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East and West Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown

Volume 3, Number 19 FREE

July 11 - July 24, 2013

Florist injured by drag racer has come out of coma by linColn anderson Mohammed Akkas Ali, critically injured on Wed., June 19, when a drag-racing driver hopped the curb and roared into his East Village flower stand, reportedly has come out of his coma. East Village activist Bill Weinberg posted on Facebook that he stopped by the store early Monday morning and received some

‘Mosaic Trail’ maintenance

Photo by Jefferson Siegel

On Friday, Jim Power, the “Mosaic Man,” was repairing one of his “Mosaic Trail” lampposts. He said the city removed the whole lamppost, with his handiwork, six months ago. Nichole Quinn, 21, left, was helping restore the trail marker at St. Mark’s and Avenue A.

C.B. 3 has $1 million for enviro projects by rey mashayekhi About $1 million is left in a fund controlled by Community Board 3 earmarked specifically for environmentally beneficial projects within the board district. C.B. 3’s Con Edison Task Force

met last month to discuss the progress on East Village and Lower East Side environmental projects that are provided funding by the Con Edison Settlement Fund, and review potential future applicants for funding.


Con Ed established the settlement fund in 2002, in an effort to offset the environmental cost — and, specifically, the impact on air quality — of increasing genera-

Continued on page 5

encouraging news. “Just dropped by East Village Farm Grocery and they told me that Akkas Ali has opened his eyes for the first time since the ‘accident,’” Weinberg wrote. “[They said] he didn’t talk, but I’ll take what I can get. Thank you, Akkas. We are rooting for you.”

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4 candidates make their case for being borough president by terese loeb kreuZer Three city councilmembers and one former community board chairperson want to be the next Manhattan borough president. At a forum convened by the Lower Manhattan Marketing Association on June 27, they told the audience why they are running for this office, summarizing their credentials and indi-

cating what they would like to do as borough president if elected. Councilmember Gale Brewer said that she has been working 40 years — as a teacher at Barnard and CUNY colleges, in the private sector and in government. She has been on the City Council since 2002. She said that these experi-

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JOHN CATSIMATIDIS FOR MAYOR A New Yorker for all New Yorkers Paid for by Catsimatidis 2013

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July 11 - July 24, 2013

Photo by Lincoln Anderson

In the horrific June 19 incident, the white Nissan plowed through the flower stand, critically injuring Muhammed Akkas Ali, before coming to a stop in the crosswalk at E. Fourth St. The driver was taken to the hospital, where he was arrested.

Co-workers: Critically injured florist has come out of coma Continued from page 1 On Tuesday evening, Shaifu Sumon, who works the night shift at the store, told The Villager, that it’s true, Akkas Ali had opened his eyes for the first time “three or four days ago.” However, he added, “But he doesn’t speak.” Last Thursday afternoon, Manan Sath, who works days at the store, told The Villager that one of the grocery’s injured workers had recently been able to leave the hospital, but was only able to walk with the help of crutches. The force of the speeding car, which was reportedly flying at 80 miles per hour, uprooted a fire hydrant and threw it across Fourth St. to the south side of the street. A Muni-Meter was also torn out of the pavement by the speeding car, and a tree was also felled. Bikes chained up to poles were left mangled. In total, three of the store’s employees were hurt when the white Nissan Altima driven by Sean Martin, 32, flew up onto the curb. As for Akkas Ali, 62, the most severely injured of the three, Sath just said his condition was “critical.” Sath said he personally hadn’t been able to visit Akkas Ali at Beth Israel because he was too busy running the store.

However, he said, “All my family members, they have been going every single day” to visit him. Meanwhile, an emergency fund set up to help Akkas Ali, who has a wife and three sons, had 235 donations as of early Monday morning. The fund was set up by Chad Marlow, a Community Board 3 member. Marlow knows firsthand the pain caused by such an accident, since his own father was critically injured by a drunk driver and never fully recovered, devastating Marlow’s entire family. Akkas Ali’s having been in a coma is similar to what Marlow’s father endured. “My dad was in a coma for quite awhile,” he said, “so I think that is not necessarily a bad sign as much as it is a sign of the severity of his injuries.” The C.B. 3 member is also spearheading an initiative for an East Village / Tompkins Square Slow Zone that would implement measures to slow car traffic to create safer streets. Local blog EV Grieve recently reported that the fund for Akkas Ali had raised close to $12,000 from exactly 200 donors, according to Marlow. The fundraiser ends on July 20 and Marlow hopes to raise a total of $100,000. To contribute to the emergency fund, go to .

July 11 - July 24, 2013




What’s their beef with Pino? After the recent loss of Joe’s Dairy on Sullivan St., we soon heard reports that Pino Prime Meats right across the street also faced a threat. We stopped in at the renowned butcher the other week, and Pino Cinquemani (which translates to “five hands”), who has owned the store since 1980, filled us in. As he spoke, he was dressing a chicken with spinach, provolone and prosciutto for a client, Nanette, in Bridgehampton. Basically, it seems the co-op building he’s in, 149-151 Sullivan St., has a “beef” with Pino. Apparently, they don’t like the sawdust he put on the floor, protesting it was getting tracked around on the sidewalk in front and also inside the apartment building on its stairway. “We put sawdust on the floor,” Pino said. “The fat man is come to pick up the fat. I don’t do anything wrong. … It’s not really the landlord,” he added. “It’s the co-op. We don’t know what they want. My customers, they all my friends, they sign a petition. … It must be like one or two guys, they don’t like me — or somebody wants my place.” He has a court date on July 16. But he still has about five years left on his lease, and his lawyer told Pino the co-op doesn’t have a good case. Several weeks ago, though, he stopped spreading sawdust on the floor. “When there’s rain, people take it out [on their shoes],” Pino conceded. “My lawyer said, ‘Don’t put it no more.’ ” Jeremiah Moss of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York has posted the petition "" currently with more than 1,530 signatures.   Cuomo’s signature moment: After all the sturm and drang over the state Legislature’s stealthy passage of numerous amendments to the Hudson River Park Act without a public process, the question remains — is Governor Cuomo going to sign the legislation into effect, and if so, when? Richard Gottfried, who sponsored the bill in the Assembly along with Deborah Glick, explained, “Under the state constitution, he has 10 days from the time a bill is physically delivered to him by the house in which it originated — in this case, the Assembly. The bill has not been delivered to him yet. The ordinary practice in

the closing days of a legislative session, when commonly hundreds of bills are passed, is we don’t just deliver them all to the governor in a big pile. It would be very difficult for him to deal with them in 10 days. So, over the summer, he notifies the Legislature when he is ready for a batch of bills, and we send them. Typically, he will tell us which bills he would like us to send him. Usually almost all the bills are transmitted by the end of the summer. Occasionally a bill or two is still hanging out as we get into December. But ultimately they are all delivered. I would have no idea when he will ask for the Hudson River Park bill to be delivered.” Obviously, the park’s air rights aren’t transferring anywhere unless the governor signs the bill. We’re feeling the heat: We’re pleased to report that The King, i.e. LeBron James, is now following The Villager on Twitter. He’s following something like 140,000 people, groups, etc., but the way he effortlessly dishes passes and dribbles, he can probably handle that volume easily with just one hand on his smartphone. As for why the reigning league M.V.P. and N.B.A. champ is following us, maybe it was Tequila Minsky’s recent story and photo about a Soho outlet’s early-morning sale of James’s new kicks and all the “heat” that the sneakers

Photo by Scoopy were generating. So, just as a test, we’re going to run another of Minsky’s photos from that sneakerpalooza, and

Continued on page 24


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July 11 - July 24, 2013

Photos by Tequila Minksy

Amid gardeners’ fete, developer reinforces his fence Green thumbs young and old at The Children’s Magical Garden, at Norfolk and Stanton Sts., on Tuesday celebrated their recent victory that saw the city, on June 26, transfer two of the garden’s lots to the Parks Department. These two parts of the garden will now be preserved as permanent green space. Meanwhile, the third lot, owned by Serge Hoyda, remains in the developer’s possession. However, the gardeners are pushing the city to negotiate a “land swap” with him, by giving him a comparable property at another location. Hoyda, who built a chain-link fence around his lot in May, chose to reinforce it with plywood on the very day of the party. Gardeners marched in protest, above left, accompanied by three musicians, and sang chants, “Leave the garden whole/It’s good for the soul” and “Take down the fence/Garden permanence!” The party went on as scheduled. Also, kids from the Bronx came down to play in the garden Tuesday, below left, as part of the Summer Kids program. Souvlaki GR restaurant, at 116 Stanton St., provided the kids and garden group with free food. A private security car, below right, is now a daily presence next to the fenced-off lot.

Photos by Clayton Patterson

July 11 - July 24, 2013


C.B. 3 has $1 million to give environmental projects Continued from page 1 tion capacity at its E. 14th St. generation facility. Con Ed contributed $3.75 million to create the fund, which is allocated to various community-based environmental projects by the C.B. 3 task force. At its June 19 meeting, the task force received updates on initiatives by the Cooper Square Committee, the Lower East Side Ecology Center and the New York City Tree Trust. The group also vetted a preliminary inquiry for funds by La Plaza Cultural, at the southwest corner of E. Ninth St. and Avenue C. William LoSasso, La Plaza’s executive director, sought the task force’s help in restoring the community green space after it sustained extensive damage during Hurricane Sandy in October. Susan Stetzer, the C.B. 3 district manager, told The Villager that about $1 million remains in the fund to allocate to projects that would environmentally benefit the district, which comprises much of the Lower East Side and the East Village. The task force has allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars to initiatives currently underway. The Lower East Side Ecology Center, for example, has received

roughly $102,000 for its EcoBizNYC and Street Tree Stewardship projects. The New York City Tree Trust’s Accelerated Greening Program has received $150,000 from the fund. Both initiatives are designed to bolster the community’s environmental health — the L.E.S. Ecology Center’s programs through reducing commercial energy needs and limiting air pollution and waste, and the NYC Tree Trust through the widespread planting and revitalization of trees within a half-mile radius of the Con Ed generation facility. One program to receive funding from the settlement fund that has yet to fully get underway is the Ryan-NENA Community Health Center’s Asthma Care Team. According to Carol Kostik, the task force’s chairperson, the East Village health center received around $225,000 from the fund, which it planned to dedicate to asthma screening and treatment in the community. At the task force’s June 19 meeting, however, Ryan-NENA Executive Director Kathy Gruber described how the program had yet to be implemented and expressed the health center’s hope of “catching up for for the lost months” since it received the funding. La Plaza’s LoSasso, meanwhile, brought a letter of inquiry to the task

Photo by Jefferson Siegel

Sound and vision to celebrate the solstice Garden activist Claire Costello joined in the face-painting fun at the Siempre Verde Garden, at Attorney and Stanton Sts., on the first day of summer. There was also music and a barbecue at the event, part of the Seventh Annual Make Music New York, a celebration of the year’s longest day, held in countless parks and gardens and on sidewalks and streets in 500 cities worldwide. Performers at Siempre Verde included Tracy Thorne, Winston Smith, Marc Kamhi and Everest Cale.

force that described the damage sustained by the popular community space during Superstorm Sandy last October. Not only did the garden suffer significant loss of trees and other plant life, but soil testing detected high levels of heavy metals in the ground, which now prevents the garden’s members from growing produce. LoSasso said he hoped to return with a proposal to receive funding from the task force for a replanting and soil remediation

program. He described La Plaza as an “asset worth keeping” in the community, “not only culturally but environmentally.” However, Kostik, the task force chairperson, while saying she would be open to a proposal by the community garden, emphasized the “slippery slope” that would emerge from assisting La Plaza Cultural when numerous other gardens in the neighborhood also sustained damage from the hurricane.


July 11 - July 24, 2013

Borough president candidates make their case at forum Continued from page 1 ences have taught her how to create new jobs and foster development that works for the community. She also said that she had “learned how to strengthen community boards” and make them “incredibly important to the neighborhood.” Julie Menin cited her seven years as chairperson of Community Board 1, her background as a small business owner and the founder of a major nonprofit organization in Lower Manhattan and her experience as a regulatory attorney as the calling cards for her borough president aspirations. “I have taken on the tough battles and won,” Menin said, “whether it was winning a $200 million victory against Con Edison for this community or whether it was getting the 9/11 terror trials moved out of the neighborhood, which no one thought was possible.” She said that her vision for the Borough President’s Office is “to do a comprehensive, borough-wide master plan, which cities all across the United States have. We are one of the few major American cities that does not have a master plan.” Menin said this plan would provide a blueprint for building more affordable housing, school seats and open space. Councilmember Jessica Lappin introduced herself as a lifelong New Yorker and a lifelong Democrat, raised by a single mom. She mentioned that she had graduated from Stuyvesant High School and is raising two boys in the city. “I understand many of the concerns and challenges that middle-class families are facing,” she said. “I’m running for borough president because we need a fighter for middle-class and working people in this city — somebody who understands that we need to be focusing on housing, on public education, on creating jobs — and I intend to use the Borough President’s Office, if I’m fortunate enough to be elected, to tackle those issues.” Councilmember Robert Jackson said he was born and raised in Manhattan. “I’ve been an advocate for our children and a fighter for our community,” he said. “I want to continue to be an energetic leader on behalf of Manhattanites and all New Yorkers.” The candidates agreed that the Borough President’s Office was important because of its ability to affect land use and its role in appointing community board members and members of other influential boards. “There is a lot of power in this office, in particular, to help people,” said Lappin. “You have, through the land use process, a real, meaningful effect on what gets built in this city and where.” She said the borough president could “demand and create more affordable

Downtown Express photo by Yoon Seo Nam

Julie Menin, left and Jessica Lappin, were two of the Democratic candidates for borough president to appear last week at a forum at New York Law School.

housing and public school seats and daycare centers and senior centers, and really make sure that we are growing and evolving in the right way. You also have the power to appoint community boards where a lot of the local interaction with government happens in this city.” Lappin, Brewer and Jackson mentioned legislation that they had sponsored or worked on in the City Council, indicating what issues and positions might be important to them if they were elected Manhattan borough president. “I wrote a landmark law to regulate the state health clinics that are set up by anti-abortion extremists to deceive women into thinking that they’re getting medical care when they’re not,” Lappin said. “I chaired the Committee on Aging in the City Council, and when the mayor wanted to close 100 senior centers and cut funding for programs like Meals on Wheels, I led the charge to keep those centers and those programs alive.” She said she was running “to continue to fight for tenants, for

working families, to add classroom space, to protect our seniors.” Jackson talked about his lawsuit against New York State, filed because “we felt that they were not providing our children with the opportunity for a sound, basic education. After 13 years of litigation, we won $16 billion for the children of New York City,” he said. Brewer said that she had authored the groundbreaking New York City paid sick leave law, overriding the mayor’s veto. “Starting in April 2014, one million workers who don’t have a day off if they’re ill or if their child is ill, will get paid sick days,” she said. She said she had always been focused on schools and quality-of-life issues, such as graffiti and getting rid of bedbugs, which had even started to infest the city’s movie theaters. “I swear to God, I’m the one who did it,” she said. “I put in 28 agencies to meet on a regular basis and now we can go to the movies again.” The audience laughed. Brewer also mentioned starting a com-

posting program in the schools in her Upper West Side neighborhood that is now going citywide. When it came time for questions from the audience, Barry Skolnick, a former Community Board 1 member, asked about the development projects that have been approved by the City Council over the years. “I don’t know that the City Council has ever rejected even one of them,” he said. “I wonder if you could comment on if that concerns you and what you could try to do to improve the Council’s backbone in dealing with some of these development projects?” Brewer replied that she hadn’t voted for the recent South Street Seaport Pier 17 redevelopment and zoning change. “I was the only councilmember not to,” she said. Josh Rogers, editor of Downtown Express, The Villager’s sister paper, moderated the forum. The Democratic primary election in which the four candidates will appear on the ballot takes place on Tues., Sept. 10.

July 11 - July 24, 2013


Photos by Tequila Minsky

Honored for fighting crime, colds and development The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation held its annual Village Awards on June 17 at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium, at 66 W. 12th St. The awards are given to honor the people, businesses and organizations that make Downtown’s neighborhoods special. This year’s honorees included Avignone Chemists; Block Drug Store; N.Y.U. Faculty Against the Sexton Plan; Jeremiah Shea, president of the Ninth Precinct Community Council; Sir Winston Churchill Square, the park at Downing and Bleecker Sts. and Sixth Ave.; and this year’s recipient of the Regina Kellerman Award, Bowery Alliance of Neighbors (BAN). Clockwise from top left: Carmine Palermo, Sr., former owner of the Block Drug Store on Second Ave. from 1962 to 2000 — the store is now run by his son Carmine, Jr. and daughter-in-law Beth Palermo; BAN members, from left, Michele Campo, Jean Standish, David Mulkins, Sally Young and Mitchell Grubler; and Professor Mark Crispin Miller of N.Y.U. FASP.

Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.

Assemblyman Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email


June 20 - July 3, 20133

Police BLOTTER Cabbie helps collar crooks

Photo by Jefferson Siegel

Jail time for stealing tot’s iPhone Feliberto Ramirez, 53, was sentenced to one and a half to three years in prison on July 3 in Manhattan Supreme Court for stealing an iPhone from a child. Last March 10, Aidan Tally, 3, was playing a game on his mother’s phone as she shopped for shoes in Zacky’s clothing store, on Broadway near E. Fourth St. Aiden was engrossed playing “Subway Surfer” when Ramirez walked by and snatched the phone from him. Before leaving the store, Ramirez patted the boy’s head, said, “Thank you” and handed him $3. After the theft, Ninth Precinct Detective John Villanueva viewed surveillance video of the incident, which, he said, showed Ramirez taking the phone from the child. Police recovered the phone by using its GPS locator. Several days later they tracked Ramirez to the men’s shelter on the Bowery at E. Third St. Villanueva said Ramirez admitted to taking the phone and was then arrested. Ramirez previously had been arrested for theft and trespassing.


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A keen-eyed cab driver certainly deserved a hefty tip for his efforts early on July 2, when he played a key role in helping police collar two alleged thieves. Police said it all started around 1:30 a.m., when a man — later identified as Alrajia Winbush, 20 — reportedly crept up behind a woman, 24, walking past the corner of 14th St. and Sixth Ave., and ripped her cell phone out of her hand before fleeing east on 14th St. The victim also told officers that, immediately after that incident, a second man — later identified as Jeffrey Bennit, 19 — approached her, also from behind, and asked her, “Want me to go get him?” But Bennit’s comment was apparently only intended to confuse and distract the victim, according to the cab driver. The hack, who told police he’d witnessed the entire incident while in his taxi, began following Bennit after he’d spoken to the victim, tracking him to the corner of E. 14th St. and Fifth Ave., where Bennit met up with Winbush and started chatting with him. According to the cabbie, this suggested the two men had been working together to make off with the phone. Police thought so, too. The heroic hack then called police to report the crime and the suspects’ whereabouts — then continued to trail Winbush and Bennit in his taxi, following them all the way to the corner of E. 12th St. and University Place, where the pair had paused for a moment. When he spotted a passing police car, the driver got out of his cab to flag down the officers and point out Winbush and Bennit. The two officers then followed the two men for about another block in order to observe them in the act of displaying and using the stolen phone. While Winbush and Bennit were walking east on E. 11th St., between Universtiy Place and Broadway, the cops ordered them to stop and submit to a search. But the suspects attempted to flee. They dropped the phone, split up and sprinted away in opposite directions. The two officers, however, were fast enough to catch and arrest both of them after brief chases. Winbush was apprehended at E. 11th St. and Fourth Ave., and Bennit at W. 11th St. and Sixth Ave. After making the arrests, the police also recovered the phone. Winbush and Bennit were charged with robbery.

Groper caught in the end A woman, 32, called police on her cell phone just after midnight on July 6, to report that a man had grabber her rear end. According to the woman, a stranger — later identified as Tyler Reynolds, 22 — snuck up from behind while she

was standing at the corner of W. 14th St. and Seventh Ave., grabbed her butt, and walked away. As she called the police, the woman tailed Reynolds as he walked away, and her tips on the alleged creep’s location helped officers apprehend him near the corner of Perry St. and Greenwich Ave. The victim positively identified Reynolds before the officers arrested him. He was charged with forcible touching.

‘Flour’ is toast Police said they saw Kyle Riggs, 37, drawing graffiti on a payphone near the corner of Jones St. and W. Fourth St., around 2 a.m. on July 4, using a white marker. They apprehended Riggs and inspected his illegal handiwork — the word “Flour” written on the payphone’s side. At the Sixth Precinct, the officers did research on the “Flour” marking, and found it was Riggs’s personal tag — one that had been reported in three unsolved graffiti incidents, all in the Village on June 15. On that day, owners of Il Villagio nail salon and Townhouse Shops clothing boutique — both on LaGuardia Place, between West Houston and Bleecker Sts. — and a manager at GMT bar, at the corner of LaGuardia Place and Bleecker St., all told police they had found “Flour” scratched into the front windows of their establishments. Riggs eventually admitted to being responsible for the previous graffiti. So, in addition to charging him with making graffiti on July 4, police also slapped Riggs with three charges of criminal mischief.

Glass smash Police arrested Christopher Stewart, 54, on the night of July 2 after he allegedly shoved another man through the front window of a West Village bodega. A worker at Sixth Ave. News and Tobacco, at 488 Sixth Ave., between W. 12th and W. 13th Sts., told officers that, around 11:30 p.m., he saw Stewart get into a verbal altercation with the other man just outside the shop. According to that witness, the dispute escalated quickly, ending when Stewart pushed the man hard enough to send him flying into the bodega’s window, shattering it. The man who was shoved — who was uninjured, according to police — and the store worker detained Stewart while the worker called police, who quickly arrived to arrest him. Police declined to charge Stewart with assault, but did charge him with felony criminal mischief.

Sam Spokony

July 11 - July 24, 2013


Arturo Vega, 65, artistic director for the Ramones OBITUARY By Albert Amateau Arturo Vega, whose E. Second St. loft became the headquarters, T-shirt factory and sometime home for the legendary punk rock band the Ramones, died June 8 at the age of 65. Known as “The Fifth Ramone” for serving as the spokesman, lighting director, logo designer and faithful friend of the quartet, who frequently fought among themselves, he stayed with them from 1974 to 1996, when the band broke up for the last time. “Arturo traveled all over the world with them but maybe his greatest accomplishment was staying best friends with all the Ramones even thought their infighting had sadly become legendary,” said John Holmstrom, the writer and cartoonist who was a founding editor of Punk magazine and later the editor of High Times. “I don’t remember when I first got to know Arturo, but it must have been after he moved into that amazing loft a stone’s throw from CBGB, the club where the Ramones made rock and roll history,” Holmstrom said. “I was told he was their artistic director, and that described well enough what he did. I don’t remember any other band with an artistic director and I was impressed that the Ramones were smart enough to hire one. But I figured out later that Arturo offered to do things and the band went along with it,” said Holmstrom. It all started around 1973 when Doug Colvin, who became Dee Dee Ramone, passed by Arturo’s open door and popped in to say he liked the music that was playing on the stereo and that he was starting a band himself. Colvin’s girlfriend at the time was living on the floor above Arturo’s. Eduardo Arturo Vega was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on Oct. 13, 1947, and came to New York in his 20s to make is way as a graphic artist. By 1976 when the Ramones were getting reading to issue their first album, Vega had designed their logo, based on the Great Seal of the United States, but the eagle was clutching an apple branch in one talon (the Ramones were as American as apple pie) and a baseball bat in the other (because Johnny Ramone, the lead guitarist, loved baseball). The first names of the Ramones — Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Tommy — circle the eagle. The logo was the emblem on their most popular T-shirt, and Vega sold thousands of them. “They never had a No. 1 hit record but they sure had a No. 1 hit T-shirt,” Holmstrom said. Nevertheless, Holmstrom said, “Some of us think the Ramones were the greatest American rock and roll band of all times and the best punk rock band ever.” Holmstrom recalled his excitement when he was planning the third issue of Punk magazine when the Ramones got their first record contract.

Arturo Vega’s main profile photo on his Facebook page.

“We planned to run the biggest story that we could pull off and Roberta Bayley was photographing them for the issue,” he said. “We tried a few shots in the loft but they fidgeted and were uncomfortable. Arturo suggested the playground down the block. We tried several shots there until Dee Dee got bored, picked up some dog s--- on a stick and started waving it around. End of photo shoot,” Holmstrom said. “Before Roberta had developed the film, we got a frantic phone call from Danny Fields, the Ramones manager, that some photos they had made for their album cover turned out to be useless. Roberta rushed some proofs to Danny and one of them was perfect for the front cover. Arturo contributed one of his photos for the back cover and another for the inside sleeve,”

Holmstrom said. Those photos were among the countless things that Arturo did for the Ramones. He missed only two of their more than 2,000 performances. “His images matched the look and the

aura of the Ramones, especially in the early days. He was really the first punk artist,” said Holmstrom. But his warmth and generosity were his hallmarks. “He was kind of a mother figure to Joey,” remarked Legs McNeil, a co-founder of Punk magazine. After the band broke up, Vega worked with other bands and created images on his own. He was instrumental in having the city designate the corner of E. Second St. and Third Ave as Joey Ramone Place in 2003 after Joey died of cancer. In November 2009, Mariette Bermowitz, while randomly being interviewed by The Villager on Greenwich Ave. about the recent closing of Lafayette Bakery — she said she never cared for the pastry shop — mentioned that she had been married to Arturo Vega for a period, but that they were no longer together. He was a nice guy, she said. When The Villager later mentioned this to Holmstrom, he said he never knew Vega had ever been married and was shocked to hear about it. According to Bermowitz’s author’s description on for her May 2012 autobiography, “Mindele’s Journey: Memoir of a Hidden Child of the Holocaust,” she was married to Vega for 10 years.

With reporting by Lincoln Anderson

Sick 9/11 first responders and survivors should apply for compensation before Oct. 3 deadline The horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11 affected all of us, but survivors and the brave first responders, many of whom risked everything to provide emergency aid, have suffered incomparable health problems and financial loss in the years following this awful tragedy. Recognizing that many of the victims of 9/11 continued to suffer in the aftermath of the attacks, I, and a number of my colleagues in the New York congressional delegation, authored the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The Zadroga Act provides health care and economic compensation to first responders and survivors. However, time is running out to apply for economic benefits under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). If you are a 9/11 survivor or first responder and discovered as of Oct. 3, 2011 that you have an injury or became sick as a result of the 9/11 attacks, you MUST register for economic compensation by Oct. 3, 2013. If you lost a loved one, compensation may also be available to the family members of first responders and survivors. You can find out more information about the VCF and apply by visiting Research has shown that first responders and survivors who were exposed to dangerous toxins that entered the air at Ground Zero have significantly higher cancer risks, respiratory problems and other medical concerns. While the World Trade Center Health Program portion of the Zadroga Act provides health coverage for eligible first responders and survivors -- and recently coverage was extended to additional types of cancer that have been linked to toxins from Ground Zero -- there are likely many out there who are eligible for economic compensation as a result of lost productivity, pain and suffering, etc. That is where the VCF comes in. I and my New York Congressional colleagues worked hard to pass the Zadroga Act and will continue to fight for strong funding. I encourage anyone who became sick or injured as a result of the 9/11 attacks and suffered economic losses to apply for compensation. Please don’t wait.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn) The Ramones logo, designed by Arturo Vega.


July 11 - July 24, 2013

eDitoRiAl Uniting the two Americas Four years after launching federal litigation against Proposition 8, Chad Griffin, now president of the Human Rights Campaign, has reason to be happy. His hope of settling the question of a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage fell short, for now, but marriage equality has been restored to California and, due to victory in the DOMA case, the U.S. government will now recognize legal marriages by gay and lesbian couples. It is significant, then, that just 12 days after the two welcome Supreme Court rulings, Griffin used the start of a five-day trip this week to issue something of a dire warning: “that there are now ‘Two Americas’ when it comes to L.G.B.T. equality.” As he departed Washington en route to Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Arkansas, those words were certainly appropriate to the itinerary, if not in fact an understatement. The immediate impulse is to consider Griffin’s observation in the context of the marriage fight. Thirteen states now have marriage equality, another six offer civil unions or their equivalents, and one — Wisconsin — has a more modest partnership law. That’s 40 percent of the states, but those 20 states show a very distinctive geographic pattern. Nine of the marriage-equality states hug the Eastern Seaboard — the six in New England, plus New York, Delaware and Maryland. Adding New Jersey, which has a civil union law and would have marriage had Chris Christie not used his veto pen last year, you see a stretch of equality or near-equality from Maine to the nation’s capital. On the West Coast, there is gay marriage in Washington and California, and civil union-style laws in neighboring Oregon and Nevada. And the Upper Midwestern marriage oases of Minnesota and Iowa border Illinois, which has civil unions and strong momentum toward full marriage. The 30 states that offer no relationship recognition dominate much of the rest of the Midwest, Great Plains, Mountain West and the entire South, from Virginia to Texas. Of those 30, 25 have prohibitions against same-sex marriage — and often other forms of partner recognition, as well — written into their constitutions, a hurdle that imposes special burdens on advocates seeking to deliver equality across the nation. In the wake of the Supreme Court victories last month, groups from H.R.C. to Freedom to Marry to the gay community’s leading legal advocacy organizations offered game plans for advancing the marriage fight — in state legislatures and state and federal courts. Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon are seen by some as the lowest hanging fruit. But state constitutional amendments will have to be undone one by one, unless there is a sweeping nationwide victory in the federal courts. And marriage equality will have to begin winning in states where gains to date have been modest to nil — places like Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, not even to mention Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky or Texas. And yet, relationship recognition and marriage aren’t the most important needs among L.G.B.T. Americans. In 29 states, queer people enjoy no statewide protections against discrimination of any type — in employment, housing or anything else. The 29 states that offer no protections against discrimination match up almost identically with the 30 that give same-sex couples no relationship recognition. In short, the L.G.B.T. rights project cannot succeed without a dramatic expansion of the map. And in 29 states, people cannot wait. Congress must, as a first step, move on the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. President Obama can — and must — issue an executive order barring discrimination by any business

letteRS to tHe eDitoR Willful disregard for others’ safety Is this really the East Village? To The Editor: Re “Drag-racing driver careens onto sidewalk, injures 4” (news article, June 20): The article refers to the crash on Second Ave. as an “accident.” There was no accident. There was a willful disregard for the safety of others by an outof-control driver. Calling this tragedy an “accident” seems inappropriate. Liam Quigley

Village View must let him back in To The Editor: Re “After fire, Village View man fights eviction effort” (news article, June 20): Please, Bohdan needs help. He is trying very hard to keep his apartment. He lost his job. He got unemployment, but like many, he couldn’t find work. These jobs were outsourced and he ended up with Social Security. He got a thyroid condition, which gives him big problems. He was struggling along and his friends helped keep him from losing the apartment. Now, due to the fire in his place, Village View has a good excuse to get an apartment that can be resold for a lot of money. Bohdan tells me every time we talk, that if he loses this apartment and what is left of his belongings, he will kill himself. Or he says, “I want to die in my sleep.” He has been waiting since March 1 for them to repair his apartment. He has no access to his home to get clothes or anything else that he needs. The management arranged to have his things put into plastic bags and thrown on top of his desk and other furniture, and also on the floor. All his belongings were handled by strangers. He collected antiques and coins, which he used to sell to keep his place. All the closets and drawers were cleaned out by strangers, without him present. Here is why I know this. I am his mother. I don’t live in New York and I am too ill to travel. My heart is bleeding and I am asking if there is somebody out there to save his life. He is a good person and is always very helpful to others. Please help. Edith Rekshynskyj

To The Editor: Re “Garden revokes his membership again, throws away the key” (news article, June 13): I stand on the sidelines as a sentient objector to the ludicrous actions of not only the inept Dias y Flores board of directors — who can’t or won’t follow their own bylaws to govern the garden in fairness — but also Roland Choloutte’s unrighteous dictatorial decree to close membership to the garden. Is this even legal? Hello? Are we still in the East Village, or is this some provincial, 200-person town ruled by cliques and good ol’ boy networks? Our community gardens exist so people who live here can come celebrate nature, share stories and poetry and sing with friends and family with food and drink. Truly, if singing and playing acoustic musical instruments is considered disrupting the peace at 7 p.m. on a weekend, so be it! Can’t deal? Perhaps you should consider moving to the tranquil suburbs. Our community gardens are not owned by private co-op boards nor by residents who border these plots of city property. Jeff Wright, poet, artist and garden activist, has fought to protect community gardens for many years as a longtime resident, and this treatment he’s receiving is absurd. The East Village is home to many artists, poets, writers and musicians, and we will not allow our freedom of expression to be quelled by a few dowdy curmudgeons who would otherwise like to form their private social club at the garden. We need more people like Jeff to push back against corrupt systems, to speak out and hold the people who make rules but do not follow them accountable. I’m happy to consider Jeff a friend and support him in his efforts. Andrea LeHeup

Has ‘cultivated’ untold artists To The Editor Re “Garden revokes his membership again, throws away the key” (news article, June 13): Jeff Wright is a generous-spirited person with a big heart. A poet himself, he has taken it upon himself to support countless artists and writers who are unsung in a city whose institutions champion mostly blue-chip, international art. For years he has published magazines and writ-

Continued on page 12

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seeking contracts with the federal government. When it comes to discrimination, surely, it is unacceptable to Barack Obama that he preside over two Americas. A version of this editorial first appeared in Gay City News, The Villager’s sister paper.

WE NEWSP July 11 - July 24, 2013


Citi Bike has me on a roll, and it’s not very pretty TALKING POINT

And while the pricing scheme for the Citi Bikes has been modified to make it more affordable, there continues to be a $9.95 base price for single-day use. This allows unlimited half-hour rides, but with an additional $4 for the second half hour of any ride. And the price goes up to $9 and then $12 for subsequent half hours. So a one-time, hour-long ride will cost... 14 bucks? By my math, a four-hour ride would cost $49! Operating the payment system and also kicking in a few million dollars for the program is MasterCard — a company now facing a European Union antitrust probe over its inflated transaction fees. So, a double insult! Having some sinister corporation

By Bill Weinberg As a long-suffering New York City bicyclist, I really want to take heart in Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial measures to accommodate human-powered transport. But since the very start, it has all smelled suspicious. Five years ago, the “congestion pricing” plan to charge motorists to enter Manhattan seemed a prescription for accelerating the transformation of the island into a sort of Manhattanland tourist theme park. The closing of large sections of Times Square to cars has coincided with administration of this “public” space being turned over nearly completely to the Times Square Alliance business improvement district; adding pedestrian plazas to the west side of the East Village’s Cooper Square is similarly concomitant with delivering the historic plaza over to Cooper Union college and the new Grace Church High School as a virtually privatized space. And now, the new bicycle-sharing program vindicates my worst fears... Let’s start with the name — which is not merely an aesthetic issue, but one that hits the core theme of private and corporate colonization of the public sphere. By now we all know that these blue bicycles that New Yorkers are riding around on are dubbed “Citi Bikes,”

Even now, Citibank defies a campaign demanding it condemn the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill in Uganda.

New for Stonewall’s wall Despite its tremendous significance in the history of gay civil rights, the Stonewall Inn, on Christopher St., surprisingly lacks a proper commemorative plaque, in the opinion of new state Senator Brad Hoylman. “Stonewall had nothing of prominence,” he noted.” But that will soon change. Hoylman has worked with the Historic Landmark Preservation Center and the building’s landlord to create an appropriate marker that will be affixed to the exterior of the iconic gay bar. H.L.P.C. creates special terracotta medallions to pay homage to, not only

brick-and-mortar buildings, but to what happened of importance inside them. The medallion will reference President Obama’s having mentioned the Stonewall in his second inaugural speech. “He’s the first president ever to mention Stonewall. Period,” Hoylman noted. A dedication ceremony will be held at the Stonewall on Tues., July 16, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be representatives from the L.G.B.T. community, and Maureen McLane, a poet for The New Yorker, will read a special commemorative poem written especially for the occasion.


On July 4, Uncle Sam was spotted, not on a Citi Bike, but on the E train on his way up to view the fireworks at W. 23rd St.

with each one sporting the goddamned Citibank logo. Isn’t there something fundamentally perverse about Citibank cashing in on the opportunity for a little greenwashing, courtesy of City Hall? Are we supposed to forget that Citibank was the most intransigent opponent to sanctions on South Africa in the 1980s — the last U.S. bank still functioning in the apartheid state before it finally succumbed to a worldwide activist campaign and pulled out in 1987? It was only activist pressure that dissuaded the company from opening a branch in totalitarian Burma 10 years later. Even now, Citibank defies a campaign demanding that it condemn the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda, another unseemly regime with which it happily does business. And the banking giant recently reached a deal to take over “Peru’s Chernobyl” — the metal smelting complex at La Oroya, one of the world’s most polluted sites, which local peasants are demanding be shut down. Member of the New York Press Association

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Photo by Milo Hess

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The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.

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get to splash its logo all over the bikes would be bad enough. And having the program be ludicrously overpriced (for those who don’t want to buy a $95 annual membership) would be bad enough! But... both?! The bicycle-sharing programs in many European cities are free or moderately priced. (The baseline for daily use in Paris is under 2 euros.) How many contemporary Citi Bike users know that the first bike-sharing program was pioneered in Amsterdam in the ’60s by a radical counterculture group, the Provos. Before the city government got on board later, the Provos’ “White Bicycle” initiative was an “underground” program launched in spite of the authorities, and celebrated in the 1968 acidrock anthem “My White Bicycle.” Now, two generations later, it has come to... this? Like all of Bloomberg’s supposed pro-bicycle measures, this represents elite, corporate recuperation of progressive, revolutionary ideas. I’m increasingly convinced that these measures are doing more harm than good. Even as they spark a backlash from reactionary motorheads, they may actually be restricting the freedom and safety of cyclists. I’ve already heard stories of cyclists being ticketed for not being in the bike lane. Motorists meanwhile seem to think they are not obliged to respect any cyclist’s right to the road on streets that don’t have bike lanes, which is the overwhelming majority of the city’s streets. A few months back, I was riding on one of those streets, Brooklyn’s Myrtle Ave., when (yet again!) a bus driver cut me off and came within inches and micro-


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July 11 - July 24, 2013

Citi Bike has me on a roll, and it’s not very pretty Continued from page 11 seconds of killing me. When I caught up with him at the next bus stop and got in his face, I didn’t just get the usual arrogant and dismissive ’tude — he had the nerve to say, “There’s no bike lane on this street!” As if any cyclist on a street with no bike lane is nothing but roadkill waiting to happen. You’d think it would have occurred to Bloomberg to instruct his notoriously pro-bicycle Transportation commish, Janette Sadik-Khan, to have a little talk with the M.T.A. chairperson (until recently, the now-mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota) and tell him to make sure bus drivers know that bicyclists have a right to the road! Instead, the M.T.A. seems to be instructing their drivers that cyclists have no rights. This very tendency was acknowledged by Sadik-Khan in her move to eliminate those futile “DON’T HONK” signs from around the city: She argued that motorists may have been assuming it was O.K. to honk on streets where

there was no sign. This of course raises the question of whether the city will take other, more effective measures to crack down on the incessant, maddening, aggressive horn-leaning. But more to my particular point: Will Sadik-Khan understand that the same logic applies to bike lanes — motorists now think it is O.K. to terrorize bicyclists on streets that don’t have them? Another illustration of how bicycle lanes are counterproductive: I recently had to swerve out of the bike lane and into the traffic stream because there was a parked car blocking the bike lane. (This happens all the time.) The motorist behind me (in a big Mack truck, no less) actually sped up to intentionally menace me, while yelling, “Get into the bike lane!” And then (of course), the light at the intersection was red anyway, so he was just hurrying up to sit waiting a few extra seconds for the light to change. He gambled with my life completely gratuitously. Obviously, this is inherently irrational behavior, yet it is practically universal. Systems theory tells us that the function

of a system is what it does. We may think that the function of the automotive transport system is to move people around, but endless gridlock tells us that it is actually a very poor way of doing that. In its actual function, this system serves to A.) take carbon from the bowels of the earth and put it in the atmosphere, thereby destabilizing the planet’s climate; B.) displace greenery and communities with seas of choking asphalt; and C.) turn people into insensitive jerks. The kind of people who will kill to wait at a traffic light. The Transportation Department has put up signs at certain dangerous intersections with an image of a bicycle and the words “SHARE THE ROAD.” Some do-gooders have left white-painted “ghost bikes” at places around the city where cyclists have been killed. It is all an exercise in futility that makes no impact on the mentality of motorists. I even had a motorist cut me off while indicating the sign and shouting at me: “SHARE THE ROAD!” — as if the sign were admonishing bicyclists to share the road with motorists! The bicycle-sharing program was held

up last year when Comptroller John Liu warned that it could be both a safety and financial liability for the city. In a report to the Transportation Department, he noted that in 2010, there were 368 bicycle-related crashes in the city, 19 of which resulted in a fatality. From 2004 to 2009, the city had the highest fatality rate for bicyclists in North America. I can’t go along with Liu’s call for mandatory helmets for Citi Bike users, because this could set a precedent for applying this to cyclists generally, and there are already enough restrictions on cyclists’ liberty, thank you. But I thank him for bringing these statistics to the public’s attention. The automotive transport system is inherently irrational and life-destroying. We must dare to dream of its abolition. The counterproductive compromise measures ultimately only forestall the inevitable solution: banning cars from New York City. And, eventually, the world. Weinberg blogs at WorldWar4Report. com

letteRS to tHe eDitoR usual crowds to the West Village. Unfortunately, a massive amount of garbage in the streets followed in their wake. Amazingly, New York City’s unheralded Sanitation Department had it all removed by the next morning.

Gae Savannah

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to 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.

Proud moment for Sanitation To The Editor: This year’s Gay Pride March justifiably drew larger than



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ten reviews about artists’ shows that would likely have not gotten coverage otherwise. Jeff is loved and revered by hundreds of Downtown folks. Many of us treasure the small, quiet barbecues he hosts at Dias y Flores a few times a year. (Jeff and crew meticulously clean up after these events. I once walked back to the garden a couple hours after a party had ended and saw no trace of any paper, plastic or food.) Jeff Wright is the face of integrity in community gardens in New York. Though some board members routinely break the garden rules, he has not broken a single one at Dias y Flores. It is an egregious breach of his position that GreenThumb Deputy Director Roland Chouloute is siding with the elitist board. Wright has tried for 15 years to make

Dias y Flores a model garden. He has spread the word and welcomed people of all stripes to join. However Chouloute has now colluded with the board to thwart open membership. Without democracy the gardens are not truly public spaces. Inspired by Jeff's enthusiasm to make this the “greatest garden in the city,” I plan to join Dias y Flores and will vote against the exclusionary policies of the possibly corrupt board.

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D.O.T. not sure why Jodie Lane sign is gone — but will replace it by linColn anderson In May 2005, former Councilmember Margarita Lopez joined family members of Jodie Lane and the woman’s fiancé, Alex Wilbourne, at the northwest corner of First Ave. and E. 11th St. to unveil a new street conaming sign, “Jodie Lane Place.” “The name of Jodie Lane is going to be there forever,” Lopez proclaimed, “for Con Ed to remember what they did — that they didn’t care about the residents of New York City — and for it not to happen again.” Lane, 30, who lived a block away on E. 12th St., died Jan. 16, 2004, near the spot when she was electrocuted on a slush-covered Con Ed junction box on the street while walking her two dogs. The young therapist’s death horrified the city, and brought heightened awareness to the problem of stray voltage leaking from street fixtures. With pressure from Lopez, Con Ed agreed to do annual stray-voltage inspections for all street lampposts and other electrified street fixtures. “I’ll always be able to come back to Jodie Lane Place,” Wilbourne said, gazing up at the new sign, at the sign’s unveiling. “The city killed her, quite literally. It’s a part of city history now. I just hope there are multiple Con Ed employees that walk past this place to get to [their headquarters building in] Union Square.” “She’s become a part of the history of the city of New York,” Jodie’s father, Roger Lane, echoed back then. “That would tickle her. To

Con Ed, it will be a reminder they have more work to do. As for the family — long after we’re gone, people will wonder, ‘Who was Jodie Lane and why did this happen?’ ” However, at some point — it’s unclear exactly when — the Jodie Lane Place sign was removed from the lamppost. The Villager first noticed the sign was missing this past Wed., July 3. The normal-style street signs for E. 11th St. and First Ave. had also been removed from the lamppost, though new, highway-style, so-called cantilever signs for First Ave. and E. 11th St. had been installed hanging out over the intersection. Yet, there was no new sign of any sort anywhere in the intersection for Jodie Lane. Scott Gastel, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, told The Villager he didn’t believe there was any connection between the installation of the new-style cantilever signs and the disappearance of the Jodie Lane Place co-naming sign and the other traditionalstyle street signs that had been attached to that pole. It looks like the signs were removed with a hacksaw — a thin, jagged strip of green from the removed signs can still be seen. On Monday, in an e-mail, Gastel assured The Villager that a sign honoring Lane, plus the other removed signs, will be put back up on the pole. “We inspected,” he said, “and all three street-name signs, ‘1 Ave,’ ‘E 11 St’ and ‘Jodie Lane Place,’ will be replaced. This does not appear to have any relationship to the overhead sign you mentioned.”

Photo by Lincoln Anderson

At some point, a street co-naming sign for “Jodie Lane Place,” as well as signs for E. 11th St. and First Ave., were hacksawed off this lamppost, while a large, new, cantilever sign for First Ave. was added. Some jagged thin green strips, remnants of the former signs, are still visible toward the top of the photo.

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Free Electronics Recycling Events Events Are 10am to 4pm • Rain or Shine July 13 Tekserve, Chelsea July 20 College of Staten Island, Staten Island July 21 Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing Aug 17 La Salle Street, Morningside Heights

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by linColn anderson Chef David Bouhadana, is serving up authentic Japanese-style sushi with flair at his new Sushi Dojo, on First Ave. between Sixth and Seventh Sts. He’s also a lot of fun, and agreed to pose for this photo holding up a gigantic octopus tentacle and a blowtorch, the latter which he had just used to tenderize a particular type of sushi that is slightly more fibrous than other fish. Bouhadana, 27, has trained with the Food Network’s Iron Chef Morimoto and worked in some of the city’s top Japanese restaurants. He recently returned from a two-year stint in Japan where he intensively studied the discipline of sushi at a rural restaurant outside Osaka. Succulent sea urchin is one of his specialties. He also lightly cooks octopus and squid in multiple ways — all delicious — and grinds up his own special pastes, such as from Japanese potatoes, among others. He blends five seasonings, including Japanese citron, on his sushi, making the pieces among the most moist and flavorful you’ll find anywhere. His fish comes from far and wide, with some of it flown in specially from Japan and Alaska. For salmon sushi, he offers five different types, from deep-red Chinook to pale white. Sushi Dojo has a rare collection of sake and its own sake master, Max. Dojo, means a school or training hall in Japanese, and that’s how Bouhadana sees the restaurant — a place where diners learn about classic cuisine from the land of the rising sun. While he’s American, originally from Florida, and while not all his staff are Japanese, you’ll hear Bouhadana slinging the Nihongo.

Photo by Lincoln Anderson

Chef David Bouhadana is sparking excitement about traditional-style Japanese sushi.

He greets customers with “irashaimasay!” (welcome) and uses other Japanese expressions throughout the dining experience. For example, you might hear him call out, “Spoon, chodai!” — as in, “Get a spoon!” for this guy so he can scoop up the ground-potato paste. Basically, you’ll find few people as devoted to traditional sushi, with a creative twist, as Bouhadana. And his customers last Wednesday night were giving him enthusiastic feedback — with one group even rewarding him with some beers. The place has a 14-seat sushi bar for intimate interaction with Bouhadana and two other sushi chefs, and 36 seats total, so reservations are highly recommended. Sushi Dojo, 101 First Ave., Tues. to Sat., 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sun. to Mon. closed, 646692-9398,

Park gets condos — for kestrels Recycle with us for a chance to WIN a MacBook Air For questions about recycling, contact:

212.477.4022 •

A Lower East Side Ecology Center program sponsored by

119 W 23rd St • 212.929.3645 •

by lael hines To help provide a safe urban habitat for American kestrels, Hudson River Park has partnered with the New York City Audubon Society to create new “kestrel condos.” The American kestrel, also known as the sparrow hawk, is a small northern falcon with orange and gray plumage and two black stripes on either side of its head. Due to deforestation throughout North America, the bird’s habitat — typically, nooks in trees — has deteriorated. Kestrels eat grasshoppers and dragonflies, sometimes mice and even smaller birds. The Hudson River Park Trust is trying to help the kestrel rebound locally by installing several nesting boxes in the waterfront park. Carrie Roble, the Trust’s director of environmental education and stewardship, explained, “The nesting boxes are a great joint first effort between Hudson River Park and the New York City Audubon

An American kestrel, with it distinctive head stripes.

Society in supporting urban kestrel populations and getting park users to look up and realize that there are predatory birds thriving in the park. Hudson River Park hopes that the three recently installed nesting boxes within our borders will encourage American kestrels to claim the park as their home.”

July 11 - July 24, 2013


Former hospital has been carved up, will become Greenwich Lane condos By Lincoln Anderson A gaping space is all that remains where some of the largest towers of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital, on Seventh Ave. between 11th and 12th Sts., once stood, following the demolition of a huge swath of the medical complex. What’s left — with the addition of new construction — will be developed by The Rudin Organization / Global Holdings into The Greenwich Lane, 200 high-end condo residences, including five buildings, plus five single-family townhouses on 11th St. In March 2012, the number of planned units dropped by 100 — from 450 to 350 — and has since dropped by another 150 residences. As for why the amount of units apartments keeps decreasing, a spokesperson said, “In the end, they opted to go for bigger apartments — which reflects the current market.” State Senator Brad Hoylman was chairperson of Community Board 2 when the board reviewed the Rudin project application for the former hospital site. Asked his thoughts on the number of apartments having plunged to 200, he told The Villager, “It means that there will be fewer, wealthier people who will be paying for larger apartments. Fewer people will mean possibly less impact on schools and infrastructure — but it’s basically a wash. Maybe it will mean fewer cars, less pressure on infrastructure.” However, he said, it’s hard to gauge right now exactly what the impact of fewer apartments will be. There will be 10 separate addresses. The buildings will all be connected by a “lush, private, central garden.” The complex’s name refers to what Greenwich Ave. — one of Manhattan’s oldest streets — was known as until 1843. According to a press release, “each building in The Greenwich Lane will have its own unique identity and address, as well as slightly different finishes, reflective of the individual character of the particular building and setting.” Thomas O’Brien of Aero Studios, named by Architectural Digest as one of the top 100 designers in the world, is designing the interiors, creating each property’s unique style and feel. The project’s architects, FXFowle, are targeting a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group will launch sales at The Greenwich Lane this fall. Inquiries can be made through the pre-launch Web site at It’s expected that people will begin moving into the buildings toward the end of 2015. Pricing of the units hasn’t been finalized yet. However, the spokesperson said, “It will be comparable to other recent new luxury projects Downtown, such as 150 Charles St. [the Witkoff project at the former Whitehall storage site] and 56 Leonard St.” As part of the project’s approval in March 2012, the city pledged to purchase 75 Morton St. for use as a public school,

Photo by Lincoln Anderson

A huge swath of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital has been demolished and will be redeveloped with new infill construction.

while Rudin agreed that the former hospital’s Reiss building on 12th St. would be reused rather than razed and replaced with a new 12-story apartment building. Rudin also agreed to reduce the number of parking spaces in a planned underground garage on 12th St. from 152 to 95. Additionally, Rudin committed to contributing $1 million for arts programming and projects at P.S. 41 and P.S. 3. To support affordable housing, Rudin pledged to donate $1 million to MFY Legal Services to help protect local rent-regulated tenants. Furthermore, the developer is transferring ownership of the planned triangle park — to have an AIDS memorial in one corner — on Seventh Ave.’s west side between 11th and 12th Sts. to the Parks Department. Just north of the planned park, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System is currently converting St. Vincent’s former O’Toole building into a comprehensive care center and stand-alone, 24-hour E.R.

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Friends of LaGuardia Place Creators & Caretakers of LaGuardia Park

“Adrienne’s Garden” Grand Opening June 6, 2013

LaGuardia Park, on LaGuardia Place between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets, features a dramatic statue of the late NYC Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, lush greenery, and proudly introducing “Adrienne’s Garden” – a secure and welcoming toddlers’ playground with a friendly dragon that children can climb, slide and play on. The Friends of this extraordinary park wish to extend a sincere Thank You to all the volunteers who created and help preserve and protect this park. Commemorating the dedication of Mayor LaGuardia to the Greenwich Village community and visitors, the Friends celebrate those who continue his legacy by annually awarding the Friends of LaGuardia Medallion. The Friends of LaGuardia Place is a not-for-profit association, relying on private contributions and limited public funding. Contributions and participation are always appreciated.

Friends of LaGuardia Place | | (212) 252-8300


July 11 - July 24, 2013

Who has the guts to back retail rent control bill? TALKING POINT By Sharon Woolums Because of the positive response to my June 6 talking point in The Villager, “Will a Democrat for mayor stand up for small stores?” and a desire of many to know more, it seemed important to simply ask the candidates: “Will you stop the closing of our small businesses?” Voters deserve answers. To help determine if a candidate’s small business platform is viable, top small business expert Sung Soo Kim was consulted to craft the questions. Laymen can be fooled by economic language and figures, but Mr. Kim cannot. Chairman of the first Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Board for former Mayors Dinkins and Giuliani, founder of the Korean American Small Business Service Center, the New York City Small Business Congress and the Coalition to Save New York City Small Businesses, Kim created The Small Business Bill of Rights that has been given to our elected officials since 1993. For 32 years, Mr. Kim gave more testimony at public hearings before the City Council and forums than all advocates combined.  The pending bill, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (S.B.J.S.A.), now bottled up in committee for three years, which would give commercial tenants rights to negotiate fair lease terms with landlords, is the ultimate test for Democratic candidates’ proposed solution to a crisis. Candidates proclaiming Democratic progressive values on social issues must also assure us at this crucial crossroads that they will take a sharp left away from Giuliani’s and Bloomberg’s failed Republican economic inroads — vigorous opposition to any regulation of landlords — and toward the S.B.J.S.A.  Every election, despite candidates’ usual spouting of buzzwords hailing small businesses’ importance to the economy’s health — “engine of economic growth and job creation,” “backbone of our economy,” etc. — once elected, nothing changes and the same economic philosophy continues. The rich get richer and small businesses and the middle class suffer, leaving no avenue to success.  The S.B.J.S.A. states: “The New York City commercial rental market has been negatively influenced by speculators for such an extended period of time that the interest of small businesses and job creation, and the broader general economic interest of the City, are being harmed. An unacceptable number of established small businesses are being forced out of business solely as a result of the commercial lease renewal process.” When will the threshold of “acceptable” be reached so that candidates are no longer content to remain silent as store owners are losing their life’s savings and workers are losing their jobs because landlords will not accept reasonable returns on their investments? Although, regrettably, no candidate responded to our questionnaire, the candidates’ records speak for them: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu have similar histories. In October 2008, then City Councilmembers de Blasio and Liu, both sponsors of the S.B.J.S.A., made stopping the closing of businesses a priority campaign issue. Attending the hearing on the bill, forums and rallies, both were strong voices of support for S.B.J.S.A. to fight economic inequality. They pledged, if elected, to fight rent-gouging and unscrupulous landlords’ extorting cash from small business owners.  Up to 82 percent of small businesses here are owned by immigrants. Liu was a successful product of that hard-working immigrant community where small businesses provided jobs, leading to many achieving the American Dream. Today, de Blasio and Liu still have similar policies on small business, yet these have changed from last election. Now neither speaks of rent-gouging or illegal extortion — or of the S.B.J.S.A. They stopped referring to small businesses

Supporting the passage of the Small Business Survival Act, from left, Alfred Placeres, president of the New York State Federation of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce; City Councilmember Margaret Chin, the bill’s prime sponsor; Sung Soo Kim, president of the Korean American Small Business Service Centers; Gaejan Kim, chairman of the Korean Small Business Organization; Luis Tejada, tenants rights activist and candidate for City Council in the Seventh District (West Harlem, Morningside Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood); Steven Null, founder, Coalition to Save New York City Small Businesses; and Steve Barrison, spokesperson for New York City Small Business Congress.

as facing a crisis or needing help to survive. The focus of small businesses’ problems shifted from high rents to excessive fines. “Unburdening small businesses” under siege by fines is the primary problem, de Blasio claims. Meanwhile, Liu is doing what he accused Bloomberg of doing, failing to acknowledge what he knows — that exorbitantly high rent is the problem. We hope Liu decides to be the loud voice for the immigrant small business owners calling for economic equality, as he once did, rather than the silent voice for unscrupulous landlords. Bill Thompson’s and Speaker Quinn’s small business policies were practically the same in the last election. Throughout the campaign, it is purported that Thompson and Quinn avoided public hearings, rallies and forums addressing the crisis. Neither commented on the S.B.J.S.A. before the City Council, nor criticized Bloomberg’s economic policies, which small business advocates claimed were destroying their livelihoods and costing thousands of New Yorkers jobs. Thompson’s and Quinn’s ignoring the crisis so frustrated Hispanic merchants that they postered their store windows asking customers not to vote for either. Speaker Quinn made no significant small business initiatives until October 2009, when she made a monumental decision that would have a negative impact upon the future of small businesses, their employees and our economy. A June 29, 2009, hearing was held on the S.B.J.S.A. At the hearing, the chairman of the Small Business Committee, David Yassky, stated his belief that we absolutely have to do something — period — and that doing nothing was not an option. Agreeing with the merchant leaders, Yassky became a sponsor of the bill, with every member of the committee and 32 city councilmembers backing it, enough support for the bill to pass the Council.

In early October a vote by the committee was requested, but denied due to Quinn’s legal staff claiming concerns and expressing doubts that it would stand up to a court challenge. At the bill’s public hearing, the real estate lobby, the city’s largest, did not testify regarding any legal concerns with the bill. Quinn’s legal staff, however, which had not attended the hearing, made the legal claim on behalf of the real estate industry months later. Unlike de Blasio and Liu, who have changed their positions this time around, Thompson and Quinn did not. They still avoid reference to small businesses being in a crisis due to sky-high rents and neither mentions the S.B.J.S.A., reintroduced in 2010 with Councilmember Margaret Chin the new prime sponsor, nor are they critical of Bloomberg’s economic philosophy. Today, Thompson calls himself “a champion for the middle and working class” but he offers no meaningful solutions.  To present an image of being pro-small business, Quinn joined with the mayor in promoting small business initiatives that don’t address the real problems. Anthony Weiner’s small business plan in his “Keys to the City” shows little understanding of Main Street small businesses. But Weiner, the newcomer, hopefully will further develop his plan and, with keys to the city, finally unlock some doors while keeping others from closing, reversing Bloomberg’s economic policies. Since the candidates chose not to respond to our questionnaire here, you may ask these pertinent questions at the next mayoral debate, to help understand why our world is changing around us and why, despite our desperate concerns, nothing has been accomplished to stop our stores from closing. There is a lifeline, the S.B.J.S.A. — the only real solution. We hope one of the candidates will grab hold of this very fair measure to save the few remaining mom-andpop stores from disappearing before our eyes.

July 11 - July 24, 2013


EASTvillagerarts&entertainment Prospero, on our island NY Classical Theatre brings the Bard to Battery Park THEATER SHAKESPEARE’S THE TEMPEST A NEW YORK CLASSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION

Directed by Sean Hagerty Production Design by Mike Floyd Free At Battery Park (meet in front of Castle Clinton) July 11-Aug. 4 Tues.-Sun., at 7pm Family Workshops: July 20, 21, 27 & 28 at 5pm For info: 212-252-4531 or

Photos courtesy of NY Classical Theatre

Before Sandy: Battery Park, 2012.

SCOTT STIFFLER When it comes to finding the perfect spot for their outdoor staging of “The Tempest,” New York Classical Theatre sure nailed it when they chose the Lower Manhattan waterfront. The tip of our island, with its pitch-perfect set pieces (Castle Clinton, the Statue of Liberty and the dramatic sunsets behind New York Harbor) brings both thematic relevance and geographic resonance to Shakespeare’s tale of an exiled magician, his daughter and a very uneasy family reunion, courtesy of a shipwrecked manufactured by the revenge-minded Prospero. “Half surrounded by water and steeped in history, Battery Park is the perfect setting for Shakespeare’s most magical, otherworldly play,” declares New York Classical Theatre founder and artistic director Stephen Burdman of the company’s bold, roving production — the first Off-Broadway endeavor to take place

at (and around) Castle Clinton since the historic site’s re-opening following Superstorm Sandy. Will the castaways of Prospero’s island be so lucky when it comes to reinvention and redemption? New York Classical Theatre isn’t saying — but the troupe of roving players does note that their interpretation sets the action in the Victorian era, “when the onset of the Industrial Revolution inspired a countervailing renaissance in spiritualism and a penchant for all things occult.” For younger audience members who may be new to the play, free educational workshops before selected performances will guide children 7-11 and their families through games and exercises designed to help them better understand the action as it unfolds on a stage — which, in this case, is all the world (of Lower Manhattan).

Central Park, 2012.


July 11 - July 24, 2013

Evil speaks for itself

Joshua Oppenheimer examines what can be learned from one’s own crimes FILM THE ACT OF KILLING

Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer In Bahasa with English subtitles Drafthouse Films Opens July 19 Landmark Sunshine 143 E. Houston St., btwn. First & Second Aves.

Anonymous/ Courtesy: Drafthouse Films

Anwar Congo (r.) being made up for a film in which he plays a victim of the torture he and his allies unleashed on opponents in Indonesia.

by steVe eriCkson Philosopher Hannah Arendt, who came up with the notion of the banality of evil, might not like “The Act of Killing.” In this documentary, evil isn’t committed by anonymous gray bureaucrats, but instead flashy gangsters who dreamed of being Elvis and Marlon Brando. Joshua Oppenheimer — an American director based in Denmark — takes an unconventional approach to the massacre of two million “communists” in ‘60s Indonesia by gangsters and paramilitary squads. Essentially, the bad guys won, got to write the rules, and retain power today. Here, they also get to tell the stories. There

are moments in “The Act of Killing” that expose a moral black hole so sickening that it takes your breath away, such as a perky talk show on which now-elderly gangster Anwar Congo brags about killing communists in front of a studio audience dressed in paramilitary garb. Oppenheimer’s solution — or the closest he ever comes to one — is to allow men like Anwar to make films about their experiences. As it turns out, watching and working around cinema had been central to their lives when they began their killing campaign, and he hopes that actually making a film might set them on the right path, as corny as that sounds. If the project seems like something Oprah would commission, keep in mind that it was


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politically risky enough that the Indonesian codirector was billed as “Anonymous,” unable to reveal their identity. Over the past year, there’s been a great deal of debate about whether cinematic violence has the power to trigger real-life violence. “The Act of Killing” suggests that it can do so. Anwar and his fellow gangsters hung out in front of movie theaters, scalping tickets. Part of their beef with the communists stemmed from the party’s desire to ban the American films they loved. They would pump themselves up before torturing and murdering someone by watching movies, even ones as innocuous as ‘60s Elvis vehicles. But Anwar credits gangster films with teaching him specific murder techniques, such as his favorite — strangling someone with a loop of wire. However, Oppenheimer’s take on movie violence is more complex than a simple denunciation. He suggests that it can also lead to catharsis and empathy. Anwar is reflective enough to be haunted by nightmares. He’s tried to chase them away by dancing and self-medicating with alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy, but these techniques haven’t worked. He dramatizes his night-

mares by having an oddly costumed ghost of a murdered communist — he looks like a Cirque du Soleil version of Edward Scissorhands — come back to haunt him. Playing a torture victim leads to a real breakthrough. In a slickly stylized scene, reminiscent of a film noir, Anwar plays a communist being interrogated, brutalized, and murdered. With Oppenheimer present, he invites his grandsons to watch it (over Oppenheimer’s objections), and it produces a surprising epiphany. Anwar finally experiences a tiny tinge of what his victims experienced. He reacts by going to the room where he killed many people and vomiting. That’s as close to hope as “The Act of Killing” ever gets. The Indonesian government’s definition of “communists” encompassed intellectuals, ethnic Chinese, leftists, and anyone else it found expendable. The paramilitary group organized in the ‘60s still thrives; “The Act of Killing” shows Indonesia’s vice president speaking at one of their rallies. The regime relies on the support of gangsters. But Oppenheimer also makes parallels between Indonesia and America. He himself doesn’t need to editorialize — one of Anwar’s friends does it for him. Confronted by standards of the Geneva Convention, he points out that winners always write the rules where war is concerned. The Bush administration’s crimes were never punished, just as the Indonesians got away with murder. Some of the more startling moments in Anwar’s film illustrate the arrogance that comes with such power. In one scene — an otherwise pleasant and pretty musical number — a murder victim thanks Anwar for sending her to heaven. Here, we get a glimpse of the kind of cinema the Nazis might have made had they won World War II. “The Act of Killing” begins with boastful dreams of stardom and ends with an old man puking his guts out. Maybe evil really is pretty banal after all. This is one of the most disturbing films I’ve ever seen, although all the violence it shows is fictional. Rarely has the full potential of cinema itself been brought home so forcefully. After watching it, you might start seeing dead communists in your dreams, too.

July 11 - July 24, 2013


Just Do Art!

Collector or hoarder? A reality TV crew peels back the layers of a troubled southern matriarch, in Jay Stull’s new play.



“This is a typical case of hoarding,” says social worker and reality TV talking head Jenny Bragg Marcus, MSW — speaking to us from a pristine white room after the camera has panned the floor-to-ceiling belongings of a defensive southern matriarch. “But all typical cases are atypically sad,” the condescending Bragg notes, as she squints her eyes to deliver a hushed final verdict: “It’s so sad.” Sad, yes, but not true…at least not in this case. Playing now on, the clip is sneak peek at “Hoard Wars” — a new program on the nonexistent A&B network, whose fake-but-plausible programming mantra is “Real Strife. Trauma.” Bragg and her crew have descended upon the home of prolific pack rat Anna Capable, who regards the fire hazard as a “collection” of meaningful and necessary things. Not so, says daughter Jessy — who enlists the TV show to remove her mother’s mess. Is it a hoard or a collection?

Like the search for walls or carpeting, finding the answer will require diving into the mess and peeling back multiple layers — and even then, what you see isn’t necessarily what you’re expecting to get. That seems to be the case with the world premiere of Jay Stull’s play “The Capables.” Although the fake TV show clip delivers on the promise of “hoards and collections,” nowhere is there any indication of what the actual theatrical production means when it promises to explore “the dirty business of radical inclusion.” Elsewhere on that indiegogo page, the playwright’s own assessment of “The Capables” seems to indicate that the work is less concerned with the act of obsessive accumulation and more focused on exploring the void it serves to fill. “It’s also about a family that is missing a son who has, as they used to say, lighted out for the territories,” says Stull. “Ultimately this play is about two worlds in which I feel equally rooted — the cosmopolitan city and the rural but developing Southern

© Noah David Bau, Melrose MA

Noah David Bau’s “15, 103 lbs.” — which took first prize in Soho Photo Gallery’s annual national photography competition — is on view, along with other winners, through July 27.

town. At a time when the positions of these two worlds seem primed to be invariably at odds, I wanted to explore how they hang together — or don’t — how they exploit each other, and how they are symbiotically and inextricably related.” Dale Soules, who appeared very recently on Broadway in the musical “Hands on a Hard Body,” stars as Anna Capable (with Dana Berger in flashbacks as her younger self). Jessie Barr, as the MSW with an attitude and an agenda, has seen her character evolve alongside the work itself (she was at the play’s first reading two years ago two years ago). In a recent interview on the blog Visible Soul, she zeroed in on what gives “The Capables” its sting — lauding the playwright’s capacity for writing dialogue that’s “heartfelt and human without being saccharine…like something you heard at a Thanksgiving dinner gone awry — cutting and hilarious.” July 17-Aug. 3. Tues. and Wed. at 7pm, Thurs.-Sat. at 8pm, Sun. at 7pm. At The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson St., at

Washington Square South). For tickets ($18), 212-868-4444 or For a preview, visit the-capables.


Behind the winning images in Soho Photo Gallery’s 18th annual juried National Photography Competition are some impressive numbers. A total of 152 photographers from 35 states submitted over 1,000 photographs. The winners were chosen by juror Laura Paterson, (VP and Photography Department Specialist at Christie’s). As for top honors, the M’s have it (photographers from Massachusetts, Michigan and Maine ranked first, second and third). The work of all 39 winners is on view through July 27 — along with two other exhi-

Continued on page 22


July 11 - July 24, 2013

Just Do Art!

© Michael Schenker, 2013

Michael Schenker's "Bike Across Tracks," from the solo exhibition "Beyond the Road to Mandalay" -- on view through June 27 at Soho Photo Gallery.

Continued from page 21 bitions. “Beyond the Road to Mandalay: Hill Tribes of Northern Myanmar” is the latest portfolio from New York-based photographer Michael Schenker, who traveled there in January 2013 as part of his ongoing commitment to document the values, customs and unique characteristics of ethnic minorities and hill tribes found in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Bhutan, Thailand and Burma. Elsewhere in the gallery, George Grubb also has disappearing and/or evolving culture on his mind and in the frame. “Pigeon Forge” is a collection of 12 images taken along the parkway in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Grubb captures the Great Smoky Mountains amusement resort town’s struggle to balance economic and environmental vitality by using exaggerated colors and distorted neon signage — then infuses those images into a glossy metal surface (rather than on it) to enhance their luminescence. All three shows run through July 27, at Soho Photo (15 White St., three blocks south of Canal, btw. W. Broadway & Sixth Ave.). Hours: Wed.-Sun., 1-6pm. For info: 212226-8571 or


Photography has been around for a mere fraction of the 10,000 years that alcohol has been with us — but what a team. Whether it’s quiet contemplation, boisterous revelry or morning-after regrets, booze as muse never seems to disappoint. “The Art of Drinking” pays homage to the passion and skill we bring to drinking — and documenting it (possibly while lit). “This exhibition,” the curators note,

© Elliot Erwitt courtesy of Edwynn Houk

History through beer goggles? Get lightly lit, head over to Sasha Wolf Gallery and see Marilyn Monroe, watching the rushes of “The Misfits” (Elliot Erwitt’s “New, Nevada” (1960) — on view through Aug. 16 (part of “The Art of Drinking”).

“is intended to offer a glimpse of the role that drinking has played in the making of photographs, both as subject and inspiration. Beyond the stereotypes of the drunk artist (apt as they sometimes are!) these pictures playfully, sometimes seriously, depict the relationship between drinkers and the drink, each other and the world around them.” As seen on the walls of Sasha Wolf Gallery, that world includes watering holes that are swanky (NYC’s Top of the Standard), sparse (Western Nebraska) and foreboding (Marilyn Monroe, with glass in hand, watching “The Misfits” rushes). Far from encouraging sober contemplation, the curators strongly recommend viewing this selection “with a bit of a buzz on.” Free. Through Aug. 16. Hours: Wed.-Sun., 12-6pm. At Sasha Wolf Gallery (70 Orchard St., Broome & Grand). For info: 212-925-0025 or

demolition. The cast, which includes Broadway vet Ann Talman (“The Little Foxes,” “The House of Blue Leaves”) and comedian Shane Baker, will shine an overdue spotlight on the long-neglected cultural art form of Yiddish vaudeville — by blending incidents from Yiddish drama with scenes, songs, comic monologues and anecdotes. July 12-28. Wed. & Sat. at 5pm, Thurs.-Sat. at 9pm, Sun. at 3pm. At the Flea Theater (41 White St., btw. Broadway & Church Sts.). For tickets ($18, $12 for students/seniors), call 866-811-4111 or visit


Lynn M. Thompson — who knows more than a little bit about excavating, documenting and even making history — brings all those elements to her current project. The OffBroadway vet and “Rent” Dramaturg, currently a Professor of Dramaturgy and American Theater at Brooklyn College, has been developing “Exodus Code” with the assistance of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. That’s where America-In-Play, her series devoted to helping audiences rediscover neglected comedies from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, had a four-year run. Inspired by Lower East Side Yiddish vaudeville and set in a recently discovered old American theatre in a building site, “Exodus Code: Advice for Wanderers” puts its four characters in that location on the night before its scheduled

Photo by Sam Morris

Shining an overdue spotlight on L.E.S. Yiddish vaudeville: The cast of “Exodus Code” (minus Shane Baker).

July 11 - July 24, 2013


Elephant Run parks Brecht in ‘Central’ location Director Todoroff, on fusing physical and political theater THEATER BRECHT IN THE PARK: THREE ONE-ACTS BY BERTOLT BRECHT

An Elephant Run District production Directed by Aimee Todoroff Translation by Eric Bentley Mask & Additional Design by Joe Osheroff Every Sat. & and Sun. at 4pm Through July 28 (no show July 13) Great Hill in Central Park (West Side, from 103rd to 107th Sts.), near the southeast corner Additional performance at the Brecht Forum (corner of West & Bank Sts. on Tues., July 23 at 7:30 pm Free (donations accepted) For info, visit

BY MARTIN DENTON (of To shake up the usual outdoor theater fare offered in NYC, Elephant Run District is presenting three rarely performed short plays by Bertolt Brecht — two of which required the creation of a special contract from the publishing company Samuel French, because they had never been performed in New York City. This production will feature masks and puppets created by Joe Osheroff, winner of three New York Innovative Theatre Awards in 2012 for his choreography and movement, mask design and direction of “Homunculus: Reloaded.” Our Downtown theater columnist, Martin Denton, recently spoke with director Aimee Todoroff about the challenges of producing work in New York, and bringing Brecht to the great outdoors. What is your job on this show? Director. What is your show about? “Brecht in the Park” will present three rarely performed one-act plays: “The Elephant Calf” (1926), “In Search of Justice” (1938) and “The Exception and the Rule” (1929) — fusing physical and political theater, and bringing these early 20th century works into the contemporary world of the Occupy Movement, Citizens United, Stop and Frisk actions and Stand Your Ground laws. Where were you born? Where were you

Photos by Chris Harcum

Jenny Tibbels-Jordan and Ron Dizon in “The Elephant Calf” (mask by Joe Osheroff).

Ethan Angelica in “In Search of Justice” (stick puppets by Joe Osheroff).

raised? Where did you go to school? I was born in Dayton, Ohio, a little city famous for many things including the Wright Brothers, Paul Laurence Dunbar and being featured in the opening lines of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” in a not-so-flattering comparison to Post-War Dresden. It was there that I discovered theater. I saw my first play in high school, and didn’t see another until I auditioned for my first play at the age of 20. It was a Polish pantomime play, and there were no lines. I got the part. After Dayton, I spent a few years in Philadelphia, always considering it my “transition” city, and then I moved up to New York. In between directing, running ERD and my day job, I’m also pursuing my MFA at Southampton Arts and (with fingers crossed) will graduate in 2014. Are audiences in New York City different from audiences in other cities/countries where you’ve performed? If so, how? A while back, I took a road trip to see a

show at a nearby regional theatre. The set was meticulously detailed and realistic, but I found it stifling — it didn’t reveal anything about the play’s inner tension or hit any deeper levels. When I said I wished it could have been articulated in a more abstract way, my companion said, “Well, this isn’t New York theatre, that wouldn’t work here.” That took me back, but it occurred to me that because New York has almost an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the variety of theatre available, the audiences here are more willing to take a chance on alternate modes of expression. However, New York audiences (in my experience) tend to try to quantify performances in a very polarizing way. A show is either good or bad. They tend to love a show, or they hate it — rarely is the discussion about what was interesting or successful within a particular play. When visiting the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland last year (in preparation for taking “American Gun Show” this year)

I kept hearing the phrase “It’s worth seeing.” Never did I hear a play dismissed outright, nor blindly praised. This simple phrasing seemed to open up the subject to discussion, and I hope this is a trend that New York audiences can adopt. Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show? I’ve always wanted to direct Brecht in a way that is accessible to as wide an audience as possible. It’s something that has been simmering in me for over a decade, and I’ve often talked about doing it in a park. When Chris found a gorgeous clearing in Central Park — a little bit off the main path but still easy to get to, wide enough for a large audience but with good sight-lines, almost completely enclosed — he took me there and showed the space to me like he was giving me a present. It was the perfect spot for Brecht. In choosing the three one-acts to present for our first production, I specifically wanted pieces that were lesser known. The themes that are recurring in these three plays are so current, it felt like they had to be done now. The parallels to Stop and Frisk, Citizens United and Stand Your Ground Laws were so active within these plays, yet we knew we could stage them in a way that was funny, entertaining and accessible to an audience of all ages. Which character from a Shakespeare play would like your show the best: King Lear, Puck, Rosalind or Lady Macbeth — and why? Rosalind, absolutely. These plays have a sense of humor about them, but would appeal to her intellect and sense of fairness. Also, I think she’d dig the park setting. It would remind her of Arden. How important is diversity to you in the theater you see/make? The more types of theatre an artist can see, the stronger their own work will become. Every time I go to the theatre, I walk away with new ideas about what is possible or a new appreciation for a well-placed nuance. Many times, I have forced myself to go see a play that I wasn’t particularly interested in or drawn to — maybe the subject matter or style didn't really appeal to me or I just wasn't in the mood — and it is those shows that always surprise me the most, catch me off guard and blow me away. This is part of why I love reviewing and think it is such an important tool for artists who are starting out and might not have the extra cash to see a show. I get to go see a play I might not have otherwise known about, much less seen, and then get to further the discussion around it. There is so much excellent work happening in our community right now, and I’m extremely grateful for every moment I have had the good fortune to experience. Note: This Q&A originally appeared on Martin Denton’s website,


July 11 - July 24, 2013


notebook Continued from page 3 LeBron, if you see this on Twitter, please sling us a behind-the-back, no-look tweet. The ‘plot’ thickens...sort of: After all the recent controversy in Dias y Flores, things went surprisingly smoothly in the E. 13th St. garden on July 4. There was a party with a mix of about 40 people, including current garden members, plus recently terminated members Jeff Wright and Debra Jenks. There was music and a lot of barbecuing, but no alcohol. Those who preferred to imbibe instead went over to El Sol Brillante on E. 12th St. However, Wright — with the help of a few others — did replant his plants in his former plot, and told us that he envisions it becoming a “community plot.” The garden’s board, last month, after booting out Wright, had dug up his plants and put them in pots, so he could remove them. On July 4, Jenks was also distributing blue and white T-shirts that she and Wright had made, emblazoned with their new “coat of arms” for the garden, two crossed skeleton keys. Jenks had painted this symbol — without approval of the garden’s board — on the side of Dias y Flores’s controversial uncompleted shed during the Memorial Day party. The symbol was later painted over, but then Wright repainted it — with very expensive magic markers, he noted. Last Thursday, Wright told us that, no doubt, the reason the garden’s board has refrained from covering over the “coat

of arms” again is because he has warned it would violate the Visual Artists Rights Act. But board member Everett Hill later just shrugged and told us that the shed is only coated with primer now, and that when it gets painted, the keys will be covered again. And Wright’s plants will probably just be dug up and potted again, for him to remove, again. Although the Dias y Flores memberships of Wright and Jenks have been revoked, they both noted that the garden is a New York City public space, and that when it’s open they can come in as they please. In addition, Charles Molloy, who has been a Dias y Flores member since 1982, told us that the moratorium on new members for the garden has been extended by GreenThumb to one year. Previously, we were told it would be through the fall. Also, both Wright and Jenks declined to respond to a question about who reportedly superglued the lock of the garden’s controversial back-door entrance, which they both had complained about previously. The show will go on! Congratulations to Biz Kids, which has found a new home on the fifth floor of the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Education Center, at Suffolk and Rivington Sts. The popular program for young performers was homeless after being set adrift from Pier 40, at West Houston St., by Hurricane Sandy. Is dot so? New York City officials announced last Tues., July 2, that the .nyc ending for Web addresses will be available later this year. The Daily News reported that Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced that ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has approved the city’s request to create the .nyc domain. Only city residents and New York-based businesses will be eli-

gible to buy .nyc addresses. However, as The Villager has previously reported in several articles in recent years, East Village ’Net pioneer Paul Garrin claims rightful ownership of .nyc. His startup,, founded in 1996, previously coined and continues to operate about 500 so-called top-level domain names, including .nyc, as well as .art, .sex, .cafe, .cam, .free, .gay, .hotel, .jobs, .news, .politics, .shop, .sucks and .weather, just to name a few. In October 2012, The Villager first reported that Garrin was suing ICANN under federal antitrust laws and trademark infringement for daring to sell off numerous “T.L.D.’s” that his company owns, including .nyc. Garrin’s domain names, however, aren’t usable in the “main root” of the computer — which is the system we all use — because ICANN won’t recognize them, but do work in an alternate root that is easy to set up one’s computer. The city plans to contract with Neustar, a company outside New York — that Garrin described as, “basically, the spook intelligence complex” — to sell .nyc addresses and operate .nyc, generally, with Neustar set to pay the city possibly $3 million. However, Garrin told us this week that he’s still just waiting for his lawsuit against ICANN to play out. “I’m not suing the city or Neustar directly,” he said. “We’re still suing ICANN. They’re going to have to give them up,” he said of his T.L.D.’s that ICANN is trying to sell off, “or the damages are going to be tremendous — hundreds of millions of dollars.” is being represented by top lawfirm Morrison and Foerster, which previously represented Apple in an iPhone interface suit against Samsung, and won. But Garrin and his partners need funds to keep the case going. People can help the cause, Garrin said, by registering a domain name for $30 at the Web site, though there’s also a $5 minimum payment option. Another plus about registering with — they won’t sell your

e-mails and info to the feds, like Google, Facebook and Twitter. “We’re not in the spy game,” Garrin declared. “We’re into preserving people’s constitutional rights. … I think Snowden’s a hero and a patriot,” he added. Under a best-case scenario, everyone would buy a domain name and switch to the alternate root. “That would be awesome!” Garrin said. “You would totally deflate the power.” Corrections: An article in last week’s Villager, “Durst says NID took a hit, but Friends are fighting on,” stated that, under the changes recently approved by the state Legislature for the Hudson River Park Act, proceeds from air-rights sales from the park must exclusively be funneled into the park’s capital construction and repair costs. Scott Lawin, vice chairperson of the Friends of Hudson River Park, had told The Villager this is the way it will work. However, the legislation’s language only states that revenue from transfers of air rights specifically from Pier 40 must go back into that pier’s infrastructure repairs, “after which any excess revenues may be used by the Trust for other uses permitted by this act.” And there are no conditions put on how revenue from air-rights sales from any of the park’s other commercial piers must be spent. … Due to a layout error, the Pride March photos in page 14 of last week’s Villager were credited to Tequila Minsky. They were shot by Milo Hess. … The headline in last week’s talking point in The Villager, “Who has the guts to back retail rent control bill?” about the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, inaccurately represented the bill, which does not mention commercial rent control. Instead, the S.B.J.S.A. refers to mediation and arbitration for merchants’ lease renewals.

It takes an East Villager Your community news source

July 11 - July 24, 2013


Snapshots from an L.E.S. documentarian’s archives Above left, the late Taylor Mead, the former Warhol superstar, posed for a photo with Richie Chang — local building superintendent and Fire Department buff — in a Ludlow St. bodega two years ago. Above right, three young neighborhood women posed for their photo in front of Clayton Patterson’s Essex St. door, “The Wall of Fame,” in 1992. Below left, in the 1980s, activists and neighbors at a “Save the Synagogue” rally, demanded that the fate of a former synagogue on Seventh St. between Avenues B and C be determined by the community, not the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Below right, at an art show at Patterson’s gallery in the early 1990s, from left, artist Bill Heine, tattoo artist Tom Devita and poet Lionel Ziprin, the latter who is holding a photo of Harry Smith, a wellknown Lower East Side musicologist, with a young Ziprin in the background.



July 11 - July 24, 2013




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Public Notice NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, PURSUANT TO LAW, that the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs will hold a Public Hearing on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at 66 John Street, 11th floor, on a petition from G CHEW LLC to establish maintain, and operate an unenclosed sidewalk café at 190 6TH AVENUE in the Borough of Manhattan for a term of two years. REQUESTS FOR COPIES OF THE PROPOSED REVOCABLE CONSENT AGREEMENT MAY BE ADDRESSED TO: DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS: FOIL OFFICER, 42 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, NY 10004. EV: 07/11/2013

July 11 - July 24, 2013


Former Village player is making a name for himself SPORTS By Daniel Jean-Lubin James Usher. Remember the name because this kid is going places. The Village native is a star baseball player who recently capped off an excellent junior season with his varsity program at Trinity High School on the Upper West Side. As a 7-year-old, Usher was first introduced to baseball through Francisco Perez, a former minor league player. Perez is director of baseball operations for the New York Gotham, which plays at Pier 40, one of New York City’s premier youth travel teams, known for their quality collection of talent. Usher spent most of his early years playing in the Greenwich Village Little League, starting out in the league’s Minors division and going through the Majors division. Beginning as an infielder, Usher was always seen as talented and athletic. “He began to come into his own when he was 9, in the Minors,” said George Usher, James’s father and coach on most of his G.V.L.L. teams. “Once, one of our pitchers left the team the night before our first game and we needed someone to pitch,” George recalled. “Never having done it, James volunteered and pitched three hitless innings. He’s been moving forward ever since. The next year, he became a catcher because the team needed a catcher.”

During his G.V.L.L. career, James provided a solid bat to go along with his versatile position play. A career .300 hitter, James has always been a player coaches have called upon to deliver in crunch time. “He’s always been clutch as both a hitter and a pitcher,” said his dad, a past president of G.V.L.L. “He’s the guy you want up when the game is on the line. He’s the guy you want on the mound when it’s do or die. “There have been a lot of games where he’s stood out,” George continued. “For instance, when he was playing in the Juniors Division as a 14-year-old, there was a tournament team that featured players from Greenwich Village Little League, Peter Stuyvesant Little League and Downtown Little League. At a pivotal point in a game against the Harlem Little League, with runners on base, his coach told him to bunt, but he told the coach he knew he could hit the pitcher and wanted a shot. He then launched the ball over the fence at Murry Bergtraum Field for a home run, putting the team ahead.” James Usher is entering his senior year of high school in the fall and was recently named captain of his varsity team, the Trinity Tigers, by longtime coach Jake Rabinowitz, who also manages another of Ushers’s summer league teams, the New York Gotham. James hasn’t yet committed to a college at this point, but is currently interested in a number of top-tier programs both as a pitcher and first baseman.

Photo by Sofia Kreisler.

James Usher has been helping G.V.L.L. and now Trinity High School win games with both his pitching and his hitting.

Flipping into a cooler space as the city pools open New York City’s public outdoor pools — including the one at the Tony Dapolito Rec Center, above — opened for the summer last Thursday on July 4. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, with the city gripped in a heat wave. The Parks Department recreation center pools are open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a break from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for cleaning. There is also lap swimming from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at select pools, including Asser Levy on E. 23rd St., Hamilton Fish on Pitt St. and Tony Dapolito on Clarkson St. Swimmers are required to wear a bathing suit and are advised to bring a combination lock to safeguard their belongings.


July 11 - July 24, 2013

Summer, Summer, Summertime! Pack fresh, pack juicy, pack delicious food to go.






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EAST VILLAGER NEWS, July 11, 2013