VOLUME 26, NUMBER 9
SEPTEMBER 25-OCTOBER 8, 2013
Surreal new york P. 27
Tech industry connecting more and more Downtown By K a i tlyn Me a d e ith the pervasive image of the Financial District’s suit-and-tie traders, you might see a different industry flexing its cybernetic muscles. The tech sector in Lower Manhattan has sprung up in the wake of a decline in the finance industry’s Downtown presence, bringing an influx of technologically savvy twentyand thirty-somethings. The Downtown Alliance, in an effort to make Silicon Alley an attractive place to live and work, has started LaunchLM, an endeavor to connect some of the over 600 tech companies in Lower Manhattan. Part networking tool, part meet-up style events host, part business improvement webpage, the initiative has garnered attention for its focus on collaboration not just within companies, but between companies, from established giants like Conde Nast to one-person internet startups. The new website launch-lm. com features bars, cafes and parks in the area. It also showcases fun, community-oriented office spaces where budding ventures can set up shop. “It stems from the fact that there are so many tech companies down here,” said Daria Siegel, the director of LaunchLM. “We want it to be a place where you can go to see what’s going on in Lower Manhattan for our audience.” That audience was especially appreciative last Tuesday night, at Launch’s launch party. Faithful to its image, the gathering was more chic than geek, held in the lobby of the iconic Woolworth building at 233 Broadway. Once past the check-in table,
Continued on page 21
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
The South Street Seaport Museum’s ship, Peking, ship recently reopened for a few Saturdays (see article, P. 12), but nearby residents are trying to get a better sense of what the development plans mean for museum and the rest of the Seaport.
Seeking a view into the Seaport’s future B Y T E RESE L OEB KREUZER hat was your favorite movie? Y’all went and saw a movie, I’m sure. What was your favorite movie?” asked Christopher Curry, executive vice president of The Howard Hughes Corporation as he sat in front of a room packed with Community Board 1 Seaport Committee members and members of the public on Sept. 17. No one answered. “Nobody saw a movie?” Curry continued. “I went to a restaurant but I didn’t see a movie,” Seaport Committee chair John Fratta replied.
“OK. Well, what do you think was the favorite movie? Seven hundred or 800 people on the lawn? It’s been great,” Curry said affably. He had come to the Seaport Committee, the members hoped and believed, to shed some light on The Howard Hughes Corporation’s plans to develop those parts of the South Street Seaport where it holds leasing rights in addition to its rights on Pier 17. Demolition of the existing mall on Pier 17 is set to begin Oct. 1, with a new mall expected to open in 2015. But Hughes, a Dallas-based developer, also has a long-term leasehold on many other parts of the historic Seaport, and options on parts of the
5 15 canal st re et • NYC 10 013 • Copyrig ht © 2013 NYC Commu n ity Med ia , LLC
uplands area not currently under lease. According to the terms of a letter of intent signed by Hughes and the New York City Economic Development Corporation in December 2011, Hughes had to submit its plans to the E.D.C. by Aug. 31, 2013 in order to exercise those options. Hughes met the deadline. Community board members wanted to know what was in those plans. Curry didn’t tell them and as of Sept. 23, no one had heard anything — not the Community Board and not City Councilmember Margaret Continued on page 6
September 25 - October 8, 2013
off and I don’t remember having much significant interaction with the guy after that.” But another classmate wrote that even though he disagrees with de Blasio’s agenda, “it would be hard not to vote for him” if the friend lived in the city because the candidate was “one of the nicest people that I ever met.” There’s not much for the Joe Lhota campaign to work with here unless they want to use the story about how dorm president Wilhelm paid a DJ an extra $12 to reimburse him for an expensive record at Bleecker Bob’s. We can hear it now: “A pushover with the DJ’s, a pushover with the unions.”
Friending de Blasio
Featuring performances by Broadway’s top shows Friday, September 27 12:30 PM Brookfield Place, Waterfront Plaza 220 Vesey Street
Bill de Blasio has a good chance to become the most famous former resident of New York University’s Weinstein Hall if he wins the mayor’s race, but he looks to be way behind when it comes to having the most interesting story connected to the dorm, which already has big claims to fame. “I think I remember seeing him drink a beer once,” was one of the non-juicy items one his classmates wrote on the dorm’s Facebook page. After all, Weinstein was also home to legendary music producer Rick Rubin, who helped put the Beastie Brothers together there (long before he produced Johnny Cash’s last critically acclaimed albums). We don’t think the Man in Black ever visited Weinsten, but the dorm was apparently also the inspiration for the quirky love triangle “Threesome” written and directed by former Weisntein alum Andy Fleming. The Facebook page’s manager, our good friend Tom Goodkind of Battery Park City, recently renamed the page “Weinstein Hall Home of Our Next Mayor, NYU.” Goodkind lived at Weinstein before de Blasio, whose last name was then Wilhelm, but classmates from the early ‘80s did notice a few signs of de Blasio’s liberal outlook. One, a Bruce Springsteen fan, remembered de Blasio raving about a line from ”The River”: “lately there ain’t been no work, on account of the economy.” De Blasio reportedly claimed the Boss was warning about the Reagan presidency, even though the song was written a year before the Gipper was elected. When the Springsteen fan pointed out the timing inconsistency, “Wilhelm kinda sulked
Dumpling, ravioli, pierogie, piroshki — they come in all shapes, sizes and fillings, and now they have a day to celebrate their many variations. That’s right, New Yorkers, head to the Lower East Side on Saturday for a day of dumplings, courtesy of Tang’s Natural N.Y.C. Dumpling Festival. New York’s favorite Chinatown treat will be the star of the day, along with its cousins from other countries like Poland and Italy. The festival will also feature the 10th annual dumpling eating contest at 1 p.m., sponsored by Chef One, where professional eaters attempt to scarf enough dumplings in two minutes to win the $2,000 cash prize. This year’s heavyweights bear such titles as “Gentleman” Joe Menchetti and David “Tiger Wings n Things” Brunelli, who devoured an impressive 74 dumplings last year. If you’d prefer to be the one eating, albeit in a much more leisurely fashion, $20 tickets will be available to sample four of the plump pickings yourself. Prize drawings, games and entertainment will also be on offer, and don’t miss Tang’s mascot — because let’s be honest, where else will you see a giant dumpling in a green apron? As if you needed another incentive, you can gorge for a good cause —all proceeds go directly to the Food Bank for New York City, which has been feeding the five boroughs for 30 years. Drop by the Sara D. Roosevelt Park, stretching down Chrystie St., from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 28 to get in on the goodies.
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
Paving a compromise, Tribeca bike lanes are approved B y KAI T LY N ME ADE A city proposal to add bike lanes in Tribeca is back on track after stalling with mediocre support at Community Board 1’s last July board meeting. The proposal would create a continuous route between Tribeca and Greenwich Village by way of Church St., W. Broadway and Varick St., which the Dept. of Transportation would implement through posting signs, repainting roadways, an in some cases, street construction. D.O.T.’s adjusted plan was approved by three Board 1 committees Sept. 10, and with the approval of the full board Sept. 24, the new lanes are likely to be installed soon. The original plan was approved by the Tribeca Committee on July 30 with objections to some components. However, the entire proposal was voted down at July’s C.B. 1 full board meeting. “It seemed there were enough questions that hadn’t been answered for what happened in the south,” said committee member Jeff Ehrlich, who said he voted for the proposal initially at the Tribeca Committee, but changed his vote at the full board. The full board instead asked for the D.O.T. to return with new plans, which it did on Sept. 10, before a combined meeting of C.B. 1’s Tribeca, Planning and Quality of Life Committees. The first change to the proposal addresses one of the board’s most strenuous objections on the first go-around — a plan to divert the bike lane from the street onto a little-used sidewalk near Capsouto Park so that cyclists could avoid the road’s cobblestones. “I oppose any bike lanes on the sidewalk,” committee member Adam Malitz told Downtown Express, though he said he generally supports the proposed changes. That was the reaction of several committee members, and some of the full board, who thought sidewalk cycling was not a safe option. “Apparently, the D.O.T. dealt with a lot more and came back with a much better solution for the block around Capsouto Park,” said Ehrlich. The compromise, as detailed in the D.O.T. PowerPoint, would be a 30-inch strip of granite for a smoother ride that “preserves historic character” on cobblestone streets. Not everyone was enamored of the solution, however. Lynn Ellsworth, chairperson of the Tribeca Trust commented on the Downtown Express website that, “We are opposed to this near-vandalism with the cobblestones in historic districts….The bike lobby and D.O.T. need to accept the fact that cobblestones here are tremendous cultural and historic assets and that bikers should just ‘manup’ and get used to a bit of bumping when they are in Tribeca and Soho. I ride my bike all over Tribeca and have never experienced cobblestones as a problem.” Most of the committee members, however, seemed appeased by the strip of granite, as a way of enticing bikers off the sidewalk. It would merge naturally into the existing bike lane and would cut down on, though probably not eliminate, the projected 45 percent of cyclists currently using the sidewalk, according to the D.O.T. A signal change at the intersection of Varick St. and W. Broadway at the approach to Leonard St., which was proposed in previous meetings, has already been implemented. “There’s a spot where people come down from two different directions and the lights changed at the same time. They’re having them alternate,” explained Ehrlich.
The plan also includes a painted curb extension to increase pedestrian safety at the intersection of Church and 6th A ve. The existing curb would be brought out to the crosswalk, and might discourage pedestrians from stepping out in the middle of the street. As for the bike lanes, there were few changes to the planned routes. Separate and buffered lanes will run next to parking lanes where possible. For example, a buffered lane will be put along Church St. from Warren to Franklin St., slightly narrowing the moving lanes and reducing one of the parking lanes to an 8-ft. width. In other instances, shared lanes will simply designate a side lane to be usable by both bicycles and cars. At least one of these streets is still cause for concern, according to committee member Bruce Ehrmann. The one-block section of Varick St. from Watts to Canal Sts. looks as though it will be much the same, with bicycles sharing a side lane with cars, only now that lane is called an “enhanced shared lane,” and will have a bicycle emblem painted at intervals along the roadway. “I want to know how this will work in front of Spring Studios,” Ehrmann said, referring to the gigantic studio and event space that will open on Va r i c k b e t w e e n E r i c s s o n P l a c e a n d L a i g h t S t . i n Images courtesy of NYC Dept. of Transportation. O c t o b e r. The Tribeca Committee has been trying to address Community Board 1 is now backing these proposed new concerns about Spring Studios’ traffic with the bike lanes. operator and surrounding neighbors. Ehrmann said that the bike lanes did not take any of that planning into account and left the question unanswered, along with many others. While the D.O.T. was waiting on approval from C.B. 1, “work on the Community Board 2-supported section of the project is scheduled to begin next week, weather permitting,” D . O . T. spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera said last week in an email to Downtown Express. The C.B. 2 portion of the project includes Wa s h i n g t o n Square Park and two bike routes on LaGuardia P l a c e / W. B r o a d w a y. I t e n t e r s C . B . 1 ’s domain south of Canal St., with the southbound portion running down Varick St. and transitioning onto The city is proposing granite on part of Varick St.’s cobblestones, after Community Board 1 W. B r o a d w a y u n t i l rejected the idea of running the bike lane on the sidewalk near Capsouto Park. Warren St. The northbound route begins at Warren St. and runs up Church St. before transfer- tor of campaigns and organizing for Transportation ring to 6th A ve. when the two intersect at Franklin Alternatives, a New York advocacy group which has St. been rallying support for the plan. “This piece of the bike map is an obvious gap… and “We see it akin to sidewalks,” she said. “If you will bring some connectivity to complete what was had a sidewalk network that ended at the end of planned, which is to connect the Village and Lower one community board’s area, it wouldn’t help as Manhattan,” said Caroline Samponaro, the direc- many people.”
September 25 - October 8, 2013
Sleeping man hit & robbed
A man sleeping off his wild night was assaulted and robbed by four people in the Spring St. (C,E) subway station, police reported. Police said the 39-year-old man was intoxicated and sleeping on the floor of the Downtown platform on Thurs., Sept. 19. At about 1:30 a.m., he was approached by a man who punched him in the face, while he was still on the ground, and grabbed his backpack. According to police, another man and a woman held the victim’s arms while the fourth person, a woman, sprayed him in the face with pepper spray. They then went through his pants pockets and took $200 in cash and his HTC cell phone. Police reported that they fled on a southbound A train. A canvass of the area was negative. In addition to his phone and money, they had taken an iPad 2, $200 in hard drives, his credit cards, debit cards, driver’s license, a pair of sunglasses and a $300 pair of ‘Ultimate Ears’ headphones. The man was treated on the scene by E.M.S. Police are still seeking the foursome, but have no description.
Soho woman mugged
A 24-year-old woman was pushed down and robbed by two men early Sunday morning as she entered her Soho apartment building, police said. The woman was walking home along Sullivan St. at 4 a.m. on Sat., Sept. 21. She was about to enter her apartment building when she was grabbed from behind by two men. She described them as both in their early 20s, about 6 feet tall, 180 pounds; one wearing a gray hoodie and one wearing a black hoodie. She told police that one of the men covered her mouth and
pushed her to the ground, while the other took her bag from her. Both of them then ran north on Sullivan to a silver sedan that was parked on the side of the road and fled the scene. The victim said one of her stolen debit cards was used to purchase gas from an Exxon Mobile station about two hours later. She also lost her Louis Vuitton bag, wallet, driver’s license and iPhone 5. Police did not report any injuries.
Shoplifters walked out with $14,000 in merchandise from a high-end jewelry store Downtown, according to the N.Y.P.D. An employee of the Soho location of designer Wendy Nichol told police that two men entered the 147 Sullivan St. store on Sun., Sept. 22 and pretended to be interested in buying. While they were making their rounds between 6:00 and 6:45 p.m., they managed to pocket three gold rings and then snagged a shoulder bag from the display before strolling out and turning north on Sullivan St. A report was filed with the police about an hour later. Police said video was available of the two men, one in a Vogue baseball cap and one in a black and white jacket with words printed on both sides. The items stolen were a 1K diamond ring worth $6,000, a $4,500 14K gold pyramid ring, a $2,500 14K thin gold pyramid ring and a black leather Wendy Nichol purse valued at $1,000.
Crawling pickpocket nabbed
Forget the monster under the bed, be more wary of the one under the subway seat. A bizarre incident on a southbound E train will keep one straphanger from sleeping on the subway. A man reported to police that he was on a Word Trade Center bound train at 4:50 a.m. on Sun., Sept. 22. He was sitting next to the train car doors and fell asleep. He awakened to a tugging sensation on the right front pocket of his hoodie. When he looked down, he saw a woman lying beneath his seat, with one hand reaching into his pocket. She was pulling on the headphone cord attached to his cellphone to try to get the phone to fall out. Caught, the woman managed to crawl out from under the seat and flee into the Spring St. station. The man contacted police and a canvass of passing trains allowed him to spot her across the Spring St. platform. Police arrested the woman, 28, for attempted theft, perhaps ending her seat lurking days, for a while at least.
Credit card fraud arrest
A man was arrested for fraud after attempting to use several peoples’ stolen credit cards at a Chase Bank in Soho. The suspect, 37, was
apprehended on Fri., Sept. 20 when he was spotted trying to use a credit card that did not belong to him at an ATM at 214 Broadway, police said. When he was searched, the arresting officer found credit and debit cards from seven different people. The victims were from all across the city from Brooklyn to Manhattan to Queens. As if the evidence did not speak for itself, the accused told the arresting officers several times that he was a federal agent or police officer. He was charged with grand larceny.
Food stand filcher
A FiDi woman will think twice the next time she stops for lunch at a food cart, after it turned out to be a pricier meal than anticipated. The woman, 48, reported to police that her wallet went missing after she stopped by a food stand on the corner of Broadway and Park Place on Wed., Sept. 18 to grab a quick bite to eat. She said she pulled out her wallet to pay for the food and set it on top of the cart at about 1:25 p.m. Then, she journeyed down into the subway station on the corner, snack in hand, but not her wallet. When she realized her error, she said she returned to the food cart to find that the wallet had been stolen, along with her ID, credit and debit cards and $40 in cash. Police said that there were no witnesses to the event.
Even a locked locker in a locker room is not a safe lockup for valuables, as one man found out on Sept. 17. The victim, a 34-year old man, reported to police that he had been working out at a New York Sports Club at 217 Broadway between 2:45 and 3:45 p.m. During that time, he said he put his wallet in a locker in the men’s changing rooms and secured it with a combination lock. When he finished his workout, he came back to the locker room to change. He said his locker did not look as though it had been broken into — except for the credit cards missing from his wallet. The thief tried to use three of the four stolen cards but was unsuccessful, police said.
Cyclist snatches cell
A woman had her iPhone snatched from out of her hand by a man on a bike, police said. According to police, the 31-year-old woman was walking down Hudson St. and texting on her iPhone 4S at 9:40 p.m. on Tues., Sept. 17. When she was at 121 Hudson St., her phone was snatched from her hand by a man riding by on a bicycle. The woman told police she did not get a good look at him and would only be able to identify him by his clothing, which was a red jacket and black skullcap. A police canvass of the area did not turn up results. She did not have the tracking information for the $750 device, but said she would cancel her phone service.
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
Seeking answers about Seaport’s future Continued from page 1
Chin’s office. Instead, Curry and Phillip St. Pierre, general manager for The Howard Hughes Corporation at the Seaport, talked about what a great summer they’d had and vaguely referenced plans for an upcoming “fall festival type of thing” in St. Pierre’s words, followed by a “winter program, which will be focused on holiday and Christmas.” In the springtime, there would be flower shows, he said. “What about the revitalization plan for the Seaport itself?” Fratta asked. “The master plan we’ve been asking about over and over again? I understand you made a submission already?” “Well, we’re in discussion with E.D.C.,” Curry replied. “It’s evolving and we’ll have more discussions before there’ll be anything that is — anything to be shared.” Curry said that nothing would happen “without everyone looking at it and commenting on it and you’re not missing anything.” “When do you expect to have that?” Fratta asked. “I would imagine it would be some-
time mid to late October. I would imagine,” Curry replied. The committee and members of the Save Our Seaport group, who packed the room hoping to learn something substantive from Curry, are particularly concerned about the Howard Hughes options on the landmarked Tin Building and the New Market Building, which is not in the city’s historic district. They are also concerned about the possibility of a Hughes takeover of the South Street Seaport Museum properties on Fulton and Water Sts. The museum had to close its galleries at 12 Fulton St. in April 2013 because of Superstorm Sandy damage, but is currently using all of its properties and has been sailing its 1885 schooner Pioneer this summer. However, a Howard Hughes leasing brochure shows the museum’s properties at 12 and 14 Fulton St. as being available for lease, and “we’ve heard rumors that they’ve literally had architects who have come into 12 and 14 Fulton and have been measuring the curtains,” said Michael Kramer, a member of the Save Our Seaport group, a coalition of community groups and individuals that wants to preserve the historic Seaport. Curry, perhaps inadvertently, fueled Howard Hughes Corp. plans to start demolishing the Pier 17 building on Oct. 1 and has submitted plans to redevelop the Tin and New Market Buildings.
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that speculation with one of his remarks at the Seaport Committee meeting. In response to a comment from Community Board 1 chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes about the importance of the museum and its historic vessels to the community, Curry said, “It’s a very high priority for The Howard Hughes Corporation to figure out a long-term solution to make it a much more sustainable institution. It’s bigger than The Howard Hughes Corporation itself. We’ve had conversations with the city and we’re a willing partner to make sure that there’s longterm viability. We’re hopeful that we’ll figure out a solution.” Those “conversations with the city” caused some people to think that Howard Hughes might take over the museum, and in fact, Kramer said that he had heard rumors to that effect. After Curry and his team departed, Kramer and his colleague from Save Our Seaport, attorney Michael Yamin, outlined some of the implications of recent lease amendments between The Howard Hughes Corporation and the E.D.C., its Seaport landlord. These include, according to Save Our Seaport, “that the historic maritime tradition of the South Street Seaport no longer need be protected” and that there is no longer a requirement for the city and H.H.C. to “strengthen” the South Street Seaport Museum’s financial condition. Kramer and Yamin also mentioned
some of the litigation that Hughes continues to face from tenants such as Bridgewater’s, Pizzeria Uno and Heartland Brewery, whose tenancy was disrupted by Sandy but who were never able to reopen because of Howard Hughes’ failure to make their former premises available to them. On behalf of Save Our Seaport, Kramer and Yamin asked the committee to call for a moratorium on future Seaport land use until Howard Hughes “pays all upaid rent due to the city, treats its tenants with existing leases fairly and both H.H.C. and N.Y.C.E.D.C. follow the recommendations contained in the N.Y.C. Comptroller’s audit report” of July 25. “I don’t believe that we could put a moratorium on a land use application,” said Fratta. “We can urge them not to move forward, but we can’t put a moratorium on anything.” He wondered whether the committee could ask City Planning to make Community Board 1 part of the process when discussions take place between Howard Hughes and E.D.C. “That’s never happened,” CB1’s land use consultant, Michael Levine, replied. “Howard Hughes is not being open with us. E.D.C. is equally to blame,” said Fratta. “We know that Howard Hughes is going to do whatever it can do. Howard Hughes is going to tell us to go to hell. They’ll smile at us and tell us to go to hell.”
September 25 - October 8, 2013
Parent panel opposes charter move into Bergtraum By K a i tly n M e a d e District 2’s Community Education Council passed a resolution last week opposing the plan to open a charter elementary school in Murry Bergtraum High School. The C.E.C, composed of parents, voiced strong disapproval of the proposal, which would place Success Academy and another high school at 411 Pearl St. next year. The council objected on the grounds that while Lower Manhattan is suffering from elementary school overcrowding, parents have expressed a “desire for a zoned neighborhood elementary school with the certainty of admission (i.e., no wait list)” — not another charter school. A Success Academy parent with children in the Upper West Side branch disagrees, saying that parents should have more options, including charter schools. “It’s a great school for my girls,” Mike Suchanek, said in a phone inter-
A public hearing to discuss the plan is set for Oct. 9. view. “There should be more of these schools. There should be more options for parents to choose the school that’s right for them.” Suchanek’s twin daughters are in second grade at Success, and have been a part of the school since its opening in the Brandeis high school building three years ago. It was a story that’s familiar to Downtown parents: they were zoned for P.S. 199, a well-regarded school on the Upper West Side, but were waitlisted, and then told they might have to enroll in a different school with a less than glowing reputation. Suchanek started looking for other options and settled on Success, which was opening its Upper West Side location that year. He has since become an advocate for the model. “They do a great job of keeping 5-year-olds from being around 18-yearolds,” he noted. “The issue about facilities is a red herring... The truth is, it works.” The D.O.E. wants to do the same in the Pearl St. building, after it admitted its plan to co-locate a high school there did not work, prompting more backlash from the C.E.C. The recent opening of the Stephen T. Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School in Bergtraum’s building apparently backfired when it came to light that the building did not have space for the specialized facilities the Mather School needs to function, according to an Educational Impact Statement issued
last month by the D.O.E The city now proposes switching the Mather School with the Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management on the Upper West Side in 2014, which would also leave room for the Success charter. “Having seen those two proposals, I said, ‘there’s something not quite right here,’” Shino Tanikawa, president of District 2’s Community Ed. Council, said of the high school switch and charter opening. The C.E.C. feels that in light of this, the “Department of Education has released multiple co-location proposals all over the city seemingly in a rush to implement as many co-locations as possible before the end of the current administration...” resulting in space conflicts like the Mather School’s. “It also touches on the lack of planning on the part of the D.O.E.,” Tanikawa commented. Dept. of Education officials have so far said little about the charter move to Bergtraum, and officials at the meeting did not respond to the criticisms. Success officials declined to comment for this article. Tanikawa and her colleagues also cited a lack of communication between the charter and the traditional schools, such as at a Success Academy co-located with the High School of Graphic Communication Arts, which opened at 439 W. 49th St. in September. “I went to a meeting that was shocking to me,” said C.E.C. member Son Mun. Mun said she had attended a meeting at the high school in which they had tried to contact the charter school about building security: there was concern that if the charter school’s elementary school students went in through the high school entrance, they would have to go through metal detectors. “They got no answers — nothing. Right before school was about to open,” said Mun. Mun had gotten her information from Mary Conway-Spiegel, founder of the Partnership for Student Advocacy, who had been mediating the disputes. Conway-Spiegel, in a phone interview, said initially there were problems, but now that school is in session it “hasn’t been an issue at all.” “Success Academy runs on its own,” she said. “They’re on the second floor, so the second floor is pretty much isolated from the rest of the campus.” Conway-Spiegel says that while Success does not attend her organization’s campus meetings, which began about one year ago, they worked hard to make sure that the opening of the school was smooth and there were no major problems in the first few weeks. A public hearing on opening the Success school at Bergtraum will be held at the high school, 411 Pearl St., Oct. 9 at 6 p.m.
Downtown Express file photo by Sam Spokony
Shino Tanikawa, president of the C.E.C.
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
Last curtain call may be near Voice leaves the Village, moving close to Wall St. for Dance New Amsterdam By K a itly n Me a d e It’s nearly curtain closed for Dance New Amsterdam in its home in 280 Broadway as it searches for a way to a solution that would keep the Downtown dance center’s doors open. The dance education and performance center announced that it had reached an agreement with the building’s landlord Fram Realty that would give the company one more month, until Oct. 14, to vacate. The agreement was approved by bankruptcy court, which got involved when D.N.A. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 27. A spokesperson for the group said that executive director Catherine Peila and the board are still working to keep the programs running. In a prepared statement, Peila said: “What has been amazing is the outpouring of financial and moral support from individuals, which have allowed us to make it this far. We continue to work devotedly to find a way to support our constituents regardless of where we work, dance, teach, create and perform,” Peila said in a public statement. “We are keeping the lines of communication open
between teachers, students, artists, our peers and community supporters while looking for ways to keep programs alive.” Founded 28 years ago by five choreographers as Dance Space Inc., D.N.A. evolved into a large arts organization with million dollar operating costs and moved to Chinatown. Then after 9/11, it moved into its current location in the historic Sun Building in Soho, taking advantage of government incentives to revitalize Lower Manhattan. According to D.N.A., the organization offers 140 classes weekly in its studios, including classes for international visa students from 30 countries. Since 2008, it has struggled in past years to continue renting its space. With the help of State Senator Daniel Squadron, their lease was negotiated down by $30,000 per month. But in May, D.N.A. Remained $4.5 million debt and filed for bankruptcy reorganization hoping that it would be able to restructure and save itself. It now has until mid-October. D.N.A. announced that its classes and rentals will be running through October 13. but their season is currently on hold.
Start Here. Go Anywhere. B O R O U G H O F M A N H AT TA N C O M M U N I T Y C O L L E G E
B y L IN COL N 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 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 Vi l l a g e 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.
September 25 - October 8, 2013
Trinity celebrates renowned composer & gay pioneer B Y TERESE LOEB KREUZER Trinity Wall Street is celebrating the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth by performing almost everything the renowned English composer ever wrote through the end of the year. “I don’t think that anything like this has been done before,” said Julian Wachner, Trinity’s director of music and the arts. “We’ll be doing all the chamber music, all the vocal and chamber works, all the choral works, all the works for children.” This amounts to around 100 pieces, rolled out at the rate of three or four a week during Trinity’s Thursday Concerts at One, its 11:15 a.m. Sunday worship service, its Bach at One and its 8 p.m. Sunday Compline by Candlelight. Most of the concerts are free. Everything except Britten’s operas and his large-scale works are part of the festival. Britten achieved both popular and critical success during his lifetime. Though the son of a dentist in class-conscious Britain, Queen Elizabeth II made him a peer. When he died in 1976 at the age of 63, he was Baron Britten, and could have been buried in Westminster Abbey along with the other luminaries of British artistic, scientific and political history. He chose instead to be buried in the churchyard of Aldeburgh, a small, seaside town in Suffolk, where he and his romantic partner and muse, tenor Peter Pears, had established a music festival in 1948. When Pears died in 1986, he was buried next to Britten as they both had wished. Many of Britten’s works are on Christian themes and are suffused with an Anglican sensibility. **
Most of the works of Benjamin Britten are being performed at Trinity over the next three months.
“Of Britten’s choral music, maybe 80 percent of it is sacred,” said Wachner. “His operas are not, but they all reference this British world with vicars — there’s always a vicar. There’s a vicar in ‘Albert Herring’ [a chamber opera in three acts] and there’s a parson and** a vicar and ADJUST SPACING ON RESIZE
a Methodist minister in ‘Peter Grimes.’ So he’s living in a world of Anglicanism.” Wachner said that Britten was probably more of a secular humanist than a dogmatic Anglican. “He was a pacifist,” Wachner said. “He was an open homosexual at a time when that was actually illegal in England. When he died, Queen Elizabeth wrote a letter of consolation to Peter Pears, which was kind of extraordinary.” Wachner, who turns 44 this month, has been performing Britten’s music since he was seven years old and sang Britten’s “Te Deum in C” in a choir in Buffalo, N.Y. “When I was young, I studied and performed all of his choral music,” he said. “In my early 20’s, I started working with the operatic repertoire. Now is the first time that I’m getting to know the chamber music.” Like Britten, Wachner is a composer and pianist as well as a conductor. On Sept. 5 in the opening concert of the Britten festival, for instance, he paused in his conducting to sit down at a harpsichord and accompany mezzo-soprano Virginia Warnken as she sang “Phaedra,” Britten’s last completed work, which he wrote in 1975 for Dame Janet Baker. For that same concert, Wachner programmed “Sinfonietta,” Opus 1, written in 1932 when Britten was a student at the Royal College of Music. “For me, what’s interesting are the similarities between these pieces that were written more than Continued on page 13
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
An embattled McWater resigns from C.B. 3 BY L I N CO LN A ND E R S O N An oversize presence on Community Board 3 for more than a decade, David McWater said he would announce his resignation at C.B. 3′s monthly fullboard meeting on Tuesday evening, Sept. 24. McWater, 47, chaired the East Village/Lower East Side community board for four consecutive one-year terms from 2004 to 2008. “I’m just too tired, too frazzled and don’t have the time that I used to,” he said. “It’s very time-consuming and it’s very emotionally debilitating,” he said of serving on the board. McWater, a bar owner, was being dogged by questions about whether he currently lives in New York City, which was first reported by TheVillager.com, a sister website of Downtown Express. Community board members can live outside of the district for the board on which they serve if, for example, they have a business or work on an organization within that district. But they can’t live outside New York City. According to information obtained by The Villager, it appears that McWater’s legal residence, in fact, may be in Lambertville, N.J. A Lexis search of court filings shows that the State of New York has issued at least 11 war-
Downtown Express file photo
Amid questions about his residency, David McWater, left, former chairperson of Community Board 3, this week resigned as a member of Board 3. With him were L.E.S. Guachos standout Jonathan Gonzalez and Gonzalez’ godfather, Ron Fulco.
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rants for back taxes owed by McWater, and that in each case, the address these warrants were sent to was in Lambertville. The borough president appoints and has the power to remove community board members, all of whom are unsalaried volunteers. Asked on Monday if McWater is a New York City resident, a spokesperson for Borough President Scott Stringer responded, “This matter is currently under review.” McWater said he lives on First Ave. between E. Third and Fourth Sts., and even invited a reporter over to verify that he lives there. He said he’s lived at four places in the East Village and Lower East Side since 1989, including E. 11th, Stanton
146 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011 Tel: 212.242.7802
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and E. 12th Sts., as well as on First Ave. As for the Lambertville address, he said, “I have a summer home out there.” However, McWater wasn’t comfortable with the line of questioning. Asked point blank where he files his taxes, he said, “I’m not answering any more questions about this. I can’t believe you’re stooping this low.” The phone conversation ended soon after Sept. 23, but McWater then called back a bit later to say he had decided to resign from the board. He currently owns three bars, Doc Holliday’s and The Library, both on Avenue A, and Milano’s on East
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
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Houston St. McWater said he is most proud of two major initiatives he shepherded through to approval, the 2008 East Village / Lower East Side rezoning — which added height caps for new construction in the neighborhood — and, more recently, the redevelopment plan for the long-dormant Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. Last week, Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference to announce that developers had been selected for the massive $1.1 billion SPURA project, located at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. “I’ve done more than any community board member in the history of New York City,” McWater said. “Nobody in the last 20 years did anything like the Lower East Side rezoning and SPURA. The community owes me a debt — nobody’s ever done what we’ve done. … “When I started SPURA, people said, ‘You’ll never be able to do it,’ ” he continued.” “It was miraculous,” he said of SPURA. “We took one of the most fractious committees in Manhattan and we brought a consensus. It was remarkable, it was a lot of work. We got 500 affordable units, 3,400 construction jobs and 1,600 permanent jobs.” After stepping down as the board’s
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on video and went viral. He was subsequently chided by the committee’s chairperson, Alexandra Militano, that as a board member he has to hold himself to “a higher standard” of behavior and not act like that. “She said I had showed up at the meeting just for that one issue,” McWater said of Romanoski. “All I said is, ‘You have no right to talk to me that way.’ “It’s frustrating,” he said. “The S.L.A. stories always get framed in the context of me being a bar owner.” He said, all the sturm und drang over liquor licenses, accomplishes little, since the S.L.A. often approves the application no matter what.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 5:15PM Trinity Yogis Explore the spiritual realm of body movement and form through the practice and art of yoga. Meets every Wednesday. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Seminar Room
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 1PM Concerts at One St. Petersburg Quartert performs works of Britten and Purcell. Trinity Church
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 10:30AM-12PM Fellowship Gathering: Job Seekers’ Group Join others seeking to improve and effectively market their job skills. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl, Room 2
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 10AM Discovery: Rethinking Education in the City Scott Evenbeck, Ph.D., is founding president of CUNY’s newest college, the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parish Hall
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 6PM Family Friday Yoga and Veggie Night Practice with your children in this familyfocused yoga class! Charlotte’s Place
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 9:45-11AM Sunday School for Children & Youth Instruction and formation for children ages 6 months through 18 years old. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1-3PM Mosaic Art Project: A Celebration Come celebrate the unveiling of this community-built large-scale mosaic. Charlotte’s Place SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 5-6:30PM The Family Table Relax with your family and neighbors over a healthy meal. $25 suggested donation. RSVP at email@example.com. 74 Trinity Place
“It’s just song and dance, it’s just theater,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if the community board votes yes or no.” As for what’s next for him, his love of sports will be in the mix again. He said he’ll be “managing some fighters — on the Eastern Seaboard, Philly, Atlantic City.” In the early 1990s he also managed boxers, but that was around when his bars were starting to do well, so he got out of the sport. Though not on the community board, he’ll still be around, he assured. “I’m not going to retire — I’m not that old,” he said. “It’s not like I’m leaving. I’m involved in my community. I’m not like these single-issue people.”
worship SUNDAY, 8am & 10am St. Paul’s Chapel · Holy Eucharist 8pm · Compline by Candlelight SUNDAY, 9am & 11:15am Trinity Church · Preaching, music, and Eucharist · Sunday school and child care available MONDAY—FRIDAY, 12:05pm Trinity Church · Holy Eucharist MONDAY—FRIDAY, 5:15pm All Saints’ Chapel, in Trinity Church Evening Prayer Watch online webcast
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chairperson in June 2008, McWater has been chairperson of C.B. 3’s Land Use, Zoning, Public and Private Housing Committee, and also a member of the board’s S.L.A. Committee, which weighs in on liquor license applications. Anti-bar resident groups have recently gained strength and momentum following the denial of a liquor license at 106 Rivington St. both by C.B. 3 and the State Liquor Authority. Things recently came to head on Sept. 16, at the board’s S.L.A. Committee meeting over an application for a new licensed establishment at 120 Orchard St. by a group calling itself Pure 120. Neighborhood opponents said they don’t want another nightclub there. McWater arrived at the meeting late because he had been at an earlier meeting with officials from the city’s Economic Development Corporation regarding SPURA, for which the mayor would announce the developers two days later. When McWater got to the S.L.A. Committee meeting, Sara Romanoski, an Orchard St. resident, who also happens to be the executive director of the East Village Community Coalition, accused him of only attending so he could vote on the 120 Orchard St. application. The much bigger McWater lost his cool and got in the smaller woman’s face in an incident that was captured
September 25 - October 8, 2013
Seaport’s towering Peking reopens for select Saturdays
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
The South Street Seaport Museum’s Peking is open on Saturdays through Oct. 19.
the same year, carried 34 sails and could go up to 18 knots an hour under sail. Even so, Passat’s maiden voyage from Hamburg to Valparaiso, Chile, took 80 days. The Peking’s capabilities would have
been very similar. She was both fast and massive. Standing on the Peking’s after-well deck, Boulware pointed out the Peking’s rig. “It’s magnificent,” he said, “and amaz-
ing to think that these are the same masts that sailors climbed in hurricanes and freezing conditions off of Cape Horn to get bird guano back to Europe in the 1920s. It’s hard to imagine as we sit here in the comparatively placid East River that this ship was actually rolled from side to side. The space where we’re standing now — you wouldn’t be able to stand. Her decks would be awash with water above our heads. This would be a washing machine of foaming water.” Plywood covers what would have been the original deck or one installed soon thereafter. Under that is steel, and below that are Peking’s vast holds that would have been filled with cargo. “In the famous movie made by Irving Johnson about Peking, he said, ‘Cargo is king. If you don’t arrive with a dry cargo, you might as well stay at home,’” Boulware remarked. “That’s the story of this ship. She wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the fact that she carried around 3,100 tons of cargo.” The captain and crew might have gone on successive voyages aboard Peking that would have taken them away for years at a time. Sometimes the captains brought their families with them. The captain’s quarters on the ship were partially restored after the South Street Seaport Museum acquired the ship in 1975.
BY T E RE SE L O E B K R E U Z E R The masts and rigging of the South Street Seaport Museum’s clipper ship, Peking, tower over Pier 16. No visitor to the Seaport could miss seeing this titan that stretches almost the full length of the pier. But it has been years since members of the public have been able to climb aboard. On Saturdays through Oct. 19, the Peking is open to visitors from noon to 4 p.m. “We are excited to have her open to the public again,” said Jonathan Boulware, interim president of the South Street Seaport Museum. “She is a magnificent ship. She’s not the only one [of this type] in the world, but she’s the only one in the United States.” Peking was built in Hamburg, Germany 102 years ago to transport nitrate from the west coast of South America to Europe. Even at that time, sailing ships had mostly been replaced by steamships except for long trips with heavy cargo, where the cost of fuel would have been prohibitive. She was built for F. Laeisz, a German company that still exists. She and her sister ships, whose names all began with the letter “P” were known as the “Flying P-Liners.” Peking’s sister ship, Passat, laid down in
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
Britten concert series Continued from page 9
40 years apart,” said Wachner. “Britten sprang from childhood fully formed in some ways.” Most of the pieces in Trinity’s Britten festival are not part of the frequently performed repertory. The musicians come from the Trinity Wall Street choir, the Trinity Youth Chorus and NOVUS NY, Trinity’s new music ensemble. The scope and volume of the works they must learn for the festival are a measure of their professionalism. On Nov. 11, when the group performs Britten’s “Cantata Misericordium,” it will be after only one rehearsal, for instance, though most pieces will be presented following two rehearsals and a dress rehearsal. “These players are fantastic,” said Wachner. “They’re pretty quick with it.” Many of the soloists come from the ranks of the Trinity Choir. However, some have concert careers outside of the Trinity fold. Tenor Nicholas Phan, who sang “Nocturne” in the opening concert of the Britten festival on Sept. 5 (a role that Britten wrote for Peter Pears), returned on Sept. 21 for one of the two ticketed concerts of the series. (The other concert 3:50:55 PMconrequiring HalfPageAd_9-13.pdf a ticket is the8/14/2013 gala closing
cert on Jan. 2, 2014.) Skillfully accompanied by pianist Myra Huang, harpist Sivan Magen and French horn player Jennifer Montone, Phan memorably expressed the pain, passion and rage in Britten’s music. Even when the composer was ostensibly being light-hearted, the sadness is there. The concert took its title, “Still Falls the Rain,” from a poem by Edith Sitwell written about the London air raids of 1940. “Still falls the Rain — dark as the world of man, black as our loss,” the poem begins. Britten set it to music in 1954 as a memorial to his friend, pianist Noel Mewton-Wood. In addition to his work for Trinity Wall Street, Wachner is music director and conductor of The Washington Chorus in Washington, D.C. On Nov. 3 at the Kennedy Center, Wachner will be conducting Britten’s “War Requiem.” Written for soloists, chorus, chamber ensemble and orchestra, it commemorates the dead of both World Wars. Many people consider the “War Requiem” to be one of Britten’s masterpieces, but as Trinity Wall Street’s Britten festival will demonstrate, Britten’s artistry and his ability to marry music and texts can be found in his works both large and small.
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
The Battery’s upbeat on progress as fall begins BY T E RE SE L O E B K R E U Z E R The sun smiled on guests assembled in historic Battery Park on Sept. 18 for the Battery Conservancy’s End of Summer party. Zelda, the park’s famous wild turkey, in residence since 2003, was there to greet the guests. “She always knows when there’s a party,” said the Conservancy’s president, Warrie Price. Many people worried about Zelda during Superstorm Sandy last year, but she came through unscathed. The park was less fortunate. “We lost 50 percent of the plants along the water in the Gardens of Remembrance,” said Sean Kiely, manager of landscapes, “and 30 percent of the plants in the Bosque” — a four-acre woodland garden in the heart of the park. Salt water poured into the park. Because of its topography, in some places, it remained two feet deep there for hours instead of flowing out again, as it did elsewhere. “Some of the plants literally drowned,” said Kiely. Other plants proved to be salt intolerant despite the conservancy’s irrigating the soil repeatedly to flush the salt to a level beneath the plant roots. All of the park’s plants in the mint family (Laminacae) died, as did most of its asters. But by the day of the party, few people would have noticed what had happened. The conservancy had replaced 7,000 plants, interspersing them with the plants that had survived. “Everyone was so amazed at how beautiful the gardens are and how strong they’ve come back,” said Price. Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’ (Panicum virgatum), a prairie grass with roots that grow as deep as the plant is tall, was among the plants that did well, confirming its reputation as a protection against flooding and drought. Japanese forest grass, palm sedge and many other grasses survived the storm. One person at the gathering would definitely have noticed the subtle changes in the plantings. Piet Oudolf, the renowned Dutch landscape designer, who created the horticultural plan for Battery Park and who designed the Gardens of Remembrance and the Bosque, was the guest of honor. He lives in the Netherlands, but visits New York City five or six times a year and usually stops by the Battery to see how things are going and to make suggestions. “For now it looks good,” he said of the park. “Generally, what I’ve seen today, it looks really good.” Price met Oudolf in the summer of 2002. In August, she visited his nursery in Hummelo, a village in the eastern part of The Netherlands, and in September, Oudolf came to New York. They decided to proceed, and agreed that his first garden in the Battery would utilize the peren-
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Dutch landscape designer, Piet Oudolf, with Robert Kloos, director for visual arts and architecture for the Netherlands Consulate General in New York in Battery Park on Sept. 18, 2013 at a reception for Oudolf, who created the horticultural master plan for the park.
nials and naturalistic plantings for which he was known. “We got private money and on May 8, 2003, we planted the Gardens of Remembrance,” Price recalled. “Piet participated in the planting – telling us what to do, planting it himself. He just doesn’t sit back and watch. He does it all.” Though Oudolf had previously designed the Lurie Garden for Millennium Park in Chicago, it wasn’t finished until 2004. The Battery’s Gardens of Remembrance were his first completed gardens in the United States. In choosing plants for the Battery, he drew on his experience in the Midwest, with its expansive prairies and its bone-chilling winters, not unlike the punishing winds and snow of a New York harbor winter. “Gardening for me is about atmosphere,” he said at the luncheon. “It’s about how people feel.” He went on to say, “It’s not only spring and summer. It’s also autumn and winter. Seasonality is important.” Oudolf works with plants like a painter, creating swaths of intersecting colors and like a sculptor, introduces plants into his designs for their structural qualities, apparent especially in winter. He said that he wanted the Gardens of Remembrance to be “optimistic, looking toward the future.” In creating the Bosque, which he designed in 2005, he remarked that, “Nature transforms plants and we feel
ourselves changing as well. My objective is to tap into this deeper emotional response to beauty.” He used 181 species of plants in the Bosque. When he visits the Battery, he notes what parts of his design need to be modified — cut back, perhaps, because the plants have grown too tall and are no longer in proportion. “The gardens always need a good eye to look at what is wrong and right – mainly aesthetically,” he said. “The plants will perform because I have experience in the Midwest and New York now that I more or less know what will grow. So it’s rarely that a plant doesn’t work but sometimes you think it could have done something different here.”
Carousel & Bike Path
Oudolf’s next projects in Battery Park will be to plant a garden around the carousel at the southern end of the park and to plant shrubs, trees, grasses and perennials along the bikeway that runs along the park’s periphery. The carousel was supposed to open this fall, but its opening has been delayed. Price hopes that it can open in April or May. “Hopefully we won’t find any other underground wires that we didn’t know were there,” she said, explaining the delay. “Nobody realized how complicated the life underneath the park is. Every time we dig a hole, you don’t know if it’s Bridges
and Tunnels or City D.O.T., or Con Ed or Sanitation – I mean, there’s a whole city underneath this ground cover. So it takes us twice as long to do anything here.” About the bikeway, she said that she hoped that by Thanksgiving, a tiny section in front of Castle Clinton will be open. Eventually it is supposed to connect to the East and Hudson River bike paths. As she contemplates the future, Price has to consider the possibility of future storm surges. “I think we will continue to look at the plants that are salt tolerant – look at the ones that did survive and use those as our base,” she said. She also plans to establish a reserve fund to replace plants that don’t survive. But her plans don’t include a high floodwall. “We do not want a 10-foot wall so that when you come to the Battery you can’t see the water because then you’re basically taking away the reason the park exists at all,” she said. “From the very beginning, it was so that people could promenade at the water’s edge.” Her most immediate plans are for a Harvest Festival on Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be music, games and an opportunity to buy produce harvested from the Battery’s urban farm. There will also be an opportunity to stroll through the park and observe it in autumn splendor as the colors of summer give way to gold, purple and scarlet, just as Oudolf intended.
September 25 - October 8, 2013
BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER
B.P.C.A. shuts down funding spigot:
Because of directives from New York State, the Battery Park City Authority can no longer use any of its discretionary funds for charitable donations. This means that the B.P.C.A. will no longer be able to help support the arts programming at Brookfield which it had previously been supporting with contributions of $212,000 a year. Also, it will no longer be able to support the River to River Festival which, in previous summers, had staged concerts in Rockefeller Park. “Our financial participation ended with the season just concluded,” said Matthew Monahan, authority spokesperson. “Local cultural institutions, sports organizations who use the ball fields, local neighborhood events and schools are likewise seeing a discontinuation of financial support, which in no way lessens our high regard for them.” This development more than likely will affect funding that the B.P.C.A. has previously provided for the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Skyscraper Museum and Poets House. It will probably mean that there will be no more funds from the B.P.C.A. for the Downtown Little or Soccer League or for the P.T.A.s at local schools or for the annual Battery Park City block party. This will undoubtedly be a big blow to these organizations and activities, many of which operate on a shoestring.
Arts at the Winter Garden:
Debra Simon, the impresario of arts and events for Brookfield Office Properties, was pleased. She was about to
introduce keyboardist Marco Benevento and his trio for a performance on Sept. 19 at the Winter Garden. “We’re doing it in the midst of construction!” she said proudly. Backed by a kaleidoscope of colors and images projected on a screen, Benevento and his trio (drummer Andy Borger and bassist Dave Dreiwitz) played with Dionysian exuberance. People started to dance under the blood-red palm trees, illuminated by spotlights. The Winter Garden shimmied. Next up at the Winter Garden, the annual tribute to jazz great Thelonious Monk arrives on Oct. 10 followed by a two-day celebration of the music of Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw on Oct. 15 and 16.
Ice skating rink at Brookfield Place:
Ice skating will return to Battery Park City this winter thanks to Brookfield Office Properties. Brookfield has entered into an agreement with George Haviland, the operator of last year’s Liberty View ice skating rink in Wagner Park, to open a rink on the plaza at Brookfield Place. The announcement was made at the Battery Park City Authority board of directors meeting on Sept. 24. Martha Gallo, the only board member who lives in Battery Park City, expressed some disappointment. “This will be a Rockefeller Center-like rink and it will be a touristy thing,” she said, “but it won’t be a neighborhood amenity. Let’s just be clear on that.” Gallo thinks the rink should be large enough to accommodate hockey players as well as recreational figure skaters and should be situated on the ball fields, but Anne Fenton, assistant to the B.P.C.A. president, said that there had been no response to two R.F.P.s for a rink on the ball fields. “None of the operators felt they could build a rink that size and operate it and make money on it,” she said. “We actually had hockey leagues come in and try to get the ball rolling, but we just couldn’t make it work.” Brookfield is paying for the rink but the Battery Park City Authority will share in the revenues under the terms of its
Keyboardist Marco Benevento and drummer Andy Borger performed with bassist Dave Dreiwitz for an enthusiastic audience at the Winter Garden on Sept. 19.
previous agreement with Haviland, the operator. Gallo said that a lot of families in the community used the rink after school, every day. The opening date, the hours and the fees have not yet been announced.
B.P.C. block party on Sept. 28:
The 12th annual Battery Park City block party takes place on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Esplanade Plaza, just south of North Cove Marina. Boats and boating trips in the harbor will be among the highlights. In the marina, there will be wine tasting aboard the historic schooner, Shearwater ($10 a person) and a cash bar on Manhattan Sailing Club’s luxurious sailing ship, Arabella, which will be open beginning at 1 p.m. Commodore Michael Continued on page 22
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 10 A.M.– Noon | Rain or shine Bowling Green Park Need a little color in your home or office? Come adopt a geranium! The Downtown Alliance is giving away 4,000 geraniums as part of its Green Around Lower Manhattan program.
September 25 - October 8, 2013
Developers picked decades later for Seward Park project B Y H E AT H E R D U B I N After nearly 50 years of inertia at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, last week Mayor Bloomberg announced the developers selected for a $1.1 billion plan for the site’s nine remaining city-owned lots at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. The city picked L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners and Taconic Investment Partners to develop the area. 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 middleincome families and senior citizens. The other half will be market rate. Some highlights of the 1.65-million-squarefoot development, to be called Essex Crossing, include an Andy Warhol Museum, an expanded Essex Street Market, office space, a dual-generational school for preschoolers and their young mothers 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 also includes space that could house a future public school. Residents of the area 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 — 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 expected to be finished by 2024. “If anyone is opposed, raise your hand or
Renderings by SHoP Architects
“Essex North” is part of the development plan for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.
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.” 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.
An aerial view of the proposed new look for Broome St.
The councilmember acknowledged that people were critical of her for not securing 100 percent affordable housing at SPURA, but she said 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. 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 25 - October 8, 2013
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
Downtown Express photos by Tequila Minsky
A sweet Jewish harvest Tribecaâ€™s Jewish Community Project, better known as J.C.P., celebrated Sukkot Sunday with a free block party outside their Duane St. center. The holiday, which celebrates the harvest, also helps commemorate the Jewsâ€™ 40 years in the desert when they often lived in makeshift huts or booths known as Sukkahs. J.C.P. set up a Sukkah outside its home (opposite page) and children also made their own tastier huts with graham crackers held together with icing.
September 25 - October 8, 2013
Empty. Recycle. Repeat. Recycle everything. Call 311 or visit nyc.gov to learn more
September 25 - October 8, 2013
Four hurt in gunfire outside SOB’s club B Y LI N C O LN A ND E R S O N SOB’s stands for Sounds of Brazil. But on 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. The shots, reportedly from a single gunman, broke out just after midnight on a Thursday, 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 individuals 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. 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… 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
The promo for Fat Trel’s performance at SOB’s.
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 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.” Hoylam said the bill “would require any semiautomatic pistols manufactured or delivered to any licensed dealer in New York to be capable of microstamping ammunition.” 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. He said the microstampingtechnique has been shown in California to increase arrest rates for gun violence, getting more shooters and guns off the streets.
September 25 - October 8, 2013
Techies connecting in Lower Manhattan
Downtown Express photo by Kaitlyn Meade
Last week’s party celebrating the launch of LaunchLM, a new effort to connect members of Lower Manhattan’s tech industry.
Continued from page 1
the lights were turned down, the music was turned up and the bar was serving glasses of wine, cocktails and the occasional beer faster than a 4G connection to over 300 guests, many of them from nearby technology or development companies. The music was shut off for opening remarks from the staff and board of LaunchLM, including Scott Anderson, partner and chief strategy officer of the strategy and design firm Control Group, and Bill Rudin, whose company owns 55 Broad St., also known as “The Hive,” which has been the site of the Downtown Alliance’s technology project since December 2009. It will now be LaunchLM’s headquarters and will host most of its special events. “We are honored to be a part of this...” Rudin said of both his company’s role and his personal one as a member of the board. “It is about community, it’s all about connectivity, it’s all about really the forefront of what is happening in the city, in the country, and creating opportunities.” He mentioned one such opportunity in WeWork’s move into 222 Broadway, just a block away from the Woolworth, where it is setting up its New York City headquarters. The company is taking over eight floors that Bank of America is vacating WeWork will turn them into a series of open office plans that allow
for collaboration between small businesses, especially internet start-ups. “Everyone’s already buzzing,” Dan Chiu, founder of HD Made, a Downtown digital strategy, said of the growing tech community. Certainly, LaunchLM has renewed recognition of the city’s tech sector. Just one day after the 12th anniversary of 9/11, Mayor Michael Bloomberg mentioned LaunchLM in his speech on New York City’s comeback since the attacks, noting that there are more jobs now in Lower Manhattan than on 9/11 despite the reductions in the financial sector. “The growth of the tech industry here in Lower Manhattan…[is] not surprising,” he said. “Because the renewal of Lower Manhattan as a community of schools and parks and small businesses also reflects the community revival that we’ve seen across our city over the past 12 years.” He also thanked “the kind of community where the young people who dominate the tech industry want to come and work.” The next step is to provide them with resources, said Siegel, from “working closely with the real estate community, hosting events to show off office spaces in Lower Manhattan,” to their summer series of “Tech Tuesdays” at the South Street Seaport. “We want people to be able to stake a claim: ‘This is where I work, this is where I’ve chosen to work,’ and to have the benefits that come with it,” she said.
September 25 - October 8, 2013
transit sam ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING IS SUSPENDED THURSDAY AND FRIDAY FOR SHEMINI ATZERETH AND SIMCHAS TORAH The U.N. General Assembly continues this week and will have some impacts on Lower Manhattan traffic. Although President Obama has come and gone, there will still be some domino traffic as drivers avoid the QueensMidtown Tunnel and opt for the Williamsburg Bridge, adding traffic to Delancey St. For the latest on heads of states screwing up traffic, follow me on Twitter @gridlocksam. All Manhattan-bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge will close 12:01 a.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday. This will shift inbound drivers to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the Manhattan Bridge, then onto West St. and Canal St., respectively. The same closure will occur 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday. In the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel, one tube will close 10 p.m. Saturday through 3 p.m. Sunday for the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Run. During the closure, the remaining tube will carry one lane of traffic in each direction. At 8 a.m. Sunday, the remaining tube will close for the run. The run will also close the West Side Highway between Joseph P. Ward and Liberty
Sts., Vesey St. between North End Ave. and West St., North End Ave. between Vesey and Murray Sts., and Liberty St. between West St. and South End Ave. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. M.T.A. FASTRACK work means no trains at N, Q, or R stations in Manhattan 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Tuesday (the work continues through 5 a.m. Friday, October 4). N trains run in Brooklyn and Queens only and Q trains are rerouted via the D line to and from the 57th St. F station. Washington St. will close between Rector and Ward Sts. 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. Leonard St. will close between Hudson and Varick Sts. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. On West St./Route 9A between West Thames and Chambers Sts., two lanes in each direction will close 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. weeknights and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Franklin St. is fully closed between Hudson and Varick Sts. through the end of the month. From the mailbag: Dear Transit Sam, We are having a wedding at the Bowery Hotel on Nov. 3. Guests are all staying in Soho. Anything we need to do or tell our
guests for Sunday? Our event doesn’t start until 6 p.m. What about airport arrivals? A few people aren’t arriving until the morning of, and are flying into La Guardia. Kerrie, New York Dear Kerrie,
the Williamsburg Bridge. DO NOT TAKE THE QUEENSBORO BRIDGE! Those from New Jersey should take the Holland Tunnel. Those from Brooklyn need only worry if they are arriving before noon. In that event take the Prospect to the Gowanus to the Battery Tunnel. From Upper Manhattan or the Bronx, stick with the West Side until 5 p.m. to account for stragglers.
Here’s a rundown for your guests who must drive: those coming from La Guardia in the morning should take the Grand Central Parkway to the B.Q.E. to
In any event congratulations and enjoy the day!
Continued from page 15
Fortenbaugh also is offering 45-minute-long circumnavigations of the Statue of Liberty aboard one of the Manhattan Sailing Club’s launches ($5 a person). The launch departs at 12:15 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. with reservations suggested. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. The day after the block party, Sunday, Sept. 29, there will be a B.P.C. Neighborhood Sail aboard the Ventura, a 94-year-old sailing yacht. The BYO brunch cruise costs $25 a person. The boat will board at 11:15 a.m. and depart at 11:30 a.m. for the two-and-a-half hour cruise. Buy
Transit Sam tickets at the Block Party Welcome Table. For those who don’t like crowds, the Ventura will provide a respite from the approximately 20,000 people who will be descending on Battery Park City that day for the annual Tunnel to Towers Run. It honors Stephen Siller, a firefighter who died on 9/11 when he ran from Brooklyn to the World Trade Center, to help put out the fire following the World Trade Center attack. One tube of the Hugh L. Carey (formerly the Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel will be closed from 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 through 3 p.m. on Sunday to accommodate the runners who start in Red Hook and retrace Siller’s steps. The Tunnel to Towers Run raises money for charity. To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@gmail.com
September 25 - October 8, 2013
Sequester forces big cuts in Section 8 housing program by SA M S pok on y 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
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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 website. 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 25 - October 8, 2013
Care who’s mayor? Vote Tuesday, Oct. 1 (Squadron’s our pick)
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Sit back registered Democrats
and wait until November to vote again — that is unless you care about who becomes mayor of New York City. Abysmal turnout is expected for the runoff Tues., Oct. 1 to pick the Democratic candidate for Public Advocate. Without a Republican in the race, the Democratic nominee is all but assured of being elected into office in November and becoming first in line to succeed the mayor. Polls now predict the current Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio, will in fact be our next mayor, so clearly the advocate’s position should not be ignored. Admittedly, the precise role, and frankly the need for the office has not been made clear to many New Yorkers including us in the 20 years it has existed, but it does provide a platform and an opportunity to help city government work for people most in need. All that said, there are two good candidates to replace de Blasio, State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Councilmember Letitia James. Both have demonstrated a commitment to helping the most vulnerable, and the independence that the office
requires, but in our view, Squadron has the better chance to be more effective. For starters, he has a thoughtful plan to reorganize the office, and he is not counting on getting an increase in the tiny $2.3 million budget the way James is. The next mayor will be confronted with daunting budget choices as he (the major candidates are men) negotiates long lapsed contracts with the city’s municipal labor unions. Increasing the advocate’s budget may have a minimal effect on overall city spending, but it will nevertheless be hard to justify in the face of probable cuts to vital programs. Squadron is right to put the emphasis on increasing the office’s effectiveness rather than its spending. He has represented Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn these last five years with energy, and is a creative thinker whom we think may bring relevance to this ambiguous office. When a landmark case showed that thousands of people in Lower Manhattan were potentially eligible for rent protections, Squadron and his staff
took the lead in finding out the buildings that were eligible. When Hurricane Sandy hit Downtown, they were out on the streets helping people rebuild their lives. His community town hall meetings demonstrate a commitment to helping people. There has been some talk the last two weeks, that James should be elected because the city’s next mayor and comptroller are likely to be white men. While diversity is important, it’s inherently unjust to impose such a rigid quote on a single race. Voting for James solely because she is not white and not male is as wrong as it is to not vote for Squadron because he is. And regardless of who is elected in this race, the speaker of the City Council is really the second most powerful person in the city, and that post will almost certainly be held by someone who will add diversity to city government. We think Daniel Squadron is the best choice for Public Advocate and we endorse him. We know the worst choice would be not voting Tues., Oct. 1. Vote.
No crossing an old saw Someone made creative use of an
N.Y.P.D. sawhorse on Tribeca’s Cortlandt
Albert Amateau Jerry Tallmer
Alley, although there was no crossing
reported in 2007 the sawhorses would
Milo Hess Jefferson Siegel
through this wall. The New York Times be gradually phased out, but they have not been put out to pasture yet.
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
How Quinn lost the gay vote B Y PA U L S C H I N D LE R City Council Speaker Christine Quinn began this year as such a prohibitive frontrunner in the Democratic mayoral race that for months the major question asked was how likely it was that her opponents could keep her below the 40 percent threshold and force her into a runoff. Now, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio enjoys the chance to go 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 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 a 47-34 margin. How did that happen? In primary night comments to Gay City News, West Village Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Rachel Lavine, a Democratic State Committee member, suggested that homophobia and misogyny were at play. According to that perspective, the independent spending by the Anybody But Quinn (A.B.Q.) forces, which totaled more than $1 million, was unmatched by any similar effort waged against the men in the race. Women and LGBT voters, they argued, were inattentive to the importance of having one of their own at the head of the table. Meanwhile, a Times poll pointed up 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. It’s true that A.B.Q.’s embrace of independent expenditure attacks on Quinn had a certain irony. The Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case that made this spending possible in a city that prides itself on its public financing system was widely and vociferously denounced by progressives. McCray’s comments about Quinn, in which she suggested the speaker does not understand challenges facing ordinary women in New York such as taking “care of children at a young age,” have been hotly debated — in no small measure because the Times’ 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. 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 Michael 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
Christine Quinn conceding on primary night, Sept. 10.
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 five 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 N.Y.P.D.’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, most dramatically at their Father’s Day rally in Harlem 15 months ago. However, at forum after forum this year, Quinn insisted she would be happy to keep on Commissioner Ray Kelly should she become mayor. To voters, that position either masked her critique of stop and frisk or seemed like the sort of straddle they hate to see from politicians. Her allegiance to Kelly paid fewer and fewer dividends — if in fact it ever paid any — as the commissioner stepped up his criticism of Council efforts to curb police autonomy. Quinn stayed true to Kelly, but it seemed increasingly improbable he would ever consider staying on if she won. 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. At first, the issue looked like a winner for Quinn. When she appeared with labor leaders and other progressive advocates early this year to announce agreement on moving forward, the tableau provided a sharp contrast with the public advocate standing alone hours later to quibble that it was all too little, too late. But de Blasio didn’t let the issue go — and Quinn didn’t seem all that interested in rebutting his critique. More than a few voters told me they faulted her for blocking paid sick leave — not just for a few years, but for good. They seemed unaware she had triumphantly cloaked herself with advocates for low wage New Yorkers when endorsing compromise legislation. Uppermost in their minds was de Blasio’s charge of inaction. A similar dynamic at times played out with LGBT voters. In all likelihood, Quinn lost the gay vote because many in our community believed that other, larger issues trumped the leadership she could be expected to deliver for the community. But at least some gay New Yorkers believed she had stood in the way on key community concerns. I heard complaints that she didn’t do anything for homeless LGBT youth, when in fact the City Council year after year stepped into the breach to restore or replace funding cuts from the budgets delivered by Bloomberg and, since 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo. Several people also told me they were upset by Quinn’s support for using condom possession as evidence in prostitution arrests, something she has criticized for a long time. In like fashion, the refusal of the city’s health department to make it easier
for transgender New Yorkers born here to change the gender designation on their birth certificates stands despite longstanding criticism from the speaker. In citing these misconceptions, I am not attributing Quinn’s loss to voter ignorance. The fault, instead, lies with the campaign she ran. Even after it was clear that endorsements from the city’s three dailies were not staunching her slide and de Blasio’s surge, ads touting the New York Times’ support for her — produced in the most generic style possible — continued to flood the airwaves. In what was clearly shaping up to be a change election, the ads merely reinforced Quinn’s image as the insider, establishment candidate. What we never saw was the speaker facing the camera and talking to New Yorkers in a personal way about her vision for the city. Faced with de Blasio’s brilliant ad featuring his son Dante, humanizing Quinn was her only hope in the campaign’s final days. It may be that the die was cast the day Quinn okayed the Council’s extension of term limits in late 2008, and the contest this year was simply a protracted matter of sorting things out before Democratic voters inevitably settled on a candidate they trusted to provide a clear departure from the Bloomberg years. For me, Quinn remains a leader with essentially progressive instincts and an impressive record on a host of issues that matter. I’m sorry that I often couldn’t find that candidate in her campaign’s big picture narrative. Paul Schindler is editor-in-chief of Gay City News, a sister publication of Downtown Express.
September 25 - October 8, 2013
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
Buhmann on Art Surreal Bronx, Staten Island nostalgia, street culture & unfamiliar states
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.
CHRISTINE OSINSKI: FROM STATEN ISLAND
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 212-999-7337 or visit speronewestwater.com.
Christine Osinski’s “Two Girls with Matching Outfits” (1983-1984), on view at Sasha Wolf Gallery through Oct. 27.
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 A venue 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 212-925-0025 or visit sashawolf.com.
Born in 1966, McGee was raised in San Francisco, where he studied painting and printmaking. His distinctly graphic works fuse a variety of influences, such as graffiti and American folk art. Evocative of urban street culture, they celebrate the diversity of neighborhood communities and critique consumerist culture, as well as commercialism. Rejecting billboard advertisements and the concept of chain stores, McGee finds inspiration in the seeming randomness of Internet pictures. Part anarchy and part collaboration, his installations become immersive environments that draw the audience’s attention through a whirlwind of images. Through Oct. 26, at Cheim & Read (547 W. 25th St., btw. 10th & 11th Sts.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am-6pm. Call 212242-7727 or visit cheimread.com. Continued on page 28
September 25 - October 8, 2013
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Buhmann on Art
Image courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York.
Barry McGee: Untitled, 2005-13 (400 elements: ink, graphite, acrylic, screenprint, photographs on paper, found objects and frames; 16 feet x 22 feet 6 inches x 55 inches, 192 x 270 x 55 inches; 487.7 x 685.8 x 139.7 centimeters). On view at Cheim & Read through Oct. 26.
Continued from page 27
Cherubini’s first solo exhibition with the gallery (“in and out of weeks”) attempts to collapse the boundaries between movement, space, process and time. By juxtaposing rigid, geometric forms with texturally voluptuous shapes, her floor-based and wall-
mounted sculptures explore the balance and dissonance between surface and ornament, object and support. Overall they challenge our notions of time and place, attempting to establish an unfamiliar state. Through Oct. 26, at Tracy Williams, Ltd. (521 W. 23rd St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 11am6pm. Call 212-229-2757 or visit tracywilliamsltd.com.
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An installation shot from Nicole Cherubini’s “in and out of weeks” — on view at Tracy Williams, Ltd. through Oct. 6.
September 25 - October 8, 2013
India Music Week BY SCOTT STIFFLER When they’re not adding wax to that 2 million-plus library of recordings, the ARChive of Contemporary Music is cooking up new ways to collect records. The Downtown nonprofit can already lay claim to having the world’s largest collection of popular music — and on Oct. 6, ARC hopes to secure a place in the Guinness Book by drawing upwards of 10,000 revelers to the World’s Largest Bhangra Dance. DJ Rekha spins, and so do you — to the beat of traditional drum-heavy Punjabi dance music infused with Western elements, such as hip-hop and house. Photo by Brad Hodges The potentially record-setting party DJ Rekha spins records, and hopes to help set one — is part of India Music Week — an when India Music Week throws the “World’s Largest idea that’s been percolating since Bhangra Dance” (Oct. 6, at South Street Seaport). ARC Director B. George spent a year in India during the 1970s, then returned in 2012 to collect recordeos, seminars, concerts, lectures, sound files, ings. The event, which puts an additional broadcasts, narrowcasts, album cover gallery six-day spin on ARC’s 2011 World Music exhibits, photos and blogs. Day and last year’s Brazilian Music Day, is Dig into it all, with a visit to the evolving meant to be the first in an annual October website indiamusicweek.org and the blog happening (in the coming years, Scandinavia, indiamusicweek.wordpress.com. For info on Cuba, Louisiana and China are scheduled for ARC (whose holiday record/CD sale begins their seven days in the sun). First things, first, Dec. 7), visit arcmusic.org. The Bhangra though: India Music Week, happening from Dance, a free event, happens at 5pm, Oct. Oct. 6-13, will celebrate the genres, facets 6, at South Street Seaport (part of the 26th and evolving forms of Indian music — via vid- annual Diwali Festival).
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September 25 - October 8, 2013
Playing or fixing them, pianos are key in his life
Photo by Bob Krasner
Ray Santiago with the 1901 Knabe grand piano he is lovingly restoring.
B y Bob Krasner Electric pianos? Don’t talk to Ray Santiago about electric pianos. “I hate electric pianos!” he said, emphatically. The 59-year-old has been playing on natural “88’s” since he was 10 years old and nothing has taken him away from his love for the instrument. He was 7 years old when he emigrated from Puerto Rico to the East Village, a time when Avenue A was paved with cobblestones. Music was a big part of his family life. “Every Friday night was party time,” he said. “Put the records on and let’s dance!” By the time he was 13, he had a band that rehearsed and played gigs in a club on E. Ninth St. between Avenues C and D. Although they were in the midst of some rough characters, they managed to stay out of trouble, but were well aware of what was going on around them. “We knew who killed who,” he recalled bluntly. At the age of 16 he was leading a ninepiece band and doing regular gigs at The Bronx Casino, a popular nightspot that is now defunct. How did his parents feel about his becoming a musician? Santiago laughed and said, “Well, they bought me the piano! They came to the shows and danced.” A string of albums on Salsoul Records with the groups Saoco and Saoco Originale kept him busy, but he held onto a day job at Bellevue Hospital, finally quitting in 1983. He met his second wife in 1984 and he credits her with his current state of wellbeing. “I’m alive because of my wife,” he said. Santiago played regular weekend gigs with Papa Colon and Menique and Cheo Rosario (frequently playing with two bands on the same night). Then the singer Henry Fiol, a former member of Saoco, brought him on board for four albums.
In 1988 the East Village piano man finally recorded as a leader, with Julian Llanos on vocals. Three more records under his own name and gigs followed, but Santiago said he got “fed up with doing regular gigs” around 2008. He began to spend his time restoring pianos in his East Village storefront apartment, where he’s lived for more than 30 years. He finds unwanted pianos in need of repair, or someone will lead him to a good one and Santiago will bring it back to its former glory and resell it. For him, there’s nothing like playing on a beautiful old instrument. “Even badass piano players that I know, don’t know what it’s like to play on a real piano,” he said. Case in point is his current project, a 1901 Knabe grand. Iat’s going to be worth a lot of money when Santiago gets done with it, but it’s doubtful that he’ll be letting go of it anytime soon. “To me, it’s priceless,” he said. “The only way I’ll let it go is if I find another one that’s better.” Another project that you can’t really measure in dollars is his current goal — a ground-floor space in need of repair that will house a nonprofit, free, music school for local kids. He’s got the pianos and other instruments waiting and he’s in the process of looking for funding. “I’m doing it to keep the music and the culture going — not for the money,” he explained. In the mean time, he’s still got a regular gig, Wednesday nights at Luca Bar on St. Mark’s Place. “It’s a living and I love doing it,” said Santiago. “I’m still doing the gigs, man. It’s a hustle every day.” To contact Ray Santiago regarding gigs, piano restoration or the school project, e-mail email@example.com or call 646.755.2193.
September 25 - October 8, 2013
Back Fence closing as Bleecker to lose yet another music venue By L i ncoln a n d erson A mainstay of the Bleecker St. live music scene for more than half a century, the Back Fence will close at the end of this month. Ernest Scinto, who has run the Back Fence with his brother Rocky since 1958, reported the news to The Villager on Tuesday. They had till the end of the year on their expiring 12-year lease, but Scinto said they made a deal with the landlord to leave a bit earlier. Scinto’s dad, Ernest J. Scinto, and uncle, Silvio, who previously had run the Pioneer Nut Club — which featured female impersonators — on the Lower East Side, opened the establishment, at the corner of Thompson St., in 1945. Back then, they called it the Back Fence Bar, but with the explosion of the Greenwich Village folk music scene, they dropped the “bar” from the name and changed their focus to live music. However, they always fea-
Downtown Express photos by Tequila Minsky
The Back Fence’s Ernest Scinto said the famed venue’s last night will be Sept. 28.
tured musicians who played covers, as opposed to original tunes. Lately, Scinto said, “Business had slowed down a bit…and with the economy and everything. On weekends business has been good, but during weeknights, it’s been a struggle,” he said. Meanwhile, the landlord wanted a 75 percent rent increase. “The rents all over Bleecker St. are going haywire,” he said. The club’s M.O. was to feature a rotating cast of about 30 different musicians, who play one or two nights per month, again, mostly covers, and mostly acoustic. The club has seen its share of excellent talent over the years, Scinto said, though no one ever struck it big. “Bob Dylan lived down the street and used to come in and listen to the music,” he said. “Anytime anyone would recognize him, he would take off. No one became famous — but we had a lot of quality musicians. It’s a tough business: You not only have to be talented, you have to be lucky.” Richie Havens and Tracy Chapman auditioned to play there, and Mary Travers played the club once, doing some covers and mixing in some original tunes before she went on to help form the legendary group Peter Paul and Mary. The club’s fame is world renowned, and it draws tourists from around the globe. His son, Ernest, Jr. has taken more of a role in running the club in recent years. “I’m 83, time for me to retire,” Ernest, Sr. said. There will be an all-night closing party on Sat., Sept. 28, starting at 8 p.m. and going until 4 a.m. Musicians who have played the club over the years will come back to perform for the final blowout.
Bob Horan played the Back Fence on Tuesday night.
September 25 - October 8, 2013
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