beatrhyme, and readily acknowledges those who went before him — like Biz Markie, Darren Robinson of the Fat Boys and Rahzel of the Roots, who astonished hip-hop audiences by beatboxing and singing the chorus simultaneously on “If Your Mother Only Knew.” For the most part, however, Lucky has seen beatboxers use beatrhyming mainly as a musical machination, a trick for cheap applause. Lucky, who began beatrhyming in the mid-90s, saw the potential to elevate the style into an art form in its own right. “People used beatrhyming as a trick, or a gimmick,” he says, “I saw it as something much more than that. I saw the possibilities to take the concept and push it beyond the boundaries of what anybody else is doing. That's how you move from gimmick to art.” He’s also quick to point out that beatrhyming doesn’t necessarily mean rapping, but can include a number of vocal styles (such as singing and spokenword). When La MaMa approached Kid Lucky to curate the first beatboxing festival in 2010, he saw an opportunity to challenge traditional notions of beatboxing, and bring his innovations to a wider audience, many of whom still maintain rigid definitions of beatboxing as a human emulation of technology. While he recognizes the cultural roots of beatboxing as “man-imitatingmachine,” Lucky sees beatrhyming as an opportunity to reintroduce the human element, or “soul,” back into the art. “Beatboxing, which began by imitating the Roland 808 drum machine, is more concerned with the electronic aspect,” he explains, “but as beatboxing moves further, it emphasizes the soul and the feeling as opposed to the technical aspect of it.” For Kid Lucky, the next step in the advancement of beatrhyming is handing his skills down to a new generation of performers. He teaches weekly beatrhyming workshops at Midtown's famous Funkadelic Studios, and plans to develop them into a school of what he calls “Mixed Vocal Arts” — an institution that will teach not only his signature style, but also an entire array of vocal techniques including humming, whistling, scatting, vocal sound effects, singing, spoken word, yodeling, rapping and Tuvan throat sing-
Photo courtesy of the artist
Baba Israel, on the bill of May 24’s Beat-Rhyming battlers.
ing. The concept of the school was born of Lucky’s frustration with the limited number of styles represented in universities and professional training schools. Scat singing, for example, a uniquely American form of jazz vocalization popularized by Ella Fitzgerald in the 1950s, isn’t taught at most universities. “With scatting, Ella Fitzgerald became a whole entire instrument right there, and people went crazy,” Lucky said. “Why would you stop doing that? Why would you stop pushing that type of situation forward?" Those who wish to experience this “pushing forward” in person should check out the beatrhyming battle on May 24, where the performers will include D-Cross, Kid Lucky, Kaila, Graffiti, Richard, Esalaah, Kenny Urban, Mandibul, Menyu and Baba Israel. Saturday morning, bring your baby beatboxers to the Kids Beatbox Workshop, and then come back for the emcee/beatboxer team battles at 10pm. Sunday offerings include “Nos States” — a documentary about French beatboxer Priceps, followed by a tribute to the late Steve Ben Israel. It’ll be a unique celebration of music, beats, words and the art of human noise. Tom Tenney is a performer, producer, sound artist and founder of the annual RE/Mixed Media Festival in Brooklyn, NY (remixnyc.com). He currently teaches media theory at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Follow him on Twitter at @tomtenney, or follow his blog at inc.ongruo.us.
Photo courtesy of the artist
Rabbi Darkside, one of the May 25 Vocal Wars warriors.
May 9 - 22, 2013
New residential by 3rd Ave. sparks eastern renewal By Lincoln Anderson Union Square’s renaissance is one of the city’s ongoing success stories, and now the eastern side of the district is starting to share in the area’s ongoing makeover. A notable new presence is The Jefferson, an eight-story, 83-year unit luxury condominium building at 211 E. 13th St. The project was developed by joint venture partners Charles Blaichman, Abram and Scott Shnay and Ironstate Development Company’s Michael and David Barry. Sales for the building are already underway. The building takes its name from the Jefferson Theater, a vaudeville mecca that once occupied the property, but which was demolished about 15 years ago. The spacious lot sat vacant for years, but now is home to a luxury building with “a commanding view” of the area. The promo materials tout the spot as being in the hip East Village, as much as on the eastern edge of hot Union Square. “There is no more charming, lively and exciting neighborhood in Manhattan than the East Village,” The Jefferson’s promotional copy reads. “It is alive with history, culture and creativity — but living here can be a challenge. Most residential buildings are over 100 years old and built to a scale unsuited to contemporary lifestyles. Many find the compromise worth it. But The Jefferson provides the perfect answer, with no compromise required: an ultra-contemporary, doorman building with all the amenities located in the most desirable area of the East Village. … The Jefferson also offers luxurious common areas: a gym, a lounge, a business center and a roof garden that exploits its lofty command of the neighborhood.” Studios are starting at $850,000, while a 12,333-square-foot penthouse with a spacious rooftop deck is priced at $2.4 million. Jennifer Falk, executive director of the Union Square Partnership — a business improvement district and local development corporation — said the construction of The Jefferson has already had a ripple effect on the surrounding neighborhood, as a number of new business have opened up along Second and Third Aves. near 14th St. “It’s really been a boon having a new building come along,” she noted. “The transformation has been remarkable and we expect additional businesses to open in the coming year, including the two spaces at the base of The Jefferson, totaling 4,500 square feet of new retail space.” Also, a new residential sliver building is going up north of the N.Y.U. residence on the northeast corner of 14th St. and Third Ave. “I don’t even know how people are going to live in there,” Falk said, incredulously, of the pencil-thin high-rise. Along with the new residential construction in the eastern part of the BID
tree pits for spring, Falk noted, adding that once the weather is consistently warm, landscapers will replant the 46 planters scattered throughout the district. The Partnership is also adding more street furniture in and around the park, since, as Falk said, seating is the number one request the Partnership gets in user surveys about the area. In June, the BID will also start its free summer programming in the square, from yoga to kids’ activities to music and dancing.
‘The East Village is alive with history, culture and creativity — but living here can be a challenge. Many find the compromise worth it. But The Jefferson provides the perfect answer, with no compromise required.’ Promotional brochure
The Jefferson is a commanding new presence on E. 14th St.
Photo by Lincoln Anderson
The renovated Union Square pavilion will likely continue to sit vacant this summer, pending a court decision on the city’s appeal of a lawsuit seeking to block a restaurant from going into the space.
district, the area is experiencing historically low office and retail vacancy rates, far below the city average. The tech sector is booming in Union Square, and the area boasts five of the city’s top 10 venture capital firms, as well, Falk noted proudly. Burlington Coat Factory last year moved into the 92,000-square-foot, former Filene’s Basement space on Union Square South, providing a firm retail anchor.
School construction is also marching onward and upward, with completion nearing on the New School’s University Center at 14th St. and Fifth Ave. A new, 720-seat public school is also under construction at 10 E. 15th St. Slated to open in fall 2014, it will house the Clinton School for Writers and Artists Middle School, plus a high school. Meanwhile, the Partnership continues its work keeping the district looking good. The BID recently spruced up 100
The Partnership’s big annual foottasting event under a white tent, Harvest in the Square, brings in up to $400,00 a year, all of which goes toward improving and beautifying the park. “As we enter into the busy spring and summer seasons, the Union Square Partnership team is hard at work beautifying the district for the millions of people who live, work and visit the area,” Falk said. “From power-washing to painting street furniture to the installation of spring plantings and lawn work, our goal is to make Union Square a neighborhood for everyone to enjoy.” In that vein, Falk, for one, says she’s pleased with the city’s enforcement of its new rules on expressive matter vendors in parks and how this is affecting Union Square Park and the plaza area around it. “Since the regulations went into effect, the quality of life over all in the park has improved,” she said. “It just reached a tipping point where there wasn’t a fair balance between vending and the rest of the public’s ability to use the park. And the artists are an important part of the fabric of Union Square, so we’re very pleased the new rules have created a balance between the two constituencies — the artists and the general public.” On another hot-button issue, Falk said she understands the court this month will hear the city’s appeal of a ruling on a lawsuit against the plan for a restaurant concession in the Union Square pavilion. A decision isn’t expected before the fall, she said.
May 9 - 22, 2013
How tweet it is for Saujani The Poisson Rouge fundraiser last week for Reshma Saujani’s public advocate campaign was peopled with many tech industry professionals and other young New Yorkers — primarily in their 20s to 40s — from finance to medicine and other professions. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder, was the night’s highlighted Saujani supporter. Also on hand was her husband, Nihal Mehta, C.E.O. of Local Response, a social media company that “leverages the hundreds of millions of public posts across social media each day.” As part of the formal program, infomercial videos were projected. The first was a biographical piece about the 37-year-old candidate. The second video profiled Girls Who Code — a program founded by the advocate candidate — which addresses the gender gap in the tech industries by providing intensive training for young girls in computer programming skills. Unfortunately, technical difficulties diminished the impact of this interesting video. There was no mention of her previous campaign, a 2010 primary challenge to Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, in which Saujani, running as a pro-Wall Street Democrat, lost badly to the longtime incumbent. Following her graduation from Yale Law School in 2002, Saujani worked as a hedge fund lawyer. Saujani told the audience of her
Photo by Tequila Minsky
Reshma Saujani, right, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey at the Poisson Rouge on Bleecker St. last week, getting ready to address the crowd at Saujani’s fundraiser.
refugee status as a child from Uganda, having fled dictator Idi Amin, and then identifying with the hard work and struggles of immigrant families in this country. She recalled, as a minority, getting beaten up in her neighborhood. She recently worked in the office of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and also helped found the DREAM Fellowship, which gives scholarships to undocumented students. Saujani repeatedly emphasized her “platform,” of jobs, education, housing and women.
May 9 - 22, 2013
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May 9 - 22, 2013
Photo by Rey Mashayekhi
Making all the right moves
The renovation of Washington Square Park several years ago cramped the style of chess players there, leading to a new chess scene quickly developing in Union Square’s southern plaza. Saravuth Inn has earned a living playing chess in Union Square since 2008. He says his earnings are inconsistent, but enough to allow him to rent a $15-aday room in Brooklyn.
Espresso, booze or shoes, all fail at ‘doomed corner’ BY ELISSA STEIN Last summer, with a fair amount of fanfare, a successful European espresso bar chain established its first outpost in New York City. Reportedly spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on renovations, Segafredo opened its sleek, upscale doors, planning to make a splash in the Village. Locals knew better. At the first signs of work being done at the northeast corner of 13th St. and Sixth Ave., people were already betting whatever business moved in would last less than a year. They were right. Mere months after sophisticated hostesses waited in vain behind a podium to seat people, the restaurant/coffee bar stopped opening during the day. Management tried to recreate the space as a trendy cocktail outpost they’d had resounding success with in Miami. That didn’t work either and soon the doors stopped opening altogether. If that had been the first, or even second time a business failed in a location, most wouldn't have noticed. But at this point, 504 Sixth Ave. has the reputation of being doomed. In 2011 eater.com named it the number one cursed restaurant spot in the city. Could a location simply be slated for failure? Steve Jacobson, president of Hopkinson Real Estate said it’s not the spot, and that this bustling corner should definitely be successful. He pointed out French Roast, a block away, which just celebrated 20 years in the Village. Bar 6 and Murray’s Bagels, mere doors down, are perennially crowded. It seems as if the issue is twofold — tenants not analyzing the neighborhood to gauge what businesses fit in well, coupled with a landlord charging exorbitant rents few can pay.
Before Segafredo failed to make its mark, Rockography, a Hard Rock Cafe rip-off, announced its arrival with signs that read: “PARENTAL ADVISORY. KEEP OUT — POSSIBILITY OF EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION. EXTREME NOISE POLLUTION.” After blaring music and overpriced fries didn’t win Villagers over, a quick renovation led to Blitz! Brasserie, a blatant copycat of Bar 6. Before the paint of that reboot had time to dry, A Pint of No Return came. And went. Maximo Pino, the sterile Italian gelateria with fluorescent lighting, mediocre fare and pricey ice cream, didn't capture an audience either. Brief stints as a Ricky’s Halloween outlet and a shoe sample-sale store intermittently filled the space that had been left vacant by Cosi (formerly Cosi/Xando, originally Xando), which seemed to do well but rising rent forced them out. Kenny Roger’s Roasters inhabited the spot, but neighbors knew once pizza was added to the menu, its time was limited. A Greek family-run market preceded Cosi but they too were forced to close as rent rose. The stark, white storefront now stands empty again, its front entrance significantly damaged from a cab jumping the curb and crashing into it shortly after Segafredo shut down. New tenants will have to take on extensive repairs, along with regular renovations, to rehabilitate the so-called cursed location. Perhaps what can turn it around is a landlord not looking to fill the space with the first checkbook that comes along, and prospective renters spending time exploring the area and thoughtfully considering what would work there, instead of rushing to reinvent the corner into something it isn’t.
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May 9 - 22, 2013
We’re Back. Sirloins Have Been Saved Mark Joseph Steakhouse, located off of Peck Slip in the South Street Seaport, lost equipment and inventory to flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy. With the support of loyal customers and staff that helped to repair damage to the popular steakhouse, MarkJoseph’s is back serving up their signature dry aged beef.
MarkJoseph Steakhouse, South Street Seaport Show your support for businesses that have reopened after Hurricane Sandy by patronizing their establishments. Find them by visiting nyc.gov and searching “Support NYC Small Business.”
Visit NYC.gov and search “Support NYC Small Business”
Photo by: William Alatriste
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