DJ spins story of L.E.S. Gaga p. 12
Volume 3, Number 24 FREE
East and West Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown
Septenber 19 - October 2, 2013
Three-peat! Mendez does it again; Beats East Village pastor By Heather Dubin A jubilant crowd celebrated City Councilmember Rosie Mendez’s easy defeat of Pastor Richard Del Rio in the Council District 2 Democratic primary at Angelina’s Cafe, on Avenue A at E. Third St., on Tuesday evening. The two-term councilmember kept her seat from challenger Del Rio by garnering 81 percent of the vote to his 19 per-
Mayor Bloomberg on the Lower East Side on Wednesday at the press conference for what will be known as Essex Crossing.
Mayor announces developers for $1.1 billion SPURA project By Heather Dubin After nearly 50 years of inertia at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, on Wednesday Mayor Bloomberg announced that developers have been selected for a $1.1 billion plan for the site’s nine remaining city-owned lots at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. The selected developers are L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners and Taconic Investment Partners. Bloomberg and city officials revealed the project’s full scope at a press conference held inside a derelict former public market building on Essex St., part of the SPURA project site.
The nine vacant lots will be transformed into a mixed-use complex of commercial space and 1,000 residential apartments. Half the residential units will be permanent affordable housing for low-, moderate- and middle-income families and senior citizens. The other half will be market rate. Some highlights of the 1.65-million-square-foot development, to be called Essex Crossing, include an Andy Warhol Museum, an expanded Essex Street Market, office space, a dual-generational school run by The Educational Alliance, a rooftop urban farm, a movie theater and a bowling alley.
Designed by SHoP Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle, the project is anticipated to break ground in spring 2015 for five buildings. Essex Crossing will also be home to a future potential school, along with a hub for entrepreneurs and the technology sector. Former SPURA residents were required by the city to vacate their tenement homes in 1967. The site was razed, and affordable housing was supposed to be built. Instead, nothing happened — except for years of arguments between community members and politicians —
cent. About 100 people gathered at the East Village cafe to express their support for Mendez, enjoy dinner and toast their candidate, who noted this was a rough campaign. The official results have not been released by the Board of Elections, yet Mendez is the clear winner. After a long day, Mendez paused at her victory party
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Gunfire wounds 4 at SOB’s; Hoylman pushes bullet bill By Lincoln Anderson SOB’s stands for Sounds of Brazil. But last Thurs., Sept. 12, the sound of gunfire broke out inside the well-known Hudson Square music club, at Varick and Houston Sts. Four people were wounded in the incident, which sparked a chaotic, mad rush for the exit by frightened clubgoers, during which some were trampled and left with cuts.
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5 15 C a n a l Street • NYC 10 013 • C opyrig ht © 2013 NYC Commu nity M ed ia , LL C
The shots, reportedly from a single gunman, broke out around 12:15 a.m. right before the rapper Fat Trel was set to take the stage to perform cuts from his new mixtape, “SDMG” (Sex, Drugs, Money, Guns). According to police, four people suffered nonfatal bullet wounds. The Daily News reported that two individu-
Continued on page 17
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September 19 - October 2, 2013
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Photos by Milo Hess
Last Thursday’s cannoli-eating contest in Little Italy at the Feast of San Genarro got pretty hairy, at least for this guy, above. The chomp comp was sponsored by Ferrara bakery and sanctioned by the International Federation of Professional Eaters — which apparently is still resisting a badly needed ban on handlebar moustaches. On Saturday, former Governor Mario Cuomo and Matilda Cuomo presided as grand marshals at the San Gennaro procession, which featured four floats, two Fiat cars, local favorites the Red Mike Band, plus two other marching bands. The festival began Sept. 12 and runs through Sept. 22 on Mulberry St.
September 19 - October 2, 2013 3
notebook In with Quinn, but she didn’t win: Things didn’t quite turn out the way Christine Quinn wanted on election night, but there was a great turnout for her at her election night party. Her dad, Larry Quinn, 87, and her sister, Ellen, shown flanking a loyal Quinn volunteer, kept their spirits up even as the exit polls were showing it was unlikely Christine would make a runoff after the primary. We were also told repeatedly NOT to violate the “Larry Quinn Rule,” i.e. that he’s not allowed to talk to reporters. At one point, Mr. Quinn was on the verge of saying something positive to us about Bill de Blasio when Ellen and the volunteer immediately tag-teamed him to zip it! We got the feeling Mr. Quinn badly WANTS to speak to someone. Maybe now that the primary pressure is over he can shoot the breeze once more. Free Larry Quinn! Just kidding. Meanwhile, Gil Horowitz, the Washington Square / Lower Fifth Ave. activist, who successfully converted to Catholicism a year ago, told us of his deep faith in Quinn. “I prayed for her last night,” he confessed to us. Bless you, my son. Hey, who’s to say if it didn’t get her a few percentage points? But it wasn’t enough to push her past Bill Thompson for second place. Also showing the love for Quinn were Joe and James Clementi, father and brother of Tyler Clementi, the tragic Rutgers student who was spied on with a webcam while having sex with a man in his dorm room, and then mocked about it by his roommate, causing a distraught Tyler ultimately to leap to his death off the G.W.B. three years ago. James now heads up a foundation in his brother’s name that works to prevent suicide in youths, especially L.G.B.T. youth, and provide them with safe places. Elsewhere, Councilmember Gale Brewer, who went on to win the B.P. primary, stood tall outside P.S. 3 on Hudson St. on Tuesday night — well, at least this life-size poster of her did.
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September 19 - October 2, 2013
Three-peat! Mendez fends off pastor primary challenge Continued from page 1 for a lengthy sit-down interview. She had been on the go since 7 a.m., and had visited more than 25 sites in her district, which covers the East Village, part of the Lower East Side, Union Square, Gramercy and the Kips Bay neighborhoods. Before the interview began, Mendez pointed out her middle school English teacher from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who sat across from her. “She’s the one who validated everything I knew,” Mendez said. “I was being discriminated against because I was a girl.” Her teacher told her that was not right, and Mendez found a mentor who has been around ever since. In addition to her former teacher, community activists, campaign volunteers and local friends surrounded Mendez on Tuesday night. Mendez thought the voter turnout on Tuesday was pretty slow, but she received positive responses from her constituents. She did run into two of what she called “your average disgruntled voter.” However, considering the number of people she met, the two did not bother Mendez. She admitted to not being nervous, and had faith in the work she has accomplished in District 2. “This is what democracy is about,” Mendez said. Her approach is direct and pragmatic; she had a job to do, and now that it is done, she informed the voters of her successes. Mendez did reveal that she was nervous for other candidates, and pegged herself as a worrier. She and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who lost her bid at a chance to be the Democratic mayoral nominee, have known each other for 26 years, when they first met doing housing advocacy work. Mendez shared text messages between the two from earlier that day expressing their mutual respect and admiration for each other. While attentive to the interview, Mendez followed Quinn’s race with a close eye when it flashed on the flat-screen television. Mendez believes that as mayor, Quinn would have fought hard to preserve rent-stabilized and public housing. “We can’t afford to lose anymore,” she said. Mendez hopes to continue housing preservation in her third-term, which she said is always an issue in her district. With eight years of experience behind her, Mendez wants to move forward with lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy last October. She had entered flooded New York City Housing Authority buildings, and relied on nonprofit groups, tenant associations and block associations to help assist residents. “Where we were most effective was where those groups were organized,” she said. Mendez wants to continue working with these groups, and to compile compre-
Richard Del Rio.
hensive lists of residents in local NYCHA housing. “When we strengthen our community, you strengthen people,” she said. After Sandy struck, Mendez recalled attending meetings and waiting for deliveries of supplies that took days to come. Her district also experienced an almost weeklong blackout as the weather turned cold. Mendez remembered Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, at a meeting at City Hall, asking Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer about the blackout: “What’s the big deal?” Mendez was furious, and she said people had to physically hold her back. To be better prepared, Mendez has been actively working with the local Long-Term Recovery Group that was formed after Sandy. Mendez thinks collaboration and a coordinated effort will be the key to helping the district in the future. “My job is demanding, but I really love my job,” she said. Mendez looks forward to working harder than she has before, and wants to focus on creating more schools. She has used capital dollars to improve schools, and wants a mayor who will focus on education. “Bloomberg called himself the ‘education mayor’; he fell short,” she said. During the interview, Mendez’s campaign workers gave her updates on her race. She beat Del Rio 2 to 1 at the polling site where his church, Abounding Grace Ministries, meets, P.S. / M.S. 34, at E. 12th St. and Avenue D. Mendez also found out she was ahead at several other sites. “It feels good,” she said. Mendez was grateful to everyone who volunteered their time and support, and trusted her that she could be their voice. When asked about plans following her third term, Mendez, a lawyer, said she is going to concentrate on her job the next four years. “I don’t know what the possibilities are, but if something would come along that I might be good at, I would consider running for something else,” she said. Mendez also said she could be an activist since there are different ways of making changes. According to Mendez, her activism began at age 6 when she protested that
her brother was allowed to play outside in his Sunday suit, but she had to stay inside in her dress. The mood at Del Rio’s post-election party at Cafe Royale, on Avenue C near E. 10th St., was decidedly more somber. In a quick interview before he gave his conces-
sion speech, Del Rio was upbeat about his run. “I’m feeling good. I gave it everything, and I had a great team,” he said. “The people have spoken.” Arlene Del Rio, his wife, felt they put up a good fight and tried hard to win. “He had a lot of good ideas,” she said of her husband. “I’d like to see if we can work with Rosie.” Del Rio thanked his volunteers in his speech, and acknowledged he was a political outsider, but was grateful for his family and staff. He was positive about his campaign experience, and enjoyed meeting people in the district. “This is not over,” he vowed. “I’ve become so much smarter.” Del Rio will return to his full-time pastor job, and plans to continue working with the community in Council District 2. After congratulating Mendez in a phone call, he told her he was available to help. “I feel we can bring something to the table,” he said.
East Villagers share their picks after pulling lever By Heather Dubin In the East Village, voters trickled to the polls at a slow but steady pace on primary day. At the Boys and Girls Republic poll site on E. Sixth St. near Avenue D., mayoral frontrunner Bill de Blasio was a popular choice. Weston Clay, 29, an E. Eighth St. resident, voted just for de Blasio because he felt uninformed about the other races. “He seems to be the most progressive candidate and that’s the reason I chose him,” he said. Genaro Davila, 66, of E. 10th St., also backed de Blasio. He seems more honest,” he said. “I was going to vote for Quinn, and I thought about Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Voting for her is like voting for Bloomberg — I never liked him, he’s a dictator.” Davila cast his ballot for City Councilmember Rosie Mendez because she lives in the neighborhood and is “for the community,” he said. And state Senator Daniel Squadron won his vote for public advocate: “He is for my people,” Davila said. Marilyn Gonzalez, 59, lives across the street from the polling site, and said she thinks de Blasio is fantastic. She also voted for Mendez and appreciates her work for the community. “She’s opened doors for us, and she’s done lots for the poor,” she said of the councilmember. Gonzalez did not vote
in the other races. She abstained from a public advocate vote because, “They only do for the rich and middle class,” she said, “not the poor people.” Two voters aided Anthony Weiner’s long-shot bid for mayor for very different reasons. Marizel Luciamo, 59, of E. Eighth St. admired the former congressmember’s position on education. “I just liked the way he talks. You always end up liking one,” she said. Keith Mackie, 24, who lives on E. Sixth St., chose Weiner for an entirely different reason. “Because I don’t think he’ll win, and I thought it would be funny,” he said. Mackie admitted that he has friends who planned to vote the same way. He also cast a ballot for Pastor Richard Del Rio — who lost his challenge to Mendez — because he rides a motorcycle. Mackie was unfamiliar with other races and did not vote in any of them. Del Rio also received a vote from Tony Cuevas, 71, who lives a block from the Girls Club polling site. “I think he can do a good job,” he said. Cuevas voted for de Blasio, but did not vote in the other races. A woman, 34, who lives on E. Seventh St. and did not give her name, also voted for de Blasio: “Based on the sum total of the issues, he is the best candidate who has a chance to beat Christine Quinn” she said.
September 19 - October 2, 2013 5
Village Voice leaves Village for Wall St.
Photo by Maria Esteves
From left, Will Grega, his mother-in-law Elaine Jones, Randy Jones and his mother-in-law Marge Robbins at Grega and Jones’s wedding fete.
Cowboy gets hitched to programmer A special wedding celebration was held for Randy Jones, the Village People’s original Cowboy, and software engineer Will Grega, at DL Rooftop in the East Village on Fri., Sept. 13. Presented by actor/event promoter Keith Collins, and hosted by author Mark Bego, the 13th Annual Kings & Cowboys birthday celebration for Collins and Jones included an intimate wedding reception for the disco legend and Grega, his partner of three decades, with family, friends and celebrity guests. Among the latter were former Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, fashion designer Ritchie Rich and Patrick McDonald, a.k.a. The Dandy of New York. Jones and Grega held a marriage T:9.875” ceremony previously, in 2004, before New York legalized same-sex marriage. Thanks to Maria Esteves for this exclusive photo.
By Lincoln Anderson The Village Voice has left the building — and left the Village entirely, for that matter. Its new home is on the 21st floor at 80 Maiden Lane, a few blocks away from what some say is a fitting symbol for the Voice’s new corporate ownership, Wall St. The Bedford + Bowery blog reported last Fri., Sept. 13, that the Voice had vacated 36 Cooper Square, where the well-known weekly had been based since 1991. Rumors that the Voice would be leaving the Village began swirling about a year ago. Founded in 1955, the Voice was the original alternative urban weekly paper. It was launched in a two-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village, which was the area it covered most heavily at first. In the 1960s the paper expanded to cover the city. The Voice’s offices in the ’60s were in Sheridan Square. This past spring, the Voice laid off some of its most well-known writers and columnists, including gossip columnist Michael Musto. As quoted in Bedford + Bowery, the alt weekly’s new editor in chief, Tom Finkel, said the new space is better configured. Asked, though, if it’s really the Village Voice if it’s not in the Village, Finkel replied, “It’s not a neighborhood paper, it’s a New York paper.” Although 36 Cooper Square is in the Noho Historic District, Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said the Village Voice’s name won’t necessarily have to be preserved on the building’s facade. The Landmarks Preservation Commission has a rule under which exterior signage is not required to be kept. At most, if new signage is added, it might have to be the same style as the Voice signage, he said. Grace Church School will reportedly move into the vacated space at 36 Cooper Square.
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September 19 - October 2, 2013
Avenue C sweet connection between tarts, Girls Club By Heather Dubin There is nothing like a sassy tart. And when it comes in the form of a Magpie, a handmade, all-natural tart with flavors ranging from blueberry and chocolate to salted apple caramel, a seasonal special, you can’t go wrong. Meghan Ritchie and Paul Jones, co-owners of Magpies, have found a home base at The Lower Eastside Girls Club’s Sweet Things Bake Shop on Avenue C near Eighth St. and a new partnership with the Girls Club. A friend of the couple’s who was helping out at the Girls Club told them kitchen space was available at the storefront since the Sweet Things Bake Shop is relocating around the corner. Sweet Things is moving to the Lower Eastside Girls Club Center for Community, which is currently under construction on Avenue D between Seventh and Eighth Sts. The 30,000-square-foot building is slated to open this fall, and will include a culinary education center and commercial kitchen for the bake shop, and four floors of programs devoted to empowering young girls through technology, arts and science. Earlier this summer, Ritchie and Jones met with Girls Club representatives who asked if they would teach pie-making and business classes to the girls, in addition to the couple’s using the Avenue C kitchen for Magpies. They readily agreed and set up shop in July. After a long day in the kitchen, Ritchie, creator of the Magpie tart, recently sat down for an interview about her entrepreneurial start and working with the Girls Club. She hails from the West Coast and a family of bakers. “I’ve been baking all my life,” she said. According to Ritchie, her stepdad is a great pie crust-maker and her mom is a dessert master. At holiday family gatherings, all the Ritchies are required to bring desserts. Formerly an actor and theater producer, Ritchie turned to baking four years ago and sold donuts with her roommate on their Brooklyn stoop. Two years ago, she tried selling scones and hand pies, which are more traditional but similar to pies and tarts. The following year, Ritchie started working at Anarchy In a Jar, a jam company in Brooklyn, which has a booth at Smorgasburg, a local outdoor food market in Williamsburg at the East River State Park and in DUMBO by Water St. “The owner wanted something people could eat right there, and she knew I had been experimenting,” Ritchie said. “She let me do what I wanted to do.” Using company jam, Ritchie made tarts and scones, selling them both at Smorgasburg last April. The tarts were big sellers and they have taken off ever since. Ritchie took some scones and tarts to local cafes and landed five accounts. People began calling for orders, and the tarts that taste like little pies were a hit. Whole Foods Market now carries the tarts in four locations, and will soon sell Magpies pretzel mini-tarts with different mustards. “It got so big I couldn’t do it out of my home and Brooklyn anymore,” she said. At
Photo by Claire Flack
Paul Jones and Meghan Richie with a fresh batch of their all-natural Magpie tarts. They make 2,500 a week.
this point, Ritchie was also making deliveries on her bicycle. She needed help, and Jones happily stepped in to assist. The couple live together in Park Slope, and Jones was easily hands-on for dishes, baking and delivering tarts on his bicycle with a milk crate a few times a week. “That’s how we basically started,” he said in a separate phone interview. “It wasn’t something like, ‘Let’s start this company together — here’s our plan.’ It was more like, she started doing it, she came up with the concept and I would help as much as I could.” Jones, who is an actor, is the salesperson for Magpies, and handles most of the marketing and distribution. His kitchen days are not long gone, though, and he frequently wears
an apron. “It’s our company, and we have a personal stake in it,” he said. “You do what you have to do.” However, Jones is not just going through the motions; he thinks the process is “quite a bit of fun” and really enjoys it. Ritchie wants to convey this to the young Girls Club members, who range in age from 10 to 18. She met a few of them over the summer, and the girls, who bake their own products through Sweet Things, asked Ritchie lots of questions. The new semester for the girls begins this fall, and she is looking forward to it. As part of their activities, the Girls Club members get to meet female shop owners in the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side to learn selling tips and customer service.
Ritchie hopes to expand on that entrepreneurial spirit. “I’m more interested in teaching them how to come in with their own ideas,” she said. Ritchie started out selling her delicacies all alone on her stoop, and wants the girls to know they can do it too. “Try it, or try something else,” she said. If the Avenue C bake shop space secures a cafe license, there will be a Christmas pop-up shop as part of the class, to teach the girls how to run their own business. The girls will also work in the kitchen alongside Ritchie and her two assistants, who make about 2,500 tarts a week. “I think we’re the only ones wholesaling tarts,” she said. The tarts retail for up to $3.50 and last for five to seven days. Although the Magpie tart resembles a pop tart, they cannot call them that due to copyright law. As children, the couple both grew up eating natural foods, which explains why the Magpie tart caters to an adult palate, and does not taste like an artificial pop tart. “I’ve never eaten a pop tart. I had no packaged food when I was a kid,” Ritchie said. Her mom worked in a health food store, and Ritchie inherited her sweet tooth from her grandmother. Jones also experienced a similar background in Pennsylvania, and was allowed sugared cereal just once a year. “It is sweet redemption for me,” Jones joked. “We didn’t have junk as kids, and it’s funny, we’re making tarts now.” But true to their childhood roots, their tart ingredients are all-natural and do not contain dyes or corn syrup. “We wanted to make something that splits the difference between unhealthy and overly sweet indulgence — and something that’s not going to be so terrible for you,” Jones said. If forced to choose, Ritchie said chocolate is her favorite, but like children, she loves them all. Jones goes for the lemon curd, which he likes to have with coffee at Ninth Street Espresso around the corner on Ninth St. and Avenue C, where the tarts are available for sale. Getting involved with the East Village community and giving back through the Lower Eastside Girls Club partnership is a bonus for the couple. “It’s great we’re able to have a space that accommodates us,” Ritchie said, “but it’s more exciting to be in a space that’s affecting girls in the neighborhood.”
September 19 - October 2, 2013 7
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Margaret Chin celebrated her victory Sept. 10 with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Chin beats Rajkumar, taking nearly 60 percent of the vote By JOSH ROGERS AND KAITLYN MEADE Councilmember Margaret Chin handily won Tuesday’s primary election for Council District 1, beating Jenifer Rajkumar with 58.5 percent of the vote. Chin told a cheering crowd in Chinatown that she looked forward to “building new schools. We’re going to start building more affordable housing,” she added, “starting with the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who stood with her on stage, said, “Thank you for giving me someone I can work with again at City Hall, that we can continue to be the dynamic duo that we’ve been.” A few blocks from Chin’s Chatham Square Restaurant victory party, Rajkumar conceded defeat. She said she would “absolutely” support Chin in the general election. The councilmember’s re-election to a second term is now considered a foregone conclusion in the overwhelmingly Democratic Council district. Tuesday’s returns will not be certified until next week, but the count for Chin now stands at 8,303 to Rajkumar’s 5,891. Like her election four years ago, Chin won big in Chinatown, but she also won some of the biggest housing complexes elsewhere. In Southbridge Towers near the South Street Seaport, she won 329 to 270, according to the initial machine-vote tally. “She’s always around and she seems hardworking and sincere,” Stacey Shub, a young
Southbridge mother, said of Chin. District Leader John Scott, an Independence Plaza tenant leader and a strong Chin supporter, said Chin won the Tribeca complex by about 20 votes. Rajkumar appeared to do best in the Village and Soho, where residents were upset with Chin on a number of issues, including her support for New York University expansion and a new business improvement district for Soho along Broadway. Chin voters tended to cite her experience, while Rajkumar’s support came from people who thought Chin is too close to developers. “Well, she’s not associated with the real estate industry like Margaret Chin,” said Nancy Todd, a senior citizen who moved into the neighborhood now known as Tribeca more than three decades ago. Chin was helped by funding from a real estate-funded PAC, which was one of Rajkumar’s chief criticisms. “We waged a formidable challenge against a multimillion-dollar PAC,” Rajkumar said after her concession. Rajkumar said Wednesday she won her re-election bid to continue to be a Democratic district leader in Battery Park City and other parts of Lower Manhattan, beating Robin Forst 1,484 to 883. She had said Tuesday that if she prevailed she wanted to work with Chin. However, Chin has previously said she has had zero working relationship with Rajkumar to date.
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September 19 - October 2, 2013
Estelle Johnson, 89, leading leather clothes maker OBITUARy by Albert Amateau Estelle Johnson, a designer and maker of leather clothes and accessories who had her workshop in the basement of Native Leather on Bleecker St. for the past 38 years, died in Albany Memorial Hospital on Sept. 4, a week before her 90th birthday. In declining health for the past several months, she moved this year to Albany, where she was born and raised, according to her cousin, Marie Dukes. Known as Stella, Estelle Willie Johnson designed and made leather apparel for a generation of Villagers and did work for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico and
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other performance groups, as well as for design firms. “She could make a leather wedding dress out of a bag of scraps,” said Carol Walsh, owner of Native Leather. “Men loved the leather vests she made for them; one customer insisted that he be buried in his,” Walsh said. Estelle Johnson. A resident of Delancey St. for decades, Stella met and began working with Tina Ramirez, founder of Ballet Hispanico, around 1970 when Ramirez was teaching dance to children on the Lower East Side, according to a friend, Annette Hendrikse. She created a line of Native American-style dresses decorated with feathers and beads for Giorgio di Sant Angelo, Hendrikse recalled. “Her address book was like a directory of black culture leaders and institutions, full of artists, designers and performers,” Walsh said. “She had incredible energy and she was always upbeat,” added a friend, Margaret Horworth. Stella worked in Milton Hefling’s Leather Studio on W. Fourth St. in the 1950s and then for Dick Whelan, who ran the Briton Studio on Sullivan St. She moved to the predecessor of the Native Leather shop at 203 Bleecker St. in 1975. A painter as well as a designer, she continued to work until a few months before her death. Fiercely independent, she would refuse
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Saturday, September 21, 7pm
St. paul’s Chapel | Broadway and Fulton Street
Acclaimed tenor Nicholas Phan performs Benjamin Britten works from his second solo album, Still Falls the Rain. Tickets are $30 general admission; $15 for students (at the door). Use the discount code DOWNTOWN and take $5 off general admission tickets!
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help climbing up from her basement workshop on Bleecker St. even after she became frail. Born Sept. 10, 1923, Estelle Willie Johnson was the only child of Nellie Booth Johnson and William Johnson of Albany. She was born in the house built by her father, a carpenter. It was a big family because her mother raised several of Stella’s cousins, Dukes said. “Her father was from Sumpter, S.C.; her mother was from Collins, Miss., and they met in Albany where her mother was going to school,” Dukes said. The extended family lived in adjacent houses that her father built, Dukes recalled. Stella’s talent as an artist and designer was apparent early and she convinced her father to let her go to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As a student, she lived in a Catholic girls’ residence. She met Conrad Center, a pianist, in Chicago and they got married after she graduated. The couple moved to Paris around 1947, part of the wave of black and white artists and musicians who found French culture attractive after World War II, especially for mixed-race couples. Her husband, who died around 1980, was white. “Estelle and her husband came back to New York around 1954, and with two other couples bought a house in the Hamptons as a sort of art colony, but it didn’t last very long,” Dukes said. Stella and Conrad led separate lives since the 1960s, but she was always very close to her cousins in Albany. “She made the Albany-Manhattan trip like it was a commute,” Dukes said. Two of her principal survivors are Freetta Dukes and Fleter Thorpe, her first cousins. But many cousins once and twice removed also survive. Estelle Johnson was the godmother to seven children. The funeral was Sept. 13 at the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, 163 Quail St., Albany. Burial was in Graceland Cemetery, Albany. Garland Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Her memorial in the Village will be Mon., Sept. 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Trattoria Spaghetto, 232 Bleecker St.
September 19 - October 2, 2013 9
L.E.S. Jewels, godfather of crusties, is dead at 43 By Gerard Flynn and Lincoln Anderson Joel Pakela, a.k.a. L.E.S. Jewels, was the leader of sorts of the East Village’s homeless crusty punks, which he liked to call the “gutter pirates.” Last Friday night, Jewels, 43, was found by Ninth Precinct police on Avenue A across from the park, “smelling of alcohol.” Suffering from unspecified “health issues,” he was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center where he died the next day. There were rumors that he also may have been assaulted. But the medical examiner’s office said he had no fresh injuries, though a fall may have contributed to his death. The M.E. said it will take about three weeks to determine the cause of death.
While Jewels was an engaging, intelligent guy when sober — who even gave poetry readings at Theatre 80 on St. Mark’s Place — when drunk he could turn violent. He did jail time for assaulting a pedestrian he was trying to panhandle change from on Avenue A, and also for attacking a man who he had met in a Second Ave. gay bar and accompanied home — Jewels broke the man’s orbital bone with his cane. Despite his dark, troubled side, Jewels was a well-liked figure by many in the neighborhood. A memorial is planned in Tompkins Square Park, this Fri., Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. For some articles that are more indepth on L.E.S. Jewels, check thevillager. com this week.
Photo by Gerard Flynn
Crusties and PEOPs artist Fly (in sunglasses) gathered on Sunday in front of the memorial to L.E.S. Jewels at Ninth St. and Avenue A outside the park.
Photo by Jefferson Siegel
People stopping by the memorial to L.E.S. Jewels on Sunday.
Photo by Bob Arihood
A vintage black-and-white portrait of L.E.S. Jewels by the late Bob Arihood, who extensively chronicled the homeless punk’s antics on his Neither More Nor Less blog.
Photo by Lincoln Anderson
Early Monday morning, Jewels’s friend Kaos rearranged part of the memorial, putting it on top of a park entrance fencepost. This assemblage’s meaning — a boot and pint of vodka — is that Jewels, a hardcore alcoholic, had “kicked the bucket,” Kaos said.
September 19 - October 2, 2013
Why Quinn hit the wall City Council Speaker Christine Quinn began this year as the prohibitive frontrunner in the Democratic mayoral race. Now, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio goes into the general election without needing to first dispatch his runner-up. Quinn finished up on primary night with just 15.5 percent of the vote, having lost her own Village / Chelsea / Hell’s Kitchen Council district, winning the votes of just 16 percent of women voters, and finding herself bested by de Blasio among gay, lesbian and bisexual voters by 47 percent to 34 percent. In primary night comments to Gay City News, The Villager’s sister paper, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Rachel Lavine, the Village’s Democratic State Committee member, suggested that homophobia and misogyny were at play. Women and L.G.B.T. voters, they argued, were inattentive to the importance of having one of their own at the head of the table. Meanwhile, a New York Times poll highlighted reactions to Quinn from some voters that included derogatory terms often aimed at women in power — including “petty,” “mean,” “bossy” and “argumentative.” And surrogates for de Blasio, they said, most prominently the candidate’s wife, Chirlane McCray, were all too happy to play on those attitudes. McCray’s comments about Quinn, in which she suggested the speaker does not understand challenges facing ordinary women in New York, such as “care of children at a young age,” have been hotly debated — in no small measure because the Times’s Maureen Dowd initially misquoted the exchange, stripping it of its full context. McCray’s statement, in Dowd’s corrected version, is less inflammatory than as originally rendered, though it does nevertheless manage to paint Quinn as something of the Other. Ironically, McCray herself previously identified as lesbian. These points, however, obscure far more salient lessons from the collapse of Quinn’s campaign. The most significant is that her close ties to Mayor Bloomberg — and particularly her role in allowing him to seek a third term — proved fatal among Democratic primary voters. On this point, the speaker undoubtedly lulled herself into complacency, if not outright denial due to Bloomberg’s ability to win in 2009 despite the outcry over the term-limits extension, and to his remarkably high approval ratings after 11 years in office. There were warning signs, however. Though he spent more than $100 million in that campaign, the mayor beat then-Comptroller Bill Thompson, who waged a lackluster campaign, by less than 5 percent. Quinn herself, facing a primary challenge that year from two opponents fueled in large measure by the term-limits flap, barely eked out a majority. The escalating controversy over the New York Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy — which has greatly aggravated tensions between the mayor and progressive Democrats — added to Quinn’s Bloomberg problem. Since the spring of 2012, at least, she has often stood with critics of stop-and-frisk. Yet, Quinn insisted she would be happy to keep on Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The mixed message on police-community relations speaks to a broader problem the Quinn campaign had in communicating its message and her record. de Blasio repeatedly hammered her on her delay in embracing paid sick leave legislation, largely affecting lower-wage employees, and in watering it down when doing so. Similarly, in all likelihood, Quinn lost the gay vote because many believed that other, larger issues trumped the leadership she could be expected to deliver for the community. Ultimately, the die may have been cast when Quinn O.K.’d the Council’s extension of term limits in 2008 — that Democratic voters inevitably settled on a candidate they trusted to provide a clear departure from the Bloomberg years.
A version of this editorial first appeared in Gay City News.
letters to the editor Déjà vu all over again?
Liu was the best candidate. Period.
To The Editor: On Feb. 5, 2003, Colin Powell remarked to the United Nations Security Council: “The material I will present to you comes from a variety of sources. Some are U.S. sources and some are those of other countries. Others are technical, such as intercepted telephone conversations and photos taken by satellites.” These were lies. Can we now trust the photographs, the supposed telephone conversations, the “true” information of our government sources? More than 100,000 lives were lost in Syria the past year or two. Where was the outcry? Now, 1,500 lives snuffed out due to chemicals. Why are these lives more important or more “valuable” to warrant a missile attack now? Could we not have imposed sanctions, or cut off our funds to their military, or cut off other supplies to this regime before it all escalated? Are there not other avenues? Did our government per chance suddenly realize there was some benefit to being involved? If so, what? Déjà vu all over again? We, The People, are bone-war-weary. Our taxes have been involved in torture, assassinations, unwarranted invasions. The majority of Americans are against the missile attack. Since when last has our government listened to The People? Our own country is in desperate need of attention. We don’t need more trillions in debt. Anyone for returning the president’s Nobel Peace Prize? A Nima Shirali, in a Middle Eastern Reconciliation Forum, recently commented, “Let us form a new religion, that which would be called ‘humanity,’ with ‘peace’ as its prophet.” Amen!
To The Editor: Re “State senate rumblings” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Sept. 5): For the record, I endorsed John Liu for mayor because he was the best candidate in the field for Lower Manhattan and all of New York City. He was by far the most dynamic and progressive candidate. That’s why Liu was endorsed by almost every Democratic club in our neighborhoods, including the Downtown Independent Democrats, Village Independent Democrats, Coalition for a District Alternative (CoDA), the United Democratic Organization of Chinatown and the Lower East Side Democratic Club. I’ve posted a fuller explanatin of why I endorsed John Liu at http://newellnyc.org/john-liu-for-mayor/.
Gerson completely denies it To The Editor: Re “State senate rumblings” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Sept. 5): Scoopy needs to improve its snoopy. With respect to the observation of me at Silver Spurs, it was in fact tea not coffee that I ordered. Alan J. Gerson
Sister was a saint, and a friend To The Editor: Re “Sister Elizabeth Kelliher, 89, L.E.S. activist nun” (obituary, Sept. 5): She was my dearest friend for more than 55 years. I know she is a saint. My life was enriched all those years by her presence and support for me in some of my darkest hours. I spent three weeks with her last spring when she visited me, and we had a special time like I have never had before in my life. I miss her daily and pray for all her causes, because she doesn’t need us to pray for her. She is in the arms of her Lord and getting her reward for doing the Lord’s work on earth. And she was such fun. Joan Storin Thurston
Kelliher stood with the people To The Editor: Re “Sister Elizabeth Kelliher, 89, L.E.S. activist nun” (obituary, Sept. 5): Sister Elizabeth was a good lady and a solid Lower East Sider. As a political activist she appeared to be somewhat quiet and modest, but there was no doubt whose side she was on and her
Continued on page 25
de Blasio and his son, Dante — and his afro! — are a big hit.
September 19 - October 2, 2013 11
Spirit of 9/11 keeps flying with heroic Hester flag By Heather Dubin The unfurling of an enormous American flag down the side of a six-story building in Chinatown tends to bring traffic to a halt. This happens annually on the corner of Hester and Mott. Sts. when John Casalinuovo, who volunteered at Ground Zero for nine months at the Salvation Army tent, leads a tradition he began on Sept. 9, 2002. This year’s commemoration on Sept. 6 drew a large crowd of family, friends and fellow former Ground Zero volunteer workers to Casalinuovo’s building. The group was there to reconnect and watch the lowering of the 60-foot-by-30-foot, 94-pound American flag. In an interview afterward, Casalinuovo spoke about the event, and his 9/11 experience. “I was there an hour after the first plane hit, and Denise [his wife] was on the pile by 6:30 the next morning,” Casalinuovo said. On Sept. 12, he was there at 4:30 a.m., and worked on the pile for the first three days of the recovery effort. After the situa-
tion became more organized, Casalinuovo and his wife, Denise Lutey-Casalinuovo, worked at the Salvation Army tent until the site closed on May 31, 2002. “We were together every day. We were the lucky ones,” Casalinuovo said, “We were able to go home and talk together.” The bond between Ground Zero volunteers stems from a unique shared experience. Casalinuovo explained that volunteers focused their energies at the perimeter of the site, understood each other and got things done. For the first year anniversary of the attack, the couple decided to have a gathering at their home. They considered their new good friends to be lifelong, and wanted to bring everyone together on a day they knew people would still have raw emotions. “It was nine months that changed thousands of people’s lives,” Casalinuovo said. For three months, beginning on Sept. 22, 2001, the original flag of this event flew over Ground Zero. The couple incor-
The flag after being slowly unfurled from the building’s rooftop.
Photos by Heather Dubin
John Casalinuovo put on a harness to prepare to drop the 1,800-square-foot flag over the building’s side.
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porated that flag into their celebration, but it has since been retired. According to Casalinuovo, the cotton was starting to wear. However, the polyester replacement holds better and folds like cotton. Casalinuovo and about 16 men carefully hang the flag from the roof around the same time every year, the Thursday before Labor Day, and take it down the following Thursday after Sept. 11. The couple also hosts an open house on Sept. 11 for first responders, family and activity military. The first time they took the flag down in 2002, no one showed up. “Now it’s a party when it comes down,” Casalinuovo said. “The cops are wonderful, the Fifth Precinct. Our firehouse lost five guys, they help me. It’s a really tight community.”
This year, the flag will come down on Sept. 21 at sunset. In previous years, as many as 300 people have helped participate in folding it. “It’s the coolest thing to watch it get folded,” Casalinuovo said. “You have all these different people — a waiter next to a cop, next to a street guy, next to a Vietnam vet — all smiling, and they all have a piece of it.” The emotional power of the flag touches him, and he thinks it pulls people together. “Without the disaster, there would have been no one here the other day,” he said with a laugh. “Some good came out of here.” The flag makes appearances at Veterans Day parades in Manhattan and the Bronx, baseball games and art displays. Casalinuovo and his wife do charity work and hold fundraisers through their volunteer organization, thegroundzeroflag.org.
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September 19 - October 2, 2013
Lady Gaga DJ pal spins tale of her start on L.E.S. By Clarissa-Jan Lim Brendan Jay Sullivan is Lady Gaga’s former DJ and longtime friend from her grungy Lower East Side beginnings. He recently led this reporter on a walking tour around the neighborhood to talk about his new book, “Rivington Was Ours,” in which Sullivan regales readers with stories of his friendship with Gaga and their hardships struggling to make it as artists in New York City. We stopped at Pianos, at 158 Ludlow St., a key early site in the rise of Lady Gaga. “Gaga is trying to get booked all over town, but no one likes her sound because she seems a little too clean-cut for the Downtown crowd,” Sullivan recounted. “She’s not in a rock band, she’s not a Williamsburg girl, she’s from the Upper West Side. Meanwhile, these record companies, all they want to find out is who’s the next Britney Spears or Amy Winehouse because that was what was selling records at that time. “So Gaga and I are down here. Everyone — us, the music industry, Downtown, everybody’s kind of looking for a savior. Everyone’s looking for a reason for music to be fun again. In the ’90s when you went out and saw a band, no one ever said, ‘Is this music fun? Can we dance to this? Are we having a good time?’ It was art rock. There was noise, all sorts of stuff. “Me and Gaga, especially, were just about like, let’s play classic rock, disco, stuff you can
keep people dancing to and have fun. And it was stuff you could play in the middle of a set. When you throw Gaga’s track on with a DJ already playing and a big dance party, it’s like the only way you can make a dance party go off the charts. “Everybody listens to recorded music. But to have a singer of this song you’ve never heard be there and everybody's already dancing — that just flew it off the charts. Pianos was the first place where we were able to do that.” The next stop was 127 Ludlow St., until recently the home of Motor City bar. “When The Killers played Madison Square Garden, they were put up here at the Hotel on Rivington,” Sullivan said. “I said, ‘We’ll set you up with a party after the show where it won’t be pretentious, it won’t be a club thing. It’s called Motor City, it’s Detroit-themed, it’s beautiful.’ And they loved that idea. “Gaga and her boyfriend had tickets to see the show. And Gaga comes back... . Keep in mind, she just got dropped by her first record label; she’s got nothing going for her. … But she was so floored to see a rock band play Madison Square Garden that she started thinking of ideas of what she wanted to do. She was so excited. “So she comes Downtown to Motor where the after-party is. I’m the DJ, friends are doing it, The Killers are there...Spectecular. So much fun. Gaga took that feeling — she had
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Photo by Clarissa-Jan Lim
Brendan Jay Sullivan in front of the building where Lady Gaga lived on Stanton St.
a studio session right after that — and she wrote the song “Boys Boys Boys.” She wanted it to be her version of the Motley Crue song “Girls Girls Girls.” It’s a song about a girl on a date with a guy, they have fun, and oh my God, afterwards they meet the band at a party Downtown where her friend’s the DJ. Another favorite hangout of Gaga and Sullivan’s was Welcome to the Johnson's, at 123 Rivington St. “It’s just wonderful. You know, it looks like your friend’s parents’ basement,” he said. “Drinks are like $2. It’s totally unpretentious. Pool table’s $1.” Another key stop along the way as Gaga was striving to make a name for herself was St. Jerome’s, at 155 Rivington St., now closed. “We all worked there — me, Gaga, everyone who’s in the book,” Sullivan said. “The day I met her, somebody introduced us but I couldn’t hear what they said. So when she gave me her number I had to fake it because I didn’t want to say, ‘Sorry, I forgot your name.’ We’d been talking for two hours. So I say, ‘Do you want me to put you in my phone?’ And that’s the first time she said, ‘Gaga. Put me in your phone as Gaga.’ ” Our next stop was 176 Stanton St. “This was Gaga’s apartment,” he said. “You know how you can tell? Because it’s covered in graffiti from fans — ‘Love you Gaga,’ ‘Gaga I love you.’ “We had St. Jerome’s where all of us worked,” Sullivan recapped. “It was packed and we worked hard. On nights when we wanted to step away from it, we had places like 151 [Rivington]. When we wanted to hear bands play, we had Pianos. “I know a lot of the places have closed,
like Chelsea Hotel. Beauty Bar’s [on E. 14th St.] still open, it’s my favorite. I went there for five years. A lot of these places, they’re still open, they’re still fun, they’re still cheap. And right now in those exact places where my book happened, there are people who walk in there and there’s still this vibe. They’re not saying what internship they have. They’re saying like, ‘Oh, I’m a painter, I want to be a writer... .’ “When people talk about Gaga, they talk about her now and they sometimes say, ‘Well it’s a lot better than when she was in those dirty dive bars in the Lower East Side with these drugs.’ But you know, that was probably the most beautiful part, and a very important part of her career and life that people look down on because they don’t understand it. And that’s why I wrote the book. “The fun part of the story,” Sullivan said, “is I meet Gaga when she was very young, and I get to help her along, and Gaga and I become each other’s first fans. About twothirds of the way into the book, Gaga just says, ‘O.K., this is happening and I want you to come along with me. I want us to do our thing — you DJ and I come out and do my songs, but we’re just going to take that on the road.’ “And then it was just one thing after another, after getting ignored for so many years. Nobody wanted to hear Gaga when she started — nobody. And after all these years, one day the record company calls and says, ‘We’re going now, because we’re late on this and we want this to be the song of the summer 2008 — “Just Dance.” ’ If you ever see the music video to “Just Dance,” I’m in it, just dancing.”
September 19 - October 2, 2013 13
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September 19 - October 2, 2013
Fashion Week and L.E.S. style connect at the Opening Night Thousands of art and fashion fans deluged the Lower East Side on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the second annual Lower East Side Opening Night: Art + Fashion. As part of the event, more than 40 L.E.S. galleries held their opening fall receptions. Orchard St. between Broome and Grand Sts. was closed off for a block party featuring a “Looks of the L.E.S.” fashion show, complete with runway models, with the styles selected by Amy Odell of Cosmopolitan. com. Musical entertainment featured DJ beats by Anton Bass and Onda Skillet, as well as punk bands Threats and Nancy. Natalie Raben, marketing and communications manager for the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, said the turnout surpassed last year’s inaugural event, which coincided with the since-canceled Fashion’s Night Out. “It was shoulder to shoulder,” she said. “I’m going to say there were 1,000 people on that one block; and there were people clustered outside of the galleries in other spots. Fashion Week is very exclusive and a little bit snooty; and the way this was organized really reflected the laid-back nature of the neighborhood: ‘We’re doin’ it for free. C’mon out. Enjoy it, and be part of the action.’ ”
Empty. Recycle. Repeat. Recycle everything. Call 311 or visit nyc.gov to learn more
September 19 - October 2, 2013 15
A Message from John Catsimatidis: I wanted to write to my friends, supporters and hosts of my “friend raisers” to personally Thank You. I will also be reaching out to have a dinner party for my hosts. I WILL NEVER FORGET THE PEOPLE THAT HELPED ME AND THE NEW FRIENDS I MADE. I have withdrawn from running on Liberal Line at the request of Governor Pataki and other GOP Leaders. First The Facts. We Lost the GOP primary by approximately 29,000 votes to 23,000 – a 6000 votes difference, which means 3000 vote swing would make it 26,000 each, or a 50 – 50 split. THERE ARE STILL 16,000 POSSIBLE ABSENTEE AND OTHER PAPER VOTES UNCOUNTED. We will see where that goes. The Campaign spent close to 9 million dollars. Currently our Favorable vs Unfavorable rating 65 % vs 15 %. We won Staten Island. Brooklyn was even. In the Bronx we lost by just a few hundred votes. Manhattan I found strange. We only received 3000 votes out of 11,300 cast in Manhattan... Very Strange. Throughout the campaign I felt I was not fighting Lhota. I felt I was fighting Rudy. Lhota never spoke in one television or radio commercial. It was only Rudy. I felt it was RUDY vs CATS. Photos by Milo Hess
There were so many dirty tricks. There were tens of thousands of ROBO calls made to New Yorkers saying it was our campaign causing voters to become annoyed and against us. In another situation, which I cannot talk about because this is an active court case, many Election workers were threatened with their jobs if they did not support certain things. For the record I do NOT blame Rudy or Joe for this. I found out I was the “ANTI -Establishment Candidate” opposed by the major papers. I was attacked for visualizing a better New York. Despite efforts against me, I was supported by the working people of the outer boroughs who I grew to love. I believe this happened because I can relate to the working families. I spent my OWN money. I was NOT owned by any special interest groups, corporations or unions. And I only wanted what was best for New York taxpayers and those who work in the city. Well ... Good lessons learned for next time. I will stay active in politics demanding honesty and integrity in government as well as demanding truth in media without them skewing that facts. They have to learn that they have a responsibility to TELL THE TRUTH to their readers. My interest is to maintain and reach new heights in the quality of life to ALL New Yorkers in all five boroughs. I will miss the opportunity to create a new Worlds Fair. Finally, this is NOT GOODBYE but SEE YOU LATER. Let’s FIGHT for a better New York City Republican Party ... It should be a Party of ALL the People, not a Party of just a few. Lets ALL Fight for a Better New York!
September 19 - October 2, 2013
Mayor announces developers for SPURA mega-project
A rendering of how Broome St. by the Williamsburg Bridge will be redeveloped under the SPURA plan.
Continued from page 1 and the lots stood still. Former SPURA residents will receive top priority when applications are processed for apartments, and can seize the opportunity to return to the neighborhood decades later if they so desire. “In 1967, the site was demolished by government with promises of revitalization. What happened was only neglect,” Bloomberg said. “That promise of 1967 is now going to be fulfilled.” The mayor said the SPURA site represents the largest parcel of underdeveloped land in Manhattan south of 96th St. Essex Crossing will create 1,600 new jobs and 4,400 construction jobs, with language in its contract that requires use of union labor. Bloomberg also pointed out the space is designed for small businesses, adult education classes and a community space run by the Grand Street Settlement. “It’s a changing point of New York for the good, it really does have the support of everyone,” Bloomberg said. He complimented the community’s key role in the development process, and attributed it to the project’s success. Half of the affordable housing is scheduled for completion three years after ground is broken on the mega-project. Two more buildings should be constructed by 2021, with the entire project finished by 2024. “If anyone is opposed, raise your hand or forever hold your peace,” Bloomberg joked. “I’ve heard that before.” Ron Moelis, C.E.O. of L+M Development Partners, said it was a life goal of his to do this type of community work, and hopes Essex Crossing will serve as a model in other communities. He pointed out the area’s mix of populations, ethnicities and income. Kyle Kimball, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, said the project — notably, its small office spaces — would improve on the neighborhood’s
historic strengths. “The 250-square-foot office spaces for creativity and technology will nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs on the Lower East Side,” he said. Smaller spaces will also help to keep the commercial use more affordable. Charles Bendit, co-C.E.O. of Teconic Investment Partners, spoke about the Lower East Side as the place where his grandparents settled when they came to the United States. “Essex Crossing will be home to the new Essex Market,” he said. “Many New Yorkers can trace their roots back to this neighborhood — and it’s designed to offer the same [kind of] entrepreneurial space. “Essex Crossing will transform New York City into an incubator for economic growth,” Bendit added. Bloomberg applauded City Councilmember Margaret Chin for helping shape Essex Crossing. “This is such a historic day,” Chin said. “People put aside their differences,” she added, referring to how a divided community was finally able to reach consensus on guidelines for the plan. The councilmember mentioned that people were critical of her for not securing 100 percent affordable housing at SPURA, but she acknowledged that 50 percent affordable housing was pretty good. Chin also put in a plug for the new school with the mayor, and asked for his assistance securing the site, which is currently reserved and under consideration by the Department of Education. When asked by a reporter if Essex Crossing could be reversed by the next mayor, Bloomberg dismissed the notion. “We’ve signed contracts,” he said. “It’s a done deal.” Another reporter questioned Bloomberg’s “legacy” on development, and wondered if Essex Crossing was the last significant project in his final term. “I have 140 days left,” Bloomberg said, implying he still had more work left to be done — and possibly more projects underway.
A rendering of the planned Andy Warhol Museum at the SPURA site.
What the rooftop urban gardens will look like in the ambitious Lower East Side development project.
In terms of making his mark, Bloomberg denied it’s something he’s focused on.
“I’ve never thought much about ‘legacy,’ ” he said. “I’m not sure what it means.”
September 19 - October 2, 2013
Shots wound 4 at SOB’s; Hoylman pushes bullet bill Continued from page 1 als were taken by ambulance to Beth Israel Medical Center, both with leg wounds, and that two others suffered graze wounds. Witnesses told the News the shooting occurred near the bar. The gunman reportedly fled the scene in a black car. No arrests had been made as of this past Tuesday evening. In the wake of the shooting, Robin and Larry Gold, the club’s owners, released a statement, which was posted on Complex, a style, music and sneakers Web site. “For 32 years, we here at SOB’s have prided ourselves on creating a safe and fun environment for visitors to enjoy good food and some of the best live music in New York and the world over. “The SOB’s family, along with its internationally acclaimed artists and devoted fans, has peacefully and gratefully celebrated diverse cultures and the music that unites us through its transcendent language for many years. This incident was unprecedented in the long history of SOB’s. We are assisting the police in every way possible to bring this person to justice. Nothing is more important to SOB’s than the safety and well being of our customers. This is a home of peace, respect and positive vibes and we here at SOB’s vow to keep it that way.” State Senator Brad Hoylman condemned the gun violence inside the Hudson Square club and said the incident demonstrates the need for state microstamping legislation. “The shooting injuries of four people in Soho today is a stark reminder of the enduring need to eradicate gun violence,” Hoylman said in a statement released the day of the incident. “We must do more to protect our communities from gun violence,” he said. “Earlier this year, New York took
The promo invite for Fat Trel’s release of his mixtape, “SDMG” (Sex, Drugs, Money, Guns) at SOB’s on Sept. 11.
a critical step to combat gun violence by enacting the NY SAFE Act of 2013, which I was proud to support. Unfortunately, the SAFE Act does not include a provision requiring microstamping, a ballistic identification technology that allows police to link used cartridge cases recovered at crime scenes like the Soho nightclub, to the guns and individuals who used those guns in crimes. “I renew my call for the State to pass S.68/A.3244 (Peralta/Schimel), which would require any semiautomatic pistols manufactured or delivered to any licensed dealer in New York to be capable of microstamping ammunition. “The bill has the support of 100 mayors and 83 police departments and law enforcement organizations throughout New York State,” Hoylman added. “We must finally give law enforcement the best tools available to solve gun crimes like the one that happened early this morning in Soho and get guns off our streets.” It wasn’t immediately clear if any bullet casings had, in fact, been left at the scene. A revolver handgun, for example, doesn’t eject bullet shells, though an automatic handgun does. Jared Chausnow, Hoylman’s press secretary, said the state senator’s office has been in touch with police about the shooting, but has only been told that the investigation is ongoing. Chausnow said they weren’t told by' police whether any shell casings were left at the scene, but that Hoylman saw the opportunity — since no suspect has been caught and the investigation is ongoing — to call for the microstamping legislation. The technique has been shown in states like California to increase arrest rates for gun violence, getting more shooters and guns off the streets.
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September 19 - October 2, 2013
Squadron and James to face off in advocate runoff By Gerard Flynn As Public Advocate Bill de Blasio would agree, populist messages have been connecting during this election season. Media reports that almost half of the city’s residents live in poverty or close to it may have something to do with such hard-times talk, and New Yorkers have been hearing a lot about income inequality and the working poor. So it wasn’t surprising on primary night to hear similar memes bandied about among supporters of Letita James, a Brooklyn councilmember running for de Blasio’s job, as her supporters watched the race on TV screens at a union hall near Midtown. “She’s grassroots,” one supporter, Michael Pelias, said. An hour or so later, James was sounding a similar note, as news reports came in that she had nudged several percentage points ahead of state Senator Daniel Squadron in the race for advocate. A kind of city ombudsman, the public advocate seeks to ensure that all New Yorkers receive the city services they deserve and have a voice in shaping their government’s policies. By night’s end, James had garnered 36 percent of the vote to Squadron’s 33 percent. Both will now face off in three weeks in a runoff election, which is required when no candidate gets 40 percent of the vote. While there are no Republican candidates in the race, five Democrats filled the primary election ballot. The candidates in Tuesday's election also included Columbia University
Photo by Gerard Flynn
Daniel Squadron finished second in the public advocate primary and faces a runoff with Letitia James in three weeks on Tues., Oct. 1.
professor Catherine Guerriero, former Deputy Public Advocate Reshma Saujani and Sidique Wai, a civilian employee for the New York
Police Department. After the news came in, James chimed, “Money power versus people power.” She danced her way triumphantly through the crowd of well-wishers, as Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” blasted on the loudspeakers overhead. Down at a tavern on W 26th St., Squadron’s supporters heaped praise on their candidate, who got high marks for his role in helping out following Hurricane Sandy. Peter Hort, who held fundraisers in his home for Squadron, described him as “very responsive” to constituent needs and said Squadron “stepped up as a leader” during the superstorm. As TV news reports suggested a looming de Blasio victory, Hort said he had chosen Christine Quinn for mayor. de Blasio’s message of “class warfare” only caused division in the city, he said. He said that while de Blasio’s ideas about income inequality might be just rhetoric, he feared there is “a good chance that he will still follow through.” But even as James danced and mingled in Midtown, behind the jubilant scenes doubts lingered. Squadron had outpaced her in campaign contributions, TV spots and had more name recognition, Pelias said. A powerful endorsement for Squadron from Senator Chuck Schumer doesn’t help, he added, while also voicing his suspicions that the New York Democratic “political machine” may be grooming Squadron for higher calling — perhaps a congressional seat.
Including public matching funds, Campaign Finance Board records show that Squadron led the field and has raised slightly more than $3 million to James’s $1.6 million. The C.F.B. has reportedly ruled in favor of Squadron’s request to allow additional fundraising in the event of a two-person runoff — good news for him, since campaign finance records show he is down to $500,000. Campaign records show James with around $900,000. With such a small staff and a limited budget of $2.1 million, and despite calls from Mayor Bloomberg to abolish the office altogether, one may wonder why public advocate merits such intense interest from city politicians. The answer may have something to do with the career directions public advocates have followed since the office was created in 1993. The first public advocate, Mark Green, like de Blasio, used the office as a stepping stone to run for mayor. On election night before the polls had closed, Roanna Judelson, a member of local political organization CoDA (Coalition for a District Alternative) was walking near a polling site by Tompkins Square. She wore a placard listing everyone she voted for in the election, including de Blasio and James. When asked to explain James before Squadron, she said the Brooklyn councilmember is a “fighter” and stands up for “good issues,” but she didn’t immediately mention any specific ones.
RISING UP + HEARTS OF THE WORLD Hale Aspacio Woodruff (American, 1900–1980), The Mutiny on the Amistad, 1939, oil on canvas, 72 x 120 inches. Collection of Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama.© Talladega College. Photo: Peter Harholdt
An Interactive Youth Arts Experience at New York University
“There is nothing in American art quite like [Woodruff’s] elegant, urgent, boldly colored murals.” —New York Times The New York University Office of Government & Community Affairs invites children aged 7 - 16 to a free immersive arts experience at the NYU 80WSE Gallery.
Saturday, September 28, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm 80WSE Gallery, 80 Washington Square East The event begins with a guided tour through the one-of-akind art exhibition “Rising Up,” showcasing vibrant murals that depict the African-American transition from slavery to freedom. Painted for Talladega College between 1938 and 1942 by African-American artist and NYU professor Hale Woodruff, the recently restored murals are striking symbols of the ongoing struggle for civil rights. Following their tour, the children will harness their own creativity during a hands-on workshop with local muralists from the Free Art Society, painting individual panels for the global Hearts of the World project. Lunch will be provided.
An RSVP is required as space is limited.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.998.2400 to register. For more information visit nyu.edu/nyu-in-nyc »
September 19 - October 2, 2013 19
villager arts & entertainment Buhmann on Art Rockman’s darkly surreal Bronx & Osinski’s Staten Island nostalgia
Image courtesy of Sperone Westwater, New York
Alexis Rockman's "Bronx Zoo" (2012-2013, oil on wood). 84 x 168 inches (213,4 x 427 cm) overall. On view at Sperone Westwater, through Nov. 2.
BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN
ALEXIS ROCKMAN: RUBICON
For almost three decades, Rockman has depicted a darkly surreal vision of the collision between civilization and nature. His new paintings and watercolors continue to draw on apocalyptic scenarios while remaining rich in meticulous scientific detail. The exhibition features two epic paintings thematically focused on New York City, where the artist was born in 1962 and has lived ever since. One of these works depicts an anarchistic scene amid the imagined ruins of the Bronx Zoo, which was founded in 1899. Through Nov. 2, at Sperone Westwater (257 Bowery, btw. Stanton & Houston Sts.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am-6pm. Call 212-9997337 or visit speronewestwater.com.
CHRISTINE OSINSKI: FROM STATEN ISLAND
Christine Osinski’s “Two Girls with Matching Outfits” (1983-1984), on view at Sasha Wolf Gallery through Oct. 27.
Photos courtesy of Sasha Wolf Gallery
Christine Osinski’s “Young Man Pulling Go-Kart” (1983-1984).
Mostly taken during the 1980s, Osinski’s black and white photographs offer an unusually nostalgic view of the borough. Scenes range from a woman cutting grass on Naughton Avenue to men fixing a house near the Staten Island Mall. These kind of themes might be mundane — but captured by Osinski’s lense, they become surprisingly intriguing. Domestic outdoor gatherings of children in the street, or of grown ups in a local amusement park describe a life that in its simplicity promises to be soothing and desirable. Through Oct. 27, at Sasha Wolf Gallery (70 Orchard St., btw. Broome & Grand Sts.). Hours: Wed.-Sun., 12-6pm. Call 212-9250025 or visit sashawolf.com.
September 19 - October 2, 2013
No new ground broken, but ‘Beasting’ still has teeth A former public school teacher grades Miller’s dramatized memoir THEATER WHY YOU BEASTING?
A FringeNYC Encore Series presentation Written by David Don Miller Directed by Markus Potter Sun., Sept. 29 at 2pm Tues., Oct. 1 & 15 at 8pm Sun., Oct. 6 at 7pm, Fri., Oct. 11 at 9pm At The Players Theater 115 MacDougal St. (btw. Bleecker & Houston Sts.) Tickets: $18, available at 212-352-3101 or at ovationtix.com
BY SARA LANG “Why You Beasting?” is a drama that depicts the journey of a first year high school English teacher in the Bronx, along with his students and fellow faculty members, as they grapple with challenges at all levels of the educational “system.” The show holds wonderful moments of humor, surprising twists and some truly explosive scenes. David Don Miller, who based the play on his experience teaching playwrighting in a Bronx high school, makes a note in the program that generalizing about the kinds of issues he presents is “gravest folly.” In some ways, this play avoids that folly by presenting a story without the trite narrative of a teacher-hero who ultimately saves students in distress. In other ways, the situations and characters presented merely add to the stereotypes of characters and issues often portrayed in stories about urban education.
Photo by Steve Durham
Written by a former Bronx public school teacher, “Beasting” lacks nuance but nonetheless packs a punch.
As a former public school teacher myself, I found some of the situations to ring very true. Some of the student behaviors and conflicts within the classroom were instantly recognizable. In the play, students fought with each other, talked back and even articulated the reasons for their apathy and frustration rather realistically. However, they also forgive, forget and recognize the “error of their ways” more easily than I remember students doing. The pressure from the administration to make the situation “look” better — by changing standards to yield more passing grades and cleaning things up on evaluation days — is also familiar.
117th Annual Open Exhibition October 1 - October 25, 2013 111 TH ANNUAL Benefit ReceptionEXHIBITION Friday, October 11th 5:30-8:00pm October 2–27, 2007 At the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, NYC Monday through Friday 3-6 p.m., Sat Sun 1-6 p.m. Benefits The&Metropolitan Museum of Art • Donation $25.00 SCULPTURE GALLERY Gallery Hours: Daily 1-6 p.m.Mon. - Fri., 12:00 - 6:00 pm
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Having experienced these things for myself, I recognized them — and also recognized where there might be exaggerations for the sake of clarity or dramatic impact. I don’t believe those exaggerations serve the subject matter well, but that they instead distort the playwright’s intention to deliver the core truth of the situation. I did find it interesting that, unlike many stories about education, this play did not follow the “idealistic young teacher triumphs and saves poor minority students despite initial disillusionment” storyline to its fairytale conclusion. However, I fear that “Why You Beasting?” may have served largely to reinforce the very general picture of chaos
and systemic failure in the public schools, without lending much in the way of nuance or fresh information. Miller did note in the program that his aim was not to provide answers, but questions, and perhaps those who came to the show without prior experience walked away questioning. I believe that more people asking questions can only be a good thing for our schools. I also appreciated seeing some very human and sympathetic portrayals of characters in a challenging set of situations. Scenic and lighting design by David S. Goldstein aids in moving smoothly between a variety of locations, not allowing transitions to slow the pace of the show. Sound by Jacob Subotnick and costumes by Sarafina Bush bring the audience squarely in the world of the play, sometimes (appropriately) in an unsettling way. The production itself was well-executed, and clearly well-loved by its cast. Overall, however, I was disappointed in the failure to break ground in the discussion of what’s happening in urban education. This review originally appeared on the site of our content partner, nytheatre.com, as part of their FringeNYC coverage.
September 19 - October 2, 2013 21
Just Do Art! BY SCOTT STIFFLER
“TWEET” EXHIBIT, AT THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS
The Children’s Museum of the Arts, which recently celebrated its quarter century of promoting self-expression and esteem, is gearing up for a busy fall. Their permanent collection includes work created by children from around the world — and visitors to the museum, who write haiku and hang it from the PoeTree. On Sept. 26, CMA will unveil a new exhibition (which runs through Jan. 26, 2014). “Tweet” takes you back to a time before 2006 — when tweeting was pretty much exclusively used to describe the chirp of a bird (not the 140-character message it’s become synonymous with). Through viewing artwork and using your own handheld technology, “Tweet” asks us to look around, enjoy nature and see the birds. In partnership with NYC Audubon, CMA will host a series of Bird Call Workshops — the first of which takes place on Sat., Sept. 28, from 12-3pm. CMA’s after school program offers semester-long classes in a range of mediums for young artists ages 5-12. Taught by professional teaching artists, these classes are designed to teach and build upon age-appropriate art-making skills while encouraging creative and imaginative expression. Registration for the fall session
Artwork by Tamar Mogendorff
Opening on Sept. 26, “Tweet” uses handheld tech to explores how birds communicate (hint: it’s no through 140-character messages).
(Sept. 23-Jan. 14, 2014) is now open. The fee is $500 ($450 for CMA members). For more info or to sign up, contact Valerie at email@example.com. CMA is located at 103 Charlton St. (btw. Greenwich & Hudson Sts.). Hours: Mon. & Wed., 12-5pm; Thurs. & Fri., 12-6pm; Sat. & Sun., 10am-5pm. Admission: $11 (Seniors and 0-12 months, free from 4-6pm). Thursdays are pay-as-you-wish. For info, call 212-274-0986 or visit cmany. org. Follow them at blog.cmany.org.
CLUBHOUSE ON EAST 13th
Seeking peaceful refuge in a public garden turns out to be no walk in the park — especially when a cadre of “selfimportant bullies thwart the democratic process and promote an odious policy of exclusion” by turning a supposed community-owned space into their own “private backyard.” Based on his interpretation of actual events at the Dias y Flores Community Garden on East 13th Street, Jeffrey Cyphers Wright’s humor-
Dirt flies and mud is flung, in Jeffrey Cyphers Wright’s “Clubhouse on East 13th.”
ous morality play pokes fun at the totem pole pecking order and (trumped up?) charges that muddy a patch of dirt meant to serve as an urban oasis. Jane LeCroy, Eve Packer, Ronnie Norpel, Debra Jenks, Hillary Keel, Anders Goldfarb and Serge Velez star in the play, which will be presented in conjunction with a show of artwork by Gahae Park (who fabricates her formalist “drawings” with thousands
Continued on page 21
September 19 - October 2, 2013
At Metropolitan Playhouse, a season of justice Revival puts a woman’s stamp on a ‘Man’s World’ THEATER
A MAN’S WORLD
Written by Rachel Crothers Directed by Michael Hardart Through Oct. 13 Thurs.-Sat. at 7:30pm Wed. & Sun. at 3pm At Metropolitan Playhouse 220 E. Fourth St., btw. Aves. A & B Tickets: $25 general, $20 for students/ seniors, $10 for children Visit metropolitanplayhouse.org Call 800-838-3006
BY SCOTT STIFFLER Innovative, indefatigable and edging evercloser to its own quarter century mark, the forward-looking, history-obsessed Metropolitan Playhouse is about to launch another season of exploring our country’s theatrical heritage while documenting the culturally dynamic neighborhood it calls home. “Justice” is the theme uniting this season’s program of rarely produced early American plays and new plays drawn from American culture and history. In 2014, their annual “East Village Chronicles” and “Alphabet City” series will return, along with a “Gilded Age Festival” celebrating the creative output of writers working from 1875-1901. First up on the Season 22 boards: an early work by Rachel Crothers. The long-neglected Crothers (1878-1958) has been given renewed visibility over the past few years, thanks to several well-received regional pro-
Photo by Jacob J. Goldberg Photography
L to R: Holding a photo of her (biological?) son, Frank Ware (Kathleen Dobbs) is confronted by Lione Brum (Regina Gibson).
ductions — including “He and She” (1920) at East Lynne Theatre Company in 2011 and “Susan and God” (1937) as well as “A Little Journey” (1918) at The Mint, in 2006 and 2011 respectively. “A Man’s World” will be the first Mainstage presentation of Metropolitan’s 2013-2014 season. During its 1910 debut, the Times called the play “remarkably fine,” praising its sophisticated, nuanced and truthful handling of important themes. Others weren’t so kind in their assessment, perhaps because Crothers (a woman!) dared to call out a multitude of injustices and double standards — and the play’s sassy name was just the tip of the
iceberg. Living on her own terms in 1910 Greenwich Village, main character Frank Ware is a rising novelist documenting New York’s underclass. The well-loved center of a vibrant crew of starving artists (and the foster mother to an orphaned boy), Ware’s multitude of unconventional lifestyle choices is met with gossip from rivals and skepticism from her true love. Meeting the challenges (and making the compromises) that come with living ahead of one’s time was a familiar theme for Crothers, both on the stage and behind the scenes. The daughter of two Illinois physicians, she graduated high school at the age of 13, studied dra-
matic arts in Boston and returned to Illinois to help her mother following the death of her father. By age 19, she was living in New York and soon gave up a promising acting career when her plays began to receive frequent production. She went on to write a total of 23 comedies and dramas that, Metropolitan Playhouse notes, always cast “an inquisitive to critical eye on the mores of her age.” Works such as 1921’s “Nice People” and 1931’s “As Husbands Go” earned Crothers as much judgmental ire as critical praise — making the respect afforded to her by this 2013 revival of “A Man’s World” a dose of justice that’s as sweet as it is overdue.
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September 19 - October 2, 2013 23
Just Do Art!
Photo by Junbug
A struggling artist is stuck in a strange land, in “Locombia.”
Photo courtesy of the artist & SubCulture
Matthew Shipp performs, as part of SubCulture’s Piano Fest (7:30 & 10pm on Sat., Sept. 21).
acts Grayson Hugh (7:30pm on 9/23) and ELEW (7:30pm on Oct. 1). The SubCulture Piano Fest runs through Oct. 1, at SubCulture (in the downstairs space of the Bleecker Street Theater — 45 Bleecker St., btw. Bowery & Lafayette). Ticket prices vary from show to show; $15-$40. Visit subculturenewyork.com. Facebook: facebook.com/ subculturenewyork. Twitter: twitter.com/ subculture_nyc.
Continued from page 23 of folded X-Acto knife cuts and small blocks of brilliant color). Free. Sat., Sept. 28, at 2pm. At Tompkins Square Library Gallery (331 E. 10th St., btw. Aves. A & B). Visit jeffreycypherswright.com.
LOCOMBIA, AN UNEMPLOYED AMERICAN ARTIST’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING BOGATA
THE REAL GANGS OF NEW YORK
Is it better to be poor in a third world country, or broke in the good old USA? Culture shock, and a professional calling that pretty much requires a vow of poverty, are both played for laughs — in playwright J. Anthony Roman’s only slightly fictional fish out of water tale. Based on the starving artist’s often frantic and sometimes fantastic journey to South America, “Locombia” fuses poetry, projections and traditional Colombian music (performed live, by Gaitas y Tambores). Thurs., Sept. 26 through Sat., Sept. 28, at 8pm. At Speyer Hall at University Settlement (184 Eldridge St., btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.). For tickets ($18), call 800838-3006 or visit brownpapertickets.com. Also visit janthonyroman.com.
SUBCULTURE PIANO FEST
After a soft launch this spring, and a summer’s worth of activity (including gigs from Macy Gray, Canon Logic and Aziz Ansari), the music-centric venue founded by brothers Marc and Steven Kaplan had a raucous launch party on September 16. One day later, SubCulture began its official existence with night #1 of a 15-day, 15-performance piano festival. Dedicated
Photo source: The Illustrated London news
There will be blood: Justin Ferate lectures on the New York Draft Riots — Sept. 26, at the Merchant’s House Museum.
to showcasing multiple genres — and shining a spotlight on the sonic versatility that can be coaxed out of 88 keys — a diverse assembly of emerging and established artists will perform in unique setup (such as ensemble players who’ll perform solo or in
a duo). The roster of talent includes awardwinning composer Gregg Kallor (7:30pm on 9/26, representing the Classical series), Jazz Series performers Matthew Shipp (7:30 & 10pm on 9/21) and Taylor Eigsti (7:30pm on 9/24) and Pop/Rock Series
The Merchant’s House Museum, New York City’s only family home preserved intact from the mid-19th century, has been carving out a nice little niche-withina-niche lately — with their “Lifeways” lecture series, in which the home’s 1832 landmark building and collection of Tredwell family belongings provides inspiration for insightful talks on American decorative arts, architecture, preservation and New York City history. On September 26, find out how social pressures and ill-advised public policies led to a bloody confrontation in the streets — as urban historian Justin Ferate’s lecture marks the 150th anniversary of the New York Draft Riots. Thurs., Sept. 26, at 6:30pm. At the Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery Sts.). Admission: $15 (MHM members, free). Limited seats — reservations strongly encouraged. Call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org/calendar. Follow: facebook.com/merchantshouse and, on Twitter: @merchantshouse. Regular Museum hours, during which you can take a self-guided tour of the house, are 12-5pm, Thurs.-Mon. (admission is $10 general, $5 for students/seniors).
September 19 - October 2, 2013
The Village Alliance presents
A BENEFIT FOR WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK
Thursday,September26th 6:00 to 8:00PM THANK YOU TO OUR 2013 SPONSORS: BENEFACTORS THE RUDIN FAMILY
Sequester forces serious cuts in Section 8 housing program by SAM SPOKonY Massive federal spending cuts stemming from the country's 2011 budget crisis have had a devastating impact on social services in every state — and now many low-income New Yorkers who rely on housing subsidies are feeling the burn. The infamous sequester, which went into effect earlier this year, cut around $85 billion from the nation’s budget. As a result, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development was forced to take a budget cut of around $35 million for 2013. An H.P.D. spokesperson also said the department will likely face a budget deficit of $40 million in 2014, if Congress doesn’t agree on a way to end the sequester. So starting in July, H.P.D. scaled down its Section 8 voucher program, which provides vital money for housing to around 30,000 lowincome residents across the city. The agency asked some voucher holders to either pay a greater share of their rent or agree to relocate to a smaller apartment. H.P.D. Commissioner Matthew Wambua called that policy change “the best option in a bad situation.” He said the department would have had to terminate nearly 3,000 vouchers — and 3,300 more in 2014 — if no cash-saving changes were made to the program. But Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, whose district covers most of the West Side, including Greenwich Village and Soho, is leading a coalition of House members who want Wambua to consider other options before increasing the burden on impoverished families who, on average, earn only around $15,000 per year. Nadler was joined by nine other New York representatives — including Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, whose districts both
include parts of the East Village and Lower East Side — in sending a Sept. 4 letter to the H.P.D. boss. “Some families will [now] experience a significant increase in their monthly rent share, forcing them to choose between putting food on the table and paying their rent,” the letter reads. “We urge H.P.D. to re-examine these changes and consider alternatives that minimize the impact on our most vulnerable families and ensure there are no evictions of people currently receiving Section 8 vouchers.” In a Sept. 6 letter responding to the congressmembers, Wambua stood by the cuts, stating that the plan “was not undertaken lightly,” and was the result of a “thorough review of our budget and all options available.” “It ensures that vouchers will not be rescinded this year and that no one group of voucher holders will bear the entire burden of the federal cuts,” Wambua wrote. He did, however, also state that the department will assess the effectiveness of the new plan, in order to “explore, review and consider any other options that may be feasible.” While there are currently only 10 Section 8 voucher holders within Community Board 2, there are 1,163 voucher holders in Community Board 3, according to an H.P.D. spokesperson. Around 10 percent of the Manhattan residents who qualify for Section 8 subsidies live in the East Village or Lower East Side, based on data on the department’s Web site. Nadler and his colleagues seem poised to continue pressuring H.P.D. to restore Section 8 benefits. “New Yorkers who need the most help should not be among the first to feel the impact of the sequestration cuts,” Nadler said.
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September 19 - October 2, 2013 25
letters to the editor Continued from page 10 message was always clear. She was on the side of the people. She shows up in a number of places in my archive. R.I.P. Clayton Patterson
A happy ending for once! To The Editor: Re “‘Mosaic Man’ regains pole position” (photo, Sept. 5): I was upset when I saw that this landmark was removed, but very pleased and shocked that the city put it back, intact with all the wonderful mosaics. Thanks, Department of Transportation. Brad Hoylman being led off in handcuffs at the U.N. on Wednesday.
Hoylman handcuffed at U.N. in a protest for anti-AIDS tax By lincoln anderson State Senator Brad Hoylman was arrested Wed., Sept. 18, along with AIDS activists in a protest action at the United Nations. On the opening day of a U.N. General Assembly meeting focusing on poverty and public health, Hoylman joined Charles King of Housing Works and other advocates in an act of civil disobedience to draw attention to the millions who lack access to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment because wealthy countries are cutting back on funding. They brought traffic in front of the U.N. to a halt and demanded that President Obama and other world leaders back a financial transaction tax, also known as a “Robin Hood Tax,” to generate revenue that could fund universal access to H.I.V. treatment, care and prevention, as well as other urgent priorities, such as climate change, healthcare, higher education and public transit needs. “There is so much good this small financial transaction tax could achieve, and particularly in the fight against H.I.V./AIDS,” said Hoylman,
whose district has one of the state’s highest concentrations of people living with H.I.V. “Just here in New York State, a modest increase in funding could help eliminate new infections by increasing access to treatment, expanding targeted prevention efforts, ensuring stable housing for vulnerable people with H.I.V., and making pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis available to those who need it. “We need the U.N. and world leaders to commit to the Robin Hood Tax,” Hoylman urged, “so we can get to zero new infections in New York and around the world.” Every day in New York State, roughly 11 people are newly diagnosed with H.I.V. and five people die from the disease. Globally, access to H.I.V./AIDS treatment has fallen short of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goal: 10 million people are receiving the treatment today while about 26 million people could benefit from the treatment. Advocates agree that a lack of financial resources is the biggest obstacle to achieving the goal of zero new H.I.V. infections.
Brewer will make us proud To The Editor: Gale Brewer is a unique politician. As a
volunteer, I have seen first-hand how she connects with people with her caring and sincere disposition. Gale is the real deal and will make seniors, disabled and working families proud to call her borough president. She initiated and helped pass the paid sick leave law. I have seen Gale on nyc.gov TV and how hard she works for all New Yorkers. Gale campaigned often in Stuy Town. She has pledged to fight hard for Stuy Town and rent regulation to keep this community affordable. Stuy Town is lucky to have such a seasoned, down-to-earth candidate. She is 40 years in government, 12 years in the City Council, and as borough president will make all New Yorkers proud. Marietta A. Hawkes E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 515 Canal St., Suite 1C, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.
Photo by Heather Dubin
Something was rotten Tompkins… This big, old tree in Tompkins Square Park, right near the Ninth St. entrance, was taken down this week. Clearly, while beautiful on the outside, sadly, it was “rotten to the core.”
September 19 - October 2, 2013
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September 19 - October 2, 2013 27
Savvy Sven: Up to his tricks PET SET By Heather Dubin At first glance, many people mistake Sven, a five-year-old Keeshond, for a Chow. His owner, Liz Love, got so tired of strangers asking her if Sven was a Chow, that she taught him a clever trick. She demonstrated the conversationstopper at the Tompkins Square Park dog run, their local go-to spot. “Are you a Chow?” she questioned Sven, and on cue, he shook his head no. Love, who wanted a family-friendly dog with intelligence, found a “smart buddy” in Sven. She went to a breeder in California, and was matched with Sven based on her personality, energy level and experience of having had a Chow growing up. “He’s been an awesome dog since,” she said. Known for its dense fur, curved tail and great companionship with its owners, the breed is the national dog of the Netherlands. Liz, and her husband, Andrew Love, both originally from Los Angeles, moved here this past January. They came here for Andrew’s job, a customer service manager at Knewton.com. Liz is a community specialist at Meetup.com, where she also assists organizations with creating animal meetup groups. She belonged to a Keeshond meetup in California, and wants to start one here, but thinks there might not be enough of the breed in Manhattan. When the couple first arrived, they sublet an apartment for 15 days. “Having a dog in New York makes it really hard to find an apartment, and cuts out 75 percent of them,” Andrew said. When they lived in Los Angeles, there were no breed or weight restrictions for dogs in apartments. “Here, your dog has to be under 25 to 35 pounds, if you rent,” Liz said. “It’s an unspoken rule: Don’t ask, don’t tell. We told them it’s basically a Pomeranian [a toy breed] or bigger.” Sven weighs about 40 pounds, and according to Liz, is as a very hyperactive male. Sven goes for three to four walks a day, including a long one, and a “sniffing and exploring” adventure. The Loves live on the second floor, and while Sven has no problem climbing the stairs to go home, going downstairs is not easy for him “As a treat, we take him down the elevator one floor,” Liz said. Sven exhibited more tricks at the dog run, and a highlight included his playing dead after Andrew pretended to shoot him. Liz has also taught the “too smart” Sven a convenient at-home trick to jump up and turn off the light switch. Sven is decidedly mellow, and at one point, Andrew pushed him toward another dog to play, but the Keeshond seemed reluctant to get involved. Sven was more concerned with marking his territory, and Liz noted he does it more than other dogs. “It’s not a breed thing. It must be something I’ve done to him,” she said with a
INTRODUCING TEKSERVE EXPRESS
Photo by Claire Flack
Sven is a “smart buddy” and very high energy.
laugh. “I think he needs to see a therapist. In California I wouldn’t be joking — we have pet therapists and Reiki [spiritual healing] for dogs.” According to Liz, the one trait Sven shares with his breed is that he likes to spin around in circles when he is amped up. Something that can do this is cheese. Sven is obsessed with cheese, and will do anything for it. He also goes bonkers for bananas. There is one aspect to the breed that is high maintenance — brushing. “If you don’t like hair, a Keeshond is not for you,” Liz said. They brush Sven three to four times a day, and there are dust-bunny chunks of hair all over their apartment. Some people even make sweaters, scarves and hats with Keeshond hair. The hair is definitely part of the draw. “He gets a lot of attention,” Liz said. Sven, who has posed for a photo shoot in Los Angeles between two men wearing gold Speedos, is popular with the camera. People frequently ask the Loves if they can take a picture of Sven. Recently, a man approached the couple and requested they get out of the picture. “The guy had his arm around the dog like it was his,” she said. The Loves feel guilty about leaving Sven home alone during the workweek. In Los Angeles, Andrew worked from home, and he and Sven hung out together all day. The couple are considering getting another dog next year for Sven to have a daytime pal. Liz volunteers at Bideawee, an animal rescue and adoption agency, and will look there for a Labrador mix or a breed with high energy. In exchange for her volunteer work, Bideawee is helping Liz certify Sven as a therapy dog. She is excited for him to work with senior citizens next year, and make them smile.
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