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The Paper of Record for East and West Villages, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown

October 15, 2015 • FREE Volume 5 • Number 17

E. Fifth St. tenants are still trying to figure out; Who is the real ‘Raffi’? BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES


en dressed in black, late-night phone calls, a knock at the door with no advance notice, photo requests and chocolate — some East Village tenants don’t know what to think about their new landlord.

Raphael (“Raffi”) Toledano, who purchased 16 properties in the East Village this September from the Tabak/ Garfinkel family for $97 million, hasn’t made the best of impressions this year, according to some tenants, who have met their new landlord or his associates. TOLEDANO continued on p. 8



hen Yvonne Collery returned to her apartment for the first time after the explosion and fire that devastated her block in the East Village in late March, she didn’t immediately grasp how bad the damage really was.

“At first I thought it was just the plaster hanging down,” she said of the ceiling in her home of 30 years, which had collapsed almost entirely. “It wasn’t until I tapped it. I said, ‘Holy crap, that’s the walls from the apartment [above] sticking through, SECOND AVE. continued on p. 14


On Second Ave., trying to rebuild apartments, and lives, is taking time

Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser in their Lower East Side apartment, which is in a bit of disarray due to a renovation.

For L.E.S. ‘sideshow couple,’ sky’s the limit for creativity BY BOB KRASNER


arried performers Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz have succeeded in upending  any notion of a traditional husband and wife and may even manage to beat the odds that are firmly against couples who work together. From their meeting in 2006 at  the Coney Island Freak Show to their wedding, which included 30 “zombie schoolgirl” bridesmaids, they have created their own world

— one where tradition walks hand in hand with outrageousness. Fraser was born with drastically shortened arms as a result of his mother’s thalidomide intake, but he also possessed an ability to turn a disability into an asset. The British performer’s willingness to put himself out there resulted in a gig as “Seal Boy” at the Brooklyn beach sideshow, where his path crossed with Muz, a modern burlesque performer who has no problem showing off

her assets. Although they began to collaborate together in performance, their initial attraction had to be put on a back burner while they “extricated” themselves from their respective spouses. In 2012 they finally tied the knot, with Fraser clad in full Tartan dress to represent his clan and Muz outfitted like a sexy Disney princess, surrounded by the previously mentioned zombies.  COUPLE continued on p. 6

WWW.EASTVILLAGERNEWS.COM Comic Con knocks ’em out! 3 | May 14, 2014


East Villager • Oct. 15, 2015  


East Villager • Oct. 15, 2015