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The Paper of Record for East and West Villages, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown

June 12, 2014 • FREE Volume 4 • Number 15

E.V. eateries have boomed, along with incomes, study finds BY GERARD FLYNN


RETAIL STUDY, continued on p. 20

Karen Kristal, 88, stern partner in CBGB with her ex, Hilly BY ALBERT AMATEAU


aren Kristal, partner with her late husband Hilly Kristal in the renowned rock club CBGB in the East Village, died Tues., May 20, three weeks after being admitted to New York University Medical Center. She was 88. Although Hilly (short for


he East Village has seen a steady influx of chain stores and high-end restaurants over the last decade-plus, making it increasingly difficult for small business owners to compete. The newcomers’ clientele comes prowling for

upscale products and, notably, nightlife. While the East Village in the ’60s attracted artists seeking affordable housing, today it is luring a different kind of “creative type,” and tourists — driven less by a desire to be on the road than to enjoy

Hillel) was the public face of the club that opened in 1973 and closed because of a rent dispute with the landlord in October 2006, Karen Kristal was the legal owner, constant caretaker and stern protector of CBGB, whose logo she designed. At first, the club showKRISTAL, continued on p. 21

At the announcement of the breakwater project, from left, Mayor de Blasio; Zia Khan, of the Rockefeller Foundation; HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan; Senator Schumer; and Governor Cuomo.

‘Living barrier’ will protect East Side from storm surges BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


n a united front, Mayor de Blasio was joined by Governor Cuomo, Senator Chuck Schumer and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan at the Riis Houses on Mon., June 2, to announce a massive allocation of federal funding to protect the East Village and Lower East Side from flooding in an age of dramatic climate change. The scene Monday was beautiful, as a dazzling, hot sun shone down, as

a crowd of Riis residents and press clustered near to hear the high-powered officials. It was a far cry from Oct. 29, 2012, when Superstorm Sandy slammed the city, swamping the East Side, with the waters rising waist-high on Avenue C. The city’s overall plan to protect vulnerable neighborhoods in all five boroughs has a $3.7 billion price tag. On Monday, the officials announced that $335 million has been allocated for the “Big U” plan, specifically to allow con-

struction of its Lower East Side and East Village sections, covering the stretch from Montgomery St. to E. 23rd St. From a design team led by Danish firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), the project was the grand-prize winner in the federal government’s Rebuild by Design contest. Running parallel to East River Park, a “bridging berm” will be created on the F.D.R. Drive access road, which is currently used by PROTECTION, continued on p. 4

Lawsuit to keep Cooper Union 2 Former C.B. 3 chairperson backs 13 Rev. Jen on the (Lower) Lower East 15 Glass artist on the 14 | May 14, 2014


Sue to stop Cooper tuition BY SERGEI KLEBNIKOV



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June 12, 2014

year after The Cooper Union decided to charge tuition, a group of professors, students and alumni have filed a lawsuit to block the move. Two weeks ago, the Committee to Save Cooper Union, a coalition formed this past December, sued in Manhattan Supreme Court to stop the elite school from implementing tuition next fall. The lawsuit charges Cooper Union’s board of trustees with various infractions, mainly fiscal mismanagement, and seeks a permanent injunction against charging tuition. In its court papers, the Committee to Save Cooper Union states that the board repeatedly violated the school’s deed of trust and charter over the past few years. The lawsuit describes how the school was founded on three pillars to support its governance: free education, transparency and fiscal conservatism. The plaintiffs charge the board of trustees has violated these fundamental principles, in clear violation of Cooper Union’s founding documents. The plaintiffs accuse the board of trustees of violating the vision of school founder Peter Cooper. In short, they argue, charging tuition would go against 155 years of tradition, as well as Cooper’s famed credo that education should be “as free as water and air” and “free to all.” The committee also accuses the trustees of being spendthrift and squandering Cooper Union’s endowment. The lawsuit states that, in recent years, trustees invested in risky hedge funds, organized “unsound” real estate transactions, accumulated huge debt, and forged ahead with plans to build a new academic building, despite an obvious lack of funds. After an unsuccessful fundraising campaign, the suit argues, the trustees moved ahead with the school’s new Engineering Building project, despite the fact that there was no primary donor who had contributed funding in exchange for his or her name on the building. Later that year, after a court petition to take on more debt, the school mortgaged Cooper Union’s most valuable asset, the Chrysler Building. The suit states that the trustees used many of the loan proceeds to increase the school’s hedge-fund investments. A key aspect of the committee’s case is its accusation that it was irresponsible to appoint Jamshed Bharucha as the school’s new president. The trustees’ president search was “plagued with irregularities,” the committee states. Bharucha was

hired the same weekend as a chance encounter with a trustee, before all the trustees had even met him, the suit alleges. According to the suit, Bharucha spent lavishly on his inauguration party, and quickly began championing the idea of charging tuition. From the moment he took office, the new president “seemed to have a different agenda” according to Adrian Jovanovic, a co-founder of the Committee to Save Cooper Union and a plaintiff in the case. Justin Harmon, a Cooper Union spokesperson, said, “The decision to charge tuition was tremendously difficult and every member of the Cooper community feels the profound effect it has had. … We are disappointed that the Committee to Save Cooper Union would choose costly litigation over constructive conversation.” Harmon added that the decision “came after many decades [since the 1960s] of using every means available to preserve Cooper Union’s tradition of free education, including budget cuts, borrowing and selling assets.” However, after two years of failed negotiations to avoid charging tuition, Jovanovic said that the administration “didn’t participate in discussions in good faith,” adding, “They do not take Peter Cooper’s vision seriously.” Bharucha and the administration rejected a plan by a working group created to advise the trustees and explore ways to save free tuition, and also nixed trustee Jeff Gural’s plan to donate a large sum of money in order to delay charging tuition for another year. Both those options were “viable economically,” according to attorney Andrew Wilson, of the firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, who is representing the committee. “The board turned their backs on them,” Wilson said. Raising money to retain an attorney and file suit was not something taken lightly. “Legal action was our last resort,” Jovanovic said. As well as a permanent injunction against tuition, the committee hopes to create “an oversight body” for the trustees, Wilson explained. Even after tuition starts being charged, he noted, “Cooper Union will remain among the most affordable elite institutions in the world.” Attorney Wilson said the committee’s goal is to resolve the issue “in time for the fall.” They won’t be lacking for support, assured Jovanovic, the committee’s co-chairperson. “Students, faculty and alumni will all rally to Peter Cooper’s vision,” he said.

still feeling some pain in her back and the front of her upper legs. She doesn’t understand how it could be connected to her fall on her backside while walking “Little Doris” in Washington Square Park, since the pain didn’t kick in till two weeks later. She said state Senator Brad Hoylman, her former chairperson on Community Board 2, helped her get into the muchin-demand VillageCare, instead of a facility in Harlem. “Apparently it pays to have friends!” she said with a laugh. C.B. 2 colleagues who have visited her include Jon Geballe, Keen Berger, District Manager Bob Gormley and Sharon Woolums, a public member of the board’s Parks Committee. It seems there are no hard feelings against Ricky Syers’s “Little Doris” marionette, who hangs from his wires from a cabinet hinge just a few feet from Diether’s bed. When Diether is ready to return to the park, so will “Little Doris.” Diether, who was named head of the C.B. 2 Nominating Committee, noted she ran the whole process — which names candidates for board officers — from her room at VillageCare.

RENT FREEZE — FOR REAL? When he was running for mayor and a few times since, Bill de Blasio has said he supports a rent freeze for rent-regulated apartments, according to tenant activist Michael McKee. However, the proposals offered by the Rent Guidelines Board last month don’t equal “rent freeze,” McKee stressed. By an 8-to-1 vote, the R.G.B. recommended rent hikes of 0 percent to 3 percent for one-year renewals, and half a percent to 4.5 percent for two-year renewals. The board’s final decision, affecting 1 million rent-stabilized apartments, will be made at a sure-to-be-raucous meeting on Mon., June 23, at The Cooper Union’s Foundation Building, on E. Seventh St. and Third Ave. “A rent freeze is not 3 percent or even half a percent,” McKee scoffed, saying the upcoming vote will be a real “litmus test” for de Blasio. In fact, McKee added, while landlords always try to justify the increases based on the escalating cost of heating oil, the price index and so forth, the actual figures prove that renters have been overpaying, and that it’s they who deserve the cash — as in a rent rebate of thousands of dollars each! The majority of the R.G.B. members are de Blasio appointees. With so many city residents now paying at least half their rent to live here, what will the board do? There’s no better way to rewrite this “tale of two cities” right now than to impose a rent freeze — and then kick in a rent rebate, too! It’s long overdue. GREENHOUSE TO BOOGIE AGAIN? Embattled

Hudson Square “eco nightclub” Greenhouse is applying for a cabaret license, which is needed to allow patron dancing. The Varick St. hot spot has been closed since its liquor license expired in April. According to neighbors who are fighting the violence-plagued club’s reopening, it appears that its previous cabaret license experience in 2012 and they never bothered to renew it. Separately, Greenhouse is also seeking a new liquor license. Community Board 2’s S.L.A. Licensing Committee will hear the application at its meeting on Thurs., June 12, at 6:30 p.m., at St. Anthony’s Church, lower hall, 151 Sullivan St., just south of Houston St.

ON THE MEND: We dropped by the VillageCare rehab facility on W. Houston St. on Monday since Doris Diether had wanted to give us a flier about the Tiny Top Circus, which will present “The 8th Wonder of the World: BIGFOOT,” in Washington Square Park, on Sat., June 7, at noon. Apparently, Diether noted, it’s yet another comedic production by notorious hoaxer Joey Skaggs, since the “ringmaster” is listed as Peppe Scaggolini. She’s a big Skaggs fan. As for Diether, she’s

A TEACHOUT-ABLE MOMENT? Village attorney Arthur Schwartz tells us he will be the campaign treasurer for Zephyr Teachout, who, he says, is running for governor. Teachout, an Occupy Wall Street activist, may run in the Democratic primary or possibly in a third party, according to Schwartz. After Governor Andrew Cuomo beat out Teachout for the Working Family Party line, Mike Boland, who was W.F.P. executive director, is bailing to direct Teachout’s campaign. However, Capital reported on Monday that former state Senator Martin Connor, an election lawyer, is already hard at work as part of an “immediate smear push” against the 42-year-old Fordham law professor. Connor is questioning her New York voting record and whether she meets the five-year residency requirement to be governor.

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ONBOARD THE BOARD: It’s not clear why she wasn’t on the list of new community board appointees released in April, but Kathleen Webster, who goes by K, has been appointed to Community Board 3 by Borough President Gale Brewer. Webster is active in the M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden, in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. And, in case you didn’t know it, her husband, Steve Elson, plays the rockin’ baritone saxophone solo on David Bowie’s “Modern Love.” (We’ve just always thought that was pretty cool.) A GATHERING OF THE HEROES: Congratulations to Steve Cannon, director of A Gathering of the Tribes; musician Mimi Stern-Wolfe; Ruth Taube, sewing and crafts teacher at Henry St. Settlement; and Detective Jaime Hernandez, of the Ninth Precinct, who were honored as “Lower East Side Community Heroes” by the Steering Committee of Lower East Side History Month. The presentation ceremony was at Pier 42, in East River Park. NEW WORLD OF COLOR: Villager readers will

notice that this week’s issue is a bit different. That’s because we’ve switched to the Daily News press in Jersey City, right across the river. The state-of-the-art press allows us to run color photos — and color ads — on every single page. Up until now, our typical configuration was only eight color pages per issue. In addition, while the paper is the same height, it is about 1 inch less wide. The new press allows other special features, like advertising stickers that can be placed on Page 1 (which — don’t worry — also can be easily pulled off by readers without ruining the page.) Thanks to our former printer, Trumbull, in Connecticut, for having done a great job for us!




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‘Living barrier’ to defend East Side from surges PROTECTION, continued from p. 1

joggers, bikers and other parkgoers. (A bike path is included in the design.) “Both berms and bridges are wide and planted with a diverse selection of salt-tolerant trees, shrubs and perennials, providing a resilient urban habitat,” according to the “Big U” plan’s description. “The berm will offer accessible routes into the park, with many unprogrammed spots for resting, socializing and enjoying views of the park and river.” Wharfs and swimming pools will also be added on the waterfront at E. 10th St. as part of the plan. The berms, from 10- to 20-feet tall, reportedly could be completed in as soon as four years. Addressing the crowd, de Blasio said, “We’re here in a part of Manhattan that was hit very hard by Sandy. For people who experienced those days — those weeks, in many cases — it was a time of incredible uncertainty, a lot of suffering, and it was a reminder of how people felt left without the help they needed, and facing an uncertain future, and facing the possibility it could happen again. “Let’s put this in very human terms,” the mayor said, as he introduced Melba Torres, a resident of the nearby Wald Houses. A lifelong Lower East Sider, Torres has cerebral palsy and uses a heavy, motorized wheelchair. When Sandy hit and the power went down, knocking out the elevators, Torres was stranded in her eighth-floor apartment for six days. Luckily, residents, along with Torres’s health aides, came to her assistance, including one aide who walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to reach her. “That’s one story, one of thousands and thousands of stories, that it’s all of our job to make sure don’t happen again,” the mayor said. “The beauty of this project is, we are working to ensure that we fight against the floodwaters before they happen, with real protections for people on the East Side of Manhattan, tens of thousands of people, in public housing and private buildings alike.” Four hundred thousand New York City residents live in the floodplain, more than in any major city in America, the mayor pointed out. “We are who we are because we’re the ultimate coastal city,” the mayor said. “But it requires of us a new level of preparation.” In his remarks, Donovan noted, “We’re standing here, near the Con Ed substation, which flooded [during Sandy] and caused the whole area to lose power.” When he announced that the department of Housing and Urban De-


June 12, 2014

A rendering of the “living breakwater” that would be created on the edge of East River Park.

velopment will allocate the funding to allow the creation of the bridging berm, which will protect 150,000 residents, cheers rose from the crowd. The planted project will be “a living breakwater,” he said. The money will be well spent, Donovan assured, since every $1 put toward protection will save $4 in potential damages in future storms. In that vein, Schumer said, “We know there will be other storms like Sandy that hit New York. But the goal is to make sure, when a storm hits, that the damage will be greatly reduced. … Sandy taught us that climate change is real and devastating.” Cuomo said the federal money was part of $60 billion for New York State and New Jersey, which he called “a tremendous supplemental from HUD.” He praised Schumer and Congressmembers Nydia Velazquez and Carolyn Maloney, noting, “They literally brought home the bacon.”

“Nothing is the same after Hurricane Sandy,” Cuomo said, “and nothing should be the same after Hurricane Sandy.” Cuomo noted that in his three and a half years as governor, there have been nine major weather-related disasters, while there were just handful during his father’s 12 years as governor. “There is something that has changed with the weather pattern,” he said. Speaking afterward, Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, noted she was an early “Big U” supporter. “I think it’s very exciting,” she said. “You’ll have an outside berm and an inside sponge — and then all the upland things that go with that.” The “sponge,” including planted areas, will help soak up the floodwaters, she noted. The overall “Big U” scheme, to be built in phases, would protect 10

miles of Manhattan shoreline, from W. 57th St., south to the Battery, and up to E. 42nd St. Between the Manhattan Bridge and Montgomery St., deployable walls would be attached under the F.D.R. Drive, ready to be flipped down if there are flood events. Councilmember Margaret Chin also gave a big thumbs to the “Big U.” “It’s heartening to know that this project is no longer just an idea,” Chin said. “I’m looking forward to working with the BIG team and our neighborhood partners to move it forward.” Elijah Parks, 19, a Riis Houses resident who was sitting on a bench afterward, said the berms are worth a shot. “It could be aa-ight,” he said. “It could work. It should work. Because the last time, the water was like 6 feet high. I had to go to my grandmother’s house in Brooklyn. … I just hope it’s ready for the next storm.”



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POLICE BLOTTER Clip was the tip

Grabbed her breast

Last Sunday, at 11 p.m., a man was stopped in the Eighth Ave. and W. 14th St. subway station when police observed a silver clip on his back right shorts pocket. Upon a frisk search, the man was discovered to have been carrying a gravity knife. He carried no valid ID, and initially gave police a false date of birth. Upon a full search, police found that the man was carrying a metal can in his right-hand shorts pocket, with alleged marijuana inside. In a bag he was carrying, the man had a second metal can of marijuana, a plastic bag containing the same substance, five cans of resin, a hidden G.P.S. tracker and a pouch containing $643. In addition, police found a large plastic container with 19 boxes of marijuana marked “Acme Organics,” as well as various sealed food products allegedly laced with the substance. Georgantiz Evangelos, 32, had a previous conviction for criminal possession of a weapon. He was arrested and charged with criminal possession of marijuana.

A newsstand operator at the Broadway and E. Eighth St. subway station was arrested for sexual harassment last Sunday afternoon. Police said a woman, 21, reported that the newsstand vendor had walked from behind the cash register counter to forcibly touch her. Her account was backed up by a female witness, 22. The victim stated that after she had bought some candy, the man walked over to her and used his right hand to grab her breast, “without permission or authority to do so,” according to the police report. Mohammad Chowdhury, 59, was charged with misdemeanor forcible touching.

Give this guy a raise!

On the afternoon of June 5, a salesperson from the Marc Jacobs clothing and boutique store on Bleecker St. called police to report a transaction made with a stolen credit card. David Tripp, 31, called the store at 3 p.m. to make a purchase for $4,401. According the arresting officer’s report, Tripp told the sales rep over the phone that he was part of a band, and “needed to make a purchase for such.” After taking the order, the Marc Jacobs employee became suspicious and googled the name on the credit card to find a phone number. He called the cardholder, who said that she had not authorized the order. In order to lure the perpetrator into the store, the worker went along with the order. At around 8 p.m., Tripp entered the store, and attempted to identify himself as the registered name on the card, despite a gender difference. The Marc Jacobs employee notified police, and had the victim restate that she had not authorized the transaction over the phone. Tripp was charged with grand larceny for attempted use of a stolen credit card.


June 12, 2014

Pees...then flees

Police arrested a man last Friday for public urination and charged him with resisting arrest. Connor Duhaime, 21, was observed urinating on the sidewalk in front of 15 Cornelia St., at 12:10 a.m. When patrolling officers approached to give Duhaime a summons, he ran away onto a one-way street, creating “hazardous conditions,” according to the report of the officers who chased him down. When police caught up to him, Duhaime further resisted arrest by placing his arms underneath his body.

Bouncer bashed

A man was thrown out of the Standard Hotel bar, at 444 W. 13th St., for being “disorderly and causing public alarm.” A bouncer took the intoxicated man outside, at around 4 p.m. on Sunday. While being escorted out of the premises, Gregory Watkins, 21, allegedly punched the bouncer in the face, causing swelling and a laceration to the man’s bottom lip. Police arrived on the scene soon after, and charged Watkins with assault.

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Let there be bluestone ramp Renovation is underway on the cast-iron parts of the portico of St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, on E. 10th St. and Second Ave. During the work, entry will be from the church’s E. 11th St. side. Also part of the plan approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is the replacement of the portico’s deteriorated bluestone pavers with new bluestone ones, and the rehanging of the wrought-iron gates. The historic church is still raising money to add a bluestone-covered handicap-accessible ramp. Sculptures that were in the portico (and which were defaced by Spaz and other crusties a few summers ago) will reportedly be relocated elsewhere around the church property. Though the project has some critics, they are few, according to Reverend Winnie Varghese, the church’s pastor. “All of the local leadership that I know of has been in full support of the entire project, and have taken offense at the objections of a few individuals who seem to pretty radically T:8.75” misunderstand the project,” she said. The project is funded by a Partners in Preservation grant and congregation members’ donations.

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Finally! Officials and kids cut ribbon in Washington BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


fter a six-year, three-stage renovation costing $30.6 million, a ceremony was held Tuesday to celebrate the completion of the Washington Square Park work. A crowd gathered on the park’s west side under a tent near the bust of Alexander Lyman Holley, the renowned steel engineer. “I am proud to say this park looks better than it ever did before,” pronounced Mitchell Silver, the Parks Department commissioner. Seated in the audience along with community board members, park activists and other V.I.P.’s were the students from teacher Lindsay Litinger’s first-grade class at P.S. 41. “Do you all enjoy the park?” Silver asked the kids. “Yes!” they shouted back. “Parks are really what make our cities livable,” Silver said. The refurbished park, he added, will be a place where the students will make their own memories, as generations have done before them. His father, as a young man, used to take photos in Washington Square Park, “60 or 70 years ago,” he said. “People proposed here,” he told the first graders. “Kids, you’re too

Making the cut, with P.S. 41’ers, from left, Manhattan Parks Commissioner Bill Castro; park designer George Vellonakis; D.D.C. Commissioner Feniosky Pena-Mora; Borough President Gale Brewer; Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver; Councilmember Corey Johnson; C.B. 2 Chairperson David Gruber; and Councilmember Margaret Chin.

young to understand that — but you will.” In physical terms, the park’s renovation was intended to “create a renewed sense of place,” Silver said. The first phase, which opened in 2009, included a renovated and accessible plaza — with the fountain shifted 22 feet to the east to align with Fifth Ave. and the arch. There were also expanded lawns and new

planting beds that increased the park’s green space. Phase two opened in 2011, including a new — though lower — stage area, chess plaza, renovated playground, petanque courts, a dog run for small dogs, sitting areas, landscaping, fencing and light poles. The recently completed third phase included a new park house — including public restrooms and office

space for park staff — a 24-hour dog run for large dogs, a new lawn where the dog run used to be located, and a rope-cable play structure suspended over the reimagined “mounds.” Silver and other officials at the ceremony praised the park house as an example of state-of-the-art sustainable design. Designed by local firm BKSK Architects, the structure runs almost entirely off self-generated energy from rooftop solar panels and ground-source heat pumps. The project actually has one final step left — the renovation of the sidewalks around the park’s perimeter, which will be done this winter. Silver also praised George Vellonakis, the Village resident who designed the park renovation project, drawing a round of grateful applause. The city’s Department of Design and Construction oversaw the work’s phase three. Dr. Feniosky Pena-Mora, D.D.C. commissioner, said the new energy-efficient park house meshes with Mayor de Blasio’s “vision to create more sustainable city buildings.” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Corey Johnson also gave remarks. PARK, continued on p. 9

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Square Park after six-year, three-stage renovation PARK, continued from p. 8

“The job that D.D.C. and Parks have done here is phenomenal,” Brewer raved. “You’ve taken the environmental and energy issues here to another level.” Brewer called the park “iconic — not just because it’s a destination, and not just for the kids,” she said, “but it’s also a place for people who just want to be themselves. The renovation doesn’t change any of that.” A young busker was banging away at an array of white spackle buckets and pots and pans on the east side of the fountain, and the sound carried. “I’m so glad that I can hear drums right now,” the borough president said. “Washington Square continues to be the iconic, gritty, authentic place it always has been.” “Gritty?” someone in the audience wondered aloud skeptically. Chin said she recalled her son playing chess as a young boy in the park — “but he was playing an adult,” she noted. “This is a truly exciting day for Washington Square Park, the Village and all the city,” she declared. The park is in the northern end of Chin’s District 1. Johnson represents neighboring District 2.

Johnson acknowledged state Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Deborah Glick, who were in Albany on Tuesday, for their work on the park’s behalf. He also paid homage to the spirit of protest and free speech that has characterized the park through its history. “The people that come here on a weekly basis to protest their rights — we have to keep it open for everyone,” he stressed. David Gruber, chairperson of Community Board 2, saluted a community group that has been around a while and engaged in park issues, as well as the Village’s most famous activist. “One hundred years ago, the Washington Square Association successfully blocked an attempt to put a courthouse in the park, splitting it,” he noted. “And of course, yes, that other woman, Jane Jacobs. If it wasn’t for her, we would all be standing in the middle of an eight-lane highway. “George Vellonakis did a great job,” he said. “We had a few bumps along the way at the beginning — but look what we got.” Those “bumps” included several community and environmental lawsuits lodged against the renovation.

Opponents charged that the project would do everything from decimate the park’s birds and squirrels to destroy the unique nature of the sunken fountain plaza, which has since been leveled out in the redesign. Silver also acknowledged three founding members of the new Washington Square Park Conservancy who were in the audience, Veronica Bulgari, Gwen Evans and Justine Leguizamo, who stood up briefly to applause, and also Anne-Marie Sumner, of the Washington Square Association, who did the same. Critics of the renovation were also on hand. Asked her thoughts, Washington Square blogger Cathryn Swan offered, “It’s a good thing that the work is complete.” However, she noted that the initially budgeted cost and expected duration of the project both doubled, in the end. Queried if she’ll now hang up her mouse and end her probing posting about the park, she said, “No, no! The blog is not over yet. My big concern is about the potential privatization.” Swan has kept a close watch on the conservancy’s activities — and even their e-mails. Sharon Woolums, who was a lead-

er on one of the environmental lawsuits against the project, stated, “I stand by everything I said — nothing has changed.” Yet, she said, she likes some elements of the spruced-up park. One notably is the cable-rope play structure over the sunken, turf-covered valley that Councilmember Alan Gerson and others fought to create where the three children’s play mounds once stood. “This works perfectly — the mounds,” Woolums said, as the P.S. 41 first graders cavorted nearby on the slopes and ropes. “And people fought for that and won, and that’s the most successful part of the park.” Nevertheless, disabled activist Margie Rubin said the new mounds area actually is not accessible to kids in wheelchairs because “they put down a rug,” i.e. the springy artificial turf. On the pro side, Bette Jedding, a Fifth Ave. resident, said designer Vellonakis really was involved in each detail of the renovation. “Every single plant — it’s been his life,” she said. Afterward, asked if the park renovation turned out better than he had imagined, Vellonakis said simply, “It was what I imagined.”

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary “Bravisimo!” sing supporters of this “over-the-top” “old-fshioned” TriBeCa Northern Italian, where “superb” eats arrive via tuxedoed waiter who’ll “pamper” you “like a don” (”no wonder” they filmed a Sopranos scene here); post-meal the “gratis grappa” eases the pain of “shelling out lots” for the tab.

~ Zagat 2013 A tremendous dining experience. Tim at the lead with

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The Annual Meeting of

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Ackers and acclaim for artists The Second Annual Acker Awards — celebrating the avant-garde luminaries of the East Village and Lower East Side — lit up Theatre 80 St. Mark’s on Sunday evening. Above, from left, Clayton Patterson, the New York Ackers’ organizer, posed with filmmaker Marc Levin and emcee Bob Holman, of the Bowery Poetry Club. Levin received a lifetime distinction award. Below, Patterson held up the Acker chapbook — sure to be a collector’s item — which was produced by The Villager’s senior designer, Michael Shirey. Forty awards in all were handed out. East Villager will have a report on the event in our next issue.

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Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN













New York’s nuevo alcalde, Bill de Blasio, led the Puerto Rican Day Parade up Fifth Ave. last Saturday. He also salsa’d with Congressmember Nydia Velazquez to the cheers of the crowd.




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June 12, 2014

Landlords and legislators To The Editor: Re “Aren’t the millionaire landlords more the problem?” (talking point, by Brandon Kielbasa, May 29): Yes, Brandon, millionaire landlords are more the problem. As The Villager detailed in its March 27, 2014, article “Nolita apartments illegally deregulated, building tenants say,” the landlord of my building has managed over the past 14 years to deregulate three-quarters of our rent-stabilized units, not clearly legally, and there are indications that our building is only the tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile, deregulated units have been taken over for pricey illegal hotel rentals, which leads to conditions that jeopardize the health, safety and peaceful enjoyment of regular tenants. As you know, I went up to Albany on May 6 to join leaders of the Real Rent Reform Campaign in opposing two bills that would pave over portions of the Multiple Dwelling Law of 2010 that protect our stretched

stock of regulated affordable housing. So, legislators like Republican state Senator Martin Golden, Democratic Assemblymembers Keith Wright and Karim Camara and state Senator Diane Savino, who sponsor such legislation that would dismantle the 2010 illegal hotel law, are also more the problem. My question is: Will Mayor de Blasio restore to rent-regulated status the hundreds of units that have been illegally deregulated? That’s an affordable housing plan my neighbors and I could get behind. Georgette Fleischer Fleischer is founder, Friends of Petrosino Square

A textbook campaign To The Editor: Re “Marlow is running against Li in C.B. 3 chairperson race” (news article, May 29): “I like [her]…she’s a very nice person...

very intelligent…[has] great things ahead of her…[but]...she needs to step away for a while… . She didn’t have a lot of experience…she’s struggling… .” These statements by Chad Marlow are the kind of textbook, condescending wording often used to discredit a woman’s intellect and stature. This has been a very tactical, persistent and systematic attempt to paint this board chairperson as incompetent and inexperienced by a few vocal people with clear political self-interest. But, in truth, this young woman is one of the most thoughtful, dynamic and gutsy leaders we’ve ever had. She has a community organizer’s background, not a lawyer or lobbyist’s background. They are different skill sets. Also, how is a functionary who was formerly president of an established political club and a campaign consultant for Adolfo Carrion a “fresh start”? The main reason almost anyone, in truth, runs for community board chairLETTERS, continued on p. 23

C.B. 3 problems loom large in chairperson race TALKING POINT BY ANNE JOHNSON


It’s time to elect someone who will run the board not as a dictatorship but as a collaboration.

In addition, when a committee chairpersonship became vacant, two different, eminently qualified African-American women asked to be appointed, and were turned down. One had asked to be a co-chairperson along with another person, and one had asked to be the chairperson by herself. The two who asked to be co-chairpersons were turned down because, Ms. Li told them, according to the bylaws, co-chairpersons were not allowed. The other woman was turned down because Ms. Li claimed that she had not been on the board long enough. So what does Ms. Li do? She appoints two white men to be committee co-chairpersons, one of whom had been on C.B. 3 for the same amount of time as the African-American woman she turned down due to her short tenure on C.B. 3. Ms. Li’s appointments resulted in one of the two white males becoming chairperson of four committees, simultaneously, and he was not the only white or Asian appointed by Ms. Li to hold multiple committee chairperson positions. Now, is that racism or is it what we called in the 1960s a “white blind spot,” where a racist omission isn’t even seen as racism? Or is it possible that there is another reason — specifically that the Svengali who really runs C.B. 3 didn’t want these three people to sit on the Executive Committee, where they might really ask some questions about how the board has been improperly run in the last


his letter is being written to clear up some inaccuracies and omissions in a couple of your articles regarding Community Board 3, and to ask some questions. First, a bit of history. When Scott Stringer became Manhattan borough president, he set out to make the appointments on the community boards more representative of the areas they covered. As a result, C.B. 3 became more culturally diverse. However, although the board has become more culturally diverse, the committee chairpersons — who are appointed solely by the board chairperson and make up a good portion of the Executive Committee — still are not. Currently, C.B. 3 has two Asian-American committee chairpersons and the rest are white. This fact — and it is definitely a fact, no denying it — was pointed out to the current C.B. 3 chairperson, Ms. Gigi Li, on several occasions, and she did nothing.

Incumbent Gigi Li, left, is being challenged by Chad Marlow, right, in C.B. 3’s chairperson election. Board members will vote on June 24.

several years? It could be a bit of all three. The community should know that many members of C.B. 3 have been very concerned about how the board has been run for the past several years. A lot needs changing. Our board has a terrible reputation. Three times in the past eight months alone, two Manhattan borough presidents have had to step in to question the actions of our chairperson. Has the current chairperson been willing to make some necessary changes to ensure that all of the C.B. 3 members and the community we represent get fair treatment? Not at all. With that being the case, is it then time for a change, to elect someone who will run the board more fairly, not as a dictatorship but as a collaboration among all its members? Seems to me, it is time. Now, the big question as C.B. 3 approaches its June election is whether its members will vote for chairperson based on each candidate’s record and merits. I hope so. But one concern I have is that those who do not vote for change will take this position because they do not want to cast a vote against Ms. Li that might be viewed as a condemnation of her as a racist. I think that is a false concern. The accusations about Ms. Li’s actions are currently being investigated

by Borough President Gale Brewer’s Office, which will make that determination. C.B. 3’s vote is about who will do the best job running our board for the next year — that’s it. But to those who are still concerned about the racial implications of the June vote, I would ask them to consider this: Would not a vote in favor of Ms. Li have negative implications for the African-American and Latino members of our board? Would not a vote to reward Ms. Li with another term be seen as a statement that most members of our board do not see the exclusion of two “racial” groups from chairing C.B. 3 committees for two full years to be a big deal? Would not a vote re-electing Ms. Li spread blame for her exclusionary policies from her alone to the full board? Might her re-election cause a racial rift on our board that could spill over to the community at large? A lot to consider. Anne K. Johnson Johnson is a member and former chairperson, Community Board 3


June 12, 2014


Sandy and rent put stained-glass artist on the edge BY HEATHER DUBIN



atti Kelly’s earliest recollections of stained glass are not filled with beauty and streaming light. She is originally from Midwood, Brooklyn, where she attended Catholic school at St. Brendan’s Church. “I hated stained glass from being stuck in church — getting yelled at by the priest, we were all such sinners,” Kelly said with a laugh. “I wanted to be outside, and stared at the window.” Years later, Kelly put her childhood associations aside, and took a class in stained glass, at her younger sister’s suggestion. She was hooked, which has resulted in a 35-year career as a designer, restorer and instructor of stained glass. Twenty-five years ago, she opened her own business, Kelly Glass Studio & Gallery, currently located on E. Eighth St. near Avenue C. “ “If you don’t take a risk, you never know,” she said. Kelly completed a degree in fine arts and sculpture at Brooklyn College, and worked at several different studios. When she landed her first job in glass at Rambusch, a decorating company, she was in for a surprise. Her very first assignment was at her former alma mater, St. Brendan’s Church.

Patti Kelly in her E. Eighth St. studio.

“I don’t know how that happened,” she said, “but there’s an irony in life.” Kelly was in her early 20s at Rambusch, and absorbed as much as she could from the diverse range of craftspersons who worked in glass, lighting, paint and design. “It was an old-school way of doing things,” she said. “I was a sponge. ‘Show me how to do this’ — I was annoying.” Kelly was also one of the few wom-

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June 12, 2014

en there. “Back then, in the ’80s, they didn’t like the idea of women in crafts at all,” she recalled. “The ones that stuck it out really got good, just out of sheer stubbornness.” Kelly has lasted, and after a studio job in Brooklyn for four years, she moved her work to the East Village, where she branched out on her own. She also lived in the neighborhood for nine years before heading to Brooklyn for eight, until her building was recently sold. Kelly had a studio on St. Mark’s Place in the early ’90s — “before Kmart and McDonald’s,” she noted — and then on Essex St. near Rivington St., followed by 12 years on Avenue C by E. Eighth St. Seven years ago, she moved her studio around the corner to a spot on E. Eighth St. The space gets plenty of light. There are two large worktables and a wall of tools. Her craftsmanship — door panels, a double-hung window, light boxes and lamps — fills out the front windows and the space. Luckily for Kelly, none of her work was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. The surge flooded Avenue C, but did not make it down E. Eighth St. She did lose family antiques in a storage unit, and also her car, which she relied on to get to job sites. While she replaced her car, without studio phone service for four months following the storm, there was a steep decline in her business. “A lot of it has been trying to catch up from those four months,” she said, “and this past winter, which was extremely harsh. Who wants you to take out windows when it’s 14 degrees?” Kelly has one more year left on her lease, and faces a stiff rent increase. Like many other businesses and artists in the East Village, she now fears being displaced from the neighborhood. So she’s putting out an appeal. If people are thinking of a restoration or commission, or might be interested in buying any of her works for sale, now is the time. Over the years, she has adapted to the market for stained glass. She likes to do restoration work, which prevents someone from having to throw out a window. “It’s nice to take something old and rebuild it,” she said. “Then it’s as fresh as a daisy, and will last another 100 years.” Kelly also favors new pieces, allowing her to use her imagination. She creates atypical copper lamps with fish and trees, and added “lamp triage” to her workload a few years ago. “Lots of lamps came in from China

and Korea and put people out of the business here making them,” she said. “For me, it got better, and I got really good at fixing the lamps, because they weren’t very well made.” Also an activist, she was involved with the Committee to Save St. Brigid’s Church. The group played a pivotal role in saving the historic house of worship, built in 1848, on Avenue B and E. Eighth St., from demolition. “Buildings have such a vast history, especially in this neighborhood,” she said. “They survive changes in the neighborhood, and out of respect, you have to do what you can to save them.” Kelly noted that St. Brigid’s newly restored windows are well preserved. However, another studio worked on them. The Irish “famine church” ’s original windows were less-expensive painted glass. The current windows were salvaged from an Uptown church. Kelly previously restored church windows, but has not had an offer since she joined the committee nine years ago — it’s payback, she thinks. “I will never get another church job, I’m going to lose a lot of money,” she said she told fellow committee members. “They thought I was lying.” Kelly has built her clientele mostly by word of mouth. Years ago, she was offered a stained-glass Star of David in need of repair that had hung over the altar in a former synagogue on E. Seventh St. near Avenue C. She did not have room for it. A few years later, it came up again. “Someone told me, ‘I rescued this from the synagogue [before the building was renovated], and you’re the only one I know who can fix it,’ ” Kelly related. This time, she agreed. To restore it, she used glass from a 110-year-old piece from another synagogue that was shutting down. “I like the history behind it,” she said. “I knew three people who wrote and spoke Hebrew. I did the calligraphy for it, got the wording correct. They were rather impressed for a Catholic girl that I got all the Hebrew right. I would love to sell that,” she added. Meanwhile, she will continue to design pieces like the beautiful door with ’70s-style swirled glass, inspired by a vine near St. Mark’s Place, restore Tiffany pieces and teach glasswork. “It’s such an old art form, and glass is so versatile to work with,” she said. “If you can draw it, you can make it.” Kelly, who taught at Parsons for three years, will begin her summer session this month in her studio. Visit to view her work and for class schedules.

The Adventures of an Underemployed Urban Elf Rev. Jen brown bags it below Delancey PLACES TO GET DRUNK AND WATCH MEN PLAY WITH BALLS, FAKE INJURIES, AND LOOK CUTE:



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his month’s column is all about avoiding boredom and work…oh wait…that’s each month! However, there comes a time in every underemployed elf’s life when one must look for a job — especially when you spend half your day trying to log onto the NY Department of Labor’s website, to no avail. Unfortunately, the World Cup (June 12-July 13) has derailed any plans for possible future employment because what’s better than men with nice legs playing with balls? The answer is, nothing. Soccer is known as the “beautiful game” for a reason. One of the best things about the World Cup is that, every four years, it gives me a reason to live while simultaneously stealing money from my nieces and nephews via gambling. This year’s Cup will be especially awesome because it takes place in Brazil — which means I don’t have to wake up at 4 a.m. to start drinking and watching TV, as I did in 2002 when it was in South Korea. I simply can’t be awake at that hour unless I’m seeing morning from the wrong end of the day. Question is: How to enjoy the matches without emptying one’s wallet (and therefore fattening one’s front butt) at sports bars full of vociferous d-bags? If you have a working television, the answer is obvious: Drink at home and watch the games alone! (This way you can even do it pants-less.) If you are unfortunate enough to not have a working television, I have some tips for you.

GLOB wrestling in Tompkins Square Park (Our Lady of Perpetual PMS, in the “Love You Krampus” T-shirt).

As was evidenced by my most recent Villager story, the Olympic Restaurant (115 Delancey St.) is my fave place to watch soccer. (Many readers might mistake me for a girly girl, but I am actually a “tomboy drag queen” who lives to watch and play sports, drink beer, curse and climb trees.) There is also Lucky Jack’s (129 Orchard St.), undoubtedly the best bar on the Lower East Side. They have several televisions and you will likely find me passed out on the bar there during the entirety of the Cup. I asked friends for other “Cup Watching” destinations and the only one that came up was the “waiting room at Bellevue,” which I’ve already covered in a previous story. But then I ran into a fellow named Ryan. He’s co-owner of Grey Lady (77 Delancey St.), a seafood restaurant specializing in massacring lobsters so that we can all be happy and well-fed. I don’t eat lobsters, despite them being delicious, since I found out writer Gerard Nerval had one as a pet. However, Ryan and friends just opened a new Caribbean-themed restaurant on Orchard Street called Norman’s Cay (74 Orchard St.). I recently visited along with my friend, CC John, and we were treated to a rum punch that was not only tasty, it also made me sleep through two hours of my Anti-Slam that evening (I am becoming REV. JEN, continued on p.18

June 12, 2014


Coney Island Museum returns to form;

New features include interactivity, 3D PHOTO BY BILL SCURRY



mong Coney Island’s many attractions — the amusement parks, the beach, the boardwalk, the eateries, and Brooklyn Cyclones baseball — there lives one that is less noisome but just as significant and true to the spirit of the neighborhood.


Nestled on the second floor of Coney Island USA, the same organization that produces Sideshows by the Seashore and the Mermaid Parade, one can find the Coney Island Museum. The creation of a museum was part of Coney Island USA’s mandate since the organization’s inception in 1980. It has been a going concern since 1985. The museum had been closed for 18 months to allow an extensive city-funded renovation that included restoration of the 97-year-old building’s decorative architecture and the installation of a new heating and cooling system. This is welcome news to longtime visitors, who will remember



“Thompson and Dundy’s Luna Park: 3D” is a 1:13 scale replica of the original Luna Park, populated with 3-D images of modeled on players in the contemporary Coney Island scene.

Fun house mirrors, show posters, passenger cars from amusement park rides, and a Mermaid Parade float are among the permanent collection items.

the stifling temperatures that once were an expected feature of a trip to the Coney Island Museum. This reporter attended opening day (Memorial Day Weekend) and was pleased to observe a veritable gale of Arctic breezes flowing out of the vents. The bulk of the museum’s floor space is devoted to the permanent collection, which contains an abundance of artifacts related to the culture of Coney Island’s recreational beaches and amusement district: fun house mirrors, show posters, passenger cars from amusement park rides, souvenir post cards, a Mermaid Parade float, an entire wall of vintage picnic gear, photographs, ephemera such as tickets to long-gone rides, and oddments like a game-of-chance doll prize topped with the grinning face of the Steeplechase man. Documentary footage of Coney Island’s amusement parks in their heyday is projected onto a screen on a continuous loop. An interactive exhibit displays sev-

eral postcards with fun glow-inthe-dark elements. Also on view at present are several exciting new features. Longtime Coney Island USA performer Fred Kahl, a.k.a. “The Great Fredini” has opened the Coney Island Scan-A-Rama 3D Portrait Studio where, for a fee, visitors can immortalize themselves in 3D scan plastic sculptures, a kind of modern updating of the old time Coney island photo booth. His ultimate creation in this cutting edge format now sits upstairs, occupying an entire room of the Coney Island Museum. Called “Thompson and Dundy’s Luna Park: 3D,” it is a 1:13 scale replica of Coney Island’s original Luna Park (different from the current one by that name) which operated from 1903 through 1944. (Frederic Thompson and Elmer Dundy were the visionary entrepreneurs who built the origiCONEY ISLAND, continued on p.17

e To The

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June 12, 2014

Museum embraces its ‘Darkside’



The mural “Negroes on the Corner” is part of local artist Africasso’s “The Darkside of Dreamland” exhibition.

CONEY ISLAND, continued from p. 16

nal park.) In addition to depicting Luna Park’s historic structures, the piece is populated with 3D images of people, all of whom were modeled on players in the contemporary Coney Island scene: sideshow performers, burlesque dancers, Mermaids, etc. — and standing at the center of them all, Coney Island USA Founder and Director Dick Zigun. “The brilliance of this piece is that it recreates the lost architecture of the original Luna Park even as the new Luna Park finishes its build-out,” says Zigun. “It is the largest 3D printed art project ever attempted.” Kahl plans to expand his Luna Park by adding new pieces to it throughout the season. Directly across from the exhibition, something a little different: an exhibition of visual art by a Coney Island native. “The Darkside of Dreamland” is a showing of paintings, collages and sculptures by local artist Africasso (Daniel Blake). Some of Africasso’s work seems to be about the culture clash between the amusement district (and its rubber-necking hipsters) and the urban poor who live only a block away, but seldom seem to factor into public discussion about the present and future disposition of the neighborhood. Other pieces, such as his mixed-media “Miles Davis” are more celebratory, or like the mural “Negroes on the Corner,” politically suggestive in a more general way. Zigun says, “Africasso is the most prominent artist living in Coney’s often forgotten residential West

End. We were attracted to the way his works deal with the surrealistic nightmare of violence juxtaposed to the business of fun.” In addition to the ongoing exhibitions, the Coney Island Museum is the site of a variety of public programs, such as events in the recent Congress of Curious Peoples, an annual collaboration between Coney Island USA and [the Gowanus] Morbid Anatomy Library and Museum. (Full disclosure: this reporter gave a talk there just a few weeks ago). Now that summer is here, visitors can also enjoy the return of the annual film series put on by the Coney Island Film Society. This year’s season is a mix, including documentaries about Coney Island, historical oddities like the 1923 Harry Houdini silent, “Haldane of the Secret Service,” and co-presentations of B-movies with the likes of Phantom Creeps Theatre and Ghoul A Go-Go. Admission to the Coney Island Museum (1208 Surf Ave.) is $5, and only $3 for students, seniors, and residents of the 11224 zip code. Summer hours are 1-6 p.m. For more info on the Museum: Trav S.D. has been producing the American Vaudeville Theatre since 1995, and periodically trots it out in new incarnations. Stay in the loop at, and also catch up with him on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, et al. His books include “No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous” and “Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and its Legacies from Nickelodeons to YouTube.”

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Tips to sidestep the menacing spectacle known as reality REV. JEN, continued from p. 15


the George Jones of the open mic scene!). If you need a break from the menacing spectacle known as reality, I suggest paying them a visit and pretending you are actually in the Caribbean, or very far from a place called reality. But wherever you go, enjoy the World Cup. It gives us a good reason to party. Not that there is ever a bad reason. The world is clearly ending, so we should all have some fun. And if soccer and alcohol abuse doesn’t work for you, I have other tips on enjoying the end of the world.



Do you have overly organized friends who have calendars? If so, here’s a fun activity: Grab a Sharpie. Then, fill in your friend’s calendar with activities normally not enjoyed by the regular populace. Faceboy recently commandeered my calendar — and things I’ll be doing this month include time travel, getting pregnant, getting a court summons, standing on the corner, attending dolphin rape counseling, weeping alone all day, getting a divorce, attending both a séance and a gypsy wedding, and going gay. I’m gonna be busy! Luckily, in July, all I have to do is give up, according to calendar instructions.

Appalled at the dearth of chain establishments, Rev. Jen hoofs it to Norman’s Cay, a great Caribbean joint at 74 Orchard St.


What’s even cooler than “the beautiful game?” Gorgeous ladies wrestling in vats of fake blood, of course. Durr. Many a Generation X male I have known hath harbored a crush on the ladies from G.L.O.W. (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling). But a friend of mind who goes by the wrestling name “Our Lady of Perpetual PMS” went a step further by creating GLOB, wherein fearless ladies go to combat in fake blood. The results are entertainment insanity. You can check them out on July 1, at Tammany Hall (152 Orchard St.), where they’ll be performing alongside several bands (including the Slut Junkies, who I’ve profiled in this column several times). Find out more, at


The good news: There’s no more polar vortex! Bad news: We are all living through a second Great Depression. No one I know has any money. In fact, my sabotaged calendar states that I will soon be evicted, which isn’t far from the truth. Simply buying a calendar broke my budget (and I think it was free). But sometimes,



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you have to entirely ignore your finances and go for a walk with a friend and a couple brownbagged large beers. CC John and I took advantage of a sunny day to explore the “Lower Lower East Side” (stuff below Delancey). What ensued was a lovely day of meandering through a neighborhood where I’ve eked out an existence for almost two decades and discovering new stuff. We noted the plastic chairs outside of “Good Luck Car Service” (47 Ludlow St.). Like me, they are open 24 hours a day! Their prices are good, and they didn’t seem to mind two lunatics sitting on their plastic chairs. Also, when it comes to riding through New York sans helmet, I like good luck to be involved. We noted other places, like Silk Cakes (53 Ludlow St.), a wedding cake shop you can visit if you ever make the terrible mistake of getting married. At least when you suffer a bitter divorce, you will have had some good cake in your lifetime. There are many other fun things that don’t cost you a thing Downtown — but really, the best thing is good company. Sometimes just sitting with a friend in the sun outside of a car service that advertises “Good Luck” while laughing, talking and swigging brown-bagged beers is a cure for urban existential despair. Go out and have fun.


Because my computer is broken and I am too poor to get it fixed, I have been writing all of my columns at the pad of my BFF, Faceboy. Upon my most recent visit, he surprised me by having “Apocalypse Now” playing on his TV and then dressing up as a ninja. He then handed me a French maid getup, which I have worn throughout the entire laborious process of writing this brilliant essay. It’s see-through! “Having a ninja outfit can boost ones self-esteem,“ Faceboy noted, adding, “I don’t feel so hideously ugly while dressed as a ninja.” I am still wearing my see-through maid outfit and am determined to suggest things to do, even though there’s hardly anything left to do Downtown. So here are some things that will maybe (if you have the right pharmaceuticals) make you happy. No promises!

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Interpersonal strife proves just as dangerous as invading dinosaurs, in “The Life and Death of Tommy Chaos and Stacey Danger” — part of NY Filmmakers Night, at The Lower East Side Film Festival. The Washington Square Music Festival’s 56th season begins on June 17.


“Eternally experimental” and “eclectic” are among the affectionate superlatives we’ve used to describe past editions of the Washington Square Music Festival — and that’s just from the “E” section. Come up with some of your own when you take in the completely free, priceless sights and sounds of (as we’ve previously noted) one of the city’s “top summer highlights for those with a love of serious music.” The 56th season begins on June 17 — with Lutz Rath conducting the Washington Square Festival Orchestra, joined by harmonica soloist Robert Bonfiglio. The program includes work by Claude Debussy (“Reverie” arranged for harmonica and orchestra) and Gustav Mahler’s “Adagietto” for strings and harp (from his Fifth Symphony). On June 24, the “Vocal Music: Baroque to Modern” program features soloists Lucia Hyunju Song (soprano), Laila Salins (mezzo-soprano), and the Washington Square Music Festival Ensemble performing four centuries of vocal music — including Anne Sexton-themed works by composer and arranger Laila Salins. The season concludes on Aug. 8, when oboist Matthew Sullivan hosts “A Partnership Concert with the International Double Reed Society/NYU.” Free. Seating is on a first-come, first served basis. At 8 p.m. on Tues., June 17, 24 and Fri., Aug. 8. At Washington Square, main stage south of Fifth Avenue. June 17 & 24 rainspace: NYU’s Frederick Loewe Theatre (35 W. Fourth St., at Greene St.). Aug. 8 rainspace: St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church (371 Sixth Ave., btw. Waverly Pl. & Greenwich Ave.). For info, call 212-252-3621 or visit

holics and drug addicts. Year after year, musical performers who represented the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of the East Village and the Lower East Side drew the community back. In 1996, the park and the series were named after Lebewohl — after he was fatally shot during an early morning ATM deposit. Now in its 33rd year, the free outdoor summer concert series continues to entertain those old enough to remember (and those too young to appreciate) how far the neighborhood has come. Celebrate Abe’s legacy and the current state of the East Village/L.E.S. arts — with upcoming concerts from, among others, the Claire Daly Quartet (June 26), the Third Street Music School Settlement Players (July 10), and the Gypsy Jazz Caravan (July 24). Free. Thursdays, through June 24, 12:30 p.m. in Abe Lebewohl Park (corner of 10th St. & Second Ave., in front of St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery). For info, visit or call 212777-3240.


With Landmark Sunshine Cinema, Anthology Film Archives and East Village Cinema as its anchor venues, the 11-day Lower East Side Film Festival has thematic sprawl and ambition to rival its physical reach (which goes all the way to Chelsea Market). Specialty programming is the hook, by way of evenings devoted to sci-fi, horror, documentaries, music videos, animation, shorts, and international films. The festival opens on June 12, with “The Sturgeon Queens” — a documentary celebrating the 100th anniversary of L.E.S. institution Russ & Daughters. That one’s already sold out, but visit to view the trailer and pre-order the DVD. LGBTs and their allies have nothing to fear at Friday, June 13’s “Gay Night” — when a rooftop pool party, a full moon, plenty of bare flesh and a dusk screening of “Dragula” conspire to up the chances of getting lucky. Director Frank Meli will be in attendance for the New York premiere of this short film about a high school senior whose meeting with the toothy, titular character helps him overcome low self-esteem and emotional dysfunction. Barry Bostwick and Carmen Electra are among the cast. On June 14, the “NY Filmmakers Night” features shorts written and/ or directed by locals — including Sha Huang’s “Under Ground,” about a young Chinese woman dreaming of indie rock fame while busking in the subway, and David Kestin’s “Open House,” in which a recently evicted French woman embarks on an intense NYC apartment hunt. June 18’s “GLASS Shorts” event features a screening of short films created by using Google GLASS. Screen the flicks, schmooze with the filmmakers and take the tech for a test spin. On June 19, a panel explores the present and future viability of digital distribution as a platform for emerging filmmakers. June 12-22, at various Downtown venues. Most general admission tickets are $12.50 in advance, $15 at the door (some events are free). For the schedule, visit



Back in 1981, it took a petition drive organized by the combined forces of 2nd Avenue Deli owner Abe Lebewohl, the Third Street Music School, and the 10th and Stuyvesant Streets Block Association to bring concerts to a 155-acre patch of land that had become a haven for alco-

The Third Street Music School Settlement Players will perform at the July 10 installment of Music in Abe Lebewohl Park. June 12, 2014


Number of E.V. eateries doubled in last eight years RETAIL STUDY, continued from p. 1


June 12, 2014


a swanky apartment, preferably, in a shiny tower of metal and undulating glass. Not that all of this is news to longtime residents, who have been complaining for years to Community Board 3 about noise, out-of-scale development and landlord harassment of rent-regulated tenants. The board heard even more about the issue last month, at its Economic Development Committee meeting, where Columbia University student planners shared the results of a study conducted early this year focusing on Alphabet City. Drawing from an array of data, they found that, between the years 2000 and 2012, there was a significant demographic and retail shift, greatly reducing the neighborhood’s retail diversity. The number of white residents in Alphabet City (bounded by Avenues A and D, and 14th and Houston Sts.) grew by more than 4,000, to 41,381, making up 67 percent of the neighborhood’s residents. Meanwhile, the black and Hispanic populations each dipped by several hundred, to 4,199 (or 7 percent of the total population) and 10,917 (18 percent), respectively. The area’s Asian population rose by more than 2,200 to 9,405 (or 15 percent of Alphabet City residents). Median household income in the study area soared, on average by nearly 45 percent. At the turn of the millennium, it was just under $37,000. In 2012, it approached $62,000, students told the committee meeting. Despite the issue’s purported urgency, however, turnout was low at the meeting, which drew few local community members. In some census tracts in the study area — where radicals once screamed, “Die yuppie scum!” — the median household income jumped 100 percent to $144,821. Mirroring the citywide affordability crisis, rent in the entire Community District 3 area (which also includes the Lower East Side), with a population of more than 163,000 residents, soared by an average of 42 percent during the study period, according to the report. More startling perhaps was what the data showed about full-service restaurants and watering holes. In 2004, there were 248 food-services and drinking places in Alphabet City. By 2012, that number had ballooned to 514, significantly outpacing any other kind of business and increasing these businesses’ area “market share” to 32 percent.

Handsome Dick Manitoba joined Lisa Robinson at the Varvatos store at 315 Bowery, the former location of CBGB, to introduce rock journalist Robinson’s new book, “There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll.” Manitoba and his band, the Dictators, were regulars at CBGB. Nowadays, his bar, Manitoba’s, on Avenue B, is part of Alphabet City’s biggest industry, the “food-services and drinking places” sector.

Yet, Alphabet City’s number of bars has actually fluctuated, from 24 in 2004, up to a high of 80 in 2008, and back down to 59 in 2012. Meanwhile, full-service restaurants have simply exploded, from 175 in 2004 to 380 in 2012. From 2004 to 2012, the number of laundries (non-coin-operated) and dry cleaners in the study area also grew, from 25 to 41. During the same period, beer, wine and liquor stores more than doubled, from seven to 17. And the amount of beauty salons tripled over those eight years, from 23 to 69 in 2012. The data also added some weight to claims that city planners under former Mayor Bloomberg targeted the East Village as a “destination neighborhood” for tourists. This is a view with which Stacey Sutton — a Columbia urban planning professor and mentor to the students who did the report — somewhat agrees. A 2012 report prepared for C.B. 3 by Mary de Stefano, the board’s former planning fellow, reached a similar conclusion about the former mayor’s intentions. The area’s food-services and drink-

ing places drew in a hefty $200 million in 2012, according to the report. These were also far and away the area’s chief employers among types of businesses studied, with more than 6,100 workers, up from more than 5,200 in 2006. Among the report’s findings: “There are an increasing number of bars and restaurants that cater to a nightlife not necessarily congruent with the lifestyle of nearby residents. … Increasingly, there are more establishments that cater to the young adult crowd and less for teenagers and young families.” Retail areas with room for growth include supermarkets and groceries, confectioners, nut shops and meat markets, the study found — with parking lots and photo-finishing labs “among the top industries with room for development.” Meanwhile, C.B. 3 and local politicians continue to focus on trying to save small stores and control the influx of chains. The Center for Urban Future found that, in 2012, C.B. 3 had 227 chain stores. Brad Hoylman is a co-sponsor of state Senate Bill 1771, introduced by

Kenneth LaValle, a Long Island Republican, that allows municipalities to restrict the growth of “formula retail,” a.k.a. chain stores. The legislation is stuck in committee. On top of offering assistance to small businesses, de Stefano’s 2012 report recommended considering a special-purpose district, an overlay atop existing zoning, which would limit chain stores’ size and operating hours. This district would also target banks. In a similar vein, San Francisco, with some success, has restricted chain stores to specific neighborhoods to preserve retail diversity. Sutton supports a special district, and is also advocating for caps on commercial rents. She said landlords should consider community impact before renting commercial space — even if that means accepting considerably less rent. Despite the meeting’s low turnout, the urban planner is calling for more community empowerment. She said the community “should be able to stop” certain types of retail establishments if they feel these have reached a saturation point.

Karen Kristal, 88, partner in CBGB with ex, Hilly OBITUARY KRISTAL, continued from p. 1


cased country, bluegrass and blues (hence the name), but its programming changed to what later became known as punk and hardcore rock, with bands playing original music. Blondie, the Ramones, Mink DeVille, Talking Heads, the Heartbreakers and the Fleshtones were among the bands that shot to fame at the Bowery club. The rule at CBGB was that a band had to play primarily original music and had to move its own equipment. “It was really because my mother didn’t want to have to pay ASCAP [American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers] the royalties on published music,” said their son, Dana. “I remember my father telling some reporters about his new ‘philosophy,’ and I asked my mother why she didn’t say what the real reason was. She said, ‘He needs it,’ ” Dana recalled. Despite Hilly’s pre-eminence as the face of the club at 315 Bowery, patrons, employees and musicians were aware of Karen’s presence at the door, behind the bar and on the floor, keeping the place as orderly as possible. “I will always remember Karen on Sundays, checking IDs and calling kids’ parents when she sniffed a false one,” said David Poe, the singer, songwriter and former sound engineer at CBGB, in an online interview recently. “Her contribution to CBGB is well known, and it’s true enough that venerated space would not have existed as it did had it not been for her efforts,” Poe said. “Karen was a true patron of the arts and embodied the indie spirit.” “Skinheads obeyed her command and the Ramones hid their joints when they saw her coming,” said a Village Voice article a few years ago. “I was more afraid of Karen than I was of the skinheads. They all had this respect for her,” said George Taub, a member of False Prophets and former CBGB employee. “She started the famous Sunday matinees. It was all her idea. The club really started the whole hardcore movement in New York.” At one point, Karen turned the house amplifier down because neighbors were complaining about the noise and threatened to close the place down. The bands protested. “I think those musicians were stupid,” her son Dana said. “Like wild

Karen Kristal in her younger days.

kids who didn’t want to listen to their own mothers and fathers. They didn’t realize that my mother was trying to keep the place open.” Roberta Bayley worked the door at the iconic club and later became a top punk rock photographer. “I understood much later that the liquor license at CBGB’s was in Karen’s name,” Bayley said. “So she was very careful about not getting busted — she would grab joints out of people’s hands! She got crazy about me drinking the Heinekens that Merv, CBGB’s manager, would bring me from Tin Pan Alley because CB’s didn’t serve that brand. They only had this vile import called Dinkelaker. “Back in the ’70s Karen was sort of forced to be ‘bad cop’ to Hilly’s ‘good cop,’ ” Bayley said. “But she was smart and an innovator. I think she championed the hardcore matinees. “In the end, it did seem like Hilly may have gotten Karen to sign away her rights to the club, I really don’t know. We all heard that Hilly had 3 million when he died. His daughter Lisa inherited the bulk of his estate. I don’t think Karen got anything. Sad story.” Karen Kristal was born in 1925 and

raised in Boston. An aspiring actress and singer, she was six years older than Hilly, a musician and singer

Karen Kramer designed the famous CBGB logo.

whom she met in an opera class in New York. They were married in 1951. “My mother joined the Canadian Army sometime between the end of World War II and the Korean War,” Dana said. “I don’t know how long, but she trained as a nurse. She then studied at the Boston Institute of Fine Art — she was a talented graphic artist, but acting was her passion. She ran an acting improvisation group at the club in the mornings,” said Dana, who took care of his mother, especial-

ly over the past nine years with the onset of her dementia. Hilly and Karen opened Hilly’s on W. Ninth St. just east of Sixth Ave. in the 1960s. The place, which featured live music, moved to 315 Bowery in 1969, becoming Hilly’s on The Bowery for several years before the name change to CBGB. The liquor license of both places was under Sareb Restaurant Corp., a contraction of Sara Rebecca, Karen’s name before she married Hilly and changed her name to Karen, which she thought was better theatrically. The couple divorced even before the club’s move to the Bowery, but Karen remained an active partner. In 2005, CBGB became involved in a rent dispute, the landlord claiming that the club owed $91,000. Hilly contended that he hadn’t been informed about rent increases, but, in the end, agreed to vacate the place after a year. The club finally closed in October 2006, and Hilly announced that he intended to reopen in Las Vegas. However, he died in August 2007 and left his estate to their daughter, Lisa Kristal Burgman. But a bitter legal dispute broke out pitting Burgman against her mother and brother over ownership of the estate. Burgman claimed that Karen had signed over legal title to the club to Hilly before he died, and submitted a document to that effect, but Karen said she didn’t remember the signing. “I don’t know if she signed it, but even if she did and didn’t remember, it shows she didn’t legally know what she was doing,” Dana said. The case was settled by October 2010 and Burgman ended up in control of the club’s logo and its memorabilia. Burgman sold those rights in 2012 to Tim Hayes, who is the founder and executive director of the CBGB Festival. Karen’s health problems became acute at the end of last month when she was hospitalized for back ulcers, Dana said. “She developed pneumonia in the hospital and they tried to hide it from me,” said her son, who blamed the hospital for failing to treat his mother properly. LindaAnn Loschiavo, a neighbor of Karen Kristal’s at 24 Fifth Ave., remembers her fondly. “Her stern manner put a lot of people off, but not me,” she told The Villager last week. “I learned a lot about city government and tenant-landlord relations from her.”

With reporting by Lincoln Anderson June 12, 2014



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June 12, 2014

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Gliding from the icy tundra Continued from p. 12

K Webster Webster is a member, Community Board 3

Scoopy notes To The Editor: Re “Jeremiah Joint-son” and “D.A. on McMillan” (Scoopy’s Notebook, May 29): Just to clarify, I am happy that Clayton and Elsa have the property and are able to have a nest egg for their retirement, and I in no way care what they do with their money if they sell the building. This is probably about the only time I will be happy about gentrification raising property values on the L.E.S. My main point was that Clayton’s vast photo archive should be saved. No one has collected such a large and amazing history of the L.E.S. and East Village, and I hope it will



prawled on a bench in the Tompkins Square Park dog run, Bailey, a 6-year-old Siberian and Alaskan Husky/Greyhound mutt, was taking a brief rest. Her owner, Cassie Heck, a dog walker, was between clients in the East Village, and the two of them hit the park for a break. Heck, who lives on the Upper East Side, is originally from Anchorage, Alaska, and so is Bailey. “I was the first person to ever see her alive,” Heck said. Formerly a massage therapist, Heck was also helping a family friend breed sled dogs, and decided to keep Bailey at six weeks. At that time, she had wanted a client’s German Shepherd/ Rottweiler puppy. “My mom freaked out just a bit, and said the dog would be too big for where I was living,” Heck said. She heeded mom’s advice, and ended up with Bailey instead. Both of Bailey’s parents are mutts, and raced in The Iditarod, a 1,000-mile dog sled across Alaska. Bailey is also a former sled dog, and accustomed to trudging 20 to 50 miles daily. In Anchorage, Heck used to be a musher, the person who drives the dogs through the snow, and has worked on a team with eight to 10 dogs. She moved to Manhattan two years ago with Bailey, and has stayed in the canine field. She walks roughly nine dogs a day, covering 34 miles. In addition, she’ll graduate from dog-trainer school this month. Bailey’s adjustment to New York has been pretty seamless, with the exception of the summer heat. “I don’t feel bad having her in the city,” Heck said. Also, her roommate’s dog is Bailey’s best friend.

John Penley E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager. com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 515 Canal St., Suite 1C, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.


person is as a stepping-stone to run for political office, such as city councilmember, for example. It’s really O.K. just to say that — not pretend to be “saving” the community from the alleged ravages of the current board chairperson. Even if you’re not a fan, Gigi Li is not Dick Cheney — really. Thanks for the offer to “restore” our community board’s reputation. But I think Community Board 3, with its wild, independent, scrappy, but ultimately collegial and thoughtful ways is one of the finest and most diverse community boards in this city.

to the city’s concrete jungle PET SET

be kept together for future use and reference about an amazing time that is gone and will never be anywhere near as radical and artistic again. As to Erin Duggan Kramer’s comments, the Manhattan district attorney got a conviction of Cecily McMillan based on a biased judge who sided with the prosecution about 99 percent of the time, blocked much of the video evidence, and also refused to let the jury hear evidence about the arresting officer’s past history. Also, New York City has already paid out a huge amount of money for civil lawsuits based on police brutality and unconstitutional arrests at Zuccotti Park and elsewhere, and many more cases are pending. So Kramer’s comments about respect for the First Amendment by the D.A.’s Office, the N.Y.P.D. and the city administration are not based in reality — very much like her comments on the conviction they obtained in Cecily’s case, which I have no doubt will be overturned on appeal.

Bailey relaxing in between dogwalking clients.

Bailey has joined Heck at work since January, which provides the pooch with plenty of exercise and socialization. “I have one rescue dog — she’s aggressive. We introduced them in the house, and Bailey always plays with Lucy, my one little crazy,” Heck said, with a laugh. “It makes me so happy to bring Bailey to work,” she added. Besides joining in dog-walking duties, Bailey likes to run alongside Heck when she rollerblades. Bailey can also do a high five, and will extend a paw to Heck’s palm on command. Bailey will eat anything. And when she determines it’s dinnertime, Heck will hear it. “She’ll yell at me with really loud barking,” she said. Bailey likes to share fruit, mainly blueberries and bananas, and loves cauliflower. “Back home, we feed them frozen fish called hooligan, but it’s kind of like herring,” Heck said of the sled dogs’ diet. The cost of fish prevents her from doing that here. Bailey also likes to sleep a lot, and excels at napping at the drop of a hat. “Now that she goes to work with me,” Heck said, “she’ll just stop and crash.”

Occupied by tears at hearing PHOTO BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL

Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan cried at a Wed., May 28, court hearing, where prosecutors offered her community service and anger management counseling in exchange for a guilty plea regarding a Dec. 7, 2013, incident. According to the Daily News, in that incident, McMillan, 25, is charged with obstruction of governmental administration, a misdemeanor, for allegedly trying to thwart a friend’s arrest in Union Square by claiming she was the defendant’s attorney. The News reported McMillan’s attorney, Martin Stolar, above right, said she was distraught on May 28 because she wasn’t given the right court-day outfit, court staff wouldn’t unhandcuff her per usual procedure, and she hadn’t taken her ADHD medication. McMillan is currently serving three months in jail for elbowing an officer in the eye on March 18, 2012, as she and other Occupy protesters were being kicked out of Zuccotti Park.

June 12, 2014





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June 12, 2014