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November 5, 2015
The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
November 5, 2015 • $1.00 Volume 85 • Number 23
Gardens now seen as key part of future storm-defense plan BY SARAH FERGUSON
wo years ago, Superstorm Sandy swamped the East Village, turning basements into swimming with rivers of water. On Monday morning, New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and other city, state and federal
of beaming gardeners at La Plaza Cultural on E. Ninth St. to announce a $2 million state grant to install rainwater-capture systems and other projects to mitigate storm runoff in the more than 40 community gardens in the East Village and Lower East Side. GARDENS continued on p. 8
Demanding data, pols say that Airbnb keeps flying under the radar BY YANNIC RACK
n a war of words at City Hall last week, Airbnb once again clashed with its critics, who accused the popular short-term rental company of making the city “ground zero for illegal hotels.” In two separate press conferences and during a hearing on a range of City Council
bills aimed at curbing misuse of the “home sharing” service, Airbnb was variously hailed as the lifeline for tens of thousands of New Yorkers and slammed as a threat to the city’s affordable housing stock. “This is not about regular New Yorkers trying to AIRBNB continued on p. 27
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
A zombie couple were feeling, and looking, blue at the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. For more blood-curdling and / or cute parade photos, see Page 4.
‘Feel the Bern!’ Sanders tops Clinton in straw vote BY MARY REINHOLZ
hile national polls put Hillary Clinton far ahead of her two remaining rivals in the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, self-described socialist Bernie Sanders won a straw poll taken last Sunday in Chelsea, surging past the senator and secretary of state by 30 votes. The informal sampling
of public opinion was conducted in a darkened auditorium with a call for raised hands to signify choices to lowing a two-hour Democratic presidential forum at the SVA Theatre, at 333 W. 23rd St. Sanders, the 74-year-old senator from Vermont, garnered 89 straw votes compared to 59 for Clinton, according to a count of hands. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley inspired 54 straw votes, trail-
Nearly a dozen local Democratic clubs sponsored the event, including Village Independent Democrats, Downtown Independent Democrats, Village Reform Democratic Club, Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats, Coalition for a District Alternative, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Samuel Tilden Democratic Club, Lexington Democratic Club, Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club, STRAW VOTE continued on p. 6
Pretty sketchy: Court ‘Shel game’...................page 2 Bill Hine, 79, waterfront warrior.....................page 11 The Darkness light up Irving Plaza.................page 26 Daphne Guinness launches!........page 23
COURTROOM SHEL GAME: On Tuesday, opening statements were given in Assemblymember Sheldon Silver’s federal trial on conspiracy, wire and mail fraud and extortion charges. Cameras are not allowed in the courtroom. Shown in the court sketch at left, from left, are Silver, his defense attorneys, Joel Cohen and Steven Molo, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen, making her opening statement. Cohen bluntly said the trial is about “Power. Greed. Corruption.” Silver is accused of quid pro quos with a Columbia oncologist and realtors that netted him about $5 million in kickbacks. However, speaking in defense of Silver, Molo declared of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and the prosecutors, “They don’t like the fact that friends might do favors for friends. They look at conduct which is normal and legal and they say, ‘This is illegal.’ ” ... Meanwhile, John Quinn, the Lower East Side Democratic state committeeman, is starting to sweat it, in terms of who might potentially replace Silver in the Assembly. Basically, Quinn feels that two names that have been out there, District Leaders Paul Newell and Jenifer Rajkumar, are simply not ready for prime time. As for Gigi Li, chairperson of Community Board 3, Quinn anticipates she won’t run. “You know the mess that happened when she tried to run for district leader,” he recalled. “Uh, God — you want to carry that baggage?... If she runs, you know D.I.D. will tear her apart.” Li, of course, withdrew from her hoped-for district leader race against Rajkumar this past summer amid accusations of fraudulent petitions to put Li on the ballot. Two Downlawsuit claiming that Li’s petitions were “permeated with fraud.” They charged that underage individuals collected a good chunk of the signatures, which
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were then illegally signed off on by a “subscribing witness,” none other than Yume Kitasei, Councilmember Margaret Chin’s chief of staff, who did not actually witness the signatures being made. Or so they charged. “They have photographs,” Quinn assured. How about Chin, would she want to be in the Assembly? “I sincerely doubt it,” he said. “You who wants to go to frickin’ Albany. It’s a lot colder up there.” Anyway, that seems to leave Newell and Rajkumar, for the moment. “If Shelly goes out very rapidly, what happens? It goes to County Committee,” Quinn explained, meaning the Democratic County Committee would pick the Demospeaker’s seat. That nominee then would be a lock to win. “It’s what, 7 or 8 to 1 Democratic-to-Republican down here?” Quinn noted. Meanwhile, Newell and Rajkumar, both gunning for the seat, still reportedly are not talking to each other — just as we reported back, oh, eight months ago. “Uh...no,” they are not she tried to talk to Paul and it was unproductive.” The bigger issue, though, as Quinn sees it, is that neither district leader has anywhere deep enough a track record of community activism. “Paul has opinions — no record,” he said of Newell, who ran against Silver in a primary seven years ago. Plus, he added that Newell, in a couple of tries, hasn’t even been able to win election to the board of Masaryk Towers, where he lives on the Lower East Side. But Newell said that’s not painting a fair picture. “I ran any candidate, but the election did not reach quorum. The other time an organized slate swept the ballot.” As for those — i.e. Quinn — who say he is “not ready for prime time,” he dismissed, “I don’t even know what that means.” As for Rajkumar, Quinn — who grew up on the hardscrabble Lower East Side back when it really was — scoffed, “I had Jenifer at a shelter meeting. She showed up in high heels and designer clothes.” Regarding Rajkumar’s win over Linda Balfour for district leader four years ago, he said, “She beat a sick woman in a wheelchair. Linda should never have run. D.I.D. wanted Jenifer.” Meanwhile, Quinn is frantically looking for someone else — anyone else — to run for Assembly. “We haven’t found anyone yet, but we’re looking,” he said. He said he’s talking to state Senator Daniel
Squadron and District Leader Virginia Kee to try to get ideas. “I personally like Jenifer and Paul,” he noted. “But, as far as I’m concerned, they’re both kids, and they don’t have anything under their belt.” (For the record, Rajkumar is 33 and Newell 40.) On top of all that, the district is an “East Side seat,” Quinn stressed, meaning D.I.D. shouldn’t be thinking they will be the king- or queenmaker. As for Rajkumar, asked about Quinn’s claim that she’s just not ready for the Assembly, she said, “If that’s what critics are President Obama and J.F.K.”
PUTS HER DVF ON IT: Lending her stylish and weighty name to Save Gansevoort’s petition against the Gottlieb/Aurora project to turn a block of Gansevoort St. back into how it looked in the 1880s — with buildings three to six times as high as they are now — is fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg. Of course, Furstenberg some years ago did get permission to add a new structure atop her rooftop — a glass penthouse that was modeled on her favorite ring — on her Meatpacking District building, at W. 14th and Washington Sts. But it was set back from SAVE US, GENERAL TSO! The Small Business Jobs Survival Act continues to pick up more sponsors in the City Council, but Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito still isn’t letting the bill come up for a vote, much less holding a hearing on the issue. But while the pressure behind the bill keeps building week by week, sadly, beloved businesses keep falling by the wayside. One of the latest is Empire Szechuan Village, a 30-year stalwart at Seventh Ave. South and Perry St., which closed on Halloween. They couldn’t stomach a 500 percent rent hike, from $5,000 to $25,000. And who could? However, the restaurant’s owner, Oscar King, told Eater.com he actually thinks the rent is fair. “I understand,” he told the food site. “The property values are really high in this area. No complaints. I’m ready to retire.” But Michael Markowitz, a former member of local Community Education Council District 2, isn’t ready to lose Empire Szechuan and he is complaining. “My family loved that place,” he told us sadly. “We need to pass the S.B.J.S.A.” SCOOPY’S continued on p. 27 TheVillager.com
November 5, 2015
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Pizza Rat, Trump, Hillary, body parts galore! The annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade on Sixth Ave. was ghoulishly good fun for one and all. As expected, there were some Donald Trumps and Hillary Clintons and at least one whiskered Pizza Rat duo toting a big tasty pepperoni slice between them. There was a Ms. Argentina, too, who seemed to have something gnawing at her — namely, herself! And you really had to give a hand to one marcher — who had an extra one on her shoulder. One float honored those lost in the past year, from Omar Sharif to Cecil the lion.
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November 5, 2015
POLICE BLOTTER Dad to the rescue A 19-year-old man could not shake a young panhandler as the Villager entered his residential building at 115 Christopher St. on Sun., Nov. 1. The stranger pushed the man against a wall and switched to robbery once through the victim’s pockets and removed a Panasonic camcorder. When the victim attempted to retrieve the $300 camera, the mugger warned, “Do something and I’ll f--- you up,” according to a police report, before leaving the premises. But the teenager did not give up. He went upstairs and told his dad what happened. The duo then went back downstairs and chased the perpetrator down Christopher St. to Seventh Ave. South. They pointed out the suspect to a nearby police Damon Greene, 21, was charged with felony robbery. A search of his person revealed 31 little bags of crack cocaine, police said.
having sex on Mon., Oct. 26, in front of 31 Bank St. The cops approached after spotting the outdoor love-in at about 5:30 p.m. They arrested James Tillman, 32, who reportedly was wearing a wig, and Roselio Castillas, 26, who sported a buzz cut, charging both with misdemeanor public lewdness.
Two-on-one attack Two strangers jumped a 25-yearold man in front of 177 Christopher St. on Fri., Oct. 30, according to police. A report did not state the circumstances behind the attack, but detailed the damage. The victim was hit multiple times in the face, leaving him with a swollen left eye and bloody lip. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment at about 9 p.m., police said. Witnesses identified Troy Harris, 37, and Javier Millan, 32, as the perpetrators. The two men were arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault.
Police said they caught two men
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Revel ruckus An argument got physical Sun., Nov. 1, inside Revel bar, at 10 Little W. 12th St., according to police. Joseph Rossi, 30, reportedly ended the confrontation a few minutes before 2 a.m. by punching his 25-year-old adversary. The victim refused medical attention for swelling and the blood flowing from his nostrils, police said. Rossi was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. Xin Ji Wang is reported missing.
Missing Madison man Police said that Xin Ji Wang, 78, of 100 Madison St. is reported missing. Wang was last seen on Tues., Nov. 3, at 1:30 p.m., sitting on a bench in Chatham Square near St. James Place and Park Row. He is described as around 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 170 pounds, with a medium build, brown eyes and black hair. He has a blemish on the back of his right hand and walks with a cane. He was wearing a black and / or gray hat, a black
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windbreaker, black pants and black shoes. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637(CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.
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Sanders tops Clinton in multi-club straw vote STRAW VOTE continued from p. 1
504 Democratic Club and Manhattan Young Democrats. O’Malley’s was a surprisingly strong showing for an uber-liberal whose national numbers were only at 4 percent when he headed into the last month, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll. But on Oct. 27, his campaign announced he had picked up 26 new endorsements in Iowa, including a state senator, two mayors and several activists who had previously supported Vice President Joe Biden. “He’s starting to get noticed, starting to get some buzz in the nominating process and with groups like this,” said Adam Stolz, an articulate aide with the Martin O’Malley for President organization who represented his often media-ignored man of the people on the dais. Stolz was joined on the dais by two other local surrogates: longtime Harlem Assemblymember Keith Wright, the New York County Democratic chairperson, representing Clinton (he is also a member of the powerful Hillary for New York Leadership Council); and Sean Patrick Murphy, a Sanders campaign organizer with Team Bernie NY. None of the actual contenders were present. The forum was moderated by former City Councilmember Ronnie Eldridge, who gave the men three minutes each to explain in opening remarks why they were endorsing their candidates before an audience of about 250 people. Attendees included several local hattan Borough President Gale Brewer and state Senator Brad Hoylman. made it plain he believes Hillary Clinton has the right stuff in his rulebook to lead the nation after President Barack Obama exits the White House. “I think Hillary Rodham Clinton is battle-tested. She’s a person who
PHOTO BY MARY REINHOLZ
Representing the candidates, from left, Keith Wright (for Hillary Clinton), Adam Stolz (for Martin O’Malley) and Sean Patrick Murphy (for Bernie Sanders), with moderator Ronnie Eldridge.
take a hit,” he said. “She has the intellectual capacity and the political acumen. Let’s not forget, she was our senator from 2000 to 2008. She’s been talking about criminal justice, jobs and healthcare. She speaks to me as the father of two boys. She doesn’t think young people should be saddled with student loans and astronomical usurious rates. She’s talking to me and she’s talking about future generations. I’m proud to support Hillary Clinton.” Stolz detailed O’Malley’s cred as a progressive with an ability to get “big things done,” noting he had helped
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Maryland come out of the 2008 reriage equality in 2011.” “He’s fought for the Dream Act for young, undocumented immigrants,” Stolz added, later recounting that O’Malley “stood up” for immigrant children illegally entering the country in 2014. Clinton, he said, did not. His remarks drew applause. But many in the audience were clearly “feeling the Bern” when 30-year-old Murphy, a former Peace Corps volunteer, touted Sanders’s purist leftie persona and the outpouring of support he has received from small donors to his campaign. “He’s raised more individual contributions than any candidate in history,” Murphy contended. He said that Sanders refuses to take any super-PAC money. “He also has refused any form of special-interest money,” he added. Murphy cited the Brooklyn-born senator’s “impressive progressive” report card spanning 34 years as a public servant, stating he has received a “100 percent civil rights record from the NAACP” and a “100 percent [record] on women’s rights from Planned Parenthood,” among other liberal endorsements. Eldridge, who hosts Eldridge & Co., on CUNY TV, attempted to differentiate the candidates on such hot-button
trade deals, climate change, gun control, racism in education and the prison system. She began by asking where they stood on wealth and income inequality. “This is Bernie’s issue,” Murphy insisted. “He has been the candidate going after banks and Wall St. ever since 2008. He’s stood up for workers’ rights his entire career.” He later said that Sanders believes that the “billionaire class has taken and the election structure.” Income equality is the “centerpiece” of O’Malley’s campaign, Stolz said of his candidate. “We need more cops on the beat” scrutinizing Wall St., he said, adding, “When a bank repeatedly breaks the law, they should know they’re getting closer to going out of business.” Both Sanders and O’Malley have proposed reviving the Depressionera Glass-Steagall Act to break up big banks. Clinton would allow regulators to do that job but hasn’t called for resurrecting Glass-Steagall. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed legislation in 1999 that repealed the legislation. Wright candidly stated that he was “not intimately involved” with ClinSTRAW VOTE continued on p. 29 TheVillager.com
Old St. Pat’s Cathedral is celebrating 200 years BY ALBERT AMATEAU
see workers installing a stained-glass window,” Sakano told The Villager in a telephone interview at the end of October. “We’ll have the celebration on time even if there might be a few things left to do,” he assured. The old cathedral, more than 120 feet long, 80 feet wide and 75 feet tall, was designed by Joseph Mangin, a French-born architect who was also co-designer of City Hall. At the time, it was the city’s largest church building and second Catholic church. Situated between Mott and Mulberry Sts., St. Patrick’s occupied land on the city’s outskirts that
PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
t. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, at the corner of Mott and Prince Sts., is becoming new again as a major renovation project draws to completion in time for the celebration of its 200th anniversary. Because it took six years to build the cathedral, the bicentennial is a six-year event that started on June 7, 2009, commemorating the laying of the church cornerstone in 1809. The climax of the celebration, “Embracing the Future as We Celebrate Our Past,” will be at a vespers service on Sun., Nov. 22. Monsignor Donald Sakano, appointed pastor of Old St. Patrick’s in 2007, has been in charge of planning the bicentennial and of overseeing the $16 million renovation of the venerable church, which was awarded basilica status in 2010. “It’s been a huge restoration project and we’re
Stained-glass windows are being repaired at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral as part of the historic house of worship’s 200th anniversary.
The cornerstone of the new uptown cathedral (scoffers dubbed it “Hughes’s Folly”) was laid in 1858 by Archbishop John Joseph Hughes, who emigrated from Ireland to the U.S. in 1817. He entered the priesthood in 1826, served in Philadelphia and arrived in New York in 1838. He served as an administrator of the diocese and was consecrated bishop in the old cathedral in 1842 on the death of Bishop John Dubois. “The real hero of the story is John Hughes,” said Sakano. “He was known as ‘Dagger John’ because bishops signed their names with a cross, which took the shape of a dagger in newspapers.
church, St. Peter’s on Barclay St. in Lower Manhattan. In 1808, the year before the cornerstone was laid, Pope Pius VII had established the Diocese of New York, which included the entire state and part of northern New Jersey. Because of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, Concanen, never reached his diocese. He died in Italy in 1810. So the building of the cathedral was supervised by Father Antony Kohlmann, an Alsatian-born Jesuit. The cathedral opened on Ascension Day, May 4, 1815, with a crowd of 4,000 worshipers and guests, including Mayor DeWitt Clinton. But it wasn’t until November that the second bishop of New York, John Connolly, an Irish Dominican theologian, ar“We’re the oldest Catholic church building in New York,” said Sakano of the newly restored church. “St. Joseph’s Church in the Village makes the claim because we are now a basilica, and they’re a simple parish church,” he added. The original St. Peter’s Church on Barclay St., 1835, which burned for days and was visible at night from as far away as Philadelphia, according to some sources at the time. St. Peter’s was replaced with a granite church in 1840. Fire nearly destroyed the original cathedral in October 1866 when sparks from a packing crate four walls standing. The then-archbishop, John McClosky, born in Brooklyn to Irish immigrant parents, resolved to reconstruct the cathedral quickly. It reopened with an elaborate new interior designed by Henry Engelbert on St. Patrick’s Day, 1868. TheVillager.com
A monument to Archbishop John Joseph Hughes — who defended Old St. Pat’s from nativist mobs — will be installed in front of the cathedral on Sun., Nov. 22.
The rebuilt roof was derived from a design by James Renwick, architect of the new St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 51st St. and Fifth Ave., which was under construction by then on a property acquired in 1810 for a Jesuit school.
anti-Catholic mobs.” A brick wall had been built around the cathedral as protection from nativist attacks. Over the next several years, mobs had descended on St. Patrick’s but turned back after learning that armed defenders were posted by Bishop Hughes along Prince St. and behind the brick wall. In 1844 after the anti-immigrant James Harper was elected mayor of New York and a mob threatened to march on the cathedral, Hughes organized a small army of Irish immigrants to defend the church. He then sent a letter to Harper warning that if any harm came to a single Catholic or to a Catholic church, the city would turn into “a second Moscow,” referring to the burning of that city in response to Napoleon’s 1812 invasion. Hughes’s actions are credited with turning back violence. During the Civil War, Hughes served as an envoy of President Lincoln to dissuade European nations from supporting the Confederacy. In gratitude, Lincoln petitioned Pope Pius IX to Hughes died in 1864 before a nomination could take place. “We’ll be dedicating a monument to Bishop Hughes in front of the church on Nov. 22,” Sakano said. The 12-foot-tall bronze column topped by a bust of Hughes, designed by Rowan Gillespie, an Irish sculptor, will be unveiled at the 3:30 p.m. ceremony. Visitors will then be invited to tour the 200-year-old restored church. November 5, 2015
Gardens now seen as ‘green infrastructure’ vs. flooding GARDENS continued from p. 1
For New York’s gardening movement, the announcement marks a considered community gardens as temporary oases, space savers for future development. Now, they are being recast as “green infrastructure” to make Downtown more resilient “This is a momentous moment,” declared Aziz Dehkan, executive director of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, which will be administering the grant in partnership with GreenThumb and the grassroots group LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens). “We believe has given money directly to commuognized as a vital environmental asset,” Dehkan said. The $2 million grant comes via the and is part of the $25 million in community development block grants that Lower Manhattan became eligible for under the post-Sandy reconstruction program dubbed New York Rising. Half a million dollars will fund a feasibility study and master plan called “Gardens Rising” — using engineers and landscape architects to come up with the best means to capture stormwater in the neighborhood’s 47 gardens, located in the area between 14th and Delancey Sts. and east of the Bowery/Fourth Ave. The remaining $1.5 million will be used to implement solutions. Ideas range from installing underground cisterns and rainwater collection systems that funnel water from the roofs of neighboring buildings to bioswales — which utilize plants and stones to divert water and allow it to be absorbed more slowly into the ground. The goal is to help protect the gardens from storm damage, while protecting their surrounding communities that currently clog basements and discharge into the East River. ber 2016, and all construction must be completed by September 2019. Of course, transforming the gardens into better water sinks could entail uprooting large portions of turf. But the gardeners themselves will be allowed to propose projects and choose whether they want them to be implemented in their spaces. A steering committee of gardeners will terminations in the master plan. “This is really being led from the ground up,” noted LUNGS founder Charles Krezell. “I’m really grateful to the state for allowing this to be a
November 5, 2015
PHOTOS BY SARAH FERGUSON
Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, front row center, with Councilmember Rosie Mendez, to the right of him, joined community leaders and gardeners at La Plaza Cultural on Monday to announce the $2 million state grant.
Mendez spoke personally about the physical impact to the community caused by the toppling of giant willows and other mature trees in the East Village gardens during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. She said the Gardens Rising plan was vital for “taking our beautiful gardens and making them permanent and available, beyond any other storm that may come our way.” It will also mean more green jobs Downtown. For starters, the NYCCGC has posted offerings for several positions on its Web site, including a new communications director and full-time community organizer. The deadline to apply is Nov. 6. Some gardens aren’t waiting for the master plan to get started. At La Plaza Cultural, landscape architect Ross Martin designed a bioswale that diverts rainwater that formerly used to wash out into the street. Martin and other volunteers dug up the asphalt along the E. Ninth St.
Ross Martin with a bioswale that is already installed at La Plaza Cultural.
grassroots effort.” Krezell said he believed the Gardens Rising plan could help transform the L.E.S. gardens into a “green lab for the entire city,” and bring in further funding for composting and solar installations here and across the Councilmember
who represents the neighborhood, is a key backer of the plan. “When we talk about sustainability and resiliency, we’re talking about the Lower East Side,” she said, citing the homesteading and garden movements that rose up in the wake of the of citizen-led reclamation efforts.
back into the ground. Instead of ending up in the gutter, the rainwater now nourishes the dwarf fruit trees and vegetables planted along the fence in raised “Hugel” beds created from old tree branches and soil. As the wood in the Hugel beds decomposes, it forms a natural compost that feeds the plants. “The Hugel beds act like a sponge to soak up water,” Martin said. TheVillager.com
JACOB A. RIIS Revealing New York’s Other Half Inequality remains a fact of life in America. A century later, this New York master’s photos still explode with outrage.
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November 5, 2015
KAREN FINLEY SHOCK TREATMENT Thursday, November 12th 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm NYU Bookstore, 726 Broadway Karen Finley’s raw and transgressive performances have long provoked controversy and debate. She has appeared and exhibited her visual art, performances, and plays internationally. The author of many books including A Different Kind of Intimacy, George & Martha, and The Reality Shows, she is a professor at NYU’s Tisch School of Arts. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information please visit www.nyu.edu/nyu-in-nyc. Co-sponsored by the NYU Bookstore and the NYU Office of Government and Community Affairs.
PHOTOS BY JONATHAN KUHN / NYC PARKS DEPARTMENT
The Gay Liberation Monument as it was decorated this Oct. 19.
Monumental moment On Mon., Oct. 19, filmmaker Elaine Gold left ribbons, flowers and a “Just Married” sign at the Gay Liberation Monument in Christopher Park at Sheridan Square. It wasn’t just some random symbolic gesture, but in honor of the fact that on that day in Miami Beach, Leslie Cohen and Beth Suskind, the two women who posed for the sculpture, by George Segal, in fact did finally get married. The newlyweds, who now live in Florida, have known each other for 50 years and have been a couple for 39 years.
Beth Suskind, left, and Leslie Cohen at the sculpture’s dedication in 1992.
November 5, 2015
Bill Hine, 79, dedicated activist on waterfront OBITUARY BY ALBERT AMATEAU
he were alive, I’m sure he would be in the library researching and looking for a peg to put his next article on.” Carol Gordon, a fellow member of Save the Piers, said, “Bill was an TheVillager.com
BROOKLYN COLLEGE LIBRARY ARCHIVES
ill Hine, a Village resident for 50 years and a passionate advocate for neighborhood preservation, especially of the waterfront, died Sept. 7. He was 79. For the past several months he had been in an Eastchester nursing home where he went after emergency surgery, according to his sister, Lois Stringham, of Prescott, Arizona. For many years a public member of the Community Board 2 waterfront and landmarks committees, Bill Hine developed an expertise on waterfront history and policy. He co-wrote, with Robert Smith, an article for The Villager in 2008 urging the immediate repair of the pilings of Pier 40 and suggesting that the Port Authority should pay the cost. The authority, Hine argued, had switched off an electrical system that sent a current through the pier’s metal pilings to help preserve them, thus hastening their corrosion. In 2005, The Villager published Bill’s detailed letter opposing the city’s proposed use of the Gansevoort Peninsula as a marine transfer station, emphasizing the potential danger to Hudson River Park pedestrians and cyclists posed by garbage trucks loaded with recyclables turning onto the peninsula from the West Side Highway. A year later, Bill wrote again in The Villager on the same subject, urging that recyclables be moved by rail. A soft-spoken man with courtly manners, Bill spent many hours in the Jefferson Market Library researching waterfront history. He was a member of former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger’s Waterfront Advisory Committee in the 1990s. As a member of Save the Piers, a waterfront preservation group, he advocated in vain for the preservation of the original Hudson River bulkhead capstones as part of the Hudson River Park. Robert Smith, Bill’s co-author of The Villager articles, recalled a phone conversation a month or two before Bill died. “His mind was still on the battle to save the piers, to get the Port Authority to pay for the restoration of Pier 40 and to get the Department of Sanitation off the Gansevoort Peninsula,” Smith said. “Bill was never one to
Bill Hine, third from left, at a 1989 “Save the Waterfront” rally, where Villagers protested the installation of aboveground PATH train ventilation towers at Morton St. Also among those at the rally were Larry Selman, Ben Green, representing then-Assemblymember Bill Passannante, Miriam Lee of the Village Homeowners’ Association, Comptroller Harrison J. Goldin, who was then a mayoral candidate, Bob Oliver of the Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront & Great Port, Judy Seigel of the Morton St. Block Association, Vern Fry and Artie Strickler.
inspiration. Among his legacies were the ideas that there should be a place on the waterfront where you could still reach the shoreline and where people could connect with water underneath them by walking on little archways [a design feature incorporated in part of the park]. Bill had a strong vision for a noncommercial waterfront that would preserve history. He loved the bulkheads and the planks and all the possibilities that saving the piers offered.” Gordon said the group’s founding members were Hine, herself, Robert Smith (then known as Robert Trenour) and Liz Shollenberger. “We were Save the Piers,” Gordon said. “It was Bill who really had this vision and tried to get people excited.” Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said, “Bill lived and breathed neighborhood preservation issues. There wasn’t a single time that I would bump into him that there was not something that he wanted to discuss. He had a genuine passion for protecting the neighborhood.” His Bank St. neighbor, the actress Dina Paisner, recalled Bill as “the consummate gentleman,” always offering to help carry packages. Another neighbor, the musician Jake Jacobson, said Bill was a friendly but intensely private person. Bill Ira Hines was born in Blackwell, Oklahoma, the son of Opal and Walter Hine, and raised on a wheat farm in the northern part of the state, according to his sister.
til he entered college,” Stringham said. “As a teenager he would drive a tractor while sketching. He had an incredibly creative and analytical mind.” Bill went to the Art Center School, Los Angeles, which later became the Pasadena School of Design, and earned a B.A. with a major in industrial design. In New York, he worked for Loewy/Snaith design, founded by the renowned industrial designer Raymond Loewy. After several years, Bill worked as a freelance designer. “Bill photographed the Brooklyn Bridge on its 100th anniversary,” Stringham said. “He received permission and went to the top of the bridge to make the photos, which were published in 1983 in the Smithsonian magazine, Newsweek and New York magazine.” He also created SNAP, a game that was sold at the Museum of Modern Art store. He designed “Winter Tree,” a holiday card for UNICEF, and another card, “Winter’s Image,” which was sold at the MoMA store. “I recall that for at least 36 years, the waterfront, saving Governors Island as a national monument and historical preservation in the Village
“He was constantly sketching and taking photos, totally self-taught un-
BILL HINE continued on p.14
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