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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

September 17, 2015 • $1.00 Volume 85 • Number 16

New landmarks bill would be a historic blunder: Opponents BY YANNIC RACK

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LANDMARKS continued on p. 4

Adam Purple, gardens godfather, 84, dies biking on Williamsburg Bridge BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

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dam Purple, the legendary Lower East Side gardener who fought a losing battle to save his spectacular Garden of Eden from destruction for a low-income housing project, died Monday as he was bicycling over the Williamsburg

Bridge. He was 84. The cause of death was apparently a heart attack, according to Time’s Up, the Brooklyn-based cycling and environmental group that had taken in Purple in recent years. Carmine D’Intino, a good friend of Purple’s, said the PURPLE continued on p. 16

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

bill currently under consideration by the City Council could soon overhaul New York’s landmarks designation process — and potentially hand some historic buildings to developers, according to opponents.

Intro. 775 — which has been the focus of intense concern amid advocates’ calls to stop it from becoming law — would establish time limits for buildings and districts under consideration by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. The measure’s sponsors

Terri Cude, left, and Dennis Gault at their victory party with supporters at Panchito’s Mexican restaurant on MacDougal St. after winning last Thursday’s district leader election.

Cude and Gault win big in district leader election BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

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erri Cude and Dennis Gault easily beat incumbents Jean Grillo and John Scott in the Thurs., Sept. 10, election for Democratic district leader in the 66th Assembly District, Part B, winning more than twothirds of the vote. The district stretches from the Washington Square area down to Battery Park City. About 1,200 voters cast ballots in the race for district leader, a relatively low-rank-

ing party position that is unsalaried. Cude and Gault won the district’s Greenwich Village portion by more than 280 votes — with 120 of that coming from 505 LaGuardia Place, the Mitchell-Lama apartment building on the southern N.Y.U. superblock. They took Soho by more than 200 votes and Noho by about 50. Scott and Grillo carried Tribeca by roughly 100 ballots cast, most of that from Independence Plaza North, where Scott lives. The votes

were roughly even in the district’s East Village portion, while Cude and Gault won Battery Park City, where Gault lives, in a low turnout. Over all, with more than 97 percent of the vote counted, Cude won 818 votes (or about 68 percent) to Grillo’s 380 votes (or around 32 percent). There were 6 write-in votes for someone other than the two candidates on the ballot. In the male district leader ELECTION continued on p. 6

Johnson backs housing at Hudson St.............page 2 The dope on the pope’s N.Y. visit......................page 8 C.B. 3 member in fatal Upstate crash.............page 17 Andrea Alton alt of control!........page 25

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MATERIAL KIDS: Don’t cry for me...Kyle and Camille, above. You just won tickets to see Madonna on her Rebel Heart Tour at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night in NYC Community Media’s Madonna tickets contest! Kyle lives in the East Village, and Camille hails from Williamsburg. For the rest of our readers, don’t feel bad that you lost. You can still enter our Ricky Martin concert tickets contest! It’s loca! See our ad in this week’s issue for details. HERE’S COMES THE JUDGE...DELEGATE: Say what you want about her boss, Sheldon Silver,

and her husband, William Rapfogel, but Judy Rapfogel, the former’s longtime chief of staff, was elected a Democratic judicial delegate last week in the 65th Assembly District, which covers the Lower East Side and Lower Manhattan. Out of nearly 10,000 people who voted, more than 1,000, or about 10 percent, penciled in the oval for Rapfogel. Of the five winners, she came in last. Meanwhile, former Assembly Speaker Silver, of course, is facing federal corruption charges, while hubby William is serving time in the slammer for embezzling funds from the Metropolitan New York Council on Jewish Povery, the charity group he formerly led. A large amount of the stolen cash was found stashed in the bedroom apartment of the Rapfogels’ Grand St. apartment. She has said she didn’t know about the stolen dough. Anyway, she’ll now be helping select our judges.

MAY THE SCHWARTZ (CAPTION) BE WITH YOU: In last week’s print edition of The Villag-

er, a caption on page 10 under a photo of Arthur Schwartz in the article “Attorney and police don’t see eye to eye in spy cameras case” was a misprint. The caption should have stated that it was Schwartz and that he was handcuffed while in court in July as he was being given his return court date.

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funding is that this is an issue for the city administration to resolve with the community, not one to be decided through an L.M.D.C. funding decision. H.P.D. should withdraw the request and work with us on a variety of good affordable housing opportunities instead of taking this action, which can only sour the relationship.” At its scheduled hearing on Thurs., Sept. 17, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation was set to consider an application by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development for a $6 million grant for the 100-unit senior housing project earmarked for the garden.

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HOUSE AND GARDEN: Councilmember Corey Johnson has remained quiet on the Elizabeth St. Garden debate, not wanting to intervene on an issue in the district of Council colleague Margaret Chin. But, in response to The Villager’s queries, Johnson is now at least saying that he does support building affordable housing at a city-owned site in Hudson Square, which is the alternative plan that has been proposed by Tobi Bergman, chairperson of Community Board 2. A spokesperson this week told us, “Councilmember Johnson supports the Community Board 2 recommendation for construction of affordable housing at the Department of Environmental Protection water-shaft site located at Hudson and Clarkson Sts. He looks forward to working with C.B. 2 in the coming months on a suitable plan for that site.” However, as for whether the affordable housing project slated for the Elizabeth St. garden should now be shifted to this West Side site, saving the Little Italy garden, Johnson, well...would not go there. “The Elizabeth St. site is located within Councilmember Chin’s district and Councilmember Johnson rarely weighs in on issues or land use items in other councilmembers’ districts,” his spokesperson said, adding, “He has the utmost respect for Councilmember Chin.” Actually, the full board of C.B. 2 has not voted on whether to designate the Hudson and Clarkson Sts. site for affordable housing. The board is still on record from years ago supporting a park / playground at the location. Yet, Bergman said, developing housing there “has been discussed in the board’s Executive Committee and informally among many members, and it has strong support as an alternative to the Elizabeth St. Garden site.” Bergman added, “The bottom line for the L.M.D.C

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Marc Wishengrad blew a shofar from the balcony at the Rosh Hashanah service.

Celebrating the spirit of ’76! Make that 5776, to be exact BY TEQUILA MINSKY

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e’re everybody-friendly, God-optional and artist-driven,” said Amichai Lau-Lavie, spiritual leader of Lab/ Shul. Amichai leads his Rosh Hashanah services with inclusive and empathetic, yet challenging guidance. The stage is filled with musicians — on violin, flute, guitars and percussion — performing liturgical and world music melodies and rhythms. Prayers and music are accompanied by projections on a screen. This is an Amichai Lab/Shul service. “We’re nomads,” Amichai declared. The location for this September’s Jewish new year observance, on Sun., Sept. 13, was quite different from the previous Lower Manhattan venues. At City Winery, at Varick and Vandam Sts., the ark for the Torah was a wine cask. This year, 5776, the services were held in an early-Romanesque auditorium on Upper Fifth Ave. “It wasn’t big enough,” filmmaker Sandi DuBowski said of City Winery. DuBowski is known for his work on the intersection of L.G.B.T. people and their religion. He is currently making a long-term documentary on Amichai, sort of a “Hoop Dreams” and “42 Up” magnified. Amichai directed Storahtelling — which mixes Judaism with the arts and new media — for years, and is now a rabbi-in-training at the Jewish Theological Seminary, graduating in May. All 583 seats of the Academy of Medicine’s E. 103rd St. auditorium were filled for Rosh Hashanah. Plenty of worshipers from Downtown TheVillager.com

(the physical home of Lab/Shul) — including from the Lower East Side, the Village and Tribeca — made the trek, as did congregants from the Upper West and East Sides, Long Island, Queens and New Jersey. One regular flies from Sante Fe each year to take part. Joining the worship team, musician Natan-el Goldberg travels from Israel to perform with guitar, percussion and a voice that makes you melt. “I am just the medium of this music,” he said with total humility. The services were streamed online. Shira Kline, sporting a swath of bright-blue bangs, led the short family-friendly service for kids up to age 7, followed by activities, keeping them busy while parents worshiped. The Storah (story plus Torah, acted out) Service for adults featured original and dramatized translation of the Torah into English, in three acts. Wrapping up the morning service, Rabbi David Kline blew the traditional ram’s horn shofar, an ancient trumpet. From the balcony, Marc Wishengrad’s sustained, embellished blowings from a long, twisted Yemenite shofar, bought in Borough Park, added to Kline’s traditional tones. Wishengrad is also a trumpeter. Tribeca resident Jewel Bachrach said of the schlep to the Upper East Side, “It was worth the trip.” After the service, many joined the worship team across the street in Central Park at the Harlem Meer, where Tashlich took place. In the Shedding Ritual, the previous year’s transgressions are symbolically cast off by throwing pieces of bread into a natural body of flowing water.

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3


Bill would be historic blunder: Opponents Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association

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September 17, 2015

in the Council say that they intend to clear L.P.C.’s backlog of buildings that are under consideration for designation. The list currently has 95 items, some of which have languished on the commission’s calendar for decades. But scores of angry residents and preservationists from across the city crammed into the City Council chambers at City Hall last Wed., Sept. 9, to protest the bill at a hearing of the Land Use Committee. “The battle is on out there. They’re really coming for us,” said Reno Dakota, who used to live in the East Village and is now a homeowner in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He was one of dozens of spectators who had come armed with stickers and placards proclaiming “No on Intro. 775.” A badge on his shirt read, “Designate Stuyvesant East” and “Stuyvesant East Preservation Action League.” The bill’s 10 co-sponsors, among them David Greenfield, chairperson of the Land Use Committee, and Peter Koo, chairperson of the Landmarks Subcommittee, say they only want to increase transparency and bring good government to the landmarks designation process. “I know there are many differences in this room,” Koo said at the hearing. “But the landmarks process in this city needs to be reformed.” Under the plans, the commission would have one year to designate individual landmarks, with a public hearing scheduled within half a year after calendaring the landmark for consideration. For historic districts, the time frame would be two years, with a hearing after one year at the latest. If, under the legislation, L.P.C. disapproved or failed to designate an item, that property would be ineligible for reconsideration of landmark status for five years, during which time there would be no additional restrictions on its owner. Currently, the commission can place any building on its calendar, without a time limit. Calendaring indicates that the agency is considering a property for designation as a landmark or as part of a historic district. While a property is calendared, the owner, in turn, must go through additional approvals from the city if he wants to alter or demolish it. Speaking after the hearing, Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation, said the proposed law is a grave threat to eligible buildings. “It basically gives a green light to any developer to go ahead and demolish a building, simply on the basis of it not having met some artificially imposed deadline,” he said. “They’ve never even tried [a less restrictive option],” he added. “They’re going from zero to 90 here on this proposal.”

PHOTO BY WILLIAM ALATRISTE / NYC COUNCIL

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

LANDMARKS continued from p. 1

Andrew Berman of G.V.S.H.P jotted down notes while still displaying his “No on Intro. 775” sign at last week’s hearing at City Hall.

Some of the politicians at the hearing agreed. “Intro. 775 does not resolve the problem it seeks to address,” said Councilmember Ben Kallos, who is a member of the Landmarks Subcommittee and opposes the bill, adding that it would “lay waste” to communities. Unsurprisingly, real estate leaders like this legislation. “The problem is it’s open-ended and indefinite if your building is calendared,” Michael Slattery, the senior vice president for research at the Real Estate Board of New York, an industry group, told The New York Times earlier this month. “If you want to sell your building or develop it, it makes that very hard. Property owners deserve to know what is in their future.” Meenakshi Srinivasan, who has been L.P.C. chairperson of since last year, was the first to testify at the hearing. She argued against the bill, calling it “far too broad,” and said the City Council should instead let the commission improve its designation process through internal policy changes. “We believe the proposals are unworkable and would undermine the landmarks law,” she said. “We support the underlying goals, but we believe they are best addressed internally.” Srinivasan said that once time frames are instituted, the agency’s commissioners would strive to deal with the proposed designations within the allotted time, making the five-year waiting provision unnecessary. As for the backlog, she said the agency was already addressing that issue. The bill would require L.P.C. to determine whether to designate items currently on the calendar within 18 months of the bill going into law. But L.P.C.’s Web site currently details a plan that would see all these properties dealt with by the end of next year. Three of the backlogged buildings are in The Villager’s coverage area, according to L.P.C.’s Web site. A wood-framed row house on Sullivan St. in Soho has

been calendared since at least 1970. A decision on a Federal-style row house on Second Ave. in the East Village has been pending since 2009. The third is one of the oldest on the list — a five-story building at 801-807 Broadway at the corner of E. 11th St., which has been “under consideration” since 1966. “The Cast Iron Building,” as it’s sometimes called, used to house the James McCreery & Co. Dry Goods emporium when it was built in 1868. Many point out that the 95 backlogged items only represent a fraction, 0.3 percent, of all the buildings considered for landmarking in New York City ever since the Landmarks Law was passed in 1965. Critics also argue that, had the bill been in effect in the past, many of the city’s most beloved buildings, like Grand Central Terminal or even Rockefeller Center, could now be history. “It’s, at worst, a tiny problem that is now being resolved, compared to the huge problem the bill would create if it was enacted,” Berman said, referring to the current backlog. Greenfield, the Land Use Committee chairperson, seemed at least open to making adjustments to the bill and the length of the time limits, which Srinivasan wants to see extended. At the hearing a second bill was also discussed. Intro. 837, authored by Councilmember Daniel Garodnick, would mandate that L.P.C. publish a database of all properties already designated as landmarks or historic districts or under consideration for designation. Srinivasan said the commission would need additional staff to fulfill this “burdensome” requirement, and that the commission is already working on achieving more transparency. Garodnick said the Council committee was working on refining the bill, so that only items requested by community boards would need to be published, for example. Both bills now seem likely to be changed substantially before the Land Use Committee actually votes on them. Greenfield mentioned repeatedly during the hearing that his efforts to impose stricter rules on L.P.C. were not motivated by mistrust in its leadership. In fact, he saluted Srinivasan for her work. Yet he remarked that there was no guarantee that future commission chairpersons would be as effective and responsible. “No agency likes when legislature does their job, which is to actually write legislation,” Greenfield said. “The reality is that, for the last 50 years, we have not had an L.P.C. that is following the rules and regulations, and trying to get every item done in an efficient manner. The challenge that we have is that you, like every chairperson, will probably not serve forever. And therefore we cannot simply rely on your good graces to get the reforms that we want.” TheVillager.com


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Cude and Gault win convincingly, unseat ELECTION continued from p. 1

6

September 17, 2015

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

race, Gault won 811 votes to Scott’s 375. Again, it was about 68 percent to 32 percent, and again there were six write-in votes for someone else. Cude and Gault had the support of three local political clubs — Downtown Independent Democrats, Village Reform Democratic Club and the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club — while Grillo and Scott were backed by their own club, Downtown Progressive Democrats. Scott and Grillo had broken away from D.I.D. and formed D.P.D., largely over their support for City Councilmember Margaret Chin. Speaking last Friday, her first day as an elected district leader, Cude said that she worked hard to win, over the course of three months talking to constituents — and, most of all, listening to what they had to tell her about their issues of concern. “I was out every day,” she said. “When it rained, I made phone calls or hung out under the canopy at Morton Williams supermarket. My God, do the people at Morton Williams know me!” She was referring to the supermarket at the corner of Bleecker St. and LaGuardia Place, which is on the same extra-large superblock as 505 LaGuardia Place. These issues ranged from, of course, New York University’s mega-development project in the South Village and overdevelopment, in general, to schools, parks and lack of bus service —“transit was huge, it’s huge throughout the district,” Cude said — to, specifically in Soho, “over-illumination” by electric ads and illegal, oversize retail stores. She wrote down a list of the issues that people voiced to her, and plans to follow up on them. It was really the N.Y.U. project, however, that inspired Cude — who is currently first vice chairperson of Community Board 2 and has been on the board for five years — to start mulling a run for office. Cude lives on Bleecker St. just a half block from the university’s South Village superblocks, for which the nearly 2-millionsquare-foot project is slated. She is co-chairperson of Community Action Alliance on N.Y.U. 2031, a coalition of more than 30 neighborbhood groups that have been battling the plan. She was also co-chairperson of the C.B. 2 N.Y.U. Working Group, which issued an advisory resolution that ultimately rejected the university’s entire plan as inappropriate for the location. City officials, though, did not subsequently do much to trim down the project, in the view of Cude and many others who voted for her.

This election was in the bag(pipes) for Cude and Gault. Actually, the bagpiper is Robert Gault, the brother of Cude’s running mate.

“All we got was a haircut,” she said of the changes that were made to the height, design and square footage of the four-building scheme between its review by C.B. 2 and the City Council’s final vote in the summer of 2012. Charles Barron was the only councilmember to vote against the plan. “What happened with N.Y.U. really opened my eyes,” she said. Meanwhile, her election opponents had the support of numerous local politicians, including Congressmembers Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, state Senators Daniel Squadron and Brad Hoylman, Borough President Gale Brewer, City Councilmembers Chin, Corey Johnson and Rosie Mendez, Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer. Cude said she even received robo-calls from Nadler and Glick urging her to vote for Scott and Grillo. Twenty-two other district leaders also endorsed the incumbents. But at the end of the day, it didn’t matter what the elected officials said: The voters knew exactly who they wanted representing them. Cude said she won’t be holding any grudges over the lack of political support. “I feel the electeds endorse incumbents,” she noted. “They circle the wagons. I’ve worked well with electeds. I’ll work even better with them now. As a district leader, I hope to be a more effective representative. Now I’m an elected, too.” Meanwhile, asked for comment, Scott, in a brief e-mail response, complained of “character assassination” on the part of Cude and Gault’s supporters. “A picture is worth 1,000 words,”

he said, referring to a particularly negative campaign mailer sent out by D.I.D. He apparently was referring to the one that portrayed caricatures of him and Grillo dangling from strings as “puppets” of Chin. Scott, who had been district leader for four years, blasted The Villager’s recent editorial endorsement of Cude and Gault. He said it failed to mention that he, too, opposed the N.Y.U. plan, and that he had stood with seniors at Our Lady of Pompeii Church when their day center was threatened. Grillo was angered by a mailing of the D.I.D. “D-Notes” that were sent out to registered Democrats before the primary, which she said falsely inflated her salary and raised untrue allegations about her CERT group’s funding. “I have proof from the Office of Emergency Management, and I have proof from the Board of Elections that my salary was nowhere near what was mentioned,” she said. “I’m not challenging the election,” she added. “The voters made their choice. I’m proud of my 10 years as district leader, and I’m proud of the ethical campaign we ran.” Yet, she said of her opponents, “They ran against Chin not against us.” She said she’s looking to getting back into playwriting and doing community work. For her part, Glick called The Villager shortly before the election and said she would like to know if Cude and Gault planned to “repudiate” what she called “some of the most despicable, negative campaigning, with innuendos not founded in fact,” that was put out about their opponents. Asked if she would distance herself

from the alleged negative campaign materials, Cude said she had not seen any, and could not comment on something she had not seen. She, in turn, sent The Villager a copy of one of her and Gault’s own mailers, which took the high ground and only talked about themselves, and did not even mention their opponents or Chin. At any rate, Cude assured that she would be ready to do her job in the next election: District leaders’ main responsibility is to turn out the vote during elections and make sure the polls are running smoothly. “I’m learning about poll site operation,” she assured. Above all, she said she is proud and grateful that voters valued the things she has been working on during her time at C.B. 2, such as zoning and overdevelopment, plus fighting N.Y.U. 2031. “I’m not interested in running for a higher office,” she stated. “I just want to get attention for these issues.” Working on her own and with local community groups, she also has held free local events, such as to help tykes learn to ride bikes and provide them with ID cards, as well as give people access to a document shredder. In addition to being for a good cause, Cude also simply enjoys organizing community efforts like these. “The city can be very cold,” she said. “But when we get together, we can have a lot of fun.” In a statement to The Villager, Sean Sweeney, a leader in D.I.D., said Cude and Gault’s win is par for the course for the powerful Downtown political club. “D.I.D. has never lost a district leadership challenge — whether on the East Side or the West Side — batting 9-0 since 2009,” he proclaimed. “And our victories usually are in the 80 percent range. “This year’s landslide result — 68 percent over all and as high as 94 percent in some election districts — demonstrates once again that a dedicated group of grassroots activists have far more influence and garner a lot more respect from the voters than do all the endorsements of the career politicians. “Despite endorsements from the public advocate, the comptroller, the borough president, two members of Congress, two state senators, an assemblywoman, three city councilmembers and dozens of party functionaries, our opponents were soundly defeated by grassroots organizing, winning only four of 54 election districts. “The politicians robo-called; we made hundreds of personal phone calls,” Sweeney said. “They sat in their offices; we drove seniors in taxis ELECTION continued on p.7 TheVillager.com


incumbents, who had politicians’ support ELECTION continued from p. 6

to vote. They bulk-mailed form letters from their campaign accounts; we hand-delivered absentee ballots to the homebound. They gave glib quotes to the press; we spread our message by old-fashioned word of mouth and modern social media.” Regarding Scott, Grillo and Glick’s accusations that the mailers were negative smears, Sweeney shrugged that they were, to the contrary, “informative.” In addition, in the election for judicial delegates — which covered, not just Part B, but the entire Assembly district — all six candidates on the slate backed by V.R.D.C., D.I.D. and Jim Owles, as well as the Village Independent Democrats, were elected. Scott and Grillo, along with two other candidates, ran on an opposing slate — though, as previously reported by The Villager, they actually had hoped to avoid having this election in one part of the Assembly District, namely Part A, since there was no district leader race in this part. Thus, Scott and Grillo did not file the required cover sheet with the Board of Elections — thinking the board would call off the judicial delegates race for

Part A. Yet B.O.E. this year made an exception, deciding that a cover sheet was not required, so the polls in Part A — which covers most of the Village — were open for an election, but with only judicial delegates on the ballot. With about 96 percent of the vote counted, the winning candidates for judicial delegate, five of six of whom got more than 1,100 votes, were V.I.D. President Nadine Hoffmann, Jenifer Rajkumar, Maria Passannante-Derr, Jennifer Hoppe, Arthur Schwartz and Allen Roskoff, who got 965 votes. On the losing slate, Grillo got 630 votes and Scott 521, while Scott’s daughter, Tiffany Scott got 481 votes, and Dora Denizard 436. There were 81 write-in names, accounting for nearly 1 percent of the total vote. Rajkumar, who is the female district leader for the 65th A.D., Part C, was the get-out-the-vote coordinator for Cude and Gault’s race. Arthur Schwartz, district leader for the adjacent 66th A.D., Part A, said, “I will miss John Scott; he was a unique person in New York City politics, a working-class radical doing politics in one of the richest communities in the country. Jean Grillo was also cut from a different mold than most district leaders. But Dennis Gault and

Terri Cude will be exciting additions to Downtown politics.” That said, Schwartz then blasted his political nemesis, Glick, calling her the “biggest loser” for working hard to support the incumbents but getting soundly beaten. Sweeney also participated in post-election sniping, saying, “The community’s clear victory must be an embarrassment, particularly to Deborah Glick, who, more than all the other politicians, campaigned so hard all summer long for Scott and Grillo, investing her political backing, campaign money, personal mailings, photo-ops, petitioning and phone calls — all to no avail.” But Glick brushed off Schwartz and Sweeney’s barbs. “These unpaid party-position elections are totally inside baseball,” she said. “The average voter doesn’t really focus on them. But I’m proud to have supported two hard-working people. They did a good job, and they did a lot of good work for the community.” D.I.D. President Jeanne Kazel Wilcke said Cude and Gault “rocked the vote,” and that it “sent a message” to area politicians. “The community has been pounded in this district for a number of years,”

Wilcke said. “People feel their voice is not being heard by the electeds. They have to scream, file a lawsuit or spend countless hours of their own personal time to prevent harm. “And here were two seasoned community leaders, Terri Cude and Dennis Gault, who really spoke to the heart and soul of the community — and I don’t mean to be over-sentimental, it’s true. I never saw such breadth and depth of coalitions that formed to support them. A real groundswell as the weeks wore on became an avalanche of support. “Their base of support was not numerous elected officials. It was the grassroots, local residents, small business owners and neighborhood leaders. “We had a startling turnout for Zephyr Teachout and Timothy Wu just last year — highest in New York State at 70 percent. A number of significant historical movements have started right here in this district. Our votes send a message. Electeds should take notice. “Now we’ve done it again to elect two solid district leaders. When this smart and feisty community comes together, we rock. Terri and Dennis and all the great people volunteering — they really rocked the vote!”

Jefferson Market Garden Thanks all our generous donors and volunteers who made our 40th Anniversary a great success!

George Paulos, JMG Board Chair, honorees Adrian Benepe and Barry Benepe, Susan Sipos, JMG Horticulturist/Garden Designer (photo: Tequila Minski)

Presenting The Brooke Astor Award for

Outstanding Contributions to Urban Gardens To SUPPORT the Garden: www.jeffersonmarketgarden.org

TheVillager.com

September 17, 2015

7


Pope-ular Francis kicks off U.S. tour in city BY SHAVANA ABRUZZO

Official New York schedule:

he “slum bishop” won’t be slumming it in the Big Apple. Septuagenarian superstar Pope Francis will receive a rock star’s welcome when he disembarks from “Shepherd One” at J.F.K. Airport next week (likely lugging his own bag), as part of a three-city apostolic trek on the East Coast, featuring a 40-hour spirit around Gotham that would leave Batman breathless. Soon after landing, the 78-year-old pontiff — the fourth pope to visit the U.S. — will hold a prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown. The next day he will speak at the United Nations, visit a Harlem school and conduct services at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Then it’s off to meet the adoring masses selected by lottery in a procession through Central Park on his way to Madison Square Garden to lead a Mass using a high-backed chair. Outside the venue spectators can admire a 20-story mural of his holiness commissioned by the Diocese of Brooklyn. Even New Yorkers unable to snag a freebie ticket are in seventh heaven. “Just to know that the Holy Father is in town and that I am in the same airspace as him is good enough for

Thurs., Sept. 24 • Arrives at J.F.K. Airport, 5 p.m. • Evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 6:45 p.m. 

Fri., Sept. 25 • U.N. General Assembly, 8:30 a.m. • Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial & Museum, World Trade Center, 11:30 a.m. • Visits Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, 4 p.m.  • Papal motorcade through Central Park, 5 p.m.  • Madison Square Garden Mass, 6 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 26 • Departs for Philadelphia, 8:40 a.m.

T

Visit www.Popefrancisvisit.com for updates.

A mural in honor of Pope Francis’s visit as it was recently being painted on a building in West Midtown Manhattan.

me,” said Brooklyn resident Lucia Wells, who plans to take the day off and catch all the action on cable television’s “pope channel.” Francis, who drives a 1984 Renault and rails against global warming and consumerism, has gained worldwide fans of all stripes and faiths since his March 2013 inauguration as head of the Catholic Church, bishop of Rome, sovereign of Vatican City and champion of the poor.

“I am a sinner,” he told some of his first audiences, with his trademark pastoral style. Francis has baptized the babies of single mothers and installed showers at the Vatican for the homeless, with whom he sometimes sits down to a meal. He commemorated the Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper by washing the feet of inmates at the same Roman prison that Pope St. John Paul II visited in 1983 to forgive

his attempted murderer, Mehmet Ali Agca. The Pope will stay at the official residence of the Holy See mission on the Upper East Side. He has requested water and bananas in his room, and spartan meals of fish, chicken and white rice.  Community News Group and New York Community Media extends its best wishes to Pope Francis, and sincerely hopes the Holy Father ventures across the Brooklyn Bridge and into Queens and the Bronx his next visit!

Fast ’n’ fun Vatican facts! Last supper? Likely chicken BY SHAVANA ABRUZZO

M

onaco is widely regarded as the world’s smallest country, but that tall honor goes to a micro-state an eighth the size of Central Park, located 400 miles away in the Italian capital of Rome. Vatican City is home of the Catholic Church, and the site of the papal residence and the Holy See — the Church’s supreme organ of government. The Vatican is governed as a monarchy, with an elected pope as its head and an appointed president. Its citizens numbered less than 594 in 2011, including 71 cardinals, 109 members of the Swiss Guard, 51 members of the clergy, and one nun inside the Vatican walls, in addition to more than 300 clergy members, most of whom are dispersed around the world as diplomats. The Vatican mints its own euros, prints its own stamps, operates its own media, issues its own passports and license plates, and has its own media outlet. It also has its own currency in the form of the Vatican lira. It has its own legal system,

8

September 17, 2015

though Italian courts deal with criminal matters, such as the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II. The Vatican has its own astronomers, who conduct research with a state-of-the-art telescope in an observatory 15 miles from the city at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo; the Vatican has a second research center in Arizona. It has a turbulent past — before Italy’s unification in the late 1800s, the government seized all of the papal states except for the Vatican, which refused to succumb to the Kingdom of Italy. Benito Mussolini signed the sovereign state into existence in the late 1920s, compensating the church $92 million (more than $1 billion in today’s money) for the lost papal states.  Past Popes have used the Passetto di Borgo to escape dangers. The secret passageway was built in 1277 as a route to the fortified Castel Sant’Angelo on the banks of the Tiber River. It saved Pope Clement VII from certain death in 1527, when the henchmen of Roman Emperor Charles V rampaged through the city, murdering nuns and priests.

BY SHAVANA ABRUZZO

A

look into the papal diet over the course of its 2,000-year history shows that popes are only human, and some have stuck to the letter of canon law while others have succumbed to the mortal authority of a hearty appetite. Jesuit minimalist Pope Francis likes baked, skinless chicken, salad, fruit, and a glass of simple wine. He occasionally indulges in dulce de leche, a caramel milk pudding, and “Bagna Cauda,” a classical farmer’s dish made of roasted veggies dipped in a garlic broth and served in an earthenware bowl warmed by a candle. His Bavarian predecessor Benedict XVI enjoyed a traditional wurstel salad, a pork dish called “schweinsbraten,” and baked cherries topped with cream. Polish John Paul II had a soft spot for pierogis. Boniface VIII’s tableware, including the salt bowl, was made of solid gold. Terrified of being poisoned, he had a full-time food taster and ate with “magic knives” supposed to detect poison on contact. Clement VI famously said that his

sober predecessors “did not know how to be Pope.” He hosted extravagant meals where only he was allowed to eat with a knife to prevent an outbreak of violence. Martin V’s German-born chef had more than 70 separate recipes for the diverse social classes visiting the Pope. Kings feasted on spicy chicken soup while working ranks were fed leek broth. Pius IV liked to quench his thirst with barley water, and sate his appetite with frogs fried in garlic and parsley. Leo XIII, the first pope of the 20th century, ate his meals alone on a folding tray. He breakfasted on a cup of coffee and a small roll of bread, dined on boiled meat and veggies, and supped on soup, prompting his physician to remark, “I eat more in one meal than the Pope does in seven days.” Paul VI liked “to unwind in the evening with a light scotch and soda,” while Milanese nuns prepared his meals. He reformed the rules on fasting for the poor, whose lives he felt were hard enough. Pius V wasn’t much of an eater, and threatened to excommunicate anyone who dared to fortify his broth when his constant fasting began to take a toll. TheVillager.com


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9


9/11 retains its solemnity for many, 14 years on BY YANNIC RACK

L

In front of the PATH train station last Friday on Vesey St., a man waved an American flag and held an “In God We Trust” sign as a tourist snapped a selfie with him.

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September 17, 2015

PHOTOS BY YANNIC RACK

ast Friday morning, Lower Manhattan was abuzz in its usual rush, with commuters streaming out of the PATH station at the World Trade Center and office workers taking their first cigarette breaks of the day in the 7 W.T.C. plaza. But the scene was decidedly more sober across the street where, inside the closed-off National September 11 Memorial & Museum, families of victims had begun reading the names of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed here 14 years ago. The ceremony followed a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the minute the first plane hit the towers. All around the site, the most telltale sign of the day’s significance were the countless patrol cars and police officers stationed at every corner. But many felt the anniversary’s weight even without such visible reminders. “It is very surreal, regardless of what country you’re from — this is a life-changing thing across the world,” said Michael Young, 50, who was in the city for a charity motorcycle ride from New York to Los Angeles that was leaving on Sunday. Standing at the corner of Vesey and West Sts., by the Hudson River bike path, Young said he works for emergency services in his native Australia and felt especially affected by the responders who gave their lives in the attack and its aftermath.

“The guys and girls that died here reflect every emergency service worker across the world,” he said. Further into Battery Park City, Warren, 61, who didn’t want to give his last name, was taking his own moment to reflect before catching a ferry from the nearby World Financial Center Terminal. He was standing near the water, with his hands folded in front of him and looking up at the new One World Trade Center looming over the neighborhood. “It’s a bit of a difficult day,” he said afterward, adding that he was visiting from California to witness the anniversary and visit family. Originally from Brooklyn, he moved to the West Coast in 2000 but was nevertheless involved in the events of Sept. 11, albeit indirectly. “I was working for one of the major airlines that was involved,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I was on shift, and I happened to be in maintenance control. We had taken a call from one of the aircraft [that hit the Twin Towers], a flight attendant on the plane. They explained that they had been hijacked, but there was not much we could offer them by way of response. The standard protocol back then was pretty much to just let them have their way. “It was just a tough one. Friends of friends were inside the building and they’re no longer here. It was important to me to come back. I had visited three or four times since then, but never on this date,” he added.

Arthur Regan, in front, and three friends marked the 9/11 anniversary with a New York Will Never Forget walk-a-thon from the Battery to Central Park.

Cindy Pound, 46, also vividly remembered the day of the attack; on that fateful morning she had been at a dog park off the West Side Highway in Chelsea. “To be honest, yesterday I was reminiscing a lot about it, and this morning I forgot, when I first woke up,” she said, sitting on a bench behind the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City. “But I got a text message from a friend; he was the first person I spoke with on that day.” Pound has lived in Lower Manhattan for eight years and said the neighborhood had already “picked back up” by the time she moved in. “I watched the entire tower be built, which was meaningful,” she said. “I’m just glad people remember and I’m really proud of the recovery progress that has been made. I think the city has done a great job in balancing remembrance with moving forward.” Jacqueline Barker, 38, who was pushing her 15-month-year-old daughter in a stroller through Rockefeller Park, moved to Battery Park City from Florida just one year ago. But she said it was important to her that her two older children, ages

six and eight, learn about the neighborhood’s legacy. “They’re very keenly aware of it,” she said. “It’s taught in school a lot, and living down here and walking past the memorial each day...they know a lot of people who were here on that day — parents of friends. So it’s always a quiet morning, but we talk about it. I think you need to be aware of the space and the community that you live in. It’s a defining event.” Not far away, on the bikeway/ walkway, a group of four men was making their way uptown. Led by Arthur Regan, 52, who was carrying a flagpole about 10 feet long, the procession was the 14th annual New York Will Never Forget walk-a-thon, a memorial walk from the Battery all the way to Central Park. Despite the fact that only three other people showed up this year to join him, Regan, whose office at 90 West St. was lost on 9/11, was in good spirits. “It’s a business day and people have lots of different things they’re doing,” he said. “Every year is a different number. But New York will never forget.” TheVillager.com


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September 17, 2015

11


POLICE BLOTTER Fatal plunge on E. 3rd

Natty dread walk

A woman staying at actor David Harbour’s third-floor apartment on E. Third St. near Second Ave. fatally plunged into the building’s rear courtyard on Mon., Sept. 14, around 5 p.m. A source identified the woman as Christian Croft, 29. She reportedly exited from one of the apartment’s rear windows onto the fire escape, walked along it to the right, and then either fell or jumped. At the time, Harbour was in Toronto at the premiere of “Black Mass,” the new film about Boston mobster Whitey Bulger starring Johnny Depp. “She was someone who struggled,” Harbour told the Daily News. “She was in the shelter system. “I was trying to help her out. I’m very confused, I don’t understand how this happened. She seemed to be a lovely person. It’s a terrible tragedy. I’m very shaken by this.” According to the News, police said the woman had a history of mental health issues. The Tony-award nominated actor did not immediately say how he and the woman had met.

On Thurs., Sept. 10, around 4 p.m., police spotted a man allegedly walking between subway cars on a northbound L train as it arrived at the Eighth Ave. station. The dreadlocked man refused to show police his ID and stated multiple times that he didn’t “have to do anything,” according to a police report. When they tried to arrest him, he went rigid and also caused a scene, the report added. Kyle Cooper, 23, was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. Moving between subway cars, even if they are not moving, is not allowed and is punishable by a $75 fine.

Law of gravity Police on patrol in the Village spotted a knife poking out from a man’s front right pants pocket on Sat., Sept. 12. They deemed the blade to be a gravity knife and arrested its owner, 35, at about 12:15 a.m. near the southwest corner of Seventh Ave. South and W. 11th St. The man was arrested and

charged with criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor. A folding knife that is openable with a one-handed flick of the wrist is deemed an illegal gravity knife under New York law.

Guest got violent A guest not only overstayed his welcome at an apartment at 242 W. 14th St., he then got violent. He refused a request to leave at about 3:15 a.m., on Sat., Sept. 12, punched his 26-year-old host and threatened him with a knife, police said. A 22-year-old woman witnessed the incident, according to a police report. The two men did not know each other, the report adds. Angel J. De Pena, 23, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor menacing.

Bus attacker busted A man shattered an M.T.A. bus door at 10 a.m. on Sat., Sept. 12, police reported. The bus’s 36-year-old male driver accused Jose Barral, 59, of punching and breaking the door

near the intersection of W. 12th St. and Eighth Ave. Barral was arrested and charged with criminal mischief, a felony. According to the police report, doors for city buses cost $1,000. It was not immediately clear what caused Barral to flip out.

Catch suspect caught A 27-year-old woman told police that she saw a woman sifting through her purse inside Catch, the trendy restaurant and bar at 21 Ninth Ave. in the Meatpacking District, on Sat., Sept. 12, around 3 a.m. The victim’s husband then observed the suspect take the purse from the table and carry it outside just after 3 a.m., according to a report. They confronted the alleged thief and retrieved the purse. Christina Callaway, 24, was arrested and charged with grand larceny, a felony. Surveillance video that could help prove whether Callaway did it or not was “not yet retrievable,” police said.

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13


New Hudson Yards station is on another level RHYMES WITH CRAZY

PHOTOS BY VINCENT LAFARO

BY LENORE SKENAZY

D

o yourself — and your soul — a favor. Hop on the 7 train and go to the last stop in Manhattan, the brand-spanking-new one: 34th St. Hudson Yards. You will emerge into the station and, I guarantee you, grin. Everyone does. I spent Sunday, opening day, just watching people get off the train and smile like they’d landed in Disney World.  It’s not just that the place is so new and big and bright. It’s not just the amazing “inclinator” — an elevator that glides up and down an incline, like something out of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” It’s not even the fact that there’s no gum on the floor, or trash on the tracks. I didn’t even see a rat — which was kind of disorienting. Like, “Am I still in New York?” But that’s the point: This is very much New York. And maybe the optimism it engenders is the fact that our city (and state) made something this magnificent happen.  You see, without exactly articulating it, a troubling notion had taken root in the back of my mind, and possibly yours, that New York’s civic glory days were over. Yes, we could build the Freedom Tower, but look how long it took. Look at how different it ended up from the original design.  And yes, we built two baseball stadiums recently, but those were…baseball stadiums.  And then suddenly the M.T.A. unveils a transit hub that opens up a whole swath of previously no-man’sland Manhattan, like the Golden Spike opening up the Wild West. And it does this with a station as uplifting as a cathedral. “It’s a point for urban equality,” said Alex Restrepo, an academic advisor at LaGuardia Community College, taking an opening day stroll through the newness. 

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September 17, 2015

The stylish, glass-canopied entrance to the Hudson Yards No. 7 train station.

“It’s also built on a usable scale,” added Michael Rohdin, an administrator of undergraduate studies at John Jay College. Unlike, say, the 72nd and Broadway station — an express stop with just enough platform space for a ballerina to slide past a supermodel, if neither of them has eaten breakfast — the Hudson Yards stop is vast. The platform is wide, but it almost feels as if the stairways are wider still. “And there are many entrances between the station and the mezzanine, so there won’t be so many choke points,” piped up Leo Wagner, a 14-year-old train buff visiting with his mom from Washington, D.C. The train buffs were out in force, of course, all of them ecstatic. “I actually got chills — and not just because of the air conditioning,” said 17-year-old Jovan Griffith, a senior at Northeastern Academy in Inwood, taking photos. (He was right — the AC was working on the platform. Amazing!)  “I like the design, the walls, the lighting — everything,” said an equally effusive Vincent LaFaro, a CVS customer service rep from Brooklyn. His friend Veniece Campbell had come in from Yonkers to exult in the new station.  “It’s historic!” she said, promising she’ll be back soon. Then again, she has to be. She’s a train operator, and on Thursday her run starts at that station. Outside on one of the new benches facing the new grass that looks about as natural as a Starbucks in the Sahara, retired Domino Sugar worker Robert Shelton sat basking in the sun, and pride.  “My daughter’s an electrician,” he

The subway station’s spacious interior almost resembles an airport more than a subway station.

said. “She helped to construct this.” This is a daughter who went to electrician school only after her parents begged the administration to let her in. It was a Downtown Brooklyn trade school that only accepted certain students.  “You had to have been on welfare, an ex-offender or a drug addict to go to the school,” Shelton A mosaic-tile ceiling adds to the station’s attracexplained. His daughter tiveness. wasn’t any of those, but that’s the school her family had heard Bloomberg headquarters to the city’s about in the Roosevelt Houses, and newest gem.  that’s where she wanted to go. Her “I am so happy to be here today,” parents did too. said her dad.  “So we took off from work and See? This station is going to make a fought for her to go to school there,” lot of us happy for a long time.  recalled Shelton. “We said, ‘We pay taxes. Let her in.’ ” And the school did. Skenazy is a keynote speaker and the Now, 30-something years later, author and founder of the book and blog she’s worked on everything from “Free-Range Kids” TheVillager.com


PHOTO BY WILLIAM ALATRISTE / NYC COUNCIL

Riding the 7 train to Hudson Yards, clockwise from bottom left, state Senator Brad Hoylman, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, City Councilmember Corey Johnson, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez — chairperson of the Council’s Transportation Committee — Mayor de Blasio, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (hidden from view) and Borough President Gale Brewer.

The (loco)motion passes! Next stop Hudson Yards!

M

ayor Bill de Blasio and local politicians rode on the newly extended No. 7 subway line to W. 34th St. and 11th Ave. Friday

for the ribbon-cutting at the new Hud- The new station — the city’s first in 25 son Yards stop. Outside the terminus, years — is expected to bring 32,000 ridstraphangers can enjoy a new system ers a day to and from the developing of tree-lined parks and boulevards.T:8.75”neighborhood, helping fuel Hudson

Yards’ growth. Another station potentially could be added to the line in the future at W. 41st St. and Tenth Ave., if there is money for it.

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September 17, 2015

15


Adam Purple, 84, gardens legend, dies on bridge PURPLE continued from p. 1

16

September 17, 2015

PHOTO COPYRIGHT HARVEY WANG

iconic activist and environmentalist — known for his flowing white beard, purple garb and mirrored sunglasses — had been biking around midday from the Williamsburg headquarters of Time’s Up, to meet him in the East Village. Purple had been living at the Time’s Up space in recent years. As usual, Purple had called D’Intino beforehand and told him when he was about to head out to meet him. He would have been riding a folding bike that D’Intino gave him a few years ago. “He would call me when he got to Manhattan and tell me what he was doing,” he said. But this time, no second call came. Police did not immediately have information on what may have happened to Purple — whose real name was David Wilkie — on the bridge. A department spokesperson said they would only have a record if there had been a crime. However, Bill Di Paola, executive director of Time’s Up, said from what he was told, Purple was found in the middle of the bridge. Passersby reportedly performed CPR on him to try to save him. Di Paola said a man he knows by his first name, Jacques, told him that he had been riding by and saw Purple on the bridge and that he did not look like he was alive. Di Paola said Purple would ride over the bridge and into the East Village about twice a month to shop for food at Commodities Natural Market, at E. 10th St. and First Ave. “I think the summer took a toll on him because it was very hot,” D’Intino said. “He was living in a little room at Time’s Up. He was thinking about moving in with me.” Di Paola said Purple had been living at Time’s Up for the past three years, in a small room located off the bike-shop work area. “He really had no place else to go and he liked Time’s Up,” he said. “Being around our bike shop and energy really energized him.” In a statement, Time’s Up said, “Yesterday, we lost one of New York’s most well-known and colorful environmentalists. We also lost one of Time’s Up’s oldest and most dedicated volunteers. “We all knew and loved Adam. His commitment to a sustainable lifestyle was unrelenting and all encompassing. The community garden that he created with his own hands was so lush and grandiose that even NASA saw it — from outer space! Appropriately, it was called the Garden of Eden.” Purple helped with day-to-day operations and night management at the space. Di Paola said Purple helped sort parts and assisted during their recy-

Adam Purple on the fire escape at the top of his Forsyth St. building overlooking his beloved Garden of Eden during the winter of 1982.

cle-a-bike workshops. In a feature story two years ago about Purple hanging out with the younger cyclists, the Daily News dubbed him the “Original Hipster.” David Wilkie — who would later become Adam Purple during the psychedelic era — was born in 1930 in Missouri. Purple would always tell The Villager how he had been a police reporter there. According to D’Intino, he was also an English teacher and was drafted during the Korean War, but was given a special noncombat post. As for how Purple got his nickname, he once told The Villager it came from “the magic mushroom.” He also went by at least two other monikers, including General Zen and the Rev-Les Ego. Last Thursday, D’Intino met with Purple at the Time’s Up space and they spoke about getting in touch with the elderly activist’s family members and putting his papers and archival materials — including about his beloved Garden of Eden — in the right hands. According to D’Intino, Purple’s survivors include a son, about age 30, who teaches English in Japan; a grandson who is in publishing in California; and several daughters. The grandson republished Purple’s miniature-size book of koans, “Zentences,” which is included in the New York Public Library’s Rare Books Department. His former wife — who was known as Eve — is probably still alive, according to D’Intino, though he said Purple “didn’t like her because he got locked out of an apartment by her and a lot of his personal possessions got taken away.” Di Paola said he spoke to the police detective on the case, who told him they were having trouble tracking down Purple’s family members to notify them of his death. At one point, Purple had a cult following. His devotees — who were

vegetarian, like him, and did not wear any leather garments or leather shoes — were known as the Purple People. Purple’s garden was demolished in 1986. The fight had become so heated that, as The Villager reported back then, future Councilmember Margarita Lopez had fumed she would tear the green oasis down with “my bare hands” if she had to. “He had been knocked out of the garden,” D’Intino recalled. “He was depressed for about a decade. He had a court order saying they couldn’t destroy it — but they destroyed it anyway.” The Garden of Eden covered 15,000 square feet between Forsyth and Eldridge Sts. near Stanton St. With planting beds in Zen-like concentric circles, it featured corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, raspberries and 45 trees. “It was a work of art — an earthwork, a work of art that was also ecologically based,” Purple said in a 2006 interview. Adam and Eve would bike up to Central Park to collect horse manure and bring it back to fertilize the garden’s soil. Regarding how Purple came to live in his Forsyth St. building, D’Intino said it was because he had first been the super there, but it was then abandoned by the landlord. Purple continued to reside in the old tenement without electricity or any services, before it was ultimately demolished by the city around the turn of the century to make way for housing for the deaf. According to D’Intino, Purple was compensated $10,000 by the city after the building was taken from him. Di Paola recalled how Purple’s bike would have bells on strings hanging down from the handlebars, and that to ring them, he would have to shake the whole bike. The cycling activist also remembered how, back when he was living

on Broadway at Astor Place, he stepped out of his building only to find a wiggling path of purple footprints on the sidewalk. These had been made by Purple’s friend George Bliss, who wheeled a drum with purple paint inside of it to create them. The prints led back to the site of Purple’s destroyed garden. “And Adam was on Regis and Kathy Lee talking about the garden,” Di Paola added. “I think George was there and he was wearing a mask — it was like a beehive.” In more recent years, Purple could sometimes be spotted biking around the Lower East Side collecting cans. “His paradigm, it was antithetical to the modern paradigm,” D’Intino said, “which is just to pave over all the green spaces.” Purple never liked to drive in a car, since he was “anti-the internal combustion engine,” he added. D’Intino said that last Thursday when he met with Purple at the Time’s Up space to discuss his estate, the legendary environmentalist gave him a very warm embrace — which was unusual for him. “The last time, he was very physical and hugging me,” he said. “Usually, he was austere, intellectual. “He said he’s not going to make it to see the water rise up a couple of feet in the neighborhood.” Di Paola said Time’s Up is planning to hold a memorial for Adam Purple in the next couple of weeks, most likely in the East Village, possibly at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS). It was at the opening of MoRUS, in December 2012, that Purple probably made his last public speaking appearance. Still angry at former Councilmembers Miriam Friedlander and Lopez for supporting the destruction of his Garden of Eden for housing, he blasted them as “psycho-boobies.” For those who would like to add their thoughts or remembrances of him, a memorial has already started outside the group’s Brooklyn space, at 99 South Sixth St., in South Williamsburg. Di Paola recalled how when the city was about to take away Purple’s building, he and others went inside and tried to occupy it in a last-ditch effort to save it. “On the first floor, all the beautiful purple tie-dye clothes were hanging up and there were his diaries,” he said. “The diaries were fascinating: On one day he’d be collecting horse manure and the next day he’d be on Regis and Kathy Lee. That was his life. “We didn’t get to preserve his diaries, but Time’s Up played a part in preserving him as a living legend.” To see a short film about Adam Purple by Harvey Wang, visit https://vimeo.com/29275235 TheVillager.com


C.B. 3 member, wife, future in-law die in car crash BY ALBERT AMATEAU

agreements, it was always on the issues and nothing personal.” The funeral for Morris and Beth was Wed., Sept. 9, at the Bialystoker Synagogue. Hewitt, who attended, said the place was packed with what he estimated were around 300 people, plus more people in the streets outside. He said he saw Judy Rapfogel, Silver’s chief of staff, but that it was so crowded, there may have been other local V.I.P.’s there that he just didn’t see. On his Facebook page Faitelewicz posted a photo of his father, a Holocaust survivor, sitting in a doorway in Dachau concentration camp wearing prison-style striped pants, shirt and cap. His father and mother emigrated to the U.S. in 1950. The funeral for Yehuda Bayme was the following Tuesday at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Raised in Riverdale, he had recently moved to the Lower East Side. State police in Wurtsboro said the accident happened around 4:30 p.m. Sept. 7 on State Route 17 near Exit 112 in Mamakating Township. “The vehicle, occupied by six family members, was returning to

I

n a tragic highway accident, Morris Faitelewicz, 58, a longtime Lower East Side civic leader, his wife, Beth, 54, and their intended son-in-law, Yehuda Bayme, 31, were killed on Monday afternoon Sept. 7 returning from a Labor Day weekend in the Catskills. The couple’s daughter, Shani, 27, who was engaged to Bayme, and the Faitelewiczes’ sons, Yaakov, 29, and Ani, 23, were seriously injured when Morris lost control of the car, which rolled over several times on Route 17 in Sullivan County. Morris, who celebrated his 33rd wedding anniversary with Beth in June, was renowned for his long years as a volunteer in a Hatzolah unit, ES 17, a Jewish emergency medical service team on the Lower East Side. A first responder to the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack, Morris was commanding officer of the New York Police Department’s auxiliary volunteer emergency medical service rescue unit at Ground Zero. He supervised other E.M.S. teams in the area for almost nine months. Beth Faitelewicz was a registered nurse at Beth Israel Hospital. In June 2002 Morris earned the Port Authority’s Exceptional Service Award for his work at Ground Zero, and in September 2002 he earned a New York City Council proclamation honoring him and his unit for work at Ground Zero on Sept. 11 and during the months that followed. He was citywide coordinator and deputy inspector of the auxiliary police’s rescue unit until his death. State Assemblymember Sheldon Silver said he knew Morris for 40 years. They were neighbors in the Grand St. co-ops and both worshiped at the Bialystoker Synagogue. “Our community mourns the devastating loss of Morris and Beth Faitelewicz and their future sonin-law, Yehuda Bayme,” Silver said. “Morris spent most of his life in the Lower East Side community and he was dedicated to making sure the quality of life in this community was as good as it can be.” Stu Loesser, a former neighbor of the Faitelewicz family who was a spokesperson for Mayor Bloomberg, said, “Beth and Morris didn’t just lend a hand to help Downtown recover from Sept. 11; they put everything they had into helping Lower Manhattan and the city come back.” A member of Community Board 3 for more than 20 years, Morris TheVillager.com

New York City after spending the weekend at a resort in the Ellenville area,” according to a police statement. “Based on the initial investigation the vehicle was traveling eastbound in the driving (right) lane and attempts to move into the passing (left) lane. An uninvolved vehicle was already in the passing lane, so the vehicle’s operator quickly steers back into the driving lane. The operator overcorrects the steering and leaves the roadway off the right shoulder. The operator again overcorrects the steering to the left causing the vehicle to overturn. The vehicle rolls onto its side, becomes airborne and rolls several more times before finally coming to rest,” said the police statement, identifying Morris Faitelewicz as the operator. Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, whose district includes the Lower East Side, paid tribute to Morris in a statement the day after the tragic accident on the floor of the House of Representatives.

With repor ting by Lincoln Anderson

From Morris Faitelewicz’s Facebook page, a photo of him taken on Nov. 11, 2001, at Ground Zero near the Liberty St. Bridge. “The next day we were rushing to the Belle Harbor plane crash!” he captioned it. “Probably only picture of me at Ground Zero during those 9 horrible months.”

served as a vice chairperson of the board about five years ago. Herman Hewitt, a veteran C.B. 3 member who is the board’s first vice chairperson, said health and safety were always Faitelewicz’s key issues on the board. “He’s always been a person who is very dedicated to his community, especially in terms of his work with the auxiliaries and his emergency service,” Hewitt said. “He was 100 percent dedicated to that.” As for where Faitelewicz fell on the issues, Hewitt said he voted with the Grand St. group, which has always tended to be “more conservative” than the rest of the community board. “He was always considerate to people during discussions,” he said. “He was honest in telling you exactly what he feels about it. “He was a really, really considerate, great person. I never had any issues with him. If there were dis-

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September 17, 2015

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PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINKSY

A toast for two amid the trees and tomatoes On Sunday, Terri Cude and Dennis Gault celebrated their victory in the district leader election with a toast with Sara Jones (in hat) and other members of the LaGuardia Corner Gardens. The lushly planted open-space strip that the gardens are on was declared not to be parkland by the state’s highest court, which green-lighted the N.Y.U. 2031 project to proceed. Cude is co-chairperson of Community Action Alliance on N.Y.U. 2031, which has been battling the university’s mega-development plan for the two South Village superblocks.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR They listened, so they won To The Editor: The truth of the matter is that Terri Cude and Dennis Gault listened more to the voters and worked harder. I think the voters realize that it’s more important to be responsive to the people in their district. It’s great to be endorsed by people, especially if it’s elected officials. But it’s more important to be endorsed by voters. Scott and

Grillo just forgot that. The voter is the boss! Raymond Cline

Backing Chin did them in To The Editor: I thought Jean Grillo and John Scott were good district leaders. Unfortunately, their undoing was supporting Margaret Chin and, thus, what she stands

IRA BLUTREICH

for — the giveaway of public parks, historic sites and landmark buildings to profit private corporations. I also received four phoners from elected officials supporting Grillo/Scott. Two of these were so distorted and untruthful that I was shocked and dismayed.  This is not a game. We are fighting for that which should be safeguarded and preserved for future generations. Please join us. We need you. A.S. Evans

He even helps dogs! To The Editor: Re “Attorney and police don’t see eye to eye in spy cameras case” (news article, Sept. 10) I am not surprised that Arthur Schwartz risked arrest to help another, since he is moved by his conscience. For instance, without him there might not be any dog runs in the Hudson River Park. He stood up for us, along with Aubrey Lees, to help dog owners — the single largest park-user group — secure a spot in the park when others in community leadership continued to ignore us. Dog owners owe him a debt of gratitude. He is one of my heroes.  Lynn Pacifico

Will de Blasio’s bubble burst? 18

September 17, 2015

LETTERS continued on p. 28 TheVillager.com


Forefather’s papers bring abolition fight alive NOTEBOOK BY OTIS KIDWELL BURGER

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ome 50 years ago, my mother, Elizabeth Willcox Kidwell, sold the papers of her grandfather, Sydney Howard Gay, to the Butler Library at Columbia University. The library would not permit me or a niece to see these papers (“too fragile”), and so these letters kept by my abolitionist great-grandfather, including unique records — names, dates, “owners,” money disbursed over two years that aided the escape of more than 200 fugitive slaves — were buried in files for decades. Then in 2007, a student found them and described them to Eric Foner, a professor at Columbia. And Tom Calarco also heard of the papers and talked about them to his friend, Don Papson, the founder of the North Star Underground Railroad Museum, near Plattsburgh, N.Y. Foner subsequently published “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad” (W.W. Norton) this year. And Papson and Calarco published “Secret Lives of the Underground Railroad in New York City: Sydney Howard Gay, Louis Napoleon and the Record of Fugitives” (McFarland) also this year. Informing these meticulously researched, illustrated books, this rare material provides an inside look at the brave and dedicated people who worked for the cause of abolition in and around New York from 1833 to ’65. A recent series on Channel 13 suggested that without the abolitionists, this would have stayed a slave-based country. That seems debatable. Slavery was already stressing the country. Abolition seemed inevitable. My great-grandfather, Sydney Howard Gay, was born in 1814 in Hingham, Massachusetts, into an old New England family. His father, Ebenezer Gay, was a lawyer, stern and eccentric. Sydney was highstrung and intelligent. His three older brothers had left home. Sydney attended Harvard at the age of 15. Too young. He neglected his studies and was recalled home, sick, two years later. His mother got him a job with a counting house. He lived in Boston with his brother, Dr. Martin Gay, “a distinguished analytical chemist.” Then the company sent him to China. One hundred days by sailing ship, he arrived in Canton just after a devastating fire burned down much of the city and “The Hongs,” the foreign warehouses. TheVillager.com

Elizabeth Neall Gay and Sidney Howard Gay, the great-grandparents of the writer, who is a longtime resident of the Village, where she lives on Bethune St.

Returning home, he then traveled west, across the Alleghenies, down the Ohio by canal boat, down the Mississippi, where he admired the fine plantations on the banks, and the slaves, so well housed, well dressed, well fed, so much better off than the wretched free blacks in the North. The abolitionists were crazy, and would tear the country apart. But later he wrote in an article about how he was handed a pistol before touring a plantation for inspection. For protection? Against these happy slaves?

and others, and encountering more stories. In 1842, George Latimer and his wife Rebecca stowed away on a ship in Virginia. Eight days after arriving in Boston, Latimer was recognized. His master came up from Virginia and had him jailed and charged for larceny. Three hundred black men protested on the courthouse steps, a petition of 65,000 names — weighing 15 pounds — was circulated and George’s freedom was bought for $4,000. Massachusetts passed a law to prevent this from happening again. William Garrison praised God. Apparently, no one thought it was odd to charge a man with larceny for stealing himself. In 1845, Jonathan Walker arrived at Sydney Gay’s office at the National Anti-Slavery Standard. He had been a shipwright and had been caught in Florida trying to smuggle seven fugitive slaves from Pensacola to the Bahamas. The seven slaves were returned to their master, with one trying to commit suicide. Walker was jailed for one year, chained with 20-pound chains, barely fed, forced to sleep on the floor… and publicly branded on the palm of his right hand with the letters “SS,” for “slave stealer,” and stood in the stocks and smeared with rotten eggs. But such cruelty was regularly inflicted on slaves — chaining, whipping, branding and degradation sometimes for minor offenses or for running away. Sometimes valuable “property” was even crippled as punishment or a deterrent to others. Walker moved to the Midwest and was encouraged to give talks about

The Civil War draft rioters attacked the Tribune office, likely enraged by Sidney Gay’s anti-slavery editorials.

Sydney and another young man started a business in New Orleans. It failed. He had to write his father for fare, and arrived in Hingham exhausted, ill and depressed, a failure. He started to read…and emerged sometime later, to his family’s astonishment, a dedicated abolitionist. He began to teach, write for the Hingham Patriot and lecture, traveling often by horseback. Once, staying at a safe house, he was alerted in the middle of the night; a mob was coming for him. Gay escaped through the back of the house, down a lane into the woods. He was now to meet other abolitionists, the Hoppers, William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, to go on a speaking tour with Douglass

his ordeal. His branded hand became one of the anti-slavery movement’s most powerful symbols. Sydney Howard Gay became editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard in 1844. The Standard office was a busy place. Gay edited, wrote, did layout and proofread through long days and nights. He also entertained people like the Hoppers, Wendell Phillips and other abolitionists, meanwhile funneling fugitives on their way north. Fugitives were sent from stations in Philadelphia or Delaware, and were met at the ships or trains by Louis Napoleon, a free black man, who conducted them to the Standard office. This was well known; why didn’t the slave catchers hang around the door, waiting? The whole system was not really “underground” or secret. Once a visiting African was even escorted by a friendly policeman to the Standard office, for safekeeping. No photographs or pictures of Louis Napoleon have been found, although many newspaper reporters knew him. The secret records from the Butler Library cover the last two years of Gay’s tenure at the Standard: He included names of runaways, owners’ names and the amount of money he disbursed to help 200 slaves on their way to freedom. During his earlier years of riding on horseback on lecture tours, Gay met Elizabeth Neall and her abolitionist parents, Daniel Neall and Sarah Mifflin Neall. Sarah’s father, Warner Mifflin, had been one of the first Quakers in this country to unconditionally free his slaves. (They were actually his wife’s slaves, but wives could not own property.) Daniel Neall had once been tarred and feathered by a mob because of his beliefs — out of some respect, not on his bare skin, which could be fatal. “Ruined a perfectly good jacket,” he said later. Elizabeth met Gay…mud-spattered and exhausted…on her doorstep. “Fresh and beautiful…his future was decided!” says a family account. Elizabeth was “very well educated for a woman of her day.” She drew well, wrote poetry, was intelligent and a Quaker. She had to leave her Quaker Meeting in order to marry an outsider. Eventually they settled in a “white carpenter-Gothic house designed by Ranlett” in the northern part of Staten Island, where many abolitionists also lived. Many people came to visit. Gay took the ferry to Manhattan to the Standard office, and later to the New-York Tribune office, where he worked with Horace Greeley. Slavery had been a part of the Americas since the beginning. AzABOLITIONISTS continued on p. 20 September 17, 2015

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Freedom-fighting forebears ABOLITIONISTS continued from p. 19

tecs, Mayans, Incas, etc. had their very own slaves. When Columbus landed in the Bahamas, he eyed the Taino Indians, and said, “a very sweet and hospitable people. They will make good servants.” They didn’t. After they had all died of overwork and unfamiliar diseases, the Spanish replaced them with African slaves, who built them a road across the Isthmus of Panama — 100 years before Plymouth Rock — on which they hauled the gold looted from Peru to the treasure ships at Porto Bello… . So much gold that it depressed the price of gold throughout Europe. Some of the slaves escaped and exacted horrific revenge, pouring molten gold down the greedy throats of their Spanish captives. The Dutch brought slaves to Manhattan and treated them with greater decency. Later, the English imposed harsh restrictions on African slaves and Native Americans. During the Revolution, the English recruited black slaves with a promise of freedom. When they lost the war, they shipped several thousand black Americans out of the country; some descendants still live in Nova Scotia today. Washington also enlisted black slaves. (What became of them? Did they get reabsorbed into the South where Washington lived?) Blacks fought on both sides of the Civil War, and many came north when that war ended. Those who stayed in the South suffered another form of slavery after Reconstruction, starving as sharecroppers or being “arrested” when labor was needed and forced to work on chain gangs. The slave ships — sponsored by many European nations — brought more than 12 million slaves (those who survived the trip) to the Americas. Most were brought by the Portuguese to Brazil, but 388,000 arrived in the American South. They were sold like livestock, teeth and muscles checked, etc., and on the plantations began lives of learned helplessness. Body servants washed, fed and dressed the white slave owners and their infants. Gangs of slaves worked like machines in the fields. Slaves were kept subjugated by fear and enforced ignorance. It was a crime to teach a slave to read. And yet the slaves, kidnapped from many tribes, and speaking many languages, developed a common language and a common culture, and probably learned a lot about the world just by listening to the dinner table and bedroom conversations of their owners…flies on the walls — “three-fifths human,” yet smart enough to know there was a better way up North. But the North was not so innocent.

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September 17, 2015

Its inhabitants had grown to love slave-raised and -produced sugar, rum and tobacco. And the great mills of England and New England depended on slave-raised cotton. Cotton cloth was sold around the world. The New England coastal towns grew rich on whales and slaves. Many Northerners, therefore, were furious at the anti-slavery activists who threatened their livelihoods. Abolitionists were often violently attacked or even murdered. For their part, some abolitionists refused to use sugar, rum, tobacco or cotton cloth. The United States banned the slave trade in 1808, but the law was frequently broken. The need for slaves accelerated after the cotton gin was invented. Children of a slave mother were slaves, regardless of who the father was. Some owners kept the children, but others bred slaves to sell. One man visiting a plantation was startled to realize that many of the field hands were the owner’s own offspring. (A few owners did provide for such children and their mothers, but rape was a cheap way of acquiring new slaves.) And a boy who might pass for white if he escaped North, was sold deeper South, and put to work in the fields until he became a more “suitable” color. Some of the fugitives arriving at the Standard office and sent up North were noticeably less dark and African looking. Handsome Fredrick Douglass was half-white, an escaped slave who taught himself to read and write and became a compelling orator and international figure. To escape recapture after publishing his autobiography, he had to flee to England for safety. Great Britain ended slavery in her territories in 1834. The Bahamas, Jamaica and Bermuda became free without any serious consequences — which is why Walker was taking slaves to the Bahamas and Douglass fled to England. But in the U.S., the economies of the South and the North were deeply embedded in slavery. Initially, abolitionists like Garrison, publisher of The Liberator, thought the problem could be solved by moral suasion, logic and reason. Others thought violence was the answer. Violence had already killed a newspaper publisher, and now Nat Turner and John Brown and their followers turned to violence for freedom! And were violently killed. Violence erupted into the Civil War, which killed more than 700,000 people….50,000 at Gettysburg alone. One hundred years after Reconstruction, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated… ABOLITIONISTS continued on p. 31 TheVillager.com


‘Pie Show’ plumbs primal fears of parenthood Chapman and Cheek on the joys and pains of ‘Labor’ BY CHARLES BATTERSBY

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heater calculated to terrify is everywhere during the month that culminates with Halloween — but “The Pumpkin Pie Show” is off to an early start, as of September 24. This is the 17th annual presentation of psychologically complex, often shocking and occasionally gruesome monologues, which this year will tackle the horrors of parenthood. We spoke with writer/ performer Clay McLeod Chapman and actress Hanna Cheek to talk about “The Pumpkin Pie Show: Labor Pains.” The show has been a mainstay of East Village theater for so long that even its creators are surprised. “The first ‘Pumpkin Pie Show’ in New York was at the first New York International Fringe Festival,” says Chapman. “We were here when that began almost twenty years ago. It had its root in wanting to put on a show with my actor friends, wanting to do it without a lot of money, and therefore not a lot of production elements — no costumes, no set, nothing beyond the story strapped to our backs.” Cheek points out that the show still uses that barebones aesthetic today. “We take the fourth wall, and push it back behind the last row of the theater,” she notes. “We’re speaking directly to the audience, inviting them to be the other person in the scene or story that we are telling. That matches with the lack of props, the lack of costumes. Everyone’s imagination in the room is coming together and becomes communal. That’s what fills out the TheVillager.com

PHOTO BY KL THOMAS

Birth of a nightmare: Clay McLeod Chapman and Hanna Cheek welcome a new arrival into the world, when “Labor Pains” premieres on Sept. 24.

details.” Each monologue contains a blend of horror and comedy. This year, the roles played by Cheek include a woman who cuckolded her husband with Sasquatch, as well as darker roles, like a predator who kidnaps children. “As a performer I love to find that kernel of humanity in the villain, and Clay, as a writer, loves to embellish that kernel,” she said. “At least once a year I get to play some

fantastic, dubious characters and find the heart in them, and that’s why I keep coming back.” “Hanna is a dubious character in and of herself,” jokes Chapman. “Every writer is trying to find the best actors that they can work with. I lucked out early on and found Hanna, and have exploited her talents for decades.” Blending humor with horror is difficult to pull off — but as Cheek explains, “That’s part of the fun

for me as a performer. That volley between horror and comedy, they each allow the other one to land more fully. The more we make you laugh, the more comfortable you feel in our hands — and then we can tighten the fist around you and you’re trapped, and that’s horrifying. Then we release you again with laughter, and the laughter becomes a deeper laugh — and the horror bePIE, continued on p. 22 September 17, 2015

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Comedy and horror seed ‘Pumpkin’ stories PIE, continued from p. 21

comes that much more terrifying.” Many of Chapman’s stories end with an ironic twist, which longtime audience members have come to expect from his writing. “The twist exists in the character from the very first word,” he explains. “I’m a ‘Twilight Zone’ baby. There’s no denying it. That is where my pop culture heritage started. The challenge will always be to make the twist feel organic and real.” People who missed previous installments of the show will be able to hear them as podcasts on Fangoria in the near future. Chapman and Cheek are the sole performers confirmed so far, but Chapman hints about reuniting with some of the previous cast members. “The back catalog is pretty expansive, so we’re hoping to have some special guests come back and reprise their pieces from yonder, way back when.” Cheek says her favorite old story from previous shows is one called “Overbite.” “It’s from a show called ‘Big Top,’ where all of the stories were from circus performers. She’s one of my favorites. She’s the Iron Jaw at the circus and she spins from her teeth and her story of twisted revenge.” “It’s tragedy!” chimes in Chapman, and the two giggle, sharing a private joke from their decades of collaboration and friendship. Horror fans will also be interested in the recently released film “The Boy,” which Chapman wrote the screenplay for, along with Craig Macneill. “The Boy” is based on a chapter from one of Chapman’s “Miss Corpus” novel, and tells the story of a nine-year-old who is heading down the road to becom-

PHOTO BY BLAIR ANTHONEY FROWNER

“The Pumpkin Pie Show” shines a light on the darkness within.

ing a sociopath. It is a slow burn, with many small reveals leading up to a violent conclusion. “We made an active choice at the beginning of the process to deconstruct the slasher movie,” Chapman says of the film. “In a way, it’s like a sheep in wolves’ clothing. If you come in expecting ‘Friday the 13th,’ you will be disappointed. But if you expect to see something a little new, a little different, a character portrait of a sociopath — that, to me, is a little bit off the beaten path and exciting.” The prolific Chapman also has a

graphic novel coming out this October on Michael Bay’s new comic book line, 451 Media Group. It is called “Self Storage,” and Chapman describes it as “A lovely little ZomRom-Com about what it would be like to stumble upon a zombie in a self-storage unit.” Think of it as “The Walking Dead” meets “Storage Wars,” he says. Hanna Cheek will jump right from “The Pumpkin Pie Show” into another performance in “The Honeycomb Trilogy,” beginning on Oct. 13th. In the project, which she

describes as “a sci-fi film on stage,” Cheek plays Ronnie, the grizzled, war-weary leader of a community in the wake of an alien invasion. We’ll have more coverage of “The Honeycomb Trilogy” in the weeks ahead. “The Pumpkin Pie Show: Labor Pains” runs Thurs.–Sat. at 8 p.m., from Sept. 24–Oct. 10 at UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, btw. First Ave. Ave. A). Purchase tickets ($18, $15 for students) in advance, at horsetrade.info. Artist info at claymcleodchapman.com.

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September 17, 2015

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Buhmann on Art

Enrique Martínez Celaya: ‘Empires: Sea’ and ‘Empires: Land’ BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN (stephaniebuhmann.com)

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nrique Martínez Celaya’s two-part exhibition aims to create a complex experience that is simultaneously visceral and elusive. Blending reality, fantasy and memory to create a world that is both semi-autobiographical and universally applicable, the artist’s oeuvre spans a large variety of media. The two installations (“Sea” and “Land”) reflect as much, featuring new paintings, sculptures, needlepoint and poetry. Together, these diverse components inform a dedicated search for authenticity and a sense of belonging, while remaining conscious of the fact that self-knowledge is limited. In this particular exhibition, land serves as a metaphor for what is known, has been discovered, declared, and generally feels familiar. In contrast, the sea is employed to address the mysterious, great unknown at our fingertips. Though this ambitious project marks his first solo show with Jack Shainman Gallery, Los Angeles-based Martínez Celaya has shown his work extensively, including at the Hood Art Museum and The State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

COURTESY THE ARTIST & JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY, NY

Enrique Martínez Celaya: “Empires: Sea” (installation view). At Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 W. 20th St.

Through Oct. 24 at Jack Shainman Gallery. “Empires: Sea” is at 513 W. 20th St. “Empires: Land” is at 524 W. 24th St. (both locations, btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 212-645-1701. Visit jackshainman.com.

COURTESY THE ARTIST & JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY, NY

Enrique Martínez Celaya: “Empires: Land” (installation view). At Jack Shainman Gallery, 524 W. 24th St.

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©ENRIQUE MARTÍNEZ CELAYA. COURTESY THE ARTIST & JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY, NY

“The Bloom, for the Wilderness” (2015. Oil and wax on canvas. 74 3/4 x 101; 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches, framed).

September 17, 2015

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Bringing nuance to the North Korea narrative Soon-Mi Yoo’s essay film is a revealing look at the country

COURTESY KINO LORBER

A group of North Korean children gather to sing one of the titular “Songs From The North” in Soon-Mi Yoo’s essay film.

BY SEAN EGAN

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oon-Mi Yoo is tired of the conventional western narrative surrounding North Korea. She’s had it with the “satiric and, frankly, racist takes” that “use North Korea as kind of a cheap joke,” and the winking, “kind of dishonest,” news coverage, courtesy of outlets like Vice. “But then, it’s not just Vice,” the filmmaker notes. “It’s even PBS or BBC, these journalists who went into North Korea — they’re thinking of going in with already kind of a set idea. And their brief exchange in North Korea confirms their idea that these people are brainwashed. “And they react to it really badly. Like emotionally. They hate the place. You know, they hate the place, they hate the people. You know, ‘It’s an awful place.’ And I say, like, ‘I kind of know that already.’ Like, I’ve been told,” she laughs. “And so, what else can you tell us from your experience, or your endeavor, that’s more than this surface reaction that anybody can have. So I felt a little bit responsible.” This sense of responsibility led to “Songs From The North.” The Cambridge, Mass.-based Korean filmmaker’s first feature length work is an unconventional and deeply personal essay film determined to bring insight and nuance to the narrative of

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North Korea and its people. In order to achieve this, Yoo recently travelled to North Korea three times to film, and the footage she shot there comprises a large portion of the movie. “Initially, my first and second trips, I was invited, quote unquote, or brought in, by somebody who had a very good relationship with the regime,” she discloses. “Her whole thing was that I was there to actually shoot footage for [tourism] promotion,” she reveals, despite the freezing December weather of her first visit. She found it difficult to shoot much beyond the designated tourist sites, though, because minders were watching her. “At the end of my third trip I realized that no matter how many times I go back, I would only accumulate a tiny bit of the material that I’d be actually satisfied with,” she says, also noting the air of oppression and paranoia that managed to surprise her when faced with it firsthand. “The footage, and my own experience, was very fragmented.” Despite this, many of her shots are artfully framed, and she managed to capture landscapes not approved by her minders and stolen moments with average North Koreans. In one particularly evocative sequence, Yoo simply lingers on a woman cleaning, as steam rises from a bright pink bowl of hot water nearby. The bowl stands in stark contrast to its bleak surroundings, and

the woman is charmingly bashful about being caught on camera. “I find those moments touching,” Yoo says. Also touching is the contemporary interview footage of Yoo’s father. “At the time I didn’t know that I was going to use the footage, but I wanted to have it on camera anyway,” she explains. “He offered more than what he had told before in terms of experience. My understanding of his experience deepened,” she notes. This revealing footage provides useful historical context via a fascinating anecdotal lens. The film’s final component is extensive archival footage. Yoo incorporates illuminating government news broadcasts, as well as sometimes strangely beautiful domestic entertainment — from melodramatic revolutionary films to colorful, flamboyant stage productions praising the regime. “In a way, North Korean fictions are like documentaries, and so-called North Korean documentaries are more like fiction,” she observes. Though she recognizes how well the regime manipulates the media, and the propagandistic nature of this art, she says she “found them to be, a lot of times, very moving” in their genuine emotion — especially the titular revolutionary songs. She cites, for instance, a striking scene in the film, where she observed people plodding along in the -26 degree cold while propagandist songs played over loudspeakers, and realized how

this “entertainment” could almost function as a coping mechanism. “At first I thought it was just terrible, you know this kind of propaganda, just — you cannot escape it, right? You know, you’re out in the open and there is this loudspeaker blaring about some ‘great leaders,’ or ‘dear leaders,’ ” she recalls. “It would drive us crazy, you know? And it did drive me crazy. But then I realized, ‘Actually, maybe it’s better than having to just walk in the cold without anything,’ ” she concludes. “Before, I guess I wasn’t looking and listening carefully enough,” she muses. “And so I reacted similarly to most people, in the sense that I reacted to the message. I reacted to the ridiculous singing about the ‘dear general,’ or whatever,” she continues. “And through this process of making this film, what I really learned was to listen and watch a little more carefully.” And with “Songs From The North,” Yoo has certainly provided audiences with a rare opportunity to watch and listen more carefully — in order to better actually understand the people of North Korea. “Songs From The North.” Directed by Soon-Mi Yoo. 72 minutes. Opens Sept. 18 at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Ave. at Second St.). Yoo will be present at the Sept. 18 & 19 screenings. A program of Yoo’s short work will also run on Sept. 18. Call 212-515-5181 for more info or visit anthologyfilmarchives.org. TheVillager.com


She’s playing ‘Possum’ for laughs Andrea Alton’s Fringe hit extends its run, and her range

IMAGE BY IRWIN KROOT

BY SCOTT STIFFLER

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nown by comedy, theater, and LGBT benefit audiences from our town to Provincetown for her profane Molly “Equality” Dykeman character, Andrea Alton added another potent creation to her satirical arsenal last month, when “Possum Creek” made its debut at FringeNYC. It was an unexpected and welcome change of pace (literally!) for Alton, whose sunny but dim Beth Ann is every bit as meek as Molly is brash — and just as much a product of her time. Set in Possum Creek, Ohio from the outset of the Civil War to over 30 years later, the eight-character solo show begins as Beth Ann’s husband goes directly from the altar to the Union Army, vowing to return and consummate their marriage. What follows is a series of beautifully crafted comedic misunderstandings, as the beyond-naïve virgin bride escapes to the relative privacy of an outhouse, where she composes letters to her absent Joseph (“I hope that you are enjoying the war,” she writes, in an early missive that nails her kind but clueless world view). Joseph’s failure to reply to a single letter doesn’t deter Beth Ann from penning thousands of them, full of wildly misinterpreted observations about the goings-on in her small rural town. Through the years, Beth Ann’s chip-

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per disposition insulates her from life’s grim realities — although her inability to grasp the basic concepts of agriculture, reproduction, and the Underground Railroad tests the patience of the entire town. Oddly, the good citizens of Possum Creek never give in to temptation and yell at her, even when she’s playing a decisive role in the devastating waves of disease and starvation (Alton seems to imply that people were just more polite and decent back then, even when it was to their own detriment). Garbed in the same cartoonish, ballooning hoop dress throughout, Alton slips in and out of flawed characters (brimstone preacher, closeted neighbor, crackpot doctor) while playing Beth Ann with a level of sincerity that grounds the punchlines and slapstick in a sober, often sad, reality. In a further triumph of tone, the events unfold in a style that mocks the hushed, plodding school of storytelling employed by Ken Burns — making “Possum Creek” a sweet and subversive Civil War satire that creates its own revolutionary blend of sex, race, heart, and hope. Written and performed by Andrea Alton. Directed by Eric Chase. Runtime: 50 minutes. Fri. Sept. 25, Thurs. Oct. 1 & Fri. Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. At The Celebration Of Whimsy (21-A Clinton St. btw. Houston & Stanton). For tickets ($18), visit smarttix.com. Show info at possumcreektheplay.com. Facebook: facebook.com/ possumcreekplay. Twitter: @possumcreekplay.

PHOTO BY JEREMY PATLEN

Andrea Alton shines as a sunny but dim Civil War bride, in “Possum Creek.”

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR LETTERS continued from p. 18

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September 17, 2015

To The Editor: Re “Garden advocates hoping to nip housing plan in bud” (news article, Sept. 10): Providing affordable housing is one of the most important things we as a society can do to ensure the well-being of everyday New Yorkers — particularly older adults. As the older adult population rapidly grows, it is incumbent upon all communities to plan for supporting its members across the lifespan. In New York City, of the 98,000 single elderly renter households in rent-stabilized units, a shocking 65 percent pay more than half of their incomes for rent. Often, seniors have about $100 a month left to spend on food, medicine, utilities and other needs of daily life. There are thousands of seniors on waiting lists for affordable housing citywide. The demand for affordable housing is huge, and grows greater by the day. The lack of suitable sites for affordable housing makes tough decisions necessary. The site on Elizabeth St. has the potential for as many as 100 units of affordable housing, which the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has stated should be set aside for seniors. That would mean that more than 100 New Yorkers would be able to age with dignity, and with access to essential services. As the process of community input on the Elizabeth St. site continues, it is important to recognize that the decisions made today will have consequences for years to come. That is why we must make the tough choices necessary to keep elders in the community.   Bobbie Sackman Sackman is director of public policy, LiveOn NY

As goes Petrosino.... To The Editor: Re “Garden advocates hoping to nip housing plan in bud” (news article, Sept. 10): The loss of the Petrosino Square art space now looms as a predictor of things to come: the loss of the N.Y.U. court case (which includes, implicitly, the loss of Sasaki Gardens) and now the loss of the Elizabeth St. Garden. How foolish of Downtown citizens, community board members, Little Italy and Soho residents and local businesses to take the loss of Petrosino in their stride, as though it were a pawn in the game of politics, as though deals might be made, as though allowing a teeny space

to be compromised by “Power” might mean anything other than the oppression of the local citizens and an implicit invitation to Power that it take even more for itself and its cronies: corporations, the Department of Transportation, big money, universities, planet-savers who use more than their share of energy and wish to save the planet at someone else’s expense....and, yes, city councilmembers who demand abject fealty. Where were you? Did you fight for Petrosino? Minerva Durham

Lot needs lots of input To The Editor: Re “Garden advocates hoping to nip housing plan in bud” (news article, Sept. 10): When Tobi Bergman was chairperson of Community Board 2’s Parks Committee, I attended a very initial planning meeting for the space on Hudson St. between Houston and Clarkson Sts. Supposedly, when the water tunnel site was completed, the city was going to turn over the vacant property to the Parks Department, which then was going to give it to C.B. 2 to develop as a park. The property is near a number of schools, none of which have any outdoor recreational space.  The fact is that Tobi was excited at the prospect of having recreational space, particularly for City As School and P.S. 3. To read that he is promoting the space for development for affordable housing without input from the community, surprises me in light of the former plan. Lord knows we are as desperate for affordable housing as we are for open space. It is a complex decision that must be made with full participation and choice. There was even talk at the time of the local schools composting and gardening in part of the space. Just as in C.B. 3, we are desperate for housing that is affordable, as well as beautiful growing things and parks for play. When vacant land is developed, it must be a very carefully considered process by citizens of the area.  Frieda Bradlow 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. TheVillager.com


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September 17, 2015

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Freedom-fighting forebears led the way ABOLITIONISTS continued from p. 20

and our country is still not free of its slave history. Many abolitionists also spoke out for women’s rights. Like slaves, women had very few rights. They had few good ways of earning a living. The charming romances of Jane Austen contained a hard fact: A woman’s life depended almost entirely on choosing and attracting the right husband. In America in the 1800s, if a woman’s husband turned out to be a drunk, a wife beater, a gambler or even a murderer, she had nowhere to turn. Any money she might have had became his. If she left, she would be penniless…and her husband would keep the children. (California during the Gold Rush was so desperate to attract wives for miners it passed laws to allow married women to keep whatever money they had. It also made itself slave-free despite attempts by Southerners to bring slaves and plantations into the territory.) Sydney and Elizabeth Gay worked tirelessly for the abolitionist cause, and for women’s rights, too. But it was not until a generation later that their daughter, my grandmother, was able to stand on the back of an open touring car and exhort of “some children, stray dogs, and the town drunk,” until a crowd collected and the main speaker was able to address the subject at hand, “Votes for Women!” Sydney Howard Gay retired from the National Anti-Slavery Standard after 14 years, sick and exhausted. He

later joined the Tribune under Horace Greeley, who promoted him to managing editor. Yet, Gay and Greeley did not agree politically. On the mornings when Sydney’s editorial appeared on the front page, Elizabeth wore her bonnet at a jaunty angle. When Greeley’s appeared, the bonnet almost hid her face. During the Civil War draft rioters attacked the Tribune office, probably due to Gay’s abolitionist editorials. Greeley, a pacifist, was whisked away to safety and a young reporter sneaked out to Governors Island for guns. But, as the papers noted, the “ammunition doesn’t fit the guns!” Gay was getting ready to use the steam hoses from the steam presses to repel the mob when the Army showed up. Two other men have quite different accounts of how they brought guns and grenades into the Tribune. In any case, the ammunition did not fit the guns, and the grenades would have blown everyone to hell. But the rioters, hearing of these preparations melted away. (Similarly, at The New York Times, as Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. will tell you, during the riots, they installed a Gatling gun in the building’s window on Newspaper Row to defend the pro-Lincoln paper.) On Staten Island, Elizabeth sent the children to safety and had a reporter teach her how to shoot, and sat up all night with a pistol. “A Quaker! With a gun,” she mourned. But these were violent times. The rioters did come to Gay’s house, but stopped first at a bar on Bard Avenue, whose bartender — not

previously known as friendly to Gay — told the mob the Army was down there waiting for them. So the mob went back to the Staten Island Ferry and instead kicked an old negro woman apple-seller to death. Gay and Greeley finally parted company, and Gay retired to Staten Island. He wrote a biography on James Madison and a four-volume history of America with William Cullen Bryant. But Bryant died halfway through the first volume. Gay finished it. I don’t know who got the credit. His last years were pain-filled and he was partly paralyzed after a fall. Elizabeth lived on to become “a very old lady in white lace cap.” Most Africans sold to slavers were prisoners, taken in many tribal wars. One chieftain told slavers they were really performing humanitarian service; for what could he do with his prisoners if he couldn’t sell them? Just kill them. The “peculiar institution” caused hundreds of years of pain, injustice, death and war, only to be followed by lynchings, Jim Crow and, eventually, Selma and civil rights. This book describes those dark, often-forgotten days when abolitionists, black and white, helped to achieve a second revolution, in which all of us, regardless of race, religion or creed, at last had a real hope of freedom. Don Papson will speak about “Secret Lives of the Underground Railroad,” and I will share some family lore on Sun., Sept. 20, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at Left Bank Books, 17 Eighth Ave., between 12th and Jane Sts. ($5 suggested donation.)

17 8th Avenue (between 12th and Jane)

www.leftbankbooksny.com leftbankbooksny@yahoo.com instagram @leftbankbooksny

212.924.5638

A genius who climbed on a tenement sky

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and portrayed drug kingpin Revilla in “Miami Vice.” Piñero died at age 41 of cirrhosis. His ashes were scattered across the Lower East Side, just as he had wished in “A Lower Eastside Poem,” his famous 1985 work, which begins: Just once before I die I want to climb up on a tenement sky to dream my lungs out till I cry then scatter my ashes thru the Lower East Side. PHOTO BY ARLENE GOTTFRIED

iguel Piñero was born in 1946 in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. When he was four, he moved with his parents and sister to the Lower East Side. After his father abandoned his family four years later, Piñero would steal food so that his family could eat. He joined gangs and was soon committing crimes. After stints in juvenile detention and on Rikers Island for robberies and drug possession, at age 25 he did a year in Sing Sing Prison for armed robbery. While in jail, he wrote the play “Short Eyes.” After his release and with the support of the Public Theater’s Joe Papp, it was nominated for six Tony Awards and won the Obie Award for Best Play of the Year, springboarding Piñero to fame. In 1970, he founded the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, along with Miguel Algar�n among others. Piñero also acted, with roles in such movies as “Fort Apache, The Bronx” and “Breathless,”

Miguel Piñero.

Photographer Arlene Gottfried, who now lives in Westbeth in the West Village, was friends with and documented the multitalented Piñero, who she fondly called Miky. “When you were with Miky Piñero you felt like you were in a movie or a play,” Gottfried said. “He was a genius self-destructive dramatist. If he loved you, you were friends for life.” September 17, 2015

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Location, location, location. If they weren’t the three most important words in medical care, they are now. The Mount Sinai Health System provides exemplary care throughout the entirety of the city. In fact, our footprint even extends into Long Island, Westchester, and beyond. The system includes seven hospitals, more than 140 ambulatory practices, 31 affiliated community health centers, and over 6,100 primary care and specialty physicians. In addition, Mount Sinai maintains more than 80 relationships with local physicians and group practices serving patients in some 300 community locations throughout the region. Ironically, our number one mission is to keep people out of the hospital. We’re focused on population health management, as opposed to the traditional fee-for-service medicine. So instead of receiving care that’s isolated and intermittent, patients receive care that’s continuous and coordinated, much of it outside of the

traditional hospital setting. Thus the tremendous emphasis on wellness programs designed to help people stop smoking, lose weight and battle obesity, lower their blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heart attack. Mount Sinai is blurring the line between impossible and possible. Its pioneering research has led to breakthroughs in critical areas like cancer, heart disease and neuroscience. In terms of our stature and reputation, vision and innovation, we’d like to think that no other hospital system comes close to Mount Sinai. You, on the other hand, are closer than you’ve ever been before.

1-800-MD-SINAI mountsinai.org/myhealth

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September 17, 2015

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The Villager • Sept. 17, 2015  

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