Focus on Hudson Square An East Villager supplement Pages 17 to 21 Volume 2, Number 11 FREE
East and West Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown
October 6 - 12, 2011
Moore asks Cooper to show ‘decency’ to St. Mark’s Books BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Drawing a packed crowd to St. Mark’s Bookshop last Thursday evening thanks to Twitter and a shout-out by Amy Goodman on WBAI, filmmaker Michael Moore called on landlord Cooper Union to cut the financially strapped store a break. Before doing a signing for his new book, “Here Comes Trouble,” he voiced his strong support for the embattled store — and his deep love for bookstores in
Photo by Q. Sakamaki
Ray held up a photo of Bob Arihood and a plaque by “Mosaic Man” on Tuesday night, flanked by Laurie Mittelmann, right, and a devastated friend of Arihood’s.
Beloved blogger Arihood’s loss leaves a hole in heart of Ave. A BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL Late Saturday afternoon, intermittent rain fell on Tompkins Square Park. Lampposts blinked into life, their glow diffused by a dense mist that coated drenched paths. Few would have noticed the scene was reminiscent of Edward Steichen’s
iconic 1904 photograph of the Flatiron Building. There was one photographer who certainly would have recognized the opportunity and likely would have created another classic image. But he wasn’t there. As rain returned and drifted through the leaves and onto benches and chess
tables, sad news about that photographer was rapidly spreading. Bob Arihood, who lived in the East Village for almost 40 years, who documented the vanishing soul of the area first in this newspaper, then in his blog, Neither
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general. The school is obligated to give the store a rent reduction, he said. “We’re appealing to Cooper Union, and we’re appealing politely,” said Moore. “We must appeal to their conscience and the integrity of their history. They exist because of the support of the people of New York.” The famously leftist documentarian laced his speech
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Gas pipeline fears fuel heated debate at Board 2 meeting BY ALBERT AMATEAU West Side residents expressed their distrust and fears at a Tuesday Community Board 2 forum about a proposed 30-inch, high-pressure, natural gas pipeline crossing the Hudson River from New Jersey to Gansevoort St. The Spectra Energy pipeline between Linden, N.J., and the West Village has the support of the Bloomberg administration, which has
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mandated that thousands of residential furnaces using high-polluting No. 4 and No. 6 heating oil be converted in the next few years to relatively clean-burning natural gas. The draft environmental impact statement for the local extension of Spectra’s interstate natural gas pipeline is currently under review by the Federal Energy
Continued on page 13
more information: www.mandellschool.org (212) 222–2925
October 6 - 12, 2011
Support a real plan to bring jobs, green space and healthcare to the Westside.
he Rudin Family Greenwich Village Development plan, anchored by the new North Shore-LIJ 24/7 Comprehensive Care Center, will bring hundreds of union jobs and new revenue to our neighborhood. The plan will help local small businesses struggling to survive during this tough economy. It will create more than 1,200 construction jobs and more than 500 permanent jobs — including 400 healthcare jobs — right here in our community. In addition to much-needed economic development in our neighborhood, the project includes park space and a 564-seat elementary school. Visit our website to ﬁnd out more about the plan to bring new jobs, new revenue and healthcare to the Westside.
“This project will provide a much-needed boost to the small businesses and local economy of the Village.” Tony Juliano, President and Chair, Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce
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Hon. Edward I. Koch and George Gresham, Co-Chairs.
October 6 - 12, 2011
Photo by Milo Hess
Pilots rallying in the Financial District on Sept. 28.
IN THE HEART OF GREENWICH VILLAGE â€” Recommended by Gourmet Magazine, Zagat, Crainâ€™s NY, Playbill & The Villager â€”
NOTEBOOK DIDNâ€™T WING IT, PLANNED IT: Seven hundred pilots, mostly from Continental and United Airlines, rallied on Broad St. next to the New York Stock Exchange last Wednesday on Day 11 of Occupy Wall Street, then concluded with a rally down at Battery Park. Some immediately spun the pilotsâ€™ action as part of Occupy Wall Street. But actually the event had been in the works earlier, and focused on expediting the pilotsâ€™ new contract under the merger of Continental and United, which will form the worldâ€™s largest airline. Somehow not surprising to us, Ian Dutton, a Continental pilot and former Community Board 2 member, played a role in all of this. â€œYeah, I helped organize the pilotsâ€™ rally,â€? he e-mailed us from Stockholm, where he had just flown in. â€œWe had planned it months in advance, so it wasnâ€™t directly related to Occupy Wall St. But I like to say that weâ€™re all cracks in the same foundation â€” or different symptoms of the same disease. ... We worked through all the official channels to get necessary permits and N.Y.P.D. support â€” they were great. I totally support peopleâ€™s right to protest and march without a permit, of course. We just ran our event differently.â€? PARTY FOR POP-UP: Regarding a pilot of another sort, Dutton also gave us an update on the sole pilotproject pop-up cafe that was approved for the C.B. 2 district (between 14th and Canal Sts., east of Bowery/ Fourth Ave.). Neighbors of the pop-up cafe, or â€œSullivan St. porchâ€? as itâ€™s become known, put their money where their mouth is, according to Dutton. A fundraiser was held a couple of weeks ago to help Local Cafe owners Craig and Liz Walker offset the $12,000 it cost them to build and insure the public garden space, located on Sullivan St. between Prince and Houston Sts. The shindig was co-hosted by everyoneâ€™s favorite goth pilot, Dutton, and celebrated restaurateur Florent Morellet, formerly of Florent in the
Meatpacking District. Attendees chipped in $2,200, nearly double the eveningâ€™s $1,000 goal, and were joined for a bit by state Senator Daniel Squadron and other guests from C.B. 2. â€œThe porch has obviously led to increased sales for Local. But for a tiny business like that to offset such a big expenditure would be nearly impossible,â€? Dutton noted. So does this mean that the pop-up cafe idea is doomed? Not if Dutton, Morellet and the pop-upâ€™s proponents have anything to say about it. â€œCraig and Liz brought our block this oasis as a giveback to the community and the fundraiser is our way of showing how important it has become to us,â€? the pilot said. â€œOpponents warned these lovely gardens would sprout like weeds, but the reality is that they are not jackpots for the businesses. They are simply little community improvements that help the business a little and help the block a lot.â€? WHOA-ALUJAH! Reverend Billyâ€™s resurrection for the Bean coffee shop has been postponed, Anna Sawaryn tells us. The effort to come up with a new date is reportedly still brewing â€” and the soul of the Bean remains in limbo. REVOLUTION, FOR REAL: Weâ€™re hearing that the â€œTompkins Square Park regularsâ€? are all down at Liberty Square â€” not because theyâ€™re outraged at Wall St. and corporate greed, but because thereâ€™s tons of free food and police are letting people sleep there in the park overnight without hassling them. But at blogger Bob Arihoodâ€™s memorial on Tuesday night (wow â€” was it hard to just write that in Scoopyâ€™s Notebook), Tompkins dweller L.E.S. Jewels told us that heâ€™s hanging out down at Liberty Square because heâ€™s down with the cause. Why would he be there with so many police all over the place when he could be in good olâ€™ Tompkins where all the cops know him and wouldnâ€™t bother him? he asked. O.K. â€” keep on occupying! ... Also, as he was bumming a couple of cigarettes off people, Jewels told us that heâ€™s still going strong with his sobriety and that itâ€™s helping things come together for him. He said he recently had an interview with Common Ground, which is now working to get him an apartment, so that he can get off the streets. One of Arihoodâ€™s last photos on his Neither More Nor Less blog was a shot of Jewelsâ€™s cart with Flyâ€™s PEOPs cartoon of him in this newspaper poking out the top of it.
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October 6 - 12, 2011
Photos by Q. Sakamaki
Occupation is trying to create a more fair nation With Occupy Wall Street now in its third week, Zuccotti Park a.k.a. Liberty Square continues to be filled by determined, mostly young, protesters. Camping out when not engaged in protest actions, they are calling for an end to corporate and Wall St. greed and for a more egalitarian America and job creation. Organizers, bloggers and â€œculture jammersâ€? have brought their laptops to coordinate and keep on top of events. Some others have brought their dogs.
October 6 - 12, 2011
October 6 - 12, 2011
POLICE BLOTTER Homicide suspect Sixth Precinct Commanding Officer Brandon del Pozo told Community Board 2 on Sept. 22 that the suspect in the April 29 attack on Joseph Sibilla, 83, who died of his injuries on May 10, was in jail on Rikers Island on an unrelated burglary charge. The victim, who used a walker, was in his first-floor apartment on W. 13th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves. when the suspect pushed in and beat and robbed him. The death was classified as the first homicide of the year in the Sixth Precinct.
Meatpacking picker A man who took the wallet of a female patron of a bar at 409 W. 13th St. during the early hours of Sat., Sept. 24, was arrested when a witness spotted him throwing credit cards on the ground. The witness held the suspect for police, who charged Samuel LeBlanc, 18, with larceny. The victim identified the suspect as the man who took her wallet. Police said LeBlanc was also in
possession of a fake Pennsylvania driver’s license and a stolen credit card.
Booked on book theft The man arrested on Sept. 26 for trying to sell books he reportedly stole from public library branches to a bookshop in the East Village, was also charged in an earlier theft of 11 books from the Battery Park City Public Library on North End Ave. Andrew Hansen, 27, with a long record of library book thefts, was arrested on Sept. 21 in connection with the Battery Park City thefts, according to court papers. He is also a suspect in two other library thefts for which he has not yet been charged, according to reports. On Mon., Sept. 26, he tried to sell stolen library books to East Village Books, at 99 St. Mark’s Place, but Donald Lewis, the store owner, had been duped by Hansen previously and held him for police. Hansen, who was arrested in July for trying to steal books from the Tompkins Square library branch, is barred from the library system and from Strand
bookstore on Broadway and E. 12th St. In September 2009 he was arrested in Union Square for ripping labels out of stolen library books and in November 2009 he was arrested for shoplifting in the Barnes & Noble bookstore on Union Square.
Sexual abuse Police arrested Sherhan Cruz, 34, in front of a club at 409 W. 13th St. on Saturday evening Oct. 1 after a woman patron, 30, told a bouncer that Cruz grabbed her buttocks. After the bouncer ejected Cruz from the place the suspect got into a fight and injured a man, 36, who had been in the place, police said.
Brawl on MacDougal Police from the Sixth Precinct Cabaret Unit responded to a call to an apartment at 122 MacDougal St. around 4:43 a.m. Sat., Oct. 1, when they heard screaming and calls for help. Police found Brian McGuiness, 30, of East Broadway semiconscious on the floor with cuts about his head, and Ashely Dennis, 22, of W. 132nd St. standing over him. McGuiness said Dennis hit him over the head with a bottle and slammed the door on his legs, and Dennis said McGuiness was chocking her befoe she hit him. Dennis, identified in press reports as former Governor David Paterson’s stepdaughter, was charged with seconddegree assault. She was released without bail on condition that she stay away from McGuiness, whom she had been dating for about a year. McGuiness, who was taken to Beth Israel hosptal for stitches to his scalp, was charged with choking Dennis.
Burglary spree Police arrested Kavie Collins, 16, for breaking into six Village apartments on Sept. 19, 20 and 21 and stealing iPods, laptop computers and cameras. During the early hours of Mon., Sept. 19, he got into an apartment on Sullivan St. and made off with an iPod, police said. Later the same day he broke into two apartments, one on Sheridan Square and the other on W. 13th St., and stole laptops, cameras and iPods. The following day he is believed to have entered a Bank St. apartment and made off with a laptop and a camera. On Sept. 21, he entered two apartments, one on W. 13th St. and the other on Christopher St., before he was arrested.
Meatmarket bag grab Police arrested Andre Jackson, 46, in Cielo, the club at 18 Little W. 12th St., on Wed., Sept. 28, around 11 p.m. and charged him with stealing a bag with $115 and a cell phone belonging to a woman patron of the club. Jackson was identified in press reports as having been arrested 42 times since 1982.
Village bag grab A guest in an apartment on Grove St. near Waverly Place made off with a handbag at 5:40 a.m. Sat., Oct. 1. Police soon arrested Zachary Clemmons, 32, who was identified by the victim and charged with larceny.
‘Comfortable seat’ W. Third St. assault
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Police arrested Adam Walker, 22, shortly after 3 a.m. Sun., Oct. 2, and charged him with assault during an argument with a security guard outside a bar at 134 W. Third St. Police said the suspect put his hands on an arresting officer’s neck and threw punches to avoid being handcuffed.
A woman patron of Greenhouse, 150 Varick St., told police she left the club very drunk around 4:10 a.m. Tues., Sept. 27, when a stranger told her there was a comfortable place to sit around the corner on Vandam St. Once off Varick St., the man took her cell phone and fled. She discovered later that day that 10 unauthorized calls were made on the phone.
Parking garage robber
Police are looking for an armed robber who fired a shot into the floor of the Edison Parking garage on 10th Ave. at W. 20th St. around 8:30 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 22, and fled with an unknown sum of cash. The same robber is suspected in the Sept. 15 armed robbery at 8:30 p.m. of a Salem Parking garage on West and Jane Sts., and in the Sept. 9 robbery at 1:45 a.m. of a parking garage on Lafayette St. near E. Seventh St. The suspect is described as between 40 and 50 years old, with a mustache, weighing between 200 and 250 pounds, walking with a limp and wearing a dark hat.
A New Jersey woman, 28, told police she was with friends at Toad Hall, the bar at 57 Grand St., shortly after midnight on Sat., Oct. 1, and left her bag on a hook under the bar while she went out for a smoke. When she returned, she found that someone had scattered the contents of her bag on the bar. She gathered everything, put it all back in her bag, but didn’t notice until after she got home that her wallet with ID and credit cards was missing. Several unauthorized charges were made on the cards.
Alber t Amateau
October 6 - 12, 2011
Occupiers having an impact — on residents and merchants BY CYNTHIA MAGNUS It’s been almost three weeks since the Occupy Wall Street protestors first showed up at Zuccotti Park. Last week, some of them attended Community Board 1’s full board meeting in an effort to connect with local residents. “I think we established a dialogue,” said Pat Moore, chairperson of Community Board 1’s Quality of Life Committee, about a subsequent informal meeting held Oct. 3 with some members of the Occupy Wall Street group who are camped in Zuccotti Park. The purpose was to discuss ways in which relations between the Downtown community and the protesters might be eased. At the C.B.1 full board meeting on Tues., Sept. 27, Financial District Committee Chairperson Ro Sheffe proposed a resolution that the board urge the Mayor’s Office to address the disruptions to area residents and local businesses caused by the occupation. The resolution suggested that Zuccotti Park owner Brookfield Properties take measures to reopen space in the park for use by local residents and office workers, for the Police Department to enforce existing noise control laws, and for the Health Department to designate the Financial District as a noise sensitive zone. The issue was tabled until the committee’s public meeting on Oct. 5, to give members time for further discussion. An Occupy Wall Street community relations committee member, Justin Wedes, was among those invited to attend the Oct. 3 meeting. Sheffe said he raised four main issues related to the occupation: noise disruption, pedestrian and vehicular disruption, sanitation, and dual use for the occupiers and local park users. Sheffe said it was important for the protesters to understand the background of the community, which has grown by 300 percent in 10 years. “They are surrounded by people who are raising families in this neighborhood, not the barons of Wall St.,” said Sheffe. The C.B.1 committee requested that the protesters remove the drummers that currently play in Zuccotti. One protester suggested that the drummers might move to the southernmost area of Battery Park. At the occupiers’ “general assembly” session held later on Oct. 3 they voted to pass Wedes’s proposal to move up “quiet hours” — currently starting at 11 p.m. — to 10 p.m. They also voted to ask C.B. 1 to support their application to the police for a sound permit to allow the use of a megaphone in the park. At the Sept. 29 First Precinct Community Council meeting it was explained to the several protesters in attendance that the police cannot issue a sound permit without permission from the property’s owner. One occupier named Katie complained about the way earlier arrests were handled, but noted that police have been “mostly helpful.” Another protester said Occupy
Wall Street is a decentralized organization and asked about the best way to have a discourse with the police. Inspector Edward Winski said, “My community affairs guys have gone into the crowd since day one, and can’t find anyone to speak to. When there’s a leadership structure, we sit down and work it out.” Wedes said that it’s “in everyone’s interest” for the group to be approved for the sound permit, since the nightly general assembly meetings in the park would go faster, and that “a low megaphone would actually be quieter than the “people’s mic” — a system in which a speaker’s statement is repeated loudly by the crowd so that everyone can hear. Ted, a protester, stated his personal opinion when asked if the need for a megaphone might be eliminated if the drummers stopped playing during general assembly. Currently, participants must shout over the drums. “It doesn’t make sense for people to be disruptive during G.A.,” he said. “It also means that the people at G.A. are missing the drum circle.” But Wedes said he doesn’t think it’s “plausible” to ask the drum circle to remove themselves from Zuccotti. “We want them with us,” he said. “Maybe if we all move to Battery Park — we are getting bigger.” Liberty St. residents Tony and Carla said they and their children have lost all access to the park, which they say has been defaced and filled with garbage. “The city planners are making living here impossible,” said Carla. “After Sept. 11 they said, ‘Come live down here.’ They have to provide residents some better level of protection and recognition.” One produce vendor at the Tuesday greenmarket at Zuccotti Park said his business is down about 10 percent since the occupation. Aly, whose cart on Cedar St. sells only breakfast items, said his business has been off 40 percent since the occupation. The manager at a local fast-food restaurant told the campers last week that they were unwelcome to occupy tables and use the toilets. He said they use the electrical outlets for their devices — something that was always prohibited — and that the restrooms were defaced with stickers and graffiti. “Lots of tourists come to visit the [9/11] Memorial and want to relax and have lunch,” he said. Councilmember Margaret Chin said, “My office is handling quality of life issues as they arise, and I urge all residents who are affected by the protests to contact my office.” Lucille, who works in the area, said she hears the occupiers’ chants from her office, but it’s not disruptive. “I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “I hope something really good comes out of it.”
October 6 - 12, 2011
Blogger Arihood’s loss leaves a big hole on Avenue A Continued from page 1 More Nor Less, and always in unparalleled photography, had been found dead in his home the night before. He was 65. All that week, Bob’s closest friend, Michael Falsetta, worried that Bob wasn’t answering calls. As it became obvious something was wrong, Mike rushed to the E. Fourth St. apartment. He and Bob’s longtime neighbor, Jimmy Dunn, banged on the door. They called 911. After 45 minutes they called the Ninth Precinct. Eventually, they made their way inside, where they found Bob lying in bed, one leg dangling over the side, one arm reaching up. He appeared to have been dead for several days. Bob was a presence in the park and especially across Avenue A in front of Ray’s Candy Store, his Leica M9 always at hand. Anyone who spoke with Bob would feel they had found a kindred spirit. His depth and breadth of knowledge of history, science and the human condition informed countless conversations. If you turned a corner and saw Bob, you knew the next five minutes, or five hours, would likely be the most interesting part of your day. Bob was born in Indiana in 1946. “Bob was a very independent person,” his younger brother, Leslie, said by phone on Tuesday from his home in Lafayette, Indiana. “He was ready to talk to anybody. At our mother’s funeral, it was constant conversations
Photo by Jefferson Siegel
Bob Arihood in a familiar pose, shooting Guillermo, of whom he also recently posted a video on his blog.
with people. “He was so good at everything, he gave me an inferiority complex.” As a high school freshman, Bob started playing football as a pass receiver. “He pulled a tractor around to build up his leg strength,” Leslie recalled. Bob would go on to study engineering at Purdue University, graduating in 1968. “When he went to Purdue, he thought they
weren’t doing things right. Because of his independence, he couldn’t sign up for anything,” Leslie said. “There was a period when he was fascinated by guns. Then he would build things. He started off in the area of science and never really left it.” Bob would move to Chicago for a short time but found that big city too confining. “New York City has so many different
things going on, so many different kinds of people, Bob could just dive into things,” Leslie explained. Bob arrived in the East Village in the early 1970s and in 1976 moved into the E. Fourth St. apartment that would be his home for the next 35 years. Early on Bob performed consulting engineering work while dabbling in photography. By the early 1990s he bought his first Leica M6, a high-end rangefinder camera with a built-in light meter. The die had been cast. Bob began wandering the slowly evolving streets of the East Village, often at night. Burned-out building shells and empty lots were giving way to renovations and community gardens. Gentrification was about to rear its head. In 1988, on his way home from a date, Bob found himself in the center of the Tompkins Square Park riot. The park, which had become a homeless encampment, was ordered cleared after a 1 a.m. curfew was imposed. Bob was not participating but nevertheless was beaten mercilessly by police. “I squealed like a stuck pig,” Bob later recalled of the severity of his beating. Subsequently, more than 100 complaints of police brutality would be lodged. The events of that night may have shifted his focus toward the less fortunate. Bob started concentrating on the people and businesses that gave the East Village its soul. He docu-
Continued on page 10
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October 6 - 12, 2011
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October 6 - 12, 2011
Photos like Weegee — and a friend to the downtrodden Continued from page 8 mented injustices. Around 1999 Bob dipped a toe into the swirling waters of photojournalism as a photographer for The Villager. Over seven years as contributor to this newspaper, Bob’s photos won several awards, including for his protest coverage of the 2004 Republican National Convention. In 2006, Bob struck out into the rapidly growing blogosphere with what would become an award-winning blog, Neither More Nor Less. As writer, photographer and editor, Bob was able to set his own agendas and deadlines. His reporting became must reading for locals, as well as a worldwide audience fascinated by the cauldron of stories served daily. Early coverage followed the plight of Jim Power, the “Mosaic Man.” Power, an artist, had created a virtual mosaic trail of artwork on the streets. Bob followed Power’s work and his subsequent housing troubles. Bob was instrumental in helping Power, a Vietnam veteran, find a home in community-assisted housing. “Bob befriended me years ago. He helped me out tremendously and he never stopped,” Power recalled, adding he plans to create a mosaic in Bob’s memory on the lamppost on Seventh St. and Avenue A. Another frequent subject of the blog was L.E.S. Jewels, known for dropping his pants while blocking traffic and reaching inside the
Photo by Jefferson Siegel
Bob Arihood in Union Square covering a Critical Mass bicycle ride in July 2005.
window of a local bar and taking pitchers of alcohol from the crowds of drinkers. Some of Bob’s most popular posts involved Jewels’ wedding to local artist Amy Sanchez in 2007. At a memorial gathering Tuesday night, Jewels looked somber. “Bob had the biggest heart of anybody in the neighborhood,” Jewels said, adding that he had now been sober for 70 days. “He always had a dollar if I needed a drink or a coffee. Bob recorded parts of my life that I couldn’t
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remember.” Neither More Nor Less won the Village Voice “Best Personal Blog” award last year. If you wanted to find Bob, you headed to Ray’s on Avenue A where he could be found almost any time of day or night. As if he was a good-natured gravitational field, people found themselves drawn to Bob for his wit, wisdom, compassion and, most of all, his conversation. Bob never refused to give a handout when asked for change, often pulling a dollar from his jeans pocket. If you were having a private conversation with him and someone walked by, they could join in without hesitation. Bob rarely displayed anger, but when he did, it was ignited by those who denied or were ignorant of facts and science. He often derided the 9/11 conspiracy theorists who would claim the impossibility of steel melting or buildings collapsing. Bob would recite the exact temperature steel melts at (2,500 degrees Fahrenheit) and launch into an informed discourse about structural integrity, load-bearing weights and modern building methods. One night when asked about global-warming theories, Bob barked, “Al Gore is a clown!” but then calmly listed and disproved, point by point, many of the theories Gore put forth in his book and film, “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Several months ago, organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement began a series of Saturday-night planning meetings by the Hare Krishna tree in Tompkins Square Park. At their first meeting, Bob started taking photos, whereupon several people told him he had to stop. Bob gave them a brief lecture on First Amendment protections and the freedom afforded those in public spaces. He declined to educate them on the wisdom of holding sensitive meetings in the middle of a public park. At another meeting last month, Bob stood watching the same crowd with Rob Hollander, founder of Save the Lower East Side. “Bob was the most interesting conversationalist in the Lower East Side, knowledgeable on so many fronts, whether the history of the Napoleonic occupation of Egypt or the technological novelties of the Cooper Square construction,” Hollander said. “He maintained an interest in several sciences well beyond engineering. An extraordinarily compassionate man toward ordinary folk, he reviled the corporate moneymakers and protected the people around him that he documented. He was so much more than just a great photographer.” Bob’s most recent cause, and success, was to save one of the area’s longest-running and favorite haunts, Ray’s. Bob remembered the 1970s when Ray’s was a demilitarized zone of sorts. Cops and miscreants would meet for a drink or a smoke in this neutral space before returning to the mean streets. A small storefront best known for egg creams, Belgian fries and the latest Polish newspapers, Ray was now deeply in debt and on the brink of closing. Once Bob began highlighting Ray’s plight on the blog, mainstream media soon followed and a David vs. Goliath storyline was born. Fundraisers were held, volunteers came to clean the old floors and a delivery service was started to increase sales. “I’m very upset about Bob,” Ray said after hearing the news on Saturday night. “I have tears coming down every minute. It’s a big loss. Without Bob, something’s missing.” Ray has placed Power’s mosaic plaque bearing Bob’s name in his front window.
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October 6 - 12, 2011
Burned-out Soho tenants worry about toxins, renovations, rent BY ALINE REYNOLDS Gregory Russo says his life has been on a downward spiral since a fire engulfed his apartment building at 68 Thompson St. on Aug. 5 The 48-year-old Soho resident was displaced from his home, as were all the building’s residents, and he has been living at a friend’s place in the Bronx away from his wife and 3-year-old daughter. The family’s computer, clothes and other belongings were all destroyed in the fire. Two weeks later, Russo lost his parttime job, forcing him to live on a small monthly disability stipend. Losing the apartment he’s lived in for his whole life, even temporarily, “is like losing a family member to me,” Russo said. “I put my whole life into that apartment — so much money and effort, ’cause I thought I’d always be there.” He is one of a dozen of the building’s rent-regulated or rent-controlled tenants who are petitioning their landlord, Joseph Nabavi of Direct Management Corp., to expedite repairs and not alter the basic layout of the tenants’ apartments. The tenants filed a housing part action in Civil Court on Thurs., Sept. 29, arguing their right to “have their apartments returned to them in the same configuration and size, and with the same fixtures, appliances and amenities as were afforded to them before the fire.” Their attorney, Ronald Languedoc, said it could be one to two years before the building’s city-issued vacate order is lifted and the tenants can move back in. “As a practical matter, everyone in a situation like this understands repairs are not going to be done in 24 hours,” said Languedoc. The owners, he explained, have to file insurance claims and get the appropriate permits to complete the work. “We’d say, Fine,” Languedoc said, “but show us your timetable.” Landlord Nabavi did not return repeated calls for comment. According to a spokesperson from the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the building currently has 33 violations classified under category “C,” or “immediately hazardous,” at least one-third of which are related to the Aug. 5 fire. The petition’s purpose is to underscore the tenants’ urgent wish to move back into their homes at the earliest possible date, said Kathie Cammann, president of the building’s newly formed tenants association. “This is really nothing but to get the courts on our side to do what the owner should be doing anyway, which is to move on to refurbishing the building,” said Cammann. “We know what he’s capable of doing, which is anything. If he’s not able to do that, maybe then we have a lawsuit on our hands.”
Although Direct Management lacks Buildings Department permits to make any substantive changes to the building’s interior, residents claim to have witnessed demolition work as they were packing up their belongings before moving out last month.
‘We know what Nabavi’s capable of doing, which is anything.’ Kathie Cammann
One resident, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation by the landlord, alleges he saw walls being taken down two to three weeks after the fire. He and other residents are worried about their exposure to asbestos and other toxins during that time. “It was difficult to breathe,” he recalled. He has a doctor’s visit scheduled to check on a persistent cough he developed last month. In an Aug. 23 e-mail to Councilmember Margaret Chin’s Office, Harriet Cloud, another 68 Thompson St. resident, said tenants were wearing handkerchiefs and masks during the evacuation period. “Some were wearing nothing,” Cloud wrote, “and we had no idea what in the world we were breathing during all of these days of this removal process.” According to Cloud, the building has been stripped down to its basic structure. “It is understandable that it is a priority to verify the structural soundness of the building, A.S.A.P., but they need to do this in a legal manner following the standard procedures that protect the health and welfare of the public,” she wrote in the e-mail. Meanwhile, some of the displaced tenants are still waiting to be reimbursed for their August rent. After a discussion with Direct Management, Kelly Magee, Chin’s communications director, assured the tenants they would be remunerated by the second week of October — once the landlord has been authorized by his insurance company to disburse the funds. Some tenants, however, contend they shouldn’t have to wait that long. The anonymous tenant, who is owed about $2,000 in reimbursement, said he had to borrow money from a friend to pay his September rent for a small Upper West Side apartment he’s temporarily living in. “I don’t think I’m being treated fairly,” the tenant said. “I always pay my rent on time, and I’m not getting the response I should.”
HIV “Exploding” Among Very Young Gay Men By Emma DeVito In con fronting the A IDS epidemic, we’ve often been con founded when it comes to effective prevention tech niques and activ ities, especially as the disease worked its way into populations outside the mainstream. T his has included the homeless, I V dr ug users and sex workers, among others, as well as poor, single black women who are particularly at r isk for H I V in fection. W hile men who have sex w ith men have been at the core of the epidemic since the beg in ning, communit y case workers at VillageC are, one of New York Cit y’s oldest A IDS care prov iders, say we’re facing an explosion in H I V in fection among younger gay males. T hese ver y young gay men are told by their families, fr iends, relig ious leaders and others that their sexualit y is a mistake or an abomination. T hey feel isolated and rejected, and are often depressed. A mong them, men of color are doubly traumatized as sexual and eth nic minor ities – often economically shortchanged and rejected by “black societ y,” where churches vehemently condemn homosexualit y. Howard Haughton, a VillageC are case management prog ram super v isor who is closely involved in reaching out to these young men, descr ibes them this way: “Many of our g uys get the message that they are not worth sav ing. In that context, wear ing a condom may not factor in at all.” W hat VillageC are communit y H I V case workers are seeing in New York was con f ir med nationally by the C enters of Disease C ontrol’s latest H I V incidence report, which showed a 21 percent increase in in fections among those aged 13 to 29. T his was dr iven by a 34 percent increase among young men, including a 48 percent increase among young black / A fr ican A mer ican men who have sex w ith men (M SM). T he most telling f inding in the latest report, though, was this one : “CDC estimates [that] M SM represent approx imately 2 percent of the U. S. population, but accounted for more than 50 percent of all new H I V in fections an nually from 20 0 6 to 20 09.” Many of these young men were shaped by negative, often traumatic, experiences as they grew up. A mong VillageCare’s caseload, 30 percent report childhood sexual trauma, and 50 percent report a history of sexual and /or physical abuse. T hey also tell of being bullied or attacked in school, living in a family steeped in culture that disapproves of homosexuality, and being in constant fear of being disow ned for being gay. A ll of this results in a marg inalized communit y of young men who have sex w ith men, operating on the fr inges, inv isible to the rest of societ y — particularly the mass media. T hese are young men searching for love in the dark w ithout a map. T hey lack role models and are unable to discer n appropr iate sexual boundar ies. At worst, they can be promiscuous, even careless ; at best, they have trouble negotiating safer sex. Reaching out to them effectively is diff icult, because secrecy and silence abound. It means meeting them on their ow n tur f – “where they’re at,” Haughton says, getting out on the street, f inding them and con necting w ithout scar ing them off. “ W hen these men are engaged w ith car ing people, their abilit y to change their circumstances and behav ior is extraordinar y,” he says. (Ms. DeVito is president and chie f executive of f icer of not-for-prof it Village Care, which ser ves some 12,0 0 0 persons annually in communit ybased and residential care prog rams for older adults and those living with HI V/A IDS .)
October 6 - 12, 2011
Michael Moore asks Cooper Union to show some ‘decency’ he said, he’s been on a mainly vegetarian diet since mid-July. Afterward, Goldin, a veteran of countless community battles, expressed confidence that the effort to save St. Mark’s Bookshop would be successful.
Continued from page 1 with criticisms of Wall St. greed and the subprime mortgage scam that have plunged the country into a crushing recession. “We are asking for a simple quid pro quo,” he said. “It’s not asking for a free lunch — just a rent reduction, simple decency. Everyone has been asked to sacrifice. We’re just asking that they share the sacrifice,” he said of Cooper Union. A petition effort seeking to cut the store’s rent from $20,000 to $15,000 a month has already garnered more than 40,000 signatures, with the goal of reaching 50,000 well within reach, according to Joyce Ravitz and Frances Goldin. Both members of the Cooper Square Committee, the idea for the petition was Goldin’s and it was Ravitz’s idea to put it out online under MoveOn.org. Moore admitted his new book’s $27 price might be too steep for some families in the current economy. But he urged people to share the book with others. He added that he also supports music sharing, fondly recalling how, during his youth, kids used to give friends cassette tapes of The Clash, before the era of digital music. While he’s not opposed to buying books online, which he acknowledged is cheaper, he said nothing matches the bookstore experience, for those who can afford it. And real books blow away e-readers, as far as he’s concerned.
‘I can assure you we’re going to win by the end of October.’ Frances Goldin
Photo by Roberto Mercado
With Michael Moore, center, at St. Mark’s Bookshop last week, from left, store coowner Bob Contant, Frances Goldin, co-owner Terry McCoy and Joyce Ravitz.
“Let’s not forget the pleasures of reading and coming into bookstores,” Moore said. “Turning the page!” chimed in Goldin, who heads a literary agency. “The piece of paper — smelling it,” Moore said with relish, adding, “If a person learns to love books, you have one less person ignorant. Bookstores, libraries — they are on the
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front lines of fighting stupidity.” Yet, sadly, he noted, 40 million Americans are functionally illiterate. “The system really doesn’t want them to read — just enough to work behind the cashier at McDonald’s.” Just as bookstores are a valued social experience, Moore said, it’s better for people to watch movies in a theater with 200 others in the dark, than by themselves at home on a laptop. He said he wants 200 people to march out of a showing of his film united and fired up to change society. Watching a movie at home doesn’t produce the same effect — people don’t even get off the couch. His voice getting a bit emotional, the “Sicko” and “Bowling for Columbine” director said, “Nothing has killed the movies. Nothing is going to kill the movies, because we are, as human beings, all social animals. The bookstores are not going to die — because, first of all, people want to get out of the house.” Moore had given an interview the night before at what he called Liberty Plaza and planned to head back down there after his bookstore appearance. He pledged to donate 100 percent of his royalties from the St. Mark’s signing to the Occupy Wall Street protest. “They’re doing a great thing down there,” he said. “It’s the worst nightmare for the wealthy — the hippies and the autoworkers coming together. “The wealthiest 400 Americans now have more combined wealth than 150 million Americans,” he noted. “That is not called democracy — democracy involves some form of equality and egalitarianism.” People called out from the crowd: “Move your money to a community bank!” and “Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union!” Moore agreed those were good ideas. A woman from the crowd asked if the filmmaker, both for his own good and that of the planet, would adopt a vegan diet. In fact,
“I can assure you we’re going to win by the end of October,” she said. “I’ve been in lots and lots of campaigns. I’m 87 years old, I started when I was 18 — and I can tell when we’re going to win.” Not one to ever give up a fight, Goldin said, “It took 50 years to defeat Robert Moses and to win our own plan for Cooper Square.” The Cooper Square Committee battled Moses’ urban renewal plan — centered around Houston St., the Bowery and Second Ave. — and ultimately saved many buildings from demolition, which today are preserved as affordable housing. The community-based plan’s final pieces included the new residential buildings by AvalonBay on either side of Houston St., including the Whole Foods Market and YMCA/community center. Bob Contant, a co-owner of St. Mark’s Bookshop, said without the efforts of Goldin and Ravitz, the store would be facing the same situation it was in last year, when Cooper Union gave them four months to move out because the school was convinced it could find a tenant that could pay higher rent. Although, technically, a Kamenstein Holding Company owns the land back from when it was occupied by Kamenstein’s Hardware store, Contant said that’s a red herring. “We have a lease,” he said. “It says, ‘Landlord: Cooper Union...Tenant: St. Mark’s Bookshop.’ ” Back in 1991, to try to assuage the community’s anger over the school’s having built a new high-rise dorm on Third Ave., Cooper Union invited the store into the building’s ground-floor corner commercial space. “Twenty years ago, they offered us a rent that was 20 percent less than what we were paying on St. Mark’s Place,” he said. Asked what had changed since then, Contant said, “Different administration.” The ’91 deal had been done under former Cooper President Jay Iselin and Vice President Bob Hawkes, who retired a few years ago. Under that prior administration, Contant recalled, the bookstore had even been given a rent reduction for three months when the small triangular park was built outside in the intersection, as well as for a period when the building was covered with a scaffold.
October 6 - 12, 2011
Gas pipeline fears fuel a heated debate at Board 2 Continued from page 1 Regulatory Commission. Jason Mansfield, chairperson of the C.B. 2 Environmental, Public Health and Safety Committee, said the forum was intended to help draft the board’s response to the FERC review before the Oct. 31 deadline for public comment. The federal agency is holding a meeting in Greenwich Village at P.S. 41, W. 11th St. at Sixth Ave., at 7 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 20, to take public testimony. “This is an important meeting since your comments will be entered into the record and FERC can hear from you firsthand,” Mansfield said at opening of the Tuesday forum. The Oct. 4 pipeline forum was the committee’s third in two years. Later this week the public will be able to file comments on the project directly with FERC online through the C.B. 2 Web site at www. CB2manhattan.org. Representatives of Spectra Energy, Con Edison and the city Department of Environmental Protection spoke at length about the need for the pipeline and the safety measures to be employed in its construction and operation. But opponents insisted they were not convinced that a new natural gas source was really needed, much less a large, high-pressure line with potential safety risks.
Regarding safety, one member of the audience demanded, “How can we trust you?” citing the Sept. 9, 2010, explosion and fire from Pacific Gas & Electric’s natural gas line
One speaker raised the specter of cyber sabotage of the pipeline. that destroyed 53 homes, damaged 120 other buildings and killed one person in San Bruno, California, near San Francisco. Spectra said the proposed pipeline would have specially made and inspected high-strength flexible pipe with coating inside and out, buried 3 feet or more with special fill. In operation, technicians monitoring operations via robotics could remotely shut down the line. But C.B. 2 members noted that the board last year suggested that automatic shutoff valves might be more reliable than remote control shutoff. However, Spectra representatives at the Tuesday forum said technology for remote shutoff was better than automatic shutoff technology. “A lightning strike could trigger an automatic shutoff,” said Ed Gonzales, Spectra project manager.
The Spectra pipeline under review would cross the southwest corner of Gansevoort Peninsula, cross the West Side Highway at Gansevoort St. and terminate on the west side of the proposed Whitney Museum property. Con Edison would build its own highpressure, 30-inch, natural gas line from the Gansevoort terminus of the Spectra pipeline along 10th Ave. for 1,500 feet to a Con Edison connection at 15th St. at 10th Ave. But the Con Edison connector line is not part of the FERC environmental review. Cheryl Payne, the engineer in charge of Con Edison’s gas transmission, said the connector line has not been designed yet. But she said the materials and construction method would conform to the same high standards of the Spectra pipeline. The Con Edison connector line would also use a remote shutoff system. Like the Spectra representative, Payne said an automatic shutoff system could be triggered by an event like lightning and needlessly leave large areas of the city without service. C.B. 2’s Mansfield said later that the environmental review of the Spectra project should include Con Edison’s connector line. “I don’t think they really made the case that the pipeline is needed,” he added. “It just wasn’t justified in view of its potential for catastrophic damage.” Many of the project’s opponents at the Tuesday meeting had in mind the impending rules on natural gas production by high-
volume hydrofracture drilling in New York State’s Southern Tier. Spectra representatives said the company’s business was only natural gas transportation, not production. Indeed, the draft environmental impact statement indicates that the pipeline would be able to bring natural gas from the Marcellus Shale regions of southern New York and northern Pennsylvania into the Manhattan. Catherine Skopic, an environmental advocate, told the Oct. 4 forum that it was time for investment and exploration of renewable resources like solar voltaic cells and wind energy instead off fossil fuel. Opponents were also skeptical about the common assumption that natural gas is the cleanest of fossil fuels, if the environmental damage of hydrofracture drilling is included in the assumption. Speaking to the fear of terrorism, Frank Eady, a former member of Community Board 4, raised the specter of Stuxnet, a computer program that he said was used to sabotage and set back Iran’s nuclear weapons program. “That program is out there,” he warned. Spectra representatives acknowledged that they didn’t know about Stuxnet, but Gonzales said the company monitored potential cyberspace danger. Mav Moorhead, a Lower Manhattan resident angrily demanded, “Who will be accountable when the neighborhood blows up?” she said, adding, “We don’t have a hospital,” referring to the closing of St. Vincent’s.
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October 6 - 12, 2011
At C.B. 3, some concern over mixing ball and alcohol BY LESLEY SUSSMAN It was a tough night for East Village barflies on Tues., Sept. 27, as Community Board 3 — at a meeting nearly cancelled due to overcrowding — voted nearly unanimously to deny Heathers its liquor license renewal application because of noise complaints from neighbors. The vote is only advisory and the State Liquor Authority will review the application at a later date to make a final decision. On the other hand, the full board reluctantly approved an application by Ark Restaurants Corporation to operate a cafe restaurant serving food and alcohol in the 55,000-square-foot Basketball City sports facility slated for construction at Pier 36 at 299 South St. Board members approved the application with various stipulations, including provisions that the corporation work with the Lower East Side Hiring Network to ensure that local residents get first shot at jobs there, and that the complex’s operators meet with residents in nearby Gouverneur Gardens, a middle-income co-op development, to review their plans. While bars, booze and basketball seemed to dominate most of the meeting, it was the overcrowded makeshift meeting room at the Ukrainian Museum that generated the most grumbling from board members and the nearly 200 residents who packed the 6:30 p.m. meeting. Many people couldn’t get seats and found themselves mulling around the museum’s lobby or standing on the staircase in order to listen to the proceedings. The museum was selected as a meeting location because C.B. 3 can no longer afford to pay the fee for security services requested by P.S. 20, 166 Essex St., where the board usually holds its meetings. “The school won’t waive the security fee, which is expensive,” Susan Stetzer, C.B. 3 district manager, told the board. “It’s really hard for us to find spaces to meet.” In an earlier memo on the C.B. 3 Web site, Stetzer said that the board would be meeting at new locations every month “as the Department of Education will no longer allow C.B.s to use schools free or allow the Community Education Council to sponsor meetings.” Dominick Pisciotta, C.B. 3 chairperson, said he, too, was unhappy about the crowded conditions in the museum’s art gallery where chairs were set up for the meeting. “We can only take what we can get,” he said. “I wish the city would recognize that the community boards are integral to the community and help us do our job — especially the Board of Education. They should understand we’re working for the community and that we shouldn’t be charged for that.”
David McWater, former C.B. 3 chairperson, who found himself having to stand through much of the meeting, called the situation “ridiculous.” He angrily told Pisciotta that the meeting should be cancelled because various zoning codes were being violated. “If the Fire Department walks in right now they’re going to clear the building,” McWater said. “Why didn’t we look at the room before it was booked?”
‘To have a liquor license in a facility where boys are playing frightens me. Will parents be sitting there getting drunk?’ Rabbi Y.S. Ginzberg
The overflow meeting was packed by supporters and opponents of Basketball City and members of the E. 13th St. Residents Association, who lined up to speak out about noisy conditions at Heathers, at 506 W. 13th St., and to accuse the popular watering hole of repeatedly violating numerous stipulations of its September 2009 liquor license renewal. Several employees of the bar stood up to defend the establishment, describing it as a “responsible and respectful” member of the community. One employee told board members that owner Heather Millstone had even gone as far as to hire additional staff solely to direct late-night patrons who step outside to smoke to move off the residential block and go to the corner of Avenue A. “She has made continuous efforts to address the noise concerns,” said Diane Stewart after the meeting. “Yet people and the community board don’t want to give her the right to operate a bar.” While dozens of youngsters showed up at the meeting carrying placards in support of Basketball City, several opponents of the sports facility who spoke said that court fees that would be charged there were unaffordable to low-income youth in the surrounding housing projects. Frank Alameda, founder of East Side Sports NYC, who has been running free basketball programs for low-income youngsters for the past 15 years, said fees to play in a league would range as high as $250 per child. He further added that nearby schools and local nonprofit organizations had not even been contacted by Basketball City operator Bruce Radler.
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“Why should C.B. 3 support a liquor license for a business that doesn’t support the community?” he said. It wasn’t Heathers but the Ark Restaurants Corporation’s liquor license application that drew the most heated responses of the evening from board members. Before C.B. 3 reluctantly voted its approval of the license application, several members spoke out sharply against granting the sports facility such a license. C.B. 3 Secretary Rickie Leung, who is also a member of the nearby Cherry St. Tenants Association, said, “We’d rather have a juice bar here, not a liquor bar.” He noted that the facility was located close to F.D.R. Drive and said he worried that parents waiting for their kids to finish playing basketball would have one too many and drive home while intoxicated. Board member Rabbi Y.S. Ginzberg also questioned the wisdom of serving alcohol at a facility where youth will be present. “Ark is a well-known corporation, but to have a liquor license in a facility where boys are playing frightens me,” he said. “Will parents be sitting there getting drunk?” Speaking out in support of the application was McWater, who told the board that to vote against the measure was “meaningless.” “This is a business that’s been around 50 years and runs hundreds of stores,” he said. “The S.L.A. is going to approve their license.
Let’s think about our own credibility. Voting no on this would be ridiculous.” Also in favor of the application was Pisciotta, who described the Ark Basketball City Corporation as a “respectful entity.” In other matters, the full board postponed its vote on changing side-street parking regulations on Forsyth St. between Canal and Division Sts. until there is a full committee meeting on the issue. Chinese vendors who operate on the sidewalk adjacent to the Manhattan Bridge retaining wall have been loading and unloading goods at night, preventing the Department of Sanitation from doing street cleaning. A spokeswoman from nearby St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 27 Forsyth St., said, “We demand to be part of any discussion on new parking regulations. Right now we feel that we’ve been left out of the loop.” The board also heard from Bob Contant, co-owner of St. Mark’s Bookshop, who said he was at the meeting “seeking support from the community” to help keep his bookstore open. C.B. 3 has already sent a letter to The Cooper Union, which is the landlord of the property, urging the school to help the store remain “economically viable at its present location.” Contant said he is hoping that Cooper Union will reduce the store’s rent by $5,000 a month, to $15,000.
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October 6 - 12, 2011
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BY ALBERT AMATEAU The Reverend Mark E. Erson was installed as the new pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher St. at the 6 p.m. weekly Jazz Mass on Sun., Oct. 2. He was ordained in 2009 as a minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has more than 25 years experience as a teacher, theater artist and lay minister. He is also serving as chairperson of the Metro New York Synod’s Commission for Gay and Lesbian People. A graduate of General Theological Seminary in Chelsea, he was a lay leader, serving as president, worship leader and drama director, in several congregations. For the past three years he served as intern and then pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Queens Village. “This is a rich and crucial time to be doing a ministry in this context as the national church embraces the full welcome of all people, including L.G.B.T.Q. people, that previously was practiced by individual congregations,” he said last week. Reverend Erson said he was particularly excited to be in this neighborhood in the wake of New York State’s new marriage equality law. He replaces the former pastor, Reverend Linden Harris, who is concentrating on his
The Reverend Mark E. Erson.
Garden of Forgiveness project. St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church has been on Christopher St. between W. Fourth and Bleecker Sts. since 1855. The church will host a series of events to mark National Coming Out Day on Tues., Oct. 11, with Bishop Robert Rimbo of the Metro New York Synod of the E.L.C.A. joining a Mass for Reconciliation and Healing at 7 p.m.
Director presents his Palin pic BY LINCOLN ANDERSON English film director Nick Broomfield spoke at the Angelika theater on West Houston St. Saturday after the 8 p.m. screening of his new film, “Sarah Palin: You Betcha!” In the film, Broomfield goes to Wasilla, Alaska, Palin’s hometown, where she was mayor, and tries to interview the former G.O.P. vice presidential candidate, as well as her friends and foes. However, after initially telling him, “You betcha!” to his interview request, Palin, and husband Todd subsequently snub Broomfield. Word gets around town that he’s allegedly doing a “hit piece” on them. Broomfield does manage to interview Palin’s father, Chuck, and even buys some moose antlers from him. Also causing people to keep silent, the Assembly of God, of which Palin was a member, is a powerful force in Wasilla, and speaking against her would be seen as betraying the church. But he does find one former high school classmate who will talk — in Alexandria, Egypt, where she’s married to an Egyptian doctor. The woman says Palin was the “teacher’s pet” and queen bee of the girls in her class. Another is a pastor who says Palin, if elected, would be a serious threat to start a nuclear war. He said he fears her having “her finger on the button.” “In a way, it’s a biography of someone who grew up in a small, evangelical community,” Broomfield said. “I think she really does believe that God called on her to go into politics. It’s
Photo by Lincoln Anderson
Nick Broomfield at the Angelika.
not an act.” Asked why the Republicans picked Palin as John McCain’s running mate, Broomfield said, “They had 48 hours. They knew they were 12 points down — Lieberman had been rejected. I think they expected her to have the kind of knowledge a governor would have — they were deeply shocked.” When he began working on the film a year ago, Palin was considered the frontrunner for the G.O.P. presidential nomination. As for her future now, he said, “I think she really needs the limelight — and she’ll do something where she gets that attention, whether it’s on Fox or something else.”
October 6 - 12, 2011
Focus on Hudson Square A special East Villager supplement • Pages 17 to 21
Photo by John Bayles
The Children’s Museum of the Arts held the grand opening of its new home at 103 Charlton St. last Saturday.
The Children’s Museum of the Arts finds a new home BY JOHN BAYLES To the random pedestrian walking by, the block of Charlton St. between Hudson and Greenwich Sts. must have looked like a circus last Sat., Oct. 1. There were tents and balloons, kids with painted faces, a police barricade and a line that stretched almost the length of the block. It wasn’t Barnum & Bailey, however; it was the grand opening of the Children’s Museum of the Arts in its new Hudson Square home. David Kaplan, C.M.A.’s executive director, simply said, “Wow. This has been a long time coming.” Kaplan was making his rounds early Saturday morning checking in on the children and making sure they were enjoying the organization’s new space and all it offers. From the floor of the building’s lobby he pointed to a huge glass window on the left. All that was visible were hordes of children bouncing happily on huge yoga balls. “Talk about last minute,” said Kaplan. The space, on the building’s second floor, is called the Ball Pond. It is comprised of a giant pit full of bouncy, yoga balls that the children can dive into and blow off steam. The walls are padded and it is completely safe, leaving the parents with only one
worry: how they will get their children to stop having so much fun. The “last minute” remark made by Kaplan did not refer to the idea of the Ball Pond. Indeed the Ball Pond was envisioned as a central space in C.M.A.’s new home. Kaplan was instead referring to how quickly his organization managed to pull off the move and the grand opening in what appeared to be seamless fashion. C.M.A. had previously called Soho home since its inception in 1988. The move to 103 Charlton St., and the transformation of a former loading dock of an old warehouse building, has all happened over the last 18 months. The museum, whose collection includes more than 2,000 works of art by children from all over the world, began thinking about a move back in 2008. It was then that they reached out to WORK Architecture and to Dan Wood. “The museum’s board went on a big architectural search in 2008 based on a Wooster St. location,” said Wood. “We designed a whole museum for that other spot; then there was the recession and the project went dormant.” Once the economy stabilized, the museum had identified the Hudson Square loca-
tion as the perfect new home. Its being three times larger than its old location and Hudson Square’s new identity as a hub for media companies and nonprofits were both major factors in C.M.A.’s decision. “We started in Soho in the ’80s” said Lucy Ofiesh, C.M.A.’s director of marketing and special projects. “Now, Hudson Square feels the same way — up and coming.” And for Wood, when the project started moving again, a change in his own life gave him a heightened appreciation for the museum’s goal. “My wife and I had a baby,” he said. “So the whole project took on a new meaning for me.” Wood, his wife and their 18-month-old baby were at the museum on Sunday. Wood said watching all of the kids running around the place really drove home the fact that C.M.A. was always stressing safety when it came to designing the new space. Beyond being safe, the new museum is notable because it allows different types of programming to occur simultaneously while reaching every age group. One example is C.M.A.’s “clay bar.” In the old space the “clay bar” was only set up on particular days, but the demand was
incredibly strong. The same can be said for C.M.A.’s “tech room,” where the children take their clay figures and begin the animation process. Now, the children have a fully stocked clay bar that’s always open, where they can pull up a stool at virtually any time and start molding away. Then they simply walk into the tech room next door, which is also always up and running, and they can start on their way to becoming famous film directors. There are separate spaces for every age group, and for every type of art, not to mention a gallery space on the main level. There is also a “quiet room.” But it should be known that the quiet room is the smallest room in the entire museum, a metaphor, one could say, for the museum’s mission, which is to provide children with an atypical museum experience and to encourage as much creativity and hands-on instruction as possible. And the new location was selected to advance that mission and, more important, to advance the museum’s programming and enlarge its audience. “The whole point of this was to reach as many children as possible,” said Elizabeth Fearon Pepperman, president of the C.M.A.’s board of directors.
October 6 - 12, 2011
Publisher adds to its presence with 330 Hudson St. BY DAN MILLER On Mon., Sept. 19, Mayor Bloomberg announced that Hudson Square would be the beneficiary of 628 new jobs, thanks to Pearson PLC, the world’s largest publisher. The London-based global giant, whose holdings include Pearson Education, Penguin Group and the Financial Times, will occupy eight floors, or 270,000 square feet, of newly renovated space at 330 Hudson St. by the summer of 2014. In making the announcement, the mayor was joined by Pearson C.E.O. Will Ethridge; state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver; City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; city Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky; Peter Davidson, executive director of the Empire State Development Corporation; Alan Leventhal, founder and chairperson of Beacon Capital Partners; Trinity Real Estate President Jason Pizer; and Ellen Baer, president of the Hudson Square Connection business improvement district. The move will provide jobs through a combination of relocated and new highpaying media and technology positions, with an average salary of $73,000. “To expand and create jobs, businesses need to have confidence in the future,” the mayor said. “Pearson’s relocation to and expansion at Hudson Square and its longterm investment in New York City is the latest example of the private sector’s confidence
Photo by Dan Miller/DMD Images
At the Sept. 19 announcement on Pearson LLC increasing its amount of office space in Hudson Square, from left, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Pearson C.E.O. Will Ethridge, Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and E.D.C. President Seth Pinsky.
in the direction of our city and future growth of our local economy.” Quinn, whose district includes Hudson
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Square, said, “We are working continuously to bring more jobs to the city, and this is a testament to that effort.” Silver, the district’s Assembly representative, said, “Whether you’re a young innovator starting a new business, or an established firm looking to be where the action is, it is clear that Lower Manhattan is the place to be.” “Today’s announcement is a great win for our city,” said Pinsky. E.D.C. granted Pearson $4.5 million in “business incentive rate” energy savings for the Hudson Square site and nearby spaces. E.S.D.C. awarded the global giant $9 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits over the next 10 years for relocating to this side of the Hudson, thwarting aggressive attempts by New Jersey to obtain these jobs. The total subsidy package is expected to reach around $50 million. The announcement came just two weeks after Mayor Bloomberg’s major speech at
Cipriani Wall Street, in which he outlined the multitude of projects that signify the rebirth and revitalization of Lower Manhattan since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11. According to reports, construction over the next three years will expand the building, owned by Trinity Real Estate, from eight to 16 stories, with a total of 440,000 square feet. Beacon Capital Partners will invest $113 in the building’s renovation, and Pearson will contribute $21 million. Beacon will hold a 99-year lease on the property from Trinity. Taken together with space Penguin currently occupies in 345 and 375 Hudson St., the new space will bring Pearce’s Hudson Square space up to 706,000 square feet. Previously, a hotel group had sought to develop 330 Hudson St. and add floors on top of the existing building, but bailed out on the plan.
October 6 - 12, 2011
October 6 - 12, 2011
Trinity rezone plan would create 24/7 neighborhood, BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Trinity Real Estate is beginning the formal application process to rezone Hudson Square to allow limited residential use. Under the change, Trinity expects at least 3,000 new residential units would be added to the neighborhood, whose current M1-6 zoning allows manufacturing, commercial uses and hotels, but not residents. In addition, Trinity has agreed to provide a roughly 74,000-square-foot raw space — free of charge — for a 420seat, K-to-5 public elementary school for the neighborhood. This school would be included in the base of a 429-foot-tall, residential tower Trinity would build on currently vacant property it owns at Duarte Square, which is at the district’s south end, bounded by Canal and Varick Sts. and Sixth Ave. Over all, the rezoning area includes roughly 18 blocks, between Houston and Canal Sts. bordered by Sixth Ave. and Varick St. on the east and Hudson and Greenwich Sts. on the west. Scoping for the plan is now commencing. Community Board 2 will review it on Oct. 13, and it will then be considered by City Planning on Oct. 27. Following an environmental impact statement, the next step will be for the rezoning to go through the city’s ULURP (uniform land use review procedure) process, starting early next year and taking about seven months.
Hudson Square’s largest property owner, Trinity owns 40 percent of the neighborhood’s built space — and closer to 50 percent if the land Trinity leases to others is included. The plan would put height caps on new construction. Along wide streets, like Canal, Hudson and Varick Sts. and Sixth Ave., the maximum allowable height would be 320 feet, or 32 stories. For commercial use, the maximum allowable floor area ratio (F.A.R.) would be 10, with current bonuses for plazas and arcades eliminated. On these wide streets, residential F.A.R. would be 9, which would get a bump up to 12 F.A.R. with the inclusion of affordable housing. Currently, the whole district’s F.A.R. ranges from 10 to 12, but there are no height caps, which is how the Trump Soho condohotel could be built 490 feet tall, equal to 49 stories, by buying air rights from adjacent buildings and using a plaza bonus. On narrow streets, like Greenwich and Spring Sts., and other east-west streets, the height cap would be 185 feet, about 18 stories, and on midblocks the F.A.R. would remain 9 bonusable to 12 with affordable housing included. On Broome and Watts St., the F.A.R. would be even lower, 5.4, but could rise to 7.2 with the affordable-housing bonus. The height cap would be 12 stories. Also under the scheme, existing build-
ings of more than 50,000 square feet could not be residentially converted. If a commercial building of more than this size were demolished, then there would have to be a “1-to-1 replacement” in the new
‘All over the world, we see the healthiest neighborhoods are mixeduse neighborhoods.’ Carl Weisbrod
building — meaning it would have to have at least 50,000 square feet of commercial space. Commercial buildings less than 50,000 square feet could be residentially converted. In addition, because Trinity is concerned about the area’s oversaturation with hotels, hotels with more than 100 rooms would need to get a special permit from the city. According to Carl Weisbrod, a Trinity adviser and partner with HR+A Advisors, there haven’t been too many criticisms of the plan by Community Board 2 and
Hudson Square property owners and residents. However, among the main suggestions that he noted are that residential conversions should be allowed for buildings of up to 80,000 square feet and that Watts and Broome Sts. not be downzoned as much. C.B. 2 members and others have also said the planned new Trinity building at Duarte Square should be lower. “We started out several years ago with a charrette,” Weisbrod said of the design process, saying Trinity has collaborated with local stakeholders. “We’ve been as responsive with the community as you could expect.” As for why Trinity wants residential use, Weisbrod said it’s because this would improve the neighborhood for Trinity’s commercial tenants, by adding more people and foot traffic, which would, in turn, help the area’s retail.“Trinity is a commercial landlord. This is a commercial strategy,” Weisbrod said. “We want to make the neighborhood as attractive as we can for commercial tenants. All over the world, we see the healthiest neighborhoods are mixed-use neighborhoods. Trinity’s been here for 300 years; Trinity’s going to be here for another 300 years. Trinity takes the long view.” Jason Pizer, president of Trinity Real
Continued on page 21
October 6 - 12, 2011
which could attract coveted amenity: A supermarket Continued from page 20 Estate, added, â€œI hate to overuse the word â€” but â€˜24/7.â€™ After 6 or 8 oâ€™clock, thereâ€™s not a lot of life in the neighborhood. Weâ€™d love to have a supermarket in the neighborhood. A supermarketâ€™s certainly not going to open up in a neighborhood without residents.â€? Weisbrod illustrated this equation with a simple graph he sketched on a pad. A supermarket in a mixed-use neighborhood has a spike of residential shoppers from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., and then another spike in the early evening. During midday, workers shop there â€” Weisbrod sketched in another spike between the first two. Without a commercial presence, though, thereâ€™s no midday spike â€” the supermarket would be dead during these hours, making it unprofitable. So, a mixed-use neighborhood would provide a steady stream of customers throughout the day. Similarly, local restaurants would also fare better with a more diversified district. For example, the Village Lobster and Crabhouse, at the corner of Varick St. and Seventh Ave. South, recently closed â€” just the latest in a long string of failed eateries at the spot. The Printing House condo is nearby, but otherwise there arenâ€™t a lot of neighboring residents to patronize a restaurant at that corner, Weisbrod noted. Echoing Weisbrod, Pizer said the rezoning would make the area healthier and more vital. â€œWe want to live with this,â€? Pizer stressed, â€œnot make a quick buck and get out. Weâ€™re not [property] flippers. Weâ€™re looking to create value in a lot of ways â€” make this neighborhood more walkable, add amenities â€” not just raise rents.â€?
A map showing the area Trinity Real Estate is proposing to rezone to allow limited residential use. The rezoning would also impose height caps on new construction.
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October 6 - 12, 2011
Rezoning the Village will change schools landscape CLASS NOTES BY ANN KJELLBERG A few weeks ago at a meeting at P.S. 40 on Second Ave. and 18th St., Elizabeth Rose, a Department of Education representative, revealed a rezoning proposal that would completely change Village kids’ eligibility for public school. The local Community Education Council has a vote on the proposal and is holding hearings over the next few weeks to gauge public response. They are scrambling for ways to reach out to the proposal’s main beneficiaries: the parents of young children and future young children of District 2. The C.E.C. hearing devoted to the Village section of the rezoning will be held Tues., Oct. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at P.S. 11, at 320 W. 21st St. The most dramatic change in the proposed rezoning is that Village families would no longer have a choice between P.S. 3 and P.S. 41. Starting this September, a zoning line that begins at Jackson Square (at 13th St. and Eighth Ave.) and follows Greenwich Ave. to Seventh Ave., then to Bedford St., then down Houston St. to Greene St., would divide the P.S. 3 zone from the P.S. 41 zone. Also, in an effort to reduce overcrowding, zoning lines are shifting southward. The
P.S. 234 zone would end at North Moore St., sending northern Tribeca families to P.S. 3. The P.S. 11 zone to our north would begin at Bethune St. on the west side, and would move up Eighth Ave. and follow 14th St. to Fifth Ave. Students from part of the far West Village, and also the south of Chelsea, would go to P.S. 11 on 21st St.
The most dramatic change in the proposed rezoning is that Village families would no longer have a choice between P.S. 3 and P.S. 41. These two elements of the proposal have different purposes and should be considered separately. Separating P.S. 3 and P.S. 41 would not substantially affect overcrowding. The split’s proponents argue that the current choice/ lottery system is extremely confusing and burdensome to the schools, which must handle double the number of registering parents a normal zone would and deal with
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all the frustrations of those who don’t get their first choice. The split’s opponents argue that having the option of an alternative school is a desirable opportunity. Supporters of P.S. 3 fear it would lose its particular character and be obliged to hew to more standard practices if it became a separately zoned school. The choice between two schools with differing pedagogical traditions is unique to our neighborhood: No other zone in the city offers it. The current P.S. 3 was developed by parents, teachers and community members in the wake of the 1968 teachers’ strike as an experiment in community schooling and it has always been a Village alternative school. Considering this change involves considering what sort of schooling we want in the Village and how we envision ourselves as a neighborhood. There is a more subtle argument about the nature of the neighborhood school, and whether neighborhoods should be divided up when sending kids to school. At the heart of the discussion is the scarcity of resources. Although D.O.E. argues that rezoning can relieve overcrowding, most observers counter that this is only “redistributing the wait list.” We still don’t have enough room for all our kids, which is degrading their learning environment. Under the current proposal, there would simply be a slightly more equal distribution of the excess. The rezoning also does not take account of future changes. D.O.E. doesn’t provide the C.E.C.’s with the demographic data that they use to project future need for seats. D.O.E. argues that zoning decisions should be based on current enrollment and not projections. But everyone can see the buildings rising in parts of our city. Chelsea and Hudson Square are obviously expanding quickly, but the proposal doesn’t reflect this. The rezoning also doesn’t consider birth rates. D.O.E. continues to promise that we have adequate space, while our schools grow more crowded and the number of waitlists for kindergarten seats increases ever year. In response to D.O.E. opacity about demographic data, the Community Board 2 Education and Social Services
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Committee has formed a subcommittee to compile data independently, but their research won’t be completed in time for this zoning cycle. Hence, many parents say we cannot have a discussion about zoning without a discussion about new construction. The Foundling Hospital, at W. 17th St. and Sixth Ave., is owned by the city and supposedly destined to become a school in 2014, but the consequences of this are not seen in the current proposal. Some fear that extra-large zones for P.S. 41 and P.S. 11 were created possibly to carve up for Foundling, but that D.O.E. may reprogram Foundling for another use and leave P.S. 41 and 11 even more crowded. Trinity Real Estate has promised to build a school in its proposed development in Hudson Square. This also does not show up on the rezoning proposal. Parents continue to advocate for school space as part of the N.Y.U. development and in other undeveloped spaces, such as Pier 40 and the St. John’s Center, both in Hudson Square. And of course the Live and Learn Coalition, which I discussed in my last column, advocates using the threatened Rudin development at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital to jump-start discussions about potential public school space at 75 Morton St. Increasing public school seats is where the discussion needs to be, not in arguments over painful zoning redivisions that are, in the words of C.E.C. representative Michael Markowitz, merely moving deck chairs around on the Titanic. It is crucial, then, that parents and other interested members of the public go to the Oct. 11 hearing and advocate for their vision of the Village’s education future. If you can’t go, you can send written testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org. But if you have something substantive to add to the discussion, it may be worth asking someone else to read it for you at the hearing, so that the interested community, as well as the C.E.C., can hear. For more information about the zoning proposal see www.cecd2.net/home.
October 6 - 12, 2011
SPRUCE STREET SCHOOL, P.S. 397 PTA presents TASTE OF THE SEAPORT Photo by Lincoln Anderson
Avenue A mourns blogger Saturday evening, the first additions to the memorial to blogger Bob Arihood at Ray’s Candy Store included paper plates from “Mosaic Man” Jim Power and his canine companion Jesse Jane and from Chris Flash and Amy Sanchez. The photo of Arihood was taken by his friend Handsome Dick Manitoba, lead singer of the legendary punk rock group The Dictators. Blogger Shawn Chittle also left a sign. In addition to Power’s plaque in Ray’s window, graffiti artist Chico said he’s painting an Arihood memorial mural on Ray’s canopy.
with The Seaport and Downtown Express with support from Historic Front Street SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2011 11 am to 4 pm on Historic South Street Seaport Property (Front Street and Peck Slip) Enjoy an autumnal festival of food and community with culinary tastings by more than twenty local merchants, musical entertainment, children’s activities, plus a special booth run by Spruce students for a family-fun day. All proceeds from The Taste of The Seaport go to enrichment programs for the students of Spruce Street School, P.S. 397.
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October 6 - 12, 2011
Marie Mirisola, 84, fashion designer in the Village OBITUARY BY ALBERT AMATEAU Marie Mirisola, a fashion designer who with her husband, Charles, made and sold womenâ€™s clothes in Greenwich Village for many years, died in Beth Israel Hospital on Fri., Sept. 23, at age 84. She had heart problems and was in ill health for the past several years, said her son Michael. The daughter of Anthony and Elizabeth LaSalle, she was born in East Harlem. By the time she was ready for elementary school, the family had moved to Brooklyn and moved again to the Lower East Side. Marie went to P.S. 1 on Henry St. Displaying artistic talent at an early age, she went to Music and Art High School and then entered Fashion Institute of Technology, which had just been formed then. â€œShe was in the first graduating class at F.I.T.,â€? Michael said. â€œShe was teaching art to children in Sara Roosevelt Park when she met my father, a college student who was studying in the park.â€?
Marie LaSalle started her clothing business in a loft at 177 W. Fourth St. near Jones St. in 1948 with a girlfriend from F.I.T. The next year she married Charles Mirisola, a Villager, who bought out the girlfriendâ€™s interest. â€œThey did all the cutting on W. Fourth St.,â€? Michael said. â€œMy father took the cuttings to my aunt in Brooklyn, who did the sewing, and he brought them back to the shop in Manhattan.â€? Marie and Charles next moved the business to a tiny shop on Cornelia St. But some neighbors complained, so they had to move again, this time to a factory loft above the Purple Onion, a stripper bar on W. Third St. near Sixth Ave. next to The Blue Note. In 1951, the business grew exponentially when Lord & Taylor became a client and other major department stores began buying. The cutting had moved to a loft at 29 W. Eighth St. and then to Seventh Ave. and Bleecker St. â€œA lot of the sewing was done by contractors on Spring St.,â€? said Michael. The business had a loft on 57th St. and one on 38th St. near Lord & Taylor. The last location was on Sixth Ave. near Eighth St. above Bigelow Pharmacy, Michael said. â€œShe was doing all this and raising five kids,â€? he said. In 1960, Marie began importing womenâ€™s shoes from Italy and selling them in the Etcetera Shop on Eighth St. â€œShe would visit the factory in Italy and kept asking, â€˜Can you do it this way or that way,â€™ and they finally said, â€˜Signora, why donâ€™t you design them yourself?â€™ â€? Michael said. In the late 1970s, Marie and Charles sold the manufacturing business. â€œBut my father kept the retail shop on Eighth St. and my mother designed coats for Braefair,â€? he said. She continued designing coats until 10 years ago when her health declined, said Michael, who for several years ran
the shop on Christopher St. He also served on Community Board 2, covering Greenwich Village, and for the past 11 years has been project support manager for the city School Construction Authority. In addition to Michael, her husband, Charles, survives. Also surviving are another son, Charles, and two daughters, Mary Ronk of Westfield, N.J., and Elizabeth Desmond of Westchester, and 11 grandchildren. The eldest son, Joseph, died nine years ago. Perazzo Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., was in charge of arrangements. The Mass of Christian Burial was at Our Lady of Pompei Church on Carmine St. on Wed., Sept. 28, and burial was in St. Maryâ€™s Cemetery in Queens.
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October 6 - 12, 2011
‘Bob: He always had your back’ Continued from page 10 Most recently, Bob’s concerns turned to his own future. “A lot of the time it was struggling and how to make a living, and these young people with their cut-rate photography,” his brother Leslie said. Bob’s back problem worsened, so much that last year he spent several weeks in the hospital. But the streets still beckoned. On Sat., Sept. 24, Bob made his way Downtown to the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park. He walked with hundreds of marchers all the way up to Union Square, where police began netting the demonstrators. Mass arrests followed. When the nearly 100 arrestees were carted off and the crowd dispersed, Bob went by subway back down to the encampment, staying until almost midnight, continuing to document the scene. The next day he walked into Ray’s. Eyeing a front-page news photo of a young woman being arrested by a swarm of police, Bob pointed to the picture and said, “I got that on video!” His final blog post was a one-minute interview with a woman who was pepper-sprayed. Bob’s close friend Mike is, like most, inconsolable. “After childhood I never had a best friend,” Mike said. “There was a point in time we’d spend hours together and for years I saw him every day. “I may stop coming to the East Village,” Mike continued. “The only reason I came by is to hang out with him like the old days. Now there are no more old days.” “Bob always had your back,” said Krissy Hursh, his friend and neighbor for 20 years. Hursh cried several times while speaking at Tuesday’s memorial. “If you needed someone to talk to, if you needed a friend, you’d stop by Ray’s and talk to Bob.”
Another old friend, “Avenue A” Jay Pappas was one of many addressing the crowd of Bob’s friends Tuesday night. “The smaller you were, the more he cared about you,” he said. “He was a rock with feet.” Teenager Aiyana Knauer met Bob recently and cherished their conversations. “Bob cared about the stories of people that other people would have forgotten,” she said. “He was the Weegee of Avenue A,” declared John Penley, a longtime East Village photographer and activist. “ ‘Bigger than life’ is a cliché,” said Chris Flash, publisher of The Shadow newspaper, “but I can say that about Bob and he would roll his eyes if he heard that.” “I see Bob over the years complaining about this or that,” Bob’s brother, Leslie, said on Tuesday. “Maybe it’s because he could see what was wrong. He wanted to engage people.” Bob Arihood was a true Renaissance man in every sense. His passing is an incalculable loss to the East Village and to all the lives he touched. The 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.” Bob’s body was flown to Indianapolis on Wednesday and driven 65 miles to Lafayette. Sunday night there will be a visitation and on Monday Bob Arihood will be buried next to his parents. There are plans to preserve his photographic archive in one location after his estate is settled. Friends plan to gather on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Tompkins Square Park and at the 6 & B Garden for a final sendoff.
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October 6 - 12, 2011
EDITORIAL Hudson Sq.: Moving up The windy and colder weather this past weekend did not deter hundreds of parents and their kids from coming to the grand opening of the Children’s Museum of the Arts’ new location in Hudson Square on Saturday. Indeed the block of Charlton St. between Greenwich and Hudson Sts. might have been the happiest place in the entire city if happiness can be judged by the number of ear-to-ear grins on kids’ faces. Kudos to the C.M.A. for choosing such a smart location and for being so creative in transforming an old loading dock into a space that even in the winter will be a source of warmth and activity. It will also provide a blast of color to a neighborhood that has long been defined by warehouses and superblocks associated with the printing and trucking industries. Hudson Square, which is just west of Soho, south of the West Village and north of Tribeca, is proving to be an example of how a community can embrace change and reap the benefits that diversity offers. A large part of this metamorphosis is the beginning of the switch from a 9-to-5 district to a 24/7 mixed-use neighborhood. Gone are the days when the blue-collar workers who brought their lunch to the job simply packed up at 5 p.m. and jumped on a subway to head home, leaving “tumbleweeds” and a ghost town in their wake. Now, the area is home to media and creative companies, large and small, architecture firms, graphic designers and nonprofit organizations that have chosen Hudson Square over Midtown or Jersey City. On Oct. 13 at Community Board 2, and Oct. 27 at the Department of City Planning, the community will have a chance to weigh in on a rezoning proposal that would essentially be the final piece of the puzzle in terms of making Hudson Square a mixed-use neighborhood. The scoping session, a mandated public input session administered by City Planning, is the community’s opportunity to learn about and voice their opinions on the proposal. Trinity, the district’s major property owner and the major force behind the rezoning plan, has proposed allowing residential use — adding up to 3,500 new residents over 10 years — to help create a 24-hour community. By boosting residential occupancy to 25 percent, the sidewalks would no longer be desolate at night and on weekends. Retail would be attracted to the neighborhood, because with more residents, there would be a market for it. The rezoning wouldn’t allow big-box-size stores — except for a supermarket — and nightclubs couldn’t open in the district. A special permit would be needed for new hotels with more than 100 rooms. Part of the residential growth would come in the form of a 429-foot tower Trinity is proposing at Duarte Square, at Canal St. and Sixth Ave. In an important community giveback, Trinity would provide 75,000 square feet of raw space for a new 420-seat, K-to-5 public school in the tower’s bottom four floors, rent-free in perpetuity. There is much to like in this zoning proposal: modest residential use to help create a 24/7 neighborhood, height caps on new construction, restrictions on hotels and nightclubs, a new school. All of this while maintaining the neighborhood’s predominantly commercial presence of media and creative companies. In our view, the proposal has been well-thought through and is responsive to community concerns. If anything, we think that the proposal should make room for more residential conversions to accelerate the transition to a stable 24/7 neighborhood. We encourage residents to turn out at the upcoming scoping hearings to voice their concerns and opinions about this rezoning proposal.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Courageous coverage To The Editor: Re “With nets, spray and force, police crack down on march” (news article, Sept. 29): Thank you, Jefferson Siegel, for your courageous Occupy Wall Street coverage. Your on-the-ground, up-close photographs and narrative are superb. Can’t help noticing the contrast with the remoteness of The New York Times’s coverage of Sat., Oct. 1.
Mr. Bloomberg, no stranger to criticism as the elected leader of a fractious city, said, “Freedom is our competitive advantage,” and called free expression “the most valuable of all New York City’s riches.” Are these mass false arrests an example of your ideas about freedom, Mr. Mayor? Robert Lederman Lederman is president, ARTIST (Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics)
Ann Warner Arlen
Occupation elation To The Editor: Re “With nets, spray and force, police crack down on march” (news article, Sept. 29): Thanks, Jefferson! This is the most heartwarming thing to happen to New York City in years! I’m so grateful for the sincerity, courage, compassion and unselfish, committed, beautiful people forming into some kind of community, new society or something of what we could be as a people if we tried...if we wanted...instead of feeling powerless, alienated, isolated, depressed, fearful and downtrodden, as so many of us have for so long. That’s what the system wants us to be — instead of alive, defiant, caring. Love thy neighbor! I’m meeting people from around the country and my own neighborhood down in “Liberty Square” that I’ve never seen or talked to before. It’s so incredible! Lovely! I hope we find a way to continue this social experiment, this uprising, this gift! What an opportunity to create justice we so badly need!
Why process matters To The Editor: Re “C.B. 2 angered after N.Y.U. goes to the media first” (news article, Sept. 29): Alicia Hurley, a New York University vice president, is dismayed by the fixation on “process over substance.” The process she objects to is the democratic one, where voters, taxpayers and elected representatives use the mechanisms of government to evaluate and oppose radical changes to a residential community. It is not surprising that since the introduction of N.Y.U.’s 2031 plan, process has been continually thwarted, sidestepped or ignored. N.Y.U. is a billion-dollar, for-profit corporation, with a developer’s dream of 2 million square feet of commercial real estate. Parks, playgrounds, housing and residential quality of life must be sacrificed. So “process” is just another victim of the bulldozer. Ellen Horan
Who’s not being civil? Words vs. action To The Editor: Re “With nets, spray and force, police crack down on march” (news article, Sept. 29): On May 4, Mike Bloomberg promoted a work of sculpture by a jailed Chinese artist, a former New York City street artist, Ai Weiwei. “This is a message from America to the whole world that we are the place where people can come and express themselves,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “China would be well served to listen to our message and to copy us.”
To The Editor: Re “C.B. 2 angered after N.Y.U. goes to the media first” (news article, Sept. 29): The informative article appearing in last week’s issue about Community Board 2’s anger with N.Y.U. contains a statement from university V.P. Alicia Hurley: “It is hard for us not to notice the lack of civility with which we are treated when we do go before the community board.” How civil was it for the university to make a presentation at a meeting where the N.Y.U. presenter had no answers to our questions and, to the best of my knowledge, has not
Continued on page 28
Congress’s approval rating has slithered to an all-time low!
October 6 - 12, 2011
When parks aren’t parks: Stripping away the facade TALKING POINT BY TERRI CUDE AND MARTIN TESSLER New York University’s latest salvo in its battle to take over what’s left of Greenwich Village is an interesting show for the benefit of the media. At a Sept. 15 press briefing, N.Y.U. announced that it would seek to acquire “only two” of the seven city-owned open spaces on the superblocks — the one in front of Coles Gym where the Mercer-Houston Dog Run is located, and along Mercer St. between W. Third and W. Fourth Sts. where N.Y.U. built its co-generation facility beneath what was a mature, tree-filled area and is now a public park with seating and shallow-rooting trees and plants as a roof garden above its power facility. The university intends to erect an 800,000-square-foot building (plus 200,000 additional square feet underground) on Mercer St. between Houston and Bleecker Sts., to include more than 1,000 dorm beds, a few hundred hotel rooms, a supermarket, retail stores, classrooms, faculty housing and more. In addition, N.Y.U. announced that it would support the transfer of two other parks — LaGuardia Park run by Friends of LaGuardia Place with the statue of our former mayor and a stately grove of decades-old trees, and Mercer Playground run by LMNOP where children can ride their bicycles and scooters, skate, run and more — to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. However, N.Y.U. seeks easements to allow it to build beneath, use as access and run and park construction equipment on these lands. This means that our parkland will be destroyed, since you cannot build beneath without removing everything on top. Farewell, mature trees, parkland, play space and open green areas; hello, construction sites, diesel fumes, dirt, noise, vermin and all that goes with them. A strip of land not mentioned is the one where the LaGuardia Corner Garden and Time Landscape reside between Houston and Bleecker Sts. N.Y.U. could attempt to site the displaced dog run on the Time Landscape, and is not supporting a transfer of that entire strip to the Parks Department. This worries the gardeners, some of whom have tended their areas for decades — and all those that enjoy these oases in the city — since their license can be revoked with little notice. The seven open-space strips on the South Village superblocks are a lush green legacy of the Village’s successful battle against Robert Moses’ attempt to widen our streets to be on ramps for his planned expressway going through the Washington Square Park Arch. Most of these spots are now community amenities — the peaceful oasis of a beautiful community garden, a unique playground for children past the toddler stage, a verdant village green, a dog run and more. The Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031 (CAAN) and Community Board 2 gathered together with our area’s elected officials last December to clearly state that N.Y.U. could not have these green strips, and further, for their protection in perpetuity, they should all be transferred to the Parks Department. The intent wasn’t simply to change the name on
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the deeds, but to preserve and permanently safeguard these community-created amenities. If N.Y.U.’s acquisitions and easements go through, our residents may eventually get some semblance of what might be called parks on the two strips that will be mapped to the Parks Department, with young growth that will, at best, take decades to reach anywhere near the majesty — and air-cleaning properties — of what was lovingly planted by Villagers so many years ago. But we certainly won’t get that before many years of our gardens and recreation spaces being converted to filthy, noisy, diesel-filled construction sites, with at least a generation deprived of their use. The easements would give N.Y.U. the ability to dig through these new parks to their underground sites, making the parks unavailable to our community yet again. In addition, if N.Y.U. is allowed to acquire the land in front of Coles Gym, the new “Zipper Building” would completely cover the strip that N.Y.U. promised to maintain as a condition of building Coles (which itself replaced an open space field used for sports). A last point: N.Y.U. is not a good steward of parkland. Even a glance at the sunken and unusable reflecting garden and children’s playground on Mercer St. between Houston and Bleecker Sts. shows that N.Y.U. does not keep its commit-
ments to maintain community parks. Yet a look at LaGuardia Corner Garden, Friends of LaGuardia Place’s LaGuardia Park, LMNOP’s Mercer Playground and the dog run show how well the community takes care of its parks and open spaces. N.Y.U. claims that it’s giving the community what it wants. That is obviously not true. N.Y.U. is taking away green spaces that our community desperately needs and replacing them with inside-facing open space that does not benefit the public, but only serves N.Y.U.’s private needs — which we certainly did not ask for and cannot tolerate. We can only hope that N.Y.U. stops this attack on our precious open space, and trust that our elected officials who will vote on the NYU 2031 plans are not fooled by N.Y.U.’s claims so thinly masking an utterly unjustifiable and unnecessary takeover of our public open spaces. This latest N.Y.U. ploy proves the long-held adage that you cannot serve two masters. What N.Y.U. is claiming as being good for the public is solely beneficial to its private interests, and no better example exists than this attempt to portray this as a “win-win” when it is anything but a loss for the public’s interest. Cude and Tessler are co-chairpersons, Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031
Photo by Milo Hess
On Saturday at Union Square, some participants in the Slut Walk stripped down and showed skin for a cause — namely, to protest attempts to explain or excuse rape based on any aspect of a woman’s appearance.
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October 6 - 12, 2011
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