The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
July 9, 2015 • $1.00 Volume 85 • Number 6
One if by Land, Two if by Sea — and three if facade is torn down! BY YANNIC RACK
illage residents were concerned and outraged this past week about the removal of a historic facade on Barrow St. But the restaurant owners responsible for it remained unapologetic. The owners of One if by Land, Two if by Sea, the
restaurant that has occupied 17 Barrow St. since 1973, removed the white plaster archway framing its entrance last Thurs., July 2, but quickly faced a backlash from local residents. In addition, the Landmarks Preservation Commission slapped them with a violation.
Bharucha and board allies are gone, but Cooper Union probe, tuition suit remain BY ZACH WILLIAMS
he Cooper Union made headlines in recent weeks with the resignation of President Jamshed Bharucha and other school officials who pushed for the adoption of tuition at the 155-year-old East Village university.
Bharucha announced the move in a June 10 e-mail to the campus community. He offered no rationale for the decision except to write that he would serve as a visiting scholar at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Pressure had continued to COOPER continued on p. 12
PHOTO BY JOHN PENLEY
FACADE continued on p. 30
On Tuesday, MoveOn.org delivered more than half a million petitions to the South Carolina State House calling for the Confederate flag’s removal from all government places. MoveOn’s Karen Hunter, at podium, created the petition.
A former E.V. photog gets wrapped up in S.C. flag flap BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
n the wake of the June 17 mass shooting that left nine black Charleston church members dead, there were immediate, widespread cries to remove the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s state capitol grounds at Columbia. The shooter had posted photos of himself with the flag beforehand on a racist Web site. The South Carolina state Senate has since voted to bag the flag but its House
has yet to weigh in. Governor Nikki Haley also favors canning the banner. Photojournalist John Penley, a former longtime East Village resident and activist who now lives in his home state of North Carolina, covered the July 4 “Take Down the Flag” rally at Columbia. One of his photos shows a man being arrested by a group of state troopers; he had burned a small paper Confederate flag on state house grounds. “You can’t burn anything
there, but you can smoke a cigarette,” Penley said, adding that some folks are considering returning and smoking cigarettes made of Confederate flag rolling paper. “I’ll be back there on the 18th when the Klan shows up,” Penley told The Villager. “It should be crazy. That’s the North Carolina Klan. They’re the most active Klan in the country right now. “There’s a big debate going FLAG continued on p. 10
Garner video guy busted in E. Village..............page 4 Big stir over Waverly Pl. closure plan.............page 6 Man pinned by tour bus on Sixth Ave.............page 8 Hit the pools!.............................page 25
PHOTOS BY SCOOPY
Gary Null gives Jean-Louis Bourgeois gifts of organic toothpaste and his book.
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“It’s worth the trip down the street!” 2
July 9, 2015
J.L.B. enjoys a gift of some colorful socks. He’s certainly no heel, but he really liked these ones because they sported a touch of his favorite color, blue.
to the collective spirit of the Lenape, it was wrong to try to deal only with an individual — “it was too much American individualism” — and so now plans to reach out on a larger level. “I’m trying to give them a little piece of the rock,” he explained. As for Miller, he gave us N.Y.U. FASP’s latest hard-hitting publication — hot off the instore press at Prince St.’s McNally Jackson Books — “The Art of the Gouge: How N.Y.U. Squeezes Billions From Its Students — and where that money goes.” Null also handed out some of his movie DVDs, including “Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs,” “The Silent Epidemic: The Untold Story of Vaccines” and “Poverty Inc.” Some nice lighting viewing for a holiday weekend! But seriously, we love these kind of educational films.
PEOPLE FOR BERNIE: Speaking of Bernie Sanders, Democratic District Leader Arthur Schwartz, who was one of the few local activists not at the Bourgeois party, tells us he’s gearing up to start a People for Bernie movement in the Village. A planning meeting is coming up soon. In related news, Gil Horowitz, who had planned to challenge Schwartz for district leader, has dropped out of the running. Schwartz said he is irritated, only because Horowitz forced him to gather ballot petition signatures when he could instead have been putting his energies into the local Sanders organizing effort.
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also agreed upon that Louise “liked good-looking young men.” Everything is blue in Bourgeois’s apartment. Blue party balloons bobbed against the ceiling. Blue binders in blue crates lined the walls, containing info on all manner of issues, from adobe architecture to African agriculture. One crate, perched below the — of course, blue — digital clock, bore the tag “Witkoff,” referring to Bourgeois’s ongoing crusade against developer Steve Witkoff’s 100 Charles St. project across the street. The building — humongous by West Village standards — looks pretty much complete to us, but Bourgeois and neighbors plan to fight on against it. “The city can turn it into a hospital,” he assured. Getting back to Null, who also is very political, we asked him who he likes for president. Bernie Sanders? No way, he said, he’s supporting Jill Stein, the Green candidate. Sanders, he predicted, will only cave at the end and throw all his progressive support to fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton. But what we REALLY wanted to know is what is going on with Bourgeois’s small Weehawken St. building, which, as was first reported by Scoopy, he hopes to give for free to the Lenape, Manhatan’s original Native American inhabitants. In March, there was a ceremony at the two-anda-half-story building, which sits on a 30-foot-by30-foot lot. A 1-foot-diameter hole was cut in the place’s concrete floor to create a connection to the earth. “A former chief,” Bourgeois doesn’t remember his name, sat in his Lenape garb and did a service in their native tongue. “It was wonderful,” the Village activist said. But after that, things ground to a halt. “I don’t know, he stopped returning my calls,” Bourgeois said. He thinks that, perhaps due
B BIIS STTR RO O ******
BOURGEOIS BIRTHDAY BASH: On Saturday, Jean-Louis Bourgeois’s W. 10th St. pad seemed like the place to be. Among the guests who dropped in for his combo 75th birthday party / July 4th “open house” were health guru and WBAI radio icon Gary Null; Mark Crispin Miller of N.Y.U. Faculty Against the Sexton Plan; Village activist Sharon Woolums; journo-turned-Columbia University flack Gary Shapiro; civil rights attorney Norman Siegel; Soho poet Steve Dalachinsky and his wife, painter/poet Yuko Otomo; Sally Fisher of Intersect Worldwide and the AIDS Mastery Workshops; Occupy Wall St. veteran Robert Reiss — who happens to be the brother of Yvonne Collery, who wrote the “Catastrophe Cats” series of articles for The Villager after the Second Ave. explosion in March; and one of our favorite local Buddhists, Rick Hill. Null gave Bourgeois some birthday gifts, including organic toothpaste and his new book, “Reboot Your Brain,” on how to keep the ol’ noggin working at peak level through better eating. Looking out from Bourgeois’s 13thfloor balcony, which has a great view of the Christopher St. Pier, Null also told us all about the research he used to do about AIDS at the Ramrod bar — which used to be on the famous gay boulevard — interviewing patrons there on more than 300 nights. Dalachinsky and Bourgeois regaled the crowd with tales of the art scion’s famous “spider sculptor” mom, Louise Bourgeois, and her vaunted “salons” at her Chelsea lair. Dalachinsky, who has always been a man about town, said he went to quite a number of the events and that the sculptress was indeed as imperious, egotistical and downright nasty as they say. “She was mean to everyone,” Jean-Louis concurred. It was
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July 9, 2015
Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association
POLICE BLOTTER Lost his independence Police manning a sobriety checkpoint at Washington and W. Houston Sts. around 2 a.m. on Independence Day reportedly observed a driver with an open container of alcohol, in addition to an empty plastic cup smelling of booze. Police reported they smelled a bit of ganja, as well. Salim Laverpool, 36, refused a breathalyzer test at the scene. He was promptly taken to the Police Department’s Seventh Precinct on the Lower East Side. Laverpool, who had prior convictions for driving while intoxicated, was given another misdemeanor charge for the same offense.
Editorials, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009
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EDITOR IN CHIEF LINCOLN ANDERSON
CONTRIBUTORS ALBERT AMATEAU IRA BLUTREICH SARAH FERGUSON TEQUILA MINSKY CLAYTON PATTERSON JEFFERSON SIEGEL ZACH WILLIAMS SHARON WOOLUMS
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July 9, 2015
Garner video guy busted Ramsey Orta, above, who shot the video of Eric Garner’s death nearly a year ago during a police arrest on Staten Island, was busted for selling drugs to an undercover narcotics cop on Avenue D last week — but it turned out there was more to the story. Orta, 23, was arrested on Tues., June 30, at 6:30 p.m., at the corner of E. Sixth St. and D — on the border between the Lillian Wald Houses and Jacob Riis Houses — and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance. The undercover said Orta approached him and told him he could get him “bud” or “Molly,” slang for marijuana and MDMA a.k.a. Ecstasy, respectively. The cop asked for Molly and gave Orta $40 for three clear zip-lock bags containing a “brown crystalline substance.” Subsequent police lab testing, however, proved it was not Ecstasy. As a result, Orta was recharged with four offenses: imitation controlled substance; criminal possession of stolen property (for taking the $40 in return for fake drugs); petit larceny; and fraudulent accosting. Orta has reportedly been arrested at least 29 times, according to the Daily News. A GoFundMe.com page started to cover his escalating legal fees has raised more than $55,000. He was busted in February for allegedly selling drugs to an undercover and also last August on gun charges. Orta has said the arrests are payback by police for his filming Garner’s death — during which a banned police chokehold was used — last July 17. Garner was being busted for selling untaxed “loosie” cigarettes. Orta’s vid-
eo went viral and fueled the Black Lives Matter police-reform campaign.
Punched over pooch Police said that a man struck a woman in front of 1 Washington Square Village on Sun., July 5, after they had starting arguing about a dog. After the dispute began around 6 a.m., Carl Yamamoto-Furst, 41, allegedly struck the 36-year-old disabled woman in the throat. The victim suffered bruising and pain. She was taken to Beth Israel Hospital for treatment, according to a police report. A 53-year-old Washington Square Village resident told police he witnessed the altercation. Yamamoto-Furst was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault.
Taking license Police said they observed Derrick Williams, 55, operating a 2001 Ford Econoline van near 7 Weehawken St. in the wee hours of Sat., July 4. He apparently was not doing well, because they stopped him just after 4 a.m. and soon found that his New York State license plate was registered to another automobile. They subsequently examined the vehicle ID number and found that the van was reported stolen on June 26 in Yonkers by its owner, a 31-year-old woman. The police searched Williams and found his driver’s license was suspended and that he was in possession of an allegedly illegal gravity knife. Williams was arrested and charged with unauthorized operation of a motor vehicle, a felony.
Arguing in public sent one parolee back to the slammer on Thurs., July 2. An officer passing by 248 W. 14th St. around 4 a.m. observed a man arguing with a taxi driver in front of the location. Further investigation allegedly revealed a gravity knife in the possession of Roger Collado, 30. The ponytailed Brooklyn resident then allegedly resisted arrest by “running from, elbowing and punching” the officer, according to a police report. Collado was arrested and charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon. Police said he has a previous conviction for grand larceny.
Vicious vacation Vacation in the West Village went rather violently for one visiting couple. A man, 42, reportedly escalated his abuse of his girlfriend, 37, over the course of several days, starting on June 26. He started with words then pushed her into walls, police said. The furniture then became his alleged weapons of choice, resulting in cuts to the victim’s left forearm. Danny Gardner, an Australian native, then allegedly kicked the woman, causing bruises to her back. Police said his abuse culminated in his choking her three times, to the point that she almost lost consciousness. The victim reportedly refused medical attention. A ripped jacked was also found at the scene, according to a police report. Gardner was arrested June 30. He was charged with strangulation, a felony.
Zach Williams and Lincoln Anderson
B u s i n e s s , M A n H AT TA n s T y l e – A d v e r T i s e M e n T
Why do so many Manhattan residents install intercom systems in their homes? By AlexAndrA neumAn More than 18,000 burglaries occur annually in the New York metro-area alone, making smart home technologies essential for securing a home or office. Using devices such as video intercom systems, closedcircuit television security cameras, home alarms, and smart home automation, any space can be monitored both on-site and remotely from a smartphone. DTV Installations specializes in making smart-home technologies accessible and affordable, offering comprehensive installation services for any client in the tri-state area. Each DTV Installations project begins with a free in-home consultation. Clients are given advice and estimates as they determine which systems will work best for their space and budget. When deciding which intercom system to install, for example, clients consider a range of products from traditional audio to video touch screen, wired or wireless intercoms, each with a variety of styles and models to suit the décor of the home and to best facilitate seamless communication between the occupants of a household. As an authorized dealer and factory-trained installer for each of its products and services, DTV saves its clients’ time and money by avoiding outside purchasing, delivering, or contracting, sourcing their intercoms from brands such as SSS Siedle, A-Phone and Comelit regular audio and video intercom. “We’ll deliver the equipment for less cost than store delivery, and we can deliver the same day as the installation,” says owner and installer John Lysy. DTV is an authorized dealer of products from all major audio and video brands, including Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sharp. Once a video intercom systems installation is unTheVillager.com
Intercom Systems in Manhattan, NY by DTV Installations. derway, DTV makes sure to keep the surrounding space in perfect condition. “We treat our customers’ homes like we would treat our own homes,” says Lysy. “We will protect all the floors and furniture and we wear gloves and booties in the homes so that after we finish a job it’s like we’ve never been there.” Many clients are worried about re-wiring an already finished home, but DTV’s goal is to integrate all com-
ponents of the product into the home during installation and make it appear exactly as it did before. Whether installing intercom security system, CCTV cameras, central vacuum cleaners, home alarms, home audio systems, home theaters, motorized shading systems, smart home automation, or programming a universal remote control, DTV will streamline the entire transaction and leave no scratches behind upon
finishing a project. DTV’s understanding that “all homes are different” allows its technicians to tailor projects specifically to clients’ needs. Clients with existing media centers or security devices can even use DTV to integrate their technologies into one centrally controlled smart home system. DTV Installations has been servicing the tri-state area since 2007. Its installed products and the installation itself are each under
one-year warrantee upon a project’s completion. The company has more than $2 million in liability insurance, allowing it to work in a wide variety of commercial and residential spaces. For larger projects costing $10,000 or more, DTV offers a 5% discount on the total price of installation. For more information or a free estimate, contact DTV Installations at (888) 4283330 or visit www.dtv-installations.com. July 9, 2015
Closing bit of Waverly no small matter, some say BY ALBERT AMATEAU
July 9, 2015
On Sat., July 4, at McCarthy Square, a wreath had been laid on a monument to those who served in the armed forces during World War II. Past the birdhouses, in the background is Morandi restaurant, which is separated from the small triangle park by a short stretch of Waverly Place, which D.O.T. is proposing to close to traffic.
added that many drivers, pedestrians and bicycle riders ignore the rules. “I was knocked down by a bicycle,” she said. “How can we stop lawlessness — people ignoring stop signs and jaywalking?” But Morandi remained a frequent focus of attention at the June 24 hearing. “I’m concerned that the street will become a huge outdoor cafe for Morandi,” said Nancy Caldwell, a resident of 15 Charles St., adding, “Morandi waiters even now use the street to negotiate their outdoor tables.” Nevertheless, several people at the hearing spoke in favor of the closing. “I don’t think Morandi is relevant here,” said Nancy Heller. “Quality-of-life issues should not take precedence over safety. Issues about Morandi are not part of the safety issue.” Bergman noted that Morandi’s outdoor cafe is within the property lot line and therefore does not require a sidewalk cafe license. He suggested that the restaurant paint a white line to demarcate its property from the public sidewalk. Kirsti Craig, a Morandi executive who attended the hearing with Roberto Tibaldo, Morandi general manager, and Roberta Delice, another executive of the restaurant, said that she would relay the suggestion to McNally when he returns from a business trip. In a conversation with Caldwell at the end of the hearing, Tibaldo said that Morandi has never
FILE PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
eighbors who oppose the Department of Transportation’s plan to close a short stretch of Waverly Place to cars told a June 24 hearing that the plan, affecting the east side of Seventh Ave. South, would create quality-of-life problems rather than, as intended, make pedestrians safer. Construction sidewalk bridges for the Greenwich Lane project on the former St. Vincent’s site and for a building “fauxcade” (fake facade) being created to hide a subway ventilation project, both just north of the stretch, present traffic visibility issues, neighbors said. Moreover, the street closure would “create a stage and a platform for Morandi [Keith McNally’s popular restaurant at 211 Waverly Place] to expand its sidewalk cafe and result in a quality-of-life disaster,” a neighbor said. Closing the 60-foot stretch of Waverly between the avenue and Charles St. was approved unanimously by Community Board 2 in February after a hearing the previous month. But neighbors protested that they were not aware of the earlier hearing. “We had a public hearing, but people didn’t understand what it was about,” said Tobi Bergman, C.B. 2 chairperson, who led the June 24 Traffic and Transportation Committee event. “D.O.T. held off on the plan because of the protest,” Bergman said, adding, “This is not a done deal. We wouldn’t be here [at the hearing] if it was.” The site of the proposed closing is also known as McCarthy Square. It has a small triangular park with a flagpole across from Morandi. D.O.T. representatives at the hearing, headed by Nita Haiman, the agency’s Manhattan borough commissioner, said that four pedestrians have been injured in accidents at the site between 2009 and 2013. Drivers making a left turn from Seventh Ave. South onto Waverly do not have to slow down much because the angle of the intersection is not sharp, the D.O.T. officials added. But opponents insisted that closing the stretch to cars would be “too dramatic” and suggested that a stop sign or a flashing yellow light would be better. One neighbor implied that the injury statistic was skewed because of the nearby construction. “I’d like to see the injuries for the five years before 2009,” he said. D.O.T. agents, however, said the department must conform to federal guidelines regarding traffic lights and stop signs. The peak use of the stretch is 30 to 50 cars and is not sufficient to justify a light, they said. For the past week or so, the turn from the avenue onto Waverly Place has been temporarily blocked by orange traffic barrels, of which two are bolted to the street surface and two are moveable. Neighbors, however, said that despite the traffic barrels, drivers continue to make the turn and use the street. Robin Felcher of the W. 10th St. Block Association urged that the increase in residential population after completion of the Greenwich Lane project be considered before any street closing. Another neighbor, Fredda Seidenbaum, said, “The closing should wait until at least one of the construction projects is complete.” Seidenbaum
In addition to the World War II monument, McCarthy Square is also known for its elaborate bird feeders, including this mill.
received a violation regarding its outdoor tables, adding that city inspectors do indeed make periodic checks. Bergman closed the 90-minute hearing by saying, “We’re going to look at this issue again and see how to proceed.” TheVillager.com
Planned Service Changes
(Q) 10 PM to 5 AM Mon to Fri Jul 13 –17 No trains at (Q) stations in Manhattan. ( runs in Queens and Brooklyn only. Q runs in Brooklyn and is rerouted via the 6 Av D in Manhattan to/from the 57 St F station. ) service ends early in Manhattan and Queens each night. Travel Alternatives: • Use nearby stations on the 8 Av AE , 7 Av 12 , 6 Av DF , and Lexington Av 46 instead. • Take the 7 for service between Queens and Manhattan. • Make key transfers between services at Queensboro Plaza 7(, 5 Av/42 St-Bryant Pk 7DFQ , Jay St-Metro Tech AF( , and Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr 24D(Q . Stay Informed Call 511 and say “Current Service Status,” look for informational posters in stations, or visit mta.info – where you can access the latest Planned Service Changes information, use TripPlanner +, and sign up for free email and text alerts.
© 2015 Metropolitan Transportation Authority
July 9, 2015
Pedestrian pinned by turning tour bus on Sixth
PHOTOS BY SHARON WOOLUMS
A stream of blood was left on Sixth Ave. after the bus struck a crossing pedestrian.
n Fri., July 3, around 1:50 p.m., a male pedestrian in his 50s was struck in the crosswalk at Sixth Ave. by a tour bus turning left onto the avenue from W. Fourth St. Witnesses said the victim’s leg was pinned under the bus until paramedics rescued him. The unidentified man was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center in critical condition, but was later upgraded to stable condition. CBS reported that one of the injured man’s sandals was left behind on the street. The bus driver remained at the scene. Following the incident, the tour bus operator, Twin American, released a statement: “We are aware of the accident this afternoon and deeply regret this very unfortunate incident,” a representative said. “We are fully cooperating with the authorities while this accident is being investigated.”
July 9, 2015
A close-up look at the blood.
The bus driver remained at the scene. TheVillager.com
Straight-talking Simonetti takes helm at Sixth BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
PHOTOS BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
fter taking over as commanding officer of the Sixth Precinct two weeks ago, Captain Joseph Simonetti has been making the rounds of the Greenwich Village precinct, getting to know the area’s conditions, merchants and people. He comes from the Lower East Side’s Seventh Precinct where he was the C.O. for one year. Before that he was the commander at the Midtown South Task Force and executive officer (second in command) at Midtown South and the Ninth Precinct. Local blog Bowery Boogie said of him, “During his short tenure on the Lower East Side, the straight-talking (and Tony Soprano-sounding) Simonetti...focused on grand larcenies at neighborhood bars (especially in Hell Square) and graffiti busts.” At the Sixth, Simonetti replaces Inspector Elisa Cokkinos, who retired from the force on June 24. Cokkinos, one of the department’s top female officers, also formerly commanded Chelsea’s 10th Precinct. In the early afternoon this past Tuesday, Simonetti was dealing with a vendor situation at Sixth Ave. just south of Eighth St. The vendor had set out old soul LP’s along the wall of the former Barnes & Noble bookstore and had also put up a table with more stuff near the newsstand. Detective Jimmy Alberici, a Sixth Precinct community affairs officer, and Simonetti explained to him that he was violating one or more of the myriad regulations pertaining to sidewalk vending. “I’m very into our officers and members of the department working as much as we can with the community, with the community boards, businesses,” Simonetti told The Villager. “Working the State Liquor Authority, too — it was very beneficial. We work
Captain Joseph Simonetti, left, and Detective Jimmy Alberici on Sixth Ave.
with everyone, that’s our job.” Of his stint at the Seventh, during which he focused on conditions around the bars, among other things, he said, “We had a very good system in place that helped bring down assaults and addressed the robberies... street robberies.” Asked about the L.E.S. Dwellers anti-bar-watchdog group, he said, “They were very good. We worked with them a lot.” Taking over at the Seventh is Captain Steven Hellman, who comes from Midtown South. Simonetti started off his command at the Sixth with one of the precinct’s biggest events of the year, the Pride March on Sun., June 28. “The parade went well,” he said. As for the fundamentals of police work, he said, the goal is simple: “Our job is to keep the neighborhood safe.”
Diem Boyd, president of the L.E.S. Dwellers, praised Simonetti highly, saying he “turned things around” at the Seventh. “I think highly of C.O. Simonetti,” she said. “He is a really good guy — a straight shooter, says what he means and is very sincere. The Seventh Pre-
cinct’s loss is the Sixth Precinct’s gain! “He really turned things around here in respect to residents and the Seventh Precinct communicating with each other,” Boyd said. “If Bratton’s mandate is community policing, Simonetti made the Seventh a shining example. He met with residents individually and his community affairs office did a lot of outreach and follow-up. This never, ever happened with his predecessors. “When the Seventh Precinct Community Council meeting went awry — as Clayton Patterson wrote about in The Villager — Simonetti made sure at the next meeting that every resident who wanted to speak or ask questions did,” Boyd said. “He stayed at the podium and answered every question for over an hour. This really impressed and meant a lot to the residents. It also reassured residents that if the Seventh Precinct Community Council monthly meetings were not a viable avenue for effective communication, Simonetti and his community affairs office were. “Put simply,” Boyd said, “the residents and businesses in the Sixth Precinct will be well served by C.O. Simonetti. He really walks the walk when it comes to community policing.”
Captain Simonetti and Alberici checking out a vendor’s table, that violated regulations. TheVillager.com
July 9, 2015
Former E.V. photog gets set to cover Klan rally FLAG continued from p. 1
July 9, 2015
PHOTOS BY JOHN PENLEY
on,” he noted. “The old-school protesters want to leave them alone. But these anarchists and young radicals are saying physically confront them, bust heads. Others are saying just ignore them — that attention is what they want, and don’t give them any. “Myself, I’m not giving a public position. I’m just going to take pictures.” He also isn’t eager to risk the chance of getting arrested and going back to jail. Penley, now 63, served a year in prison after a 1982 protest in which he tried to enter a South Carolina nuclear weapons plant. Penley is, however, urging people to fight back — through costumes. “I’m encouraging people to dress up as clowns — like a rainbow-colored Klan outfit,” he explained. “If you can get in there and get in photos with them, it really destroys what they’re trying to project. They’ve done this against neo-Nazis in Europe, and it really works.” As for whether there will be a clash, Penley said the Klan will have law officers guarding them since they have a permit. “They’re going to have a lot of protection,” he said. While some defend the Confederate flag as merely the symbol of Dixie, its critics say it represents nothing less than white supremacy and hate. A week before the Columbia anti-flag demonstration, on Sat., June 27, Brittany “Bree” Newsome shimmied up the 30-foot-tall flagpole outside the state house and removed the Confederate standard just hours before a pro-flag rally. She was arrested for defacing a monument. Along with the flag protests, there is also a growing movement to remove Southern monuments to Confederate and racist figures — such as the one to Benjamin Tillman, a former South Carolina governor and senator, at Columbia. After the Charleston shooting, the statue was defaced by someone who shot red paint balls at it, but it has since been cleaned up. “The guy’s notorious for being an out-and-out racist...KKK, lynchings,” Penley said of Tillman. Among the Reconstruction-era politician’s infamous quotes is “Black men must learn to be subservient or be exterminated.” In 1991, Penley covered a cross burning in Tennessee at the National Klan Convention. “They’re doing a cross burning here on some guy’s farm on Saturday night after the Klan rally,” he said. “I’m going to try to photograph that. It’s invitation only. “They call it a ‘cross lighting.’ They
A man is arrested on July 4 for burning a small paper Confederate flag on the grounds of the South Carolina State House.
don’t like to call it a burning,” he noted. “To them, it’s like a religious ceremony. “The Civil War never stopped,” the former Alphabet City activist reflected. “We’re still fighting it. Look at what happened in Charleston. Look at what’s going on with the flag.” In new developments, this week MoveOn.org delivered more than half a million petitions to the South Carolina State House calling for the slavery-linked standard to be struck from all government places. At the same time, two South Carolina legislators stepped outside to stand with Confederate flag wavers in a counterdemonstration. One member of the group held a rebel flag that had the words “Heritage Not Hate” on it. The back of another man’s T-shirt showed the inflammatory symbol framed by the words “Raise It High Southern Pride.” “Headlines may have made it look like the Confederate flag is coming down in Columbia but the House has to approve it,” Penley warned. “And South Carolina politicians are already talking about putting up a new memorial with the Confederate flag on it and the names of South Carolina Confederate soldiers on it which would be bigger and more visible than what they already have there, in exchange for taking down the current flag. It’s getting crazy down here.”
Activist John Penley in front of a statue to rabid racist Governor Benjamin Tillman. TheVillager.com
Demonstrators sang and held protest signs at the July 4 â€œTake Down the Flagâ€? rally at the South Carolina capitol.
On Tuesday, Delivering the MoveOn.org petitions to the State House.
As MoveOn.org delivered petitions in Columbia, S.C., calling for the striking of the Confederate colors in all government places, pro-flag counterdemonstrators were joined by two members of the state Legislature. TheVillager.com
A Southerner gets started young on learning how to wave what is reviled by many as a symbol of hate and oppression. July 9, 2015
Cooper Union’s Bharucha and board allies resign COOPER continued from p. 1
mount during the final months of his four-year tenure as a state investigation into the finances of the elite school continued. The probe, by Attorney General Eric Schneidermen, concerns $100 million in construction costs, executive compensation, a $175 million loan and the use of the land beneath the Chrysler Building, which the school owns, as collateral, The Villager reported on April 9. The campus community meanwhile also awaits a court decision, originally expected in the spring, which could determine if the school violated its founding documents by making students pay for their education starting last fall. Bharucha’s parting letter included one last defense of implementing tuition at the historically free institution. His opinion was echoed by a statement from the school’s board of trustees — five of whom had resigned just hours before — as well as the dean of the College of Engineering and Chief Academic Officer Teresa Dahlberg. The resigning trustees were Mark Epstein, Francois DeMenil, Catherine Bond Hill, Daniel Libeskind and Monica Vachher, according to the Committee to Save Cooper Union, an organization of students, faculty and alumni opposed to tuition at the school. “The financial exigencies with which [Bharucha] was confronted upon his arrival were not of his making and he deserves credit for sounding the alarm about the need to take urgent action to ensure Cooper Union’s long-term financial sustainability,” the board’s statement read. William Mea, Cooper’s vice president for finance
Jamshed Bharucha recently resigned as The T:8.75” Cooper Union’s president.
and administration, assumed a new role as interim president on July 1. The search for a new president will start following the appointment of a search committee by the trustees in the fall. Faculty, students and alumni comprise the committee, according to Cooper Union spokesperson Justin Harmon. Several of the open trustee positions will likely be filled by year’s end, Harmon said. The committee will likely need about one year to decide on a new college president, he added. Other administrative appointments, including Dahlberg’s replacement, will fall under the the new president’s purview, according to Harmon. The timeline offers plenty of time for the opposing sides of the tuition battle to vie for position in selecting new college leaders who could ultimately determine the future cost of Cooper Union students’ education. Members of the Committee to Save Cooper Union — which is the plaintiff against the board of trustees in the lawsuit surrounding the tuition issue — were quick to celebrate the resignation, while noting in a statement that their efforts to reinstitute a tuition-free Cooper Union will continue. The committee also urged in the statement that the college community remain engaged even though top tuition advocates have left. “Getting rid of key players will not be enough,” the statement said. “Implementing rigid structures, best practices and good leaders will not be enough. Adjusting the variables within an existing model of higher education will not be enough. Moving forward will require acknowledging years of bitter conflict, comprehensively assessing our present state, envisioning painfully distant ideals, and working cooperatively.”
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July 9, 2015
Reaching some new heights under the bridge On Sunday, skateboarders were post-Fourth shredding under the Brooklyn Bridge by the F.D.R. Drive, doing tricks on flatbed trailers parked there. They made sure to capture all the action and angles with a camera on a selfie stick.
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
July 9, 2015
Jazz greats celebrate drum virtuoso Jerome Cooper BY CODY BROOKS
July 9, 2015
PHOTOS BY CODY BROOKS
uminaries of avant-garde jazz gathered on Tuesday evening to remember Jerome Cooper, the pioneering multi-percussionist free jazz player, who died on May 6 at age 68. The cause of death was complications from multiple myeloma. Cooper was raised in Chicago. After moving to New York, he lived in the same East Village squat on E. 13th St. and Avenue B where actress Rosario Dawson grew up. He did solo projects and collaborated with free jazz greats, including pianist Cecil Taylor and forming, with violinist Leroy Jenkins and bassist Sirone, the widely influential free jazz group The Revolutionary Ensemble. The memorial was held in Brooklyn at Roulette Intermedium, at Atlantic and Third Aves., with close friends of Cooper playing threnodies onstage to a packed theater. Free jazz bigwigs, including drummer Barry Altschul, baritone Thomas Buckner and bassist Joe Fonda, both performed and voiced their thoughts on Cooper’s life and works. “My friendship with Jerome was quiet and deep,” Kunle Mwanga, a clarinetist and close friend of Cooper, told the crowd of about 90 people. “We didn’t have to say much to each other; we felt it a lot.” Others expressed similar sentiments. Buckner said he was “grateful” to have worked with Cooper and called him a visionary. Both Buckner and drummer Thurman Barker pointed out that Cooper loved to practice. “Jerome was, and still is, a big inspiration,” Barker said. He noted that Cooper had mastered traditional drumming styles early in his career, which encouraged a move toward more experimental playing. Barker explained that Cooper had envisioned drums as the main focus of musical compositions. As a result, he mastered other percussion instruments, including the balafon, a wooden xylophone with deep tones, and the chirimia, a Latin American-style oboe. Cooper used those instruments, along with traditional ones, such as the piano and clarinet, to record solo albums that he said displayed “layers of sounds and rhythms.” Cooper’s rise to cult stardom happened when he played with The Revolutionary Ensemble throughout the ’70s in New York City’s experimental jazz scene. The group’s legacy lived on long after they went on hiatus in 1977. In 1978 Cooper moved on to solo albums and collaborations until the trio reunited in 2004. The Revolutionary Ensemble’s return featured pieces like “911-544,” written by Cooper about when he stood on the roof of his East Village
Graham Haynes, from the OGJB Quartet, performed at Jerome Cooper’s memorial.
A photo portrait of Jerome Cooper.
Joe Fonda, the OGJB Quartet’s stand-up bass player, laid down the groove.
squat and watched the World Trade Center towers collapse. The reunited group played concerts until 2005. Jenkins and Sirone died in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Cooper had an activist and philosophical mindset, like many who rose to prominence within the jazz scene of the ’70s. He was connected with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, a nonprofit group in Chicago that heavily promoted the free jazz scene in the late ’60s and ’70s. The association taught music to inner-city youth, running workshops
and encouraging the use of traditional instruments and musical styles from Africa. According to Annie Wilson, a neighbor, Cooper moved into 544 E. 13th St. in 1999. In 2013, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and subsequently decided to relocate to Brooklyn. In recent years, the former squat had sunk into problems. It remains sorely in need of repairs, as mandated by the city’s sale of the building to the squatters in 2002. The building’s gas was cut off in September 2012, and Cooper’s top-floor unit
also suffered leaks when it rained, all making it a poor place for someone in his condition. “The gas was shut off, meaning no more hot water and gas heat,” Wilson said. “The roof leaking could become a downpour in Jerome’s apartment depending on wind and other factors. Good reasons to find a better place to stay for the duration of the illness. Jerome did maintain his apartment during this time, and it now belongs to his estate.” Jerome Cooper is survived by his wife, Beth Cummins, his two brothers, Marc and Dennis, and his sister, Joan.
With reporting by Lincoln Anderson TheVillager.com
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Signs of the times in Brooklyn These prices posted in the window of Jesse’s Deli, at Bond St. and Atlantic Ave., are a satirical jab at their landlord, who is jacking up the rent by two and a half times. Family owned and operated, the beloved Boerum Hill small business has been there more than 20 years. Some customers in advertising created the snarky signs to try to help. But deli staff said the store will have to move, hopefully nearby. They told The Villager they’ll resist the eviction and the ensuing legal action will extend their stay at least another six months.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Landmark Tic and Tac! To The Editor: Re “Tic and Tac are targets in push for quieter park” (news article, June 25): Tic and Tac and the like are what makes the Village the Village. I can empathize with not wanting loud, amplified music, but Tic and Tac’s music accompaniment is not constant: There are moments when the music builds to a crescendo, adding to the suspense of their amazing acrobatic feats, as the two roll off with comedic timing. Tic and Tac should be given historical status
since they are part of the park’s history and the reason many flock to the park on weekends. Washington Square Park’s history is that of struggling artists trying to make a mark in this great city. The link below is to a short video I took a few years back, showing a typical Tic and Tac segment: http://youtu.be/lQS5ZywjuQU. Glenn Berman
Don’t dogg us, Scoopy! To The Editor:
Re “Garden party” (Scoopy’s Notebook, June 25): Dear Scoop Doggy, it’s nice to hear the feud at Dias y Flores is over. After five members were expelled for trying to uphold the bylaws and have transparency, the garden has become harder to join. Term limits were never voted on. One of the board members (for 13 years) still has private access to the garden through her building. GreenThumb wasted an opportunity to create greater fairness in the gardens under its jurisdiction. Whistleblowers should never be bullied or punished. Gardens should be easy to join. People shouldn’t have lifetime positions. It’s worth nothing that a mobile made by the “wild party” crew (as you humorously described us) has been on display at Theater for the New City for more than a year. It’s called “43 Keys for 43 Gardens — a Monument to the Gardens of the LES.” Each of the 43 keys was brought by a different artist, poet or friend to symbolize equal access. It is the only monument (as far as I know) to this revolutionary practice of creating open, shared spaces. Keeping the spaces open and shared is an ongoing, mutual responsibility. That’s why we party. Thanks for your help. Jeff Wright
Save our beaches — ban all politicians! 16
July 9, 2015
LETTERS, continued on p. 18 TheVillager.com
Vive la révolution! Frankly, it was a big help On July 4, a parade of ships saluted a replica of the historic French tall ship Hermione. The original French frigate brought General Lafayette to Boston in 1780 to tell George Washington the secret news that, thanks to Lafayette’s efforts, France would be sending reinforcements to aid the American revolutionary army, to the tune of 5,500 men and five frigates.
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
Savoring the history of the New York City deli RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY
very time Ted Merwin sat down to research his new book, he would get hungry. After interviewing him, I had the same problem — I ran out and bought myself half a pound of Hebrew National bologna. How come? All you need to do is look at the name of his book: “Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli.” It’s coming out in October. Growing up on Long Island, the son of a Williamsburg, Brooklyn, mom and Beechhurst, Queens, dad, Merwin says he didn’t get much of a religious upbringing. But on Sunday nights, when his grandparents came by, they’d almost invariably sit down to a feast of pickles, meats, rye bread and maybe a chocolate egg cream (which native New Yorkers know has never contained either eggs or cream. It’s basically chocolate syrup with a shot of seltzer and, just sometimes, a TheVillager.com
splash of milk). As Merwin thought back on those years — and how he came to be a professor of Jewish studies — he started to wonder about the role of the deli in Jewish life. He figured that, like Yiddish and a sense of humor, delis must’ve come to New York with the flood of Eastern European immigrants in the early 1900s. He figured wrong. “I couldn’t find much evidence of there being a lot of delis on the Lower East Side,” Merwin says. In fact, an 1899 survey found only 10 delis there, “And that was the most crowded
place on the face of the earth. Hundreds of thousands of Jews there, and it wasn’t a big part of their lives.” While Katz’s opened on Ludlow St. in 1888, deli culture didn’t really take hold in New York until the ’20s or ’30s, once the Jews became a little less desperately poor, and also once sandwiches became a part of bustling city life — a meal you could take on the run. This new convenience was not without controversy. “There were real concerns, particularly among the more conservative social commentators, that the deli was destroying civilization,” says Merwin. Consider that women who had just gotten the right to vote were taking college classes, frequenting jazz clubs. And now, thanks to the deli, “they could come home five minutes before their husband and run to the corner deli and have a whole meal waiting without having to cook anything at all.” Horrors. As the Jews migrated out to the boroughs, delis followed, featuring what Merwin calls “the triumvirate” of Jewish meats: pastrami, corned beef and tongue. By the 1930s there were 1,550 kosher delis throughout the city. Here Jews met their future
mates, gathered with extended family and caught up on local news. “Sunday night in the kosher deli became the secular equivalent of Friday evening in the synagogue,” says Merwin. At the same time, glamorous Midtown delis were opening that flagrantly flouted the religious rules against mixing milk with meat, and using only kosher foods. Lindy’s, Reuben’s, The Stage and the Carnegie Deli weren’t catering to local families or even just Jews. They served a different purpose, in the form of a sandwich too big to finish. “The whole idea of the overstuffed sandwich was really a symbol of the bounty of America,” Merwin says. And to be surrounded by glossy photos of celebrities who’d eaten the same food as you at the same place — that was really something. To eat at a Midtown deli was to tell the world: You’d made it. Of course, time and tongue wait for no man, and eventually the glory days of the deli began to fade. Jews moved on to Chinese food, for reasons requiring another book, and health concerns were the final nail in the onion roll. If you want to live forever, chopped liver is probably not the ticket. July 9, 2015
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR LETTERS continued from p. 16
Man behind Cino plaque
PHOTO BY FACEBOY
Bike shop Lenny is one cool cat. He just rolls with whatever.
Lenny is the easy rider of Bushwick bike shop NYCritters BY FACEBOY
or this installment of NYCritters we travel to Brooklyn to spend some time with a very special cat. Lenny resides in the Velo Brooklyn-Bushwick Bike Shop. He usually sleeps in the afternoon but must have known The Villager was coming to write about him since he was clearly ready for his close-up. Lenny, along with his littermate Carl, was rescued by two women nearly 15 years ago and adopted as kittens by the bike shop’s owner, K. T. Higgins. Despite two days of cleaning to prepare for the kittens, the adoption almost fell through. “We gutted the place and cleaned it, but we drank a lot of beer while we were doing it, so then we had to clean our beer mess and then we had to clean the mess from when we were drunk,” Higgins explained. “So the ladies come over as we finished and saw that there was a ton of beer cans and thought that we were unfit parents.” Fortunately, Higgins was able to convince them that she would be a responsible mom. Carl lived to be 13, and Lenny has been delighting many people in the neighborhood, who frequently come in to give him a pet or an embrace. Lenny never hunts or kills anything. “Lenny will live alongside anybody and anything,” Higgins said. “Like a dog — when Lenny meets a dog he’ll live along with it. When he meets other cats he’s territorial but he won’t fight. He lived alongside a hornet for
July 9, 2015
three days in the bike shop window.” Carl was quite different and brought Higgins many, umm...“presents.” “Countless huge rats,” she said. “He even tried to bring me cats. He never successfully killed a cat, but he tried. He would run for blocks hunting cats and Lenny would just sit there looking alarmed and concerned with his big yellow eyes. “Lenny is very animated. He’s like Japanese anime. He’s that friendly good guy — that typical happy fun-loving cat.” As a black cat, however, he has faced some superstitious discrimination from some of the people in the neighborhood. When there were two black cats in the shop, some people would refer to Higgins as the witch lady. As a female in a field predominantly run by men, Higgins has dealt with a lot of gender discrimination, as well. In 1896 Susan B. Anthony told The New York World’s Nellie Bly that bicycling had “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” Yet, today Higgins assures that there is still a long way to go for female bike mechanics and shop owners to be fully accepted in the field. You can get all of your bicycle needs met at the Velo Brooklyn-Bushwick Bike Shop, at 1345 DeKalb Ave., Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Getting back to Lenny and how incredibly nice it was to visit him, The Villager has been told that he’s truly kind to everyone. Lenny has never swatted at or even hissed at a person. Carl might have been a little psycho. But Lenny? He wouldn’t even harm a fly.
To The Editor: Re “Riots at the Stonewall and magic at Caffe Cino; Gay revolution in Greenwich Village in the ’60s” (Gay Pride, July 2): I ordered the Joe Cino memorial plaque that Mr. Heide mentions in his article, and I had it hung. Readers may see 80 pages of photos from the history of the Caffe Cino at https://caffecino.wordpress.com . Robert Patrick
‘Bad Dad’ piece was sad To The Editor: Re “Father’s Day: Not afraid to say my Dad was bad” (notebook, by Dottie Wilson, June 25):
Reading this column, I felt enormously lucky and proud that my father was such a good person. My mother, also. It’s odd how we all grow up in all sorts of circumstances and become different people. I feel great sympathy for this poor woman whose memories are so filled with despair over a father who had no love in his heart. Sylvia Rackow E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager. com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for conﬁrmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.
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Wide, wide, panoramic world of sports Pellizzari brings a 135-degree perspective to iconic events BY NORMAN BORDEN
© PAOLO PELLIZZARI, COURTESY ANASTASIA PHOTO
aolo Pellizzari is a Belgiumbased photographer who has added a unique perspective to the art of sports photography — a panoramic, 135-degree wide view of iconic sporting events like the Tour De France and the Olympics. Until I saw this thoroughly engaging exhibition at Anastasia Photo, my idea of a memorable sports photograph (probably very typical) was one that managed to capture a closeup of a thrilling sports moment, often with the help of a telephoto lens. In fact, noted sports photographer David Burnett observed, “Sports photography is 50 percent about positioning and 50 percent about timing — what is left is what makes all the difference.” As this show often dramatically demonstrates, Pellizzari has made a difference, as well as a name for himself, by taking sports photography to another level. He doesn’t rely on digital tricks but rather on a special camera called a Noblex Panorama whose lens rotates 360 degrees as it exposes a strip of film (yes, film). In explaining the technical details, he says, “The camera is upside down and I move with the action…the moment that I’m looking to capture happens by chance since it takes time for the film to move.” The way Pellizzari sees it, “This is not conventional sports photography, the kind that sticks to the hero from the breakaway to the podium. I have opted for a wider view like a stage play; it allows each aspect to be examined, the competitors as well as the spectators…I liken it to an opera where I want to see the performance as well as the diva.”
Veronika Korsunova during the women’s Freestyle Skiing Aerials competition (Sochi, Russia 2014 Olympic Games).
One stunning example is his image entitled “Alpe d’Huez, Tour de France 2013.” To celebrate the 100th edition of the Tour, riders had to ascend the iconic Alpe d’Huez climb twice on the same day for the first time in the Tour’s history. Helped by luck and timing, Pellizzari was able to capture the top riders — including Chris Froome in the leader’s yellow jersey — racing downhill through hairpin turns that were closed to the public before the second climb. Hence, there are absolutely no spectators anywhere on the mountain. So for a race that’s world famous for
attracting huge, overly enthusiastic roadside crowds, this picture has historical importance. Also remarkable is the extra wide view of the mountain that you can savor, a perspective you won’t find by watching the race on TV. The photographer reminds us, with his image entitled “Mickey Mouse, Tour de France 2013,” that the Tour isn’t just about racing up or down mountains. Here, Pellizzari captures the irony and humor of a giant Mickey seemingly alone in the countryside. “I liked him waving at nothing,” he says. The backstory
(no pun intended) is that there’s a long tradition of having a parade of vehicles with advertising messages precede every stage of the race; the artist positioned his camera behind the caravan to get this smile-inducing picture. Pellizzari once said, “The idea of the all-in-one photograph is what fascinates me” and his image of middle-distance runner David Rudisha at the 2012 London Olympics is certainly proof. He photographed Rudisha moments after he had finished SPORTS continued on p. 20 July 9, 2015
‘Sport’ frames competition as operatic performance
© PAOLO PELLIZZARI, COURTESY ANASTASIA PHOTO
The Canadian team skates onto the ice at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
SPORTS continued from p. 19
July 9, 2015
hairpin turns (Huez, France 2013). TheVillager.com
© PAOLO PELLIZZARI, COURTESY ANASTASIA PHOTO
Paolo Pellizzari’s “Sport” is on view through Aug. 31 at Anastasia Photo (143 Ludlow St. btw. Stanton & Rivington Sts.). Hours: Tues.–Sat., 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Call 212-677-9725 or visit anastasia-photo.com. For info on this article’s To celebrate the 100th Tour de France, riders had to ascend the iconic Alpe author, visit normanbordenphoto.com. d’Huez twice in a row. Here, cyclists navigate downhill through infamous
© PAOLO PELLIZZARI, COURTESY ANASTASIA PHOTO
the 800-meter event in record-breaking time, becoming the world record holder and Olympic Gold medal winner. Pellizzari likens this event to a circus since there is so much happening within the panoramic frame. We see Rudisha with his arms outstretched in a victory pose, an official sitting nearby, the crowd of photographers and other media people in front, with the clock showing his record-breaking time in the foreground, as well as the entire stage where this event took place — the crowd-filled stadium. In sports photography, timing is critical, and very evident in the image “Freestyle Skiing, Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.” Here, skier Veronika Korsunova is caught in mid-air just as she is about to land on the slope. Luck also played a role in getting the shot, as it does in many of Pellizzari’s pictures. He takes more than one picture of an event and has to advance the film for each shot. In another Olympic picture, “Ice hockey, Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games,” Sidney Crosby and his Canadian teammates are shown emerging from the locker room to skate
on to the ice. Pellizzari succeeded in getting the image of Crosby, who went on to score the winning goal of the final game, thereby clinching the gold medal for the Canadians. He says, “Without Crosby, the picture wouldn’t be as important. If I missed this, the whole day was gone.” After viewing the 12 images in this exhibition (five of them involve cycling), I think of Pellizzari’s work as the wide, wide world of sports. By offering another perspective to events that are generally well covered in the media, the photographer adds another layer of understanding to them Kenyan middle-distance runner David Rudisha, moments after finishing the 800 meter in 1:40:91, becoming the world record holder and Olympic and maybe even a wow or two. Given the photographer’s oeuvre, Champion (London 2012 Olympic Games). which includes his books, “La France Du Tour” and “Tours of the World,” it’s no surprise to learn that he’s back in France somewhere along the route of the 2015 Tour (which began July 4) and taking the wider view.
Says yes to grooviness Good vibes abound at Joff Wilson’s music series BY PUMA PERL (pumaperl.blogspot.com)
PHOTO BY PUMA PERL
o cover…yes grooviness,” declared a flier created by Moon Goddess, one of the bands that opened the current season of Joff Wilson’s ”Music Under the Stars” — a fitting description of this monthly event at the 6th & B Garden, curated and hosted by a decidedly groovy guy. Good vibes all around. Wilson is the kind of Lower East Side resident who can be seen sipping his morning coffee in his doorway, chatting with passersby (most of whom seem to know him) and playing his guitar under a full moon in nearby Tompkins Square Park. Born in Rochester, he cites 2005 as the year he became a full-time resident of Lower Manhattan, because that was the first time he actually had keys to his own apartment. Prior to that, he spent a lot of time in the city, even as a child. His grandmother, who partially raised him, lived on Elizabeth Street. “She embodied the spirit of the neighborhood,” he explained. “That is partially where I get it.” She also had a piano in the house and encouraged his love of music. He first picked up a guitar when he was about twelve or thirteen, eventually figuring out that it would sound much better if he restrung it to accommodate his left-handedness. Some of his first musical influences were Chuck Berry and Alvin Lee of Ten Years After, and he later became greatly inspired by the Ramones. At this point, however, “I am my own influence. Everything I am doing here, I began to do in Rochester. I didn’t come to New York City to find myself as an artist, I was already an artist.” While Wilson can be found playing with friends and doing solo performances as well, he is clear that the Bowery Boys, which he founded while still living in Rochester, is his one band. The current formation is Wilson on guitar and vocals, Dav McGauley on bass and Jeanne Carno-Rosenberg (aka Jeanne the Machine) on drums. “I like to help my friends out if they need someone,” he added (Wilson also plays bass, piano and harmonica), “but my main focus is the Bowery Boys. In addition, there are a number of honorary Bowery Boys who sit in with us sometimes, like saxophone player Chuckie, keyboard man Johnny Young, Gass Wild, and Brandy
June 20’s season-opener lineup for Joff Wilson’s “Music Under the Stars” series.
Row.” The band is described on ReverbNation as a “NYC artrock and roll band.” Their sets consist primarily of Wilson’s original songs, which he generally writes alone, along with a few newly arranged covers. “Sometimes the words come first, sometimes the music,” he says. World Wide Vibe recently released a personal favorite of mine, “Color Me Rochester Grey,” as a single. Some of the reasons that I like it so much are the strong sense of imagery and the way the words are painted onto an infectious melody, a reminder that Wilson is also a visual artist. In addition to his love of music, Wilson brought a love of nature and beauty with him. “My mother was a florist for forty-five years,” he said and, of course, Rochester is The Flower City. He started doing the Garden shows about ten years ago, and they exemplify his inclusive nature and his ability to improvise and go with the flow. Many musicians, artists, and poets (including this writer) have found themselves invited onstage to perform with bands arranged by Wilson — could be the Bowery Boys or could be a band that came together to fill a gap in a schedule, create a jam, or… well, sometimes we never really knew how things happened, they just did. June 20 was the first show of the season. They generally take place on the third or fourth Saturday and run through September or October, weather permitting, and observe city noise
ordinances, so you will not find loud rock or metal bands at these events. It’s a chance for many musicians who play in bands to step out of their usual roles, play acoustic sets and share their own material. In addition to those listed on the program roster, the spirit of the late Greywolf, a committed garden member who had often videotaped the show, was palpably present. “We will be thinking of him,” said Wilson, when we talked a few days before the show. “He was a great supporter of events and of community artists.” The evening opened with the trio of Wilson on guitar, Walter Steding on violin, and Frank DiNunzio on upright bass. Together, they merged an improvisational vibe with their shared jazz, blues, and rock sensibilities. Next up was the duo of Dino and
Jynx, who performed what they describe as “eerie lounge music,” followed by accordionist/chanteuse Marni Rice, of Mad Juana. Continuing with the evening’s eclectic aura, singer/songwriter Maya Caballero — fresh off a Scandinavian tour — played several original songs that reflected her varied blues, folk, and bossa nova influences derived from travels in and outside of the United States. Moon Goddess, an all-female rock group that includes keyboard, violin, and string instruments as well as a strong harmonic sense, were next. The primary members are Val Kinzler, Michelle Fury, Liz Taub and Lacy James. On this occasion, Joey Vasta joined them on bass and Greta Mitchell Tristam played mouth harp. Ending the very enjoyable, laid back night was rock legend Alan Merrill, who never disappoints. He concluded his set with his most famous song, “I Love Rock and Roll,” which he cowrote with Jake Hooker, when both were part of The Arrows. Although the music needed to come to an end in observance of city noise regulations, most of us were in no hurry to leave and lingered on, talking and playing a little bit of soft acoustic guitar until the Garden had to be locked up for the night. Throughout the evening, audience members wandered in and out. Some were already aware of the event, and others were attracted by the music. Although upcoming events can be found on the Garden’s website, Wilson does not heavily promote his venue “in order to protect the integrity of its identity as a community garden. It’s not trying to be the type of public event that solicits a packed GOOD VIBES continued on p. 22
July 9, 2015
‘Music Under the Stars’ is a (6th & B) garden of delights
PHOTO BY FRE WOLLANTS
Maya Caballero makes music (under the stars, so to speak).
GOOD VIBES continued from p. 21
July 9, 2015
The Bowery Boys will play The Bowery Electric on Wednesday, July 15. Doors at 7 p.m, $5 admission. Also on the bill are Love Pirates and Crazy Mary. Info: reverbnation.com/theboweryboys and facebook.com/theboweryboys.
PHOTO BY PUMA PERL
house. It’s a magic place for members and friends.” What is next for our music and arts community? More shows, more artists and more young people creating music as yet unheard, more unread poems. More art. That is what we can hope for, and why not? As Wilson said in an interview for a Rochester paper back in the ‘80s, “The future is spotless. Bad things are happening for a lot of people, but the future is spotless. There is the potential for creating something better.”
The next “Music Under the Stars” show takes place on Sat., July 11, 7:30–11 p.m. at the 6th & B Garden (E. Sixth Street & Avenue B). For those who wish to support the Garden — which suffered the loss of its beautiful centerpiece, a six-story tall willow tree, during Hurricane Sandy — there is a donation box onsite and a PayPal link on 6bgarden.org.
Rochester-born Joff Wilson was partially raised by his grandmother, who lived on Elizabeth Street.
Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER
RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART BLOCK PARTY
PHOTO BY MICHAEL SETO
The Rubin Museum of Art’s block party transforms W. 17th St. into a hub of Himalayan feats and flavors on July 19, rain or shine.
MINIMUS 3D ARKESTRA
PHOTO BY ANIEK IVENS
Culture, contemplation, physical fitness and…ice cream? It’s a perfectly logical combination, at least for one afternoon — when our favorite museum takes their celebration of Himalayan art and ideas off the wall and into the street. Using the Rubin’s “Becoming Another: The Power of Masks” exhibition as inspiration, this family-friendly block party will incorporate the theme of transformation into its activities and performances. Hands-on creative endeavors include making masks, prayer beads, bird rattles and origami. Dress in a manner that embraces the “transformation” theme and you might win the costume contest (or at least emerge from the photo booth with a keepsake). Inside, there will be museum tours and a gallery search (like a scavenger hunt, but with art-spotting instead of collecting). Outside, between family yoga lessons, watch performances from Ajna Dance, Brooklyn Raga Massive and the Tibetan Community School of NY and NJ. All activities are free, with Himalayan dishes from Café Serai and ice cream from the Van Leeuwen truck available for purchase. Rain or shine on Sun. July 19, 1–4 p.m. on W. 17th St. btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves. (and inside the museum, located on that block). For more info, call 212-620-5000 or visit rubinmuseum. org/blockparty.
By no means now and forever: Shawn Wickens’ cat-themed atrocity has one performance only, at July 18’s “Stupid Jokes & Rotten Theater.”
STUPID JOKES & ROTTEN THEATER
PHOTO BY JONATHAN SLAFF
Many strive to create the perfect live entertainment experience, but few manage to clear the bar. So why not embrace the opposite end of the scale, and excel at that? This is the bold, if somewhat misguided, mission of the Bad Theater Fest — an annual October disaster that encourages artists to create masterpieces of mock-mediocrity. But a town with so much stellar anti-talent can’t contain itself to one event per year. That’s why the Bad folks have created “Stupid Jokes & Rotten Theater” — a showcase of comedy, song and dance that has
all the hypnotic pull of a 20-car highway pileup. Performances include monologist Shawn Wickens’ “anti-house cat short performance” and a misguided mariachi band ministering to sad audience members. Those who emerge from the experience without debilitating psychological scars (and the delusion that they can do better), take heed: the Bad Theater Fest is accepting applications for this fall’s multi-weekend travesty. The deadline is Aug. 15. Visit badtheaterfest.com to see if you have what it takes to be an exceptionally atrocious producer, performer or filmmaker. Sat., July 18, 8–9:15 p.m. at the Treehouse Theater (2nd floor of 154 W. 29th St. btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). Tickets are $7.
Hayes Greenfield and Ikuo Nakamura collaborate on an improvisational blend of music and film, through July 30 at the 13th Street Repertory Theater.
Strictly speaking, it’s not a film screening or a well-rehearsed concert or an improvisational excursion. But that’s not to say this categorization-defying collaborative endeavor doesn’t draw from all of those elements. Supplying its audience with stereoscopic viewing glasses — and taking its name in part from the ensemble led by Saturn native and avant-garde jazz great Sun Ra — “Minimus 3D Arkestra” is a visual-sonic experience created in real time by globetrotting Japanese filmmaker Ikuo Nakamura and fellow saxophonist, composer Hayes Greenfield. The kindred tech enthusiasts, who eschew computer-generated images and pre-recorded music in favor of software allowing them to alter the tempo of on-screen images and layer live acoustic and electronic music, create a different experience at each performance. An eight-movement suite asks questions about information overload, environmental shifts and the loss of tribal cultures — while taking viewers on a sweeping tour of the Aurora Borealis, the subways of NYC, the canyons of Utah and the vistas of Easter Island. Tues., Wed. & Thurs. through July 30, 8 p.m. at the 13th Street Repertory Theater (50 West 13th St. btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.). For tickets ($18, $13 for students, seniors), call 866-811-4111 or visit 13thstreetrep.org. Artist info at minimus3Darkestra.com.
July 9, 2015
New Noho arts center’s approach is very catholic BY AMY RUSSO
ill O’Reilly, the executive director of the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, wants to bring “more light than heat” to modern issues. During a recent interview at the new center, at 18 Bleecker St., O’Reilly said that the arts center is about “bringing people together to explore the good, the true and the beautiful.” Rising tensions and anger are all too familiar in today’s world as we are met with pressing social, political and religious issues that provoke thought and response. The Sheen Center looks to openly approach subjects with critical thought expressed in a civil tone that encourages dialogue. Once a school, then a homeless center, and since last year the Sheen Center, this Noho space has been transformed and given new life many times over. Some critics questioned what they saw as a shift in the Catholic Church’s mission after the homeless center was developed into an arts space, but this change in the building’s use is reflective of the neighborhood’s change. O’Reilly explained that many of the homeless have moved out of the Bowery area and into other neighborhoods, making possible the transformation of the homeless center for other purposes. The Loreto Theater, the center’s main performance space,
Performers with Bro’Vado took the Sheen Center audience through the spectrum of emotions from soulful and heart-wrenching numbers to a lighthearted sing-along.
with 274 seats, was restored from a run-down auditorium into the center’s standout feature. “This is an absolute jewel of a space and a great addition to this area of the city,” O’Reilly said. Clean and simple yet beautiful, the center also includes a black-box theater, which seats 80, as well as a gallery and four rehearsal spaces. In its theaters, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions may be shown. O’Reilly emphasized that the center looks to highlight up-andcoming performers, “whether you’re a standby on Broadway or you’re just one step away from becoming a star.”
Just as the center’s gallery has showcased local talent, its theaters are particularly interested in those who are looking to break out into a larger career. The Sheen Center works not only with modern critical issues, but also with various other themes. Over the summer, it will show different classic blockbuster films, including the original “Superman.” Staying true to its definition as a hub for thought and culture, the center will hold discussions after the movies with experts in film analysis. One of the Loreto Theater’s most recent shows includes Bro’Vado, a
trio of singers who performed a list of civil rights-era songs on themes of hardship, injustice and change that echo in modern times. The group performed a range of soulful and heart-wrenching numbers, before ending in a more lighthearted singalong with the audience. The event was well attended and concluded with a lengthy standing ovation. Named after Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the center has a truly dynamic approach to the arts. This involves cultivating a diverse audience of any and all faiths, including those who do not follow one. The purpose is to foster a unifying environment that connects all people in their understanding and appreciation of artistic subjects. While the center takes great pride in its Catholic background, it welcomes followers of any belief, just as Sheen did during his career in television, when he attracted audiences of mixed faiths. At 18 Bleecker St., speaking from across a conference table, O’Reilly summed up the Sheen Center’s purpose in one poignant phrase: “The goal is to reach out to as many people as we can, and not only do great performances in the arts, but in terms of understanding some of the most important issues of the day, and to have people of different faiths talk about them, disagree about them, debate them, but at the same time, use it as an opportunity.”
Something feels missing as mailbox store closes BY TEQUILA MINSKY
July 9, 2015
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
genuine man of the neighborhood, for years Lenny Cecere tended the mailboxes at Something Special on MacDougal St., just south of Houston St. At the small shop, as a friend once remarked, “Everybody is a celebrity.” Cecere’s clients included Sarah Jessica Parker, Famke Janssen and Matthew Broderick, as well as at least one well-known rock star, who all picked up their mail there. Through his 80s, Cecere kept the shop running just because he enjoyed it. He died this past February at age 91. After his passing, his family pledged to keep the shop open for a few more months, but finally closed it for good on June 30. For almost 40 years, Cecere ran the place, which in addition to being an anonymous mail drop for stars, was a gift card and key-cutting shop. It also sold candies, jewelry and tchotchkes. Cecere was a notary public, as well.
At Something Special, you felt that you were in a general store on some out-of-the way Main St. that time forgot. Cecere was also known for his sharp wit. On the final day, knickknacks, including a Betty Boop doll, were still in the glass display cases that once held pastries from the bakery that preceded Cecere’s taking over the space and whose name he kept for the store. From 1962, Cecere lived above the shop with his wife, Lucy. They raised their two children there. Lucy, a Village native, was an advocate for seniors and one of the founders of the Caring Community. She received many tributes in her day, including a Village Award from the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation in 2010. She died four years ago at age 87. A for-sale sign now hangs on the landmarked building — part of the small Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District — which Cecere owned.
A photo of Lenny Cecere in the window of his Something Special store on its final day last month. TheVillager.com
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
The poolside scene at the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center.
EAST SIDE COASTAL RESILIENCY PROJECT City rec centers make Join us for a splash with free pools COMMUNITY DESIGN WORKSHOPS
ree city public pools opened a week earlier than usual this summer, on June 27, and will remain in action through the Labor Day weekend. At the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, at Clarkson St. and Seventh Ave. South, the pool set can also enjoy an original Keith Haring mural that adorns the southern wall. Outdoor pools are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a break for cleaning between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. “Early Bird” lap-swim
at Dapolito is Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in July and 8:15 p.m. in August. “Night Owl” lap-swim hours are Monday to Friday, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., in July and to 8:15 p.m. in August. Lapswim hours are roughly the same at the Hamilton Fish and Asser Levy rec centers. Participants who swim 25 miles or more during the summer will receive a free T-shirt. Prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female distance swimmers at each pool program.
to discuss East River Waterfront redesign following Hurricane Sandy
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 5:30-7:30 P.M.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 Thursday, July 30, 2015 6:30-8:30 P.M.
Stein Senior Center
Church of St. Brigid
Manny Cantor Center
Focused on the waterfront between E. 14th & E. 23rd Streets
Focused on the waterfront between Houston & E. 14th Streets
Focused on the waterfront between Montgomery & Houston Streets
204 E 23rd Street
119 Avenue B
197 E. Broadway
These workshops build upon the planning undertaken as part of HUD’s Rebuild by Design competition. Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese interpreters will be present at all workshops. A Fujianese interpreter will be present on July 30th. For special needs assistance, please call (917) 339-0488 by Wednesday, July 22, 2015. Dinner will be provided.
July 9, 2015
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July 9, 2015
To Advertise Call: 646-452-2490 LegalAds@TheVillager.com Deadline â€“ 12 noon Wednesday
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July 9, 2015
Restaurateurs say arch was rotten and from ’60s FACADE continued from p. 1
July 9, 2015
PHOTO BY YANNIC RACK
After residents complained to the commission, the restaurant’s owners were served with a warning letter on the same day because the work was being done without a proper permit. “This is awful. We reached out to the L.P.C. as soon as we became aware of this,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “It’s an iconic and beloved piece of the West Village,” he said. “There was absolutely no reason to rip it down, and we’re going to make sure that this is pursued.” The building, which dates to 1834 according to tax records, is landmarked as part of the Greenwich Village Historic District. The restaurant’s Web site claims it was once used as a carriage house by Aaron Burr, the former U.S. attorney general and vice president under Thomas Jefferson who infamously killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Burr, however, is not listed on title records as an owner and died only two years after the building was constructed. Nonetheless, area residents were shocked when they discovered the changes over the holiday weekend. Rich Schwarzkopf, who has lived across the street for 13 years, noticed the radically new look on Saturday morning. “I’ve always been interested in the history of this area and the buildings around it, and of course One if by Land was this iconic restaurant and Village place to hang out,” he said. “Over the years it evolved into this beautiful restaurant. It was gorgeous with all of that beautiful plasterwork around the doors. Just to go out over the weekend, it was like, ‘Oh God, what happened here?’ All the neighbors were talking, and we hope that they plan to replace it. “Of all places in New York City, Greenwich Village is like walking on a landmine if you do those kind of things,” he added. But the restaurant’s owners paint a different picture altogether. According to David Ghatanfard, who took over the restaurant in February together with a partner, Zef Deljevic, the facade partly collapsed because of extensive water damage over the years and had to be removed as a safety precaution. He spoke with The Villager on Tuesday while standing in front of the restaurant and pointing at crumbling bricks and wooden beams. “A piece of the arch came down and then we found out that all this wood [underneath] is rotten,” Ghatanfard said. “Instead of it being a hazard of
David Ghatanfard, a co-owner of the restaurant, pointed to steel beams that he said are, in fact, part of the Barrow St. building’s original facade.
Workers completely removed this white archway last Thursday because it partially collapsed, according to the restaurant owners.
completely coming down, and someone getting hurt, we brought the rest down.” Ghatanfard also pointed out that the steel beams on the far sides of the entrance — which came to light once the stucco was removed — in fact represent the building’s original exterior. “The steel is staying the same color it is, we’re going to fix it,” he said. “The wood we’re going to put steel over to bring the original look back to the neighborhood. The rest is all staying the same it is,” he said, adding that all of this would be done with the proper permits. “It was cheap stucco,” Tony Elezovic, the restaurant’s general manager, chimed in. “As I see it, the preservation society, which is mostly doing a good job, they should really be happy with what we’re doing.
We’re bringing the original back.” The building’s owners, who operated the restaurant before it was sold earlier this year and still live above it, were away on vacation when the facade came down. Speaking on Wednesday from Spain, Colleen and Oscar Goujane confirmed that the changes had been made without their permission, but said that they would try to resolve the issue with the restaurant owners. “We love our neighborhood and respect our neighbors,” Colleen Goujane said. “We contacted the tenants and they claim that the white molding was rotting inside and that they had to remove it. My husband brought to their attention that any repairs they wish to do had to go through the Landmark Commission. Our attorney sent them a formal letter warning
them in the strongest terms that they had to comply with the Landmark Commission’s protocol. “We are back on July 17 and at this time we will meet with the new owners to rectify the many problems that people are complaining about,” she added. Also on Wednesday, the contractor who oversaw the work said that the facade actually collapsed while the wooden frames around the doors were being replaced. Marko Djeljaj, who is the brother of Zef Deljevic, the restaurant’s other owner, said that one of his workers had to jump out of the way in order to avoid being hit by the falling debris. He complained that residents were unfair in blaming him for simply doing his job. “I have people come and scream at me. We have to open for business,” he said. “People don’t know it, but it’s $5,000 per month here.” He also claimed the stucco facade was only added in the late Sixties, according to the son of a previous owner who bought the building in 1968. The Greenwich Village Historic District was designated one year later, in 1969. “Some people think this has been here for 300 years. It’s not true,” Djeljaj said. Nonetheless, Berman of G.V.S.H.P. suspects the exterior is, in fact, older than that and dates back to the 1920s. “Even if it was added yesterday, as long as it was legally added, it is illegal to change it without a permit,” he said. “And there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that this was done the legal way.” He also added that historic changes that have been made to a building are an important part of its history and should therefore be kept intact. “At a glance, this archway looks like it’s probably part of a significant period of the Village’s evolution — the 1920s and 1930s,” he said. According to a spokesperson for L.P.C., the property’s owners have contacted the commission and will be filing an application to correct the violation, which they can do within 20 days. Whether they will be told to restore the facade, pay a fine (possibly as high as $5,000), or will be granted a permit after all, is still up in the air. Building owners Oscar and Colleen Goujane said that they want to see the white molding restored but are worried L.P.C. might not allow it since it was “grandfathered in.” For Berman, however, there is only one proper outcome. “It is hard to imagine that anything other than restoring those very distinctive features is what would be appropriate and acceptable for this site,” he said. TheVillager.com
Serve’s up at Seward Park H.S. tennis courts SPORTS BY GALE MOORMAN
PHOTO BY GALE MOORMAN
ack in the day as a student at Seward Park High School, I can remember venturing across the street to the tennis courts on Essex St. I would just peer through the gates watching people bang those green balls back and forth over the net with great speed. Tennis wasn’t popular then and playing handball with those pink “Spaldeen” balls was the “in” sport for others and for myself. I didn’t know how to play tennis but told myself that one day I’d be on the court playing, laughing and enjoying myself like everyone else. Seward Park was constructed around 1903. To build the Sixth Ave. elevated subway, the old Seward Park high School, just north of the park, was demolished. On its former site was built Seward Park Oval, which today includes three hard-surface tennis courts, a running track, a two-sided handball wall and basketball courts, which are used by the school but open to the public. Unfortunately, I didn’t become involved with the tennis courts until attending Bronx Community College, where I had the chance to first hold a racquet in my hands. I took a course in tennis at B.C.C. and fell in love with the sport, the court surface, the great fresh smell of opening a new can of balls, and that wonderful feel of hitting a tennis ball in the middle of the racquet called “the sweet spot”. I had purchased a permit to play on the New York City courts but the free Seward Park courts have a certain environment and atmosphere that I love. These courts are tucked away nicely on the Lower East Side, far from the madding crowd at Midtown or around the city’s major tennis courts. There are also many convenient shops around for you to partake in some goodies before, during or after tennis play. In fact, it’s not unusual to see players take time out to grab some snacks and refreshments as a quick break and then go back to playing tennis — be it a game or just volleying back and forth. It’s all good when you land at the courts and playing time is relaxed and, most of all, costs nothing. I recently caught Sam, who has been playing on the Seward Park for the past three years, hitting leisurely with his friend. “I come here about five days a week and I like it because it’s available and free,” he said. I mentioned to him that I’ve come on weekends but haven’t had any luck in landing a court.
Although this photo was taken through the park fence, don’t get the impression that the Seward Park tennis courts — which are surrounded by a running track and hoops courts — aren’t welcoming. Just the opposite.
“Yeah, but on the weekends it is really crowded,” he noted with a smile, suggesting I try to come really early. Unlike Seward Park, the permitted city tennis courts offer a variety of different playing surfaces. For example, Riverside Park in the 90s has red clay, Central Park has green clay and Riverside Park up near Columbia University has hard courts. Plus, to play on the city’s courts, you’ll need to have bought a season permit or a day pass, you can only play one hour and must get there early to be assigned a court. If they are clay courts, you must wear sneakers with herringbone-pattern soles. On the other hand, at freewheeling Seward Park, it’s first come, first play for the three tennis courts. Of course, because they are hard courts, you don’t even have to think about getting clay dust on your socks or sneakers or sweeping the court before and after playing, as with clay courts. The kind of sneakers you wear doesn’t matter either, be it high-top Jordans or Converse, as long as they’re comfortable, durable and offer enough support for at least an hour of play…or maybe even more. The park gates are unlocked by a Parks Department worker in the morning. Despite a few cracks on some of the courts, they are adequate. A strict honor system is used to give everyone a chance to get on the courts. Most players are courteous about this, since everyone wants to come back again and keep playing tennis there. Most do come to Seward Park aware that four sports may be going on at any one time. So if you’re a person who likes to play tennis with total concentration, as if in a professional
match, then these courts may not be for you. On the other hand, if you’re into rallying back and forth over the net to improve your strokes, Seward Park is the right fit for you. Whether your game of choice is
tennis, basketball, handball or just running, there is no other area in the city that is as spontaneous, available and accommodating as the great Seward Park tennis courts on the Lower East Side.
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