The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
July 23, 2015 • $1.00 Volume 85 • Number 8
Amid signs of progress, #BlackLivesMatter still pushing for more reform BY ZACH WILLIAMS
REFORM continued on p. 6
Extra! Library digitizing Villager’s entire archives BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
he Villager’s archives have entered the digital age, thanks to the Jefferson Market Library. Corinne Neary, the senior librarian at the Sixth Ave. book and research haven, successfully applied for a $2,000 Innovation Project grant from the New York
PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
meandering march from Columbus Circle in memorial of Eric Garner brought hundreds of #BlackLivesMatter protesters to the West Side on July 17. One year after the Staten Island man’s death helped inspire a national
movement against police brutality and institutionalized racism, activists acknowledged progress while pressing for more. Speakers at the evening rally spoke to similar themes heard throughout the year of protests, which reached their highest volume last
Public Library, which is being used to fund the project’s first phase. So far, The Villager’s first 26 years have been digitized, from April 1933 to April 1959. The Village library had all of these issues on microfilm. This, in turn, was sent to a facility in Florida, where ARCHIVES continued on p. 3
Feelin’ the funk!.........................page 10
As Steve Herrick, in orange shirt, of the Cooper Square Committee spoke about the project, Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center, in white shirt, looking toward camera, and gay youths and advocates listened.
Bea Arthur Residence a Golden moment for gay homeless youth BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
sing a $3.3 million grant from the City Council, the Ali Forney Center will renovate an East Village brownstone and open a residence for homeless queer youth there in late summer of 2016. “The last 13 years have been extraordinary,” Carl Siciliano, AFC’s founder and executive director, said at a July 20 event marking the start of the renovation of the E. 13th St. facility. “Our com-
munity has woken up to the need to help our L.G.B.T.Q. youth.” On June 29, AFC, which was founded in 2002, purchased the vacant building for a dollar from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The City Council money, which was originally budgeted in 2012, will pay for the renovation. Because AFC owns the building, cash for operations from two grants the agency has from the federal Depart-
ment of Housing and Urban Development can go toward providing services, as opposed to paying rent. “It’s the first building we own, which is a real game changer,” said Alex Roque, AFC’s director of development. The 18-bed residence is named for actress Bea Arthur, who left $300,000 to AFC in her will. Arthur died in 2009. The beds will add to AFC’s existing inventory of HOMELESS continued on p. 26
St. Vincent’s park coming soon........................page 7 Skenazy on prison power abuse.....................page 13 The joy of sax in Wash. Sq. Park.......................page 15 www.TheVillager.com
two former squats, 544 E. 13th St. and 377 E. 10th St., as well as 507-509 E. 11th St. and two other buildings, one on Avenue A and the other on E. 12th St. that were co-ops that defaulted on their mortgage plans. The tenants from these last two buildings were relocated some years ago, we’re told, and were supposed to return home to the refurbished affordable units after the renovations, which were never done. Why? “We had 20 years of Republican mayors,” Mendez said. Meanwhile, Herman Hewitt, who sits on the C.B. 3 Land Use Committee, said when the developers came to their meeting seeking approval, the plan was all completely new to the board members, but the builders acted like it was already a fait accompli.
CARBONE COMMOTION: Twitter was burning up last Friday night with observations of heavy police presence, “SWAT” and so forth on Thompson St. near Bleecker St. and the word was that President Barack Obama and his daughters were eating at Carbone. Stacey Rosenstock, who lives just doors down from Carbone, posted on Facebook: “Tried to take Ollie for his usual evening walk but the second I stepped out the door some guy in plainclothes asked what I was doing, and then said I couldn’t walk north. So I went south but there were two police dogs, police barricades with motorcycles and white shirts [police supervisors] stopping anyone from coming in. So I asked them if I’d be able to come back if I crossed the barrier and they asked if I had ID. So I told them I shouldn’t need ID just to walk my dog around the block.” She observed that the president must really like it there because he’s eaten at Carbone before with the neighborhood, again, being on lockdown. THROWS DOWN THE GAUNTLET: The Strand bookstore tweeted out a photo of Dante de Blasio at The Strand pitching some pages. “Dante de Blasio gave us a great comic book recommendation! Check out The Infinity Gauntlet by Marvel,” the store tweeted. SAY ‘CHEESECAKE’! At the groundbreaking for the new Bea Arthur Residence on E. 13th St., pols told us that they just always connected with the TV shows that the L.G.B.T.Q. facility’s namesake starred in. Councilmember Corey Johnson watched “Golden Girls,” and state Senator Brad Hoylman, quipping that it dated him slightly, said he was a big “Maude” fan. “Sexual orientation is an innate,
RS of SERVING 50 Y E A THE BEST B IG G E S T &
ER B UI NRT G OWN
CO C OR RN NE ER R
B BIIS STTR RO O ******
Corne r of Jane & West 4th St. (at 8th Ave.) 212-2 42-95 02
July 23, 2015
intrinsic quality — and so is being a ‘Golden Girls’ fan!” Johnson said later, beaming a smile, as he feasted on a piece of, of course, cheese cake.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING HOOPLA: Councilmember Rosie Mendez and Community Board 3’s Land Use Committee are strongly against the city’s plan to have Donald Capoccia of BFC or L + M Development Partners renovate two beleaguered former squats, plus three other city-owned East Village buildings, in return for development rights. Under the plan, for every square foot that he fixes up, he would get one-and-a-quarter square feet of development rights to build market-rate housing along the “IZ” (inclusionary housing) corridors that were created in the East Village / Lower East Side rezoning of 2008. According to Mendez, Capoccia says he would resell these development rights. But the question — and the concern — is, who would he sell them to? “My problem is that there are no restrictions on who can get these air rights,” Mendez told us. “They could sell it to anyone — including someone who has questionable, bad-actor status. And it doesn’t just mean new buildings. It could be adding new units on top of existing buildings,” she said, “or demolishing a building and getting all the rent-stabilized tenants out...harassment issues.” The buildings include the
CORRECTIONS: Last week’s article “Village district leader arrested after removing landlord’s spy cameras” incorrectly implied that if Arthur Schwartz had been given a desk-appearance ticket (instead of being hauled down to criminal court in handcuffs) it would have been in lieu of criminal charges. A D.A.T. merely means that the individual is given a date to show up at court and can come down by him- or herself, not in handcuffs, and not under arrest by police. The article confused a D.A.T. with an A.C.D., or adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, under which a person makes a plea and the charges are dropped if he or she stays out of trouble — i.e. doesn’t get arrested again — for a period of something like six months. In addition, another article in last week’s issue, “Borscht mecca still struggling to reopen after 2nd Ave. blast,” incorrectly stated that the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City had not sent an application to B&H dairy restaurant until the week before the article’s publication. In fact, the Mayor’s Fund did contribute to a separate fund raised over the past several months by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, the Village Alliance business improvement district and Community Board 3 to assist businesses affected by the March 26 explosion. Yet applications for grants from this fund were not sent out until last week.
ES & MORE SINCE 1982 I P ! CO
*V O T E D **
V I L LE S T A B A RGE
In the infinite wisdom of Dante de Blasio, it’s a cool read.
THE DORIS REPORT: Veteran C.B. 2 member, Doris Diether tells us that Uber robocalls were driving her crazy earlier this week. The messages told her to ask the mayor to can the bill that would have capped the number of the app-hailed cabs. “I got three calls in three days, one call each day,” she told us. “ ‘Contact the mayor and tell him he’s wrong, and that Uber is hiring all these people and keeping the economy going and so on and so forth,’ ” she said. “I don’t know where they got my number from. I don’t use it anyway,” she said of Uber. “But if they want to be able to drive their cars, let them drive their cars.”
COPIES • COLOR PRINTS • FAX • SCANNING STICKERS • RUBBER STAMPS • BUSINESS CARDS LAMINATING • BINDING • VIDEO & CASSETTE CONVERSIONS UNIQUE GREETING CARDS • OFFICE SUPPLIES SAVE TIME: SEND YOUR FILES TO: email@example.com & PICK UP @ STORE!
331 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10003 Phone: 212-473-7833 / Fax: 212-673-5248 www.sourceunltd.com
“It’s worth the trip down the street!”
I N THE
G REENW I CH V I LLA GE
— Recommended by Gourmet Magazine, Zagat, Crain’s NY, Playbill & The Villager —
“Gold Medal Chef of the Year”. — Chefs de Cuisine Association Northern italian Cuisine • Celebrating Over 36 Years
69 MacDougal St. (Bet. Bleeker & Houston St.) 212-673-0390 • 212-674-0320 Open Mon. - Sat. 12-11pm • www.villamosconi.com
Extra! Library digitizing Villager’s entire archives ARCHIVES continued from p. 1
PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
it was scanned to create raw PDF images that can now be viewed on a computer screen instead of manually cranking through spools on a clunky microfilm machine. For now, though, the early issues of The Villager can only be viewed electronically on a single computer marked “Catalog” in the library branch’s basement. “It’s dedicated to The Villager,” Neary said of the terminal. But the ultimate plan, she said, is to “find a home” for The Villager’s archives on the N.Y.P.L. Web site, making it widely publicly available. This will also improve the archives’ searchability. Currently, the search process is rather slow: The results load chronologically. “It’s very basic right now,” Neary explained. “Right now, it’s best for people who are looking for a specific thing.” Once the newspaper archives are put onto the main N.Y.P.L. Web site, however, more targeted searches of the Village’s hometown paper will be possible. Frank Collerius, the manager of the Jefferson Market Library, said he’s been enjoying “playing with” The Villager’s archives and learning some fascinating history. “I found one article — Prohibition had just been repealed,” he said. “Jefferson Market Library was a courthouse back then. The article’s headline was that it was not very exciting: ‘Night court spectators disappointed.’ They had been expecting a lot
Corinne Neary at the computer terminal at the Jefferson Market Library where the newly digitized archives of early issues of The Villager can be read. Neary is overseeing the digitization effort.
of cases for drunkenness, but it wasn’t too exciting. And they had something called ‘near beer’ back then.” He also found interesting another article about the Eighth St. gallery scene of 1933. Only $1,100 of the grant money has been used.
To complete the digitization of the newspaper’s archives, in addition to using the rest of the grant, the Village branch will also dip into some of its own funds. Neary, who feels a close attachment to the historic neighborhood, is enthusiastic about the undertaking. “I’m just interested in the Village, and I’m close to a lot of older Villagers,” she said. Although The Villager is on microfilm through the 1990s at the library, this won’t be done anymore as a result of the digital archives, Neary said. Other places with the first 50 or 60 years of The Villager on microfilm include the periodicals room at N.Y.P.L. main branch on 42nd St. and N.Y.U. Bobst Library. As for the last two decades or so, the Jefferson Market Library branch still has the print issues. The Villager’s own print archives took a beating during Superstorm Sandy, which flooded the basement of the newspaper’s former office on Canal St., in which the old bound volumes were stored. And even the public library might be missing an issue or two here or there. So, in that sense, the digital archives effort is also an important preservation project. In some more exciting news, Neary said last week a man who works on putting things up on the N.Y.P.L. Web site stopped by to get a copy of The Villager electronic files. “Maybe things are moving more quickly than we expected!” she said. “We don’t know yet where exactly it will be on the Web site, or how people would access it, but stay tuned!”
Hearty meals, healthy ingredients and not a trace of food guilt afterward — sounds like a dream? Welcome to V-Spot Organic, the newest addition to the East Village’s hip restaurant scene! Brooklyn’s favorite Latin vegan eatery is bring-
ing its signature health food to Manhattan, transforming your taste buds with meatand dairy-free fare and Latin seasonings like adobo and sazon made entirely from scratch. And although the ﬁery ﬂavors come ﬁrst, you won’t be disappointed by their food philosophy either: everything served up here, from the Colombian Empanadas to the Quinoa Curried Kale, is ethically sourced and produced locally wherever possible. The commitment to social justice easily rivals the great food, so that you can dig in with a clear conscience — and never have to look far for the best vegan food again.
ADDRESS: 12 St. Mark’s Pl, New York, NY 10003 OWNERS: Daniel Carabaño, Alex Carabaño, Steve Simicich, Nathan Smith YEARS IN BUSINESS: Nine PHONE: (212) 254-3693 WEBSITE: www.vspot.nyc BEST KNOWN FOR: Organic and locally sourced Latin vegan cuisine
July 23, 2015
Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association Editorials, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009
PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN
EDITOR IN CHIEF LINCOLN ANDERSON
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
ALBERT AMATEAU IRA BLUTREICH SARAH FERGUSON TEQUILA MINSKY CLAYTON PATTERSON JEFFERSON SIEGEL ZACH WILLIAMS SHARON WOOLUMS
ART DIRECTOR MICHAEL SHIREY
GRAPHIC DESIGNERS ANDREW GOOS CHRIS ORTIZ
Another sign of the times....
WEB MASTER TROY MASTERS
EXECUTIVE VP OF ADVERTISING AMANDA TARLEY
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES JACK AGLIATA ALLISON GREAKER JENNIFER HOLLAND JIM STEELE JULIO TUMBACO
PUBLISHER EMERITUS JOHN W. SUTTER
Member of the National Newspaper Association
The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 00426202 is published every week by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 (212) 229-1890. Periodicals Postage paid at New York, N.Y. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at office and newsstands is $1. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2011 NYC Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR
The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue. Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718) 260-2500 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.thevillager.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2012 NYC Community Media, LLC
Residents sound off on rising noise BY AMY RUSSO
CIRCULATION SALES MNGR.
Member of the New York Press Association
With commercial rent increases all over Manhattan, people are seeing so many of these signs lately. This one was at the former Imperial Coffee Shop at Church and Chambers Sts. in Lower Manhattan.
July 23, 2015
or the residents of Downtown Manhattan, the steadily climbing level of noise has been a torturous and ongoing issue that has plagued some communities for years. At a Community Board 2 Quality of Life Committee meeting on Mon., July 13, locals gathered to attest to the ear-pounding conditions with which they have been forced to cope. Davide Gentile, a resident of University Place, reported that an HVAC noise problem there is now going into its sixth year. “The noise floor continues to creep up in New York City...making my bedroom unlivable, abandoned,” he complained. Indeed, Gentile claimed to have been so disturbed by the constant noise that he now is unable to sleep in his own bedroom and cannot make full use of his apartment. As a possible solution, he proposed the creation of a password-protected message board through which locals could exchange ideas and information about ways to lessen the noise generated by construction sites, bars and sidewalk cafes.
He suggested that various tips be posted, such as “how to schedule a D.E.P.” — Department of Environmental Protection — “reading for an opportune time” and how to successfully make an Environmental Control Board complaint. Gentile stated that community residents need to be “armed.” As for others in New York, he remarked, “Let the rest of the city figure it out for themselves, personally.” Micki McGee, a West Soho resident since 1991, claimed that over the last three years, a total of six major construction sites have been introduced into her area, and that five are still currently active work sites. She attested to having spent “hundreds of hours on the phone and online” with various city agencies to try to find some relief from the noise. McGee reported that one sound test of one loud construction site determined the noise to be 40 decibels, peaking at 49 decibels — a level seemingly low compared to what she has reportedly experienced. According to Industrial Noise Control, Inc., 40 decibels is equivalent to bird calls or a library, while 50 decibels is a quiet suburb. “The system seems to be completely corrupt. This is not legal,” McGee de-
clared. “The issue is how law is written both at the S.L.A. level and at the city code level,” stated Robin Felsher, a member of the Mid-W. 10th St. Block Association, referring to the State Liquor Authority. Felsher offered that legislative changes are the solution, but he also said he believes that elected officials are “pulled between the businesses that they represent and the residents that they represent — and therein lies the problem.” He claimed that residents who wish to speak out are afraid to do so because they have allegedly been harassed and their leases threatened. Committee Chairperson Robert Woodworth acknowledged the validity of the residents’ complaints. He described the general sentiment of those at the meeting as “agencies are unresponsive and the laws are badly written.” David Moss, a representative of Councilmmember Corey Johnson, attended and suggested calls to Johnson’s legislative office. But he said that 311 should always be the first call. Sympathizing with the frustrated community members, he remarked, “It takes an extraordinary amount of time to get nowhere on these issues.” TheVillager.com
Tompkins Square Bagels to roll onto Second Ave. BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES
PHOTO BY ANGIE DYKSHORN
or the past year and a half, Christopher Pugliese has been looking to open another Tompkins Square Bagels. His first shop, at 165 Avenue A, has been feeding droves of hungry East Villagers daily since opening in 2011. As customers wait in the winding line, they can get a view of the bagel-making process. The place offers freshly baked whole wheat everything, French toast, pumpkin, spelt with flax and other hand-rolled, kettle-boiled and oven-baked bagels, creamy cream cheese — including the lightest tofu — and other spreads and made-to-order sandwiches. Now, Pugliese is hoping to spread the love — and bagel goodness — to a second location at 184 Second Ave., between E. 11th and 12th Sts., the former location of Open Pantry, by this December. Coincidentally, Tompkins Square Bagels also had a winter opening, in December 2011. The new 1,200-square-foot space will mirror the original 1,600-square-footer on Avenue A, from the line setup to the on-premises baking. Construction will run Pugliese $500,000, including rein-
thinking about moving for more than a year to ensure that Tompkins Square Bagels stays in business. For the past few years, he’s watched local stores open and close amid stiff competition and rising rents, and even felt some pressures from his own landlord. The second location is like security for Pugliese so he can remain in the neighborhood he loves. “My goal is to plant roots in the East Village,” said Pugliese, who hopes the Second of Tompkins Ave. subway will also be open in time for the new opening. “I want to stay here another 20 or 30 years. There’s no ambition of having 25 stores. I’d rather have one great store.” When he met the new space’s owners, father and son Temis and Dean Pappas, he knew it wasn’t all about the dollar signs. The Pappases wanted to bring in a small business and keep it local. They ended up hashing out the lease’s final details in Dean’s
Kids and adults alike get a kick out Square Bagels.
forced floors and an extended backyard to increase the space, which will make it closer in size to the original location. All the work will take months to complete. The only difference will be the seating, which will all be in the front of the shop. On Avenue A, the seating is in front and back. This was not an overnight epiphany for Pugliese or an attempt to create an East Village bagel empire. He had been
car. In addition to owning the building, the Pappases ran the Open Pantry coffee and grocery shop, which closed this January after 45 years. Broker Conrad Bradford, from Miron Properties, worked with both sides to close the deal. He said he worked with Pugliese for the past nine months to find a new location. “It came down to putting the right puzzle piece in the right place,” Bradford said, adding it was one of his more challenging deals because of the amount of work on the space that will be involved. “It’s going to take an extensive amount of work to make this into a carbon copy of the Avenue A location,” he said. A genuine East Village eatery where old and new meet is what Tompkins Square Bagels is all about — and always will be — according to Pugliese. “There’s this tension between the old East Village and the new East Village,” he said. “I always wanted Tompkins to be accessible for the older East Village and the younger, newer crowd.” Pugliese plans to hire an additional 15 to 20 people in the new location. “I created 20 jobs from thin air,” he said. “It makes me happy.”
168 West 4th Street, NYC
A traditional Spanish and Mexican restaurant located in New York’s West Village neighborhood.
IT’S OURY! BIRTHDA
WE ARE CELEBRATING 45 YEARS IN THE BIZ. 45% OFF FOR THE MONTH OF JULY ENJOY
ALL BEVERAGES ORDERED WITH YOUR MEAL
Our menu showcases the simple reflective food flavors of Spain. Using the best ingredients and implementing a simplistic technique resulting in a clean, dynamic presentation, creating memorable dining experiences through passionately created culinary dishes, many of which are prepared in the wood-fire oven, including our signature dish, Paella Valenciana.
SERVING OUR COMMUNITY SINCE 1970 — AND STILL RUNNING STRONG! TheVillager.com
July 23, 2015
#BlackLivesMatter still pushing for more reform REFORM continued from p. 1
July 23, 2015
PHOTOS BY ZACH WILLIAMS
fall. Thousands of people swarmed local streets back then following the grand jury announcement that the New York Police Department officer who placed the fatal chokehold on Garner would not face criminal charges. Last Friday, there was evidence that the year of protests and activism have had some effect. The Civilian Complaint Review Board argued in State Supreme Court on Fri., June 12, that they should be allowed to get the grand jury records of the Garner case from the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office. Governor Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, issued an executive order on July 8 mandating that the state attorney general investigate all deaths of unarmed civilians by police. If a grand jury declines to press charges against an accused police officer, a report must be made public indicating why. Similarly to the Garner case, last November a grand jury declined to indict a police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August. Speakers at the July 17 march demanded that Cuomo’s executive order become law. Legislation before the City Council and the state Legislature, though, did not receive much mention at the rally. Rather, speakers focused on what they called examples of police violence that followed the deaths of Garner and Brown, as well as ways that violence predominately against black and Latino men ultimately threatens society as a whole. The disproportionate percentage of black men in state and federal prisons received fresh scrutiny in the past year, culminating in the first visit to a federal prison last week by a sitting U.S. president. But it took the experience of Kalief Browder to end solitary confinement this year for inmates 21 years old and younger at Rikers Island. Browder was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack and imprisoned at the notoriously violent jail for about three years before charges were dropped. He committed suicide earlier this year, haunted to the end, according to his brother Akeem Browder, who spoke at the rally. He added that police and court resources would have been better spent pursuing more serious offenses than that allegedly committed by his brother, who maintained his innocence despite multiple offers of release in exchange for a plea bargain. Akeem Browder’s remarks reflect the ongoing debate within city politics surrounding the N.Y.P.D. emphasis on the “Broken Windows” school of policing championed by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. And as Akeem Browder spoke, a large re-
Marchers last Friday first gathered at Columbus Circle for speeches before heading down to Times Square and W. 34th St.
corded message began to vie for the crowd’s attention. This was a message from the Police Department informing them that people who obstructed vehicular traffic would be subject to arrest for disorderly conduct. “We should not be arrested for nonviolent crimes. They are here to protect and serve us against the violent offenders,” Akeem Browder said of the police. Examples of police involvement in the deaths of unarmed people of color continued to mount following Garner’s death. In April, a South Carolina policeman fatally shot a fleeing man in the back after a traffic stop. Eight days later, the death of Freddie Gray in police custody sparked riots in a longtime restive neighborhood of Baltimore. #BlackLivesMatters and police reform once again loomed large in national discourse despite a cooling-down period over the winter when supporters of police, in turn, rallied. Then last week Sandra Bland died in police custody three days after being arrested in Waller County, Texas, for a minor traffic faux pas. She was reportedly on her way to interview for a job as a college outreach worker. Such examples suggest that black people cannot take safety for granted in public places. Two prominent examples concern a boy fatally shot for toting a toy gun and a man checking out a BB gun in an Ohio Walmart. “Tamir Rice…you can’t play in the park. John Crawford…you can’t go shopping, so where are you safe to be black in this country?” Brooklyn resident Elsa Waithe asked rhetorically. After about an hour of talk, the crowd of activists mobilized for action — or at least chants, including the longtime favorite of Amer-
Holding a moment of silence for Eric Garner outside Macy’s.
ican radicals: “Whose streets? Our streets!” They moved through Central Park to avoid the dozens of police officers determined to maintain public order in the face of potential civil disobedience. The march reached the park’s southeast corner before heading south on Fifth Ave. One person was arrested soon thereafter as the march cascaded across the avenues before reaching the southern end of Times Square. Along the way, people watched from restaurant windows. Chinese tourists took snapshots with their cameras, asking in their native language: “What is this?” An elderly couple waited patiently to cross through the crowd after stepping out from an upscale restaurant. The costumed characters of Sesame Street, Disney and Marvel Comics shooed protesters away from “photobombing” their tip opportunities with tourists.
The protesters continued on to Macy’s flagship store on W. 34th St. and held a one-minute moment of silence there in memory of Garner, who, as they noted, uttered “I can’t breathe” 11 times before he died one year ago to the day. A short scuffle erupted when protesters challenged police for control of the street in front of the department store. The result was the same as it had been for just about every demonstration except the largest. In short, it appeared to all outward appearances that the streets were very much in the possession of N.Y.P.D. that night despite protesters’ chants to the contrary. A siren came closer and closer and booing swept the crowd. Yet, the mass willingly divided and the protesters now cheered as, from the back of the vehicle, acknowledging them was a lone figure — an emergency medical technician cheering them on. TheVillager.com
PHOTOS BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
An overview shot of the new park taken from a W. 12th St. balcony of Lenox Health Greenwich Village.
New park opening soon at old St. Vincent’s site BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
he new park at the former “St. Vincent’s Triangle” — at Seventh Ave. South, Greenwich Ave. and W. 12th St. — is rapidly nearing completion. It will include a lawn, wooden benches, movable tables and chairs and “interactive water jets” for kids to play in. The site will also eventually include a trellis-like AIDS memorial at its western angle, which reportedly will be completed by the end of the year. The park is being built and will be maintained by Rudin Management, which is also constructing the Greenwich Lane luxury residential development on the former St. Vincent’s Hospital main campus. “The park will open soon,” John J. Gilbert III, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Rudin Management, told The Villager. “We are waiting for final approvals from the city and then we will have a brand-new open space for the public to enjoy. We are very excited to be so close.” Rich Caccappolo, chairperson of the Community Board 2 Parks Committee concurred, “It looks close to being open. It looks great.” Caccappolo said that last Sunday he was told by someone at the site that the new greensward could be open in one to two weeks. As for the park’s name, it will be unveiled soon. The inspiration for having an AIDS memorial at the site was the pivotal role that St. Vincent’s played in treating early victims of the devastating epidemic. In 2010, after 161 years of operation, the historic but bankrupt Catholic hospital closed, $1 billion in debt. TheVillager.com
Work being done on the emerging park viewed from the corner of W. 12th St. and Seventh Ave. South. July 23, 2015
NYCHA tenants demand transparency on planning BY ZACH WILLIAMS
July 23, 2015
PHOTO BY ZACH WILLIAMS
ew York City Housing Authority residents demanded better communication and openness in the months ahead from authority officials as the agency continues to develop strategies to address its deep financial problems. On July 14, about 100 people attended a town hall meeting at Baruch College, at Lexington Ave. and E. 25th St., at which NYCHA tenants questioned officials for about two hours. A similar town hall was held on July 8 at Hunter College. Both events followed the unveiling of “Next Generation NYCHA,” a plan to move the authority from the brink of fiscal catastrophe to a $230 million surplus over the next decade. Residents’ participation moving forward, including in upcoming focus groups, is critical to the process, officials said. The stakes are high, considering the importance of public housing for children and seniors, as well as the additional tenant protections afforded NYCHA residents, who never pay more than 30 percent of their household income, according to Michael Kelly, the authority’s general manager. In response to a question, NYCHA officials said that they use
NYCHA residents, along with Councilmember Rosie Mendez, far right, listened to agency officials at the July 14 meeting.
gross rather than net income to determine housing eligibility per federal requirements. NYCHA will have to evolve in the coming years to cut costs and tackle nearly $17 billion in major capital work affecting its more than 300 housing developments, Kelly added. Decreased state and federal funding contributed to a $1 billion shortfall in operating revenues since 2001, according to NYCHA. “We are really facing a situation where the status quo is just not good enough,” Kelly said. “Eighty percent of our 2,600 buildings are more than 40 years old.” Tenants expressed vocal opposi-
tion to the idea of increasing revenue by gauging parking fees on nearby market-rent spaces. That strategy would result in Manhattan public housing residents paying significantly more than NYCHA tenants in the boroughs. Fees would be capped at $150 per month. The current average monthly price for a parking space is about $25. About 3 percent of NYCHA residents citywide use the roughly 11,000 available spaces, according to Karina Totah, senior adviser to the NYCHA chairperson and one of the meeting’s eight panelists. She added that NYCHA residents who rent the parking spaces typically have incomes that are nearly 50 percent higher than those who don’t. “It isn’t equitable,” City Councilmember Rosie Mendez said. “If you make $23,000 and you live in Brooklyn, you pay less for parking, even if you make $23,000 and live in Manhattan. You are then penalizing someone because of where they live.” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer — who organized both town halls — said that for those who do own a car, a cheap place to park makes a big difference in their ability to make a living. “A lot of NYCHA residents don’t work in Manhattan,” Brewer said. “They work in the suburbs. They work in faraway places. They make low incomes and it’s hard to get there by public transportation.” Residents also expressed skepticism about preliminary plans to transfer ownership of “scattered site” properties to nonprofits. These properties — typically old tenements — were acquired by NYCHA when their owners abandoned them decades ago. Brewer interjected, stating that “nonprofits sell buildings.” “My primary concern is privatization,” Felicia Gordon, resident association leader of the Rafael Hernandez Houses, at 189 Allen St., told The Villager. “They keep saying there is going to be affordable housing — affordable to whom?” Similar privatization concerns were raised earlier this year when
NYCHA officials revealed that some properties — including Campos Plaza I in the East Village — were now only 50 percent owned by the authority, which had sold the other half as part of a public-private partnership in order to finance building repairs. In recent months, the authority has slashed millions of dollars from its deficit, though officials could not state at the July 14 meeting just how those funds were currently being used. They added vaguely that they could provide specifics in the near future. “I want to know where the money is going,” C.B. 3 member Nancy Ortiz told The Villager. NYCHA officials furthermore did not offer an update on where they might construct additional residential buildings for the 13,000 new residential units that the Next Generation NYCHA plan proposes. On July 13, Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report outlining the state of NYCHA building repairs. His report also outlined how technology could boost accountability and transparency at the authority through means similar to ones used by the Police Department. Stringer’s report included work-order backlog numbers as of July 2014 and violations as of September 2014. Among the report’s findings, 45 Allen St. had 42 backlogged work orders, with four outstanding building violations. The Baruch Houses had 904 backlogged work orders, plus 55 outstanding building violations. Bracetti Plaza had 20 backlogged work orders and two outstanding building violations. Campos Plaza had 87 backlogged work orders and five outstanding building violations. First Houses had 19 backlogged work orders, plus one outstanding building violation. Over at Gompers Houses, there were 147 backlogged work orders and nine outstanding building violations. LaGuardia Houses was saddled with 275 backlogged work orders and 26 outstanding building violations. LES Consolidated sported 180 backlogged work orders, as well as 30 outstanding building violations. Meltzer Tower had 60 backlogged work orders and one outstanding building violation. Jacob Riis Houses had a high number of backlogged work orders, 718, with 43 outstanding building violations. Seward Park Extension boasted 121 backlogged work orders, plus 16 NYCHA continued on p. 11 TheVillager.com
POLICE BLOTTER $40 and fled in an unknown direction. The victim was uninjured, said the police who searched the surrounding area. They located Dembo Sanyang, 26, later that day and arrested him for felony robbery.
Extreme X-ray assault PHOTO BY C4
A police officer talking to tenants at 21 Spring St. last Wednesday after an armed mugging inside the building.
Spring St. robbery On Wed., July 16, around 9 p.m., a tenant at 21 Spring St., the LIRA residence, was robbed at gunpoint inside the building. There were reportedly two muggers, one of whom brandished a firearm. There were no reported injuries.
Dump truck kills senior On Fri., July 17, at around 1:05 p.m., police responded to a report of a pedestrian struck in the vicinity of Canal St. and Bowery. Upon arrival, responding officers discovered the victim, an elderly male, lying on the ground with serious body trauma. E.M.S. also responded and transported the victim to Downtown Beekman Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The victim was identified as Ka Chor Yau, 83, of 72 Columbus St. A further investigation revealed that the victim was crossing Canal St. when he was struck, while in middle of the intersection, by a dump truck, which was traveling westbound on Canal St. from the Manhattan Bridge. The driver, a 24-year-old man, was taken into custody at the scene. He was subsequently ID’d as Maykel Felix-Tejada, of Paterson, N.J. He was charged with aggravated unlicensed operator. The Police Department’s Collision Investigation Squad is continuing the investigation.
Screwy mugger Police said that an unknown perpetrator brandishing a screwdriver robbed a man in front of 200 W. 14th St. on Wed., July 15. The mugger approached the 22-year-old victim at about 3 p.m. and got straight to the point. “Give me your money,” he said. The tool-wielding tough received TheVillager.com
WIN TICKETS TO SEE
MADONNA COURTESY OF
An X-ray technician was attacked at the Lenox Hill HealthPlex on Wed., July 15, according to police. The 29-year-old victim was dealing with a patient when the patient’s girlfriend burst into the room and snatched the technician by the hair, police said. The girlfriend then threw the HealthPlex employee to the ground and began pummeling her, resulting in scratches and bruises to the victim’s face, head and neck. Police arrested Suzielin Frade, 21, and charged the Bronx resident with felony assault. Police said the victim did not know her alleged assailant. They did not state a motive for the attack.
Escape, he wished Cops on patrol came across an alleged burglary lookout, aptly waiting in a 2003 Ford Escape around 6:30 p.m. on Fri., July 17. Angel Vega, 24, was stealing his way through a construction site while Joe Rivera, 21, waited in front of 40 Bethune St., police said. They were both charged with felony burglary.
BK/NJ beatdown Four New Jersey residents ran into some scrappy twenty-somethings from Brooklyn in front of 848 Washington St. on Sun., July 19. The former were walking to their vehicle when the two groups got into a verbal dispute at about 3:25 a.m., according to a police report. The Brooklynites then began wailing on the other group, resulting in serious physical injuries to the victims, who ranged from 20 to 34 years old. In addition, the assailants allegedly snatched a purse, iPhone, keys and $50 cash from the Garden State group, police said. Steven Sutera, 21; Vincent Dimari, 20; John Miley, 21; and Michael Spindler, 19, were all arrested and charged with felony robbery.
Zach Williams and Lincoln Anderson
MADONNA SEPTEMBER 17th at Madison Square Garden For your chance to win, visit
gaycitynews.nyc/win July 23, 2015
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Feeling the funk in Union Square with Milo Z As part of the Union Square Partnership’s Summer in the Square series of free entertainment and activities, Milo Z and his band put on quite a show on Thurs., July 2. They play an infectious brew of music called “Razzamofunk,” a blend of rock, rap, jazz, blues and funk, that Milo Z says suits the diversity of New York’s culture. Summer in the Square brings live performances to Union Square Park every Thursday afternoon from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
July 23, 2015
PHOTOS BY GERARD FLYNN
Eye in the sky watching homeless in Tompkins Sq.?
n Tuesday, the police rolled one of their portable observation towers into Tompkins Square Park. The immediate suspicion was that it was a response to the reported spike in homeless people lolling about in the park on cardboard boxes on the lawns and sleeping on benches during the daytime. Over the past two weeks, Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Manhattan Parks Commissioner Bill Castro have all visited the East Village park after articles in the New York Post quoted residents and park workers saying that the homeless situation in Tompkins was
getting out of control. This Wednesday afternoon, however, beneath the tower’s looming presence, things were quiet in the park. Crusty Row, where homeless “travelers” and heroin addicts have traditionally hung out, and nodded out, was empty. The chess tables area near the park’s southwestern corner — where beer drinkers typically sit among the occasional chess players — were also more lightly populated than usual. Asked about the observation tower, one man sitting at the chess tables, said, “I don’t think it’s appropriate.” He said he figured it was there “for drugs.”
Tenants want transparency NYCHA continued from p. 8
outstanding violations. Al Smith Houses had 468 backlogged work orders on top of 32 outstanding violations. Vladeck Houses sported 335 backlogged work orders, along with 42 outstanding violations. Lillian Wald Houses had 330 backlogged work orders and eight outstanding violations. Plans are underway to streamline communications for residents seeking building repairs, NYCHA officials said on July 14. One strategy is to localize repair management with the goal of fulfilling requests withTheVillager.com
in one week through one telephone call. A smartphone app would give real-time updates about where and when repair personnel are available. Such measures are going into effect at some developments this summer, according to a July 12 NYCHA statement. Improving service and making repairs requires time and difficult decisions due to financial constraints, NYCHA officials added. A public hearing on NYCHA’s draft annual plan is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tues., Aug. 11, at Pace University’s Schimmel Center for the Arts, at 3 Spruce St. (just south of the Brooklyn Bridge on ramp). July 23, 2015
Feigning a blackout to shed light on readiness BY CODY BROOKS
PHOTO BY CODY BROOKS
lphabet City’s East Village Towers hosted its first-ever Disaster Festival on Saturday, showcasing how to respond to a power outage due to natural disaster. The Avenue C apartment complex’s board organized a simulated power outage drill followed by an awareness festival out on the development’s promenade. The drill saw residents volunteer to suit up with reflective vests, flashlights and a checklist, and go to participating floors to knock on doors and make sure everyone had enough food, water and medication; they also checked to see if the tenants had an evacuation plan for themselves and any pets. The lights stayed on. “We used our imagination,” said Dan Myers, the event’s organizer and co-chairperson of the complex’s disaster-readiness team. The festival’s impetus was to promote a reliable emergency plan. But Myers also wanted to emphasize prevention. Maps and photos showing Manhattan’s elevations and the extent of the blackout that Hurricane Sandy caused were displayed alongside the message of mitigating climate change — explaining how more frequent storms and rising water levels due to higher
Residents wearing headlamps prepped to help during the simulated power outage.
temperatures can increase the threat of storm surges. Myers noted that the East Village Towers board is seeking funds to install flood doors in key spots to seal the buildings in the event of another watery disaster. Myers also wanted to encourage prevention as a way to promote the Mitchell-Lama housing
program, of which East Village Towers is a part. He worried that if a disaster caused more damage to the complex than could be repaired with public funds, the place could be sold off to a private owner and the residents kicked out due to higher rents. According to Myers, Sandy caused an estimated $750,000 in damages to the development. After the drill, residents heard from a variety of authorities about disaster preparedness at the festival. Paul Garrin of the new Lumen project demonstrated solar panels that could be used to power WiFi and cell phones in a blackout. The city’s Office of Emergency Management handed out emergency plan packets, the Lower East Side Long Term Recovery Group provided a disaster-preparedness newspaper, and Councilwomember Rosie Mendez, who represents the East Village, answered questions. East Village Towers, with nearly 400 apartments, was flooded, along with much of the East Village. The complex is near the E. 14th St. Con Ed plant, which was also swamped by the superstorm. “Where the cars were floating on Avenue C during Sandy — that was us,” Myers said. Alphabet City is on manmade land that juts out into the East River; so rising waters have an easy time jumping over into the streets to flow south and connect back with the main artery.
After 25 years, Time’s Up for Styrofoam in NYC BY YANNIC RACK
ay goodbye to Styrofoam cups, takeout boxes and packing “peanuts,” because they’ll soon be a thing of the past — at least within city limits. A decades-long campaign came to a close this month, as a ban on polystyrene foam went into effect on July 1 across the five boroughs. The ban specifically prohibits the sale, distribution or use of single service expanded polystyrene (EPS) products or polystyrene loose-fill packaging. “These products cause real environmental harm and have no place in New York City,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement announcing the move in January. “We have better options, better alternatives, and if more cities across the country follow our lead and institute similar bans, those alternatives will soon become more plentiful and will cost less.” Although it’s hard to estimate the exact environmental impact this change will have, the city says the restriction will remove around 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from landfills, streets and waterways. The decision met some resistance, though. In April, the Restaurant Action Alliance NYC sued the city in Manhattan State Supreme Court over
July 23, 2015
the decision. Bill di Paola, the founder of the environmental nonprofit Time’s Up, said last week that he was “super-excited” to see results after campaigning for the ban for more than 25 years. “This was one of Time’s Up’s first campaigns and we’re so happy that it’s finally completed,” he said. “At one point, we had posters all over the city letting people know about Styrofoam packaging — ‘Just say no to Styrofoam’ was one of our big slogans.” The interdiction stems from a law passed in 2013, when the city’s Department of Sanitation was given a year to determine whether EPS could safely be recycled — and decided it could not be. “We’re never going to know how big it is,” di Paola said about the ban’s impact. “But we know right off the bat that years ago, the CFCs were in Styrofoam, and by taking that out, the ozone layer is healing itself. So that was one major victory.” The production of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which were used in the production of plastic foam products, was phased out under the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer that came into effect in 1989. “McDonald’s fought back hard,” di Paola remembered of the time. “And we did more research and found out
that the CFCs were actually going up into the ozone layer and destroying it. So that was put out on the street and backed up by NASA, who had a picture of the hole in the ozone layer.” By last September, a United Nations report detailed how the atmospheric layer was gradually rebuilding itself, a fact that scientists credit to the reduction of chemicals — like CFCs — that were used in refrigerators, air conditioners and aerosol cans in the 1980s. The new law includes a six-month grace period, so businesses have until Jan. 1, 2016, to comply with the ban. After that, violations will be punishable by fines, though the city says that for the first year businesses will only be slapped with a warning. In the meantime, outreach will be conducted citywide to make restaurants aware of the change. “We know people are still going to be using it, so it will still take a lot of community effort,” di Paola said. “We’re going to put the word out, just to remind people in a friendly way. That’s our focus now.” Leith Hill, founder of Ellary’s Greens, an organic restaurant on Carmine St., also thinks that businesses will keep using Styrofoam as long as possible. “It’s so much more expensive to do the right thing,” she said, adding that
the restaurant’s takeout containers, made of recycled paper, cost between 21 and 27 cents apiece, compared to a mere 3 to 5 cents for a Styrofoam container. “I’m really delighted that we are finally banning Styrofoam, which will never go away, it will not decompose,” Hill said. “It will disintegrate into little balls, which animals will eat and it will kill them. Personally, I’m really happy to see the city taking this step. It’s quite a bold step for New York City to ban Styrofoam. We are now joining countries that banned it 30 years ago.” Di Paola said that Time’s Up will continue its campaign against Styrofoam and added they were currently planning a recycling-themed fashion show in early August. This will be organized together with the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, a.k.a. MoRUS, which di Paola co-founded. The environmental activist also expressed hopes similar to the mayor’s for the effect the ban could have on other parts of the country, although many other cities, like San Francisco and Seattle, have already outlawed EPS. “New York City is so famous that if you can ban something here, people will copy that,” he said. “So we predict that very soon other cities are going to follow.” TheVillager.com
A powerful film about prison and abuse of power RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY
ooking for a great date-night movie? Run, do not walk, from “The Stanford Prison Experiment.” But if you want to see something that could change your whole view about good guys and bad guys, get a ticket. I attended a screening at the Fortune Academy in Harlem, a stately building housing about 100 men and women who have served time. The academy gives its residents a helping hand as they re-enter the world, sometimes after decades in jail. The movie recreates one of the most infamous psychological experiments in history. It was conducted by Philip Zimbardo, a Bronx-born Stanford professor of psychology, who in 1971 recruited 24 middle-class young men from Palo Alto, California, to live in a mock prison for two weeks. The group was randomly divided into “guards” and “prisoners.” The “prisoners” were then arrested by real Palo Alto police who’d agreed to play along, and taken to the jail — actually the basement of the Stanford psych
department. There they were fingerprinted, blindfolded and sprayed with “de-lousing” compound (actually deodorant). They were then issued smocks that looked like dresses along with serial numbers. For their part, the “guards” were given nightsticks and reflective aviator glasses. The idea was to dehumanize both groups. Boy did it work. The movie, starring Billy Crudup as Zimbardo and based on videos and transcripts of the experiment, shows the guards experimenting with their power: “You will call us ‘sir.’ ” “Yes, sir.” “No, call us ‘Mr. Correctional Officer, sir,’ ” insists one guard, twirling his nightstick menacingly. In very short order, the guards start insisting on more and more abasement: “I don’t like the way you said ‘Sir.’ Give me 20 pushups. Say it again. No, I still don’t like it. Give me 40 push
ups and 40 jumping jacks. I don’t appreciate your attitude. I’m going to have the other prisoners sit on your back while you do your push-ups. What? You can’t do it? Into the hole.” “The Hole” — actually an unlit closet — served as solitary confinement. Again and again the guards started locking “prisoners” there if they spoke back, or even didn’t finish their breakfast. And watching all this unfold, unseen behind a wall, Zimbardo did nothing to stop the budding tyrants. Not when they marched the prisoners around with bags over their heads. Not when they forced the prisoners to use a pail in the hallway as their toilet. Not when the guards were making the men bend over and simulate raping each other. And there he was at the Fortune Academy last week, at this strange special screening. When the lights went on, the audience was introduced to the surprisingly young-looking Zimbardo, now 82, and immediately, their hands went up: “I was in prison practically all my life and I never had any discussion with a guard,” said one man, disputing the film’s verisimilitude. “You can’t ‘create’ a prison.” Zimbardo agreed: This was not reality. His intent was to show how even good people can become heartless in a heartless system. “I read that your study has been criticized,” said another man. “That
the guards were actually told to be cruel.” This criticism isn’t new to the doctor, who insists he told the guards only to “be” guards — leaving the interpretation up to them. Zimbardo actually ended up cutting the experiment short after his girlfriend showed up on day six and was appalled. It was only then, Zimbardo told the Fortune Academy crowd, that he realized he had gotten too into his own “role” as prison superintendent. “I thought it was a brilliant movie,” said Mauer Hernandez, sitting quietly as the audience drifted out. Grayhaired and bifocaled, he’d served 10 years for drug distribution. Not all the guards he encountered were cruel, he said, “But you have a lot of them that kind of grab that stick. It’s like they come from their house to ruin your day.” For instance, he said: If a prisoner being released after 30 years bequeaths to a fellow inmate something as simple as a pen, “The guards take it away from you. That pen — it’s the closest thing to being back on the outside, free. But they say, ‘You’re not supposed to have it.’” They take it — and hope — away. Watching the movie made Hernandez’s legs twitch. He had to force himself to stay. If we all do the same, maybe we, too, will be able to resist the urge to dehumanize if life randomly bequeaths us that power.
‘House of D’ concerns heated up back in July ’55 FLASHBACK BY YANNIC RACK
trolling through Jefferson Market Garden today, you would be forgiven to be oblivious to the history of this lush oasis in the heart of the Village — but the site once served a very different purpose. “The Women’s House of Detention […] is again the object of criticism and attack,” read the front page of The Villager on July 28, 1955, 60 years ago this week. The spot where Greenwich Ave., W. Eighth and W. Ninth Sts. and Christopher St. converge became home to the soon-to-be infamous women’s prison in 1932 and was engulfed in hullabaloo for years before it was finally demolished in 1974. This particular article, headlined “Prison Here Too Crowded, State Says,” published the results of an inspection by the State Correction Commission. The commission found that “459 inmates were jammed into quarters designed to accommodate about 401,” to which the paper added the additional charge that the place was understaffed. TheVillager.com
The Women’s House of Detention in 1938 — with the soon-to-be-demolished Sixth Ave. El in the foreground —looking northwest from W. Eighth St. and Greenwich Ave.
At the time, the prison housed women serving sentences of up to three years, as well as those awaiting trial. Until 1945 the building stood next to the Jefferson Market Courthouse, which exclusively heard cases involving women. Mae West was an early defendant. The article, published without a byline as was
customary in the paper then, mentions some of the commission’s recommendations (including installing beauty parlor equipment “to help keep up the morale of the inmates”), and also describes the day-to-day scenes on the street outside the jail. According to the article, local organizations lodged complaints with city officials, “concerning repeated acts of disorderly conduct on the part of ‘hangers-on’ who congregate around the women’s prison and shout messages and engage in obscene conversations with inmates, who reply by shouting back from the prison’s barred but open windows.” Although the jail would be used for almost another 20 years, the article already noted requests by local residents to relocate the prison away from busy “Village Square” to a more appropriate location. (After the demolition of the Sixth Ave. El in 1939, The Villager vigorously advocated for the prominent intersection to be dubbed Village Square, but the name never took hold.) The opposition to the “House of D” gained traction in later years, when only a small group of residents still fought to save the building for conversion to senior citizen housing. When Mayor John Lindsay finally sealed the structure’s demise with the ceremonial blow of a sledgehammer in October 1973, he certainly ended a colorful era in the history of the Village. July 23, 2015
Punk rockers clock in at new Schrager resto
PHOTO BY THE VILLAGER
The walls of the Clock Tower restaurant, on the second floor of Ian Schrager’s new The New York EDITION hotel, in the Metropolitan Life Building, at 5 Madison Ave., are plastered with framed photos of iconic New York scenes and figures. More than a few feature punk rockers, like the small one, at left, in the place’s billiards room, with Joey Ramone and David Johansen of the New York Dolls in front of C.B.G.B. Other shots show a mohawked Joe Strummer and The Clash cruising in a convertible, the Sex Pistols and even that “proto-punk,” Bob Dylan, in a photo at the Newport Jazz Festival by legendary lensman Bob Gruen. (O.K., so that one wasn’t from New York — though Gruen does live in Westbeth in the West Village.) The pictures are hung high, all about 12 feet off the floor or higher, but it’s still worth a look.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Gotta hand it to Schwartz To The Editor: Re “Village district leader arrested after removing landlord’s spy cameras” (news article, July 16): Your article about male Village District Leader and labor attorney Arthur Z. Schwartz shows how important it is for a tenant to have a highly skilled and brilliant attorney on her side when she is being attacked by an unscrupulous landlord and his representatives who want her rent-controlled apartment. Although Schwartz’s vigorously defending
his client, elderly senior citizen Ruth Berk, has led to his arrest because he removed spy cameras that were harassing her, Schwartz will be exonerated and will go on to the counterattack. Although I considered running against Arthur for male Village Democratic district leader, as a result of a series of e-mail exchanges with Arthur, he convinced me he would make a better district leader than me, though either one of us would have been a good choice for the voters. Gil Horowitz, Psy.D. Horowitz is executive director, Knights of the Stonewall Riots — Stonewall Veterans Alliance
A load of good info! To The Editor: Re “Paper, plastic, park…maybe even art in Gansevoort mix” (news article, July 16): Thank you for your fascinating piece on the marine waste-transfer station. I gained greater respect for the thought that goes into disposing of the trash we all produce. If putting a marine transfer station into Hudson River Park can’t be avoided, a decision about it should be made sooner rather than later so that good planning can proceed. Let’s hope that the park earns top dollar for alienating this precious piece of land; that the Whitney’s Adam Weinberg and others help the city use the highest aesthetics and engineering in its design; and that truck traffic is controlled so as to protect our enjoyment of open space. Susanna Aaron Aaron is secretary of the board of directors, Friends of Hudson River Park
Verdict on N.Y.U. case: Awful
Is Mayor de Blasio bringing back the “good old days”? 14
July 23, 2015
To The Editor: Re “A really sad day” (letters, by Sylvia Rackow, July 16): Thank you, Ms. Rackow, for your eloquent letter on how the state court judges used the LETTERS, continued on p. 16 TheVillager.com
The joy of sax: I busked without getting busted NOTEBOOK BY DAVID SOBEL
PHOTOS BY SUSAN FARLEY
n the Fourth of July, I arrived in Washington Square Park with my tenor saxophone in hand, but I wasn’t just another busker. I was there to get an insider’s account of the ongoing music noise debate for The Villager. A 44-year-old guy from the Upper East Side, I hadn’t played my horn in four years. After getting laid off in March, I felt the urge to perform again. My friends, girlfriend and parents had suggested that I busk around the city. When The Villager gave me the assignment, it felt like kismet. Walking into the park was like arriving at a music festival. A banjo duo strummed bluegrass on the west side. Near the arch, a jazz quartet fronted by a young alto saxophonist burned through bebop tunes. Folk singers with guitars played on benches near the fountain plaza’s east side, where the piano usually is. I looked for someone to jam with. The bebop kids had a focused vibe. I didn’t want to interrupt them. The folk singers seemed a mellow bunch, but tenor saxophones are powerful. The late Stan Getz had a soft tone that filled auditoriums without a mic. I imagined drowning out the folkies while they tried singing light acoustic melodies. It would make for good comedy, but I decided against it. Eventually, I approached a young guy playing Dylan tunes on guitar and harmonica. A fedora stuffed with cash was on the ground in front of him. “Want to jam?” I asked. He responded as if I were a recording producer offering him a contract. He was a 19-year-old Los Angeles transplant named Andre Romiel, and he was here to make it in New York City’s music scene. I smiled as I remembered moving to Brooklyn two decades ago for the same reason. I took out my sax. I could barely hear the instruments and singers from the other groups. That was probably because they were facing into the square. I heard splashing water, kids yelling and people laughing. The music was in the background. Andre struck up a blues on his guitar. I leaned into “Night Train,” the classic melody played by the dance band in “Back to the Future.” I tensed up as a Park Enforcement Patrol officer with a decibel meter walked toward us.
David Sobel, on sax, jammed with folk singer Andre Romiel, on guitar and harmonica, in Washington Square Park on July 4.
The PEP officer looked at me and moved on. “He checked me yesterday,” Andre said. “He said I was in the acceptable range.” I laughed. There were people talking louder than Andre’s guitar playing, and my saxophone was more forceful than his harmonica. Maybe the PEP officer wasn’t a Dylan fan. We continued our session as tourists put money in the hat and snapped pictures. Locals on bikes stopped to listen. People filmed us with video cameras and applauded. “I want to thank you for making this a lovely afternoon,” an older man told us. “It’s so nice to hear good music in this park for a change.” I was nonplussed. It was one of the busiest days in the park, and I was playing as fully as I could. None of the people relaxing on the grass seemed the least bit upset. Maybe it was because of the holiday. I took a few bucks from Andre’s fedora, thanked him, and packed my horn. On the following weekend, this time it was Tic and Tac, the park’s premier performance troupe, who were getting all the attention. Their routine was a vaudeville-like combination of slapstick comedy, breakdancing and acrobatics backed by two percussionists pounding out polyrhythms. The crowd cheered. Noise enforcers were nowhere to be seen. “They come after us because of the drums, and it’s usually at night,” the
drummers told me later. “They never bust anyone else.” I felt relieved, but sad. Washington Square was Tic and Tac’s stage. I was an amateur. I didn’t have to defend myself at community board meetings or worry about my livelihood being shut down. Such was the guilt of a privileged white saxophonist. Still, I wasn’t sure how late these guys played. I’d probably be upset if I could hear loud drums outside after nine or ten o’clock at night. There was still no pianist near the east side entrance, but a trumpet player was improvising on “Autumn Leaves.” I sensed he didn’t want another horn stealing the spotlight. I went back to a bench near the fountain. The trumpet echoed over
the tourists’ voices. It made me think of my college big band days. The trumpets were always the most prominent. I got my horn out and played some bossa nova tunes. People dropped a few bucks into my case. A toddler came by and pressed the sax keys, throwing me off. I didn’t mind it, but her father seemed annoyed. “Don’t worry,” I said. “She’s a budding musician.” After an hour my chops were shot. The sun was going down. I packed my horn and stood up. Tomorrow, I’d send out more résumés. If I were lucky, I’d get an interview for a desk job and go back to being a responsible citizen. If only busking paid the bills. July 23, 2015
New fries shop tries to LETTERS TO THE EDITOR fill Pommes Frites void LETTERS continued from p. 14
Rita Lee, then-manager of Community Board 2, was instrumental in getting the city’s Department of Transportation to take on this project. Bob Gormley, the current district manager, should step in now and get this job back on the drawing board, before D.O.T. sends in the asphalt machine. Councilmember Margaret Chin could also be contacted to get this project moving. I urge all our neighbors to contact them, and everyone else you think of, and ask them to help us repair, restore and save the cobblestones.
Noreen Shipman Shipman is a member, Washington Place Block Association
Good letter, by George! To The Editor: Re “Paved with potholes” (letter, by George Jochnowitz, July 2): Thanks to The Villager ’s coverage and our first vice chairperson’s catching it, Community Board 2 learned about the potholes on Greene St. between Washington and Waverly Places. C.B. 2 immediately notified the city Department of Transportation, which, in turn, had its Roadway Division investigate conditions at the site. D.O.T. patched the potholes with asphalt on July 10, and they’re now looking into when they can repair the damaged cobblestones (Belgian blocks) there. For the information of Mr. Jochnowitz, as well as for the rest of the community, potholes can be reported to C.B. 2 by phoning 212-979-2272 or e-mailing info@ cb2manhattan.org. We’ll then convey the report to D.O.T. and ask them to follow up. They’re usually quite responsive. Shirley Secunda Secunda is chairperson, C.B. 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee
Kicking ourselves To The Editor: Re “Kickin’ it in the canyon” (photo story, July 16): Look at all of the young women in these photos at the tickertape parade. What I see is the single most effective group of girl empowerers — world-class sports champions. It saddens me to look back and see the missed opportunity to have pro soccer — women’s and men’s — be the anchor, and savior, of Pier 40, and a consistent revenue source for the Hudson River Park. And to think that assemblymember is a woman, too. .... Remember the missed opportunities, and the gift to developers (the park air-rights legislation) we eventually got in the middle of the night. What progress has been made on saving Pier 40? I’ve been calling for a women’s pro team to be part of a pro-soccer Pier 40 solution since 2008. Girls need heroes, too. Put both pro soccer teams — men’s and women’s teams — on half of Pier 40, and the Hudson River Park is flush.
Keep Greene St. ’stoned!
To The Editor: Re “Paved with potholes” (letter, by George Jochnowitz, July 2): Greene St. is the last cobblestone street in the heart of Greenwich Village. That’s why my block association worked so hard some years back to get it restored. The entire length was to have been done, but only one block from W. Foruth St. to Washington Place was.
E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager. com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.
July 23, 2015
BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC
ould it be the start of a Belgian fries turf war? Newcomer Friterie recently opened in the East Village at 36 St. Mark’s Place, just around the corner from where the popular Pommes Frites had been at 123 Second Ave. The longtime local starch staple had been open 18 years. But its last day of business came on March 26 when a gas explosion and massive fire that started in the next door building subsequently caused No. 123 to collapse. Like Pommes Frites, Friterie’s menu consists of Belgian fries, sauces and poutine — a Canadian dish of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Friterie’s owner, Eddie Adi, said in a phone interview that he had been to Amsterdam many times over the years and that he always liked the idea of Belgian fries. When Pommes Frites closed, he said, he saw an opportunity. Friterie opened about a month ago. Tim Shum, an East Villager since 2007, was eager to try the new establishment. He was a huge fan of Pommes Frites and frequented it often. The staff knew Shum well enough to immediately call out the sauces he wanted — eggplant mayo, roasted garlic mayo and mango chutney. “Every time I was wowed at Pommes Frites,” he said. “The lines were out the door every single night.” Over the years, Shum wondered why there wasn’t another Belgian fries shop to challenge Pommes Frites. He had seen ramen shops and pizza joints open and then close, but Pommes Frites seemed untouched by what plagued other businesses in the neighborhood. One day last week at Friterie, The Villager and Shum ordered a large fries that came wrapped in a paper cone, along with three sauces — chipotle mayo, spicy mayo and roasted garlic mayo. To this reporter’s palate, the fries were good, albeit slow in coming, and the sauces were just O.K. As for Shum, he was unimpressed by the sauces. He had tried Friterie already when it first opened, and this time when asking a worker about which sauces to accompany his order, the response was unenthusiastic. “For a business that is daring to convert Pommes Frites loyalists, you can’t be disinterested when a customer asks about the sauces,” he said. There were other differences, he said, noticeably the blaring music.
PHOTO BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC
narrowest definition of the law to perpetuate an assault on parks and gardens in Downtown Manhattan and all of New York City. Issues not considered — such as air quality, public health, environmental health, quality of life and, sadly in this case, even the perilous financial health of New York University — are a result of approving this ill-conceived N.Y.U. 2031 mega-building plan. What allows our political and judicial representatives to go against common sense, conscience and the people they were elected to represent?
Katherina Thompson, who had been a fan of Pommes Frites, tries the fare at the new Friterie.
Friterie is inviting, with one wall plastered with antique ads in French and English and another wood-paneled. Tables, small and round, and wooden stools dot the slender restaurant. Shum said he hopes Friterie does well since “competition can only be great for us customers.” Omer Shorshi, who owns Pommes Frites with his business partner Suzanne Levinson, said he has seen many imitators come and then quickly go. In a phone interview, he said some competitors went so far as to copy their name or use some close variation of it. As first reported by The Villager on June 11, they have found a new space at 128 MacDougal St. and are currently raising money to reopen there. “We’re grateful for every dollar we get,” he said. On Monday, Katherina Thompson, from Queens, 26, was trying Friterie’s fries for the first time. She said it was really sad what happened to Pommes Frites, where she went often. Asked if he was concerned about Pommes Frites’ expected reopening in the Village in late fall, Adi said it was the “same product but different neighborhood” and that there was room for both businesses. For his part, Shorshi said he wasn’t worried about the competition. “We have room for everybody,” he said. Of course, Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A at E. Seventh St. also serves up tasty Belgian fries. TheVillager.com
Diving deep into a gesture of dignity and pride Meet the two minds behind ‘Five on the Black Hand Side’ BY ZACH WILLIAMS
PHOTO BY ZACH WILLIAMS
ive on the Black Hand Side/Dapline!” generates plenty of punch from the intricate handshakes most commonly associated with Black men. They called them DAP during the Vietnam War, when Black soldiers found that “dignity and pride” could maintain their social cohesion during times of trauma — whether looking for enemies in the jungle or battling racism within their own ranks. Visual artist LaMont Hamilton and choreographer André Zachery take their audience through action more abstract, but every bit as animated, as any recreated battlefield. Their collaboration directs its fire through the traumatic trajectory of the African American experience in the last half-century. There were the racial struggles of the late 1960s and the drug epidemics of the 1980s, and plenty of troubling times before and after. But it was in Vietnam where inner city Black draftees found a means to strengthen their ranks against White soldiers who ostensibly were on their side — but could sometimes loom as dangerous a threat as the Viet Cong. “There were a lot of soldiers killed where the cause wasn’t friendly fire. It was race wars, and the DAP came out of that,” Hamilton said in an interview. “DAP was a way to show that solidarity. DAP was a way to watch each others’ back.” Sometimes before or after a mission, a dozen or more Black soldiers would assemble and form a “dapline,” where they would perform the elaborate gesticulations in rituals lasting as long as 20 minutes, according to Hamilton. A fist bump could start a sequence of interactions
Choreographer André Zachery (left) and visual artist LaMont Hamilton address the history and implications of DAP, without overt demonstrations of the gesture.
— with symbolism as direct as two touching shoulders establishing a mutual commitment to watch each other’s back, or as subtle as the thousands of combinations observed by Hamilton. Unlike a secret handshake, the practice is visible for all to see, even if they are not themselves initiated into the act. Perhaps no person has studied the topic as thoroughly as Hamilton, whose research took him to Los Angeles, Detroit, Omaha, New York City, Chicago and elsewhere during
his time as a fellow at the Smithsonian Institute. What he found inspired him to give his fascination a fresh representation, by developing “Dapline!” — where a ritual of unity and recognition continues to evolve as Hamilton and Zachery throw new variations into their dancers’ movements throughout the performance. Where the meaning of words cannot venture, dance provides an opportunity to explore the full spectrum of race, gender, and society at large. “Dance is the physical manifesta-
tion of the space between words… where it comes together. It creates something, and then, it’s over,” said Zachery. Despite its inspiration, the performance will not demonstrate DAP overtly, nor will audience members simply sit in their seats and watch dancers as ten-figured grips send them flipping over one another. The former will “be implicated,” as the performance reflects the history of DAP, DIVING DEEP, continued on p.18 July 23, 2015
‘Dapline!’ shows a way to connect in the face of oppression
PHOTO BY ZACH WILLIAMS
Katz Moving has a stellar reputation for excellence in the moving industry.
Check out our 5 Star
Please mention “Community Media” when placing your move. Katz Moving will donate 5% of your move to The Ali Forney Center A diverse group of dancers interpret the Black experience, from the 1960s to the present day.
47-47 Austell Pl., Long Island City, NY 11101 • NYSDOT #T-38598 • USDOT #2280679 Terms and conditions apply, can't be applied with any other offer, offer expires on 3/31/2015. Must mention "community media" when calling.
Want a Great Workout? Beginners and Experienced Wrestlers will learn from our team of expert coaches.
aBuild Muscle aFighting skill aFriendship With Metro Wrestling. Located at Staten Island LGBT Center 25 Victory Boulevard, New York City. Across the street from 1st SIR stop (Tompkinsville). Wednesdays 6 to 8:30 pm
July 23, 2015
DIVING DEEP, continued from p. 17
while not explicitly portraying it. The comradery of war gives way to the struggles of Black liberations. The poetry of Amiri Baraka inspires the movement just as much as the greetings of recognition between gang members. The pedagogical intentions of Paulo Feire (author, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”) linger above the action, ready to open minds — just as eagerly as a dapline informs participants that they’ve found a safe space. There is not so much a plot as a “narrative,” said Hamilton — who, like Zachery, opted to speak more of artistic vision than the literal play-byplay of this 40-minute performance. The origins of the work are less obscure. Hamilton confided that his fascination with DAP began following a conversation with a Black Vietnam veteran during an artistic residence in Omaha, Nebraska. He had dapped with his father, uncle, nephew and even complete strangers — but the more he researched the origins of DAP, the more universal its implications seemed, he said. He still continues to search for just how far the “connective tissues” extends among soldiers, Black liberation rebels and millions of Americans. Yet despite the ubiquity of DAP, its underlying power was left behind by its appropriation from the “dignity
and pride” of Black culture under constant threat, according to Hamilton. “When we see youth, athletes, or even President Obama giving a fist bump or DAP, we think of these gestures as mere greetings, and are not aware of the origins and historical significance of this language,” he said in a statement from University Settlement, where he and Zachery work as artists-in-residence. Upcoming performances of “Dapline!” are mere previews of the wider “Five Fingers on the Black Side” project, where Hamilton will continue to explore the topic through other artistic mediums including narrative, music and poetry. The boundaries among artists, performers and audience will continue to dissolve as local youth continue to explore their artistic horizons under his tutelage, and local art enthusiasts can see just how far down the DAP wormhole they wish to travel. Hamilton and Zachery may fly high in the abstract, but the rewards could be lofty for adherents to authenticity who want history to (quite literally) jump in their face. At 8 p.m. on Thurs., July 30, Fri., July 31 and Sat., Aug. 1. At University Settlement’s Speyer Hall (184 Eldridge St. btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.). For tickets ($15, $10 for students and seniors), visit brownpapertickets.com.
Outrageous Sophie Tucker, praised and preserved The Eckers’ obsession shared by Bette, Beatles and Bennett BY TRAV S.D. (travsd.wordpress.com)
COURTESY THE SOPHIE TUCKER PROJECT
hen the popular entertainer Sophie Tucker passed away in 1966 at the age of 79, she was an international institution. A contemporary of Al Jolson’s, her career had lasted 60 years, spanning three generations. Both the Marx Brothers and the Beatles made jokes about her in their acts; in both cases they were making topical (and local) humor (she was as popular in the UK as she was in the US). The cracks were about her voluminous girth, unusual in female performers in that or any time. (Kate Smith and Mama Cass were among the later ones with this attribute). Tony Bennett called her “one of the most underrated jazz singers who ever lived.” Michael Feingold called her “a pioneer of vocal syncopation.” Equally identified with big weepie numbers like “After You’ve Gone” and “Some of These Days,” and sexy, sassy double entendre songs like “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” and “The Angle Worm Wiggle,” Tucker was to become one of the highest paid, most sought after entertainers of her day: queen of vaudeville, night clubs, concert halls, radio and record albums. And an idol to Jews everywhere. Yet, not long after her passing, pop culture largely forgot her. But one important show business figure remembered. To Bette Midler, she always remained a major hero. In a 1973 concert at Ithaca College in upstate New York, Midler spoke in glowing terms about Tucker to the audience. This intrigued a young couple who attended the concert together on their first date, and soon became married: Susan and Lloyd Ecker. It is safe to say the Eckers became obsessed with Tucker and her legacy. So much so that when they made a fortune at an online business a couple of decades later, they retired early and decided to devote their lives and their treasure to raising the public’s awareness of Sophie Tucker. The first fruits of this project, launched last year, included a website (sophietucker.com) and a book, “I Am Sophie Tucker: A Fictional Memoir.” Since May, they have been touring the country with their new documentary film “The Outrageous Sophie Tucker” — which opens at Cinema Village on July 24. And
From the set of 1934’s “Gay Love,” shot in London, England. The pianist is Ted Shapiro, Tucker’s accompanist from 19221966.
much like Richard Attenborough in “Jurassic Park,” they have “spared no expense.” The late record producer Phil Ramone was executive producer on the project. To direct the picture, they hired William Gazecki, best known for the critically acclaimed and controversial “Waco: The Rules of Engagement” (1997). The result is anything but monstrous — in fact, it’s quite terrific. At the center are the Eckers themselves, who drew from Tucker’s 400 scrapbooks (which reside at NYU and Brandeis) to tell the story. The Eckers are talking heads in the film, alongside such luminaries as Tony Bennett, Barbara Walters, Carol Channing, Shecky Greene, Paul Anka, Connie Stevens, Tony Martin, Mickey Rooney, Brenda Lee, Kaye Ballard, Joe Franklin and (inexplicably) Mamie Van Doren. For some reason, Michael Feinstein is identified in the lower third as “music historian.” Well, sure, but that’s a bit like calling Houdini a “magic historian.” The man knows his applesauce, but don’t most of us regard him primarily as an entertainer?
In addition, we get insight from several other scholars and historians, and family members (grand-nephews and nieces mostly) and lots and lots of commentary from Ms. Tucker herself from countless interviews done with her in later years. She speaks to us a lot throughout the film. Those 400 scrapbooks we mentioned were of course created by Tucker herself, allowing the filmmakers thousands of photos, theatre programs and similar ephemera to supply the visual element. In addition, Gazecki has enlivened the presentation with many clever animations of still photos, and even some hand tinting of black and white imagery. The documentary features clips from her very few film appearances, as well as television guest shots on programs like “The Jimmy Durante Show” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.” There’s stuff to touch the heart here, too. A U.S. soldier in World War II had a plan to play his record of “My Yiddishe Momme” in the streets of Berlin as the allies marched in. But he was killed in action, so his buddies carried out his dream for him. And there was
Tucker’s courageous decision to appear at Miami’s Copa City nightclub alongside Josephine Baker in 1951 to help her confront the climate of racist death threats. The heartbreak of three worthless husbands and one useless son. And yet the testimony of other relatives is heart-warming. Several in the film talk of playing cards with their famous “Aunt Sophie.” This must have been the early 1960s at the latest, and these relatives must have been children. Then it begins to dawn on you: this world famous woman loved her family so much that she spent time on her vacations playing games with her sister’s grandkids. I defy you not to fall in love with her. “The Outrageous Sophie Tucker” is unrated, with a runtime of 96 minutes. Opens July 24 for a three-week run. Daily screenings at 12, 2:15, 4:30, 6:45 & 9 p.m. at Cinema Village (22 E. 12th St. btw. University Place & Fifth Ave.). The filmmakers will be doing a Q&A after every screening. More info at sophietucker.com, facebook.com/OutrageousSophieTucker, twitter.com/SophieTucker and sophietucker.tumblr.com. July 23, 2015
Aiming for realness on LA’s gritty streets First-time trans actors tell a story of sex work, connections, drama BY GARY M. KRAMER
angerine,” Sean Baker’s funky little comedy — shot entirely on an iPhone — is full of dram-ah as motormouthed transgender sex worker Sin-dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) finds out from her BFF Alexandra (Mya Taylor) that her boyfriend Chester (James Ransone) has been cheating on her while she’s been in jail. As Sin-dee wanders around Los Angeles on Christmas Eve trying to find Chester, Alexandra prefers to focus on her performance that night. Meanwhile, Razmik (Karren Karaguilian), a cab driver, seeks out both women for personal reasons.
GARY M. KRAMER: Sean, You tend to make films about marginalized, struggling, and/or disenfranchised characters. Why do these kinds of stories appeal to you? SEAN BAKER: I try to stay away from being too self-analytical. In all four of my films, I dealt with subject matter I didn’t know about. I think that those were small cultures I was interested in exploring. Each project began a different way and led to what it became. With “Tangerine,” it was a street corner in LA that was infamous as a chaotic red light district. I had just explored sex work in my previous film, “Starlet.” I think I’m doing a trilogy. It was pure curiosity that led me there. The collaboration of befriending and getting the trust of the people from that world is how the stories were developed. GMK: Mya, how do you see the characters and their situations?
The film thrives on its characters’ manic energy, and will win viewers over because Sin-dee and Alexandra have tremendous heart. In separate interviews, Baker and Taylor spoke via Skype about making “Tangerine.”
Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, first-time actors who are the stars of Sean Baker’s “Tangerine.”
MYA TAYLOR: Before I started this movie, I told Sean not to make it sad, but to make it raw and real and funny and exciting. The story is sad as fuck. I don’t like a theater full of crying people. I’ve had a sad life. To keep myself going, you have to be fun. I made Alexandra like Mya Taylor. I wanted it to be happy. If you’re having a hard life, you have to make yourself happy. Life isn’t easy. GMK: What input did you have with your character? MT: Basically, the only thing that changed was the language. We brought our own personality into it. Everything else was Sean. What really happened and how the girls really talk. I wanted the story to be as real as possible. Why are Alexandra and Sin-dee in the streets? They are trans. They don’t have family; they have been shunted away. That’s my story, Mya
Taylor’s. It happened to me. It’s been six years since I have spoken to my family. I applied to 186 jobs, but didn’t get one. I didn’t want to turn to selling my body. Santa Monica and Highland is full of trans girls and gay guys who are forced to go out and sell drugs or sell ass. You have to use what you got to get what you want. GMK: Sean, you shot the film entirely on an iPhone. What can you say about that decision and that process? It certainly adds an immediacy to the film. SB: It began as a budgetary constraint, and it became more than that. At first it was because we didn’t have the money to shoot with other equipment. We said we’re going to embrace this and exploit the benefits from shooting on the phone, and suddenly the benefits revealed themselves to us. I knew we could be more clandestine, but I was much more mobile. The camera moves became more fluid. The most important thing was that these first-time actors had their inhibitions stripped away. Mya and Kiki were never intimidated by the camera. GMK: How much of the film was improvised? SB: For the girls’ dialogue, im-
July 23, 2015
provisation was encouraged. Chris [Bergoch, the co-writer] and I recorded every interview we did. We used the interviews as a guide for the dialogue. I gave the characters the script and told them if you don’t like it, put it into your words, and that’s what they did. They sometimes said the script, or came to the table with their own wording. The only time we couldn’t deviate from the script was during the Armenian dialogue because I don’t know Armenian. GMK: There’s a fantastic scene in a car wash, but you cut away in the middle of it, which both increases and interrupts the dramatic moment. Can you discuss that strategy? SB: The car wash was a scene I wanted to shoot — a long take in the car wash. I didn’t know what I would do and when Mya told me that women take their clients into the car wash for a quickie, that’s what led us to write that scene. What I did with the music and the cuts were abrupt and jarring. I edit my own films. It’s done organically, following my instincts. “Tangerine” is directed by Sean Baker. At Landmark Sunshine Cinema (143 E. Houston St. btw. First & Second Aves.). Visit landmarktheatres.com. TheVillager.com
Just Do Art
PHOTO BY GIANCARLO OSABEN
IMAGE BY LAURA PARDO
Talent-challenged Lance won’t let that minor detail prevent him from entertaining you (July 23 & 30 at Triple Crown Underground).
Bad people get what they deserve, in “Trigger Happy” tales spun by Dandy Darkly (at Dixon Place on July 25).
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
DANDY DARKLY’S “TRIGGER HAPPY”
Born with a superhuman belief in his capacity to enthrall — but gifted with very few skills other than the ability to access a bottomless well of optimism — “wannabe cruise ship entertainer, celebrity stalker and pathological musical theater fanatic” Lance is making what he honestly believes will be a triumphant return, after a 15-year absence from the cabaret stage. But when invited guests Liza Minnelli, Hugh Jackman and Miami Sound Machine don’t show (they’re just running late, right?), Lance forges ahead with an escalating series of ridiculous and increasingly desperate solo performances — including a five-minute version of “The Sound of Music” and a bittersweet homage to the film “Fame” (depicting kids from NYC’s High School of Performing Arts, which once rejected his application). This brief run of “Late With Lance,” a warm-up for its appearance in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is written and performed by Peter Michael Marino. A winning talent with a knack for playing losers, Marino earned MAC and Bistro award recognition in the mid-90s for “All About Me!,” then saw his musical based on “Desperately Seeking Susan” tank. Tapping his inner Lance, Marino toured the world for
PHOTO BY EMILY BRIGGS
If Aesop and Rod Serling locked lips after hopping into a malfunctioning transporter pod filled with confetti bearing Rip Taylor’s DNA, the creature coming out on the other end might resemble something like Dandy Darkly. But then again no, because there is nothing in all of creation quite like this swishy storyteller with a taste for blood, a sick sense of justice and an affinity for alliteration. Part of Dixon Place’s queer-themed Hot! Festival, the contagiously dangerous Mr. Darkly’s “Trigger Happy” offers a batch of all-new tongue-twisting morality tales dispensed with macabre glee — performed in anticipation of a summertime stint at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and a late October run here in NYC (at UNDER St. Marks, site of past Darkly atrocities). Sex and death with an all-American focus is the theme this time around, featuring tales of guns, PTSD, hypersensitivity “and good ole American sodomy.” Free. Sat., July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St. btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.). Artist info at dandydarkly.com and venue info at dixonplace. org.
LATE WITH LANCE!
A sleepy Caribbean island gets a rude awakening, in “Welcome to Paradise” (at Hudson Guild Theater July 28–Aug. 1).
two years with a well-received solo show based on the debacle, then created NYC’s SOLOCOM Festival to nurture NextGen one-person-show talent. Now the circle of life comes full circle, as Lance sails into our harbor (from his current gig on the cruise ship circuit) for one more shot at success in the Big Apple. Thurs., July 23 at 7 p.m. and Thurs., July 30 at 8 p.m. at Triple Crown Underground (330 Seventh Ave. near 28th St.). Admission is pay-what-youcan. Visit lanceshow.com and petermmarino.com.
WELCOME TO PARADISE
The fictional Caribbean island of St. Sebastian — whose tourist indus-
try caters to “bland suburban honeymooners and sedate folks whose wild party days are well behind them” gets an unexpected jolt, in “Welcome to Paradise.” Presented by Theater Now New York as part of the 2015 Thespis Theater Festival, playwright Julie Mario puts the character of Evelyn onto the tranquil, titular vacation spot — then presents her with a series of encounters that throw meddlesome family members for a loop while challenging Evelyn’s own notions of encroaching old age. Tues., July 28 at 9 p.m., Wed., July 29 at 6:15 p.m. & Sat., Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. At the Hudson Guild Theater (441 W. 26th St. btw. 9th & 10th Aves.). Tickets ($18) available at brownpapertickets.com. For artist info, visit tnny.org. July 23, 2015
To Advertise Call: 646-452-2490 LegalAds@TheVillager.com Deadline â€“ 12 noon Wednesday
July 23, 2015
To Advertise Call: 646-452-2490 LegalAds@TheVillager.com Deadline â€“ 12 noon Wednesday
July 23, 2015
July 23, 2015
Wh Pa Mor
Call 646-452 For more news and events happening now visit www.thevillager.com
to adve all y legals naMe Ch
TO ADVERTISE HERE CALL: 646-452-2490 TheVillager.com
July 23, 2015
Residence a Golden moment for homeless gay kids HOMELESS continued from p. 1
PHOTOS BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
89 beds and another 18 that are expected to come online in the fall. The city took over the building in a tax foreclosure action in 1991. It has fallen into disrepair since then. The front of the building is closed off with a chain-link fence and the interior, which is largely inaccessible and will be gutted, shows significant deterioration. While New Yorkers are known for generally supporting social services agencies as long as they are serving clients in someone else’s neighborhood, this facility was welcome. “I know the residents on this block are happy there’s going to be a beautiful new building here,” said Steve Herrick, executive director of the Cooper Square Committee, an East Village nonprofit that develops affordable housing and other facilities. The committee partnered with AFC in developing the facility. The groundbreaking included references to “Golden Girls,” the TV series that aired from 1985 through 1992 and starred Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, and “Maude,” another series that starred Arthur that ran from 1972 through 1978. Cheesecake, which was an ongoing bit on “Golden Girls,” was served following the groundbreaking. “This is going to be an incredible tribute to Bea Arthur and her compassion,” said City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, an out lesbian who represents the East Village. Mendez was joined by City Councilmember Corey Johnson, who heads the Council’s L.G.B.T. caucus, and state Senator Brad Hoylman, who noted he constitutes an L.G.B.T. caucus of one in that body. “This is the conscience of our community,” Hoylman said. “We need to look after the kids who are coming after us.”
Standing in front of a photo of Bea Arthur, from left, Steve Herrick, state Senator Brad Hoylman, gay political activist Allen Roskoff, Carl Siciliano — with cheesecake — and Councilmember Corey Johnson. It was reportedly Roskoff’s friendship with Arthur through a “Broadway connection” that got her involved with the Ali Forney Center.
Johnson, who noted that Arthur’s character in “Golden Girls” was his favorite among the four leads, had a similar comment. “This is more than a building. This is more than bricks and mortar,” he said. “This is a beacon of hope.” Mendez said, “I am filled with pride as I stand with the Ali Forney Center and Cooper Square Committee for this extraordinary event. I am filled with joy, not only because I am a part of this but because it’s happening in my district, which has a long and rich history of welcoming, housing and providing services to all individuals in need.”
CALL TO SUBSCRIBE
646-452-2475 A view of the run-down tenement that will soon be renovated into an L.G.B.T.Q. homeless youth transitional shelter.
July 23, 2015
WE SELL APPLE PHOTO BY FACEBOY
A friendly yet complex cat, Zero may have once been in a prison gang.
Lots to like about Zero NYCritters BY FACEBOY
n the mid-to-late 1970s Andy Warhol, some of his superstars and Margaret Hamilton were all customers at the Chemical bank branch at 17th St. and Park Ave. South. Your writer knows this because his mother was a teller there and tends not to lie about such things. Hamilton’s portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West helped cement her iconic status, but her type of witch would not be received well at Enchantments witchcrafts shop, where we met Zero. Ammo O’Day, who has worked on and off at the East Village shop for 10 years, is quite familiar with Zero and the two black rescue cats that also reside at Enchantments. Zero was a stray rescued from a shelter in Arizona as a kitten and is now about 15 years old, O’Day said. The shop adopted him four years ago when his rescuer became a flight attendant and could no longer give him the love and attention he deserves. Named after the ghost dog in “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” this regal cat is quite charming and very friendly. “He’s very sweet and cuddly,” O’Day said of his personality. “If you’re sitting anywhere for long periods of time he will sit on you. Especially if you’re wearing black because he knows he’s pure white and can cover you in fur. The other two are younger by five years and more rambunctious, but if Zero finds a lap he’ll definitely sit on it.” One of his favorite people is Cleo, the UPS woman. “She comes in and her nickname TheVillager.com
for him is Fatboy,” O’Day said. “They spend some special loving time together and when she leaves he goes back to his business of whoever he was bothering at the time but it’s very cute.” Referring to the HBO prison series, she also noted that Zero is likely homosexual. “He and Eros have a very ‘Oz’-like personality,” she said. “We’re convinced that both of them are gay and that they have a love affair.” Cats can be very territorial and the shop enforces a strict policy barring dogs from the place. “We love dogs,” O’Day said. “We just don’t want anything to happen. It’s for the safety of the cats and the dogs. Some people who have tried have been not so nice about hearing they can’t stay.” If you’re a Bad Witch you can also take your business elsewhere. As explained on their Web site they do not engage in any type of black magic. Though acquitted, Ralph and Mary Hall were tried on witchcraft charges in New York State on Oct. 2, 1665. Back then, women could not own property, enter into contracts or earn a salary, and male homosexuals were subject to the death penalty. Today a husband and husband can visit this female-owned witchcraft shop and pet their gay cats with complete impunity. Enchantments, at 424 E. Ninth St., is open daily from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. except Tuesdays. For more information, visit www.enchantmentsinnyc.com . Cats communicate and humans interpret their meaning. When Zero was asked what he would say if someone did bring in a small Toto type of pooch, he squinted his eyes and said, “I’ll get you, my pretty — and your little dog, too!”
As New York City’s premiere Apple Specialist since 1987, our knowledgeable sales advisors have been helping the local community find technology solutions for over 25 years—from the latest Macs and iPads to external storage, iOS accessories, and more.
Trade In, Trade Up. Get a free evaluation of your old Mac or iPad and save when you trade up to a new one.
Pre-Owned, Tek Certified. Save on top-of-the-line, Tek-Certified, preowned Macs and iPads.
Protect Your Investment. Don’t worry, all pre-owned Macs and iPads come with a Safeware Protection Plan. You can also add an accidental damage plan, covering cracked screens, liquid spills, power surges, and more.
Special Financing Available. Ask us about Synchrony Financing, available for all Apple purchases.
119 West 23rd Street • 212.929.3645 • tekserve.com July 23, 2015
EFFICIENT CARE TRAINING CENTER EFFICIENT CARE TRAINING CENTER
Jacket Name 4C 6 x 5.69
HOME HEALTH AIDE TRAINING New to our Jamaica Campus Home Health Aide Training YourFuture Future Starts NOW! Your Starts NOW! Every course you need to be certiﬁed is oﬀered daily.
Su Futuro Empieza Ahora!
Home Health Aide (Day and Evening Courses) Experienced Instructors Job Assistance Provided
certiﬁcado se ofrece diario. a division of
Day and Evening Courses• Experienced Instructors 54-06 Myrtle Avenue, 2nd Fl. 168-25 Jamaica Avenue JOB Assistance Provided • Se Habla Espanol
Jamaica, NY 11432 Ridgewood, NY 11385 168-25 Jamaica Ave., 54-06 Myrtle Ave., 2nd Fl.718-609-1674 718-307-7141 Jamaica, NY 11432 Ridgewood, NY 11385 718-609-1674 718-307-7141 EXCLUSIVE! Accessible by Accessible by FJE M andBECOME Q58, Q55, B52,A TRAINLTO B26, B54
and Q24, Q56
SECURITY GUARD INSTRUCTOR 40 Hour Instructor Development Course
SECURITY GUARD TRAINING Instructors: Tom Flynn & Bob Loveridge
We have NYS DCJS mandated Security Guard Training Courses: • 8 Hour Pre-Assignment Training Course Become a NY State Certiﬁ ed Job Security Guard Today! • 16 Hour On the Training Course • 8 Hour Annual In-Service
8 Specialty HR. Pre-assignment Courses: • Fire Guard Prep Class OSHA 10 Job • OSHA 30 •CPR / AED 16 HR. •on the Training Fireguard Prep CARE TRAINING CENTER IDC - (InstructorEFFICIENT Development Course)
Su Futuro Empieza AHORA! Jamaica Ave., paraestar certiﬁcado se ofrece diario. 54-06 Myrtle Ave., 2nd Fl.Cada168-25 curso tiene que necesitas Jamaica, NY 11432 Ridgewood, NY 11385 Asistente de salud domiciliaria a division of 718-609-1674 718-307-7141 (Cursos de Dia y de Noche) Accessible by L M and Q58, Q55, B52, B26, B54
July 23, 2015
Accessible Instructores con by experiencia J Ebuscar trabajo Assistimos Fen and Q24, Q56 TheVillager.com