Aunt Chelsea’s finally here! p. 26
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 03
THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
OCTOBER 3 - 16, 2012
Quality of life concerns loom as Community Council meetings resume BY MAYA PHILLIPS After a three-month summer hiatus, the 10th Police Precinct resumed its monthly Community Council Meetings on Wednesday, September 27. Over two dozen local residents attended, many of them familiar faces who came to express frustration regarding a number of quality of life concerns. Deputy Inspector Elisa Cokkinos began the meeting with some good news,
Photo courtesy of Friends of 20th Street Park
Building a micropark, in the name of macro concerns: On Sept. 21, a local group advocating for the establishment of public green space on 20th Street observed International Park(ing) Day. See page 14.
Some sour on affordable housing as Chelsea Market deal sweetener BY BONNIE ROSENSOTCK On September 5, the City Planning Commission (CPC) gave its unanimous approval to a plan which would allow the vertical expansion of Chelsea Market — after the iconic building’s owner, Jamestown Properties, agreed to a number of scalebacks and sweeteners. Most significantly, the CPC further clarified plans — first proposed by Community Board 4 (CB4) during its June 6 full board
vote — to build affordable housing somewhere in the CB4 area, preferably in Chelsea. Funding for such an effort would be drawn from money long ago earmarked for the High Line Improvement Fund (HLIF). Seen by some as a palatable local “get” in exchange for the City Council’s approval of Jamestown’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application, other community and tenant advocacy groups are sour on the deal — calling it an unlikely
scenario, given the fact that housing promised during the creation of 2005’s Special West Chelsea District (SWCD) never materialzed. “It’s not that we all don’t want affordable housing in Chelsea,” stated Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, “but we shouldn’t have to pay for it twice with two upzonings that
announcing an overall drop in most crime indexes compared to the previous month. “Violence in and around Chelsea is down considerably,” she noted, citing an 18 percent decrease in robberies, a 17 percent decrease in felonies and an 18 percent decrease in burglaries. Grand larceny, however, increased an astonishing 118 percent — prompting Cokkinos to warn the
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11 groups file suit against NYU plan for its superblocks BY LINCOLN ANDERSON A broad coalition of groups — including both local community associations and citywide organizations — filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court Tuesday to stop NYU’s massive 2031 development plan. The suit alleges violations of the public trust doc-
trine; illegal manipulation of restrictive deeds; destruction of parkland, playgrounds and historic preservation sites; failure to adequately consider environmental impacts; and failure to adhere to an open and transparent process. The 11 groups include
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EDITORIAL, LETTERS PAGE 8
JUST DO ART! PAGE 27
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5 1 5 C A N A L STREET • N YC 10013 • C OPYRIG H T © 2012 N YC COMMU NITY M ED IA , LLC
October 3 - 16, 2012
Church service welcomes woofers and tweeters
Your company insurance changed again? Photo copyright Chris Kreussling (Flatbush Gardener): flatbushgardener.blogspot.com
At 2011’s Blessing of Animals service, CCC Pastoral Counselor, the Rev. John Magisano, does just that.
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Move over, Christmas Eve and Easter morning…there’s another destination event guaranteed to pack the pews. Furry, scaled and winged critters of all ilk (even elk!) are encouraged to bring their human companions to the 13th Annual “Blessing of Animals” service — presented by the ultra-inclusive, lay-led, nondenominational Chelsea Community Church. Martha Teichner — a Chelsea resident, an Emmy Award-winning CBS news correspondent and proud owner of bull terriers Minnie and Goose — will be the
guest speaker. Tenor Otto Walberg, the lay leader for the service, will debut a new song (“Angels of Earth,” written by Thad McGar, with music by Paul Bodden). CCC’s Music Director Jeff Cubeta will accompany him on piano. Barks, meows and bays of approval are both allowed and encouraged. Sun., Oct. 14, at noon. At Chelsea Community Church (St. Peter’s Chelsea, at 346 W. 20th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). For info, visit chelseachurch.org or call 212886-5463.
October 3 - 16, 2012
Suit filed against NYU plan Continued from page 1 NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Historic Districts Council, Washington Square Village Tenants’ Association, East Village Community Coalition, Friends of Petrosino Square, LaGuardia Corner Gardens, Inc., Lower Manhattan Neighbors Organization, Soho Alliance, Bowery Alliance of Neighbors and Noho Neighborhood Association. In addition, 11 individuals also signed onto the Article 78 lawsuit, which is filed against multiple city and state commissioners and agencies for their approval of New York University’s expansion plan, which the plaintiffs charge is unlawful. Among those named in the Article 78 filing are City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Amanda Burden, chairperson of the City Planning Commission; Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the city’s Department of Transportation; the City Council; and the City of New York. The suit challenges decisions by the city and the state to approve the nearly 2-million-square-foot construction plan on the university’s two South Village superblocks. Among other things, the petition alleges that the plan illegally alienates parkland, illegally ignores deed restrictions, and will have a significant impact on NYU’s Village
neighbors, including the several thousand who reside at the site and “would be forced to live in a construction zone for the next two decades.” The lawsuit argues that government decision-makers, including both the City Planning Commission and the City Council, largely deferred to NYU’s wishes and illegally turned over public land to facilitate NYU’s project, despite less intrusive alternatives. The suit also claims that government decision-makers conducted a process with a preordained outcome that lacked the transparency required by law under ULURP and effectively denied the public meaningful input. The suit alleges that government decision-makers refused to consider the adverse impacts on the most affected group — NYU’s faculty, 40 percent of whom reside at the site — “rendering their ultimate decisions irrational, and arbitrary and capricious, as a matter of law.” Thirty-seven NYU departments and three NYU schools, including the Stern School of Business, have passed resolutions opposing the project. “The CPC and the City Council bought NYU’s premise that they needed to expand in its core in the Village community in order to become a so-called world class university,” said Mark Crispin Miller, NYU professor of media and culture and a member of NYU FASP. “But the fact is that
NYU uses buildings all over New York City. NYU was never required by the city to prove that the expansion was really needed
The lawsuit argues that government decisionmakers, including both the City Planning Commission and the City Council, largely deferred to NYU’s wishes and illegally turned over public land to facilitate NYU’s project, despite less intrusive alternatives. in the Village. We, the faculty, know that this bloated expansion isn’t necessary and that’s why so many of us have voted to oppose it. The Sexton Plan has nothing to do with education; it’s a land grab and nothing more, and the city failed to hold
NYU accountable.” The suit notes that about half of the planned development project would be dedicated to nonacademic purposes, such as a performing arts center, a gym, student housing and retail uses. “The city and state made a series of erroneous and irrational decisions to overhaul local zoning…and green-light NYU’s project, despite the unanimous objection of the local community board, the affected communities, historic preservationists and much of NYU’s own faculty,” said Randy Mastro, a partner in the international law firm Gibson Dunn and Crutcher, who are representing the petitioners pro bono. “Indeed, in bending over backward to accommodate NYU’s wishes, these government decision-makers have abrogated their legal responsibility to protect communities from the very harms being inflicted here. We hope that the court will agree with us and put a stop to this project.” The suit asks the court to reverse the city’s approval by enjoining the city from removing parkland or making any other changes asked for under the university plan and by also enjoining NYU from starting any construction. The approved plan would destroy the Key Park, a treasured children’s playground, would remove 300 mature trees,
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October 3 - 16, 2012
Affordable housing: boon or boondoggle?
Photo by Kaitlyn Meade
This 18th St. parking lot could be the location of affordable housing.
Continued from page 1 this neighborhood doesn’t want or need.” At a rally held on September 28 at the 15th Street and Tenth Avenue side of Chelsea Market, Berman was joined by more than two dozen activists from such wide-ranging groups as Save Chelsea, Tenant PAC, London Terrace Tenants Association, Chelsea Reform Democratic Club (City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s club), Chelsea Coalition on Housing, Greenwich Village Community Task Force and Council of Chelsea Block Associations. They met to express solidarity in their opposition to the “two egregious towers” which Jamestown seeks to build on the Ninth and Tenth Avenue ends of the block-long complex. Berman noted that such construction is prohibited by the current zoning, but allowed by the CPC-approved upzoning. Berman is a former member of CB4’s Affordable Housing Task Force, which was charged with overseeing the fulfill-
ment of the city’s affordable housing commitments from the massive West Chelsea and Hudson Yards rezonings of 2005. But he said that the city did not keep its word. At that time, Berman explained, the city promised that in return for rezoning the SWCD area, “filling it with huge buildings of luxury housing,” they would generate 27 percent affordable housing: 100 units targeted for middle- and moderate-income families. The designated location was on West 18th Street between Ninth and Tenth A venue — a parking lot on Fulton Houses, which was then (and still is) owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Set forth in the Special West Chelsea Points of Agreement, as reached between the mayor and the City Council, “All units will be permanently affordable…A portion to be developed may be set aside for NYCHA residents or households on the waiting list through Section 8.” (Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 authorizes the
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Aunt Chelsea's HERE! See Page 26
October 3 - 16, 2012
After CPC vote, Market matters shift to City Council Continued from page 4
payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords on behalf of low-income households.) However, after the City Council passed the upzoning, the community was informed there was no money to build it. “They said, ‘We didn’t know it was going to cost money to purchase the land. We can’t deliver,’ ” recalled Berman. “Now the city is saying, ‘If you let us upzone more of your neighborhood, with more unwanted towers in Chelsea, we’ll finally give you the money.’ They are asking us to pay a second time for what was owed us seven years ago.”
CPC: MODIFICATIONS MAKE FOR A BETTER MARKET PLAN The proposed changes to Jamestown’s market expansion (agreed to by the applicant during public sessions of both CB4 and the CPC) would reduce its overall size from 325,000 new square feet to approximately 285,000 square feet. The Tenth Avenue addition will be set back from the High Line in tiers, to allow for more air and light. Setbacks begin at the top of the building, where the addition will be pushed back 15 feet, followed by another 10-foot pushback to 185 feet. There are a few more setbacks until its full 230-foot height, shorter than
‘With these modifications, I believe this will be a great addition to the West Chelsea neighborhood,’ said CPC Commissioner Amanda Burden, preceding the September 5 vote. the nearby Caledonia condo, but taller than other surrounding industrial buildings. The Ninth Avenue addition will ascend to a 135-foot-tall, 95,000-square-foot office tower, level with the adjacent market roof, instead of 160 feet. A hotel which was to be built over Buddakan restaurant on the Ninth Avenue side, has been scrapped. In addition, Jamestown has committed to preserving 60 percent of Chelsea Market’s concourse space for artisanal and independent retailers (the current rate of such occu-
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At a Sept. 28 rally, Andrew Berman (executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation) speaks against Chelsea Market expansion. Far left: Zack Winestine (co-chair, Greenwich Village Community Task Force). Far right: Bill Borock (president, Chelsea Council of Block Associations); behind him, Steven Skyles-Mulligan (Chelsea Reform Democratic Club); next to him, in baseball cap, is Justin Hoy (co-president, Save Chelsea).
pancy is 85 percent). “With these modifications, I believe this will be a great addition to the West Chelsea neighborhood,” said CPC Commissioner Amanda Burden, preceding the September 5 vote. Immediately after, Michael Phillips, Jamestown COO and project manager, issued a written statement, which read (in part): “With the leadership of Commission Chair Amanda Burden, the Commission has modified the application to allow for some of the funds generated through a zoning bonus to be used for affordable housing, an approach that follows the road map set forth by the Community Board, and moves the project one step closer to reality.”
FOLLOW THE MONEY The plan now goes to the City Council, which has 50 days from the time of the CPC vote to hold a public hearing and approve, disapprove or modify it. The council will discuss the matter at an October 23 session
which is open to the public. For details, visit council. nyc.gov. Jamestown did not offer to include affordable housing in their proposal, acknowledged Rob Marino of The Marino Organization, Jamestown’s public relations firm, in an email to Chelsea Now. “Community Board 4 included it in their ‘No Unless’ vote on June 6, and Jamestown later agreed to the terms laid out by the Community Board, the Borough President and City Planning,” he said. Jamestown will contribute to the HLIF and the Affordable Housing Trust (AHT). The AHT will be administered by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD). According to Marino, “As it stands now, the total contribution would be approximately $17 million. At the recommendation of the CPC, 30 percent of the funds, around $4,824,000, will go to affordable housing, and
Continued on page 17
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October 3 - 16, 2012
Nadler invokes New Deal strategies for ailing economy BY DONATHAN SALKALN Chelsea’s U.S. Representative, Jerrold Nadler, was firing on all cylinders at a September 27 community forum sponsored by the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club (CRDC). He blasted past and present Republican policies that have placed our country in “another Depression.” He attacked the Senate for not passing a bill to reduce mortgage debt to avoid more foreclosures. He disagreed with President Obama’s reluctance to raise taxes for the rich and large corporations during this deep downturn — and he offered a recovery plan, based on history. After two decades of logging miles between New York and DC, the engine that drives Nadler is as strong as ever. The Congressman claims that Republicans are following elitist ideals, holding the American people hostage by changing “the economic narrative” from progressive issues to the national deficit. “We do not have a deficit problem,” Nadler declared. “We have a jobs and growth crisis.” On addressing the current economic problems he pointed out that, “What we have is the aftermath of a major financial crisis, more on par with the Great Depression and caused by the same things. Nearly 25 million Americans are unemployed or under-employed!” Nadler — former Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties — reminded the packed house at Chelsea’s Hudson Guild of legislative preventive measures put in place during the 1930s. “The New Deal,” he recalled, “put into practice regulations on corporations and banks to prevent economic catastrophes — regulations that worked until they were dismantled,
Photo courtesy of the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club
starting in the 1980s.” His pictorial of the current economic landscape included a reckless Wall Street, huge Bush tax cuts for upper-income Americans (whose top four percent, he says, now have the lion’s share of our wealth), two unfunded wars, the doubling of military spending (separate from the wars) and the lowering of taxes on
corporations. “Corporations used to pay 30 percent of federal income tax receipts. Now they pay 8 percent. It is the lowest rate in the developed world. We have Exxon, with a $5 billion profit, paying no federal taxes. We have shifted a large share of the tax burden from the rich and large corporations to the middle class.” Nadler also brought solutions, alluding to New Deal funding of social programs, the implementation of unemployment benefits and the building of our infrastructure — all programs “that got money into the working hands of America, so they could spend money and kick-start an economy.” He blasted the Republicans of Congress for their commitment to cutting social programs which would reduce consumer spending, and then expressed frustration that banks were bailed out, while little relief was given to underwater mortgages (which would free up more money for spending). His comparison of European problems to a financial lab experiment drew many nodding heads: “We see now in Britain, Germany and Spain, when newly elected conservative governments enacted austerity programs, their economies are tanking.” After his presentation, when CRDC moderator Judy Richheimer opened up the forum to questions, local activist Leathea Varadore asked Nadler about the Spectra Gas Line that will run under the West Village. His response was forthright: “I’m not happy about the gas line but not absolutely opposed to it, because you have a real problem. I want to close down Indian Point Nuclear Plant. If we close it, something has to substitute. We can’t oppose everything because otherwise we haven’t enough energy.” For info on the CRDC and its monthly meetings, see the Community Contacts listings, on page 20.
October 3 - 16, 2012
Proclamation praises Penn South
Photo by William Alatriste, NY City Council
On May 19, 1962, President Kennedy dedicated the Penn South development. A half century (and a few months) later, City Council Speaker Quinn marked that auspicious occasion â€” and the five decades that followed â€” in a September 24 City Hall ceremony. Penn South Board president Morris Benjamin, who attended along with several other board members as well as State Senator Tom Duane, expressed gratitude for the proclamation, hailing it as â€œrecognition from Christine Quinn, who is also our rep in Chelsea and has been extremely supportive of us.â€? In an interview with Chelsea Now
shortly following the ceremony, Benjamin said that those interested in learning more about Penn Southâ€™s past (and its plans for the future) can attend the October 28 annual meeting. â€œWeâ€™ll talk about our highlights and accomplishments of the last fifty years,â€? he said, noting with pride that, â€œWeâ€™ve met the goal of not privatizing while staying affordable in comparison to other placesâ€Śand not being tempted, like many co-ops, to privatize and walk away with a lot of money. Just last year, we voted to extend our contract with the city to 2030.â€? For more information, visit pennsouth. coop.
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October 3 - 16, 2012
EDITORIAL Onboard with Lowline New York City has been home to some of the world’s most cutting-edge developments in urban planning. James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, the two bright minds behind the Lowline project — which seeks to construct the world’s first underground park in a former MTA trolley terminal beneath Delancey and Essex Streets — are now continuing that tradition of creativity. We think the Lowline is a great idea, and one that the city should actively support, for several reasons. First, it would incorporate groundbreaking solar-power technology in order to sustain a uniquely attractive park in a city that could always use a few more green spaces. A stunning sample of that “remote skylight” design was recently on display at the Lowline’s public exhibit on Essex Street, and it drew plenty of well-deserved nods of approval from community members. Second, the world’s first underground park would provide an innovative setting in which Lower East Side businesses and arts organizations could spread their wings and engage consumers in exciting new ways. And finally, the Lowline would be a complement to the upcoming SPURA development in that area. The park could provide a valuable public space to go alongside the new residential and commercial properties that will rise, giving local families as well as workers and tourists a great place to relax. Barasch and Ramsey have a long way to go, as they try to raise millions of dollars and drum up political support for a project that will take years to complete if the city OK’s it. But we think they deserve the encouragement needed to push the Lowline forward.
A better BID process Since its inception in 1992, the Lower East Side Business Improvement District has been a boon to businesses on and around Orchard and Allen Streets, by keeping the streets clean and drawing in crowds of patrons through creative promotional efforts. The BID’s DayLife events, which began in June and were held most recently on September 30, have been successful in filling a three-block stretch of Orchard Street with food and clothing vendors, high-profile DJs, games and, most importantly, foot traffic for small businesses. The BID has also hosted its much-loved annual Pickle Day event for the past decade, which celebrates the rich history of pickle vendors on the Lower East Side. The BID will soon seek the city’s approval for an expansion proposal that would triple its size. The planned expansion would stretch its boundaries west to Bowery, east to Clinton Street and south to East Broadway, covering a total of around 1,200 properties. We think the BID, under the leadership of Executive Director Bob Zuckerman, has done an excellent job of reaching out to small businesses, residents and community leaders over the past several years in order to build a solid base of support for the expansion. And it’s certainly paid off, as Zuckerman recently told us that, of the property owners and tenants who have replied to the BID’s ongoing ballot survey, more than 99 percent have voted “Yes” to the expansion. When Zuckerman sends out that proposal to the Department of Small Business Services in October — beginning the long process that, if greenlighted, would eventually end in the hands of the City Council — the city should take that diligence into account, along with all the great work the BID has already done to help businesses on the Lower East Side.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Newspaper’s spine lacks backbone To The Editor: Your editorial “Championing Chelsea (Market) Change” [Sept. 19] describes the proposed Chelsea Market zoning change — not “variance” as you minimize it — as unprecedented. There's a reason for this. No one in their right mind would change zoning to allow private development directly above a public park, at the sole request of the developer. Jamestown Properties is about to privatize and ring dollars out of open park space and High Line sky views made valuable by over a hundred million taxpayer dollars, meant to create a park for public enjoyment. This is an outrage, yet instead of investigating and reporting what's behind it — an inside deal between Jamestown, Friends of the High Line and the city, maybe? You fatuously cheerlead the results of a ULURP process that's become a joke and lecture community groups for rightly demanding accountability from those who should be our public guardians. We're warned that we won't be taken seriously when the next proposed change comes to Chelsea. You should worry about being taken seriously yourself. Is this the kind of analysis, insight and spine we can expect from Chelsea Now's new ownership? Or should we stop reading now? David Holowka
Passing felt by many To The Editor: Re “Chelsea activist, always on the move, dies at 65” (news article, Sept. 19): On September 12, 2012, at 12:28pm, a beautiful, loving, caring and kind lady left this earth. Phyllis C. T. Gonzalez, 65 (May 28, 1947), will be missed like no other. Her passing will be felt by many people. She was involved in everything imaginable. She gave and found ways to give even when you thought there wasn't anything left. She would have done anything for anyone, and did. She meant so much to me and my heart is saddened and at a terrible loss. I will never forget her or the things she did for me with love. I love and miss her, and always will. She will forever have a special place in my heart. May you rest in eternal peace, until we meet again.
person you want in your life. May she rest in peace. Her work is done. I will try to follow her example. Linda Lumpkin
Chelsea Now needs new name To The Editor: What has happened to Chelsea Now? Rename it Chelsea NOT, because your current stance in favor of the expansion of Chelsea Market is NOT for Chelsea at all. It's for money, tourism and business and ignores those of us who live here and for whom it’s not a “destination,” but it’s home. Simone Weissman
Affordable Housing doesn’t justify Chelsea Market change To The Editor: As the neighborhood tenant organization of 40 years’ standing, the Chelsea Coalition on Housing remains opposed to the Jamestown plan. The last-minute inclusion by the City Planning Commission of a contribution to an “affordable housing fund” doesn’t change our opinion. The prospect of a few housing units does not justify the Jamestown project. The detrimental effects, as well documented in the outpouring of testimony from Chelsea residents and so many of our community organizations in public hearings, are too great. And the history of similar housing promises shows that these are only promises. We are being kidded. To pretend that the Jamestown proposal will result in permanent affordable housing is a sham and a scam. Offers of affordable housing, when added to a harmful overdevelopment plan, never become reality, and that is just what will happen here. In fact, the community was ALREADY PROMISED, when the West Chelsea zoning plan was passed years ago, the very housing units — at the Fulton site on 18th Street — that the Jamestown contribution is supposed to fund. Why are city officials asking us for another huge upzoning, when they didn’t deliver on that promise? We call on Chelsea’s City Councilperson, Speaker Christine Quinn, to stop the Jamestown proposal. Norma Aviles, Roberta Gelb, Robert Martin, Linda Riera Chelsea Coalition on Housing
A beautiful friendship with Phyllis To The Editor: Re “Chelsea activist, always on the move, dies at 65” (news article, Sept. 19): Phyllis will be so missed by all. Everyone who knew Phyllis had the honor of knowing a wonderful person. My mom, Betty (as well as myself), had such a beautiful friendship with Phyllis. I will truly miss her. Liz Legoff
Wish I had known her To The Editor: Re “Chelsea activist, always on the move, dies at 65” (news article, Sept. 19): I didn't know her, but wish I had. This is the type of
Quinn should hear, heed ‘overwhelming opposition’ To The Editor: I strongly disagree with your September 19 editorial, “Championing Chelsea (Market) Change.” The overwhelming opposition of the people of Chelsea to the Jamestown proposal — as demonstrated at public hearings and communications to public officials — should be of paramount concern to our representative on the City Council, Speaker Christine Quinn. Jamestown is asking for a rezoning of its block, not a zoning variance, as your editorial states. A variance would require showing a hardship. There appears to be no hardship here. The Chelsea Market is profitable. A presidential election mailing I received recently urged
Continued on page 9
October 3 - 16, 2012
Chelsea Market, Icon TALKING POINT BY PAMELA WOLFF If Jamestown Properties gets its way, it will be the end of Chelsea Market as we know it. Not that the monstrous structures on top of the historic buildings will be seen from my block, they won’t. But their looming presence will forever represent the crass sell-out of the zoning rules that are meant to protect us from this very thing. Once that happens, there is no turning back. The precedent will be there for every developer that can bundle enough properties together, buy enough air rights, buy enough politicians, to put together a package big enough to hook a mega-investor like Jamestown. Chelsea Market will become an icon of a different kind. Jamestown’s agreement not to stand in the way of an effort to landmark the ensemble of buildings that are Chelsea Market is a cynical joke. The properties have already been rejected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission — twice — because their facades have already been altered too much. The idea
that the LPC would give them another chance after the proposed elephantine structures have been mounted over and through them is naïve, manipulative and delusional. It’s a sop to make the decision makers feel better about the abandonment of their principles in approving this travesty. It is a sadness to me that CB4 couldn’t quite muster the guts to vote NO, BECAUSE when Chelsea Market came before us in June. CB2 at least managed to keep its spine in the face of the Rubin plans for the St. Vincent’s sites. The vote of NO, UNLESS opened the barn door through which the Borough President drove comfortably in recommending moving the towering structure away from on top of the High Line to the Ninth Avenue end. Not a bad compromise, but it misses the point. The City Planning Commission, in spite of Amanda Burden’s public tonguelashing of Jamestown about the loss of light and air from her favorite walkway [the High Line], voted for virtually everything Jamestown wants. Who said this? “City planning was invented to curb the excesses of real estate and guide development for the
public interest.” What does all this tell us? Money rules. Always follow the money. The promises of jobs for locals sounds great, but the jobs are pitifully few, and at the lowest level of skills and therefore pay, and will vaporize as soon as the heat is off. The last-minute sop, offered to appease the Chelsea community, and sold to CB4 membership by the CB4 Chelsea Planning and Preservation Committee as money for…wait for it…“an affordable housing fund,” is for housing already promised at Fulton Houses in a deal cut in 2005 as part of the Special West Chelsea upzoning. That promise is still unfulfilled! What’s the expression? Fool me once…? In spite of huge opposition, it is very possible that the City Council may approve Jamestown’s proposal. Even if the promise of affordable housing should come to fruition the small number of units created cannot justify this awful project. It will instead jeopardize the shrinking truly affordable housing that still exists, as rents and prices are driven ever higher. A tidal wave of huge new “as of right” luxury properties is creating a massive wall along the West Chelsea corridor, giving ever more incentive to local landlords, both commercial and residential,
to maximize their profits. All over the neighborhood, tenants who have lived their lives here are being pressured, and often harassed to get out. That’s the deal we made. But Jamestown’s proposed expansion is not “as of right.” It requires a zoning change. It can be stopped! I fail to find words for my disappointment in our newspaper, Chelsea Now, in the abandonment of its gutsy editorial stance, and its cheap shot at a brave and worthy group of Chelsea citizens devoted to preserving our heritage. It makes the flip-floppers at the national level of politics look like pikers. I’d like to recommend a book, “Democracy Begins at Home” by Jennings Perry, to the new owner of the paper. It is about the courageous battle fought — and won — by a newspaper against a political machine, and a poll tax. It is eerily relevant. Christine Quinn is a political child of Chelsea. Her teeth were cut here, and she still is our representative at the City Council. She is tough and spunky and smart. She has always fought the good fights for us, and we trust her to do what she knows is right, not for her own political agenda, but for us, her supporters and her neighbors. Chris, do the right thing here.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Continued from page 8
participation in StopTheGreedAgenda.com. A good place to start would be at the local level with the City Council denying a greedy grab of Chelsea’s sky and ambience. Hilda Regier
home and give up Chelsea’s zoning for a bunch of empty door prizes (or what you call “gets” — the choice of words speaks volumes!) cooked up by the very board that wanted this project to begin with? Why? Because you bought the community newspaper? Give me a break!
To The Editor: Re “Championing Chelsea (Market) Change” (editorial, Sept. 19): So, you buy the local press to stifle opposition to development, and then dictate that the time to petition our elected leaders has now ended, and all those who still oppose this project should now go
To The Editor: Has anyone considered the development of airspace above the St. John’s Center building on West Street as a possible location for a hospital (hello NYU Medical Center), so desperately needed in this part of Manhattan? Pier 40 could fulfill a critical role providing much-needed parking for medical personnel, staff and visitors with access to the hospital via covered walkways across West Street. With greater demand for parking on Pier 40, wouldn’t Member of the New York Press Association
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Member of the National Newspaper Association Chelsea Now is published biweekly by NYC Community Media LLC, 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C, New York, N.Y. 10013 (212) 229-1890. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $75. Single copy price at office and newsstands is 50 cents. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2010 NYC Community Media LLC, Postmaster: Send address changes to Chelsea Now, 145 Sixth Ave., First Fl., New York, N.Y. 10013.
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Chelsea Piers Apartments
Hospital help for Pier 40’s ills
Chelsea Now, give me a break!
increased revenue ease the demand for funds to complete repairs on the pier? Resident parking and a hospital are both needed.
PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein ASSOCIATE EDITOR / ARTS EDITOR Scott Stiffler REPORTERS Lincoln Anderson Aline Reynolds Sam Spokony EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS
Kaitlyn Meade Maya Phillips Bonnie Rosenstock PUBLISHER EMERITUS John W. Sutter
To The Editor: Re “Mutiny on the waterfront as Durst pitches Pier 40 plan” (news article, Sept. 19): Has the Hudson River Park Trust forgotten about Chelsea Piers? Why not build luxury apartments and retail around the privately owned Chelsea Piers, and leave Pier 40 as the public park and community sports facilities it was intended to be? A. S. Evans
Vera Musa SR. V.P. OF SALES AND MARKETING Francesco Regini RETAIL AD MANAGER Colin Gregory ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Russell Chen Allison Greaker Julius Harrison Gary Lacinski Alex Morris Julio Tumbaco
Continued on page 18
ART / PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Troy Masters SENIOR DESIGNER Michael Shirey GRAPHIC DESIGNER Arnold Rozon CIRCULATION SALES MNGR. Marvin Rock DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION Cheryl Williamson
CONTRIBUTORS Martin Denton Duncan Osborne Maya Phillips Bonnie Rosenstock Jerry Tallmer Paul Schindler Trav S. D. Stephen Wolf PHOTOGRAPHERS Milo Hess J. B. Nicholas Jefferson Siegel
October 3 - 16, 2012
POLICE BLOTTER BICYCLE THIEVES At noon on Thurs., Sept. 13, on the northeast corner of Tenth Ave. & W. 23rd St., the owner of a Schwinn mountain bike (valued at $600) returned to find the item missing, along with its lock and chain. At 12:30am on Sat., Sept. 23, on the southeast corner of 12th A ve. & W. 26th St., the owner of a “specialized” mountain bike (valued at $900) returned to discover the cable lock was cut, and the bike had been taken. At 7:45pm on Sun., Sept. 23, on the southeast corner of 12th Ave. & W. 26th St., a man returned to the bike rack and saw that after having cut the lock, someone had stolen his daughter’s red Trek bike (valued at $750). At 9pm on Sat., Sept. 22, in front of 273 W. 23rd St., a man who had just
come from seeing a movie at Chelsea Clearview found that his lock had been cut, and his bike (a Scott Sportster valued at $500) had been stolen.
BICYCLE SAFETY The NYPD wants bicycle riders to know — and obey — the rules. Except for riders under the age of 12 on bikes with wheels less than 26 inches in diameter, cyclists must ride in the street, in the direction of vehicular traffic (not on sidewalks). Cyclists must obey all traffic signals and pavement markings, yield to pedestrians, and use marked bicycle lanes or bike paths when available. Bicycle riders should be aware of open car doors. The following safety equipment is required: reflective tires or reflectors; a white headlight and red taillight (used from dusk to dawn); and a bell or horn.
Grand Larceny: Car window smash, and pocketbook grab The owner of a 2000 Nissan Frontier (parked on the southwest corner of Tenth Ave. & W. 28th St.) discovered that its rear passenger side window had been broken — upon returning to the vehicle at around 12:05am on Sat., Sept. 22. A pocketbook and a purse were taken. The only contents of value, two credit cards, were promptly cancelled by the victim.
Grand Larceny: “Accidental” bump a front for theft A chance encounter turned out to be a well-orchestrated theft that left its 45-year-old male victim without his $30 brown leather wallet, his NY driver’s license and $25 in cash — as well as a fraudulent charge of $12.31 on his AWOL Chase Visa debit card. Police said that the victim, who was leaving a nearby nightclub at around 3:30am on Sat., Sept. 22, was bumped into on the southwest corner of Eighth Ave. & W. 26th St. Two hours later, he received a text from his bank alerting him to the charge, made at a 7-Eleven store. Upon receiving the message, he checked his pockets and realized that his wallet was missing. The victim immediately cancelled his debit card.
direction she wanted to go, while shouting (“She’s crazy,” he said). The incident lasted approximately two minutes, during which time the victim (who, police noted, was not grabbed “in a sexual manner”) yelled for help and tried to push the perp away. During the altercation, the perp (who fled southbound in a taxi) threw the victim’s cell phone into the middle of the avenue.
The High Cost of Charging It “I’ll have a cell phone…to go.” That’s the order a thief had in mind when he (or she?) entered the 124 Eighth A ve. location of Starbucks, at around 8:30pm on Fri., Sept. 21. As luck would have it, carelessness was on the menu — at a cost of $199 to the victim, who left an iPhone 4 plugged into a socket while lavishing his attention on a cup of coffee. Upon returning from a nearby counter, he discovered the phone was missing. An iPhone 4S valued at $400 was stolen from the Apple Store (401 W. 14th St.) at 6:30pm on Fri., Sept. 21. As the phone was drinking in some complimentary Apple juice, a man took it off the charger and fled the store. The victim was unable to provide police with a serial number for the stolen item.
Unlawful Imprisonment: Grabbed on Ninth Ave. A 26-year-old woman was confronted by an “unknown male perp” (described in the police report only as having brown eyes, black hair and an accent), as she walked on Ninth Ave., along the block from W. 17th to W. 16th Sts., at around 4:40pm on Sun., Sept. 23. The man grabbed her arm and held her against her will, pushing her in the opposite
CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawed-off shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.
CRIME STOPPERS If you have info regarding a crime committed or a wanted person, call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, text “TIP577” (plus your message) to “CRIMES” (274637) or submit a tip online at nypdcrimestoppers.com.
THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Elisa Cokkinos. Main number: 212741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-741-8210. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council Meeting takes place at 7pm on the last Wed. of the month.
THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Ted Bernsted. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212-477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-4774380. Detective Squad: 212-4777444. The Community Council Meeting takes place at 6:30pm on the third Tues. of the month.
October 3 - 16, 2012
10th Precinct resumes monthly Community Council meetings Continued from page 1 groups to be careful with their personal information and be aware of those in close proximity to property such as phones, wallets and purses. Noting the recent launch of an NYPD program, she encouraged those with iPhones to register them with the 10th Precinct — to help reunite the pricey devices with their rightful owners, should the item be recovered. Area residents got an education regarding city safety, when Cokkinos introduced Inspector John O’Connell — who discussed New York City’s counterterrorism practices. O’Connell described the preventative measures and the event and intel-driven critical responses used to keep New Yorkers safe. He also urged the attendees to stay alert to any suspicious behavior and repeated the NYPD public safety campaign mantra (“If you see something, say something”). During the Q&A session, attendees brought to Cokkinos’ attention issues of parking access (the legality of EMS vehicles occupying spaces for long periods of time), complaints about noise from amplified sound coming from street fairs and what one resident described as the “crazy pigeon lady” who is notorious for killing neighborhood plants with her bird-feeding techniques. However, the main topic of discussion pertained to Chelsea nightlife.
As it had been at several Council meetings in the spring, the Shadow nightclub was a hot button issue. Located on 28th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, Shadow has long been a bone of contention for nearby residents. The club has drawn complaints regarding the unruly, threatening behavior of its patrons, and the mass of street litter that remains after each night’s hijinks. Cokkinos opened up the
The Community Council Meeting normally takes place at 7pm on the last Wednesday of the month. However, because that October date is Halloween, the meeting will be held a week early, on October 24. discussion by addressing those residents specifically, saying, “We’ve done our part as a police department. Since we closed them back in July, we’ve made 79 arrests.”
Cokkinos assured them that the 10th Precinct is working with the State Liquor Authority in taking the next step, which she speculated would probably be to take away the club’s liquor license. One 28th Street resident told of multiple incidents regarding the club, and the antagonistic behavior of some of its patrons. “I can't walk down the street,” the resident told Chelsea Now after the meeting. “They will scream at me, ‘What are you doing on this block? You don't belong here.’ The crowd that’s waiting in line harasses me while I’m walking into my apartment.” While residents pushed for more corrective measures, Cokkinos explained the precinct’s continued involvement in the issue and the legal process that is slowing their progress. “We closed them. Their attorneys went to court. The judge reopened them. The State Liquor Authority, now that they have a couple more attorneys for this region, are going to be working on it. It’s a process. We’ll make sure that we take a closer look at it over this weekend,” Cokkinos said. According to some other Chelsea residents, 28th isn't the only street that needs cleaning up. Katherine Landini, a 47-year resident of 19th Street, expressed her discomfort with the amount of male prostitution in her neighborhood. Landini says the problem is most apparent on 18th Street at Eighth Avenue — where Gym Bar, The Blue
Store and The One (a spa) are closely situated. Landini, who has protested the opening of adult video shops, says that they’re part of the problem. “They get drunk, go to the porn shop, then go for the happy ending next door. And if you walk past there, there’s male prostitutes waiting for somebody to come out of the porn shop,” she asserted. Landini also complained about the area on Eighth Avenue, between 20th and 21st Streets (in front of Rainbow Station), citing instances of prostitutes openly propositioning pedestrians. Another resident recalled witnessing a sexual encounter happen on someone's front yard. Landini has started a petition to keep sex shops out of the area. She has already received 200 names. “Everybody’s entitled to their own fetishes,” she noted, “but it shouldn’t be out in the street that everybody has to pass by.” Cokkinos assured Landini that the 10th Precinct would focus some more attention on the two areas she spoke of, promising. “We're going to put a little bit more uniformed presence out there and we're going to go after it a little bit harder,” she said. The Community Council Meeting normally takes place at 7pm on the last Wednesday of the month. However, because that October date is Halloween, the meeting will be held a week early, on October 24. For more information, see the Police Blotter, on page 10.
October 3 - 16, 2012
October 3 - 16, 2012
John Doyel, 92, leaves lasting mark on products, people “At his 90th birthday party,” recalled Mary Swartz, “John seemed invincible. Sadly, nobody is. But I feel so fortunate, so honored to have had a chance to get to know him. Chelsea is a bit less for his passing.” That sentiment, echoed by close family and numerous friends, may be an even more significant legacy than the “as seen on TV” devices which long ago established their creator as an unforgettable contributor to popular (and practical) culture. A designer for the Ronco company throughout the 1970s, John Doyel (92) passed away on September 21 at Bellevue Hospital — a short time after a very bad fall at a neighbor’s house. Doyel was born in 1919 in the town of Winchester, Indiana, which is where he met his wife, nurse and future Chelsea neighborhood activist, Rowena Diggs (who passed away in 2006). After attending the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. Doyel served in the Army Core of Engineers, stationed in Iceland, England and France during WWII as a specialist in camouflage design. In 1949, the couple moved to New York from Indiana. Still an avid painter, Doyel spent many evenings in the 1950s drinking at the Cedar Bar with colleagues Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollack. In 1952, the couple moved to a West 20th Street brownstone just west of Ninth Avenue, built in 1829 as a rental property on the estate of Clement Clarke Moore, a professor of Hebrew and Greek at the General Theological Seminary (and author of “A Visit From St. Nicholas”). The Doyels bought the house in 1965, and John (who had also designed lawn-ornament Santa Clauses for a time) began collecting mechanical and antique Santa figures from all over the world. They opened their home to friends and neighbors at Christmas — and also on Halloween, when the house became part of the Safe Circuit system of trick-ortreat stops for neighborhood children. In his basement workshop, Doyel (helped along and inspired by a crew of artist friends and former army buddies) designed many memorable late night TV-marketed products — including the Portable Cordless Sewing Machine, the Record Vacuum (an LP washing machine), the Rhinestone and Stud Setter, the Miracle Broom, the Smokeless Ashtray and many others. The products became immensely popular when buoyed by irresistible pitches from legendary Ronco front man Ron Popeil. After splitting with Ronco, Doyel continued to design gadgets for other TV marketeers, including The Nut Gun and The Press n’ Pour automatic drink mixer. Active, curious and prolific, Doyel’s creative drive — and output — was extraordinary for a person of any age. “He wrote poetry, was a photographer, filmmaker and graphic artist who weekly attended life drawing classes at the Society of Illustrators,” recalled son-in-law Nick Fritsch. “He was an ice skater and archery enthusiast, and an avid glider and motor pilot who last flew on his 92nd birthday.” Admitting that her own fear of heights precluded such an experience, Swartz recalls
Photo by Alexandra Rae
Friends will recognize this one from Facebook: John Doyel, in front of his 20th Street home.
how her late husband, Jerry, once accompanied Doyel in the air. “John took him up in his glider plane one sunny afternoon. For Jerry, it was a stupendous experience, one he went back to in his mind over and over: So high, with this huge view of the countryside. And so quiet.” Reluctant to join him in the air, Doyel managed to ground Swartz in more ways than one. “For years,” she notes, “I had coffee with him, and he always insisted on buying. At first I thought, ‘This is an old man.’ I very quickly changed that to ‘This is a very interesting man!’ We talked philosophy, and about his childhood, growing up in the Midwest, where I also come from. He was a good listener. In fact, our last conversation was trying to arrange a good time to get together because he remembered I had been going to Liberia during the summer and wanted to hear all about it.” Tim Samuelson, a cultural historian for the City of Chicago who literally wrote the book on the Ronco phenomenon (“But Wait! There’s More!: The Irresistible Appeal and Spiel of Ronco and Popeil”), shared with Chelsea Now his memories of meeting Doyel while researching the book. “My initial contact with Mr. Doyel was to gather historical data on his role in developing many early TV-advertised products that have become icons of American popular culture,” said Samuelson. “But once inside the door of his Chelsea home, I was educated, enlightened and delighted in so many other ways beyond the topic of my initial research mission.” The delights continued during many subsequent visits. “In ample fulfillment of my initial mission, he engagingly gave me insights on the complexities of creating popular products like The Bedazzler and the Miracle Broom,” which Samuelson hails as the direct ancestor of all cordless portable vacuums. “Mr. Doyel’s forty-year-old Miracle Broom,” he notes, “still does a great job for quick clean-up tasks in my office, so his presence is very much with me today.”
As he did with countless others, Doyel soon endeared himself to Samuelson by branching out far beyond the bond that initially brought them together. “I also learned about new computer technologies, photography, flying, gardening, early Chelsea history and many other topics,” recalls Samuelson, who says he especially treasures Doyel’s “inside stories of encounters with New York's creative cool cats of the mid-20th century. He made me feel like I was there with them…and it takes a special kind of person to get a middle-aged man to re-think the existence of Santa.” “John,” says William Borock on behalf of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations, “was a man for all seasons. We will miss his reservoir of interesting stories, his take on life, the twinkle in his eye, his abundance of creativity, his essence and his being…his caring. This was John Doyel.” John and Rowena Doyel were both dedicated neighborhood activists who were very involved in the creation of the Chelsea Historic District (in 1970). Their daughter, Lesley Doyel (and her husband, Nick Fritsch) are continuing the family legacy of activism — with Lesley teaching local history at several area schools and serving as co-president of the neighborhood association Save Chelsea. John Doyel is also survived by his granddaughter Nora, to whom he was devoted.
Contemplating the mechanics of a smokeless ashtray? John Doyel, around 1940.
October 3 - 16, 2012
‘Friends’ hope to cement move from lot to park
Photos courtesy of Friends of 20th Street Park
BY SCOTT STIFFLER With good humor and even better intentions, local park advocates embraced a fleeting event meant to establish more permanent urban public space. Friday, September 21 marked Friends of 20th Street Park’s first-ever observance of International Park(ing) Day. The annual reclaiming of concrete began when the San Francisco art and design studio Rebar transformed a metered parking space into a temporary micro park. That 2005 occupation inspired a global movement, with organizations and individuals using Rebar’s whimsical civil action as a template for establishing their own fleeting green oasis. In the process, Park(ing) Day has become an effective method to generate discussion about how public space is both created and allocated. For the Friends, that meant using the event as the latest high-profile quiver in their campaign to establish a permanent park on the site of a former Department of Sanitation lot on 20th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenue (which is also in contention to become a location for affordable housing). In an interview with Chelsea Now shortly after the pop up park had its midnight Cinderella moment (morphing, at 7pm, back into a parking space), Friends spokesperson Matt Weiss cited a telling statistic. “In reviewing the permits for the other Manhattan area participants of Park(ing) Day,” he noted, “an astounding one-third of them, four out of twelve, were located between Fifth and Seventh Avenues, from 15th to 22nd Streets. The fact that such a large percentage of other Park(ing) Day participants, none of whom we knew nor had affiliation with, happened to also 'pitch their AstroTurf' in east Chelsea does not strike us as a coincidence. It points to the larger issue at stake...the acute shortage of open space in our community.” For more information, visit 20thstreetpark.org.
October 3 - 16, 2012
Home again, in Alice’s Garden
Photos courtesy of Senator Tom Duane’s office
L to R: Shanti Nagel (CHDC), Joe Restuccia (CHDC), Kathleen Treat (HKNA), Sarah Meier-Zimbler, NYS Senator Tom Duane and Steve Napolitano (PANYNJ).
Alongside members of the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association, the Clinton Housing Development Company and local volunteers, Senator Tom Duane presided over a September 24 ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was the culmination of efforts (which
began in 2010) to transform a small strip of Port Authority and New Jersey-owned green space (on the south side of 34th Street, between Dyer and Tenth Avenues) into a community garden. Known by area residents as “Alice’s
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Garden,” it was tended by its namesake, Alice Parsekian, until her death in 2009 — but had been locked to the public ever since. Recently, negotiations between the landowners, Senator Duane’s office and community organizations allowed volunteers to clean the lot, lay down a
brick path and establish plots which gardners can now tend. “Alice’s Garden,” said Sen. Duane in a press release, “is a testament to the hard work of a broad coalition and exemplifies the kinds of good works that are possible when a community works together.”
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October 3 - 16, 2012
October 3 - 16, 2012
Who can afford affordable housing? Continued from page 5
the remaining $12,663,000 to the High Line to support the long-term upkeep and maintenance of the park.” On June 23, 2005, the City Council approved the three ULURP applications for the West Chelsea/High Line proposal. “After 90 percent of the High Line Transfer Corridor floor area is transferred to the receiving sites or is otherwise used, as an alternative to the High Line transfer, an increase in floor area would be permitted in exchange for contributions to an Affordable Housing Fund. The contribution amount per square foot would be determined by the City Planning Commission at the time that the fund is established,” the agreement stated. At that point, a projected $10 million of the High Line money could become available for land acquisitions for affordable housing and placed in the AHT, along with the money already in the pot. “Also, keep in mind that the formula used in the zoning context is adjusted annually per the Consumer Price Index, so this number is likely to increase over time,” said Marino.
BUYER’S REMORSE FOLLOWS CB4 VOTE CPC’s September 5 approval of the Jamestown plan came about from a June 6 CB4 resolution, passed by the full board in the form of a 24 to 17 “No Unless” vote denying the expansion/rezoning unless Jamestown agreed to fund affordable housing. The CB4 resolution was initiated by the Chelsea Planning & Preservation Committee (CPP), also known as the Chelsea Land Use Committee, which heard Jamestown’s proposal. Co-chair Lee Compton and Joe Restuccia, co-chair of the Housing, Health & Human Resources (HHHS) Committee, put together the last-minute housing deal that convinced CPP to approve the deal (Compton was on vacation at press time, and Restuccia did not return Chelsea Now’s phone calls). “Some new members didn’t even realize that Joe was not a committee member when Lee asked him to come and present his case,” said an anonymous source. “If not for the housing component, the plan would have been rejected outright.” Mary Swartz, who has since resigned from the committee (for other reasons), apologized in front of the full board for her vote in favor. “I was surprised that it even came up in committee,” she said to Chelsea Now in a phone interview. “Affordable housing made this wrong plan conceivable. It was a bad vote, a bad idea and a bad precedent, more wrong than could be cured by even 27 percent — if it ever gets built.” At the full board meeting, Pamela
Wolff, co-chair of the Landmarks Committee, proposed a substitute “No Because” resolution to CPP’s letter in support of the affordable housing concession. Her resolution was narrowly defeated by four votes out of 47. For details, access the Chelsea Now web-
Said a skeptical Michael McKee, treasurer of Tenant PAC, ‘Even if it were not a fraud, 45 or 100 units of housing, which may or may not be built, which may or may not be affordable housing, is not worth swallowing this hideous development.’ site (chelseanow.com) and search for the June 15, 2012 article: “CB4 gives tepid green light to Chelsea Market expansion.”
LIKELY HOUSING LOCATION RECALLS 2005 PREMISE, PROMISE Miguel Acevedo, president of the Fulton Houses Tenants Association, director of Fulton Youth of the Future and member of CB4’s CPP and HHHS committees, told Chelsea Now that he was the first person to propose creating an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. “Why not take the money from the High Line bonus?” he asked. “This was commercial real estate and had never been done this way. It gives us money to put into a fund for a future project in the community.” Acevedo pointed out that Irwin Cohen, former owner of Chelsea Market, proposed it himself in 2005. “He said maybe we could create affordable housing with the High Line bonus with the redevelopment on top of Chelsea Market.” CB4 cannot request a site where the money is going, acknowledged Acevedo, but it can make a recommendation — or the City Council and city can. “That’s why we came up with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. “Of course,” he admitted, “I am going to advocate for Fulton Houses.” Acevedo is also anticipating Jamestown’s commitment to creating job opportunities and training for people in the community at the proposed hightech center that will sit atop the Chelsea Market. While the housing fund money cannot
be earmarked for a particular site, HPD sent a letter to CPC saying they have the need for the money at the Fulton location, “suggesting they’re going to use it there when they get it,” said Bob Benfatto, district manager of CB4. “Technically, we can’t ask for money,” he admitted. The funds will go towards the city’s purchase of the West 18th Street NYCHA property; in essence, one city agency is paying another. The original monetary promise in the first rezoning was around $8 million, but there was no mention of finding the money to purchase land, stated Berman. “They just said they were going to build it. We don’t blame NYCHA, but the city.” Artimus, the construction company that had previously won the Request for Proposal (RFP) for West 18th Street has already built an Elliott Chelsea building, ostensibly for low– to medium-income families at 401 West 25th Street near Ninth Avenue on NYCHA-owned land, which opened this April. The 22-story, 168-unit development cost $65 million, funded through a mix of private and public sources. Berman, however, alleged that since the construction cost more than anticipated, the developer paid for it “by stuffing more market rate housing into it, which was not supposed to be part of the deal.”
WHO CAN AFFORD ‘AFFORDABLE HOUSING?’ One-third of the units were slated for “affordable housing,” but “It’s for people who make 195 percent of AMI [Average Median Income],” he said. According to
See Page 26
CB4’s own data, for a single individual, annual income comes in at $113,000. “It’s another series of broken promises,” Berman asserted. Artimus did not return phone calls or email requests for a response. Acevedo, too, questioned AMI figures for low- to moderate- and middle-income — that is, from $30,000 to $150,000. “How does a family of four survive on $30,000?” he asked. “When they created AMI, it was supposed to be 30 percent of income for rent, but that’s gross not net. When you break down taxes, it becomes 40 percent.” He added,“but that’s another conversation.” As Norma Aviles commented at the rally, “The developers say they are going to build affordable housing, but it’s not for people who look like me.” Aviles of Chelsea Coalition on Housing, a grassroots tenants organization, and a fourthgeneration Chelsea resident of Puerto Rican descent, added, “Including a contribution to a so-called ‘Affordable Housing Fund’ doesn’t make the plan any more palatable.” While there seems to be general support for Chelsea Market expansion, Berman and company have vowed to keep up the fight — asking people to write to Speaker Quinn and the City Council and tell them to vote no, preserve the market and stop overdevelopment. Said a skeptical Michael McKee, treasurer of Tenant PAC, “Even if it were not a fraud, 45 or 100 units of housing, which may or may not be built, which may or may not be affordable housing, is not worth swallowing this hideous development.”
October 3 - 16, 2012
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Continued from page 9
Pier squeeze play won’t work To The Editor: Re “Mutiny on the waterfront as Durst pitches Pier 40 plan” (news article, Sept. 19): They might as well have built Westway. There is only so much that can be gotten out of Pier 40. Leave it for ball fields and parking, but remove the side walls to improve the sightlines. Charlie Walker
Sodas? How about St. Vincent’s? To The Editor: If Mayor Bloomberg and his rubberstamping Department of Health actually cared about the health of this city’s citizenry, then pushing through a half-baked law that will never pass the constitutional test, banning large-sized sugary drinks is hardly the solution. It seems like just another attempt to levy fines against retailers, and I’m sure the mayor realizes that it will do little or nothing to curb the obesity problem. I realize there are many who agree with him. But is taking away yet another constitutionally guaranteed freedom a wise decision? History has proven that prohibition
never works. The people who are cheering this law seem to forget what happens when they deny others their civil liberties. Aside from the legal issue, I find the mayor’s stance rather disingenuous. If he cared so much about the health of the citizens who put him in office, where was he when St. Vincent’s and Cabrini hospitals closed? I can’t remember him uttering one word to help save those badly needed institutions. I do remember those sites being grabbed up by his friends, the developers. Honestly, will the miniscule amount of people who become less obese because of this law balance out the need for growing healthcare in this city? It seems that our outspoken mayor only speaks out when it lines his pockets and those of his friends. During the worst economic downturn since the Depression, he somehow managed to become even wealthier. Personally, I worry about the obesity of his bank account. Jay Matlick Email letters, not longer than 300 words in length, to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to Chelsea Now, Letters to the Editor, 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C, New York City, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. Chelsea Now reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Chelsea Now does not publish anonymous letters.
Group effort to foil super block Continued from page 3 and would take over part of a city-owned green strip along Mercer Street, according to the suit. Under the law, public parkland cannot be “alienated” without prior approval by the state Legislature. “In approving the NYU 2031 plan, the city failed to follow the law, consider public input, and serve the best interests of the people of New York City,” stated Andrew Berman, executive director of Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “Dire negative potential environmental and financial impacts of the plan were ignored, as were feasible alternatives which would have been greener and more beneficial long term to the Village, the city as a whole, and even the university.” Added Bo Riccobono, vice president of the Soho Alliance, “The NYU plan will alter the ambiance of Soho in the small streets that are the heart of the cast-iron historic district. Dignified and stylish furniture and clothing stores will give way to the massmarket drugstores and food shops that serve college communities. As the neighborhood becomes homogenized, more of the unique character of the city will suffer.” A university spokesperson sent a statement in response to the lawsuit: “NYU’s proposal to build new academic
facilities, student dormitories and faculty housing went through a five-year planning and consultation process. The City Planning Commission and City Council overwhelmingly approved NYU’s proposal
The suit asks the court to reverse the city's approval by enjoining the city from removing parkland or making any other changes asked for under the university plan and by also enjoining NYU from starting any construction. after holding extensive public hearings and engaging in a thorough and rigorous public review process as required by law. We are confident that we will prevail in court against any claims that are made.”
October 3 - 16, 2012
October 3 - 16, 2012
Community Contacts To be listed, email info to email@example.com. COMMUNITY BOARD 4 (CB4) CB4 serves Manhattan’s West Side neighborhoods of Chelsea and Clinton/ Hell’s Kitchen. Its boundaries are 14th St. on the south, 59/60th St. on the north, the Hudson River on the west, 6th Ave. on the east (south of 26th St.) and 8th Ave. on the east (north of 26th St.). The board meeting, open to the public, is the first Wednesday of the month. The next meeting is Wed., Nov. 7, 6:30pm at Roosevelt Hospital, 1000 10th Ave. (btw. 58th & 59th Sts., 2nd fl.). Call 212-736-4536, visit nyc. gov/mcb4 or email them at info@manhattanCB4.org. COMMUNITY BOARD 5 (CB5) CB5 represents the central business district of New York City. It includes midtown Manhattan, the Fashion, Flower, Flatiron and Diamond districts, as well as Bryant Park and Union Square Park. The district is at the center of New York’s tourism industry. The Theatre District, Times Square, Carnegie Hall, the Empire State Building and two of the region’s transportation hubs (Grand Central Station and Penn Station) fall within CB5. CB5’s board meeting, open to the public, happens on the second Thursday of the month. The next meeting will be at 6pm on Thurs., Oct. 11, at Xavier High School (30 W. 16th St., btw. 5th and 6th Aves., 2nd fl.). Call 212-465-0907, visit cb5.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE 300 WEST 23RD, 22ND & 21ST STREETS BLOCK ASSOCIATION Contact them at email@example.com. THE WEST 400 BLOCK ASSOCIATION Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. CHELSEA GARDEN CLUB Chelsea Garden Club cares for the bike lane tree pits in Chelsea. If you want to adopt a tree pit or join the group, please contact them at email@example.com or like them on Facebook. Also visit chelseagardenclub.blogspot.com. LOWER CHELSEA ALLIANCE (LoCal) This group is committed to protecting the residential blocks of Chelsea from overscale development. Contact them at LowerChelseaAlliance@gmail.com. THE GREENWICH VILLAGE-CHELSEA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Call 212-337-5912 or visit villagechelsea.com. THE MEATPACKING DISTRICT INITIATIVE Visit meatpacking-district.com or call 212-633-0185. PENN SOUTH The Penn South Program for Seniors provides recreation, education and social services — and welcomes volunteers. For info, call 212-243-3670 or visit pennsouth.com.
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THE BOWERY RESIDENTS’ COMMITTEE: HOMELESS HELPLINE If you know of anyone who is in need of their services, call the Homeless Helpline at 212-533-5151, and the BRC will send someone to make contact. This number is staffed by outreach team leaders 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous. For more info, visit brc.org. THE LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL & TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY CENTER At 208 W. 13th St. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). Visit gaycenter.org or call 212-620-7310. THE ALI FORNEY CENTER Their mission is to help homeless LGBT youth be safe and become independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood. Main headquarters: 224 W. 35th St., Suite 1102. Call 212-222-3427. The Ali Forney Day Center is located at 527 W. 22nd St., 1st floor. Call 212-206-0574 or visit aliforneycenter.org. GAY MEN’S HEALTH CRISIS (GMHC) At 446 W. 33rd St. btw. 9th & 10th Aves. Visit gmhc.org. Call 212-367-1000. HUDSON GUILD Founded in 1895, Hudson Guild is a multi-service, multi-generational community serving approximately 14,000 people annually with daycare, hot meals for senior citizens, low-cost professional counseling, community arts programs and recreational programming for teens. Visit them at hudsonguild.org. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the John Lovejoy Elliott Center (441 W. 26th St.), call 212-760-9800. For the Children’s Center (459 W. 26th St.), call 212-760-9830. For the Education Center (447 W. 25th St.), call 212760-9843. For the Fulton Center for Adult Services (119 9th Ave.), call 212-924-6710. THE CARTER BURDEN CENTER FOR THE AGING This organization promotes the wellbeing of individuals 60 and older through direct social services and volunteer programs oriented to individual, family and community needs. Call 212-879-7400 or visit burdencenter.org. FULTON YOUTH OF THE FUTURE Email them at fultonyouth@gmail. com or contact Miguel Acevedo, 646-671-0310. WEST SIDE NEIGHBORHOOD ALLIANCE Visit westsidenyc.org or call 212956-2573. Email them at wsna@ hcc-nyc.org.
CHELSEA COALITION ON HOUSING Tenant assistance every Thursday night at 7pm, at Hudson Guild (119 9th Ave.). Email them at email@example.com. FRIENDS OF HUDSON RIVER PARK Visit fohrp.org or call 212-757-0981. HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST Visit hudsonriverpark.org or call 212627-2020. SAVE CHELSEA Contact them at savechelseanyc@ gmail.com. MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT SCOTT STRINGER Call 212-669-8300 or visit mbpo.org. CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER CHRISTINE QUINN Call 212-564-7757 or visit council.nyc. gov/d3/html/members/home.shtml. STATE SENATOR TOM DUANE Call 212-633-8052 or visit tomduane.com. ASSEMBLYMEMBER RICHARD GOTTFRIED Call 212-807-7900 or email GottfriedR@ assembly.state.ny.us. CHELSEA REFORM DEMOCRATIC CLUB The CRDC (the home club of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, State Senator Tom Duane and Assemblymember Richard N. Gottfried) meets monthly to exchange political ideas on protecting the rights and improving the lives of those residing in Chelsea. Visit crdcnyc.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. At 147 W. 24th Street (btw. 6th & 7th Aves.) THE SYLVIA RIVERA LAW PROJECT works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression without facing harassment, discrimination or violence. Visit srlp.org.
FIERCE (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment) builds the leadership and power of bisexual, transgender and queer youth of color in NYC. Visit fiercenyc.org.
QUEERS FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE is a progressive organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation. Visit q4ej.org. THE AUDRE LORDE PROJECT is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, two spirit, trans and gender non-conforming people of color center for community organizing. Visit alp.org.
October 3 - 16, 2012
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October 3 - 16, 2012
CHELSEA: ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Harrowing, haunted, spectral…and full of stars So much good stuff on the boards, it’s scary BY TRAV S.D. October is my favorite month to see Downtown theater in New York. The madness of the summer festivals is well past, and all the hometown companies bring out their “A” games. Also, as a general rule, it is neither too hot nor too cold in the audience — and that’s not to be sneezed at. And lastly (the elephant in the room), it’s the time of spooky (and hokey) Halloween shows. That alone would take it over the top. This looks to be a particularly exciting October, with an unusual amount of star power infiltrating our typical Downtown haunts. Through October 14, La MaMa will be presenting “AdA (Author Directing Author)” — a collaboration between Neil LaBute (“In the Company of Men,” “Nurse Betty”) and Italian playwright Marco Calvani, in which the two writers direct each other’s one-act plays. The production will be the American premiere of both LaBute’s “The Lovely Head” and Calvani’s “Things of This World.” Estelle Parsons (“Bonnie and Clyde,” “Roseanne”) is in the cast. The project is a product of La MaMa Umbria, a summer workshop and development program in Umbria, Italy. For tickets, visit lamama.org. Also playing now is A. R. Gurney’s new play “Heresy” — a highly uncharacteristic tale about a boy named Chris who gets busted by Homeland Security and must argue his defense before a functionary named “Pontius Pilate.” Seems rather symbolically freighted. I thought Gurney only wrote about rich WASPs drinking martinis and stuff! Count me among the curious. More stars here: This one has Annette O’Toole, Kathy Najimy and Reg E. Cathey. The play runs at the Flea Theater through November 4. More info can be found at theflea.org. One of my favorite little companies, Metropolitan Playhouse, has a revival on the boards through October 21. Written by Maxwell Anderson (“Winterset,” “What Price Glory?” and way too many others to put in parentheses), “Both Your Houses” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning satire about the corrupt morass of congressional appropriations. Written in 1933, it was subsequently eclipsed in the public’s memory by Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and, well, eight decades of far worse corruption and malfeasance then you’ll find depicted here. I’m a victim of completionist mania. I’ve seen the film versions of, or read, most of Anderson’s plays (they’re seldom produced anymore) — but not this one, so I’m planning to check it out. If you’d like to do the same, find out how at metropolitanplayhouse.org. A revival of a much more recent vintage is also on the horizon. On October 4, Collective Unconscious will be remounting their smash hit “Charlie Victor Romeo” at 3LD Art & Technology Center. Let the buyer beware: “CVR,” as those in the know call it, is a harrowing experience. It literally dramatizes the cockpit voice recordings recovered from fatal airplane crashes, reconstructing the usually banal chit chat pilots and flight attendants engage in during the final minutes before all becomes quite serious…then terrifying…and then, nothing. This little show really hasn’t stopped running since it first opened in Collective’s tiny storefront headquarters back in 1999. And now co-creators Bob Berger and Patrick Daniels are looking to turn it into a film, using the new production as a springboard. I hope it doesn’t crash and burn! (Did I
just type that? I typed that!) “Charlie Victor Romeo” plays through October 20. More info at 3ldnyc.org. October 4 through 28, the Axis Company will present the premiere of a new work by writer/director Randy Sharp: “Last Man Club.” Axis has become one of my favorite companies in New York, thanks to Randy Sharp’s penchant for the bizarre, and the vaguely menacing and slightly illogical tone of her productions (which remind me somehow of both Sam Shepard and David Lynch). The current play is about a couple of strangers who mysteriously appear at an isolated farmhouse following a Depression-era dust storm, trying to sell a machine that makes rain. Rest assured, this ain’t your grandmother’s “The Rainmaker.” Get the skinny at axiscompany.org. One of my favorite actors in New York (and coincidentally, a member of Axis) is Edgar Oliver. This month he’ll be performing a solo show of his own over at Theatre 80. “Helen and Edgar” is developed out of material he first began presenting at The Moth in 1998. It’s directed by Catherine Burns, the current director of The Moth, and is being “shepherded” (the press release tells me) by Moth founder George Dawes Green. In true Moth spirit, the show will be unscripted. Each night, Oliver will improvise its content based on true stories from his own life. The spectral yet mellifluous Oliver is one of NYC’s treasures.
This looks to be a particularly exciting October, with an unusual amount of star power infiltrating our typical Downtown haunts.
You would do well to see this. “Helen and Edgar” is running October 9 through 27. Get the full scoop at helenandedgar.com. Another solo show on the boards this month will be John Jiler’s “Ripe,” running at Theater for the New City October 11-28. Actor, journalist and writer Jiler is best known (theatrically) for his a capella musical “Avenue X” (not to be confused with “Avenue Q”). He plays a dozen characters in “Ripe,” which concerns his dying father. To learn more, go to theaterforthenewcity.net. October 24-November 10, the clown company Vagabond Inventions (in collaboration with an international partnership of artists hailing from France, Spain and Sweden) will be presenting “Under the Skiff” — which they describe as a “a lyrical clown farce exploring the human side of immigration and the struggle for connection in a foreign landscape” in which the East Village’s The Red Room is transformed into “a barren immigration office in a strange country where two naive applicants wait (and wait...) in hopes that their papers will be approved.” More details to
Continued on page 23
Image created by Gary Pullin
The Clay McLeod Chapman/Glass Eye Pix collaboration “Tales from Beyond the Pale” plays at Dixon Place, on the first four Tuesdays in October.
Photo by Bob Berger
“Charlie Victor Romeo” dramatizes pre-crash cockpit conversations (at 3LD Art & Technology Center, through Oct. 20).
October 3 - 16, 2012
October marrow: Downtown theater packed with beefy riches Continued from page 22 be found at horsetrade.info. And finally, a brief survey of some of those highly anticipated spook shows I mentioned: Downtown impresario Timothy Haskell will be unveiling his latest edition of the Nightmare Haunted House — this one a collaboration with The Nest’s Steve Kopelman. Called “Killers,” it sends ticket buyers through a “tormenting labryrinth of various psychopaths, including Ted Bundy, Albert Fish and the Zodiac Killer.” What, no Charlie Sheen? Anyway, if this is your idea of a good time, it will be happening at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center through November 3. Tickets and information at hauntedhousenyc.com. Cardone the Vaudeville Magician will be re-opening his “House of Ghostly Haunts” at the Canal Park Playhouse. This “weekly celebration of the strange, the macabre and the fantastical” runs every Tuesday through December 18 and features razor blade swallowing, a guillotine illusion and something called “The Time Machine of Death.” Learn more at canalparkplayhouse.com. Horror maven Clay McLeod Chapman has two big shows this All Hallows season. “Tales from Beyond the Pale,” a collaboration with Glass Eye Pix (the film company behind such modern classics as “I Sell the Dead”) will take place at Dixon Place the first four Tuesdays in October. The show is a live presentation of original horror plays for radio, based on Glass Eye’s very successful studio series, which has featured the voices of stars such as Ron Perlman and Vincent D’Onofrio. More details are at talesfrombeyondthepale.com. This month will also briefly
revive his Downtown variety series “The Pumpkin Pie Show” — at UNDER St. Marks, with “The Pumpkin Pie Show: Halloween All Stars.” The show will feature readings of some of Chapman’s spookier stories read by the likes of himself, Abe Goldfarb (sometimes known as popular burlesque host Bastard Keith) and Hanna Cheek and Kevin Townley of “Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary” — a terrific web series. “The Pumpkin Pie Show” will be up October 25-27. Information at horsetrade.info and claymcleodchapman.com. Also at UNDER St. Marks Place every Sunday at 3pm, October 11 through December 30, Radio Theatre will be presenting “The Haunting of St. Marks Place” — a live radio presentation of purportedly true tales of horrible happenings that took place not far from the very theater in which you will sit! Ghostly visitations, gangland shootouts, serial killers and “a man who inherits 22 St. Marks Place, along with a screaming skull.” Hmm…I’d contest the will! Tickets and more information: radiotheatrenyc.com. Lastly, two quick plugs for things to do on the night of October 31 itself. At the Kraine Theater, one can catch “The Blood Brothers…Reanimate” — a “best of” compilation of some of the scary Grand Guignol-style one acts their group Nosedive Productions has presented over the years. More info at nosedive productions.com. And, if you prefer a party, you could do far worse than Theater for the New City’s legendary annual blow-out, the “Village Halloween Costume Ball” which takes up the entirety of their four-theater facility and spills out onto the adjacent streets. Learn more about that one at theaterforthenewcity.net. Happy haunting!
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Daddy’s dying…drink up! John Jiler’s “Ripe” comes to Theater for the New City, Oct. 11-28.
October 3 - 16, 2012
Building on the work of ‘good old carpenter’ Ibsen 1882 play is a sign of election year times THEATER AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
By Henrik Ibsen Adapted by Rebecca Lenkiewicz Directed by Doug Hughes At Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre 261 W. 47th St. (btw. Broadway & Eighth Ave.) Open run For tickets ($67-120) and more info, visit manhattantheatreclub.com or call 800-447-7400
BY JERRY TALLMER Good old carpenter Henrik Ibsen, who saws every board as true as daisies and drives every nail piercingly home, never goes out of fashion. And as long as suicidal brainless human greed despoils what’s so delicately termed “the environment” — not to mention five centuries of rational enlightenment — Ibsen’s iron-souled “An Enemy of the People” will certainly never go out of date (until Homo sapiens themselves go out of date). Think! We in the United States are about to have an election. In this throw-
Photo by Joan Marcus
Doctor in the house: Stockmann sounds the environmental alarm.
back era of maniacal rejection of the laws of science and logic by a terrifying share of the American body politic, nothing could be more relevant than the hammer blows of Ibsen's “An Enemy of the People.” Written in 1882, it has been done at least eight times here in New York, beginning with one single performance starring Britain’s Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in April of 1895. I missed that one
and I guess all the others, up to and including Arthur Miller’s take on it in 1950. Now we have a new take on it, directed by the estimable Doug Hughes for the Manhattan Theatre Club in an adaptation by England’s up-and-coming Rebecca Lenkiewicz “from a literal version by Charlotte Barslund.” The Lenkiewicz “Enemy” first reached the stage in April 2008 at artis-
tic director Mehmet Ergen’s little fringe Arcola Theatre in London’s East End, which is also where Lenkiewicz as playwright and the Arcola itself had come into existence with her very first work, “Soho — A Tale of Table Dancers,” based on personal experiences back in her 20s. She’s written a half-dozen more serious things since then, one of
Continued on page 25
October 3 - 16, 2012
A friendly conversation with ‘Enemy’ adapter Continued from page 24 them — “Her Naked Skin” — about the Suffragettes. No, she says, table dancers — at least in Piccadilly — do not dance on the tables; they dance, somewhat undressed, around the tables. Yes, for money. Not much money, she says. She’s pretty bored with the whole ancient subject, as well as with her nickname then — Legs Lenkiewicz — and who can blame her. But, when we meet, during tech rehearsals, in a sort of lounge in the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, her height and her long, long legs are, well, the first things to catch the eye. “An Enemy of the People” takes place in a small Norwegian town where the whole economy — everybody’s income — derives from its curative baths (a sort of Warm Springs visited by anxious clientele from all over Europe). There is only one real doctor in town, a Dr. Thomas Stockmann, overseer of the cleanliness and therapy of the baths — which have never given cause for concern until now, when tests conducted by Dr. Stockmann have come back reporting poisons from a nearby tannery in the soil around the baths. At a town meeting presided over
by the town’s mayor, Peter Stockmann, brother of Thomas, the doctor moves to close the baths, his brother moves vociferously against him (rather like something named Donald Trump), and all hell breaks loose. In the end, Thomas Stockmann, and his wife and three children, have lost their house and their livelihood and just about everything else, but he still has his pride. A scientist’s pride. An artist’s pride. A self-exiled (to Italy and Germany, for 27 years) great Norwegian artist Henrik Ibsen’s pride. Maybe a little bit too much pride. Rebecca Lenkiewicz was born in Plymouth, a seaport on the southwest corner of the British Isles. Her father, Peter Quint, was 17 when she was born. Her first exposure to Ibsen (18281906) was a TV movie starring Ingrid Bergman, Ralph Richardson, Michael Redgrave and Trevor Howard in “Hedda Gabler” when she was a student in her teens at William and Mary College in Virginia. “And I played Nora in ‘A Doll’s House’ and Lady Macbeth — at 22! — in
summer stock.” What had been her greatest problems in giving “Enemy” a new face, a new heart? “Just to get under the skin of the characters. Because the story and the structure are there. I think the basic job of the playwright is to hear voices. My instinct is just to make it alive to myself.” How many drafts? “First draft, one month. Second draft, one month. Third draft, one month. And I loved doing it.” The Dr. Stockmann of the Arcola production had been Rebecca’s “then boyfriend,” Greg Hicks. Her boyfriend now is not an actor. “He works in the London underground” — i.e., subway system. “He’s a lovely man.” She also says Doug Hughes is a lovely man, Tom Stoppard is a lovely man, plus other lovely men who slipped by me. There is a body blow deep within Lenkiewicz’s “An Enemy of the People,” and I’ll have to let you wait for it. Maybe Dr. Thomas Stockmann, truth-seeker, rationalist, researcher — artist! — is as crazy as all the rest of them. “Ibsen was full of anger — the anger of the artist,” says Lenkiewicz. “It’s not an easy thing or a black-and-white thing. Arthur Miller makes Stockmann much more the hero, and I wanted to get away from that.”
Here is how one person who saw the 2008 London production — Michael Billington in The Guardian — appraised her success: “Mehmet Ergen’s lean revival of this troubling attack on liberal cowardice is far superior to the laborious spectacle the National gave us a decade ago. Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s adaptation, avoiding the soft soap of Arthur Miller’s version, never tries to disguise the anti-democratic nature of the protagonist.” Miller’s 1950 version, directed by the Group Theater’s Robert (Bobby) Lewis, had among its stars Luther Adler, Morris Carnovsky, Florence Eldridge, Fredric March, Lou Gilbert, Art Smith, Fred Stewart, Rod Steiger, and — still alive today — the James Karen who once ran an antiques shop on Greenwich Avenue. The MTC cast at the Friedman has Boyd Gaines, Richard Thomas, Maïté Alina, Gerry Bamman, Kathleen McNenny, Randall Newsome, John Procaccino, Michael Siberry, James Waterston and a clutch of townspeople. P.S. to Lenkiewicz: I don’t think the residents of a small town in Norway in the 1880s were using words like “outed” or “closet” or “infrastructure” in the sometimes current sense. I hate the word “infrastructure” anyway, don’t you?
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Monday thru Friday from 10 to 6 pm s Sat. 10 - 3 p.m. 223 West 14th Street (between 7th & 8th Ave.) NY# s 212-243-4884
October 3 - 16, 2012
Dear Aunt Chelsea, I grew up in a city in eastern Pennsylvania that heated its houses with coal. Our house had a coal bin in the cellar that housed the coal. My grandfathers were coal miners, one of whom had black lung. I am not an enemy of coal, but of the pollution it causes; I am not an enemy of Patsy’s Restaurant on West 23rd Street, as I do eat there from time to time. I just wish they would be a good neighbor and filter the fumes that their coal-burning pizza oven spews into the surrounding air. I cannot leave my windows open. At approximately 10:30am and 4:30pm each day, they stoke up the oven and the black smoke, soot and smell fills the air. This pollution cannot be healthy for those of us who live in the direct vicinity of Patsy’s Restaurant’s rooftop chimney. Many buildings on both 22nd and 23rd Streets are affected, and soon Beth Israel will be opening a healthcare facility on 23rd Street. About a year or so ago, I approached Patsy’s manager to voice my concerns; to date nothing has been done. I hope Aunt Chelsea can get some action. All that I am asking is that Patsy’s install a proper filtration system and be a good Chelsea citizen to its neighbors. Thank you, Aunt Chelsea. “Breathing Coal Smoke on West 23rd Street”
Dear Aunt Chelsea, How do I get my neighbors to actually put their garbage bags into the garbage cans? Even when the porter cleans and leaves the cans completely empty, they can’t seem to bring themselves to place the garbage in the cans! Additionally, they put takeout food containers (with food still in them) in the recycle bucket, which has no lid. All of this causes bad smells, plus looks pretty awful when one comes home. Notes on the wall have not helped in the past. “Trashed by Trash” Dear Trashed: You’ve brought a lightly breaded loaf of public shaming to the table — but your well-meaning potluck contribution has found no takers. Notes on the wall rarely, if ever, inspire sincere and lasting reform. More often, they just serve to further enrage the intended recipient (whom one suspects is fairly dysfunctional to begin with). So as I see it, here are your choices: Go all Oscar the Grouch on the perpetrator and hide in a trash can until their next transgression. Tape it, then reveal their identity on the social media outlet of your choice. If shame is your preferred agent of change, this beats the pants off a note on the wall! Or (and this is the way Aunt Chelsea swings), put their garbage in the can and remove food from the recycle bucket and always have a kind word for that lovely porter. Revel in the simple joy that comes from doing for others, anonymously and with no expectation of reward. You’ll sleep like a lamb at night…and that bothersome litterbug just might, over time, learn from your example. Good luck, dear!
Dear Breathing: Aunt Chelsea is truly pained that your proximity to Patsy’s fume-filled chimney has positioned you as the proverbial canary in the coal mine. She’s also sorry for the excessive use of alliteration — and terribly jealous of your ability to satisfy a craving for extra cheese and pepperoni with a short trip downstairs. Two pieces of advice come to mind: “You don’t ask, you don’t get” and “You get back what you give.” These aren’t exactly Aunt Chelsea originals, but they’ve never let me down. You say you’ve spoken to the manager…but you mention nothing about follow-up. Go back and order your favorite slice, then ask to speak with whomever’s highest up on the food chain. Mention your concerns as you gobble their product — and while awaiting your answer, order the largest soda allowed by our current mayoral administration. Be prepared to employ this strategy at least one more time. If management continues to stonewall a loyal paying customer, plead your case to CB4, your elected officials, your fellow tenants and your building super — and for righteous brownie points, do a little research to find out if those fumes are as dangerous as you suspect. Where there’s smoke and soot, there’s fire and inconvenience (but not always deadly toxins). Meantime, accept the fact that you’re just going to have to close your windows at approximately 10:30am and 4:30pm each day. Wait a few minutes, open them up and go back to enjoying the urban symphony of honking horns, wailing sirens and drunken arguments. Smallville this ain’t, honey. It’s the original home of 24-7-365 bustle...but Aunt Chelsea suspects you already know (and love) that.
Horoscope Aries You’ve cleared your life of clutter. Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. Lucky numbers: 78, 12, 14. Taurus Stop stressing about whether or not to leave the house with an umbrella, and learn to walk between the raindrops. Lucky living Beatle: Ringo.
Gemini This is not the right week to gamble… unless you have a really good feeling about it. Lucky word: The sexy verb in that song you can’t get out of your head. Cancer You will be attracted to something well within your means, but utterly unnecessary. Resist! Lucky color: Magenta.
Leo A fork in the road is about to throw a wrench into your travel plans. Lucky soap: Dial Gold. Virgo A coupon in this week’s circular, for that store you never shop at, will make you see things in a new light. Lucky birthstone: Topaz. Libra A friend will “unlike” your clever Facebook posting, by mistake. Don’t mention it. Lucky utensil: Spoon. Scorpio Need good advice? Stop looking to the stars and start looking in the mirror. Lucky color/ fabric: Tan Corduroy. Sagittarius A mysterious stranger will give you a package, then disappear into the crowd. Open it only if you’re up for some international intrigue. Lucky nut: Pecan.
Capricorn Flip on the TV the next time you hear thunder, and wisdom will come to you in the form of a sitcom punchline. Lucky element: Wind. Do you have a personal problem at work, the gym, the bar or the corner coffee shop? Is there a domestic dispute that needs the sage counsel of an uninvolved third party? Then Ask Aunt Chelsea! Contact her via email@example.com, and feel free to end your pensive missive with a clever, anonymous moniker (aka “Troubled on 23rd Street,” or “Ferklempt in the Fashion District”).
Aquarius Advice meant for Virgos won’t work with Libras. Be yourself! Lucky constellation: Orion. Pisces The sun has set on a secret dream…but the curtain is about to rise on a new skill. Lucky horse: Palomino.
October 3 - 16, 2012
Just Do Art!
Photo by Steven Schreiber Photo by Cylia von Tiedeman
Doug Varone and Dancers, performing “Carrugi.”
FROM BRAHMS TO KLEZMER: CLARINETIST DAVID KRAKAUER David Krakauer — the nimble, globetrotting, genre-hopping clarinetist praised by The New Yorker as having “prodigious chops” — will be joined by the Phoenix Chamber Ensemble, for a program whose title (“From Brahms to Klezmer”) references Krakauer’s predilection for spanning a variety of musical tastes and styles. The concert features the world premiere of Inessa Zaretsky’s “Six Poems for Tamar” for clarinet and piano, as well as Brahms’ Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in A minor, Op. 114; Debussy’s “Rhapsody,” Steve Reich’s “New York Counterpoint” for clarinet and 10 pre-recorded clarinets, excerpts from Messaien’s “Quartet for the End of Time” and…wait for it…Krakauer’s selection of traditional Eastern European Jewish Klezmer music and avant-garde improvisations (which will spotlight his unique style of circular breathing). Even in the rarefied world of NYC cultural eclecticism, shows with creative reach as long and wide as this one don’t come around very often. In fact, the main attraction isn’t coming back any time soon. Krakauer’s one-show-only Chelsea appearance is his only NYC concert this fall. Thurs., Oct. 11, at 7:30pm. In the concert hall, at the Center for Jewish History (15 W. 16th St., btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.). Tickets: $15, $10 for students/seniors. For reservations & info, call 212-294-8301 or visit cjh.org. For info on the artist, visit davidkrakauer.com.
DOUG VARONE AND DANCERS Doug Varone and Dancers celebrate 25 years of vibrant physicality and kinetic movement in the service of “mining the complexity of relationships and community” — with a two-
Choreographer and director Sunhwa Chung ponders cultural roots and assimilation. See “Ko-Ryo.”
program, six-day run at The Joyce. Among the offerings: the world premiere of “Able to Leap Tall Buildings.” Set to the Julia Wolfe score “Cruel Sister,” Varone’s Superman-referenced work was created using superhero action figure dolls in stop motion poses to create a unique push and pull vocabulary. Also premiering is “Carrugi” (choreographed to Mozart’s mythic oratorio, “La Betulia liberata”). Both programs will delve into the Varone company vault, with selections including 2006’s departure-themed “Boats Leaving” and “Ballet Mécanique” — a meditation on the intersection of dance and technology, propelled by George Antheil’s 1925 score). Tues., Oct. 9 through Sun., Oct. 14, at the Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Ave. at W. 19th St.). Tickets start at $10. To order, call 212242-0800, visit joyce.org or purchase at the box office (Mon.-Fri., 12-6pm). Visit dougvaroneanddancers.org or the Joyce website, for schedule info on the two programs in rotation.
SVA PRESENTS “MOLECULAR CUISINE: THE POLITICS OF TASTE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE” Who’s to say what’s in good taste, what tastes good and whose taste in people, places and things is spot on or dead wrong? Like the nature of truth, taste is as elusive as it is subjective. That’s not to say, however, that the topic doesn’t lend itself to dense and deft analysis. To that end, the School of Visual Arts is hosting a three-day international conference which dissects the meaning, and significance, of taste from the perspectives of the culinary arts, sociology, anthropology and art history — as well as the cognitive, material and biological sciences. “Molecular Cuisine: The Politics of Taste” digs deep past the notion of taste as a purely sensory experience and connects it to our passions, predilections and taboos in order to better
understand why we enjoy certain foods/ styles and not others. Fri., Oct. 19 through Sun., Oct. 21. At the School of Visual Arts (335 W. 16th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Registration ($75) is required. To RSVP, visit sva.edu/undergraduate/fine-arts. For info, call 212-592-2144.
KO-RYO DANCE THEATER
Photo by Selmer Paris
Prodigious chops and a hot clarinet: See “From Brahms to Klezmer.”
Photo courtesy of the artist and SVA
Suzanne Anker’s “Sea Rose” (2008, digital print). See “SVA.”
In 2001, Pusan, Korea-born choreographer and director Sunhwa Chung (who’d been in the U.S. for seven years) founded Ko-Ryo Dance Theater as a means of exploring themes of separation, unity and cultural interplay. A member of Korean traditional percussion group Da-de-rae-gi, Chung — whose work strives to put a “faithful emphasis on human emotion and expression” — has made ample room for her musical and philosophical concerns in this latest work (part of Dance New Amsterdam’s “DNA Presents” series). Autobiographical in nature (with a title referencing a popular Korean folk song), “Arirang — We Go Beyond the Crossroad” is a reflection on Chung’s attempt to remain close to her roots as she began to grow beyond her culture. The program features live music composed and performed by Korean Traditional Drummer Vonggu Pak, with accompaniment by violinist Sarang West. Wed., Oct. 17 through Sat., Oct. 20 at 7:30pm and Sat., Oct. 20 at 3pm. The opening night (free) reception takes place one hour before curtain. Audience members are invited to stay for a post-show discussion immediately following the performance on Oct. 19. At DNA (280 Broadway; entrance at 53 Chambers St.). Tickets are $17, $14 for students/seniors, $12 for DNA members and advanced sales. To purchase tickets and for more info, visit dnadance.org or call 212-227-9856.
October 3 - 16, 2012
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