The Paper of Record for East and West Villages, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown
October 31, 2013 • FREE Volume 3 • Number 27
Girls Club is aiming for the stars, and also hoping to make them BY HEATHER DUBIN
GIRLS CLUB, continued on p. 24
Saying it saved her, Abate brings holistic healthcare to L.E.S. BY HEATHER DUBIN
lternative medicine is gaining increasing acceptance in the Western world. In the case of Catherine Abate, president and C.E.O. of Community Healthcare Network, she not only accepts alternative
PHOTO COURTESY THE LOWER EASTSIDE GIRLS CLUB
ula-hooping on a Friday afternoon at The Lower Eastside Girls Club is not a bad way to end your week. Especially if you are a Girls Club member in the East Village, with access to its brand new $20 mil-
lion facility, located on E. Eighth St. near Avenue D. Last Friday, at The Lower Eastside Girls Club Center for Community, 23 girls, ages 11 to 18, were tossing balloons to each other as they twirled a hula hoop round and round in Baker Hall, a mirror-lined, sunny,
medicine — she firmly believes it saved her life. Diagnosed with stagefour uterine cancer in May 2012, Abate’s positive experience with holistic medical practices prompted her to bring these same modalities to Community Healthcare Network’s Downtown ABATE, continued on p. 6
The Lower Eastside Girls Club’s new planetarium uses the same software program developed for the American Museum of Natural History’s planetarium.
Stringer asks C.B. 3 to ‘reconsider’ its ban of the LES Dwellers group BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
ontroversy continues to flare around the East Village’s Community Board 3 and its troubled relationship with LES Dwellers, an aggressive and highly organized, new quality-oflife group. A month ago, David McWater, the
board’s former chairperson, resigned from C.B. 3 a week after blowing up at Sara Romanoski, a diminutive Dwellers member. The heated incident was caught on several videotapes and went viral. Around the same time, The Villager had also received a tip that McWater — who owns several East Village bars — may actually live in leafy Lambertville, N.J., which would dis-
qualify him from being on a New York City community board. McWater subsequently resigned at the C.B. 3 Sept. 24 full-board meeting, saying he was not planning to reapply for appointment in April anyway. Now, in the latest flap, earlier this month, Gigi Li, C.B. 3 chairperson, and
New clients’ p ets receive their first exa m for
DWELLERS, continued on p. 8
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Banksy creating buzz with art, Ronald, car, truck BY TEQUILA MINSKY
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
e’s making art in New York and has taken the city in a flurry of buzz. An alternate art reality to Christo’s Central Park “The Gates” installation that drew crowds, people are flocking to seek out Banksy’s street art, but the persistent question is: Where are they? Eventually, the word gets around — though, locating the work is like a scavenger hunt. From Bristol, England, the elusive Banksy came here for his “Better Out Than In” exhibit, an art residency on the streets, featuring a new piece every day during the month of October. Documentation appears on his web site, www.Banksyny.com. The public doesn’t quite know what he looks like. His art can be spray-painted stenciled images on walls, installations in and on trucks, sculpture, a type of performance, and other forms of street expression. An audio guide / moviefone phone number with commentary augments or offers an “explanation” on each work. His first piece, on Allen Street (east side, just north of Canal St.), was stenciled art with automotive paint and a “Graffiti is a Crime” street has been removed. Subsequently, a small, stenciled paint job and assorted tagging has been added. Pieces don’t last in their original state very long. An elaborate wall and junked-car stenciled art piece of soldiers and horses went up on Oct. 9 in a gated and locked lot on Ludlow St., just south of Stanton St. A couple of days after its installation, one of the car’s rear doors was gone, and days later, a front door disappeared. The audio for the piece has actual Iraq war combat audio
from 2007 and can be accessed by calling 800-656-4271 #5. The “Sirens of the Lambs,” piece with all sorts of cuddly stuffed cows, piglets, pandas and Lambchops peering out through the slats of a slaughterhouse delivery truck, toured the Meatpacking District and is now driving citywide for two weeks. It was spotted at Thompson and Spring Sts. last Thurs., Oct. 17. One of the biggest stirs caused by his work was his actual art stall on Fifth Ave. by Central Park selling “spray art,” signed originals priced at $60. On Wed., Oct. 16, a fiberglass replica of a huge-footed Ronald McDonald appeared in the South Bronx, complete with a Banksy assistant polishing its shoes. During the following week, every lunchtime, the installation visited the sidewalk outside a different McDonald’s. On Monday night, another graffiti artist, Flint, spray-painted “DREAMS MAY COME AND DREAMS MAY GO” on a whitewashed wall (over pasted advertising posters) on Thompson St. The following afternoon, graffiti artist Appolo-5 added his sentiments: “ ‘Banksy’ Learn Your Roots.” Although he is a patron of the arts, who donates millions to the city’s artistic institutions, Mayor Bloomberg blasted Banksy’s graffiti. Graffiti “does ruin people’s property” and is a “sign of decay and lost control,” the mayor said during a press conference. “I just think there are some places for art and some places where — no art,” Bloomberg said. “You running up to somebody’s property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted. And I think that’s exactly what the law says.”
Banksy’s first piece, on Ludlow St., has already had its doors stripped off.
The street artist’s “Sirens of the Lambs” truck, with bleating sheep bound for the slaughterhouse, caused a commotion on Spring St.
Banksy’s Ludlow St. piece has been drawing a crowd.
October 31, 2013
Writing on a wall on Thompson St., Appolo-5 had some words of advice for Banksy, who some accuse of ripping off New York graffiti artists’ style.
PHOTOS BY PATRICK O’REILLY
Anthony Edwards, above, and Heather Graham, below, at Bluestockings bookstore on Monday.
GRAHAM SLEUTHS ON L.E.S. Bluestockings bookstore on Allen St. was the setting Monday for a shoot for the film “My Dead Boyfriend,” starring actress Heather Graham and directed by Anthony Edwards of “ER” fame. The in-production flick is a comedy set in the late ’90s that sees Graham investigate her deceased boyfriend’s life. Bluestockings, of course, is a Lower East Side activist bookstore that caters to feminism, the L.G.B.T. community, environmentalism, political theories, anarchism / Marxism and other subjects. DON’T VOTE FOR ME! DON’T!!! His name apparently WILL be on the ballot on Tues., Nov. 5, but Richard Stewart says he is not, repeat not, running for City Council against Corey Johnson. Seriously. Yet, we clearly espied Stewart’s name in the New York Post this Tuesday in a “Notice of General Election, 2013, Candidates List,” in which he is listed as the Republican candidate running against Johnson, the nominee of the Democratic and Working Families parties. “Let me reiterate again — not running for City Council in District 3,” Stewart told us later that evening. “I still live at 1 Fifth Ave., which is not in the district. I am still in support of Corey — I think Corey is the right choice for City Council. I do not know how that happened,” he said, of why his name is still on the ballot. Stewart, who is on Community Board 2, previously told us he couldn’t run because he lives outside the district, but that the G.O.P. was only using his name as a “placeholder” in case a viable candidate emerged. “Nobody should vote for me. Don’t vote for me,”
Stewart stressed to us on Tuesday. “I’m not running for that job now. I may one day, but right now I just want to begin my work as a Republican district leader.” We asked Stewart if, on Election Day — since he’s not running, but his name will be on the ballot, which obviously could cause confusion — he would go out to the polls and exhort people NOT to vote for him. No, he said, he would not do that. O.K., so, just assuming he did live in the district, would he run against Johnson? we asked. “I’m not going to answer hypothetical questions,” Stewart replied, getting slightly fed up and saying that was enough questions. Of course, were he actually running, we would have had to ask him the litmus-test questions for any candidate in District 3: Do you now or have you ever owned a gun, and where is it? And are you now or have you ever been a real estate executive?
and the effects it has on the communities it visits,” Hoylman wrote. “Each year local elected officials, community boards and local [police] precincts are besieged by complaints as SantaCon passes through their neighborhoods. While Santa Con may be a short-term boon to a select group of local businesses,” Hoylman continued, “the many adverse impacts it wreaks, such as vomiting in the streets, public urination, vandalism and littering, disrupt community members’ quality of life. I recognize that at any large event, a few bad actors may disrupt an otherwise orderly affair, but at previous SantaCons bad actors have hardly been the exception. As such,” he went on, “significantly more must be done to combat the neighborhood scourge SantaCon has become.” Hoylman added that the event has become so large as to “completely overwhelm sidewalks and public spaces, creating a public safety hazard for all.” He strongly urged SantaCon to work with the Police Department “in order to come up with a strong and effective plan to combat public intoxication and to ensure all participants are respectful of the neighborhoods they visit, as well as handling the overwhelming crowds associated with an event this size.” (We thought SantaCon’s plan was large-scale, obnoxious public intoxication.) Hoylman further urged SantaCon to make this plan (the nice, respectful, vomitfree plan, that is) available to local affected community boards “well in advance of your event so that they have time to comment and help shape it.” We e-mailed blitzen, and surprisingly got a response back — actually from none other than St. Nick himself. “We here at the North Pole share some of the concerns of Senator Hoylman’s Office,” St. Nick wrote. “This year, Santa will be doing everything in his power to mitigate the negative effects SantaCon had created for the neighborhoods it spreads cheer to. The Elfs are already coordinating with several community boards and police precincts to make SantaCon 2013 a SCOOPY, continued on p. 25
BRAD TO ‘BAD SANTAS’: SHAPE UP! SantaCon may well think he’s the Grinch, but Brad Hoylman is trying to rein in the unruly annual pub crawl of naughty St. Nicks. The state senator on Oct. 15 sent a letter to SantaCon, addressed “To Whom It May Concern,” to the address blitzen@nycsantacon. com. “I am writing to express my concerns regarding SantaCon
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October 31, 2013
Brewer will fight for affordable housing, BY HEATHER DUBIN
Six proposals to amend the State Constitution are on the ballot... 1 Casino gambling upstate 2 Disabled veterans’ civil service credit 3 Exemption to municipal debt limits for sewage treatment bonds 4 & 5 Changes to the Adirondack Forest Preserve 6 Raise the retirement age for judges
...and so am I. (Hint!) Vote November 5!
Gale Brewer Democrat for Borough President
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October 31, 2013
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
ale Brewer knows how to get things done. With more than 40 years of public- and private-sector experience behind her, the Democratic city councilmember’s run for Manhattan borough president is a potential boon for New Yorkers. If elected, Brewer, who is a strong advocate for low- and moderate-income people, could well transform the borough, and perhaps the city, too. In a phone interview earlier this week, Brewer spoke about issues central to her campaign, and what she hopes to accomplish if elected. She will face Republican David Casavis in the Nov. 5 general election, which she is expected to win easily. The borough president’s most important responsibility is zoning and land-use review. In a city saturated with luxury housing development, Brewer’s top priority is to ensure affordable housing is obtainable in Manhattan. Additionally, she wants to focus on preserving mom-and-pop stores, employment, technology and assisting neighborhood community boards. Originally from Massachusetts, Brewer got her start in politics in the 1970s and ’80s through the women’s movement and her work in government. She was a member of
the National Political Women’s Caucus of New York, later becoming its state chairperson in the ’80s. Brewer also worked for Mary Anne Krupsak, New York’s former lieutenant governor, and former City Councilmember Ruth Messinger, who represented the Upper West Side. Brewer noted that Messinger, who went on to become Manhattan borough president, and feminist Gloria Steinem, who will be 80 in March, are inspirations for her. “I don’t have a lot of mentors, but those two people I have a lot of respect for,” Brewer said. Brewer was the director of the New York City Office of Federal Relations, and also headed its women’s division, under former mayor David Dinkins. Under former Public Advocate Mark Green, she was the deputy public advocate for intergovernmental affairs. Aside from public work, Brewer has worked in affordable housing, and taught urban policy for more than 20 years at the City University of New York and Barnard College. Currently, she teaches at Hunter College. Brewer was a member of the Upper West Side’s Community Board 7 for many years. When term limits kicked in, people suggested she run in 2001 for Councilmember Ronnie Eldridge’s Sixth District seat, which covers that community.
Gale Brewer at The Villager’s 80th anniversary party this week.
“It was because of my background in this neighborhood,” Brewer said of why people viewed her as the best successor to Eldridge. She remembered the Democratic primary took place on Sept. 11, 2001, and the election was canceled two hours after the polls had opened. “That was quite a beginning for the City Council,” Brewer said. During her 12 years on the City Council, Brewer prided herself on providing constituent services and helping pass groundbreaking legislation. “The loss of mom-and-pop stores in Manhattan, I hear about it everywhere I go,” she said. A study found that there were 72 bank branches in her Council district, only confirming the obvious — that there were far too many. Brewer passed a bill to restrict storefront size for incoming commercial tenants — mainly focused at banks and drug stores — to preserve space for small merchants. “It makes a difference about what can come in,” she added of the legislation. Brewer also passed a bill for food-sourcing for city contracts, which cover jails, hospitals, schools, daycare centers, senior centers and homeless shelters. According to Brewer, New York City is the country’s second-largest purchaser of food, after the U.S. Department of Defense. Now, the food in city contracts must be
purchased from within New York State, unless the item is too difficult to find here. “There is one dairy left in Queens with 1,000 employees,” Brewer noted. They have a contract for the New York City Department of Education, and that saved 200 jobs because they got the contracts. I call that ‘local sourcing.’ ” While Brewer acknowledged local sourcing has gotten more difficult as developers have come in with new grocery stores, it can still be done. When the Time Warner Center opened at Columbus Circle, Brewer negotiated that 230 jobs in the complex be filled by local workers. “It became the model when IKEA came to Brooklyn, and when Fairway came to Brooklyn,” she said. “They used it as a prototype.” The borough president currently has two offices, in the Municipal Building, at 1 Centre St., and in the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building, at 163 W. 125th St. The borough president has 71 employees, some of whom shuttle back and forth between the two offices. If elected, Brewer said she would not use the current Harlem office, and would instead set up shop somewhere nearby there in a storefront-type office. Brewer’s current Council district office, BREWER, continued on p. 5
small stores and local food sourcing BREWER, continued from p. 4
which she refers to as “one-stop shopping,” is on W. 87th St. near Columbus Ave., and is easily accessible to people coming in for maps, applications or information about city and state services. She wants to continue this same accessibility, and is currently looking for a space. If elected, Brewer would move forward on what she called “the number one issue in Manhattan and citywide — lack of affordable housing.” Brewer expressed frustration with what she called the borough’s lack of affordable housing. “Teachers can’t find an apartment, and someone who’s making $13,000 can’t find an apartment,” she said. Brewer thinks the solution is in local planning. “That’s how you do this: Work with community boards, work with City Council, the mayor,” she said. “And every time there’s development, you figure out how to include affordable housing and work with community organizations to preserve what you have.” Brewer was wary of Mayor Bloomberg’s development tactics, which amount to “trickle-down as opposed to trickle-up,” she said. “There’s a lot of building going on.”
With a scarcity of developable land in Manhattan, and the cost of construction, Brewer noted that Brooklyn and Queens are cheaper places to build. However, she stressed, “I want to build affordable housing in Manhattan.” With a new administration set to begin in 2014, Brewer hopes there will be a focus on affordable housing. “It’s not an easy goal,” she said. “Every-
Brewer said she would create a storefront office in Harlem.
body talks about it, and there are a couple of projects in my area. I know how to do it. “I’ve been working on these issues for a very long time,” she noted. “I’ve done a lot of negotiations with developers on the West Side, and did it when I was on the community board.”
Some of her opponents in the borough president Democratic primary election made a point of saying they would have a “master plan” for Manhattan. Asked if she has one, Brewer sounded a pragmatic note. “A ‘master plan’ is good conceptually, but it takes a long time to carry out,” she said. “I don’t have a long time. I want to do things quickly. I’m an implementer — I like getting things done.” Her efficiency ethic appears to correlate with her moral ethic. After her primary win, Brewer returned $72,000 of matching campaign funds to the city. “We do have a Republican opponent, but I don’t feel he’s a serious opponent,” she said of the general election. “I don’t like to take the public money unless it’s needed.” Brewer lives on the Upper West Side with her husband, Cal Snyder. They have raised many foster children, many of them during the crack epidemic of the ’80s, and adopted several of them. Based on her own experience, and her understanding of what is happening in the public schools, Brewer would also like to see “culturally appropriate mental health services,” for students in the form of social workers and psychiatrists.
Tr av el To The Pa sT.
IN MEMORY OF
Sister Elizabeth Kelliher, S.A. November 9, 1923 - August 16, 2013 A tireless and passionate advocate for the poor. Thank you for spending 21 years on the Lower East Side, working to improve daycare, public education, housing, healthcare, justice, and homeless services.
Memorial Celebration Sat., Nov. 9 Nativity Church 2nd Ave. & 2nd St. Mass at 2 pm followed by a celebration of Sister’s life at 3 pm.
Por Los Niños Parent-Community Coalition EastVillagerNews.com
Brewer understands both the developers’ desire to make profits as well as the necessity of providing housing for middle- and low-income workers who are being forced out of the city since they can no longer afford to live here. “It’s not right,” she said. “They provide the backbone of our neighborhood.” Brewer also wants to provide community boards with a better framework, and continue outgoing B.P. Scott Stringer’s reforms of the selection process for members. In addition, since she passed the Open Data Law, which makes government data accessible to the public, Brewer wants to help community boards better decipher this information. In terms of technology, Brewer wants to, as she put it, “keep working on that digital divide.” Public schools have computers that download information too slowly, are in frequent use and, in general, need to be updated. She would like to expand broadband, and wants to collaborate with the other borough presidents on technology projects. “I think that’s never been done the last couple of decades,” she pointed out. In the wake of last year’s Hurricane Sandy, there are also storm-protection issues to confront, as well.
No flighTs required. Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
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October 31, 2013
Catherine Abate brings holistic healthcare to L.E.S. ABATE, continued from p. 1
PHOTO BY BOB BUCHANAN
Health Center, at 150 Essex St. on the Lower East Side. The nonprofit C.H.N. provides medical care to underserved New Yorkers at 11 federally qualified healthcare centers. In an interview last week, Abate spoke about the new Essex St. integrative health center — which will incorporate alternative therapies with traditional medicine — as well as about her own personal journey dealing with her condition. Abate has always worked in public service, striving to help others. An attorney, she is a former New York state senator, and before that was the commissioner of New York City’s Department of Corrections. C.H.N.’s Essex St. center caters to 6,000 patients a year. According to Abate, this population has “a tremendous interest” in acupuncture, herbal supplements and medication, but lacks access to them. “Medicaid and private insurance doesn’t cover it, and there’s a great need,” she said. State, city and federal grants help cover the cost of medical services currently offered at the center. While there is a slidingfee scale based on income, patients are never turned away. Abate noted that C.H.N. centers are sited in the poorest and most underserved
Catherine Abate and her son, Kyle Kliegerman, onboard the Oct. 22 fundraising cruise for the holistic healthcare clinic at 150 Essex St.
Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.
Assemblyman Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 6
October 31, 2013
areas of the city. They have sites in every borough except for Staten Island. The Essex St. center currently offers complete primary care, pediatrics, nutrition, social services and other basic medical care. While these services will continue, Abate wants to add holistic medicine as an integral component to improve patient health. The program is in the planning process, and Abate anticipates the new facility’s opening next February. “It’s the perfect site to do this,” she said. The demographic the center serves is mixed ages with the majority of patients under age 50, while the ethnic breakdown is mostly Latino and Asian. Abate also noted that many patients suffer from chronic diseases, such as asthma, obesity, hypertension and diabetes. These patients are familiar with and eager to try alternative therapies that could potentially benefit them. Thanks to federal money, additional exam rooms have already been constructed to accommodate the expanding center. As part of the holistic approach, there will be more time focused on personal nutrition. Yoga, acupuncture, energy healing, reflexology and meditation will also be part of the new program. Abate wants patients to take ownership of their care, and she thinks these new modalities will help them do this. “We want the patients to feel better about their care, and improve communication between them and their provider,” Abate said. Three years ago, she started a health literacy program. Results show patients, during an office visit, do not receive useful information that encourages them to go home and change their lifestyle, which is often essential for dealing with their health problem. “Whether it’s positive thinking about their healing, stopping smoking or eating healthy, or cleaning up their home environment from mold, or whatever,” she said, “there has to be better communication to really make them a partner in their healthcare.” Abate feels this improved informational dialogue empowers patients, providing them with more balance and control, which will improve their overall health and well-being. She understands this firsthand. “I don’t think I’d be in the shape I am in today if I didn’t use the complementary and alternative-use therapies,” Abate said. Her initial diagnosis, following her first operation in June 2012, gave her 12 months to live. Abate, who is in her mid-60s, turned to Western medicine for surgeries and chemotherapy, and saw an immunologist, which is a field she wants to imple-
ment at the center. But she also went to a life coach and energy healer, who taught her the power of the mind. “Mind, body and spirit come together,” Abate said. “Everyone has the power to heal themselves. I had a lot of healing, and I’m not saying chemo didn’t have something to do with it. But even my oncologists would say, ‘It wasn’t just the chemo.’ ” One doctor told Abate that he thought her mind was one of her most powerful weapons in her recovery. The healthcare C.E.O. believes visualization, diet and acupuncture all help effect a change of attitude toward life. “It adds up, I’m feeling strong,” she said. “I’m not totally cured yet, but I’m on the right path.” Abate still receives some low-dose chemo treatment, but she has spent many months playing tennis, and, as she put it, is doing “quite well.” She partially attributes her health status to alternative therapies. “I’m not suggesting people turn away from Western medicine,” she said. “I’m suggesting Western medicine becomes that more effective when you also utilize holistic and integrative approaches.” She used to receive holistic treatments weekly when she was sick, but now only goes every couple of weeks. Abate does practice daily visualization and takes herbal supplements.
‘I don’t think I’d be in the shape I am in today if I didn’t use the complementary and alternative-use therapies.’ Catherine Abate
“I wake up with gratitude every day,” she said. “I see the beauty in things and in people, and the promise of the world.” To help foster this same hopefulness for others, Abate has submitted grants for the holistic program. She wants the therapies to be free or low-cost for patients. With that goal in mind, a boat cruise fundraiser around Manhattan was held on the evening of Tues., Oct. 22, with 240 people paying $250 per ticket. Demonstrations of alternative therapies were conducted onboard the boat.
A year later, still no Sandy rent rebates for Knickerbocker BY SAM SPOKONY
PHOTO BY SAM SPOKONY
year after Hurricane Sandy, Knickerbocker Village residents are still waiting for the rent rebates they were promised by the development’s management. Tenants of the 12-building, 1,600-unit, Lower East Side affordable housing complex spent weeks without electricity or hot water following the storm. Last November, a representative of AREA Property Partners, the management company, assured tenants that “not a penny of rent will be paid for the days on which [residents] didn’t have essential services.” But this week, management confirmed that none of that money has yet been paid out. “We’re still trying to make it happen,” said Edwin Maltzman, the building’s controller. Knickerbocker Village is a Mitchell-Lama development, so although it is run and maintained by AREA, its cash flow is controlled by the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Maltzman said that management has been working alongside D.H.C.R. in an attempt to fund rent rebates through insurance claims, but acknowledged that it’s still a work in progress.
At a November 2012 meeting, Jim Simmons, right, of AREA Property Partners, which owns Knickerbocker Village, addressed hundreds of tenants, as state Senator Daniel Squadron, far left, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, listened.
Meanwhile, Bob Wilson, a longtime tenant leader who has lived at Knickerbocker Village since the 1940s, said he believes the fight for rent rebates was unfeasible from the start. Typically when D.H.C.R. approves rent rebates for a Mitchell-Lama complex, those deductions must be balanced out later by rent increases in order to balance the development’s cash flow. If that ends up being the case at Knickerbocker Village, the process
would basically be self-defeating. “That’s the whole problem,” Wilson said. “They haven’t gotten the insurance companies to cover it, and if they can’t do that, then the money for rebates would eventually have to come out of the pockets of tenants.” Wilson said management should reach out to residents and explain the cash flow situation and the difficulty of securing rent rebates. “[Management] would be helping themselves out if they did that,” said Wilson, “because every time they walk outside, there are residents demanding the rebates.” Meanwhile, the elected officials who joined last year to push for the rebates — including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Councilmember Margaret Chin, state Senator Daniel Squadron and Borough President Scott Stringer — are still pushing to make sure that any rebates are not paid for through later rent increases. “The residents of Knickerbocker Village should not be charged rent for the weeks they endured in their homes without essential services,” said Chin, in a statement released Tuesday. “I encourage management companies to do the right thing and honor their commitment to provide rent abatements for the residents who went without — without forcing tenants to
shoulder the costs.” In a statement also released Tuesday, Silver alluded to allocations of federal funding for building repairs, while also driving the same point home regarding rebates. “Since the storm struck, I have made it a top priority to work with the city to ensure that Knickerbocker receives the resources it needs to repair and rebuild,” Silver said in his statement. “I also secured a promise from the owner of Knickerbocker that tenants would receive rent rebates for the time they were without essential services and that the cost of those rebates would not be passed on to the tenants. I expect that promise to be kept.” But Maltzman’s response was tentative when this newspaper asked if he believes it would actually be possible to fund rebates without eventual rent increases. “We’ll have to see about that,” he said. In other news regarding the development’s post-Sandy recovery, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced on Wednesday that Knickerbocker Village is now going to receive $1.46 million for building repairs. That money — which is separate from the issue of rent rebates — will be taken from federal funding and specifically allocated through the city’s Build it Back initiative.
Election 2013 Village Reform Democratic Club 25 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Village Reform Democratic Club
Vote. tuesday Vote Democratic sept. 10th Tuesday Nov. 5th democratic General Election primary
Civil Court, 2nd Judicial District: Comptroller Stringer Mayor Scott Bill de Blasio Kathryn Freed | Marcy Friedman Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Adam SilveraSupreme Court Comptroller Scott Stringer 1st Court Judicial District Countywide Civil Judicial Candidates: Public Advocate Squadron Manhattan Daniel District Attorney Cy Vance John J. Kelly | Anne O’Shea Manhattan Borough Julie Menin Dakota Ramseur Public AdvocatePresident Letitia James Vote for 3 Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer City Council District 1 Jenifer Rajkumar Judicial Delegates: Alternates: Debra A. James City Council District 1 Margaret Chin City Council District 2 Rosie Mendez Maria Passannante-Derr Lois Rakoff Peter H. Moulton City Council District 2 Rosie Mendez Arthur Z. Schwartz Maureen Remacle City Council District 3 Corey Johnson Luke Henry Anil C. Singh Raymond W. Cline City Council District 3 Corey Johnson Norma Ramirez Thomas Gass District Leader Arthur Schwartz
The decisions we make the Democratic Primary haveimpact a direct on every of lives our daily lives to forcome. years The to come. The decisions we make in theinGeneral Election will have will a direct onimpact every aspect of aspect our daily for years VRDC has The VRDC has advocated on behalf of Village residents for more than 30 years. Our efforts insure the election of candidates who support policies advocated on behalf of Village residents for more than 30 years. Our efforts insure the election of candidates who support policies that are vital that are vital to our community’s needs. Please review our candidate endorsements and vote on September 10th for these outstanding leaders. to our community’s needs. Please review our candidate endorsements and vote on November 5th for these oustanding leaders.
October 31, 2013
Stringer asks C.B. 3 to ‘reconsider’ Dwellers ban DWELLERS, continued from p. 1
October 31, 2013
PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
Susan Stetzer, the board’s district manager, phoned Diem Boyd, the Dwellers’ founder and president, to inform her that the board had temporarily “suspended” the group for three months. Although the action was discussed at the board’s Executive Committee — comprised of the board’s committee chairpersons — the Executive Committee did not take a vote on the idea, and neither did the full board. The unusual move sent a shockwave through the Downtown activist community, from East to West. On Mon., Oct. 21, Borough President Scott Stringer — who appoints the community board members — weighed in on the hotbutton issue. After reviewing the matter, Stringer concluded that the Dwellers’ suspension “does not serve the interests of community board transparency and democratic representation.” He further stated that C.B. 3 should “reconsider” its policy of excluding organizations. Charging the Dwellers have overstepped their bounds in independently reaching out to liquor license applicants before they even get to C.B. 3, Chairperson Li, along with District Manager Stetzer, informed the Dwellers two weeks ago that the board was temporarily suspending them — essentially, refusing to recognize them as a community group — for the next three months. The board would no longer recognize the Dwellers group at meetings, they said, though its members could testify as individuals. In addition, the board would not put the Dwellers on the “referral list” of block associations that it provides to new liquor license applicants. Declaring the ban was a violation of their constitutional rights, the Dwellers subsequently asked Stringer’s Office to review the ban. On Oct. 21, Stringer responded in a letter to Stetzer and Li: “…I am concerned, as a matter of best practice, about the process and impacts of suspending an organization…in such a manner,” Stringer wrote. The Dwellers provided The Villager with an audiotape phone recording of Stetzer and Li explaining to Boyd why they had decided to temporarily suspend the group. On the tape, Stetzer notes that one applicant, East of Essex — before ever coming to C.B. 3 to review its liquor license — had withdrawn after first being contacted by the Dwellers. In his letter to Stetzer and Li, Stringer further wrote: “While I understand the view that the [Dwellers] may have detracted from community input by influencing certain applicants to withdraw from the board’s process, I do not believe a ‘suspension’ of the organization is the most effective response to such a concern. The act of suspending a community organization for lawful conduct from a program promoting community input
Ariel Palitz, left, told Diem Boyd she’s concerned about “a strange man” obsessively videotaping her at S.L.A. Committee meetings.
without a fully deliberative process has implications for the transparency and fairness of community board governance,” Stringer stated. “For these reasons, I ask that the board reconsider its current policy of excluding organizations…to ensure that its mission of representing and responding to community concerns remains fully transparent and open to public scrutiny.” On the tape, Boyd asked Stetzer and Li if they believe she is not allowed to ask a nightlife operator — with an application for a new nightlife establishment 100 feet away from her door, i.e. East of Essex — to withdraw the application. “I think, legally, you can do anything you want,” Stetzer responded. But she later added, “I think the [community board] office is the appropriate place for them to contact.” Boyd said there has been a “breakdown of communication” between C.B. 3 and the Dwellers, which she attributed to the Ludlow House (Soho House) liquor license application, which the board ultimately recommended to deny. According to Boyd, Stetzer did not agree with part of the Dwellers’ strategy in opposing the license, specifically, a petition drive. On the tape, Li says she and Stetzer also discussed the suspension with Alexandra Militano, chairperson of the board’s S.L.A. Committee, and that all three were on board with the decision. At their full-board meeting on Tues., Oct. 22, board members held a vigorous discussion about Li’s action and how to address it. Li said that she had “struggled with” making the decision, and only did so “after consultation and substantial deliberation with the Executive Committee.” She said that, regarding “next steps,” her plan is to create a task force that will look at the whole issue of how the board interacts with block associations on State Liquor Authority issues. This body will be made up of members of the board’s Executive and S.L.A. committees. A resolution will be voted on by the task force,
which will then be put up for a vote by the full board. Whatever the full board votes to do, that will be the board’s policy, she assured. Li took full and complete responsibility for the decision to suspend the Dwellers. She added that both the borough president’s legal counsel and the city’s Law Department found nothing illegal in her action. However, for her part, Stetzer said really she is to blame for creating the whole issue since it was her idea, a year ago, to create the referral list of block associations, feeling it would be helpful in the process in which community members interact with liquor license applicants. Anne Johnson, a former C.B. 3 chairperson, derided the Dwellers, saying there’s no way they could be considered a block association. “How is LES Dwellers a block association?” she asked. “They represent ‘Hell Square.’ This is an organization that represents an entire area and is a one-issue organization. I don’t see how they get block association status. The point is moot.” Hell Square has been defined as a nineblock area bounded by East Houston, Delancey, Allan and Essex Sts. According to Boyd, within this area, there are 62 establishments with full liquor licenses, 51 of which stay open till 4 a.m. Boyd later told The Villager that the Dwellers actually have “five chapters,” spread out over the neighborhood, and that members from the affected chapter are the ones who weigh in on any given bar issue. Ariel Palitz, owner of Sutra Lounge, at First Avenue and First St. and a member of the board’s S.L.A. Committee, said she’s personally feeling the strain of the new intense focus on the committee by anti-bar watchdogs. “Things are getting out of control in our neighborhoods, in our meetings and in the press,” she said. “For over four months I have been videotaped at meetings for hours by a strange man.” Boyd said she didn’t know this man. Palitz did acknowledge that the C.B. 3 area
has “a diversity-of-business dilemma,” referring to the oversaturation by bars. But she said keeping out what she called good operators, like Ludlow House, was a mistake. Chad Marlow, who has been on the board for one year, urged the board members to hold a vote that night on whether to lift the Dwellers’ suspension. “I think what has happened to the Dwellers has not reflected well on the board,” he said. He added that there is nothing in the City Charter or the board’s bylaws that authorizes the board’s chairperson to suspend a block association. “And I’m concerned on the First Amendment — this denies the right of a group to assemble and speak as one group,” Marlow said. “And another problem is called a ‘chilling effect’ — if you speak out in a certain manner or in a certain way, you will not be allowed to participate in the process. “We need to restore confidence in this board and to restore proper procedures,” Marlow added. “And we cannot, cannot come anywhere near trampling on First Amendment rights.” Ayo Harrington, another new board member, seconded Marlow. “I do not think this board has the right to define a block association, and there is no geographic area for a block association,” she asserted. “People have a right to represent and call themselves what they want.” Jessica Silver, Stringer’s C.B. 3 liaison, clarified that while the borough president has called on Li and Stetzer to reconsider the suspension, he didn’t tell them how — or when — to do this. Dominic Berg, speaking from experience as a past C.B. 3 chairperson, defended Li’s process. He said there were many times as chairperson when he faced “gray areas” where it was unclear what to do, and had to make tough decisions. Marlow later made a formal motion to have the board vote on whether to lift the Dwellers’ suspension. But Berg immediately countered with a motion to have the board vote on whether to “table” Marlow’s motion, and the board overwhelmingly approved Berg’s proposal, meaning Marlow’s motion is in limbo indefinitely. Afterward, Boyd said, “I was disheartened by the board’s inaction. We still have legal options — we feel the suspension was unwarranted.” The Dwellers are a multicultural group with mostly people in advertising and P.R., Boyd noted. They’re savvy with social media, and are getting people involved who are under age 30, and in one case, as young as 24, which is unusual for this kind of a community group, she noted. “I think we’re getting discredited because we’re too effective,” Boyd said. Stetzer did not return a phone call and email requesting comment from either her or Li.
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October 31, 2013
Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN
EDITOR IN CHIEF LINCOLN ANDERSON
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The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 0042-6202 is published every week by NYC Community Media LLC, 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C, New York, N.Y. 10013 (212) 229-1890. Periodicals Postage paid at New York, N.Y. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at office and newsstands is $1. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2011 NYC Community Media LLC.
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October 31, 2013
Being prepared for the hurricane next time EDITORIAL
t’s hard to believe that a year ago, we were in the throes of the post-Superstorm Sandy blackout. There was no electricity or heat, many residents lacked elevator service and running water — even cold water — flushable toilets, and, just our luck, it was starting to get raw and cold. We survived, but it took a long time for things to return to normal. Things don’t just snap back like nothing happened after Avenue C is flooded waist-high and Westbeth’s basement is inundated by the Hudson River. Many merchants and restaurants still haven’t fully recovered from the financial hit they took. For our part, we unfortunately lost about 95 percent of The Villager’s archives when the surge poured into our Canal St. basement. (Luckily, New York University and the Public Library also have our old issues.) Our part of the city wasn’t physically slammed as hard by Sandy’s surge as places like Breezy Point
or the Rockaways, where entire swaths of homes were obliterated by water and fire. But we were inundated in the flood zone, and the loss of electrical power was crippling and dangerous. We pulled together, as communities do. But when electricity and heat came back on around Friday night, we realized how deeply we depend on our utility services. For this part of the city, the most important thing was for Con Ed to harden its E. 14th St. plant against another abnormally large super-surge like Sandy’s. Sandy’s unexpectedly high waters had flooded the plant, and then Con Ed powered the facility down to keep from damaging it further, leaving us blacked-out south of the 30s. It’s reassuring to see — in a new video Con Ed posted on its Web site — that it has taken these steps. Important infrastructure has been raised higher off the ground, doors now have watertight seals, electrical conduit pipes have been filled with rubber sealant to waterproof them, and the complex’s walls have been raised.
Another change Con Ed should consider, is making sure hospitals are on networks that don’t need to be shut down during emergencies. For example, Downtown Hospital was shut down when Con Ed powered down its E. 14th St. plant. Luckily, in the Village, New York University opened its doors to the community, letting people charge phones, use laptops, even sleep on cots in some of its buildings. But Sandy also showed the need for a Lower West Side hospital with its own generator, like St. Vincent’s. We think Mayor Bloomberg’s idea for removable storm barriers along Lower Manhattan’s edge is a good idea. These would be set up on land and basically work as a large fence against the waters. For now, it’s a much cheaper alternative to full-on storm-surge barriers in the harbor. Great work is being done in the East Village and Lower East Side by the Long-term Recovery Group; GOLES and Two Bridges are organizing to ensure future storms don’t cripple and imperil residents of highrise public housing and low-income
housing, as in Sandy. By now, we’ve all learned how we should have “go bags” ready, just in case. We’re eager to hear more about the sustainable energy-powered WiFi-NY People’s Emergency Network that the Long-term Recovery Group is working on. During Sandy, only a few street corners had a signal — and everyone clustered there. In emergencies, communication is key. Our new understanding of flood zones is also affecting discussion about Hudson River Park, development on piers and the waterfront, and air-rights transfers from the park. Everything is being reassessed. When we interviewed Bill de Blasio before the primary election he showed an open mind on storm protection, but was more in favor of more affordable natural barriers, like wetlands and dunes. De Blasio’s a very intelligent man, and we’re confident he’ll make the right choices for the city’s protection. For now, we’re glad to see that, from Con Ed to community activists, people are doing their best to make sure, if another Sandy hits, we’ll be ready.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR BID always focused on basics To The Editor: Re “Secret vote on the Soho BID was some tricky business” (talking point, by Sean Sweeney, Oct. 17): Since the outset of the Broadway Soho BID effort, Councilmember Margaret Chin has been pushing for equal residential and commercial voting, as well as a minimal budget to focus only on basic needs. I should know since I have been co-chairperson of the business improvement district’s steering committee since its inception. On March 10, 2013, before the final public hearing by the City Council Finance Committee, the Soho Alliance stated the following as its public demand to Margaret regarding the Soho BID: 1. Fair representation for residential owners and tenants; 2. No weighted voting, which unfairly favors commercial owners (see below); 3. Protection of our public space — no commercial activity on streets and sidewalks; 4. Narrowing the BID’s focus to sidewalk sweeping, congestion and vendor control. Personally, I find it laughable that our BID effort was Margaret’s pet project. Quite the contrary, it seems that her perspective is and always was closely aligned with the Soho Alliance. It was because of her and her staff’s efforts that on March 13, 2013,
the BID Steering Committee supported amending the plan to include 50 / 50 voting, confirming there wouldn’t be either street fairs or street vendors and agreeing to further narrow the BID’s potential scope. My personal testimony is of public record and can be checked. Keep in mind that 79 percent of the square footage in the neighborhood is commercial and that 81 percent of the taxes paid in the neighborhood are commercial. In April, after the 30-day objection period ended, property owners’ votes were tallied and less than 6 percent of the district objected to the plan as
drafted. Despite not having significant objections, Margaret still made sure that the plan was amended to reflect 50 / 50 voting, no street fairs or vendors, a narrower scope and more public meetings. E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 212229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 515 Canal St., Suite 1C, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.
An open letter to Community Board 3 from LES Dwellers TALKING POINT BY DIEM BOYD
t is our view that Manhattan’s Community Board 3 and all block associations and community groups should be working together to solve the very real problems of our neighborhoods. For the LES Dwellers, this means improving the quality-of-life problems resulting from some of the worst liquor saturation in the United States. A pattern of evolving block association regulations never voted on by the full board has challenged the organizing ability of residents, hindering the democratic process that C.B. 3 is mandated to uphold. Certain members of C.B. 3 leadership have taken action to quiet the very voices they are responsible to hear from among the community. The shifting “rules” culminated in the questionable “suspension” of the LES Dwellers in October. The representatives
ciations’ geographic representation. As Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer expressed in a thoughtful letter (available on our Web site along with other “suspension” information, at http://lesdwellersupension.tumblr.com), even if a community board had the legal authority to put in place such a “suspension,” the lack of a transparent, “deliberative process” here would be worrisome. Moreover, the S.L.A. — in a meeting with the Dwellers and C.B. 3 leadership last week — has confirmed the rights of community groups to contact the S.L.A. and license applicants directly. This very meeting netted tangible solutions to strengthen the democratic process and to create a more transparent and open format. We look forward to these recommendations being shared with all members of C.B. 3 and swiftly adopted. It is clear that the way forward here is through greater transparency and a more
justified the three-month “suspension” with claims that the Dwellers have overstepped our role as a community group by contacting license applicants and the New York State Liquor Authority directly, and
The State Liquor Authority in a meeting last week confirmed the rights of community groups to contact the S.L.A. and license applicants directly. not adhering to the confusing criteria C.B. 3 leadership has instituted as to block asso-
Doris the Vampire Slayer?
democratic process. With that in mind, we would like to invite all members of C.B. 3 to do the following: 1.) Attend our next public meeting — and any future meeting — in order to better understand our mission, our membership, and our methods. Our meeting schedule is posted on our Web site, http://www.lesdwellers.org/Calendar. 2.) Contact us directly with any questions or concerns by e-mail at email@example.com. 3.) Visit our Web site http://www.lesdwellers.org, where you can learn more about our organization. We remain confident that once C.B. 3 members know more about what we hope to achieve, and what we believe is our shared goal of neighborhood improvement, we can move beyond this impasse toward a productive future. Ultimately, our goal and commitment is one and the same, a better tomorrow for the communities where we live. Boyd is founder, LES Dwellers
Protesters will briefly block highway at anti-pipeline rally Opponents of hydrofracking and the new Spectra pipeline — which is now ready to start carrying “fracked” gas into the West Village and Chelsea — will hold a protest this Sat., Nov. 2, at Gansevoort St. by the peninsula. The Sixth Precinct has permitted the rally at the location as long as they don’t block pedestrian and bike traffic. The activists will gather at 2:30 p.m. for speeches and music — including a performance by Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Choir — and to chalk the high-pressure pipeline’s path and potential blast radius in the event of a catastrophic explosion. Some civil disobedience is also planned, including the strategic unfurl-
ing of up to two banners across the West Side Highway. Police will reportedly allow the protesters to do so for one or possibly two light cycles. Anyone who leaves the highway will not be subject to arrest. Anyone who doesn’t leave, will be. Police suggest those who don’t want to be arrested wear colored armbands. Local politicians invited to attend include Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal, as well as City Councilmember Gale Brewer. Corey Johnson, Democratic nominee for the Third Council District, reportedly plans to be arrested during the protest.
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Margot Adler, a radio journalist and correspondent for National Public Radio and a Wiccan priestess, spoke about vampires as symbols during last Sunday’s service at Judson Memorial Church, on Washington Square South. Adler began by saying that previously she had never known much about vampires, but in the last five years, has read more than 200 novels with vampires, and also enjoys watching vampire TV series. Taking a break from marionette activities in Washington Square Park, Doris Diether, the veteran Community Board 2 activist, fearlessly greeted her after the talk. “I’m not into vampires. I’m into ghosts,” Diether later told The Villager.
October 31, 2013
No education, and another (glass) brick in the wall BY GERARD FLYNN
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ince it was built in 1826 as an orphanage, St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School, on Prince St. between Mulberry and Mott Sts., has, like the rest of Little Italy, gone through some significant changes. During the 1860s a Mott St. wing was added, and in 1910 roof modifications were made, while additional classrooms were added out back in 1954. The late Federal-style institutional building was landmarked with the rest of the five-building complex and is part of the Little Italy Historic District. But the most recent changes are perhaps the most dramatic. The proposal by a developer to gut-renovate the historic school — closed in 2010 due to low enrollment — demolish the rear yard and replace it with a new modern look has some locals bemoaning the loss of their neighborhood’s character. A proposed glass facade for a single-family townhouse in the rear may be modern to some but was too much for the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which rejected the design at an Oct. 8 public hearing. Times Equities and Hamlin Ventures, a developer of upscale developments, plan to turn the historic site into upscale townhouses and a condo complex. According to Joe Zwilling, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New York, the parish corporation that owns the site and the developers are in the final stages of closing the deal, worth around $30 million. While most of the site will be given over for development, he said, a portion will remain for Catholic education. But before the classrooms become luxury
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condos and the 1954 annex is turned into a high-end townhouse, the developers must get approval from L.P.C., which, while liking much of the design, also wants to see some modifications to the glass facade before giving the project its blessing. At the L.P.C. hearing, the “brickwork” came up for some serious scrutiny — namely because of the glass “bricks” proposed for the townhouse addition. Sean Sweeney, co-chairperson of Community Board 2’s Landmarks and Public Aesthetics Committee, said the facade treatment may be hip and cool to some, but were out of historic context for the neighborhood. Plus, it would shine, he said, like a glow-in-the-dark lamp. “It’s basically a glass intrusion in a neighborhood of bearing-wall masonry,” C.B. 2 opined in a resolution in September. The board, however, praised the renovations proposed for the school’s facade. The developers must now return with a proposal that will “better relate to the landmark and feature more articulation,” said L.P.C. spokesperson Lisi de Bourbon. One L.P.C. commissioner called some of the proposed design “cartoonish.” Another joined C.B. 2 in blasting plans for the glass-brick facade. Although the design is within scale for the low-rise neighborhood — where height caps have been in place under the zoning resolution since the 1970s — it contrasts with the quaint 19th-century masonry of many of the buildings. But since 2003 the surrounding area has been transformed by a wave of swanky residences replacing abandoned lots. The prospect of a luxury condo development behind the 19th-century facade of a church he cherishes is too much for some so-called NIMBYs, like Sante Scardillo, an artist from Italy and member of the Little Italy Neighbors Association. Mourning the loss of much of the old neighborhood to gentrification, Scardillo said, “We’re being attacked from all sides.” Despite assurances by the developers’ architect appearing before C.B. 2 — which approved the demolition but not the design — Scardillo doubts the proposal would help maintain the neighborhood’s character. He added that the development will change the site’s function from “education with a philanthropic slant, to plutocrats’ playground.” The Historic Districts Council generally approves what is being removed in the project, but has issues with its replacements, namely visible bulkheads, canopies and rooftop additions.
Pioneering rock-’n’-roller Lou Reed dies at age 71 New York rock icon Lou Reed died on Sun., Oct. 27, at age 71. The cause was complications from a recent liver transplant. The epitome of Downtown cool, he was an oversized presence on the local arts and activist scene. Two years ago he embraced the Occupy Wall Street movement. Before that, he helped the community’s ultimately unsuccessful effort
to fight the city’s plan for a three-district Sanitation megagarage at Spring and Washington Sts. Not only did he “walk on the wild side,” he walked fast, as seen in the Westbeth photo. “I have several of him moving around very fast! It’s why the photos of him are a blur,” said Sharon Woolums, who posed with him for a photo at Occupy.
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October 31, 2013
The Villager newspaper celebrates 80 years!
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
State Senator Brad Hoylman, right, presented a proclamation to Villager Editor in Chief Lincoln Anderson, left, and Publisher Jennifer Goodstein.
Jennifer Goodstein with former Villager Publisher Elizabeth Margaritis Butson.
ith proclamations, politicians and a pair of puppets — well, marionettes, to be exact — The Villager celebrated its 80th anniversary Monday night at Houston Hall, the new beer hall on West Houston St. between Sixth Ave. and Varick St. On hand to give congratulations and / or proclamations to the newspaper were Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, state Senator Brad Hoylman and Borough President Scott Stringer. “As a longtime reader of The Villager, I can tell you that what you do — local, neighborhood-based reporting — is so essential to the heart and soul of our community, as well as to the healthy functioning of our Democracy,” Silver said, reading from a statement he wrote for the occasion.
Former Publisher John W. Sutter and Doris Diether, the veteran Community Board 2 activist, shared a hug.
October 31, 2013
“The stories you publish are the stories of our Downtown neighbors and they are told compellingly and with great heart.” Stringer read aloud his proclamation, which concluded, “I do hereby commend The Villager on its 80 years of success, service and contributions to the City of New York and proclaim this Monday, October 21st, 2013 ‘The Villager Celebration Day’ in the Borough of Manhattan.” He quipped, though, that the proclamation was only good till midnight. Hoylman, whom The Villager has been covering since he was a fledgling activist on Community Board 2, read a very specific, heartfelt and humorous proclamation that had the crowd smiling and laughing warmCELEBRATE, continued on p. 15
Borough President Scott Stringer, right, met Little Doris, to the delight of marionette manipulator Ricky Syers and Big Doris.
CELEBRATE, continued from p. 14
PHOTO BY MICHAEL SHIREY
ly. The proclamation declared it “The Villager Day” in his 27th State Senate District. Also attending were Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Councilmember Gale Brewer, District Leader Keen Berger and Corey Johnson, Democratic nominee for the Third Council District, plus prominent political club members, community board members and local activists. Spreads of chocolates and cheeses were provided by, respectively, Li-Lac Chocolates and Murray’s Cheese. Partygoers departed with swag bags emblazoned with the new Villager logo and containing The Villager’s 80th anniversary issue and other treats.
Colin Gregory, The Villager’s “Mad Man,” who sold the paper’s 80th anniversary special section like a maniac.
David Leslie, the East Village activist and Brooklyn Bridge Swim phenom, and his son, Brooks, enjoyed meeting Mr. Stix at the party. High five!
State Senator Brad Hoylman’s proclamation on behalf of The Villager.
L.E.S. documentarian Clayton Patterson made the scene.
The cake — emblazoned with the new Villager logo. October 31, 2013
Kids were frightfully cute Local kids — and their parents, too — were looking cute at the West Village Children’s Halloween Festival at Bleecker Playground on Sun., Oct. 27. The annual event was organized by Friends of Bleecker Playground and sponsored by a bevy of local businesses and community organizations.
PHOTOS BY LARA MULLARKEY
Putting on the dog for Halloween Kids weren’t the only ones in Halloween costumes this past weekend. At the new Washington Square Park dog run, canines cavorted in imaginative getups in a costume contest. Sierra, dressed as Simba, the Lion King, was the winner. His owner, Peter Friedman, wore a matching outfit. A black Lab sported a George Clooney floating in deep space, a la the hit movie “Gravity.” There were bun-wearing “hot dogs,” butterflies, even a unicorn. Terri Cude, of Community Board 2, introduced the competitors. Matt Baney and Lori Schwab judged. “I like it when the owner and their dog are part of the costume concept,” Baney said. “They create their own show. Of course, it’s all about the dog.”
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
October 31, 2013
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
PHOTO BY SAM SPOKONY
Mulling why a mind is a terrible thing to gentrify On Oct. 8 the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, on Avenue C near E. 10th St., hosted author Sarah Schulman, whose latest book, “The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination,” revisits the Lower East Side’s rebellious gay culture in the AIDS-plagued 1980s and ’90s. Schulman took questions from Ben Shepard, an associate professor of human service at the CUNY School of Technology and a local activist.
Two galleries are better than one Antonio “Nino” Vendome, chairperson of the Vendome Group, above right, with P.J. Charlton restaurateur Phil Mouquinho, recently simultaneously opened two new art galleries in Hudson Square. Studio Vendome is on the ground floor of the Philip Johnson-designed Urban Glass House, at 330 Spring St., a residential project developed by Vendome. Meanwhile, Studio Vendome Projects, is at 30 Grand St., near The James Hotel. The galleries will showcase late-career artists and artist-estate collections deserving greater critical recognition. Vendome is also known for his “Nino’s Restaurant 9/11 Relief Fund,” in which he transformed his family’s Canal St. restaurant into a relief center for first responders and others at the World Trade Center site, serving thousands of free meals to Ground Zero workers for seven months after 9/11.
W H AT DI D W E L E AR N F R O M T H E L AS T S TO RM O F T H E C E N T UR Y T H AT W E C AN AP P LY T O T H E NE XT O NE ? Every time we turn around, there seems to be another Storm of the Century. So we’re spending over $1 billion over the next four years on storm-protection improvements. We’re building higher ﬂood barriers. We’re investing in utility poles that can withstand 110 mph wind gusts. And we’re installing submersible electrical equipment in ﬂood-prone areas. We’re also doing more to keep you informed during severe weather. Check our outage map, report a power problem, get a restoration estimate and ﬁnd storm safety tips at conEd.com and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
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October 31, 2013
For two original tenants, Habitat home was a lifesaver BY HEATHER DUBIN
PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
hen Ann Rupel and her family were accepted as homesteaders at Mascot Flats — the first building in Manhattan renovated by Habitat for Humanity — they were living in an East Village apartment under less-than-ideal conditions. Thirty years after the historic rehab project, Rupel still lives in Mascot Flats, on E. Sixth St. between Avenues C and D. “We had a son born at end of 1983, and we lived in this ‘tub in the kitchen’ tenement apartment,” she said. It was rentcontrolled, but the downside was two adults and a baby in one room, with no heat in the winter on weekends, and flooding from construction above. “It felt like landlord tricks to get you out,” she said. Rents in the neighborhood drastically increased, and Rupel felt there was nowhere in Manhattan to move. “We had actually signed a lease on a place in Staten Island, but the commute was just so ridiculous,” she said. Luckily, they were homestead-bound instead. After a three-month probation period, homesteaders, who paid $50 monthly dues
Mascot Flats tenants accepted a plaque on Oct. 10 from Habitat for Humanity commemorating the renovation project 30 years ago. At right in front row is Ann Rupel and at right in the middle row is Don Kao, both original homesteaders from when the building was renovated by Habitat for Humanity in 1984.
while working to fix up the formerly derelict Mascot Flats, were in. “It was really exciting to be part of the building,” Rupel said. “We learned a lot of stuff.” Rupel, 60, is currently president of the
co-op board, but she thinks a management company would actually be more pleasant for the building regarding tenant issues. “It would be clear that the board isn’t the landlord,” she said. However, she acknowledged a volunteer board is better for the building with vested members. Keeping the place afloat in the current economy has been a challenge. Some of the building’s residents are struggling with unemployment, layoffs and reduced work hours. “Probably everybody in our building has taken a hit from that,” she said of the tough economy. In an interview at his Mascot Flats apartment, Don Kao recalled his beginnings at the building. He had heard of a woman who bought three apartments for $1 each in a tenement building on Avenue D. “I thought I could never live over here,” he said. “But she did it on her own.” Kao, a counselor at the time, had met a biracial couple while leading a workshop. The woman worked at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), and recruited Kao, who is Asian, to Mascot Flats for ethnic diversity. After they were accepted, Kao, 62,
and his daughter, his former partner ’s niece, moved to the renovated Mascot Flats in 1986. According to Kao, the ethnic breakdown of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and whites in the building has remained the same throughout the years. There are studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedroom duplexes in Mascot Flats. Kao, who has changed the layout of his apartment three times, pays $365 a month, with a $100 mortgage and $100 maintenance fee. Kao has been living with AIDS for almost 30 years, and Mascot Flats has been integral to his survival. “When I think about it, I would’ve been in a lot of trouble if I didn’t have a place that was affordable,” he said. Both Kao and Rupel are University of Wisconsin-Madison graduates. He credits Madison for informing his politics, and believes housing is a right. “Madison politics are keeping this building where it is,” he said. Kao is also on the Mascot Flats co-op board, and feels having homesteaders at the helm is fundamental. “It keeps the value of what it’s all about,” he said.
Village View ordered to return his keys after half-year lockout BY GERARD FLYNN
ver since he returned home to a bedroom inferno on March 1, the management company and the board of directors at Village View, a middle-income co-op in the East Village, has been denying Bohdan Rekshynskyj (pronounced “wreck-shin-ski”) access, except in short and closely supervised visits, to the two-bedroom unit where he has lived since 1979. His problems only worsened shortly after the blaze, when the 53-year-old was served with two holdover notices that, if upheld in court, would see him evicted due to complaints of hoarding, as well as “obnoxious odors” coming from his apartment — the latter which he strenuously denies. For legal reasons, neither Village View nor its lawyer would comment. Usually, in such cases, a certification of eviction must first be obtained from a hearing officer at the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development before proceeding to Housing Court. But because of the “emergency nature” — the tenant’s allegedly cluttered apartment and odors — the agency granted a waiver in April, thus allowing the matter to go directly to Housing Court. Village View’s eviction case hit a snag,
October 31, 2013
however, last month when, over the co-op’s objections, Judge Sabrina Krauss ordered Rekshynskyj’s keys returned to him until a certification of eviction has been produced or when management has “some other legal authority to prevent access.” Rekshynskyj is awaiting the appointment of a “guardian ad litem,” a pro bono legal adviser, or ward, whose goal is to “safeguard the rights and prevent the eviction of some of New York City’s most vulnerable people,” according to the New York City Housing Court’s Web site. A judge will often appoint a “GAL” when there is concern a tenant is unable to advocate for him- or herself, mostly due to health problems or age. Although he confesses to being a messy person, Rekshynskyj told The Villager in June that his apartment is “not a hoarder place like you see on TV. I’m just messy by nature,” he said. “I’ve been to other apartments, and a lot of people are messier than I am,” he added. Rekshynskyj, who is surviving on public assistance and currently living in a singleroom occupancy (S.R.O.) hotel, told The Villager in June that despite promising his place would be cleaned after the fire, management had yet to do so. The holdover case is adjourned till Oct. 24.
Questioning the Unanswerable Paranormal is business as usual, on The Psi Show BY SCOTT STIFFLER
ntil a UFO lands in Times Square for a press conference, Bigfoot consents to a fireside chat or a spirit materializes to dish on the afterlife, “The Psi Show” hosts Larry Hewitt and Dan Sturges will be there to shed as much light as possible on things that lurk in the shadows. Broadcast live from Hewitt’s East Village apartment, “The Psi Show” uses the medium of Internet radio to make contact with psychics, paranormal experts, academics and the occasional crackpot. You can’t actually see or touch the zeroes and ones that translate the sound created by their voice boxes into the discussion that emanates from your speakers — but the fact that it’s intangible doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Keep that in mind later when they make the case for, or against, things like reincarnation, ectoplasm and haunted houses. Hewitt and Sturges have been conducting their Q&A sessions almost every Monday night, from 7-8pm, since October 9, 2011. Call it a chance encounter or a preordained meeting of the minds facilitated by a universe in which past, present and future exist on the same plane. Either way, it’s certainly ironic that the seeds for “The Psi Show” were planted when the two strangers were booked as guests on…a radio talk show. The chemistry (another one of those intangibles that everybody knows is real) was instant, and the two were soon conducting investigations together while occasionally mulling over the idea of providing a forum where informed guests and curious Chat Room listeners could dig into the marrow of paranormal phenomenon.
The show was also created as a way to counterbalance the misleading — and sometimes manufactured — “evidence” uncovered by those cable shows where a night vision camera follows a team of investigators who recoil in fear or cackle with delight when they encounter a sudden change in temperature or an unexplained noise. Lately, the genre has moved from ghost hunting in haunted prisons, hospitals and castles to shows touting ghosts who possess, attack and even murder. From the looks of it on TV, you’d think we’re being overrun by angry souls from the great beyond. If so, who you gonna call? Hewitt and Sturges would be a solid choice. I say this (in the spirit of full disclosure) based on witnessing several investigations they’ve conducted at the Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St.). In last week’s issue of The Villager, Sturges (who has logged dozens of trips to the house) noted, “There is obviously something happening at the Merchant’s House Museum. There is no doubt that people are having experiences. The question is, are people experiencing communication from the deceased Tredwell family and their servants?” The audio and video recordings he’s collected “suggest that there is some kind of communication happening. It’s impossible to say if the communication comes directly from the Tredwell family and others who are connected to the house or is just some form of telepathy between living people who are sharing information. I’m not exactly sure, but I feel that sometimes the Tredwells and others are indeed making some kind of connection to us living folks.” Sturges refuses to use the word “ghost” to identify the source of materializing objects, disembodied footsteps and bumps
Larry Hewitt (L) and Dan Sturges go in search of answers, on “The Psi Show.”
in the night he’s personally witnessed. Hewitt is similarly on the fence — willing to acknowledge that something is happening, but steadfast in his refusal to say that anything he’s encountered over the years proves…anything. That may be very unsatisfactory for those seeking definitive answers. But a healthy sense of skepticism is what makes “The Psi Show” such a compelling listen. It also helps that Hewitt and Sturges don’t take their line of inquiry too seriously. Each show is unofficially sponsored by an adult beverage, and a guest’s comments are often punctuated by sound effects. The light tone is a pleasant departure from shows like “Ancient Aliens” — whose talking heads speak with such authority and certainty that their outlandish claims thrust the proceedings into the realm of camp. There are plenty of laughs on “The Psi Show,” but not at the expense of serious (if not entirely sober) inquiry. With that in mind, we decided to turn the tables on Hewitt and Sturges, by putting them on the receiving end of a Q&A session.
How many investigations have you been on? What are the most notable experiences, and why? Hewitt: Maybe 11 or 12? The best one was the Lutheran church in Queens — amazing EVP [Electronic Voice Phenomena], and I was physically attacked. I had a group at the time, the Afterlife Research Group of New York. We were called by someone who worked at the church. At night, they’d often hear voices, footsteps. I arrived with four other investigators. One of them was a psychic, who told us that in the front of the church, there was a spirit, an older man who was angry in life, is angry in death and is angry that we’re there. The church had a mezzanine. I went up the stairs along with two others. We got about half way up, and the guy in front of me suddenly, violently, flew backwards. His feet literally went up in the air. I tumbled down, the guy in back of me tumbled down and the guy in front of me broke his ankle. When we hit the bottom of the stairs, all of the EMF [Electromagnetic Field] meters went off at the same PSI SHOW, continued on p.20
October 31, 2013
Village-based web talk show chats up paranormal experts PSI SHOW, continued from p.19
time, which is very unusual. I always say that when you go on an investigation, it’s not like it is in the movies. But this place was. We really felt attacked. Sturges: I guess I’m closing in on the triple digits, in terms of investigations. For me, the most notable experiences are the ones that multiple people witness. It’s so educational to get “takes” on the same experience. It’s amazing how different people can perceive the same event. For example, the loud, “bang” or “door slam” that happened in 2011 [at Merchant’s House Museum]. Some people thought it was angry, some thought it wasn’t. But we all heard the same noise.
What investigative equipment is, and is not, helpful? Hewitt: Not helpful: spot thermometers. Helpful: EMF meters and, although Dan scoffs, I’ve had interesting re-
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October 31, 2013
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR
What guest was clearly a looney, and how you did deal with them for a whole hour? Hewitt: The UFO guy and the dog psychic woman. Sturges: We did have someone on who had written a book about a possessed dog who clearly wasn’t happy with Larry and I asking too many questions. Especially Larry, who doesn’t tolerate loonies so well. We also had a UFO fella on this past summer who was interesting for the first 40 minutes or so, and then went on a long rant about religion, ancient languages and who knows what. Larry and I turned our microphones down, had a drink and just let him go until we finally had to cut him off to end the show. Even the people in the Chat Room turned on him!
IMAGE COURTESY OF MCFARLAND & CO.
What guest said something that significantly changed or expanded your opinion of a psi matter? Hewitt: Professor Stephen Braude [Oct. 14, 2013 guest], who has done research on ectoplasm, really added credence to a subject I thought was complete fraud. Sturges: Stephen Braude. I’ve always considered some aspects of Physical Mediumship to be too good to be true. Here is a tenured professor for 40 years and past president of the Parapsychological Association, who says he has witnessed levitation, bookcases bouncing across the room and has even photographed and video recorded a medium producing Ectoplasm. If someone as credible as Dr. Braude says he has seen this type of phenomena, I’m inclined to believe him. Dr. Ian Stevenson is Larry Hewitt’s choice for authoratative research on reincarnation.
sults from the Ovilus. It’s basically an EMF meter. But instead of lighting up or showing how powerful the field is, it has an onboard vocabulary of words. The theory goes, ghosts can pull words out of the device to express themselves. I was using one at this location where a psychic started telling a story about a friend who was a Catholic priest, who gave up the priesthood to become a witch. He’d do cleansings using a hybrid of Wiccan and Catholic prayers. Right after she said that, the Ovilus said three words in succession: priest, witch and prayer. You could say it was a coincidence, but it was contextually accurate. A few minutes later, we were going room to room and the Ovilus kept saying “angel” and “stairs.” It repeated those words a few times. After the second or third time, they psychic and I went down the stairs and were talking. She turned and said, “Look.” There was a two-foot tall statue of an angel. It was as if something was saying [through using the Ovilus] that I’m here, and I can tell you things. Sturges: I see a lot of people who like to, “go dark,” and shut out the lights, which just isn’t very practical. What if you trip over something? How are you supposed to see if something happens or moves? You’ll hear a lot of people saying that spirits or apparitions can only be seen in the infrared or ultraviolet (non-visual) light spectrum. I always ask, where’s the proof? First, we have to determine if consciousness can survive bodily death before we start setting rules and deciding what it/they can and cannot do. How were people experiencing apparitions before the ability to see into different light spectrums was even developed? C’mon! Also, I see a lot of people running around with AC (alternating current) EMF me-
He wrote the book on it: Dan Sturges says Loyd Auerbach is his paranormal go-to guy. This book is available as a pdf, at mindreader.com.
ters. Anybody who has the slightest knowledge of science knows you can’t detect ghosts or even living people with a device that measures man-made electromagnetic fields. They can be used to eliminate man-made sources of EMF, but that’s about it. I think the best piece of equipment you can have is a levelheaded approach and a good, reliable psychic medium — someone who has been tested and examined (they’re out there) in a scientific manner. I feel that science should be paying more attention to people who seem to have this type of ability. What books do you most often consult, or refer to and/or recommend? Hewitt: My specialty is reincarnation, and Dr. Ian Stevenson is the real expert. His book, “Children Who Remember Previous Lives,” is the one I often refer to, or refer other people to. Sturges: Anything by Loyd Auerbach. I go back and read his books often. There is also a great book called “The Quantum Enigma.” I think people starting out in the field should read up on the history of psychical research. It would open their eyes to all the research and techniques that were happening before the current crop of ghost hunting shows started airing. “The Psi Show” airs Mondays, 7-8pm, at thepsishow.com. Email questions to dan@thepsishow or larry@thepsishow or call 347-2011-BOO. Visit sturgesparanormal.com.
Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER
HUDSON PARK LIBRARY’S ERROL FLYNN BLAST
Hollywood heavies, as Brit flyboys: Errol Flynn, David Niven and Basil Rathbone soar on the Hudson Park Library screen (Nov. 28).
IMAGE COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.
IMAGE COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.
He wasn’t all swashbuckling and Sherwood Forest. Although his icon status comes from physically demanding roles in popcorn pleasers like 1940’s “The Sea Hawk” and 1938’s “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” the final phase of Hudson Park Library’s “Errol Flynn Blast” plunges the moral high road occupant into the murky, violent realm of World Wars I & II. Not to worry. This is Hollywood, after all — so fisticuffs and grit end up saving the day, no matter what genre or era our hero is navigating. On Nov. 7, 1943’s “Northern Pursuit” casts Flynn as a Mountie whose bad guy act is just that — a clever ruse meant to snare his Nazi quarry. On Nov. 21, 1945’s “Objective Burma” has Flynn as an Army paratrooper who must lead his decimated ranks through the Burmese jungle. The series’ final film, 1938’s “Dawn Patrol,” teams Flynn with David Niven and Basil Rathbone — as a trio of British World War I flying aces. That one unspools on Nov. 28. Free. All screenings are at 2pm. At the Hudson Park Library (66 Leroy St., btw. 7th Ave. South & Hudson St.). For more info, call 212243-6876 or visit nypl.org.
Flynn as a WWII paratrooper — Nov. 21, at Hudson Park Library.
with vocalist Alexander Bishop. Free. Mon., Nov. 4 at 7pm. At bookbook (266 Bleecker St., btw. Cornelia & Morton Sts.). Call 212-807-8655 or visit bookbooknyc.com. Also visit garylucas.com.
EXHIBIT: “DYMAX REDUX”
In his new memoir “Touched by Grace,” singer and Grammy-nominated songwriter Gary Lucas delves into his complicated working relationship with Jeff Buckley. In addition to the usual meet-and-greet signing opportunity, this bookbook event features Lucas performing an acoustic set,
Some 70 years after Buckminster Fuller literally redrew the map of mapmaking, Cooper Union brings together a group of contemporary designers, artists and cartographers for an exhibit featuring often liberal, JUST DO ART, continued on p.22
IMAGE COURTESY OF COOPER UNION
BOOK SIGNING: “TOUCHED BY GRACE”
A later version of Fuller’s Dymaxion Map, which takes the same Raleigh Edition layout developed in the 1950’s with updated information for land and water temperatures. Confused? See Cooper Union’s “Dymax Redux” exhibit for a more informed perspective.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31 Come see and be seen and Celebrate the Night of Nights! Costume Parade & Live Bands Miracles & Monsters HOT FOOD AND HOT ENTERTAINMENT
Bandstage on E. 10th St at 4:00pm
DOORS OPEN 7:30pm ALL TICKETS $20
Theater for the New City 155 1st Ave. at East 10th St. for Info call (212) 254-1109 Tickets available online at www.theaterforthenewcity.net Also at www.facebook.com/theaterforthenewcity
October 31, 2013
Just Do Art 8 & Sat., Nov. 9, at 7:30pm. At Chen Dance Center (70 Mulberry St., corner of Mulberry & Bayard Sts.). For tickets ($12, $10 for students/seniors), call 212-349-0126. Visit chendancecenter. org, and follow Waln at twitter.com/FrankWaln.
JUST DO ART, continued from p. 21
Raised on South Dakota’s Rosebud Reservation, 24-year-old Chicago-based performer/producer Frank Waln grew up immersed in the surprisingly complimentary worlds Native American, electronica and hip-hop music. The resulting performance style is a deft mix of traditional beats, dense rapping and looping mixes used to address the negative portrayal of Native Americans and
October 31, 2013
From South Dakota to our island’s southern tip: On Nov. 8 & 9, Rosebud Sioux Tribe member Frank Waln leads “Hip Hop & Hoops,” at Chinatown’s Chen Dance Center.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
CHEN DANCE CENTER: “HIP HOP & HOOPS: AN INDIGENOUS EXPERIENCE”
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
sometimes lyrical interpretations of Fuller’s Dymaxion Map. Also known as The Fuller Projection Map, its at-the-time radical notion of viewing the world as a flat surface caused a game-changing shift in perspective by, exhibit organizers note, “revealing our planet as one island in one ocean, without any visually obvious distortion of the relative shapes and sizes of the land areas, and without splitting any continents.” The participants in “Dymax Redux” use Fuller’s original as a canvas onto which they project their own perspectives on deforestation, climate and atmospheric conditions, water use, urbanization, time zones and lunar topography. A selection of Fuller’s own maps, displayed alongside their contemporary versions, provide background and context for the project. Free. On view through Nov. 27. At The Cooper Union — Foundation Building (2nd floor of 7 E. 7th St., btw. 3rd & 4th Aves). Exhibit Hours: Mon.-Fri., 12-7pm and Sat., 12-5pm. For more info, visit cooper.edu. Follow Cooper Union at twitter.com/cooperunion and facebook.com/cooperunion.
A fabulous, funny mess: Kelly Kinsella’s “When Thoughts Attack” runs through Dec. 22, at the cell.
overcome “the self-oppression that exists in many Lakota communities.” He’s currently teaching a workshop at Chen Dance Center, which culminates in two public performances. Dance Center associate director Dian Dong, who notes that “Hip-hop is not a long-standing tradition in our largely immigrant community,” calls
Waln’s visit “a very special gift” meant to further the Center’s efforts to blend cultures and artistic styles. It seems to be working, according to Waln — who says that from the outset, his “happy connection” with the Chinatown dance institute felt “like I found a lost Tribe of mine!” “Hip Hop & Hoops” is performed on Fri., Nov.
KELLY KINSELLA’S “WHEN THOUGHTS ATTACK” Swirling around the deeply conflicted head of Kelly Kinsella, there’s a still small voice telling her she has the moxie to “move upstate and get a farm house with a garden and have all of my artist friends over for dinner and a drum circle. ” There’s another voice that keeps her from accomplishing the monumental task of deciding between the chicken or the steak. But wait, she’s in a seafood restaurant. It’s all so clear now. Her only two choices are “the salmon or a complete nervous breakdown.” In “When Thoughts Attack,” the simple task of perusing a menu triggers an epic (albeit typical) case of high anxiety. It’s no wonder the closest Kinsella’s ever come to that idyllic farm house is the time she was booked to do stand-up at a Renaissance Fair. But there’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel — and this time, it might not be an approaching train. Clinging to her sense of humor and an emergency Xanax, Kinsella sits at a table for one, navigating the restaurant’s menu while tracing the “whirlpool of anxiety over every life choice” that has led her to this meal — which will either culminate in a victorious order of intestinal fortitude or a doggy bag of indecisive shame. Either way, it’s a raw tale that’s ripe for laughs. Sun. at 7pm, through Dec. 22. At the cell: A Twenty First Century Salon (338 W. 23rd St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). For tickets ($30), call 800-838-3006 or visit brownpapertickets. com. For venue info: thecelltheatre.org. For more info on the artist, visit kellykinsella.com.
Buhmann on Art Reinhardt goes solo at Zwirner & O’Connor comes to Brooklyn
PHOTO BY MARVIN LAZARUS
John O’Connor: “Portrait of a Psychopath” (2012, Graphite, colored pencil on paper, 74 x 73 inches). At Pierogi, through Nov. 10.
Ad Reinhardt in his studio, New York, 1966.
BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN © 2013 ESTATE OF AD REINHARDT/ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS)
AD REINHARDT David Zwirner just recently took on Reinhardt’s estate, and this will be the muchanticipated first solo exhibition of this major artist there. Renowned for his work as an abstract painter and for his influence on Minimalism, Reinhardt (1913-1967) was a pioneer of hard-edge painting. By the 1950s he began to limit his formerly eclectic palette to a single color, moving from red to blue and finally to black. His so-called “black” paintings of the 1960s are considered his most influential. While appearing at first glance to be simply black, a geometric structure composed of black and nearly black shades is revealed upon closer inspection. Nov. 7-Dec. 18, at David Zwirner (537 W. 20th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.Sat. 10am-6pm. Call 212-727-2070 or visit davidzwirner.com.
JOHN O’CONNOR Working in collage, drawing and sometimes sculpture, O’Connor focuses on the visualization of complex subtexts. His compositions navigate between pure abstrac-
Ad Reinhardt’s first solo exhibition at David Zwirner is on view, Nov. 7-Dec. 18.
tion and patterns while often incorporating snippets of language. This makes for dense visual and intellectually layered tapestries that evoke conglomerates of data, idiosyncratic systems, and codes. Here, information is transmitted through color and form, rhythmically weaving together the content of each piece. Through Nov. 10. At Pierogi (177 North Ninth St., btw. Bedford & Driggs Aves., in Brooklyn). Hours: Tues.-Sun. 11am-6pm. Call 718-599-2144 or visit pierogi2000.com.
John O’Connor: “Implosion, Explosion” (2013, graphite, colored pencil on paper, 74 x 57 inches). At Pierogi, through Nov. 10.
October 31, 2013
With Avenue D center, Girls Club aims for the stars GIRLS CLUB, continued from p. 1
October 31, 2013
PHOTO BY THE LOWER EAST SIDE GIRLS CLUB
movement room. It was one of the center’s appropriately dubbed “Fab Fridays,” during which the girls participated in one of five activities offered that day. Maria Valentin, a mom of one of the girls, was giving hula hoop instruction, with lots of laughs and smiles. That afternoon, two staff employees, Samantha Waite, program manager, and Kate Sease, development associate, led an enthusiastic tour of the first and only Girls Club center in New York City, which has been 17 years in the making. The Lower Eastside Girls Club was founded in 1996 by women in the neighborhood who wanted a place with services where girls could go, since they were excluded from the local Boys Club of New York. The entrance to the 30,000-square-foot, green building is on E. Eighth St., and will eventually be a gallery space for the girls’ artwork, along with that of guest artists. The big open space is also home to a free bookstand with donated books, and a juice bar area where the girls can grab a healthy snack. As part of the Girls Club guidelines, the center is officially a “junk-food free zone,” and no outside food or drink is allowed. Currently, there are 200 neighborhood girls who attend programs at the center during the week and mentoring on Saturdays. More programs will be offered as the center continues to evolve and grow, with an anticipated enrollment of about 1,000 girls by next January. Above the center there are 78 units of mixed-income housing, which is a separate entity from the Girls Club. The Baker Hall Health and Wellness Center will host varied physical activities from yoga to fencing to meditation, and is named for Ella Baker, a civil rights leader, Josephine Baker, the entertainer, and Jennifer Baker and her parents, all of whom died from AIDS. Art is integral to the center. Mosaic tile art even lines the bathrooms in the lobby, commissioned by local artists Cindy Ruskin, CHARAS’s Chino Garcia, Nicolina Johnson and Juan Carlos Pinto. The tile work references subjects the girls know well, such as La Tiendita, the Girls Club retail shop at the Essex Street Market on Delancey St. Jing Shan, a nurse, teaches meditation to the girls. Earlier, she led a class with two younger girls and one older one. “Maybe the younger ones were not ready for the session, but it was good to work on breath, and it was fun,” she said. There is a large commercial kitchen with pizza ovens, where the girls will continue to learn about baking and business through their Sweet Things Baking Company. They will expand their knowledge at the pizza academy with partner Two Boots Pizza.
Lower Eastside Girls Club members have been hooping it up — and learning about the universe via a planetarium and scores of other fascinating, fun and important things — in their new, state-of-the-art clubhouse.
Next to the kitchen is Celebrate Café, where the girls will sell their baked goods to the public. As one of their entrepreneurial programs, Girls Club members’ moms can take cooking classes with their daughters, and both mothers and daughters can earn handler licenses and food certifications at the We Mean Business culinary education center. “We also want to have cooking classes for boys, and want to do other programming for boys at the center, too,” Waite added. Class trips for girls and boys to the center’s planetarium have already begun. There will be more classes for moms at the center, too. Currently, the writer Hettie Jones is teaching a poetry or nonfiction writing class for moms. Around the corner from the kitchen, Megan Kindsfather, an artist who lives in Brooklyn, was creating a wall-size map of the Lower East Side with small pieces of glass. Waite explained that each red piece of glass represents a location where the Girls Club previously existed in the neighborhood, and there were more than 20 of them. Upstairs in the second-floor design shop, Mary Adams, a dress designer and owner of The Dress in Manhattan, was busy sewing potholders that the younger girls, ages 8 to 11, assembled earlier. Adams has been a Girls Club volunteer on and off since 1996. A recent project involves making aprons, which has morphed into crafting matching pot holders for Thanksgiving. “We are pushing people to buy a pie, and then they get a pot holder,” Waite said. The girls chose the fabrics, colors and appliqué while Adams diligently pulled it all together with a sewing machine. “This is sort of a mass production,” she joked. “We have to make a million for the
pies. I’m sure they’ll be a run on them.” The pie and pot holder combo will be available at La Tiendita for $30. “We don’t usually work with the younger girls,” she noted. “We usually start older because they’re too crazy with the sewing items and the needles,” she said of the younger girls. However, she was pleasantly surprised that day, and the girls liked it, too. Tyra Banks, the supermodel and entrepreneur, has founded the TZONE at the center, with the purpose of helping the girls focus on leadership. There will be an introductory 10-week program on Saturdays covering financial literacy, along with science, technology, engineering and math, which will also teach girls about careers in these fields. The members will also do hands-on science activities at the BioBase Science and Environmental Education Center, a lab with microscopes on the third floor. There will be green roof nearby where girls will run an urban farm, and on a different level there will be plants in a canoe, designed to attract bees and butterflies, and a meditation garden. Banks will be involved with the center, but her role is still undefined. “We had the TZONE as a summer camp, and it was also a foundation,” Sease said. “We received funding, and that’s why it’s here.” The audio lab and sound studio is adjacent to the TZONE, and will be a busy production space that also offers DJ classes. A 1958 Airstream trailer is parked in the room and will be a music recording studio, created by John Storyk, an architect and acoustician, and founding partner of WaltersStoryk Design Group. There is a center for media and social
justice for classes and screening events led by actress Rosario Dawson, who grew up nearby. There is a space for after-school group workshops in physical computing, basic coding and robotics and 3D scanning. The Reel Lives program brings in experts in documentary filmmaking, and holds classes in film editing, photography and information technology. The Alphabet City Art School is on the third floor, with ample studio space for classes. “You never know what’s going to click with a kid or what interests them. Every program is to help kids find that path,” Waite said. Dave Pentecost, who worked as a TV editor and producer for 25 years, is the center’s director of technology. He gave an impromptu lecture at the planetarium, which sports a 30-foot digital dome and 64 plush seats. Dave is married to Lyn Pentecost, one of the original founders of the Girls Club and its current executive director. The planetarium’s astronomical database is currently used around the world, and allows for collaboration with other institutions. “We want to do a weekly public show at night for the community, to let them know what you can see out there, and the state of the universe,” Dave Pentecost said. He was excited about the possibilities the dome presents for storytelling and inspiration, and also about a scheduled visit by a New York University class that was coming to study space visualization through code. “Any child has the capability of being inspired and adding to the sum of the universe,” he said. “I have kids ask me questions, and correct me every time.”
SCOOPY, continued from p. 3
charitable, peaceful and jolly good time for all.” St. Nick even sent a video highlighting all the good that SantaCon allegedly does, including donating three tons of food in 2011. By mistake we clicked on some of the other “official” SantaCon videos, which showed girls in “slutty Santa” outfits getting their butts slapped, a group of 10 guys clinking their flasks together before taking slugs of whiskey, etc. We shall see if the Santas are naughty or nice.
LAST CALL AT UNION SQUARE: Heartland Brewery’s rent on Union Square West is now $2 million a year, up from $150,000 when they opened there in 1999. It’s just too much, even for Heartland Brewery, which will be taking its famed pumpkin beer and other special brews and leaving the location before the end of the year. SOMETHING TO PONDER: A large “think tank” is being constructed at Canal St. and Sixth Ave. at Trinity Real Estate’s open lot, which is programmed as “Lent Space” by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. We had recently noticed all the industrial-looking materials — concrete slabs and the like — being stockpiled at the site, and then on Tuesday saw men putting up a large white, metal, arch-like framework. A security guard told us his understanding was it would be a “think tank” but only temporary and would eventually be dismantled. We called Ellen Baer, head of the Hudson Square Connection BID, about it, and after a pregnant pause, she said we really should call Trinity, since it’s their property. We called a Trinity spokesper-
son, who did not get back to us by press time. Hudson Square resident Tobi Bergman said he’s been poking around, too, but can’t find out any info, and suspects the whole thing is being kept “under wraps.” Well, it’s definitely got us thinking!
THE ART OF SURVIVAL: Due to a terrific response, Westbeth has extended its show about Hurricane Sandy, “Lost & Found: Scenes From After the Flood,” for three more performances on Nov. 7, 8 and 9. Paul Binnerts wrote the play, which was directed by Nancy Gabor. The Westbeth Sculpture Gallery is also doing a show, curated by Jack Dowling and running through December, featuring 11 residents whose artwork was damaged by Sandy because it was in the complex’s basement. FLEA MARKET KEEPS HOPPING: We’re informed by James Lamorte that East Side Community High School plans to continue its “community market” flea market on a weekly basis, every Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 420 E. 12th St., between First Ave. and Avenue A. “We really need to stress it’s a fundraiser for the school and we need the community to come out and support us,” Lamorte said. Vendors and, of course, customers are welcome. For more information, call 718-598-6604. CHARAS INERTIA CONTINUES: O.K., so what’s going on already with developer Gregg Singer’s plan to create a university student dormitory at 605 E. Ninth St., the old P.S. 64, a.k.a. most recently CHARAS / El Bohio Cultural and Community Cen-
ter. (And when we say “most recently,” we’re talking about a dozen years ago, which is how long the building has sat vacant under Singer.) We tried reaching out repeatedly to Singer ’s most-recent, high-priced P.R. rep, but got no response. And we called Singer directly, but that didn’t work either. So we called The Cooper Union, which had agreed to be the new dorm’s anchor tenant. But it turns out Cooper ’s press department, through retirement and attrition, is basically nonexistent, so our call was referred to Lloyd Kaplan, one of our favorite P.R. spokespersons. We should also mention that we’re hearing that work seems to have stopped at the site — as in, people who live on the block are NOT hearing any construction activity there lately. So, we asked Kaplan, what’s the story? The story is not very clear, it seems. “There’s a contract that Cooper Union would have right of first refusal on something like 194 rooms,” Kaplan said. “They paid less than five figures.” How about the reports that renovations inside the place have ground to a halt? Kaplan checked around and got back to us. “We haven’t heard anything,” he told us. “Cooper Union has not heard from them,” referring to Singer ’s group. “I think, nothing has changed,” Kaplan concluded. “Our answer is: Nothing has changed.” Hmm, very existential… . The last time we saw Chino Garcia, CHARAS’s executive director, in Tompkins Square Park, he said he was also waiting to hear back from Cooper Union. And he said he was also disappointed that Anthony Weiner had been repeatedly exposed as a sext-aholic. (This was before the primary.) “I liked Weiner when he was in Congress,” Garcia said, “but he [messed] up.”
thursday, october 31
Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall Street) Tired of trick-or-treating in an apartment building? Come to Trinity Church for a Halloween experience like none other in New York City.
3-6pm Churchyard Trick-or-Treat Collect candy from historical characters from Trinity’s past and enter to win a prize! For families with children.
6:30-7:30pm Silent Film with Live Organ Accompaniment Watch the black and white silent film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) inside historic Trinity Church with haunting organ improvisation by acclaimed organist Dr. Robert Ridgell.
October 31, 2013
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Free Will Astrology SOMETHING TO Week of October 31 - November 6
BY ROB BREZSNY ARIES (March 21-April 19): Once when I was hiking through Maui’s rain forest, I spied a majestic purple honohono flower sprouting from a rotting log. I bent down and inhaled the aromas of moldering wood and sweet floral fragrance. Let’s make this your metaphor of the week, Aries. A part of your life that is in the throes of decay can serve as host and fertility for a magnificent bloom. Halloween costume suggestion: a garbage man or cleaning maid wearing a crown of roses. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): What don’t you like? What don’t you want to do? What kind of person do you not want to become, and what life do you never want to live? Resolve those questions with as much certainty as possible. Write it all down, preferably in the form of a contract with yourself. Sign it. This document will be a declaration of the boundaries you won’t cross and the activities you won’t waste your time on and the desires unworthy of you. It will feed your freedom to know exactly what you like, what you want to accomplish and who you want to become. Halloween costume suggestion: the opposite of who you really are. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Not just on Halloween, but for a week afterward, be scarier than your fears. If an anxious thought pops into your mind, bare your teeth and growl, “Get out of here or I will rip you to shreds!” If a demon visits you in a nightly dream, chase after it with a torch and sword, screaming, “Begone, foul spirit, or I will burn your mangy ass!” Don’t tolerate bullying in any form, whether it comes from a voice in your head or from supposedly nice people trying to guilt-trip you. Your motto: “I am a monster of love and goodness who will defeat all threats to my integrity!” CANCER (June 21-July 22): Now would be an excellent time to shed your soul’s infantile illusions…to play wildly with the greatest mystery you know…to accept gifts that enhance your freedom and refuse gifts that don’t… to consort and converse with sexy magical spirits from the future…to make love with the lights on and cry when you climax. Halloween costume suggestion: the archetypal LOVER. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): All around you, hidden agendas are seeping into conversations, and gossip is swirling like ghostly dust devils. Yet in the midst of this mayhem, you’re poised and full of grace. I suspect this has to do with the fact that life is showing you how to feel at home in the world no matter what’s happening around you. Halloween costume suggestion: King or Queen of Relaxation. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Unification should be a key theme for you in the coming weeks. The more you work to find common ground between opposing sides, the stronger you’ll feel and the better you’ll look. If you can manage to mend schisms and heal wounds, unexpected luck will flow into your life. Consider these Halloween disguises: a roll of tape, a stick of Krazy Glue, a bridge.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): What do you think you’d be like if you were among the 1-percentwealthiest people on Earth? Would you demand that your government raise your taxes so you could contribute more to our collective wellbeing? This Halloween season, imagine what it would be like if you had everything you needed and felt so grateful you shared your abundance freely. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): What if you had the power to enchant and even bewitch people with your charisma? Right now, you may have more mojo at your disposal than you realize. Speaking for your conscience, I would tell you, if you must manipulate people, do it for their benefit as well as yours. Use your raw magic responsibly. Halloween costume suggestion: a mesmerizing guru; an irresistible diva. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I had a dream you were in the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You were like George Clooney’s character. You were wearing a striped jailbird suit, and a ball and chain were still cuffed around your ankle. But you were sort of free, too. You were on the lam, making your way from adventure to adventure. You were not yet in the clear, but en route to total emancipation. This is an apt metaphor of your life right now. Could you use it in designing your Halloween costume?
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CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Imagine the most powerful role you could realistically attain in the future — a position that will authorize you to wield your influence to the max. It will give you the clout to shape the environments you share with other people…and to freely express your important ideas and have them be treated seriously. Incorporate your visions into your Halloween costume. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In the course of earning a living, I have worked four different jobs as a janitor and six as a dishwasher. I have also been a songwriter and lead singer for six rock bands and currently write a syndicated astrology column. Astrological omens say you Aquarians are primed to cultivate a relationship with your work life more like my latter choices than the former. The next eight months will be a favorable time to ensure you’ll be doing your own equivalent of rock singer or astrology columnist well into the future. Halloween costume suggestion: your dream job. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Author Robert Louis Stevenson loved poet Walt Whitman’s work. He saw him as an unruly force of nature, once calling him “a large shaggy dog, just unchained, scouring the beaches of the world and baying at the moon.” Your assignment is to do your best imitation of a primal creature like Whitman. In fact, consider being him for Halloween. Maybe you could memorize passages from Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and recite them at random moments, like, “I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, / I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.”
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October 31, 2013