The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
October 29, 2015 • $1.00 Volume 85 • Number 22
Praise for Stuy Town sale but also concern about massive air rights BY YANNIC RACK
STUY TOWN continued on p. 8
Parents and advocates mull admissions options for new Morton St. school BY SARA HENDRICKSON
n keeping with the ongoing deep community involvement in the 75 Morton St. middle school, opening in fall 2017, a meeting at P.S. 41 in the Village on Oct. 20, hosted by Community Education Council District 2, was well attended by about 50 parents hoping
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
t didn’t take long for the much-heralded multibillion-dollar sale of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village to raise some official eyebrows. Comptroller Scott Stringer and other local politicians are already probing the “sweetener” of the deal — the right
to sell off the unused air rights of Manhattan’s largest apartment complex — days after it was announced that the Blackstone Group is paying $5.4 billion for the more than 11,000 units spread out across 80 acres east of First Ave., between 14th and 23rd Sts.
to shape the new school’s admissions process. Since District 2 is such a huge school district (running from the southern tip of Manhattan to 59th St. on the West Side and 96th St. on the East Side), C.E.C. 2 is hosting three more meetings on 75 Morton admissions in 75 MORTON continued on p. 27
Kids gleefully did cartwheels on the real grass lawn at the endangered Elizabeth St. Garden last Saturday at its third annual Harvest Fest. For more photos, see Page 15.
Row over Gansevoort Row plan: Community says, No! BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
pair of design experts told an audience of 100 concerned Villagers to try looking at Gansevoort St. without the “landmark filter” to appreciate how the “underlying zoning” actually allowed taller buildings. They hearkened all the way back to the 1800s, when the block sported taller buildings, to try to justify the plans of their employers, a development team that
wants to build up the south side of low-scale Gansevoort St., between Greenwich and Washington Sts., in the landmarked Gansevoort Market Historic District. However, the plan, by William Gottlieb Real Estate and Aurora Capital Associates, is facing staunch community opposition. The proposed scheme includes demolishing two buildings, constructing two new ones — one of which would rise 122 feet — plus adding three stories atop a row of historic
two-story buildings, boosting them to 98 feet tall. Yet, the street, along with much of the rest of the Meatpacking District, was landmarked by the city in 2003. Under a restrictive declaration dating back to 1979, the block was limited to meat market and other light-industrial uses. Those restrictions were modified in 2013 to also allow retail and restaurant use, though office and hotel use are still GANSEVOORT continued on p. 6
Dr. Lonnie operates at Village Jazz Alive.......page 10 New M3 bus option is layover due...................page 12 Clemenceau, Trigger and the triangle............page 18 He took me out to the ballgame..page 17
ocrats slate of judicial delegates did awfully in the recent election in the 65th Assembly District, Newell, who was one of the candidates, said, “I am very proud of how we did. It was one club against four clubs. It was the first time we did a judicial delegate race in that district.”
PHOTO BY SCOOPY
Paul Newell and pal.
MONUMENTAL REMARKS: Although we caught up with Paul Newell as he was standing next to a sphinx sculpture in the Elizabeth St. Garden on Saturday at the garden’s Harvest Fest, the district leader left no mystery that he is interested in running for Sheldon Silver’s Assembly seat, should it become available. “There’s a trial starting next week,” he said, referring to the fallen speaker’s trial on corruption charges. “I’m preparing for any eventuality. I think there’s no question that Lower Manhattan is entering a new phase of leadership.” His co-district leader, Jenifer Rajkumar, is also interested in the seat. Asked his position on the Elizabeth St. Garden, Newell also was forthcoming, saying without hesitation, “I think open space is extremely important in a community like this.” As for those howling that the Downtown Independent Dem-
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STRING(ER) THEORY: At the end of last year, as Mayor Bill de Blasio was struggling to regain his footing amid the police crisis — which was spiraling out of control after two cops were executed in Brooklyn — we couldn’t help but notice that Scott Stringer and Christine Quinn, too, were suddenly prominently being featured in the news and on the ’Net. Were they raising their profiles for a potential primary election challenge in 2017? Stringer at least is definitely seen as someone who is ready to run for mayor again if the moment is right. Back then, we asked political consultant Hank Sheinkopf what he thought about it all. But he said for an incumbent mayor to be unseated it would take a perfect storm, a tsunami, of problems, such as a combination of both crime and the schools being out of control at historic levels. “People don’t care if the mayor and police aren’t getting along,” Sheinkopf said. “They just want to feel safe.” We asked around to local progressive politicos then, and even at that dark moment for de Blasio, they mostly all said he had nothing to worry about. “It is very rare for anyone who is out of office for years to make a political comeback,” Sean Sweeney of Downtown Independent Democrats said of Quinn, adding, “It is no secret Stringer seeks the mayoralty some day. However, he is doing well and is secure in his position as comptroller. Mayor de Blasio would have to really slip in popularity for a Democrat in a secure office to risk challenging him.” Added Chad Marlow of Coalition for a District Alternative, “I think Scott Stringer will definitely be running for mayor...in 2021. The bottom would really have to drop out for de Blasio for Stringer to enter early. He’s a leading candidate for 2021, and there is no need to upset party insiders in order to try to get the job four years earlier.” But John Quinn, the Lower East Side State Democratic Committeeman, asked if he thought an incumbent mayor could be toppled, thought about it briefly, then blurted out, “David Dinkins!” Stringer, though, certainly seemed to send a message when, in a recent meeting with the editorial staff of NYC Community Media, he said he plans to host an “urban town hall” the same day de Blasio holds his an-
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nounced progressive presidential forum for the Democratic candidates in Iowa. Stringer said his forum would cover issues like education, housing for homeless families, public housing, economic development and more, and would be held in Brooklyn. “I think you should do town hall meetings, not just in Iowa, but in New York City,” the comptroller stated, adding, “Yes, I’m going to do it the same night. I still think the big story is New York City.” Meanwhile, the police crisis has been replaced by the homeless crisis. On another subject, asked by The Villager how he feels about the N.Y.U. 2031 mega-project today, several years after some of his proposed recommendations as then-borough president for the project were nixed by the City Council, Stringer reflected, “I would say this process was not good for the community. I would say the N.Y.U. outcome was not fair to the community.” As for de Blasio’s defense against the political pushback on his out-of-town trips, his press office referred us to his comments to Brian Lehrer. “I think if you look at the history of New York City mayors, starting with Fiorello LaGuardia, who was one of the founder of the U.S. Conference of Mayors...,” de Blasio told Lehrer. “And Fiorello was one of the people who actually helped to push some of the ideas that became the New Deal, and helped to turn around the economy of the country, and certainly New York City. ... And I think it is my job as well to try and get the bigger policy changes that will help address income inequality in this city. Forty-six percent of New Yorkers are at or near the poverty line because our minimum wage is too low, because our benefits are not guaranteed, because we don’t have progressive taxation on the federal level, and therefore there aren’t the resources to invest in things that would employ people and make the infrastructure changes we need.”
EXPRESS YOURSELF: Speaking of Stringer, he’s on the cover of NYC Community Media’s newest publication, Manhattan Express, a bimonthly newspaper covering Manhattan north of 34th St. Since Villagers “never go north of 14th St.,” you might want to pick up this fine new paper (or read it online) to find out what’s going on up there — quite a lot, from the look of it! It’s edited by Paul Schindler, who also edits Gay City News. Check it out! S.B.J.S.A. ALL THE WAY! Support for the Small Business Jobs Survival Act is gathering steam — and sponsors — in the City Council. In a major pickup, Carlos Menchaca, chairperson of the Council’s Committee on Immigration and a leading new Latino political voice, has now thrown his support behind the S.B.J.S.A. The bill, which would help small merchants negotiate new leases after their old ones run out, has sat dormant in the Council for decades as the powers that be have refused to let it come up for a vote. But with 26 sponsors, the bill now has a majority of support in the 51-member Council. At the end of May, as first reported by The Villager, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito pledged that the Council would hold hearings on small business, covering the issue of lease extensions, among other things, and all possible legislative solutions. SCOOPY’S continued on p. 7 TheVillager.com
Police-brutality marchers demand a just society BY ZACH WILLIAMS
PHOTO BY ZACH WILLIAMS
helsea resident Eileen Feldman was two blocks from home on Sat., Oct. 24 when hundreds of marching #BlackLivesMatter protesters blocked her path at the intersection of W. 23rd St. and Sixth Ave. The delay irritated her and she was not reluctant to say so out loud. Activist Hannah Raytaylor heard Feldman and confronted her. Protesters were about halfway through the police-permitted march from Washington Square Park to W. 42nd St. as a small group of people stopped to watch Feldman and Raytaylor debate the merits of protesting police brutality on a sunny autumn afternoon. The hottest point of contention between them was whether the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and other people of color represented the mistakes of just a few police officers or whether law enforcement as a whole protected a system of racial inequality. Neither convinced the other, but their conversation succinctly covered the ground that defines the ongoing national debate on how to address ongoing discrimination against people of color. “The country is more divided now than ever,” Feldman said about the #BlackLivesMatter movement in an interview. “Protesters are making it sound like cops are evil. ... There is so much hate and moronic stuff coming out now. This county’s got to pull together. That’s why I was so pissed off.” Raytaylor, in an interview, said disrupting daily life by marching provides a forum to push for progress on racial issues in a society resistant to change. “I think that inequality is f----d up and it should be slowing down and coming to a halt, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen any time soon so this is very necessary, very necessary,” said Raytaylor, a senior at Bard College. “I told her that if she is annoyed it is a little more than annoying to have your families murdered constantly. People being murdered, that’s not annoying. It’s infuriating.” A common sense of urgency prevailed among the activists throughout the event known by the hashtag #RiseUpOctober and organized by philosophy professor Cornel West and Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. The event — billed as a “National March in NYC,” with the slogans “Stop Police Terror!” and “Which Side Are You On?” — drew hundreds of activists from around the country. More than a dozen family members of victims of police shootings attended. The organizers urged the crowd to
“Pulp Fiction” director Quentin Tarantino, right, spoke at the “Stop Police Terror” march at its start in Washington Square Park on Saturday.
press for police reform as the means to reach a more equitable society. The absence of criminal charges against police who have killed people of color factored heavily into their rhetoric. “Police are killing us all over this country. Those of us who thought we lived in a region where we thought we were safe got a wakeup call,” said Reverend Jerome McCorry. “We will ask the question, ‘Have you ever seen a good policeman?’ and I will say ‘No’ because I don’t see them testifying against each other.” No indictments were issued in the cases of Garner and Brown. In addition, a U.S. Department of Justice probe also cleared Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown, of any federal charges. A sense of justice eludes Cephus Johnson, whose nephew Oscar Grant was shot in the back in Oakland, California, on New Year’s Day 2009. The police officer who shot Grant served a two-year prison sentence for involuntary manslaughter. Johnson invoked a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he told the crowd why he had come to New York City in memory of his nephew. “Cowards ask, is it safe? Expediency asks, is it political? Vanity asks, is it popular? But conscience asks, is it right?” he said. “There comes a time when neither safe, political or vanity is why you stand. You stand up be-
cause it is right. Rise up!” West added that the rally and march were about “love.” But filmmaker Quentin Tarantino told the crowd that he had to call “murderers the murderers.” The crowd cheered. The timing of the “Pulp Fiction” director’s comments sparked a furor since Police Officer Randolph Holder — a third-generation cop and immigrant from Guyana — had been fatally shot just days earlier while trying to arrest a career criminal in East Harlem. New York and Los Angeles police unions promptly called for a boycott of Tarantino’s movies. There was room for further vitriol toward law enforcement as the march made its way north. A few people among the activists hurled aspersions toward the police, such as “pig,” or “The only good cop is a dead cop.” But the march as a whole peacefully made its way through the West Village and Chelsea. “Shut it down!” the marchers chanted, as police contained the march to one lane of Sixth Ave. to keep traffic flowing. The point of marching is to express frustration that, despite some progress, black and brown people still face entrenched racism in America, explained Rahim Mcillwain, a Harlem resident, who was marching with his daughter Ablessin, 10. “I think that today should bring
about an understanding and letting the people as a whole know what we’re going through,” he said. “There’s a lot on my mind. Words can’t really express how I really feel.” After rallying again at the intersection of W. 42nd St. and Sixth Ave., a group of about one hundred activists moved on to Times Square. A woman scaled the statue of playwright George Cohan just before a ruckus erupted between police and the protesters. A black man with a child on his shoulders had been standing on a nearby bench and was suddenly thrown to the ground by police and swiftly taken away. The remaining crowd jeered at the stone-faced police, who arrested several other protesters that day. White people among the marchers said that they couldn’t know on a personal level the sentiments of their black and brown counterparts who say they feel targeted by police on a daily basis. Twenty blocks to the south, Hannah Raytaylor made that case to Eileen Feldman, but the #RiseUpOctober march was as much about self-improvement as spreading the word, Raytaylor said. “It’s not my experience,” Raytaylor said. “I am of privilege. I have never really had real struggle in my life and I’m aware of that and I want to be able to raise my awareness as much as possible, be as conscious of a human as I can.” October 29, 2015
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October 29, 2015
The members of the female drum group Batala and a marching band with some cool D.I.Y. instruments provided music for the day.
Green thumbs call for ‘Garden District’ BY CODY BROOKS
ostumed marchers paraded through the East Village and Lower East Side on Sat., Oct. 17, holding large vegetable-themed banners and playing music to raise awareness for the community gardens in the area. The festival, dubbed the “2015 East Village Cavalcade for More Gardens!” began at La Plaza Cultural on E. Ninth St. and Avenue C and was hosted by More Gardens!, a community organization hoping to pressure the city into classifying the neighborhood as a “Garden Community District.” The area is known for its grassroots gardens and makeshift parks, but these green spaces’ long-term survival has always been at risk. In a hopeful development in January, local garden activists convinced Community Board 3 to support making the area’s 46 gardens permanent by designating them as parkland. Officials are already behind the movement, including state Senator Brad Hoylman and Councilmember Rosie Mendez. Currently, the gardens are zoned as vacant lots and can still technically be purchased by a developer and bulldozed. Parade leader Jeff of Honk NYC, one of the groups playing at the event, said that events like this are bringing back “the spirit, energy and love” that the East Village and Lower East Side used to have. He remarked that gardens are an important place for the community to connect, offering the festival as an example. “If this garden wasn’t here, this wouldn’t happen,” he said of La Plaza and the festival itself. For more information on More Gardens! visit http:// www.moregardens.org . TheVillager.com
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Row over landmark-flouting Gansevoort Row plan GANSEVOORT continued from p. 1
prohibited. For their part, the audience at the special meeting of Community Board 2 on Oct. 15 was having none of it. Not one member of the crowd spoke or rose their hand in support of the proposed project. Meanwhile, many testified passionately against it. The opponents wore stickers on their breasts reading, “Save Gansevoort Street.”
C.B. 2: No way!
Pre-market-era plan Meanwhile, on Oct. 15, the two design experts, Todd Poisson, a partner at BKSK architects, and Cas Stachelberg, from Higgins Quasebarth and Partners, did their best to try to sway the crowd and the members of the C.B. 2 committee. In all, the project involves five buildings on three lots. On the east end of the block, 4648 Gansevoort St. includes a Moderne-style building, which the developers would leave standing. But a small building they described as “no style” next to this, at 50 Gansevoort St., currently home to a nightclub,
October 29, 2015
PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
Ultimately, the C.B. 2 Landmarks and Public Aesthetics Committee did what it was expected to do, and, reflecting the sentiment of the community, passed a resolution calling for the entire proposal to be scrapped. Subsequently, the full board of C.B. 2, at its monthly meeting on Oct. 22, unanimously voted to support the committee’s resolution on what is known as Gansevoort Row. “This proposed project alters the very essence and distinct characteristics that made this district historic and worth preserving by designation,” C.B. 2 said in its advisory resolution. “...[A]ny appropriate development for this block will need drastic reduction in scale,” the resolution concluded, “especially minimal height and considerable setback of additions atop existing buildings — and a design that is sensitive to the buildings and to the district. Essentially a new proposal will be required; therefore, proposed modifications to the application should be presented to the C.B. 2 Landmarks Committee prior to a hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Commission.” There’s not a whole lot of time left to do that, though. L.P.C. is set to consider the application Tues., Nov. 10, at a time to be determined.
An illustration showing a comparison of the south side of Gansevoort St. as it is now, top, and how it could look if the proposed plan is approved, bottom.
would be rebuilt to three stories. Nos. 52 to 58 were four buildings that were cut down and made smaller in the 1930s to create a market building. The home of the current Gansevoort Market food court, this structure would be preserved and not vertically enlarged, though the developer wants to do a rear horizontal extension on the second floor. Nos. 60 to 68 were five separate residential tenement buildings dating from around 1880. In 1939, their top three stories were removed as the property was then being used by meat businesses. The developer proposes to reconstruct the removed upper stories.
As they spoke, while squiggling a red power-point laser over blown-up historic photos and diagrams of the buildings, Poisson and Stachelberg argued that Gansevoort St. has basically always been in flux and had a variety of uses over the years. “This market is about change,” Stachelberg asserted. “It’s about adaptive reuse.”
the “water tanks and other exuberant rooftop structures” common to the area. This structure would actually be glass, with wooden slats inside of it. “So, at night, this will be quite an illuminated presence?” queried a member of the C.B. 2 committee after the presentation. “Correct,” came the reply.
‘A careful building up’
‘People treasure this’
“The underlying zoning, without the landmark filter, allows 155,000 square feet in the envelope,” Poisson said, adding, “What we are proposing is a very careful building up, from east to west.” In fact, the developers would only use 114,000 square feet of that envelope, “leaving 40,000 square feet on the table,” Poisson noted. As the pair showed renderings of the rebuilt, taller buildings, the audience responded with hisses and sarcastic chuckles. When the largest building, at the block’s western end, was shown, one woman exclaimed, “Oh, my God!” This corner building would have a large faux “water tower” on top of it, only adding to its height, which one of the designers said was to evoke
But committee member Jon Geballe, sidestepping the nitty-gritty of the plan’s design details, got right to the point in his statement. “The buildings that are there now were there when it was designated. I think a lot of people here tonight treasure this,” he said of the existing landmarked block of Gansevoort St., as the audience responded with sustained applause. “Did you consider that when you were planning this?” he asked. Geballe added that this block has basically looked this way for the past 75 years, a long time. So, the block has been that way essentially for the entire lives of those people who have resided in the neighborhood that long, he said. Ritu Chattree, another committee member, urged the developers to “consider the work and the energy and the thought that went into preserving this as a landmark district,” again garnering applause. “This is an area that is dear to resi-
‘On a good day, it looks like an Edward Hopper painting.’ Kim Handley
Nos. 70 to 74 were once three five-story tenements that were cut down to one story. The developer proposes to demolish the existing structure and replace it with a six-story building with a two-story penthouse.
GANSEVOORT continued on p. 30 TheVillager.com
SCOOPY’S continued from p. 2 FIRE FUNDS: We heard from East
Village activist Ayo Harrington, who has been hired as the coordinator of survivors’ assistance for L.E.S. Ready at GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), about how the disbursement of funds to victims of the catastrophic Second Ave. gas explosion has been going. Basically, Harrington said, GOLES received around $125,000 from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “We have distributed much more than that,” Harrington said, adding that there was also the money from various other sources, such as the benefit concert at Theatre 80, organized by Alan Kaufman, which raised $50,000. First priority for the funds are the permanently displaced tenants from 15 apartments that were destroyed, as well as the “long-term vacates” from severely damaged apartments at 125 Second Ave., according to Harrington.
‘SPEAR TIP’ HURLEY SET TO FLY: Last week, Lynne Brown,
N.Y.U. senior vice president for university relations and public affairs, in an internal memo to “The University Leadership Team,” announced that Alicia Hurley, the university’s vice president for government affairs and community engagement, will be leaving the school at the end of December. After 20 years with N.Y.U., Hurley will be starting her own project management firm focused on private residential development and renovations. During her tenure, Hurley, “working across all levels of government,” Brown said, has helped bring in tens of millions of dollars in grants for N.Y.U. projects, from a groundbreaking asthma study in the South Bronx to an array of health initiatives, like a mobile dental van, and a large haul for the new nursing, dental and bioengineering facility on First Ave. Hurley has also been helping the newly renamed Tandon School of Engineering to flourish in Downtown Brooklyn and beyond. Villagers, however, know Hurley more for her more recent work negotiating approvals for a series of developTheVillager.com
ment and infrastructure projects that Brown called “vital to N.Y.U.” These include the E. 12th St. Dorm (now renamed Founders Hall), at the former St. Ann’s Church site, which Brown described as “a needed but controversial student residence”; N.Y.U. Law School’s Wilf Hall on MacDougal St., which includes a rebuilt Provincetown Playhouse, which Brown noted, “faced intense scrutiny from preservation advocates”; the expansion and upgrade of N.Y.U.’s cogeneration plant; and most notably the socalled N.Y.U. Core Plan, a.k.a. N.Y.U. 2031, which, Brown said, “allowed us to add much-needed academic space to our Washington Square campus.” As Brown put it, “Alicia was (in the words of Crain’s) at the ‘tip of the spear’ in the five-year planning process that led to the city’s approval of the N.Y.U. Core Plan in 2012.” (And yes, many Villagers — particularly those living on the two South Village superblocks — will definitely say they were speared — gored? — by N.Y.U. 2031. Ouch!) “On a personal note,” Brown’s memo continued, “I have watched Alicia grow over these last two decades, moving from a parttime graduate assistant in the government relations office to...ascending its ranks to lead the office during some of the most exciting but difficult times for the university. And, oh, she earned an N.Y.U. Ph.D. along the way!” Starting her own business has been a long-term goal of Hurley’s.
OH, NAUX! Everyone else is shocked and dismayed by it, so it’s not surprising that Councilmember Corey Johnson also is “naux” fan of the M.T.A. NYC fauxcade for its emergency exhaust-fan plant at Mulry Square, at Greenwich Ave. and Seventh Ave. South. The bizarre Brutalist-mashup with empty windows has left everyone asking, “Is it finished?” Unfortunately, yes, it is. “The M.T.A. has spent so much time and money on this project, and it’s caused a lot of disruption to the neighborhood,” Johnson told us. “For them to leave the building looking like it does now is really quite disrespectful to the Greenwich Village community. We’re talking about a historic district, so we need to make sure the fan plant fits in with the aesthetic of the neighborhood. Community Board 2 has put forward designs that would weave this building into the fabric of the Village. The M.T.A. should take another look at those plans. It’s pretty confounding that they went ahead with the current designs despite very reasonable objections from the community.” The design can’t be sent back to the Landmarks Preservation Commission because the M.T.A., as a state agency, doesn’t have to answer to the city agency.
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Stuy Town has huge amount of unused air rights STUY TOWN continued from p. 1
October 29, 2015
ED REED/MAYORAL PHOTOGRAPHY OFFICE
“The deal outlined earlier this week is a positive step toward preserving affordable housing at ST/ PCV and we are glad that Blackstone has made a firm public commitment not to build on any of the open space in the complex,” read a joint letter by local politicians sent to Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s global head of real estate, on Mon., Oct 26. “However, we must express our concern regarding your intention to pursue transferring air rights from ST/ PCV to the surrounding communities. This component of the agreement has not been disclosed in any detailed way either in the public documents or in our conversations about the deal.” The letter, signed by Stringer, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, state Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, seeks clarification on the actual amount of air rights at stake in the sale, which they warned could have a staggering impact on the area’s infrastructure. It was widely reported in the media that only 700,000 square feet of air rights are available on the site. But the officials note that Department of City Planning data show the unused air rights on the two massive superblocks could amount to more than 10 million square feet when community facility uses are included. “New York’s communities are keenly aware of the potential impacts associated with air rights, and any plan to radically change the zoning of a large parcel of land must include the community’s voice,” the pols demanded in their letter. Air rights usually have to be sold to a project in the immediate vicinity (though the allowable distance of the transfer can be stretched through creation of special zoning districts), but the letter notes there are few neighboring developments that would qualify. Although the parties will officially close the deal at the end of the month, the officials requested that the details be discussed with the complex’s residents before the agreement is finalized. In a response to Stringer and the other officials on Tues., Oct. 27, Blackstone did not address the amount of air rights involved, but said that currently the company has no plans to transfer them anywhere. “We indicated our willingness to commit not to build and to maintain the important open spaces in the complex, and we simply asked for the city’s support if we sought to transfer air rights to another site,” the letter, signed by Gray, read. Gray added that Blackstone was aware that any such air-rights sale plans would require a full ULURP
Mayor de Blasio, along with local politicians and tenant leaders, announced the sale of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village at a press conference at the complex on Tues., Oct. 20.
(Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) public review, including votes by the affected community boards, borough president and City Council, and that the company would “come and discuss with you in detail at that time.” Susan Steinberg, president of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, said that most of the residents felt relief at the sale, and that worrying about the air rights was jumping the gun at this point. “I personally am not worried about it,” she said. “My impression is that there’s a lot of worry going on very early in the game.” She also emphasized the requirement of a ULURP in the case of any future plans by the new owner to sell air rights. “They can’t just willy-nilly go and transfer their air rights without a lot of weighing in by a lot of people,” she said. Local officials initially praised the sale at an announcement on Oct. 20 at Stuyvesant Town, where City Councilmember Dan Garodnick, himself a resident of Peter Cooper Village, said that the tenants at the complex had found “a true partner” in Blackstone. Under the deal, Blackstone and partner Ivanhoé Cambridge (the real estate arm of a Canadian pension fund manager) pledged to keep 5,000 apartments — just under half of the units — affordable to middle-class families for at least the next 20 years. Many of the remaining apartments are already at or above market rate, according to the tenants association, which welcomed the deal in a press release.
Blackstone also agreed to cap annual rents for roughly 1,400 so-called “Roberts” units, named after a 2009 court settlement that awarded damages to tenants whose apartments had been illegally deregulated. Rent increases on those units will now be capped at 5 percent per year over a five-year period once the J-51 tax abatement expires in 2020, at which point they would have otherwise been subject to high rent increases. Blackstone representatives attended a meeting for residents of the complex at Baruch College on Sat., Oct. 24, where Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Chuck Schumer, as well as a range of local politicians, praised the deal before opening the floor to public comments and questions. “There had been a lot of uncertainty before the public meeting on Saturday,” Steinberg said. “But they clearly said that they were not interested in evicting people, so I think tenants are feeling a huge sigh of relief.” But even though Blackstone has been responsive, additionally setting up a dedicated hotline and Web site on which residents can submit questions, some remained wary. “They were basically just congratulating each other on what a great job they’ve done,” one longtime resident, who declined to give his name, said of the politicians after the meeting. He also said that the sale’s terms were so complex that many of his neighbors were struggling to wrap their heads around the fine print. “I have an M.B.A. from N.Y.U. and I don’t understand all of this,” he said. “Why don’t they just make it crystal
clear so that a layman can understand it?” Other residents raised common complaints about noise, the complex’s student population and the management company tasked with the development’s daily maintenance, issues Blackstone pledged to look into. “The company is extending its hand to tenants and we should meet that hand,” noted a post on the Stuyvesant Town Report blog after the meeting. “Of course we have to be vigilant, and the future may show that Blackstone’s currently stated attitude will dissipate. I hope not, for all of our sakes.” Stuyvesant Town, a middle-class enclave since it was built in 1947, continues to be a home for nurses, teachers and firefighters. Residents over the past decade have fought owners’ attempts to turn the complex upscale by pushing out longtime tenants and raising rents. CWCapital, the previous owner, decided not to entertain a bid from tenants who wanted to purchase the complex, and Steinberg said there were still some lingering hard feelings about that plan’s failure. “Is this the ownership that we originally wanted? No,” she said. “But I think there was a combination of forces that meant it didn’t happen,” she said of the failed bid for tenant ownership. “The mood is mostly very upbeat, people feel that at last they know where they’re going to be for the next 20 or so years. I think this outcome with Blackstone is as good as it gets.” TheVillager.com
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Some doggone fun! Local community canines were hotdogging it at Washington Square Park on Sunday at the Halloween Party and Costume Contest in the large dog run. There were grand prizes for Best Costume Solo, Duo or Group.
October 29, 2015
Village Jazz Alive organizer Elizabeth Butson and Dr. Lonnie Smith.
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Dr. Lonnie caresses the keys on his Hammond B3. Accepting the chamber’s Village Jazz Alive Award.
Dr. Lonnie takes Chamber cats on a musical journey
Jamming with the members of his trio.
October 29, 2015
he Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce honored the great Dr. Lonnie Smith at its sixth annual Village Jazz Alive event on Tues., Oct. 20, at the Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St. Village Jazz Alive promotes and supports the unique music culture of the Village by honoring outstanding musicians who have helped create and sustain it. “The Doc is an amazing artist, a seminal figure in the soul/jazz movement,” Elizabeth Butson, The Villager’s former publisher and an organizer of the event, said of the turbaned and bearded legend. “He has played with most of the
great jazz artists, among them the great Lou Donaldson. He has won many awards for his ability to get unique and mysterious sounds out of his Hammond B3 organ! There is a mystical quality to his music. When the Doc plays a set, you just don’t know where he is going to take you — from sweetness and light to rain and thunder...to total exuberance. Dr. Lonnie Smith has always been ahead of the curve.” Speaking afterward, Smith said he enjoyed playing before the appreciative audience. “It was beautiful, a great room,” he said. “You could hear a pin drop.” TheVillager.com
A surveillance-camera image of the alleged suspect in two gunpoint robberies.
Armed-robbery pattern On Sat., Oct. 17, at 3:50 a.m., a man armed with a gun followed a woman, 26, into her building on Hudson St. and demanded her bag, according to police. The suspect then hit the victim in the head with the handgun, removed her bag and fled the building. The woman refused medical attention at the scene. Fifteen minutes earlier, according to police, the same suspect approached a man, 18, in front of 35 E. Ninth St. after the suspect had exited the passenger side of a small, light-colored S.U.V. The suspect engaged this second victim in conversation, then
displayed a silver fi rearm and demanded his property. The suspect removed the victim’s LG cellphone and fled westbound on E. Ninth St. in the S.U.V. Police described the suspect as age 18 to 25. Anyone with information is asked to call the New York Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting them to 274637(CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.
port. The boy grabbed the phone and tried to run away. But the woman hit him and threw him into two store stands before he fell to the floor. She then struck the storeowner as he came to the boy’s rescue, causing a laceration to the older man’s chest. Both the man and the boy refused medical attention. Police arrested the woman and charged her with misdemeanor assault.
Thunder punch A stranger punched another man on Thurs., Oct. 22, inside Thunder Jackson’s bar at 169 Bleecker St. Police did not say the cause of the altercation that left the victim, 34, with a cut-up face just after midnight. Jason Trent, 47, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault.
Police said that on Wed., Oct. Beaten up to the beat 21, they arrested a woman who attacked a 14-year-old boy at about A 30-year-old man allegedly 8:15 p.m. over a cell phone. brought his friends along on Sat., According to cops, the youth Oct. 24, to confront a 33-year-old man dropped his phone inside a sta- who had argued with him inside Cietionery store at 474 Sixth Ave. and lo, a dance club at 18 Little W. 12th St. soon found that someone else was The group of three men started playing fi nders keepers. punching the victim at about 2:50 A 25-year-old woman claimed a.m., resulting in a cut to the back that the boy was actually taking her of his head. Police arrived and arfriend’s phone as her friend went backB:8.75”rested Oron Tanami, 30, Moti Atais, to retrieve it, according to a police re-T:8.75”21, and Elad Ben-Kimon, 32, on mis-
demeanor assault charges.
Coke, not the real thing An arrest came easy for police who spotted a man peering around the corner of W. 14th St. and Tenth Ave. They approached and asked him what he was doing and whether he was carrying anything illegal. “I got this coke but it’s fake. I just got it from John around the corner,” Trent Patterson, 50, allegedly told police. They searched Patterson and found an alleged butterfly knife in his right rear pants pocket. A police report added that he concealed his true identity as they arrested him for felony possession of a weapon.
Thief gets bagged Police said a man swiped a handbag containing makeup and $20 inside 470 Sixth Ave. Two witnesses told police they saw him take the purse at about 10:10 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 22. The victim, 30, got her bag back. Roderick Bishop, 26, was arrested and charged with felony grand larceny.
Zach Williams and Lincoln Anderson
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October 29, 2015
New M3 bus layover alternative is ticket to ride BY SHIRLEY SECUNDA
n Nov. 1 a new service will be available from M.T.A. NYC Transit providing easier access for those who want to ride the M3 bus uptown from Greenwich Village. The transit agency calls this service “Loop Privileges.” It will allow northbound bus riders to board the southbound M3 along Fifth Ave. or on Eighth St. (where it turns and goes east), ride the bus to its current Astor Place / Fourth Ave. terminus, and then stay on the bus when it lays over there. Passengers then can take that same bus uptown or get a paper transfer to the next bus heading north from that location, all for the same fare. The “Loop Privilege” service will enable bus riders who are not near the northbound M3’s Astor Place / Fourth Ave. boarding location to get there without having to walk long distances, which is often the case now, a hardship for many, especially the elderly and infirm, who depend on buses to get around. The new service responds to a proposal by Community Board 2 to use such a procedure as an alternative to reinstating the previous, preferred northbound M3 route that the board has requested, but that NYC Transit has not brought back. The same “Loop Privileges” will also apply to the M1 and M2 buses. This is because they follow the same route in Greenwich Village that the M3 travels and have the same layover as the M3, at Astor Place / Fourth Ave. NYC Transit is alerting bus drivers about the
The M3 bus provides access to Midtown East, the Upper East Side and beyond.
new plan and instructing them that customers will be allowed “Loop Privileges” at the Astor Place location. The transit agency also advises that straphangers should tell the driver they have “Loop Privileges” when they reach the terminal.
Open House | City and Country Wednesday, November 13, from 6-8pm
How a child learns to learn will impact his or her life forever. Progressive Education for Two-Year-Olds – 8th Grade
Open House | City and Country Wednesday, November 13, from 6-8pm
a child learns tolearn learnwill will HowHow a child learns to Please visit www.cityandcountry.org for information and application materials. impact his or her lifeTel:forever. mpact his orNew her life 146 West 13th Street, York, NY 10011forever. 212.242.7802 Progressive Education for Two-Year-Olds – 8th Grade
Progressive Education for Two-Year-Olds – 8th Grade
Open House | City and Country School Wednesday, November 18, 6-8pm Wednesday, November 13, from 6-8pm
Open House | City and Country
The previous M3 bus route northbound, operating since 1966, started out its journey at Ninth St. on University Place where it headed up to 14th St. and then turned east to Park Ave. South (Union Square East). There it turned north to go uptown. In 2010, citing budget cuts, NYC Transit shifted the M3 northern route’s starting point to Fourth Ave. and Ninth St. (at the Astor Place / Fourth Ave. terminal). This left a gap in easily accessible East Side bus service going north for anyone in the area between Sixth Ave. and Broadway from blocks south of Eighth St. (like Waverly and Washington Places and W. Fourth St.) all the way to 14th St. The “Loop Privileges” arrangement will provide the accessibility these people need by making the M3 (as well as the M1 and M2) downtown route, that is closer to them, available for continuing uptown at no extra cost. It also will provide an opportunity to sit on the bus while waiting to go uptown, as well as to stay warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather during the wait. Originally, the M3 bus traveled on Fifth Ave., both northbound and southbound. When Fifth Ave. was changed to one-way southbound in 1966, the M3 northbound was switched over to the University Place / 14th St. / Park Ave. South route. That one-block move maintained convenient access for those in the mid-Village area and was readily accepted and approved. Secunda is chairperson, Community Board 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee
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October 29, 2015
Painful Varicose Veins?
Frank Rosenberg, 95, printer, family patriarch OBITUARY BY ALBERT AMATEAU
FILE PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER
wo weeks after celebrating his 72nd wedding anniversary, Frank Rosenberg, who made his home with his family in Greenwich Village for 47 years, died on Fri., Oct. 4, at age 95. He had been hospitalized after a choking incident at lunch two days earlier, his wife Natalie said. The choking incident was probably caused by Parkinson’s, a condition Rosenberg had for about 10 years, his wife said. Frank enjoyed life to the end. “We had a nice party on Sept. 25th for our 72nd anniversary and we had celebrated his 95th birthday and my 90th,” Natalie said. In an article in the Oct. 17, 2013, issue of The Villager, Bob Krasner wrote about the couple’s 70th anniversary, when four generations of the Rosenberg family and their friends danced the night away. Frank, the youngest of seven children, was born in 1920 to Max and Lina Gottlieb Rosenberg in Corona, Queens. When he was 10 years old, his father, a tailor, died, and his mother raised the family during the Depression. The family moved to Brooklyn, where Frank met Natalie and married her in 1943. She was 18 and he was 23. “We were both living with our families,” Natalie said. “At the time, couples didn’t just move in together. They got married to have sex.” Frank was a salesman in the beginning and then owned his own printing business. The family grew, with two sons, Marty and Hal, and a daughter, Sara. Frank and Natalie moved to W. 12th St. in the Village in 1968. Marty and Ken Abbott, Sara’s husband, joined Frank in the printing
Frank Rosenberg in October 2013.
business and developed a printing program, “Ready, Set, Go,” for Apple’s Mac computers, which is still in use. “They were two physics Ph.D.’s who went into the printing business,” said Natalie, who started out as a teacher, became a guidance counselor and then a psychotherapist. Marty left the printing business to become a high school science teacher and was once voted the best science teacher in New York State. Sara is a social worker, and Hal is a psychotherapist. “We have three children, four grandchildren, and now we have four great-grandchildren,” said Natalie. “Frank was a charming man and sharp as ever until the end,” said Arlene Rubin, a longtime friend and neighbor. “We played bridge, as we always did, the Monday before he died. “They had friends over for drinks around five o’clock on Fridays and they’d have a party for any occasion,” Rubin said. In 2011 Frank and Natalie had about 100 guests to celebrate one of the first gay weddings in the state. Funeral services were on Sun., Oct. 11, at Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, on Amsterdam Ave. at W. 91st St.
Glick panel is for the birds
ore than 900 million birds are killed each year in collisions with glass windows. Hoping to cut the number down, Assemblymember Deborah Glick will be holding a panel presentation on the environmental effects of avian collisions with the built environment, so that people can learn what to do to address the situation. Panelists will include Glick, who is the senior member of the Assembly’s TheVillager.com
Environmental Conservation Committee; Susan Elbin, the Audubon Society’s director of conservation and science; and Guy Maxwell, a partner with Ennead Architects. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Tues., Nov. 17, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at The New School, 63 Fifth Ave., Room UL104. Event co-sponsors include state Senator Brad Hoylman and Councilmembers Corey Johnson and Rosie Mendez.
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Signs, words and worlds all merge in a classroom RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY
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October 29, 2015
eek into any school on any day, and chances are you will see a little magic. Or a lot. I peeked into P.S. 347 on E. 23rd St. in Manhattan last week and who should be there but Gregory Jbara, star of stage (Billy Elliott’s dad) and screen (he is on “Blue Bloods”), reading out loud about some very scary carrots. Next to him stood an interpreter signing every word, because this is the American Sign Language and English Lower School. “Jasper knew his parents were wrong. Creepy Carrots were real!” Jbara intoned as a group of about a dozen first graders sat at his feet on the rug, wriggling a bit, of course, but wide-eyed with interest. “Where are the carrots?” Jbara asked the kids, pointing to a page of tombstones. “In the deadness!” yelped a little boy. “In the graveyard, yes,” Jbara nodded. So what brought a Tony Award winner to a school where all the kids are deaf, hard of hearing, or “deaf-allied” (that means children of deaf adults)? Facebook and fandom. Gary Wellbrock, the kids’ teacher, has always been a Broadway fanatic. He was a performing arts major back in the day. Now he has a doctorate in deaf education. But if you’re a theater fan and you work in New York City and you’re active on Facebook, after a while, your worlds merge. So on July 3, just to see what would happen, Wellbrock posted about an idea he’d been percolating. He called it “Broadway Books First Class.” His idea was to invite Broadway performers to come to his first-grade class and read aloud a book. Why not? The city’s budget for arts education had been dwindling. So here was a way to give the kids a glimpse of the theater world, and a hint of the gift that belongs to all New Yorkers: We live in the capital of the arts. Drink it in! “I just posted, ‘Is anybody interested?’ And within hours, he was like, ‘Yes. I’m in,’ ” Welbrock recalled, nodding at Jbara. “I typed back, ‘That would be cool,’ but I was really running around like, ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ ”
The two had never met, but here was Broadway royalty saying, “See you soon!” By the Fourth of July, Wellbrock had four stars signed up. And now his growing list includes drag legend Charles Busch (should be a great class!), actress Alison Fraser (the stripper Tessie Tura in “Gypsy”), as well as Brooklynite Eden Duncan-Smith, age 15, who starred in “The Lion King” on Broadway. She’s also in the movie “Meadowland” with Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson. And she also happens to be a former student of Wellbrock’s. Like I said, if you’re in New York and love Broadway, your worlds will eventually merge. “Let’s thank Mr. Jbara,” said Wellbrock, as the actor closed his book. In addition to a chorus of audible thank yous, there were many hands waved in the air — the deaf equivilant of clapping. “Some of the kids want to grow up and become actors, too,” Wellbrook told him. “I want to be a doctor!” shouted one boy. “I want to be a slapper of things!” shouted another, proceeding to slap himself in the face until everyone told him to cut it out. “Do we have any questions for Mr. Ibara?” Wellbrock jumped in. “Have you danced on TV?” one kid asked. “I have.” “How do you make movies?” asked another, to which Jbara gave a kid-friendly description of a typical filming day. “Did you always want to be an actor?” Bingo! That question sent Jbara back to the time he was exactly the same age as these kids. “We learned a song called ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ and the teacher decided she wanted one of the students to dress as Frosty,” he told them. “Everybody wanted to be Frosty, but the teacher decided it was actually going to be me.” He looked a little misty, recalling his first gig. After all, it set the stage — as it were — for the rest of his life. The kids seemed to understand, and one came over wearing a bunny puppet on his hand, which he hopped up and down Jbara’s arm. “What’s this?” Jbara asked. “A lion,” the boy replied. First grade can be a magical time. Especially if there’s a teacher who makes sure it is. Skenazy is a keynote speaker and author and founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids” TheVillager.com
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Kids cavort at Elizabeth St. Garden Harvest Fest Kids really dug the Elizabeth St. Garden’s third annual Harvest Fest last Saturday afternoon. In addition to digging, they also enjoyed face and pumpkin painting and puppet making, plus creating greeting cards with pasted-on leaves from the garden, the latter activity which was added this year, actually mainly for adults. Also for grown-ups, there was a Neil Young cover band, which played a one-hour set in front of the garden’s gazebo, and a cooking demonstration. The space, which neighborhood residents only discovered was city owned three years ago, has become a cherished amenity in open space-starved Little Italy, but is threatened by a planned affordable housing project. Harvest Fest-goers were asked to send letters to the mayor and all the area’s elected officials, begging them to spare the beloved, unique green space from the wrecking ball. No other nearby parks have real grass like the garden does, advocates note.
October 29, 2015
Save Gansevoort St.; Iconic block under threat EDITORIAL
he proposal by William Gottlieb Real Estate and Aurora Capital Associates to redevelop a block of Gansevoort St. is nothing short of an assault on the city’s Landmarks Law. The Gansevoort Market Historic District, designated in 2003, is truly one of New York City’s most unique historic districts. What makes it so special is that it has preserved the unique built fabric of the once-teeming Meat Market. Yes, as representatives of the developers repeatedly stated at an Oct. 15 special meeting of Community Board 2, the district’s history is one of flux, of buildings being cut down and repurposed. But when the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated this small district — and despite its outsize significance, it is a very small district — what it was aiming to preserve was, obviously, the landscape at that moment, in 2003. It’s simply ridiculous — and a threat to the very spirit of the city’s Landmarks Law — for the developers to argue that much of this block, between Greenwich and Washington Sts., should be rebuilt to the
height it was in the 1800s. What L.P.C. instead landmarked was the street as it has largely appeared since the mid20th century, when the Meatpacking District was in its heyday. Yes, the meatpackers are mostly gone now, save for those left in the city-owned Co-op building, which is protected by a deed restriction for market use dating back to when the Astors owned most of the Meat Market. But the built fabric that the meatpackers created — a unique assortment of modified buildings that were perfectly suited to their uses — remains. And again, that is what was landmarked. Everyone knows about the district today, of course, as “Meatpacking” has become one of the city’s premier nightlife destinations. Though neighbors aren’t so happy about that transformation (you can read about all the bar fights in our Police Blotter), they at least are glad that it wasn’t rezoned to allow residential use, which would have ratcheted up development pressure. However, as Zack Winestine, a leader of Save Gansevoort, put it, this block of Gansevoort St. is among the world’s most prime real estate. The developers can certainly make ample profits by finding conforming uses for the existing structures. The Gansevoort Market food court, for one, has been a hit.
This block, in short, is the last one in the district that features the historic low-scale one- and two-story structures with overhanging metal canopies that the district was once famous for. Many uses have come and gone: the meatpackers for the most part, the transgender hookers (who now mostly find their customers online), the sex clubs, the underground parties. But the built fabric remains. And that is what we must preserve. This low-rise feeling is what makes the Meatpacking District, and the Village, in general, so appealing. And this one spot is really the iconic block of the Gansevoort Market Historic District. Was it any surprise that a photo of 52 Gansevoort St. was the cover image of the designation report? The developers say they would save some of the buildings they deem aesthetically pleasing, including the Moderne-style one at the corner of Greenwich St. and the Gansevoort Market building, the latter which they concede was skillfully and gracefully cut down from its former height. However, community residents, preservationists, Community Board 2 and Assemblymember Deborah Glick all counter that the entire block — as a whole — is beautiful. And they’re right! First of all, the very low-scale nature of it is soothing and pleasing.
More to the point, these cut-down former tenements — in their small size, architectural detailings and subdued colors — are simply gorgeous in their own unique way. One speaker at the meeting was spot on in likening them to an Edward Hopper painting. Admittedly, a row of former purpose-built meat lockers on Washington St. in the historic district was replaced by a modern, industrial-looking building with angular exposed beams — playing off the girders of the neighboring High Line — and is now the headquarters for Samsung. But Gansevoort St. is different. Its buildings, because they were formerly tenements, are more beautiful. That they were lowered over the years makes them that much more unique, and again, reflective of the historic market. That they have grittiness, again, evokes the old Meat Market. A sterilized replacement is the last thing we want. In sum, the developers’ plan would, as Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation put it, “obliterate” this block and its history. L.P.C. will hold a hearing on the application on Nov. 10. Save Gansevoort and G.V.S.H.P. are urging a huge turnout to demonstrate the opposition. To approve this plan would be a travesty.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Hey, Harry — try headphones! To The Editor: Re “O.M.G.! Now on the menu at God’s Love: Roof Parties” (news article, Oct. 22): Like Harry Pincus, I moved to the South Village in the mid-1970s and live near the new God’s Love We Deliver building at Sullivan St. and Sixth Ave. And like Mr. Pincus, I have a nostalgic fondness for the neighborhood of that era and view every new construction project with apprehension.
However, unlike Mr. Pincus, I appreciate the ever-changing face of this city, even at times when change is not in my own narrow self-interest. If reflections bouncing off G.L.W.D. bring bright sunlight through his window, I suggest he get some shutters or a shade that will filter the light. It’s New York and you have to learn how to cope with change. If G.L.W.D. hosts an occasional rooftop party with music, put on headphones or go out for a walk. New York is about living in close proximity to your neighbors — and, some-
times, to their loud music or noisy parties. Another part of New York is being a member of a community. If ever there was an organization that is part of its community, it’s G.L.WD., which began in the mid-1980s as H.I.V./AIDS was taking many of our friends and loved ones. Today it delivers more than 5,000 nutritious meals a day to people who, because of their illness, cannot provide or prepare meals for themselves. I am very proud to have G.L.W.D. as my neighbor. If I hear occasional loud music from a fundraiser or other event on their roof, I will just put on my headphones and think of how many more people God’s Love will be able to help with the funds they raise that night. Bill Abrams
The Left Arm of God To The Editor: Re “Me and Sandy Koufax…and Mom’s squeeze play” (notebook, by Harry Pincus, Oct. 22): Wonderful story! I, too, shook hands with Mr. Koufax this holiday season and wished him Shana Tova. He is a board member of one the most wonderful places on earth, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut. It is a camp for children
Hillary goes trick or treating! 16
October 29, 2015
LETTERS continued on p.18 TheVillager.com
He took me out to the ballgame; Let’s go, Mets! NOTEBOOK BY HARRY PINCUS
wish my father was here, to see the Mets play in the World Series. He was a Brooklyn Dodger fan who took me to Ebbets Field, and gave me the gift of a team to follow. Baseball is about generations, players who hold our attention for a season, and fathers who hand the game over to us forever. Teams that are a birthright, and a religion. The Mets are the direct descendants of the Brooklyn Dodgers...“Dem Bums”...and their loyal fans. Dodger fans were the schlumps who worked in the factories, the post office and the sewers. We rightfully claimed more spirit than the pinstriped rich kids who rooted for the Yankees, though far less success. On the rare occasions when we won, the world seemed to stop and take notice. The Yankees march to the field beneath a quote from General Douglas MacArthur, “There’s No Substitute For Victory.” The Mets have a whole circus of substitutes for victory. If the Yankees are somehow militaristic and organized, the only religion attached to the Mets must be the irregular lurch of anarchy, and a required belief in miracles. Ya gotta believe! In this special year, we’ve won something significant. It still moves me to think of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson, who broke the racist system, a few blocks from where I grew up. I met Robinson once, when he was a soul caged within the Corporate Beast, working for Nelson Rockefeller. He was a Republican by then, and so sad. Had he lived as a free man, he could have joined his Rachel when his number 42 was placed in the Jackie Robinson rotunda of the new Mets ballpark. He could have had a hot dog at Nathan’s in Coney Island, and strolled over to the bronze sculpture commemorating the moment Pee Wee Reese put his arm on the second baseman’s shoulder, and welcomed him to the team. Like everyone, my father, Irving, was devastated by the loss of the Dodgers in 1957. What could he, a poor subway conductor, a Coney Island handball player, do but bring his 5-year-old son to one of the last games? So it is that I remember standing outside of Ebbets Field, beneath the big awning, as my father bought two tickets “for a buck” from a kid on a bicycle who said he was ready to give them away. Sure enough, the seats were two rows behind the Dodger dugout, and the best seats Irving TheVillager.com
“My Father,” a portrait by Harry Pincus.
had ever had. The legendary ballpark didn’t look like the old grainy newsreels; it was full of color and sound. Guys in white walked around the stands with enormous coffee urns on their backs... “Your mother should have one of those,” my father joked. And then, there they were, emerging from dugout, right before my eyes... THE BROOKLYN DODGERS! When they built Shea Stadium, Irving took me there in the winter to watch the steel going up. There was a World’s Fair opening just across the street, and we believed in the future, then. My father and I always sat behind home plate, high up in general admission. The $1.65 seats. Perhaps heaven is general admission, or perhaps Irving has an even better seat. We saw Jim Bunning pitch a perfect game on Father’s Day, and Lou Brock hit an insane home run into the center field bleachers at the Polo Grounds. But nothing could surpass the miracle of game six in the ’86 World Series. The Mets were down to their last
strike over and over again, until a little squibbler went through the wickets of Boston’s sorry first baseman. The evening had already been distinguished by a nut who parachuted onto the field in the middle of the game, but the miraculous ending, with the entire stadium shaking, was a thousand times better than Woodstock. Of course, Irving, then in his 70s, had never been to a World Series game. There are so few of them for Mets fans; they’re like the most significant rings on an old tree. Markers of youth and middle age, drought and abundant rainfall. Anyway, World Series tickets are just for rich guys. Well, in 1986, Irving’s “goilfriend” worked for a magnate in the toy industry, who gave her two tickets to game six. This was going to be a night for the ages. We decided to prime for the game with a fine dinner at Luna, in Little Italy. As befit the evening, a large fellow in a tweed jacket with a horseshoe of platinum hair sat down next to me, and I realized that it was Divine,
in his street clothes. I tried to alert my father to the celebrity dining amongst us, but he barely noticed. As we left the restaurant, he asked me what I was gesturing about. “We were eating next to Divine,” I said. “Do you know who Divine is?” Of course he didn’t: “Who’s Divine?” “He’s an underground film star,” I explained. “Underground where? What’s he famous for?” I didn’t have time to explain. We were outside the restaurant now, and on our way to what turned out to be the greatest World Series game in the history of New York. “He’s famous for eating dog s--- in a movie, O.K.?” I answered, nervously. At that moment, the large, glowing figure of Divine himself appeared in the doorway, just behind my father. “WELL IF HE EATS DOG S---, WHAT’S HE GOTTA EAT HERE FOR?” shouted my father, over the din of traffic. “THIS IS TWENTY BUCKS!” My father’s final season was more than 20 years ago, a rotten summer when the Mets stunk, and the players went out on strike. He’d just reached his 80th birthday, and I tried to boost his spirits by talking about the upcoming Ken Burns “Baseball” series. By then, he was hospitalized, and in pain. I promised him that there was going to be an entire episode about baseball in New York, featuring the Dodgers. I held his hand, watching the glorious story of “The Capital of Baseball,” but I knew he was slipping away. The next day, Irving was gone. It was the last day of summer. Years later, I brought my 7-yearold son to his first baseball game at Shea Stadium. P.S. 41 had latched on to some $2 tickets, and I thought it would be fitting, in the tradition of Irving, to bring his grandson to the general admission. The seats were near the farthest corner of the very last row of the upper deck. I decided we should scooch over a few seats and sit in the absolute most-distant corner of the vast ballpark. Somehow, I had begun with the best seats at Ebbets Field, and here was my son beginning with the worst seats at Shea Stadium. Isaac looked adorable in his Mets cap and long blond hair. We gamely climbed to the top of the nosebleed section, and arrived, huffing and puffing, to look out over the entire enormous stadium. My little boy rose and threw out his arms. “Dad,” he proclaimed, “THESE ARE GREAT SEATS!” Pincus is an award-winning illustrator and fine artist. He lives in Soho. October 29, 2015
Vive Clemenceau! French leader lived on triangle NOTEBOOK BY CAROL GREITZER
o you know what 46 Greenwich is? Well, you’re not alone. It’s the temporary (we hope) name of the new park at the triangle formed by Greenwich and Seventh Aves. at W. 12th St. Villagers tend to refer to it as St. Vincent’s Park or St. Vincent’s Triangle, or some such variation, while a group favors AIDS Memorial Park. Actually, most New York parks have a geographical identity or are occasionally named after a particular person. So, with that in mind, when the subject came up recently, I suggested, somewhat facetiously, that we name it the Loew’s Sheridan Park after the late, lamented movie palace that once occupied the site and has been memorialized in a famous Hopper painting. Hold that thought. I’m skipping ahead a week or so to when I was looking for a light, entertaining movie on TV. While I was hoping for something in the “When Harry Met Sally” vein, the only thing that seemed even remotely interesting was a film about the Dreyfus Affair. It turned out it was not the famous “Life of Emile Zola,” with Paul Muni, but an English film featuring mostly British actors, though Dreyfus himself was played by Jose Ferrer. I was half catching up on some reading and half watching the screen, when suddenly a new character appeared, someone named Georges Clemenceau. Clemenceau! I experienced one of those light bulb-exploding moments. I recalled that there had been a plaque honoring the World War I French prime minister on an outer wall of the theater — I think on the Seventh Ave. side near 12th St., marking the spot where he had lived for a few years. In fact, according to the New-York Historical Society, Clemenceau lived at 212 W. 12th St., one of the buildings demolished to construct the Loew’s Sheridan. Meanwhile, back on my TV screen, the sensational espionage story was unfolding, revealing that the future head of France had played a key role in the world-famous (perhaps infamous would be more accurate) Dreyfus Affair. My curiosity was aroused. I wanted to learn more about this man. So naturally I googled him and did other researcch…and here’s what I found. Born in 1841, the young Clemenceau published numerous leftish political articles and once served about 10 weeks in jail for these activities. It was when the regime of Napoleon III began sending people to Devil’s Island for similar offenses that Georges con-
October 29, 2015
Loew’s Sheridan theater, at Greenwich and Seventh Aves., circa 1947, when “Apache Rose,” starring Roy Rogers and Trigger, and “Sioux City Sue,” with Gene Autry, were showing.
cluded that discretion was the better part of polemical writings. In other words, he decided that this might be a good time to skip town and visit the United States. Indeed, it turned out to be a great time, an interesting and exciting time, it being 1865, the year the Civil War ended. Clemenceau spent time in New York and New England, teaching and possibly practicing medicine (for somewhere in his busy young life he had become a doctor). He enjoyed our freedom of speech so much, he apparently considered emigrating. As we know, he didn’t go that far, but he did marry a young American woman, Mary Eliza Plummer, a former student. The marriage did not last long, but long enough to produce three sons. Back in France, Clemenceau embarked on a political career and continued publishing radical newspapers, leading to his pivotal involvement in the Dreyfus Affair. As owner of L’Aurore, a Paris daily, Clemenceau published Zola’s famous “J’Accuse,” splashing it across the entire front page. In fact it was he, Clemenceau, who suggested “J’Accuse” as the title of the piece, an open letter to the president of France. The article launched the massive campaign that eventually freed and exonerated Dreyfus, after first virtually dividing the country into Dreyfusards and antis. Among the more than 3,000 pro-Dreyfus intellectuals, many enlisted by Clemenceau, were Marcel Proust, Anatole France, Claude Mon-
et, Guillaume Apollinaire and Sarah Bernhardt. Clemenceau also wrote hundreds of articles deploring anti-Semitism and supporting Dreyfus. Later he was twice elected premier of France and served as chairperson of the post-war peace treaty meetings. While I am certainly not suggesting that our new park be named for him, I do want to restore and acknowledge — even amplify — Clemenceau’s presence here, not only in light of the role he played in the Affair, but especially in light of today’s rise of anti-Semitism in France, where the seriousness of the situation is causing large groups of people to emigrate to Israel. Personally, as co-chairperson of the W. 12th St. Block Association, I’m thrilled to learn that 150 years ago, Clemenceau lived right
here on 12th St. I hope we restore our recognition of his achievements and honor his accomplishments right here in the park. Furthermore, if anyone has information as to what happened to the old plaque, please come forward and let us know its whereabouts. An interesting sidebar reveals a totally different side of Clemenceau, the man. He greatly admired all the impressionists, but Claude Monet was a special friend. The artist was starting to lose his sight late in life, making it difficult for him to see colors properly and thus affecting his painting. Clemenceau, in his role as doctor, persuaded Monet to undergo cataract surgery. The operation improved his vision, the colors came back, and Monet’s beautiful water lilies multiplied.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR VILLAGER, continued from p. 16
with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Mr. Koufax is an active participant with the camp and most gracious, humble and giving of his time. While visiting camp in September I ran into Mr. Koufax. I wished him the holiday greeting, we shook hands, he leaned in to me and quietly said, “Happy New Year.” I know how I felt after that brief exchange, so can imagine what it
meant to you. Thanks for sharing your story. Jeff Zeitlin E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to email@example.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published. TheVillager.com
Dandy Darkly’s bloody tales have real guts ‘Trigger Happy’ targets horror, American-style
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
apering about the stage dressed in cowboy/disco chic, with pursed red lips and a face caked in corpse-meets-Kabuki makeup, Dandy Darkly is a mincing, lilting, alliteration-spouting avenger whose signature look screams horror — but it’s no mere Halloween gimmick. What you’ll see at the UNDER St. Marks theater on October 29, 30 and 31 is what you get all year long. That’s both disturbing and reassuring — effects that, while seemingly at odds, are twin pillars supporting a solid philosophical foundation. Birthed in 2010 on the stage of the Stonewall Inn and developed through a series of guest appearances on Gotham’s cabaret and storytelling circuit, Darkly is the “Southern fried sissy” creation of Brooklyn transplant Neil Arthur James. Trained from childhood in “the art of Georgia ghost stories,” his work stays true to that narrative backbone, while grafting onto it elements of pop culture, satire, and sexual transgression. It’s as if an unexpected ill wind has blown across a campfire session of one-upsmanship tales, burning eyes and leaving a thick layer of soot in its wake. With this upcoming Halloween gig marking his fourth collection of original material (joining well-polished gems like the anti-misogyny “Pussy Panic” and the pro-homo “Glory Hole”), Darkly has amassed an impressive body of meticulously constructed supernatural morality tales packed to the gills with Vaudevillian one-liners that induce groans, horrific images that elicit gasps, and psych profile character sketches that expose motives both sinister and pure. TheVillager.com
Joining the Crypt Keeper, Svengoolie and Elvira in the pantheon of creepshow hosts who delight in executing campy framing devices, the actual stories that give a Darkly show its pulpy marrow snake their way toward karmic comeuppances straight out of an Aesop fable or a “Twilight Zone” shocker. Everybody gets what they deserve, and nobody emerges unscathed — except in rare instances when, for example, Darkly provides his own spin on ’80s teen slasher flicks. Unlike the victims stalked by Jason Voorhees or Freddie Krueger, it’s a lack of sexual activity that puts his characters in harm’s way. Excess is rewarded, but only if it’s in the service of staying true to your nature. That’s one of the hard-earned lessons in Darkly’s new show. Thoroughly enjoyed by this reviewer over the summer (at a Dixon Place world premiere just before its well-received Edinburgh Festival Fringe run), “Trigger Happy” is a four-story collection cut with winks and nods that only slightly dilute the potency of outrage directed at America’s weakness for violence, excess, and complacency. Time-honored boogeymen like werewolves and ghosts spread fear and mayhem alongside more recent horrors like mass shootings and Reality TV. Throughout, Darkly recites long observational and narrative passages at a breakneck pace, gliding with ease through the alliteration-heavy text (an acquired skill that owes as much to the actor’s work ethic as it does to Ian Bjorklund’s corset-tight direction). “Their disco dancing became a bloody ballet, a spray of crimson confetti and tracer fire the color of clarTRIGGER HAPPY, continued on p.20
PHOTO BY BOBBY MILLER
Dandy Darkly is a straight shooter with the mouth of a sailor and the mind of a psycho. October 29, 2015
Dandy is dark, bothered, and just fine TRIGGER HAPPY, continued from p. 19
et,” he says in the opening story “Silver Dollar” (in which a self-loathing ex-military man’s PTSD figures into the tale of “lycanthropy, anxiety and southern fried sodomy!”). Elsewhere in the show, “Final Girl” begins with the discovery of a once-vivacious starlet in her final role (as a headline-making corpse!), then provides the backstory — a cannibalistic tale in which Hollywood and the insatiable viewing public feed on one of their own. The plucky heroine of “American Apparel” is a drag queen rat named Bidet, who temporarily reclaims an iconic gay bar that’s fallen victim to changing times. “Craigslist, Manhunt and Scruff,” notes Darkly, “took cruising off the barstool and on to the Internet and abruptly, unexpectedly, the Poppycock was padlocked.” When the titular retail behemoth moves in, it does so as a “corporate cancer” growing “inside the hollowed husks of hallowed LGBT hostelry.” The real terror comes when
former bar patrons return as gentrified zombies, marching “one by one, to a massive meat grinder where rag dolls chewed them into commercial chum.” Destined to walk the earth with a sweet tooth for underdogs and a short fuse for ambivalence, Darkly uses these blood-soaked tales of horror and revenge as a vehicle for his own eccentric (but righteous) brand of social, political, and sexual activism. With a singsongy voice that chugs its way toward the falsetto range and dissipates into a breathy vapor once it reaches that peak, we’re invited to laugh at his fey nature, even mock it on occasion — an effective ruse that comes back to haunt, when sudden bursts of violent imagery transport the audience into an unsettling realm where nervous laughter is the only sane response. At 8 p.m., Thurs.–Sat., Oct. 29–31 at UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, btw. First Ave. & Ave. A). For tickets ($25, $20 for students), visit horsetrade.info. Artist info at dandydarkly.com.
PHOTO BY LAURA PARDO
Sit a spell, and enjoy the dirty tales of Dandy Darkly.
These Halloween reads transcend horror Suspense, speculation and satire Halloween-minded readers who have the guts to go beyond bloody lit picks will be rewarded with brain candy they can gnaw on all year long. We asked Zyad Hammad and the rest of the Bluestockings Bookstore staff to suggest a few unconventional choices, and they responded with four literary selections that draw their strength from suspense, speculation, and satire.
CHANGERS by T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper What happens when, after getting through the terrors of middle school as a boy named Ethan, you wake up on your first day of high school as a girl named Drew? This sci-fi series for young adults centers on a little-known race of ancient humans who live out each of their four years of high school as someone new — specifically, as someone of the opposite gender. After living life through four different sets of eyes, which life will they choose for themselves?
THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood With the unification of church and state, a militaristic, bigoted ruling class sets up a new government in the United States. As global health declines due to pollution — and infertility rises — women are put into bondage, where they are kept in existence only to be used by men. Will equity be regained,
October 29, 2015
and who will join hands to make it happen? You’ll have to read to find out!
SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson The Earth is doomed, with a meteor shower imminently wiping out all of existence. As the human race scrambles to save what natural life it can, scientists work to create a future for our planet. This title uses the fictional progeny of humanity to explore what it means to engage with one another. Sacrifice and hardship pour out onto these pages, and what it means to be “human” is redefined.
SISTERS OF THE REVOLUTION edited by Ann & Jeff Vendermeer This new feminist speculative fiction anthology — including works from celebrated authors Octavia E. Butler, Ursula K. LeGuin and Vandana Singh — presents us with politically charged works of science fiction, horror, and satire. Content from around the globe, sometimes stretching back several decades, makes this collection a great find for the reader who seeks a challenge. These books are available for purchase at Bluestockings Bookstore is located at 172 Allen St. (btw. Stanton & Rivington Sts.). Call 212-777-6028 or visit bluestockings.com.
COURTESY AKASHIC BOOKSR
In the sci-fi “Changers” series for young adults, high school students live out each grade as someone new.
‘Dora’ harvests the present to mine the past Part one of ‘Analogy’ trilogy is Dora’s story BY SCOTT STIFFLER
ike the apex of a dancer’s leap, each action we take has its moment in time, then becomes subject to interpretation — by those we share our stories with, and by ourselves, as the decades accumulate and perspective evolves. Twelve years ago, prolific choreographer Bill T. Jones (with a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in the rearview mirror and a Tony Award in his future) began contemplating legacy — not his own, but that of his French-Jewish mother-in-law, Dora Amelan. Now 95, she sat down for a series of interviews with Jones, the man she has come to regard as her third son. These reflections would chronicle Dora’s early years in Belgium through the time of her mother’s death, as the Germans were marching into that country — then proceed to her time spent assisting the underground arm of OSE (Organization for Saving the Children), as a nurse and social worker operating inside France’s Gurs and Rivesaltes internment camps. Premiered by the New York Live Arts-based Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company this past June as part of Montclair State University’s Peak Performances series, “Analogy/Dora: Tramontane” is comprised of 25 vignettes that blend dance, dialogue and singing, as performed by a multiracial, multicultural ensemble. On, Nov. 4, the Museum of Jewish Heritage will host an evening of video performance excerpts, discussion, and questions from the audience. Moderated by Julie Burstein (author of “Spark: How Creativity Works”), the event will provide a firsthand look at the project’s
themes, backstory, and creative process. Appearing on the stage of Edmond J. Safra Hall will be Jones, Dora Amelan and her son, Bjorn Amelan (Jones’ husband and longtime collaborator, he designed the flats for “Analogy/Dora,” which move in accordance with shifts in location and perspective). Part one of a trilogy, its self-contained narrative will be bookended by 2017’s “Analogy/Ambrose: The Emigrants” (inspired by a story within author W.G. Sebald’s 1992 collection). The middle installment, “Analogy/ Lance: Pretty aka The Escape Artist,” is set to premiere on July 1, 2016, at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. Based on an oral history conducted in a similar manner to the “Dora” project, it draws upon the life of Jones’ nephew, a dancer, during a tumultuous period in 1970s San Francisco. “They all have a strong connection to war,” said New York Live Arts spokesperson Kyle Maude of the trilogy, in an Oct. 26 phone interview conducted as she was en route to pick up her mother at the airport. Due to give birth any day at that point (baby August has since arrived, healthy and adorable), Maude noted that all of the “Analogy” works explore variations of “a war happening in the world…how each person is affected by that, and how they deal with it on the inside.” Later that same day, as Maude was anticipating the arrival of a new life, Jones also spoke with this reporter, while on the way to address a family concern of his own. Lance, currently living in Florida, is “in recovery after having lost the use of his lower limbs due to certain medical circumstances not quite understood,” according to a press statement.
PHOTOS BY PAUL B. GOODE
The ensemble brings their contemporary perspectives to the recollections of Holocaust survivor Dora Amelan.
Absorbing both of these events, and the willingness of Maude and Jones to make themselves available in the midst of such upheaval, puts one in mind of the “Dora” project’s imperative to layer the past, present and future, along with its function as a way to preserve the experiences of a rapidly disappearing generation, for the benefit of generations to come.
“Dora is much more fragile than when we did the oral histories. Any day could be her last,” says Jones, who regards the Nov. 4 event — indeed, any time spent with his mother-in-law — as “something very precarious; us sitting on that stage and talking. It’s very DORA, continued on p.22
The 25th Anniversary of Jamie deRoy & friends and Jamie’s 40th Annual 30th Birthday WITh
Joy BehAR RoBeRT CuCCioli lARRy gATlin JAy JohnSon DAiSy JoPling miChele lee luBA mASon aNd More! Monday, November 9th, 7:30 pm The Gerald W. Lynch Theatre SeATing: $75/$100/$150/$250 PRemium SeATing: $500 Includes premium seating, post-show reception (by phone only) 212.221.7300 ext. 133.
aLL Proceeds beNefIT
Flats designed by Bjorn Amelan are moved in accordance with shifts in location and perspective. TheVillager.com
www.actorsfund.org/jamie October 29, 2015
‘Dora’ has a contemporary take on living history DORA, continued from p. 21
urgent that I don’t take any day for granted with her. She’s very much alive right now, so this is a privilege.” This upcoming conversation, like the work it references, functions in part to contemporize Dora’s wartime experiences. “From the very beginning, the piece [“Analogy/Dora”] was conceived to not be totally backward-looking,” says Jones, who wanted his performers “to feel the questions they had in their youth reflected in a time sixty to seventy years prior,” when Dora was in her late teens and early twenties. Rather than asking them to fully comprehend the external conditions of that era or interpret the internal process of “a woman whose first language is French, who speaks Hebrew and German when you sit with her,” the source material arrived with the expectation that it would be “interpreted through their basic knowledge, instincts and skills. They are the contemporary world,” says Jones, whose “gender partitioned” casting has men asking the questions he once posed, and women giving voice to Dora’s responses. “They’re not trying to imitate Dora. That’s why they are themselves,” notes Jones, who counts among his ensemble “a young woman from Taiwan, an African-American woman, and a white woman. Their very bodies represent what is meant when you ‘read the stage.’ To look at them, there is a kind of dissonance when you realize the story being told is from the 1940s.”
Although firmly set in the past, Jones emphasizes that “Analogy/Dora” was not created to simply preserve that era, or serve only those interested in exploring it. “What we’re making is not [just] about the Holocaust. It’s about making theater with the people you have now.” Nor is it simply about the word-for-word interviews, he asserts. A book could do that just, if not more, effectively. Instead, on the stage, “There’s a system at work,” says Jones, which articulates itself in “the way we handle the flats, the repetition of certain tableaus. When you ask yourself what is being said, it’s almost like the question of right and wrong [that Dora asks, when responding to a question about the difference between cooperation and collaboration]. Is it shifting? Is it lucid? Will it change in your memory over time?” As for how time will impact the “Dora” project, Jones notes that for artists (in general, and certainly specific to himself), “there is a tendency to collect experiences from the world, make your work, and move on. This work, because of how it has landed in the hearts and minds of people, it is not so clear as to what its future will be.” Wed., Nov. 4, 7 p.m. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place). For tickets ($15, $10 for Museum members, $5 for students with valid ID), call 646-4374202 or visit mjhnyc.org. Access more info about The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company at newyorklivearts. org (where Jones serves as artistic director).
PHOTO BY STEPHANIE BERGER
Flip the script on choreographer and oral historian Bill T. Jones, when he answers the questions: Nov. 4 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Downtown Music Productions THE DOWNTOWN CHAMBER & OPERA PLAYERS COMPOSERS & POETS Mi mi Stern-Wolfe, Director & Conductor
St. Marks in the Bowery 1 31 East 10th Street (2nd Ave. & 10th St.) Info: 212 477-1594
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October 29, 2015
Buhmann on Art
‘Nuevos Colores’ at Robert Miller Gallery
BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN
his extensive and rather timely group exhibition presents a cross-generational group of artists who all live and work in Havana, Cuba. The range of media is eclectic — including site-specific installations, sculptures, paintings, works on paper and photographs, among others. In order to enter the exhibition, visitors will have to pass underneath a site-specific installation by Arlés del Rio, which is comprised of multi-colored, elongated snorkels. Hanging just out of reach, they generate a sense of visceral yearning for what lies beyond. Holding up a piepan embroidered with thread and beads in her self-portrait photograph, Aimée García also expresses her longing to be freed from the everyday, and her hope to find magic in the mundane. Elsewhere, Ariamna Contino’s hand-cut and meticulously layered three-dimensional paper images contrast the paper’s inherent fragility with the subject matter: deadly weapons used to commit mass murder. What these works have in common, aside from their shared cultural background, is that they reference a Cuban socio-political context. Here, oppression, yearning, dichotomies, and alternate realities are recurring themes. Through Nov. 14 at Robert Miller Gallery (524 W. 26th St. btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 212-366-4774 or visit robertmillergallery.com.
COURTESY ROBERT MILLER GALLERY
Carlos Quintana: “Intriga en el Monasterio” (2015 | 78 11/16 x 86 9/16 in; 200 x 220 cm).
COURTESY ROBERT MILLER GALLERY
Arlés del Rio: “La Necesidad de Otros Aires” (2015 | installation: silicone, nylon, plastic and metal no. 2, 3, and 4 [300 plastic tubes] | dimensions variable).
COURTESY ROBERT MILLER GALLERY
Aimée García: “Constelaciones” (2010 | digital photograph on canvas embroidered with thread and beads | 31 7/16 x 20 13/16 in; 80 x 53 cm). October 29, 2015
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October 29, 2015
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October 29, 2015
Wage demands at N.Y.U., then and now
FLASHBACK BY YANNIC RACK
lmost 60 years ago, three dozen workers walked off their jobs at New York University’s cafeterias. Dissatisfied with their wages, benefits and work conditions, they called for collective bargaining rights with the university. “Their wage range is now $41 to $50 per week, and [president of the cafeteria employees union Joseph] Fox called this ‘thirty percent the normal pay to miscellaneous workers’ under a union shop arrangement,” read an article on Nov. 13, 1958 in The Villager. “He charged that the university was guilty of ‘pious hypocrisy, upholding collective bargaining in their labor forums and their student newspaper, and then taking a completely opposite position in their dealings with us.’ ” The university denied refusing to deal with the union, and argued that students must be permitted to work their way through school on flexible schedules, which
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would make a half-student / half-union model for the cafeterias difficult to achieve. Although the pay scale is different, student workers at N.Y.U. still struggle with similar issues today. The university recently issued an apology to workers who have been waiting for their paychecks for months, after a student group held a protest over the issue. “N.Y.U. understands its obligation and takes it as a point of honor that student employees are paid what they are owed on time,” the letter from a university official read. “Unfortunately, we know that we have not been flawless in fulfilling this obligation.” At the same time, students are now pushing for a salary increase to $15 per hour, spurred on by the countrywide “Fight for 15” movement that aims to raise the minimum wage. “There are not enough jobs on campus for students, and so they can’t pay off their debts,” Robert Aschermann, an organizer with the school’s Student Labor Action Movement, or SLAM, said at a recent protest. “Starting wage at a lot of places is $9,” he said, “and that’s not enough to survive.”
War and peace and pigeons: Miranda
n Oct. 3, 1918, during World War I, more than 500 men of the 77th Infantry Division were trapped behind enemy lines in France’s Forest of Argonne. By the next day, now also under friendly fire, only about 200 of these predominately New York City-raised soldiers remained accounted for. Their final hope for survival lay in the wings of a carrier pigeon named Cher Ami. Major Charles Whittlesey attached a silver canister to Cher Ami’s leg with a note that simply read, “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it,” and sent her on her mission. The Germans saw her and opened fire. Yet despite being blinded in one eye and struck in her breast, and with one leg hanging by just a tendon, Cher Ami completed her mission and the men were saved. Due to the recent birdnappings in Washington Square Park reported in The Villager and elsewhere, it seems time for a NYCritters article on these feathered friends of ours. Miranda is, according to bird enthusiasts Tina Trachtenberg and Larry Reddick, the friendliest pigeon in Washington Square Park. “People come to the park just to see her, because she’s so gentle and so personable,” said Trachtenberg. “You can hold her and she’s, like, looking at you and hanging out with you. She’s an amazing bird.” “She likes to land on kids’ heads,” said Reddick.
October 29, 2015
PHOTO BY FACEBOY
Miranda, in Washington Square Park, is gentle and friendly.
“Yes, I guess she loves kids,” Trachtenberg concurred. For the kids’ perspective, NYCritters interviewed 8-year-old Violet Hall, who is also your writer’s niece. To make sure we were speaking about the same critter, we first asked if Miranda is a monkey. “She’s a pigeon,” Hall assured. “I met her in Washington Square Park and she’s very nice and gentle. When she lands on you, her claws don’t dig into you and she just comes up to everybody. It kind of feels like something light landing on you.” Speaking of pigeons, generally, Hall added, “They like when you hold food in your hand, and then they land on you and they like to be alone. When they’re on someone or if they’re getting fed, they don’t want other pigeons to come, and they’ll kind of hit them with their wing.” Cher Ami was awarded the Croix de Guerre medal with a palm Oak Leaf Cluster for her heroic service. She died of her wounds on June 13, 1919, and was preserved and is on display at the Smithsonian Institution. As for Miranda, she can be visited most afternoons near the Holley monument in Washington Square Park. TheVillager.com
Mulling admissions options for new middle school 75 MORTON continued from p. 1
PHOTO BY SARA HENDRICKSON
various locations during November to engage parents across the district. 75 Morton, an existing building that is currently being renovated at the corner of Morton and Hudson Sts., is planned as a state-of-the art facility for up to 1,000 students, according to School Construction Authority capacity formulas. However, many parents are advocating for a smaller, “right-sized” school of 600 to 700 students. The school will have one floor dedicated for about 100 District 75 students who need extra support due to autism spectrum disorder (A.S.D.) and other learning challenges. After welcoming remarks and introductions of several Department of Education officials present, C.E.C. 2 member Matthew Horovitz, who chairs the 75 Morton Committee, got the crowd’s attention. “The D.O.E. might consider whether 75 Morton should be a zoned school for the West Side,” he said. But as parents quickly learned from their admissions crash course that followed, a zoned school can mean many different things. In an instructive power point presentation, C.E.C. 2 President Shino Tanikawa explained the basics. All New York City middle school students must apply to multiple schools through D.O.E.’s standard application and rank their chosen schools in order of preference. They are accepted by only one school, although appeals can change assignments on occasion. Admission methods vary widely among individual schools, and are often complex and nuanced, and can appear opaque to families. In preparation for their breakout discussion groups to follow, Tanikawa implored parents not to “get too bogged down in terminology of what exists.” There are 23 middle schools in District 2, but only four zoned middle schools, with the largest and most well known being Robert Wagner on E. 76th St. and Simon Baruch on E. 21st St. Both of these have more than 1,000 students and have large zones. Wagner and Baruch, however, use multiple admission methods and offer multiple programs, such that only a portion of their students are admitted solely based on living in the zone. A significant portion of both zoned and unzoned students are admitted on a “screened” basis, using criteria such as the student’s rank choice for the school, state test scores, report cards, attendance, interviews and other metrics. All screened middle schools create their own customized set of screening criteria, but virtually every District 2 middle school uses school rank in the mix. This universal practice sparked
Sara McPhee, from the D.O.E. Office of Student Enrollment, left, and Bonnie Laboy, superintendent of School District 2, at the Oct. 20 meeting on admissions at 75 Morton St.
parent angst during the meeting’s Q&A and breakout sessions. East Side, Salk and Lab middle schools are widely known to only consider students who rank them as their first choice. Other schools might only consider students that ranked them in the top three. “This does lead to an element of gaming the system,” said Sara McPhee from the D.O.E. Office of Student Enrollment. Tanikawa said that C.E.C. 2 had been working for months on making recommendations to improve the middle school admissions maze, especially to address school ranking, but could not come to consensus. “That is a massive undertaking, so we decided to just focus on 75 Morton admissions for now,” she said. There are alternative methods to screening, such as “limited unscreened,” in which students must attend an open house, tour or middle school fair to demonstrate interest in a particular school. Outside of District 2, there are completely “unscreened” middle schools where a randomized computer lottery matches students to their highest ranked school. But in District 2, there are no purely unscreened schools. “There is a lot of testing and student interviewing that takes place in District 2,” McPhee commented. “The D.O.E. has tried to diversify admissions methods, but the district has a history of screened schools.” She encouraged parents to “broaden your horizons and take a look at what goes on outside District 2.” McPhee said some schools in Brooklyn and Queens and a few in Manhattan use a “composite score” method where students receive one numerical score out of a 100 scale based on weighting grades, test scores, atten-
dance and other benchmarks. This “streamlined process” eliminates interviews and other pressures of screened admissions. City high schools employ a method not yet used by middle schools called Educational Option (Ed Opt) designed to create a range of academic performers within a grade. Based on English Language Arts (E.L.A.) and state test scores, schools create a class, or some portion of the class, with a distribution of scores: for example, 20 percent, 60 percent and 20 percent at the low, middle and high reading levels. The core question of whether 75 Morton should be zoned, unzoned or a hybrid, loomed large on parents’ minds throughout the evening. Bonnie Laboy, superintendent of District 2, had boiled it down in her earlier remarks. “Do families want a safety net, a guarantee, that their child can attend 75 Morton?” she asked. “Or do they want to open the school up to families outside the zone? It really comes down to those options.” The question of how to preserve a community feeling for an unzoned or “choice” school with families living outside the zone came up frequently in breakout groups. Aaron Travis, who attended the meeting with his wife, even though their son is still in diapers, reflected on growing up in the Midwest. “We want to be sure that creating a neighborhood of families for 75 Morton is translated into the admissions process,” he said. “Middle schoolers shouldn’t be traipsing to the Upper East Side as 10-year-olds.” Many parents felt that an admissions process based on zone without the stress of screening and school ranking would make the application
process more kid-centric. Maud Maron, the mother of a fourth grader and a member of Community Board 2, on which she sits on the Schools and Education Committee, thought that “zoning might be the fairest process for 10-to-11-year-olds.” A concern on some parents’ minds was articulated by C.E.C. 2 member Eric Goldberg. “Right or wrong, zoned schools are often not the most sought-after, but how do we make this a student-centered versus school-centered process?” he asked. One breakout group with parents from elementary schools outside the Village looking forward to 75 Morton being one of their choice schools came up with the idea of forming a de facto zone by creating a list of feeder elementary schools. If 75 Morton is to become a zoned school, C.E.C. 2 would have to start deliberations this coming January to allow enough time for meetings and public hearings. Whereas C.E.C. 2 has full authority to make zoning decisions, D.O.E. will ultimately decide the admissions process for 75 Morton. “But the methods are really determined by the districts,” McPhee emphasized. “D.O.E. is really interested in community input, although I’m not sure we could implement something entirely new.” Her D.O.E. colleague Drew Patterson from the Office of District Planning assured, “We are not sitting on a decision that we are waiting to unveil.” Decisions on zoning and admissions process will have to be made by April 2016, when D.O.E.’s Middle School Directory goes to print for fall 2016 publication. In addition, there are more big decisions parents are already working together on. The 75 Morton Community Alliance, a volunteer group to develop community consensus on 75 Morton — often through professionally facilitated sessions — is hosting an envisioning meeting with parents and community members to discuss the new middle school’s theme and educational philosophy. The meeting will take place on Mon., Nov. 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the Clinton School for Writers and Artists, at 10 E. 15th St. What comes out of that session will likely inform the profile of the desired principal for 75 Morton, who must be selected no later than fall 2016, in order to champion the school to prospective families during the admissions season. Superintendent Laboy gushed, “Any principal would just about die to run a District 2 middle school! If community input is any sign of what a wonderful school this will be, we only have great things in store for the children who will attend.” October 29, 2015
October 29, 2015
October 29, 2015
Community says, No! to the Gansevoort Row plan GANSEVOORT continued from p. 6
dents, businesspeople and tourists,” she added.
‘Low-scale streetscapes’ Elaine Young, his co-leader on Save Gansevoort, also referred to the district’s designation report, noting that the very image on the report’s cover, in fact, is a photo of 52 Gansevoort St. from the mid20th century, when the buildings had already been cut down to their current heights. Young said she remembered walking around the district with Jo Hamilton and Floret Morellet when the two activists were working to landmark the area. “The words ‘low-scale streetscapes’ came up over and over again,” she recalled. “The whole sense of the Gansevoort Market Historic District is wiped out by these boring, generic structures,” she said of the developers’ plan. Save Gansevoort has a petition against the proposal posted on its Web site, www.savegansevoort.org . Kim Handley said of the block, “It’s special. It’s unique. On a good day, it looks like an Edward Hopper painting.” Soho activist Lora Tenenbaum emphasized, “This block of Gansevoort St. is the epitome of grittiness. It’s the poster baby of the historic district. To allow
October 29, 2015
PHOTO BY ZACK WINESTINE
As the meeting was opened up to testimony from the audience, Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, first took the microphone. “This proposal is absolutely, fundamentally wrong,” he said bluntly. In response to the two designers repeatedly saying the district has always been about change, Berman retorted, “This is not change. This is obliteration. This would completely overwhelm the character that made the Gansevoort district unique. “This is a unique surviving ensemble,” he said of Gansevoort Row. “There is not another site in the Meat Market where we have this intact ensemble.” As to the design for No. 74, the largest proposed building, he said, “It looks institutional, not like anything in the Meatpacking District.” And adding three stories atop Nos. 60 to 68, he said, “would destroy one of the most iconic rows of buildings in the Meat Market. “I think this needs to go straight back to the drawing board,” he concluded. Zack Winestine, one of the co-leaders of the ad hoc group Save Gansevoort, asked how many people in the room opposed the plan, and everyone in the audience shot up their hand. “This is the only remaining block of one- and two-story market structures in the Meatpacking District,” he stressed. “It’s the gateway to the Whitney Museum. It’s the gateway to the High Line. It’s a very important block. In many ways, it’s the gateway to the Meatpacking District. People come from all over, and around the world, to see this. The existing structures are ‘market structures’ — that’s what the [L.P.C. 2003] designation report says.”
The crowd, listening intently to the design experts’ arguments, wasn’t swayed by their presentation.
this project would put the lie to landmarking.” Pete Davies said, if the developers want to flash back to 1879 and call that “history,” well, what about the fact that Gansevoort St. was originally an Indian trail? “Henry Hudson saw an Indian village at this site — Greenwich and Washington Sts. — Sapokanikan,” he said. Needless to say, there were probably no duplexes, or tall abodes of any sort, in Sapokanikan.
‘This is a market district’ Similarly, Keith Anderson said it “isn’t applicable” to focus on the block’s former tenement history. Residential use has long been prohibited in the district, which was rezoned for manufacturing use, though today some grandfathered residential apartments remain. “This is a market district,” Anderson said. “The Whitney, with all that outdoor space, looks at this,” he added. “I think we need to get that Italian architect here, he’ll be horrified by this,” he said, referring to Renzo Piano, the new Whitney’s designer. Parents whose toddlers attend the West Village Nursery School co-op on Horatio St. said the construction fallout and racket from the proposed project would jeopardize the children’s health. The tots play in an outdoor backyard that abuts where work would occur. “These are not adult lungs,” one mother said. “These are children’s lungs. These are children’s lives.” Another resident, who has been in the neighborhood since 1993, said it has changed greatly since the Meat Market mostly moved out, both for the better and for the worse. “I don’t miss the flies, the fake transgender hookers, but I do miss the quiet,” he said. “Increasingly, there are no services that I need in the neighborhood. There is more garbage since the Whitney opened, more car horns. We don’t need this commercial development,” he concluded.
Bill Gottlieb did nothing Speaking after the meeting, Jill Liebman, a Horatio St. resident for 43 years, said that when Bill Gottlieb owned the block, he didn’t do anything too radical. “He didn’t do nothing,” she said. “He didn’t raise rents. Then the sister took over, and she died, and now whoever’s running it is doing this.” As for why the building heights on Gansevoort Row were lowered long ago in the first place, Berman said, “This was mostly done during the Depression, when the buildings were converted to meatpacking plants. The upper floors were not needed, and the more space they had, the more taxes they paid. So I think both the need for less space and the need to avoid unnecessary tax payments during hard economic times led to the removal of those upper floors.” Winestine said the reason Gansevoort Row has survived this long is solely because the city protected it as a market. But pressure to strip away that bulwark has been mounting. “Right now, this block is probably among the most prime real estate in the world,” he said. “Gottlieb bought the entire block for just $2.5 million in 1986.”
Glick: ‘It’s reprehensible’ On Sept. 8, Assemblymember Deborah Glick wrote to Meenakshi Srinivasan, the L.P.C. chairperson, to express her strong opposition to the plan. “This drastic increase in height and the removal of two buildings along the block that is the historic district’s namesake is unnecessary and reprehensible overdeveloment in a neighborhood we have fought hard to preserve,” Glick wrote. “These are dramatic and unwarranted changes that go against the very nature and purpose of historic districts and would bring harm to the surrounding communities and set a negative precedent for the viability of landmarked buildings and historic districts throughout the city.” TheVillager.com
Cutting the ribbon on the spruced-up courts, from left, Arron Afflalo, Lou Amundson, Sasha Vujacic, Carmelo Anthony, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, John Starks and state Senator Brad Hoylman.
Hoylman and Sharon Woolums post up with Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony.
Knicks in major assist at W. Fourth St. courts
n Mon., Oct. 19, current and past members of the New York Knicks — including Carmelo Anthony and John Starks — along with Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and state Senator TheVillager.com
Brad Hoylman, cut the ribbon at the rehabilitated W. Fourth St. basketball courts, at Sixth Ave. and W. Third St. The Knicks organization paid for the $250,000 job, which included resurfacing and new backboards and rims, plus fencing. The ceremony was followed by a skills clinic for local kids conducted by the pro players.
PHOTO BY SHARON WOOLUMS
Melo doesn’t look too impressed with spin-meister Black Jack mugging for the cameras. October 29, 2015
October 29, 2015