vOluMe 26, NuMber 13
NOveMber 20-deCeMber 3, 2013
reMeMberiNg lOu reed P. 9-10
angry reaction to seaPort tower & marina Plan BY J O Sh rO ge r S W it h t e re Se l O e b K r e u Z e r oward Hughes Corp. unveiled its plans Tuesday night to build a 50-story hotel and residential tower with a marina at the Seaport. As expected, the plan got a chilly reception at Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee, which had long feared the corporation was planning a large development at the two building sites in question. Both buildings, the Tin and New Market, were part of the old Fulton Fish Market, but only the Tin is in the city’s historic district. The New Market site has long been viewed by the city, Hughes and its predecessors as a prime development site, and it appears the Hughes Corp. would not need city landmarks approval for the tower portion of its plan. A few hundred people packed the room Nov. 19, many with signs saying “Save Our Seaport,” others shouting angry questions at the development team. At the end of the evening, C.B. 1’s John Fratta said, “at this point we are opposed to any kind of tower on the New Market site.” The Board 1 committee passed a resolution to that effect but it will be at least several months before the proposal becomes a formal presentation by which the community
Continued on page 24
Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony
‘tiS the SeASON... Skaters celebrated the Rink at Brookfield Place, which opened behind the Winter Garden this week in Battery Park City. It’ll be
open every day from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. through mid-March. Downtowners will also have a crosstown option this season, as a Seaport rink is slated to open Nov. 29 near Fulton and Water Sts.
Murder brings tenant fears to the surface
BY SAM SPOKON Y t Smith Houses, statistics can be deceiving. The New York City Housing Authority development, which includes 12 buildings and houses over 4,000 residents,
seems like a pretty quiet place to most passersby. Its Chinatown/Lower East Side location — bounded by St. James Pl., Madison St., Catherine St. and South St. — is just steps away from 1 Police Plaza, the headquarters of
the N.Y.P.D. And according to figures put out by the N.Y.P.D., it might seem that relatively little
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
over-seXed uP interview
Author and celebrity interviewer Glenn Plaskin has spoken at length with the likes of Meryl Streep and Donald Trump over the years, but our readers may know him better as the president of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association. The Battery Park City resident helped generate a lot of news the last week with his exclusive Playboy interview with a more famous B.P.C. boy, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Plaskin said some of the coverage of the interview “has been biased and distorted.” He did not want to identify any individual news organization, but he seemed to be referring to the Daily News, which first reported the interview and tried to make it seem like Kelly said Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was “full of [crap].” Not only did Kelly never say the
phrase, Plaskin told us Kelly never once mentioned de Blasio’s name during seven hours of interviews. Kelly did agree that the entire Democratic mayoral field was full of you know what when the subject turned to stop and frisk. Plaskin said, “regardless of how you feel about the issue, there’s no question it was used as a political football during the primary… When it was convenient, they opposed it.” The News also sent a reporter to Harlem with a life size Kelly cutup to test whether the commish was as well-liked in the nabe as he claimed. Plaskin said the entire city should be grateful to Kelly for building an international counter-terrorism force that averted 16 attacks in the city. The 8,000-word Playboy interview is free online and is full of many interesting tidbits including a possible reason why President Obama did not name Kelly to lead Homeland Security: the pair differ on how strong al Qaeda is now. Another one: Kelly was in the private sector and living Downtown on 9/11 and recalled going to his roof a few weeks after the attack. He was “stunned” to see the devastation and said his wife was crying. “A large part of our neighborhood was literally gone….The magazine stand we went to across the street vanished,” he said. “Standing up there that day was a moment of clarity for me.”
A friend of ours was the only one who seemed to notice Joe Lhota on an Uptown express 2 train at Chambers St. Monday. Lhota, who was trounced by Mayorelect Bill de Blasio two weeks ago, said he is getting recognized less this week compared to last. The former M.T.A. chairperson delighted in talking about the new subway car they were riding in, saying it was built upstate with replaceable parts and would last another 60 years. His future plans are uncertain and he took no comfort in the suggestion he may have been better off not having to confront the city’s daunting budget problems. “No, that would have been fun,” he said.
hiPster CoP is BACk
At the First Precinct Community Council meeting on Nov. 19, local residents were happy to see Detective Rick Lee, who works in community affairs, back on duty after he’d been on sick leave for the past month. Lee, known as the “Hipster Cop” due to his stylish habits, told us that he was hit by a car last month while riding his bicycle near his home in Staten Island. The detective suffered a fractured arm from the impact of the crash, but said that the arm is “all good now,” after treatment and some physical therapy sessions. It was a hit and run incident, Lee explained, and the driver who hit him has not been caught or identified. But as
meeting attendees welcomed him back, the detective remained lighthearted about the matter. “Well, it could’ve been worse,” he said.
the CinCinnAti kid
Downtown Express editor Josh Rogers, his wife Sarah Wolff, and their son Isaac, 3, drove to Cincinnati two weeks ago to meet the newest member of their family, Eleanor Kate, born Nov. 6 at 6 lbs., 4 oz., 19 inches. The happy parents held their daughter on her birthday and the expanded family returned home last week. They expect to finalize Eleanor’s adoption in six months.
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
4 World Trade Center ‘opens’ for tenants BY t e r e S e l O e b K r e u Z e r Under a cloudless, blue sky, dignitaries cut a ribbon at 4 World Trade Center on Nov. 13, making it officially the first office building to open on the 16-acre World Trade Center site since 9/11. After 12 years of fractious turf battles and struggles over insurance, it was a triumphant day for developer Larry Silverstein, his architect, Fumihiko Maki, and the politicians who flanked them on the stage. The building represented a comeback for Lower Manhattan, the speakers said. Although Superstorm Sandy flooded the World Trade Center site a year ago, Silverstein noted that the building was finished on time and came in under budget. It cost about $2 billion to build, including land lease costs, and was partially financed by $1.2 billion in tax-free Liberty Bonds. Sandy caused more than $185 million in damage to the World Trade Center site, flooding the visitors’ center and the sub-basement of the museum but 4 World Trade Center emerged unscathed. Buildings 2, 3, and 4 — all of them Silverstein properties — are further from the Hudson River than the rest of the site and above the flood line. Nevertheless, in response to the storm, some equipment at 4 World Trade Center was moved to higher floors, said Dara McQuillan, spokesperson for Silverstein’s World Trade Center Properties. “We’ve done a lot to make these buildings robust
Changing photographs of landscapes and the sky are projected on a wall of the lobby at 4 World Trade Center.
and resilient to any eventuality, including a storm,” he said. “We’ve done everything we can to make this building safe.” McQuillan explained that the 72-story building has a concrete core housing exit stairs, elevators, sprinkler systems and all emergency systems. “It’s really a building within a building,” he said. He added that 7 World Trade Center, just outside of the World Trade Center site and also a Silverstein property, was the model for 4 World Trade Center in terms of its protective measures and its energy efficiencies. The older building opened in May 2006. It was the first commercial office building in New York City Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy Officials cut the ribbon at 4 World Trade Center last week. The building and Design) certification from the U.S. should be ready for its first tenants in late 2014. Green Building Council. It has a gold rating, as does 4 World Trade Center. “Hopefully, they’ll come in 2014.” “It’s super energy efficient,” said Janno Lieber, Meanwhile, 4 World Trade Center is an architectural president of World Trade Center Properties. “The showpiece. Its silvery glass façade reflects the sky and the glass is designed to let in light but not all the heat changing light. Inside, its lobby entrance is a soaring space in summer.” painted white above black Swedish granite that subtlely He said the building was half rented and that tenants reflects the 9/11 memorial just outside. would be able to move in toward the end of 2014. The A corridor lined with polished, honey-colored wood Port Authority and New York City’s Human Resources leads to the elevators. At the end of this corridor, evocaAdministration have taken space in the 2.3-million- tive photographs of the sky, trees, snow scenes and other square-foot building. landscapes are projected on a wall. Lieber was optimistic that the remaining space would readily Architect Maki described it as “minimalist.” find tenants who will appreciate the building’s state-of-the-art techIn keeping with the solemnity of the location, the effect nology, its dramatic views and its convenient location. is meditative, and emotional but restrained. “This building is important because it signifies that we’re on the road to putting back the office space lost on 9/11,” he said. Silverstein’s other World Trade Center site properties are also still awaiting tenants. Lieber said that eight floors of Tower 3 have been constructed, and the mechanical systems installed and that Tower 2 has been built to street level. “We’re waiting for tenants [to proceed],” he said.
No bathroom for 9/11 Museum BY SAM S P O K O NY Visitors to the 9/11 Museum may feel an outpouring of emotion — but when it comes to finding a bathroom, they’ll have to hold it. The museum, which is scheduled to be completed next spring, will not include any restroom facilities due to security concerns, Joe Daniels, president of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, told the City Council on Nov. 13. The memorial, which is already open, does not have bathrooms either.
At the Nov. 13 oversight hearing — which was run jointly by Councilmember Margaret Chin, chairperson of the Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment, and Councilmember James Van Bramer, head of the Committee on Cultural Affairs — Daniels said that the museum’s estimated 2.5 million annual visitors will have to rely on facilities in nearby public areas. “ U n f o r t u n a t e l y, because Continued on page 6
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November 20 - December 3, 2013 the briefcase had been swiped by an unknown thief.
Crime of the Century
seAPort vendor AssAulted
Police arrested Same Hing, 48, after she allegedly attacked a street vendor near the South Street Seaport. The vendor, 50, told cops that Hing has a history of annoying him while he’s tending his food cart on Water St., between John and Fulton Sts., and said that she shows up practically every day to curse and yell at him. Hing, according to police, walked up to the vendor when he was stocking his cart around 5 a.m. on Nov. 14, then pushed him and picked up one of his milk crates and began beating him with it, leaving the man with a cut on his arm. Hing fled west on Fulton St. after the alleged attack, but the vendor reported the incident immediately and the suspect was caught shortly afterwards when police canvassed the area. She was charged with assault and harassment.
CAr BreAk-in nets 25k
A Long Island woman learned a lesson the hard way on Nov. 17, when an opportunistic thief stole nearly $25,000 worth of jewelry from her parked car in Tribeca. The woman, 52, told cops that she parked her Ford Explorer near the corner of Church and White Sts. around 4:30 p.m., and then attended a party located on nearby Laight St. for the next hour and a half. She apparently left a briefcase, containing the jewelry — several gold and pearl necklaces and a diamond engagement ring — and other pricey items, sitting in plain sight on her car’s front passenger seat. When she returned from the party, the woman found that her front passenger side window had been shattered, and FINANCIAL
A shifty wallet snatcher struck at a Century 21 department store on Nov. 13. The victim, 45, told cops she was shopping in the store at 22 Cortlandt St. around 6 p.m. when a stranger bumped into her and walked away. The woman didn’t think about the incident until about three hours later — after she had eventually left the store without buying anything — when her credit card company called to say that several fraudulent purchases had been made on her card. Apparently the thief had swiped the wallet out of the woman’s purse, and quickly made the purchases inside that very same Century 21 store before fleeing the scene, police said.
sleePing on the Bus
semi-Auto shooter gets 22 yeArs
A man convicted of shooting and wounding three people on the Lower East Side in 2010 has been sentenced to 22 years in prison, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced Nov. 7. Mario Rodriguez, 25, was found guilty of second degree attempted murder, first degree assault, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment in May. Around 8:45 p.m. on Oct. 26, 2010, Rodriguez was arguing with another man in front of 195 Stanton St. when Rodriguez pulled out a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol and began firing at him, according to court documents. The man was shot in the torso, and two bystanders — a 44-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman — were also struck by Rodriguez’s bullets, the D.A. said. After the attack Rodriguez fled to Jersey City, but he was later arrested there by officers from the Police Department’s Seventh Precinct Detective Squad.
A woman was targeted by a thief as she slept on a Downtown city bus late on Nov. 15. The woman, 28, told cops that she was carrying her handbag when she boarded a southbound M-15 bus at the corner of E. 23rd St. and Second Ave. around 11 p.m., and then promptly began snoozing. When she woke up half an hour later, as the bus stopped at the corner of Water and Fulton Sts., the woman realized that the bag — containB Y heAther dubi N ing seven credit cards and Richard Pearson, a mentally ill man more than $2,600 worth of who has been accused of “terrorizing” personal belongings — was merchants and residents in Soho by gone. physically and verbally harassing them, The woman was able to was sentenced to 10 months in prison cancel all of her cards before last week, but he could be back on the any unauthorized purchases streets by Christmas. could be made. Pearson, 48, has been in jail since May 17, when he was charged with second-degree felony assault for allegedly throwing a brick at someone’s head. Two grand juries failed to indict him on the assault charge, but Pearson was indicted by both grand juries for possession of a narcotic, a misdemeanor. On Oct. 30, Pearson pleaded guilty for possession of cocaine in State Supreme Court in front of Judge Charles Solomon. Assistant District Attorney James Zaleta had requested the maximum jail sentence of one year, citing Pearson’s long criminal history, including six arrests in Soho. At his Nov. 12 sentencing, Pearson said, “I ask the court for leniency, and a just and proper sentence.” In delivering the sentence, Solomon
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took into consideration the six months Pearson already served. Pearson looked confused, and asked Solomon, “I have to do the whole 10 months?” “He took it well when I explained he’ll be out in three to four weeks,” Alex Grosshtern, Pearson’s attorney, said afterward. The same could not be said for the handful of Soho residents present. “I’m scared for the day he gets out,” said Christina Nenov, who lives on Spring St. “He’s been terrorizing the community. There are a lot of frightened people on the street.” Minerva Durham, owner of Spring Studio, a figurative drawing studio, also expressed concern. “I’m overwhelmed,” she said. “It’s the duty of our government to protect us and find a way to protect us from him, and to help him, too.” Grosshtern was pleased with the case’s outcome, and said he will not advise Pearson to avoid Soho, stating, “He never pleaded guilty to anything that had to do with that area.”
November 20 - December 3, 2013
Tribeca owner responds to 100 Franklin’s critics BY SAM SPOKONY The owner of a hotly debated Franklin St. site said last week that he is selling the lot to the “most competent” developer to have bid on it. The 100 Franklin St. site, at Sixth Ave. — which currently exists in the form of two small, triangular parking lots — has been the center of a recent debate over the future of the Tribeca East Historic District. D.D.G. Partners, the developer that has entered into a contractual agreement to buy 100 Franklin St., has put forth a proposal to build an eight-story, glassfront building on the site, which lies within the landmarked district. Many local residents have come out strongly against the design of D.D.G.’s proposed building, calling it an architectural affront to the district’s many famous buildings, some of which date back to the mid-19th century. D.D.G. presented its plan for 100 Franklin St. to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Nov. 12, seeking approval to build on the landmarked lot. An L.P.C. decision on that issue is still pending. But, of course, D.D.G. does not yet own the site. The 100 Franklin St. site is currently owned by the Matera Management Company (also known as the Matera Family Limited Partnership), which also owns several Tribeca buildings, including some within the Tribeca East Historic District. The Matera Management Company was, for four decades, owned and operated by John Matera, Sr., until his death in 2009 at the age of 81. After that, the company was left under the primary control of his son, Peter Matera. In an exclusive interview with this newspaper Nov.
A rendering of the building proposed for 100 Franklin St., courtesy of D.D.G. Partners.
14, Peter Matera said that 100 Franklin St. has actually been available on the open market since he first offered it for sale in 2007. “After a long, exhaustive search for the best possible developer for that irregular parcel, I decided that D.D.G. would be the most competent developer, and that they would put up the most appropriate building on that site,” said Matera. He added that he chose the developer particularly because he believes that Peter Guthrie, D.D.G.’s lead architect, has a “strong” track record for putting up “quality” buildings within land-
marked districts. Matera said that numerous developers had expressed interest in the 100 Franklin St. site since it was put on the market in 2007. “Every active developer in Lower Manhattan wanted that site, based on its location,” said Matera. He said D.D.G. was not even the highest bidder on the site, and that he rejected at least three higher bids from other developers that he believed would have built less attractive buildings. In addition, Matera explained that D.D.G. originally expressed interest in the site about 18 months ago. The developer walked away from it at first, but then came back and signed an agreement to buy it, according to the owner. Matera declined to comment on any of the terms of his current agreement with D.D.G., and did not say when he plans to close the deal with the developer. Joe McMillan, the chief executive officer of D.D.G., said at a Nov. 7 Community Board 1 that the closing date for his official purchase of the site is “coming up soon.” McMillan has also not answered any questions about the sale agreement, and declined to tell C.B. 1 members the exact closing date because he said it is “irrelevant.” McMillan told Downtown Express that he didn’t want to disclose the exact date because, “I don’t want a bunch of people coming to my office to protest on the closing date.” In addition to L.P.C. approval, D.D.G. will require authorization from other city agencies before it can begin building on the 100 Franklin St. site.
November 20 - December 3, 2013
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we’ve worked extremely closely with Commissioner [Ray] Kelly and the N.Y.P.D. regarding capacity constraints and general security concerns, the museum will be a screened experience, so it’s not the kind of place you’ll just be able to walk in and walk out of,” said Daniels said in response to Chin’s question about bathrooms. “I think people will understand that the 9/11 Museum itself is not going to be the place to go for the facilities, but I’m confident that the surrounding area will have them.” Also during the hearing, Daniels reiterated the plan to charge museum admission — except for families of 9/11 victims — and that full-price adult tickets will end up costing around $20, with various discounts bringing the actual average ticket price closer to $16. “An admission fee as part of an overall revenue model allows us to be more fiscally responsible in maintaining and managing our projected annual operating budget of $60 million,” said Daniels. He added that there are plans to allow for a “free time” at the museum for at least several hours one day of the week, Daniels also said that he hopes to expand the admission-free time in the future, given that the museum will likely receive new federal, city and possibly state funding once it is open.
With Hurricane Sandy in mind, Daniels also responded to questions about the future of storm and flood protection at the museum and memorial site. During Sandy, the museum’s main floor — which sits nearly 70 feet below the 9/11 Memorial Plaza — was flooded with around seven feet of water, and although no major damage was caused to 9/11 artifacts, the flooding did destroy some interior walls and electrical circuits. “The number one thing we’re focused on right now is increasing the level of protection, in order to prevent another event like Sandy, because we see no higher responsibility than protecting these artifacts,” said Daniels. He explained that that has involved working with the Port Authority, which owns the site, to identify and seal up all the aboveground and underground points at which flooding had penetrated the museum area. The Port has maintained that the flooding occurred because the site is still under construction, and that even without the redoubled efforts, there would not have been damage had work been completed when the storm hit. Daniels said that he and the museum staff have developed an “enhanced” set of protocols to deal with future storms, which he said will facilitate a faster removal of sensitive 9/11 artifacts whenever dangerous weather is known to be approaching.
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
Some advocates wary as Cuomo signs Hudson Park bill BY SA M S P O K O N Y On the same day that around 200 Lower West Side residents gathered to discuss their fears about a bill that would allow the transfer and sale of Hudson River Park’s air rights, Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally signed the bill into law. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, had just finished his introductory speech at the Nov. 13 meeting, around 7 p.m., when word came that Cuomo had signed the bill. Most people at that meeting — at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, on W. 14th St. — had understood that Cuomo probably wasn’t going to veto the bill, which in fact would have become law even if the governor had simply not taken any action on it by midnight. But there were still plenty of groans throughout the room. “We need transparency,” said Bill Borock, president of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations. “We don’t need legislation passed without appropriate input and feedback from the impacted communities.” Many residents in Tribeca, the West Village and Chelsea have been opposed to the legislation ever since it passed the state Senate and Assembly at the very end of the Legislative session in June. The legislation would allow an estimated 1.6 million square feet of Hudson River Park’s air rights to be transferred one block east the park. Madelyn Wils, C.E.O. of the Trust, attended part of the Nov. 13 community meeting, but neither she nor anyone else from the Trust chose to contribute to the evening’s discussion. Wils, a Tribeca resident and a former Community Board 1 chairperson, has supported the transfer of air rights, saying that it is the best way to save the park and keep it financially stable. Minutes after it was learned that the legislation had been signed into law, Wils was asked for a comment while she was leaving the room, but she declined. “We’re going to put out a press release on it,” was all she said to Downtown Express. In her prepared statement the next day, Wils said the Trust would be working “closely with our neighbors, our community boards, elected officials and the city and state to make sure the legislation fulfills its promise to the public to keep Hudson River Park one of New York’s truly great open spaces.” And although nearly everyone else in the room had been against the transfer of air rights, some were already looking on the bright side of the situation. “I’m optimistic about the future,” said Arthur Schwartz, the Village Democratic district leader and a Community Board 2 member, who cited the upcoming shift in
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Preservationist Andrew Berman spoke at Wednesday’s meeting about the Hudson River Park air rights bill. Minutes later, he informed the crowd the bill had been signed into law.
city government that will be led by Mayorelect Bill de Blasio. Schwartz explained his belief that Community Boards 1, 2 and 4 — all of which border parts of Hudson River Park — will actually have significant advisory input on a future city land use application known as ULURP or some other development process, since he thinks the city’s elected officials will at some point be open to negotiating with the community boards. “There’s a lot that’s going to change on this issue, and there’s also the fact that de Blasio is going to put five new people on the [Hudson River Park Trust] board, and [Borough Presidentelect] Gale Brewer is going to put three new people on that board,” said Schwartz. “I trust de Blasio and Brewer on this, and even though I know some people here don’t agree with me on it, I trust Madelyn Wils, too. She’s going to be committed to working with the community boards.” But after Wednesday’s meeting had finished, Berman stressed that while he, too, respects the city’s progressive politicians, he puts his faith in the neighborhood first. “Any elected official, no matter how great they might be, won’t be around forever,” he said. “We can’t take anything for granted, and this is really just the beginning of this process. What’s most important now is for residents to stay involved in the issue, because the real work on this begins within the community.” Other elected officials and politicos at the meeting included Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried and Deborah Glick, the law’s co-sponsors, Councilmemberelect Corey Johnson and Community Board 2 Chairperson David Gruber.
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
trANSit SAM AlterNAte Side PArKiNg iS iN effeCt All WeeK Let the Gridlock Games begin! Lower Manhattan, particularly the approaches to the bridges and tunnels, will see traffic surges over the next two weeks starting this Friday. The lines at the Holland Tunnel will start to form at around 3 p.m. on Varick St., followed by Canal St., then Hudson St. and finally Spring St. grind to gridlock. The cause: those lucky stiffs who take the whole Thanksgiving week off. But, they’ll pay on the return home on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This Sunday at the Holland will be a mess as the fight for the NFC East takes place at the New Meadowlands Stadium as the high-flyin’ Giants play the Cowboys at 4:30 p.m. One tube of the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel will close 9 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. The remaining tube will carry one lane of traffic in each direction. Expect slowdowns on West St. and on the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. On the Brooklyn Bridge, all Manhattan-bound lanes will close
for 32 consecutive hours, 10 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday. That means inbound traffic will be diverted to the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the Battery Tunnel, which will already be slow because of the above closure. There will also be loads of extra traffic on Canal and Delancey Sts. PATH Alert! A weekend-long service suspension is coming up for PATH trains between the World Trade Center and Exchange Place. The last departure from W.T.C. to Newark is 11:55 p.m. Friday, and to Hoboken 10:56 p.m. Friday. The last departure from Newark to W.T.C. is 11:20 p.m. Friday and from Hoboken 11:11 p.m. Friday. Service will resume Monday morning at 4:30 a.m. Closures ahead for West St./Route 9A: All but one southbound lane and two northbound lanes will close between Murray and Liberty Sts. 8 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. One lane will close in each direction between West Thames and Vesey Sts. 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday. One lane will close in each direction between Liberty and Barclay Sts. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and
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Thursday nights. Vestry St. will close between Hudson and Varick Sts. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. frOM the MAilbAg: Dear Transit Sam, I parked on the wrong side of the street during alternate side parking – my mistake, I have no problem paying the ticket. Problem is, I received two tickets, the second one issued ten minutes after the first. Each was issued by a different traffic enforcement officer. Isn’t this double jeopardy? What should I do? Jacob, New York Dear Jacob,
a vehicle is in violation, it can be cited. That means the second ticket is valid. I recommend you mail in both tickets, with a check enclosed for the fine of the first ticket. With the second ticket, write a letter explaining that you admit fault for the first ticket, but would like the second to be dismissed. Since the tickets were only issued ten minutes apart, you may get some leniency. You can present all this information in person too. Write back if the second ticket isn’t dismissed. Transit Sam Readers, send me your traffic and parking questions at email@example.com and follow me on Twitter @ gridlocksam.
There is no double jeopardy for parking regulations – the law says as long as
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
Lou Reed, 71; Rock poet lived Downtown, backed local causes By a l b e r t amat e a u Lou Reed, who died Oct. 27 at the age of 71, was recognized as an artist who explored themes of joy as well as death and depravity that he brought to rock ’n’ roll as a songwriter, guitarist and lead singer since 1960. Patti Smith, writing in the New Yorker of Nov. 11, said, “He was our generation’s New York poet, championing its misfits as Whitman championed its workingmen and Lorca its persecuted.” A more skeptical judgment was Richard Goldstein’s Village Voice review of Reed’s Velvet Underground of the 1960s: “An important group pretentious to the point of misery.” The tributes last week included a frontpage obituary in The New York Times and eight pages of articles in the Voice. There were hundreds of messages on Twitter and on YouTube. Reed died in the Amagansett, Long Island, home he shared with his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson. In April he received a liver transplant in Cleveland but the transplant began to fail and he chose to return home when his medical options ran out. Reed and Anderson also had a home on Greenwich St. for more than 10 years. In 2010 Reed joined his Hudson Square neighbors, including the late James Gandolfini, in
opposing the city’s three-district Department of Sanitation garage at Spring and Washington Sts. The city however, prevailed and the garage is nearing completion. Ever the rebel, Reed also supported the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. Louis Allen Reed was born in Brooklyn on March 2, 1941, to a tax accountant father and homemaker mother. The family moved to Freeport, Long Island, when Louis was 11. A precocious and troubled youth, he underwent a week of electroshock therapy at Creedmoor Hospital in Queens when he was 16, purportedly to “cure” him of his bisexuality. He went to New York University but later transferred to Syracuse University, where he became part of a circle around the poet and English professor Delmore Schwartz. Reed, whose poetic and literary references ranged from the modern classicism of Schwartz to the transgressive work of William S. Burroughs, also admired Hugh Selby, author of “Last Exit to Brooklyn,” the mystery writer Raymond Chandler, and the poet Allen Ginsberg, according to the Times obituary by Ben Ratliff. Reed was ever ambivalent about Bob Dylan, in turn dismissive and admiring. After graduating, Reed worked as a songwriter for Pickwick International.
Downtown Express file photo
Lou Reed, right, with his wife, Laurie Anderson, left, and James Gandolfini, center, were among the celebrities at a March 2009 fundraiser to oppose the city’s three-district Sanitation garage in Hudson Square.
With John Cale, he was part of the Velvet Underground, a band that played Cafe Bizarre in the Village around 1960. Andy Warhol caught the act there and included them, with the German singer Nico, as the lead act in his traveling show. Around 1970 Reed left the Velvets and began a solo career in which his songs, includ-
ing “Walk on the Wild Side,” “Sweet Jane,” “Heroin” and “Dirty Boulevard,” chronicled the lives of hustlers, addicts and transgender people. His songs never reached the top of the charts but in the mid-1970s “Walk on the Wild Side” rose into the top 40. Despite the dissonance of albums like “Metal Machine Music,” many of Reed’s songs were simple ballads. “Anyone can play my guitar music,” he said in an interview. “Anyone can learn to play ‘Sweet Jane’ in 10 minutes.” Reed married Bettye Kronstad in 1973 but the marriage did not last long, and Reed and a transvestite known as Rachael kept company for a few years. In 1980 Reed married Sylvia Morales. They also parted, and in 1990 Reed met Anderson, with whom he lived in the West Village and married in 2008. In the New Yorker article, Patti Smith said of Anderson, “She was his mirror. In her eyes you could see his kindness, sincerity and empathy.” Smith said she saw Reed as longing to board “the great big clipper ship” from his lyrics for the song “Heroin.” “I envision it waiting for him beneath the constellation formed by the souls of the poets he so wished to join,” Smith wrote. In addition to Anderson, Toby Reed, Lou Reed’s mother, and Merrill Weiner, his sister, also survive.
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
Amid a sea of bleakness, Reed was the inspiration
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Posters of Lou Reed, with his wife, artist Laurie Anderson, appeared on lampposts at Bedford and Downing Sts. the day before Halloween, two days after Reed’s death.
B Y Steven Wi shni a I discovered the Velvet Underground’s banana-stickered first album in the $1.49 bin of a Long Island record store when I was 15. All I knew was that they were some kind of East Village underground band from ’67-’68. A misfit in the Island’s centerless carscape, I found solace in music. But the blues-based white rock of the era sounded counterfeit after I heard Muddy Waters, and the old blues didn’t have the crazed electricguitar noise and drive I craved. I found it in the Velvets. It had the sound of the city, the chaos of swerving taxis, the clattering screech of an I.R.T. express train. “Gonna take a walk round Union Square / you never know what you might find there.” It also had a soft side, the bells of “Sunday Morning” three minutes of tentative peace before the onslaught of “I’m Waiting for My Man.” Almost none of my friends liked it. The Velvets and Lou Reed are venerated icons now that New York City is commemorating its punk-and-graffiti ’70s the way Paris flogs its Toulouse-Lautrec 1890s, but they were decidedly unpopular back then. The Velvets’ second album, “White Light / White Heat,” also got remaindered, and their third didn’t even make it that far, despite now-classic tunes like “What Goes On,” “Some Kinda Love” and “Pale Blue Eyes.” On the other hand, this was a good thing for a teenager whose musical hunger
exceeded his finances. I scored “White Light / White Heat” for $1.99 a few years later. “Sister Ray” was the first song I learned to play on guitar. I wasn’t the only one listening. Joy Division would later cover “Sister Ray.” Up in Boston, Jonathan Richman with the Modern Lovers twisted its two-chord lick into “Roadrunner.” David Bowie covered “I’m Waiting for My Man,” and the Patti Smith Group opened shows with “We’re Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together,” a Velvets song not released until 1974, four years after they broke up. For the proto-punk generation of musicians and fans, Lou Reed was crucial. The early to mid-’70s were a golden age for R&B, reggae was bubbling up from Jamaica, and hip-hop was brewing in the burning Bronx, but it was a pretty dry time for rock ’n’ roll. The music was overwritten and the lyrics dumb, whether cock-rock or mystical. Rockers looking for something better found common ground in the Velvets, the Stooges, the MC5 and the forgotten ’60s garage bands on Lenny Kaye’s “Nuggets” compilation. The New York Dolls gave hope for a while, but foundered in the bogs of commercial failure and drug abuse. Reed, along with Bowie and Mott the Hoople, was what was accessible if you weren’t in with the hip or lucky few catching Continued on page 26
November 20 - December 3, 2013
Appeal filed to block Downtown high school’s co-location BY SA M S P O K O NY Opponents of a proposed co-location at a Lower East Side high school have filed an appeal to the city’s Board of Education in an attempt to stop it. The city’s Department of Education proposed in August to move a new high school (designated 01M203) in the 200 Monroe St. building currently occupied by University Neighborhood High School. Although the D.O.E.’s Panel for Education Policy voted in October to approve the co-location, the plan has, from the beginning, faced strong opposition from U.N.H.S. staff and parents, as well as the District 1 Community Education Council and local elected officials. Opponents say that the building does not have the physical space or resources to support a co-location, especially because the new high school, whose final name appears yet to be determined, will be a Career and Technical Education school. These C.T.E. schools combine typical academic study with programs that teach workforce skills in specific career areas, and thus generally require additional, specialized educational resources. “This is not a facility that lends itself to sharing space, and it just doesn’t have the infrastructure to support two schools,” said Lisa Donlan, president of the District 1 C.E.C. “We’re not opposed to the existence of the new school, but we really just don’t think this is the right co-location.”
She cited various elements to support her belief, including the fact that the Neighborhood school has no gymnasium, auditorium or cafeteria. Students currently use the school’s lobby for all of those purposes. In addition, the school currently enrolls around 250 students — a volume that already crowds the building’s hallways — while the new public school would add an estimated 500 students to the same space. Before an actual State Supreme Court lawsuit can be filed against the co-location, opponents must file an appeal to the Board of Education, the governing body of the D.O.E. If that appeal to stop the co-location is denied, then a lawsuit can commence. Arthur Schwartz, a local Democratic District Leader and civil rights lawyer, filed an appeal to the B.O.E. on Nov. 14, seeking to stop the co-location, and said that if the appeal is denied he will move forward with a state lawsuit. “The [U.N.H.S.] faculty, administrators and students are all united on this issue,” Schwartz said in a phone interview. “It’s simply not a well thought out plan by D.O.E.” Officially, the appeal filed by Schwartz lists Councilmember Margaret Chin, a U.N.H.S. parent and a U.N.H.S. student as the petitioners against the plan. “This co-location would rob students of their right to an enriched and meaningful educational experience, and we will continue
to fight it every step of the way,” Chin said in a prepared statement to Downtown Express. Previously, Chin held a rally against the plan in August, and testified twice against the proposal before it was approved. D.O.E. declined to comment on the appeal filed against the co-location, since the legal action is still pending. Schwartz also said that he plans to file a federal lawsuit against the D.O.E., on the grounds that the proposed U.N.H.S. co-location violates the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. According to the most recent D.O.E. statistics, 28 percent of the U.N.H.S. student population is classified, under the disabilities act, as requiring special education services. U.N.H.S. currently enrolls seven disabled students who require the use of a wheelchair. The school only has one elevator for those students to use, and it can only hold one wheelchair at a time. “It’s clear that the proposed co-location will make it impossible to provide the space and resources needed for disabled students,” said Schwartz. D.O.E.’s proposed co-location at U.N.H.S. may have originally been planned to include a charter school in that building, rather than a public high school, according to the opponents. “My understanding was that the new public school high school was originally planned to be co-located with Murry Bergtraum [High School],” said Donlan, adding that she and
many others familiar with the situation believe that those original plans would have put a Success Academy charter school in co-location with U.N.H.S. The reverse is true now, since a current D.O.E. proposal calls for the co-location of a Success school in Murry Bergtraum. “Whatever happened between D.O.E. and Success Academy on that issue was not done transparently,” said Donlan, who explained that D.O.E. representatives have never fully answered her questions. “Eva [Moskowitz, founder and C.E.O. of Success Academy] was told that D.O.E. wanted to co-locate her at U.N.H.S., and then she looked at the building and said it was inadequate,” Schwartz said. “So D.O.E. let her choose Murry Bergtraum instead, just to make her happy.” A D.O.E. spokesperson declined to comment on a possible offer to Success, citing the pending legal action against the U.N.H.S. co-location. A Success Academy spokesperson at first denied the claim outright, but later acknowledged that the charter may in fact have had an opportunity to see U.N.H.S. and other possible co-location sites before any formal D.O.E. proposal was made. Success Academy representatives were “shown spaces” in order to see what the facilities were, and so that the reps could “see why one was good or better than the others,” the spokesperson said.
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Simply Seafood, the last holdout tenant on the Seaport’s Pier 17, earlier this month before it was evicted.
Seafood spot evicted less than simply from Pier 17 B Y TERESE LOEB KREUZER Joey Demane didn’t know that the two orders of shrimp and chips he prepared late last Thursday would be the last meals served at Simply Seafood, a restaurant that had been on Pier 17 since 1995 and in the Seaport since 1982. He thought that even though Simply Seafood had lost its court case against its landlord, The Howard Hughes Corporation, he might still be able to stay open for the weekend. But the marshals arrived to evict Simply Seafood early Friday, Nov. 15. Judge Shlomo Hagler of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that Simply Seafood had deliberately and intentionally misreported its gross sales, a percentage of which was due to the landlord, and had not paid its utility bills for a decade. John Demane, 69, Joey’s father and the owner of Simply Seafood, denied both allegations but said that he didn’t have the money to appeal. He said that the judge’s decision was “unexpected. We thought we had a good chance.” Demane said that when he first took space on the pier, his lawyers told him to pay use and occupancy charges, which he paid. Meanwhile, gas and electricity charges accumulated. “I didn’t know anything about them,” Demane said, “so I never paid them, and they accumulated to $200,000.” He said he never received a gas and electric bill from the landlord. In addition, there was the issue of Simply Seafood’s gross sales. Between 2004 and 2007, Demane said, he sold fish wholesale and retail from his Pier 17 space. He also operated his fast food res-
taurant from that space. “I didn’t have to report my retail and wholesale sales to the landlord,” Demane said. He said that he reported all of his sales to the government and wasn’t trying to hide anything. “In my lease,” Demane said, “it’s spelled right out that the landlord only wanted fast food sales. However, the judge didn’t see it that way.” A related case in front of Judge Hagler has not yet been settled. Simply Seafood along with several other Pier 17 tenants, sued the landlord for failing in its fiduciary duties at the Pier. The plaintiffs claim that the landlord’s actions damaged their businesses. “The court’s decision to eject Simply Seafood from Pier 17 and subsequent order speaks for itself,” Hughes Corp. said in statement. “Simply Seafood’s lease was originally terminated in 2005 due to non-payment of rent and other monies owed according to the lease terms. Since that time, it had been an illegal, hold-over tenant. While The Howard Hughes Corporation inherited this situation from the previous landlords, we are pleased that it has been resolved after a long and arduous process.” Ironically, New York City Comptroller John Liu called Hughes on the carpet for similar infringements. In a press conference on July 25, Liu said that his office had found that Hughes underreported its square footage and “has shortchanged the city on its rent. My office estimates that over the last six years, The Howard Hughes Corporation underpaid the city by about $1.3 million and owes another half a million in interest.” The city’s Economic Development Corp. declined to pursue the matter.
November 20 - December 3, 2013
Advocates file suit to stop NYCHA’s luxury infill plan By SA M S P O K O NY Opponents of the New York City Housing Authority’s plan to lease public land to private developers have filed a lawsuit against the agency in an attempt to stop the plan from moving forward. The Urban Justice Center and New York Environmental Law and Justice Project announced on Nov. 12 that they filed suit in State Supreme Court to prevent NYCHA from accepting any bids to construct primarily luxury residential buildings in five of the eight developments targeted for the authority’s “infill” land lease plan. The five developments involved in the lawsuit are Smith Houses, on the Lower East Side; Meltzer Tower and Campos Plaza, both in the East Village; and Carver and Washington Houses, both in East Harlem. The new buildings would be so-called “80/20,” 80 percent market rate, 20 percent affordable. In August, NYCHA issued a request for expressions of interest, or R.F.E.I., to garner bids from private developers who want to build within the complexes — in some cases on lots currently used as parks and community gardens. The authority set a deadline of Nov. 18 to receive the bids. The lawsuit claims that NYCHA violated state and federal laws by failing
to conduct environmental reviews and floodplain analyses — which determine possibilities for flooding on the planned construction sites — before issuing the R.F.E.I. The suit also claims that the agency violated the public trust doctrine — which dictates that certain resources should be reserved for public use — because it failed to obtain necessary legislative approval before offering leases that would eliminate some parkland within the developments. “Without a proper environmental review process, NYCHA is trying to shoehorn in deals with luxury housing developers before the window closes on the Bloomberg administration,” said Joel Kupferman, director of N.Y.E.L.J.P., at a press conference outside City Hall on Nov. 12. “It is especially irresponsible, not to mention unlawful, to rush into a bidding process for large-scale construction at NYCHA developments that are still reeling from Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, and where FEMA’s best available data shows the greatest flood hazards in Lower Manhattan.” Many public housing residents oppose NYCHA’s land-lease plan, and tenant associations from the five developments in the suit have joined as plaintiffs. “Based on what happened in my devel-
A rendering from a NYCHA “discussion document” on what kind of development could occur — in this case, a 500-foot-tall tower (at center right) at Smith Houses — under the infill plan.
opment after Sandy, I’m shocked that NYCHA has not thought about the environmental impacts the land-lease program could have on our community,” said
Derese Huff, president of the Campos Plaza Tenant Association, at the Nov. 12 Continued on page 20
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
M.A.T. takes volleyball title After Hurricane Sandy devastated much of Lower Manhattan last year, its after effects on middle school sports Downtown were equally harsh. More than two weeks of the fall season had to be cancelled, leading to a last-ditch attempt to reschedule the city’s middle school volleyball championship. When last year’s championship match was finally played, the M.A.T. Dragons, from Catherine St., took on East Side Middle School, from the Upper East Side. The M.A.T. girls lost a heartbreaker after having match point twice. And last Friday night, in front of a capacity crowd of 300 at Al Smith Rec Center, those two teams once again battled for the title of New York City’s best middle school volleyball team. E.S.M.S. vs. M.A.T. Once again, after the Dragons cruised to a first game victory, they reached match point when they went up 24-18 in the second game, as sixth-grader Xi Mei Schmidt served for the victory. But just when the crowd thought M.A.T. had sealed the win, eighth-grader Patricia Toussant from E.S.M.S. returned the serve and won the point. She then served five straight points, with her teammate Olivia Morgan taking charge at the net, to cut the Dragons’ lead to 24-23.
“I thought to myself, ‘Oh no, here we go again, just like last year,’” said M.A.T. Coach Erin Scutt after the match. “We had them cornered, and once again they fought back.” But Toussant’s final serve was returned by M.A.T. eighth-grader Gabi Folit, who played a clutch game for the Dragons, and E.S.M.S. had no answer. Once the ball hit the floor, the Dragons’ bench cleared out as the girls celebrated their 25-23 victory, and the crowd went into a frenzy. The Dragons were led by all-star eighth-graders Kendal Chapman, Tiffany Yang and Nancy Yuen. “I could not have had a better group of kids to coach this year.” Said Scutt. “They were the best teammates a coach could ask for. They didn’t care about their individual stats at all and cheered each other on with every serve and every pass. They worked hard for this and they deserve it. “E.S.M.S. is a great team with some great players, and it’s an honor to be on the court with them in these championships,” Scutt continued. N . Y. C . Vo l l e y b a l l League Commissioner John DeMatteo, who is also M.A.T.’s athletic director, said, “In years past, the winner was the team that
The city volleyball champs, the M.A.T. Dragons.
could just serve the ball over the net, and now when you watch a team like M.A.T., they play like the girls do in California,
bumping, setting and spiking on almost every play...and we’re in New York City! It’s unreal.”
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Pansies are in bloom in Battery Park City’s South Cove.
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Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee is not happy with the Battery Park City Authority. This year, for the first time, the authority withdrew its support for such community activities as the annual block party and the Run for Knowledge, which raises funds for three neighborhoodschools. Other community activities and groups were also defunded. “This is ridiculous,” said Justine Cuccia, a public member of C.B. 1’s Battery Park City Committee, at the Nov. 4 meeting. She said that she understood that the New York State Inspector General had criticized the authority for funding organizations not directly related to Battery Park City, but, she said, “The things that they’re cutting out are just not reasonable. It does have a strong impact on the community.” Committee member Tom Goodkind agreed. “I think there was some bad funding, but I think if you get a hangnail on your toe, you shouldn’t cut the leg off, which is what happened,” he said. “It’s a dumb move and it should be reversed.” “This is a clear shift by the authority of what it thinks is its mission,” said Ninfa Segarra, a public member of the committee and a former deputy mayor. “They’ve decided that they don’t want to be a social service agency. If we don’t take the strong stance that we’re taking right now, they’ll feel like they’re just a
real estate agency.” “I think that part of what’s made this community so special has been the Battery Park City Authority and what they’ve done,” said Cuccia. By pulling back, she said that the B.P.C.A. was changing the character of the community. The Battery Park City Committee voted to affirm a resolution asking the B.P.C.A. to reconsider its actions. That resolution will go to the full C.B.1 board at its monthly meeting on Nov. 21.
Water over and under the bridge:
By spring, the elevators servicing the bridge that crosses West St. at Chambers will have canopies in place to provide protection from precipitation. At the Battery Park City Authority’s Nov. 19 Board of Directors meeting, the B.P.C.A. authorized an expenditure of $323,000 for this work. The contract was awarded to D’Onofrio General Contractors Corp. T h e B . P. C . A . a l s o a u t h o r i z e d $294,000 for the “repair and retrofitting of Parks Conservancy headquarters.” This contract went to Elite Construction of New York. Part of the work will involve installing systems to replace geothermal wells, which, for some reason, failed to operate as hoped. Gwen Dawson, senior vice president of asset management, who is in charge of construction for the B.P.C.A., wasn’t sure how much the geothermal wells had cost, but she said she would look it up. “Those geothermal wells, was that an experiment?” Board member Martha Gallo inquired. Dawson said that there had been a desire at the time to have the Parks headquarters be a stand-alone facilContinued on page 17
November 20 - December 3, 2013
Continued from page 16
ity that could operate if other systems went down, and there was also a focus on “green construction.” Unfortunately, the wells didn’t work, Dawson said. Board member Don Capoccia wanted to know if the authority had hired a geo-tech engineer to look at the situation before trying to dig the wells. Dawson said that an engineering firm had designed and recommended the wells based on what they knew at the time. “Whatever we’ve spent, we’ve blown. Is that what you’re saying?” B.P.C.A. chairperson Dennis Mehiel asked Dawson. The short answer to Mehiel’s question was, “Yes.” “It was something that we investigated and that we pursued trying to use it and to modify it and to fix it and to add to it and at this point, there’s nothing that anyone has been able to recommend,” Dawson replied.
Hanukkah at the Museum of Jewish Heritage:
Hanukkah begins at sundown on Nov. 27 this year. The shop at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City is stocked with menorahs, dreidels, candles and presents for people of all ages. One of the more unusual menorahs was made in Haiti by an artisan named Evenson who used a discarded
ns o i t w lica t. o N pp en a g llm in nro t p e ce for c a
55-gallon oil drum to fashion a bush festooned with birds and flowers. “He works by the light of day using only hand tools,” said a leaflet attached to the menorah. Warren Shalewitz, manager of the museum’s shop, said that money earned through the sale of this lovely work of art would be so important to Evenson. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Evenson’s menorah costs $99. A menorah made of cork is $110, and one of stainless steel is $150. Everything in the shop is selling at a 10 percent discount through Dec. 31. The Museum of Jewish Heritage is at 36 Battery Place. It opens Sunday through Friday at 10 a.m. with varying closing hours. It is closed on Saturdays. For more information, go to http:// www.mjhnyc.org.
Battery Park City in bloom:
Biting winds are now blowing through Battery Park City, but flowers are still blooming in South Cove and along the esplanade. Pansies in many hues emerge through the dead leaves in South Cove. On the esplanade, Japanese anemones hold out against the encroaching cold and darkness. See them before snow enfolds them for the winter. To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@gmail.com
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Warren Shalewitz, manager of the shop at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City, holding a menorah made in Haiti from a discarded oil drum by an artisan named Evenson. Hanukkah starts at sundown on Nov. 27 and runs through Dec. 5.
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11/4/13 12:04 PM
November 20 - December 3, 2013
Jennifer Goodstein Publisher EMERITUS
John W. Sutter Editor
Josh Rogers NYC RECONNECTS ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Terese Loeb Kreuzer Arts Editor
Scott Stiffler Reporters
Sam Spokony Lincoln Anderson Sr. V.P. of Sales & Marketing
Francesco Regini Retail ad manager
Allison Greaker Julius Harrison Alex Morris Rebecca Rosenthal Julio Tumbaco Art / Production Director
Troy Masters Senior Designer
Michael Shirey Graphic DesignerS
Arnold Rozon Chris Ortiz
Boehner’s ENDA end around When the U.S. Senate Two weeks ago, in
in the bill passed by the Senate –– its craven surrender to the religious right on the question of religious exemptions. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination in areas like housing and public accommodation as well as employment, made use of the concept of religious exemptions to allow religious organizations to base decisions such as their hiring on religion. A Catholic parish could show a preference for hiring Catholics; a mosque could staff itself with Islamic adherents. What such institutions could generally not do is base employment decisions on other proscribed categories. A synagogue was not free to use racial tests in hiring, for example. At the same time, the Catholic Church, of course, is free to limit its choice of priests by gender. Using a religious exemption to practice discrimination otherwise outlawed could be justified only by showing a close and reasonable nexus between the discrimination and the religious tenet being protected. As gay rights protections matured, the concept of religious exemptions began to be stretched further in that same direction –– based on the widespread belief, even among liberal friends of the L.G.B.T. community, that religious objections to homosexuality typically have more validity than any religiously based objection to a person’s race or gender. Like women, a gay man’s status is seen per se as incompatible with service
as a priest –– or as a clergy member in many faiths. Gay people, furthermore, could be excluded not only from the role of clergy but also from many other activities within a religious organization. Where the L.G.B.T. community has generally been successful in drawing the line has been on the question of public accommodations. While a church or parish house can limit employment, a Catholic hospital, university or social service agency that provides its services more generally to the public at large can typically not discriminate under most state and local L.G.B.T. rights laws. That same protection is not afforded by ENDA. Defenders of the religious exemption language in the bill adopted by the Senate argue they have simply “cut and pasted” the language from the 1964 Civil Rights Act. What that means, however, is that a religious organization’s ability to differentiate employees based on their religion is now extended to their sexual orientation and gender identity as well. It’s unfortunate that leading L.G.B.T. legal advocacy groups, who recognize the danger here, have elected to hold their fire, hoping to amend the bill after a new Congress takes office in 2015.
Owner of 100 Franklin St. says he’s selling to D.D.G. because they were the “most competent” developer to bid (posted Nov. 14)
which was forever altered by the construction of 6th avenue. We do not need a modern reinterpretation.
DDG has a very good reputation. Perhaps the
The designers should give up on trying to make a heroically modern statement with this design. The solution is right in front of them and apparent in the photo for this article [See P.5 of this issue]. Repeat the white street historic facade by running it down 6th avenue. It would abstractly complete the symmetrical appearance of the white street building
The architect needs to use load bearing masonry construction, preserve the alley to sidewalk views, make two buildings, not one, and use brick and stone with normal windows and cornices. This is a historic district and the form language all around here is not dead. It should be used rather than merely “alluded to.”
a 62-34 bipartisan vote, approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the achievement was noteworthy primarily for one reason –– it was the first time either house of Congress had approved such a measure with protections for transgender Americans included. The House passed the bill in 2007, but incorporated only provisions regarding sexual orientation, not gender identity as well. The Senate action likely does not foretell ultimate victory on this measure, which would remedy the failure of 29 states to provide any gay rights protections and 33, including New York, to offer relief to the transgender community. That’s because even before the bill got its final vote on the Senate floor, Republican House Speaker John Boehner put out the word that it would lead to “frivolous litigation” that would kill “small-business jobs.” Ten G.O.P. senators saw through that reflexive type of response, but Boehner, as usual, is playing to the far right in his House caucus. If the House Republicans are unwilling to stanch their losses among Latino voters by taking on immigration reform, it’s probably not surprising they can’t see how increasingly out of step with the American public they are on L.G.B.T. rights as well. The unlikelihood of ENDA’s enactment in the current Congress should be seized on by the L.G.B.T. community to right a wrong
A longer version of this editorial first appeared in Gay City News, Downtown Express’ sister newspaper
Albert Amateau Jerry Tallmer Photographers
Milo Hess Jefferson Siegel
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Posted To design could be changed, but to question the sale to them is absurd.
TriLikingBeca I think it was a good decision. My sister’s husband works at DDG and says that they had some good and reputable projects in the past. Lisa
Letters Policy Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be emailed to letters@ downtownexpress.com or can be mailed to 515 Canal St., New York, NY, 10013.
November 20 - December 3, 2013
Downtown’s fears after murder near Police Plaza Continued from page 1
violence — particularly gun violence — takes place there. The Fifth Precinct, which covers the complex, lists a total of only three reported shooting incidents in the entire surrounding neighborhood so far in 2013, according to reports published online. But that’s not what some residents of the public housing development say. This past week, one Smith Houses resident claimed that she’s heard gunshots within the project around ten times so far this year, and another said it’s happened around once a month. Early on Sun., Nov. 10, tensions at Smith Houses came to a head when George Taliferro, 30, was shot to death on a walkway between two of the development’s buildings at 7 and 15 St. James Pl. Around 4 a.m., in the dark before that day’s dawn, police found Taliferro lying in the courtyard, bleeding out, with bullet wounds in his torso. He was pronounced dead shortly after being rushed to the hospital. The prime suspect in that fatal shooting, Christopher Delrosario, 19, was arrested several days later in the upstate town of Port Jervis, after apparently trying to flee the area. He’s been charged with second degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. Delrosario is a resident of 46 Madison St., in Smith Houses. Taliferro was raised in Smith Houses, and his family — both his older blood relatives and his three young children — still lived there at the time of his death. But according to those who knew him, Taliferro actually lived in a NYCHA development in Brooklyn. He’d gotten out of jail in August 2011, after serving over three years in state prison for weapons possession, according to the State Dept. of Corrections. He still sold a little marijuana on the side, according to a 60-year-old Smith Houses resident who said she’d remained friends with Taliferro after watching him grow up so many years ago, but that didn’t make him a bad person. “George was a good guy,” she said. Some at Smith Houses believe that Taliferro became the victim of a crossborough turf war, one in which he’d never meant to get caught up. Others think that it was fiery disputes within the development that boiled over and led to his end. But it’s unclear exactly what happened on the morning of Nov. 10. A Fifth Precinct officer referred inquiries to Police Plaza, but spokespersons only provided the bare details of the crime. A 24-year-old woman who lives at 15 St. James Pl. said she was walking into her building that morning, around 3:30 a.m., and saw Taliferro sitting outside the building with a group of five or six other men. “It looked like he was just hanging out with some friends,” she said. “It didn’t look like anything was wrong.” Half an hour later, four shots rang out. One missed; the other three struck Taliferro
Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony
Memorial to George Taliferro, 30, who was gunned down at Smith Houses on Nov. 10.
and laid him out, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Even before Delrosario was arrested and charged with the murder, the woman said she and many of her neighbors were practically certain that the crime had been committed by a Smith Houses resident. “A lot of people around here don’t like each other,” she said. And although plenty of residents might even have thought that it was Delrosario that did it, most of them were too scared to talk about it, she added. The 60-year-old Smith Houses resident, who said she knew Taliferro ever since he was a kid, didn’t think the killing was just a random act of infighting. “It was definitely turf related,” she said, referencing the fact that, in her 35 years living at Smith, she has seen various turf wars develop between Lower East Side NYCHA residents and those living in public housing in Brooklyn, particularly around the East Flatbush area. “They go back and forth,” she said, “and they all look like friends, and all of a sudden it’s a shootout.” The woman explained that, regardless of how quiet the area might seem to visitors, the knowledge of drug or gang-related violence keeps her and many other older Smith Houses residents in their homes after dark. “I only go out to the store late at night if it’s an emergency,” she said. “I’m really just worried about my safety.” Another older Smith Houses resident, an 82-year-old man who said he’s lived there for over four decades, echoed that sentiment.
‘I only go out to the store late at night if it’s an emergency. I’m really just worried about my safety.’ He enjoys sitting outside in the courtyard on nice days, but never past 5 p.m. “Every time you worry, because you don’t know who’s good and who’s bad,” he said. “You just have to mind your business and go home, and that’s it. You can’t do anything about it. Even the police can’t do anything about it. I just go home early, and I stay home.” Across the courtyard, two 25-year-old men — friends who both live in the development — were walking out of their building towards the street. When asked whether or not they felt unsafe because of drug or gang feuds that might spill over into the complex, they said they didn’t — but mainly because they’re rarely ever around the neighborhood at night. “There’s nothing here besides that stuff,” one of them said. “That’s why we don’t hang out here.” Yet another Smith Houses resident — a
man who said he knew not only Taliferro but his parents and grandparents as well — explained that tensions within the development, compounded by the 30-year-old’s violent death, were apparently painful enough to push them out of the place they once called home. “The day George died, his whole family moved out,” the man said, shaking his head. On the walkway between the two buildings at 7 and 15 St. James Pl., at the very site of the fatal shooting — and mere steps away from the home of the man alleged to have committed the crime — there sits a makeshift memorial to George Taliferro. It’s a large sheet of heavy paper, signed by friends, propped up against a railing. Taped above that is a photo of the deceased, with simple line written across it: “R.I.P. George.” After conducting interviews around the courtyard of Smith Houses, this reporter stopped in front of the memorial, first just to look at the image, and then to take a photo of it for this story. A young man, probably around 18 years old, walked up to the reporter and asked him what he was doing there. But he didn’t think that writing a story about the murder, or taking a photo of Taliferro’s memorial, was acceptable. “Delete those [bleeping] photos,” he said. “Delete those photos, or I’ll make a call, and then you’ll be [bleeping] sorry.” As the reporter walked away, the young man followed close behind. “And don’t come around here anymore.”
November 20 - December 3, 2013
Advocates sue to stop NYCHA luxury infill plan Continued from page 13
press conference. The City Council filed a lawsuit against NYCHA over this same plan slightly more than a month ago. However, that suit instead attempted to prove that state law prohibits the leasing of public housing property to market-rate tenants. City Councilmember Margaret Chin was at Tuesday’s press conference to show support for the litigation. “This lawsuit is a further indictment of NYCHA’s failure to meaningfully engage the community in a plan that directly impacts the dayto-day lives residents and their families,” Chin said. “At a time when affordable housing, especially public housing, is diminishing, it is more important than ever for the city to protect what public land we have.”
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TRINITY CHURCH Broadway at Wall Street 74 TRINITY PLACE is located in the office building behind Trinity Church
ST. PAUL’S CHAPEL Broadway and Fulton Street CHARLOTTE’S PLACE 107 Greenwich Street btwn Rector & Carlisle Streets The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, Rector The Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, Vicar
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 7-8:30pm Thanksgiving Warm Up: Music and Meditation for Gratitude and Mindfulness Come get spiritually fed at a Faith House Manhattan Living Room. Charlotte’s Place ONGOING THROUGH DECEMBER 23, 9:30am-5pm Superposition: Observing Realities An art exhibit that considers the rapid advancement of our physical, social, and cerebral evolution. Trinity Museum (inside Trinity Church)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 & 26, 1pm Concerts at One Nov. 21: Matt Haimovitz, cello; Nov. 26: Steve Wilson, tenor; Chris Herbert, baritone; Timothy Long, piano Trinity Church
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25 & DECEMBER 2, 1pm Bach at One The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra featuring the music of J.S. Bach. St. Paul’s Chapel WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20 & DECEMBER 4, 1pm Pipes at One Nov. 20: Donald Ingram, Organist/ Choirmaster Emeritus, Trinity Church, Vero Beach, FL; Dec. 4: Nancianne Parrella, Associate Organist, Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, NYC. St. Paul’s Chapel
worship SUNDAY, 8am & 10am St. Paul’s Chapel · Holy Eucharist 8pm · Compline by Candlelight SUNDAY, 9am & 11:15am Trinity Church · Preaching, music, and Eucharist · Sunday school and child care available MONDAY—FRIDAY, 12:05pm Trinity Church · Holy Eucharist MONDAY—FRIDAY, 5:15pm All Saints’ Chapel, in Trinity Church Evening Prayer Watch online webcast
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24 & DECEMBER 1, 10am Discovery Adult Formation Class Nov. 24: David Sloan Wilson Dec. 1: The Feminine Body of Christ: Lessons from the Desert Mothers with the Rev. David Wallace. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parish Hall Leah Reddy
an Episcopal parish in the city of New York
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 6pm Family Friday Yoga & Veggie Night Practice with your children in this family-focused yoga class! 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl
Congressmembers Jerrold N a d l e r a n d N y d i a Ve l a z q u e z also back the new lawsuit. I n O c t o b e r, N Y C H A r e s p o n d e d t o t h e C o u n c i l ’s l e g a l a c t i o n by arguing that its plan — which would grant the private developers 99-year leases — would generate $50 million a n n u a l l y, t o b e u s e d f o r m u c h needed building repairs, among other things. Last week, NYCHA declined to give specific answers to questions about environmental reviews or floodplain analyses. “ I t ’s u n f o r t u n a t e t h a t t h e r e is any attempt to block a proposal that would generate significant revenue for the New Yo r k C i t y H o u s i n g A u t h o r i t y — money that would go directly into developments and capital improvements for NYCHA residents,” an agency spokesperson said.
November 20 - December 3, 2013
The new black box has global reach La MaMa’s CultureHub uses tech to connect cultures FESTIVAL REFEST
A CultureHub production November 29 through December 1 At 47 Great Jones St., 3rd Floor (btw. Bowery & Lafayette) For tickets & schedule, visit culturehub.org
BY TOM TENNEY In 1961, Ellen Stewart revolutionized the New York performance scene when she opened Café La MaMa in the basement of an East Ninth Street tenement. The AfricanAmerican fashion designer-cum-impresario imagined the new space as an alternative to popular Off-Off Broadway venues like Caffe Cino and the Gaslight — small spaces that were relics of, and still very much associated with, the Beat coffeehouse scene. Those early venues had been created with a particular ambience and with a specific audience in mind. Stewart’s innovation was to create a truly neutral performance venue to serve as a tabula rasa for emerging playwrights, allowing them to create new work on their own terms. La MaMa was truly a “black box” — a theatrical architecture that inspired future generations of underground performance, and spawned what might be called a micro-theatre movement in the East Village and the Lower East Side that continues to this day. But the black box wasn’t the only experimental innovation happening in the 1960s New York art world. Early in that decade, ideas driving the convergence of art with cybernetic and computer technology, being conducted in Europe by Roy Ascott and others, reached the United States. In 1966, American composer and sound-art pioneer Max Neuhaus teamed up with NYC radio station WBAI to create “Public Supply” — an experiment in twoway aural public space in which listeners could contribute to a composition in real time by phoning in to the station and having their voices electronically transformed into components of a musical composition. The project is considered be one of the
Photo courtesy of the artist
Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, will be at REFEST to present work he’s been developing with the Seoul Institute.
first successful artistic collaborations over an electronic network in real time. The very same year, renowned abstract expressionist Robert Rauchenberg met an engineer from Bell Telephone Lab named Billy Klüver. Together, they launched Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), with the aim of connecting artists and technologists to launch experimental explorations into the intersection of art and technology. Meanwhile, Ellen Stewart was connecting La MaMa with theatrical communities around the world, and building a global circuit of independent theatrical practitioners. Networking, collaboration and technology were all emerging into the cultural zeitgeist — blending, morphing and generating new art forms and schools of thought. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that in 2009 La MaMa launched CultureHub — its own art and technology incubator, in partnership with Korea’s Seoul Institute of the Arts. The collaboration is dedicated not only to blending technology with performance, but also to using tech as a tool to continue
the theatre’s long tradition of connecting cultures around the world. The new laboratory’s stated mission is to provide “a shared space for artists to collaborate, share ideas and create interdisciplinary works of art that explore emerging mediums and technologies.” For the past four years, they have been doing just that. In addition to presenting art/ tech hybrids in their wired black box studio on Great Jones Street, CultureHub is equally invested in youth media and educational initiatives, conducting workshops for students, teens and young artists. Virtualab, one of their flagship programs, is dedicated to connecting students and professional artists via distance learning. One of the core technologies utilized by CultureHub specifically for this purpose is something called telepresence, which might be thought of as a hyper-customized version of teleconferencing. As opposed to participants sitting around a table and projecting to a single screen, telepresence uses live video to build virtual environments, utilizing multicamera viewpoints and projecting video to an
entire wall, creating an atmosphere of virtual “liveness.” CultureHub Artistic Director Billy Clark says that by incorporating this technology on a larger scale and using multiple cameras, you can “get to a certain level of abstractly feeling like you’re there.” CultureHub has already implemented this technology for several projects, including workshops conducted with students at their partner organization in Korea, and a virtual spoken word workshop connecting youth from New Orleans and New York City in collaboration with the Hip Hop Re:Education Project (reeducate.org). The latter experiment was so successful that, after the workshop, the students in Louisiana raised their own money to travel to New York to meet their “classmates” in person. “It’s never going to be entirely like being physically present,” said CultureHub Managing Director Anna Hayman, “but you do make eye contact, you do hear people breathe.” She also pointed out that the techContinued on page 22
November 20 - December 3, 2013
Transforming the black box for the new century Continued from page 21
nology seems to increase the engagement of its participants, particularly kids. “They feel like they’re being treated to something special. It’s actually more engaging than a conventional classroom where they’re just sitting there. Kids forge real relationships in that environment.” Though the young organization represents an exciting new direction for La MaMa, CultureHub recognizes its place in a continuum of artists working with technology — and acknowledges that, while the work they create and support is innovative, it also builds on decades of experimentation by prior artists. Clark concurs noting, “The ideas aren’t that new. Nam Jun Paik was doing this in the late 70s and early 80s. But now the technology is more ubiquitous, it’s cheaper. High-speed Internet is on all the time.” That ubiquity has necessitated a cultural space for artists — some of whom have never used technology in their work — to begin experimenting with tech in a lowrisk environment. “We’re trying to support artists in their very early stages of development,” Clark said. “We want to give them a space where they have access to technology and can just try something, like a sketch. Some might get developed, and others end
up as more of a one-off. It’s a learning experience.” Having worked on a project-to-project basis since its inception, CultureHub is borrowing a page from the theatrical establishment by launching its first-ever “season” of technologically based works (running until the end of the year). The centerpiece of that season is REFEST — a three-day festival of mediated performance, interactive installations and talks taking place from November 29-December 1, at CultureHub’s Great Jones Street studio. REFEST kicks off on Friday night with an evening of performance curated in collaboration with the annual RE/Mixed Media Festival (which returns in April 2014 at The New School). In addition to performances by Adriano Clemente and David Commander, Friday’s kickoff event will feature a piece called the “Long Table” — a discursive art form pioneered by performance artist Lois Weaver that begins with eight artists seated at a table discussing a topic provided by the curators. As the conversation progresses, audience members are invited to come to the table and add their voice to the discussion, and may even ask for one of the participant’s seats if the table happens to be full. Saturday and Sunday will continue with work by, Culture Hub says in a press release, revealing “how new technologies
are changing performance practices, how networked screens and communications technologies are changing the way artists collaborate and create, what the exhibition/ performance venue oftomorrow might look like, and how the nature of storytelling is becoming cross-media, multi-modal, and multi-locational.” Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, will also be on hand to present work he’s been developing with the Seoul Institute which, according to Hayman, will involve “new hardware and software and have a performative element.” The partnership with RE/Mixed Media Festival in curating the first night of REFEST is demonstrative of the collaborative ethos that CultureHub has inherited from La MaMa. “So often in the not-forprofit world, you’re forced to have your head down,” Clark said, “you don’t have enough resources, you’re always too busy, you’re trying to scramble. But a lot of us are scrambling in the same direction, without taking the time to look up and say ‘Hey, they’re doing something similar. What if we worked together?’ We certainly can’t solve that whole problem, but the spirit is one of collaboration.” In recent years, New York’s micro-theatre movement activated by Ellen Stewart’s “black box” has foundered in the wake higher rents and aggressive real estate development. Several storefront theaters
that flourished in the Lower East Side in the 90s — Surf Reality, Todo Con Nada and Collective Unconscious, to name just a few — have disappeared. But the loss of physical space doesn’t necessarily mean that those artists have stopped working. Surf Reality has resurfaced as a producing entity that dabbles in the technological, and Collective Unconscious recently collaborated with Three Legged Dog to produce a 3D cinematic adaptation of their 1999 theatrical experiment, “Charlie Victor Romeo,” a film that was lauded at Sundance and other festivals throughout the country. Other organizations exploring the intersection of art and technology such as Eyebeam and IMC Lab + Gallery have developed performative works with independent artists. Perhaps for the performance community, the current circumstance isn’t one of loss, but one of transition — one that may require we revisit the ideals of community and collaboration embraced by Ellen Stewart. CultureHub claims they are “transforming the black box for the new century.” Their MaMa would be proud. Tom Tenney is a performer, producer, sound artist and founder of the annual RE/Mixed Media Festival in Manhattan (remixnyc.com). He currently teaches media theory at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Follow him on Twitter at @tomtenney, or follow his blog at inc.ongruo.us.
November 20 - December 3, 2013
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PHOTO EXHIBIT: HISTORIC FIREHOUSES OF MANHATTAN
What does it say about a man who spends his entire career on call to run towards danger, only to occupy his “golden years” by preserving buildings in a manner that flames can’t touch? New York’s Bravest never punch the clock, apparently. They just find a new outlet for that drive to save things. When gold watch time came for FDNY Lieutenant Stephen Healy, he shifted his focus to capturing the architectural beauty of Manhattan firehouses built from the 1800s to the early 1900s. Healy’s “Historic Firehouses of Manhattan” is a photo series on exhibit through early December, at the New York City Fire Museum — an appropriate host venue on many levels, given that the museum occupies a renovated 1904 Beaux-Arts building that was once home to Engine Company No. 30, and now houses a renowned collection of fire-related artifacts from the 18th century to the present (including hand-pumped fire engines, horse-drawn vehicles and all manner of tools and equipment). Nov. 22-Dec. 8. At the New York City Fire Museum (278 Spring St., btw. Hudson & Varick Sts.). Open daily, 10am-5pm. Admission: $8.00 ($5.00 for children 12 and under, seniors & students). Call 212-691-1303 or visit nycfiremuseum.org.
TROBADORS: A SYMPOSIUM ON OCCITAN POETRY
Tribeca’s 50,000-volume-strong literary center — Poets House — has partnered with the NYC cultural heritage non-profit City Lore and the NYC/France artistic collaborative NY’OC Trobadors for this landmark symposium. Poets, artists and scholars will share their perspectives on the history of Occitania (a region encompassing the southern half of
Photo Courtesy of the artist & Poets House
Modern day trobador Jakes Aymonino performs on Nov. 23, at Poets House.
France, the Occitan Valleys in the Italian Alps and the Aran Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees). Performers bring musical life to the “lyrical, secular, and often subversive verse-commentary on the culture, politics, and love affairs” of the region’s 11th century trobadors and trobairitz — whose influence can be traced to contemporary American artists such as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. It’s not all words and music, though. An overview of Occitan cuisine will be provided, in a reservationonly Gascon Buffet created by foodie favorite Ariane Daguin (owner of D’Artagnan). That dinner is preceded by 2pm’s “Topologies of Occitan Language & Culture” and 4:30pm’s “Occitan Literature Through the Ages.” The evening culminates in a music and poetry performance featuring bicontinental artists Joan Francés Tisnèr, Jakes Aymonino, Domenja Lekuona, Pierre Joris and Nicole Peyrafitte. Sat., Nov. 23, from 2-9pm. At Poets House (10 River Terrace, at Murray St.). For tickets ($10, $7 for students/seniors), visit poetshouse.org. Reservations for the 5:30-7pm dinner ($25, includes evening performance) are required. Contact Joe at 212-431-7920 x12832 or joe@poetshouse. org. Also visit citylore.org.
Photo courtesy of the artist
Another building saved by a fireman’s camera: This shot of Engine Co. No. 31’s former Lafayette St. quarters is part of the “Historic Firehouses of Manhattan” photo exhibit, on view through Dec. 8, at the NYC Fire Museum.
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
Hughes Corp. wants tower and marina by the Seaport Continued from page 1
board will take an advisory vote. Hughes executives said at the meeting that the proposal is still being revised. It’s not yet clear how the project will be viewed by the incoming de Blasio administration, which will play a key role in advancing or nixing the plan. In an effort to counter a criticism made at the meeting, Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects, the project’s designer, said because the tower will be narrow, it will not cast too many shadows on the South Street Seaport Historic District. Five years ago, Pasquarelli, working for Hughes’ predecessor, General Growth Properties, designed a 500-foot tower for the area. He also proposed moving and restoring the Tin Building at the east end of Pier 17 at the waterfront’s edge. But the plan did not advance far and General Growth ended up filing for bankruptcy. Under the current plan, which would require Landmarks Preservation Commission approval, the Tin would be elevated to five feet above the flood plain, one story would be added, and the building would move somewhat closer to the water. The building would house a food market building under a commitment that Hughes
Image courtesy of the Howard Hughes Corp.
Rendering of Howard Hughes Corp/’s plan for the Seaport.
Corp. made earlier this year as part of the approval to demolish and rebuild a new Pier 17 mall. C.B.1 chairperson Catherine McVay
Hughes attended the meeting but did not indicate initial support or opposition for the project. Earlier that day she was quoted in a New
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November 20 - December 3, 2013
Reflections on Lou Reed Continued from page 10
the nascent scene at CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, or scouring the import bins for Neu, the German band that put a Teutonic clockwork beat on Velvetian grooves. Lou Reed put out a string of brilliant and spotty albums. “Transformer,” in 1972, produced by Bowie, yielded the Top 20 hit “Walk on the Wild Side,” its one-verse vignettes of dragqueen actresses Holly Woodlawn and Candy Darling riding a jazzy two-chord bassline. (The “Sugarplum Fairy” character was an old boyfriend of Harvey Milk’s.) He followed that up with the tragic “Berlin.” A 10-song cycle depicting a love triangle involving a selfdestructively love-seeking woman and her violently jealous bisexual boyfriend, flying and crashing on mountains of amphetamine, it’s arguably the most depressing album ever made. The “Rock ’n’ Roll Animal” live set, recorded at the Academy of Music on 14th St. at the end of ’73, established Reed in the hard-rock mainstream. Aided by Midwestern guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, it turned Velvets and “Berlin” songs into concert-
Tenni s Less ons
rock epics, including a Bach organ interlude in the middle of “Heroin.” The follow-up, “Sally Can’t Dance,” was his most commercially successful album. It included “Kill Your Sons,” based on his experience getting shock treatment when he was 17 — “Every time you tried to read a book / You couldn’t get to page 17” — but much of it was decadence-cliché hackwork. “Metal Machine Music,” in 1975, was a double-LP set of feedback he pitched as an avant-garde classical album.
‘The ‘Sugarplum Fairy’ was an old boyfriend of Harvey Milk.’ Amid the era’s pretensions and cult of technique, Reed posited an intellectual-primitive aesthetic, one of literate
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lyrics and musical simplicity. He could write a vivid, incisive character sketch or turn a phrase like “between thought and expression,” and blend it with music as brilliantly simple as Woody Guthrie’s: The Velvets’ version of “Heroin” is a basic D chord answered by the open top strings of the guitar. It set a style and attitude shared by the great New York City rock ’n’ rollers who followed, including Patti Smith, the Dolls and the Ramones. The harshness of Reed’s world also made his happier songs feel more real, more earned, than what was out there in the smiley-face ’70s. “Coney Island Baby,” inspired by the Excellents’ 1962 doo-wop tune, perhaps put it best: But remember that the city is a funny place Something like a circus or a sewer And just remember different people have peculiar tastes And the glory of love might see you through I didn’t follow Reed that much after 1980 or so, but almost every album has songs worth coming back to, like “The Blue Mask,” his collaboration with genius guitarist Robert Quine, or the singing newspaper “New York.” “Songs
for Drella,” his and Velvets violist John Cale’s 1990 memorial to Andy Warhol, is one of the rare records that grabbed me the first time I heard it on the radio. Over music that ranged from stately to chaotic, Reed wrote with compassion about the man who had both mentored and slagged him, praising his work ethic and evoking his ultimate loneliness despite the “resentments that can never be unmade.” I never met Lou Reed, so I can make no judgment about his personality. Some people say he was charming and warmhearted, others say he was an attitude-spewing creep. It would probably be both accurate and euphemistic to say he didn’t suffer fools gladly. Yet even much-canonized musicians like Bob Marley and John Lennon had their dirt and their dark sides. What matters now is that Lou Reed’s music moved and inspired me, helped keep me semi-sane in key parts of my life, and did the same for a lot of others. Wishnia is author of the novel “When the Drumming Stops”; works as a journalist specializing in housing, labor and drug issues; and played bass, guitar and keyboards in the 1980s punk band False Prophets. He currently plays music in artist Mac McGill’s multimedia show.
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The November 20, 2013 issue of Downtown Express - The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan