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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

November 26, 2015 • $1.00 Volume 85 • Number 26

Jury drama as Silver corruption trial heads into the homestretch BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC


he fate of Assemblymember Sheldon Silver, on trial on graft and corruption charges, is now in the hands of the jury, which broke off deliberations for the holiday weekend and will resume Monday. Deliberations began on Tues., Nov. 24, and were al-

ready spiked with drama as several news outlets reported that a juror wanted to be dismissed after just two hours. Judge Valerie E. Caproni did not dismiss the juror, but questioned another about talking to a news reporter. Closing summations by both the prosecution and deSILVER continued on p. 8

Sixties draft-card burners recall inflammatory time at Maryhouse panel talk BY MARY REINHOLZ


t the Catholic Worker’s residential Maryhouse last Friday night, three grizzled anti-war activists marked the 50th anniversary of burning their draft cards on Nov. 6, 1965, in opposition to the Vietnam War with two other pacifist comrades in Union

Square. They did the incendiary deed with some difficulty before a raucous crowd of about 1,500, among them counterdemonstrators who chanted and carried signs saying, “Burn yourself instead of your card.” One man doused the radical peaceniks with water ANTI-WAR continued on p. 14


Actor Edward Norton, speaking at rally, said development “can’t compromise the city’s DNA.”

Village Fight Club: Norton and Co. sock it to Blaz on rezoning BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


ith the city poised to do a major rezoning to allow the massive St. John’s Partners project — with 30 percent affordable housing — to be built on the Lower West Side waterfront, preservationists and activists are crying out that another critically important proposed rezoning has been stuck in limbo for a year. And they are demanding that the de Blasio

administration take action now — before it’s too late. On Sat., Nov. 14, Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, was joined by local politicians and residents at a press conference at W. 12th St. and University Place, across the street from the former Bowlmor Lanes building, which was shrouded in construction netting and scaffolding. Developer Billy Macklowe plans to construct a nearly

300-foot-tall, 23-story luxury tower, which will be one of the tallest buildings in the Village, on the site, which the historic bowling alley — demolition of which only recently commenced — occupied for 76 years. Adding extra punch to the group’s message was “Fight Club” actor / activist Edward Norton, who lives nearby. Specifically, they called for the city to enact a contexREZONING continued on p. 6

Vaults unearth potter’s field 10 ‘Dark dentist’ busted at Village 12 A blast from Coney Island’s 30 15-hour photo 19

gymnastics classes for kids and adults, and stretches a full block from Sixth Ave. to Thompson St. Also, Janovic paints has begun moving into  the  ground-fl oor  commercial space in the residential building at the site of the former Tunnel Garage, at Watts and Thompson Sts. One rumor fl ying  around is that a Trader Joe’s might move into the paint purveyor’s previous space at the northeast corner of Spring St. and Sixth Ave.


Kelsey Falter on Nov. 14.

FLOWER POWER: The memorial in Washington Square Park, above right, by local resident Kelsey Falter, looked a bit different on Sat., Nov. 14, the day after the Paris terrorist attacks. On that gusty afternoon, Falter and others, including little Tiera Mikles, 5, and her mom, Aurelia, from the Lower East Side, were busily putting roses into the mesh screen of the memorial, below which a sign read, “J’être humain,” meaning “We all are human.” Falter said she would later paint it red, white and blue, though she obviously has replaced the real fl owers  with paper ones. As for the concept of her artwork by the arch, Falter told us, “In many cities where they have an arch, they’ve erected it after a victory. In this case, I hope love — and then peace — win, for humanity’s sake.” VICTORY!....UMM...VICTORY? Councilmember Margaret Chin announced that last month three of the contested city-owned “open-space strips” on the two  N.Y.U.  South  Village  superblocks  were  transferred from the Department of Transportation to the




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Corne r of Jane & West 4th St. (at 8th Ave.) 212-2 42-95 02


November 26, 2015

YIPPIE E.R.: Two of our favorite Yippies, Aron Kay, “The Yippie Pie Man,” and former East Village activist / photojournalist John Penley, who is pretty much PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY an honorary Yippie, have been battling serious health problems. The finished memorial. Kay is  fi ghting  lymphoma  and  Parks Department. “This transfer is the culmination Penley came down with the shingles. Hang in there of years of hard work by green space advocates who — keep on truckin’! have joined me in fi ghting for the permanent creation  of additional parkland for generations to come,” Chin BYE, SOCIETY: Karen Loew, who was the disaid in her monthly handout to Community Board 2. rector of East Village and special projects for the “These new park spaces will forever be places of en- Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservajoyment,  refl ection  and  peace  for  residents,  visitors  tion, recently departed the society. As for what’s and students,” she said, calling it “a major victory for next, she said, “Not sure yet, open to ideas!” Neiproponents of a greener Greenwich Village.” Umm... ther Loew, who formerly worked as a journalist, well, these might be enjoyed...but that will probably nor Andrew Berman, the executive director of only be after the 20 years of nonstop construction as G.V.S.H.P., had more to say. the university shoehorns four new buildings onto the two blocks, totaling nearly 2 million square feet TD-IOUS PACE: Finally,  TD  Bank  has  fi xed  the  of space. And, well, then, even after the construc- broken glass in the front doors at the former Barnes tion, won’t those massive new buildings be throwing & Noble space at Eighth St. and Sixth Ave. “Yes, afshadows onto these green spaces? And, hey, what ter eight months of pushing, they fi nally fi xed it,”  about Judge Donna Mills’s ruling back in January William Kelley, executive director of the Village 2014 that these parcels already were de facto “im- Alliance business improvement district, told us. pliedly” parkland? ...Wasn’t that the real victory, only But don’t take that as a sign that something will fi to be overturned on appeal later by a higher court, a nally be done with the vacant space. “No real news decision that was then upheld this past June by the — every time we ask when they will start, they say state’s highest court? Who really won here anyway? construction is imminent,” Kelley said. “Allegedly TD Bank takes forever to do things because their ECO-BRAD: Congratulations to Brad Hoylman, corporate  offi ces  are  in  Toronto.  Who  knows  why  who this month was honored to be named EPL / En- that would add so much time, but that’s what we vironmental Advocates’ Legislator of the Year. “As a hear. They signed the lease in July 2014.” lawmaker and a concerned parent, I’m acutely aware that the decisions we make and fail to make now will LIFE ON THE STREET: Back in August, an edihave a direct impact on my daughter’s generation torial in The Villager, “The real face of homelessness; and beyond,” the state senator said. Hoylman in his People need help,” talked about the plight of Diane position as ranking Democrat on the state Senate’s Majett, who was then living on the street just south Environmental Conservation Committee, has worked of Grand Central Terminal, by the Park Ave. Viaduct, hard to raise awareness about the dangers of climate with her cat, Buttercup. Well, it’s three months later. change, and is pushing to immediately enact a state She’s still there. Part of the reason, to hear her tell it, is Climate Action Plan. He also is advocating to pass the that she is an artist vendor — she knits garments for Child Safe Products Act, and place a ban on person- both people and cats — so has the right to be there. al-care products that contain plastic microbeads. If police come by and tell her to “take a walk,” she promptly calls the Manhattan district attorney and MARKET MURMURS: It sounds like the Hud- informs them of the situation. We recently showed son Square / Soho area may soon be getting at least her our editorial about her and she burst into tears, one, and maybe even two new supermarkets, some- “You crushed it out the park!” she said, happily (it thing that is defi nitely needed in that area. We hear  was baseball playoff season), feeling the piece and the that Trinity Church is negotiating for a supermarket photo captured her. But it’s starting to get cold now. to lease the ground-fl oor space in the Trinity-owned  We see her out there diligently knitting — admittedly, building at 100 Sixth Ave., at the corner of Watts St., we see plenty of other homeless people around there two blocks south of Spring St. Jason Pizer, president who aren’t knitting. Mayor Bill de Blasio recently of Trinity Real Estate, revealed the news a couple announced a program to create 15,000 new units for of weeks ago at the annual meeting of the Hudson the homeless over the next 15 years, but it won’t start Square Connection, the area’s business improvement till next year. Sure, Majett can keep knitting more and district. He wouldn’t give any further details but said more blankets, sweaters, hats, and scarves for herhe was optimistic a deal would be reached. The space self and Buttercup to make it through the winter, but was formerly occupied by NYC Elite Gymnastics for there’s got to be a better way.

November 26, 2015


Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009






State Senator Daniel Squadron, right, listening to a resident testify about buses at Squadron’s recent town hall.


L.E.S. residents driven crazy by the Catch-22 of the M21 bus




ransit-deprived Lower East Siders say timely service is so rare that they have given up on public transportation altogether. “We want to feel equal to the rest of Manhattan,” said Heung Tam, who has lived on Canal St. for 40 years, at a town hall forum organized by state Senator Daniel Squadron last week. “We are underserved,” Tam declared, to supportive cheers from dozens of fed-up fellow residents. Collectively, they gave the three Metropolitan Transportation Authority representatives in attendance an earful, rattling off a busload of complaints that ranged from frequent delays and missing Select Bus Service ticket machines to difficult access for seniors and buses double-parking on Grand St. “I think there are times when people give up on buses because they don’t come. My nickname for the M21 was ‘the phantom bus of Houston St.’ because I never saw that bus,” said Robin Schatell, who said she had lived on the street for 17 years. The evening’s main theme was transit access and connectivity on the East Side in general, an issue that was focused on at the town hall because it had emerged as a major concern at Squadron’s most recent community convention. “East-west service south of Houston — or south of St. Mark’s — is questionable,” the senator said at the town hall. “Because of the M21’s infrequency, no one feels like they can get across town.” The M.T.A. officials were on hand





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November 26, 2015


to offer solutions (the authority has already proposed expanding the notoriously bad M5 and M6 lines, for example) but, for the most part, still stuck with more general statements. “We are constantly working to improve bus service and we will continue to do so,” said Marcus Book, the agency’s assistant director of government and community relations. They also urged people to report bus drivers who refuse to take them to the end of their route, or double-park and idle in the street. “These are things that can be addressed,” Book said. Other officials were on hand to lend their support to the fuming locals. Councilmember Margaret Chin, who was sitting in the audience, said she was concerned, not least because she likes to use the bus herself. “We’re contributing more money to the M.T.A.’s budget, so we demand better service,” she said, referring to the city’s increased contribution to the state authority’s latest capital plan. Residents repeatedly cited the Catch-22 at the heart of their quarrels with the M.T.A.: While the transit officials claimed that increased ridership would translate into better and more frequent service, locals countered that the abysmal access to buses was exactly the reason they didn’t use them in the first place. “It’s predicated on ridership. The more people ride, the more buses [are available],” Book told the agitated audience. “In terms of bus frequency, my suggestion is ride more buses,” he said at another point in the discussion, eliciting confusion from the residents. “You’re getting a tremendous

amount of money and then you’re only measuring ridership once every two years and tell us certain buses don’t get ridership. It’s obsolete,” said Helen Zwyer, who lives in the Seward Park Coop on Grand St. Buckley Yung, the M.T.A.’s manager of bus planning, had earlier mentioned that the authority’s schedule department conducts comprehensive ride checks only once every one to two years. “We would like to have more, but our resources [are not enough],” he said. Overall bus ridership in the city has been declining for years, with 162,385 fewer daily bus riders last year compared to 2009, according to the M.T.A.’s own figures. This contrasts with a significant hike in subway use over the same period — but locals complain that the far East Side is not well connected in that category either. “It’s really very underserved. We only have the F train, that’s it,” said Chin. Squadron and Chin both acknowledged the gulf between riders and the M.T.A., but said the authority has to work harder to close the gap. “It’s a chicken-and-egg: What comes first?” said Chin. “They really have to improve the service.” Before wrapping up the meeting, Squadron emphasized that even though there hadn’t been many concrete answers, this was by no means the end of the conversation. “We follow up on a lot of these issues [with the M.T.A.], and we get written responses back on a lot of these things,” he told his constituents. “It can sometimes be as slow as the M21, but it does come.”


A volunteer doing horticultural work on the High Line this past summer.

Conservancies will pitch in to help smaller parks



he grass soon won’t be “greener on the other side” anymore — at least not in the city’s biggest parks compared to its smallest ones. Some of the largest parks conservancies in New York City extended a helping hand to smaller parks this month, with the announcement that they will donate $15 million worth of resources to historically underfunded green spaces throughout the five boroughs. “Every child deserves bright, green space right in their neighborhood — and this essential support from our city’s conservancies will help us make this a reality,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement announcing the plan. Over the next three years, eight of the largest conservancies — including Friends of the High Line and the Madison Square Park Conservancy — will donate some of their expertise, workers and funds to help out smaller parks in less-wealthy neighborhoods. Friends of the High Line will take its experience in horticulture and art installations to help out with renovation projects at a handful of community gardens in the South Bronx, while the team from Madison Square Park is fostering a “sister park” by sharing its know-how in stewardship and programming with the Herbert Von King Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “We were mentored long ago, and feel it is so important to share

our experiences with other parks,” said Keats Meyer, executive director of the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Shortly after being elected, the mayor endorsed the idea of getting the well-endowed conservancies to pony up some of their money. But some conservancies balked, and critics initially slammed the plan as “wealth redistribution,” saying it would alienate donors. The original plan, proposed by state Senator Daniel Squadron, would have forced the major conservancies to contribute 20 percent of their operating budgets to a new “neighborhood parks” alliance. Last year, the mayor changed tack and launched the Community Parks Initiative instead, another parks-equity plan that dispensed $285 million in capital funds to some of the city’s more run-down greenswards, without conservancy support. Under C.P.I., 67 parks will eventually be rebuilt entirely, and 60 of them have already received improvements, with another 25 slated for the coming year, according to the Mayor’s Office. Now that the big fish are on board, the mayor commended Squadron for sowing the seeds that sparked “a critical conversation around how to better maintain and improve smaller parks in less-wealthy neighborhoods.” “My proposal was always about linking the biggest conservancies to the entire system,” Squadron said in a statement. “The fact that they’re stepping up voluntarily is great news.” November 26, 2015


G.V. Fight Club: Norton & Co. want mayor in their corner REZONING continued from p. 1

tual rezoning of the University Place / Broadway corridor that is being pushed by G.V.S.H.P. The plan, covering a 12-block area, would cap future development at 10 to 12 stories (120 feet), plus provide incentives for new projects to have 20 percent affordable housing, under the city’s inclusionary housing program. Currently, this area — dotted with between a dozen and 20 likely future development sites — has no height caps at all. Were the rezoning applied to Macklowe’s Bowlmor-site project, it would be allowed to rise only 120 feet tall, and there would be strong incentives for it not to be 100 percent market rate, but for one-fifth of its units to be affordable. If the city adopts the society’s scheme before the Macklowe project is “vested” — meaning work has not yet begun on its foundation — the new zoning would also apply to it. It was, in fact, the Macklowe project that compelled G.V.S.H.P. to advocate for the area’s rezoning. The overall plan, furthermore, would potentially result in up to 200,000 square feet of affordable housing in the area, according to the preservation society. The G.V.S.H.P. rezoning is supported by the area’s politicians and Community Board 2. So far, however, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has only given the idea the cold shoulder. “We are facing a very distressing situation,” Berman said at the Nov. 14 press conference, “a plan to construct a 300-foot-tall building that is completely out of context, completely out of scale for this neighborhood. For more than a year, we have been stonewalled by the city. If the city moves now, we could have a smaller building, and likely with...affordable housing.” Currently, the nearly two dozen potential development sites in the 12-block area would almost surely become “luxury market-rate highrise condos, hotels or dorms, which is what the existing zoning allows,” Berman added. “It is confounding that the mayor is not listening to this,” he said. Councilmember Rosie Mendez said of the G.V.S.H.P. proposal, “Our community is not 100 percent but 150 percent behind this plan.” Referring to the former Bowlmor building, she said, “110 University Place is, I believe, the first domino that will threaten the architectural integrity and contextuality of our neighborhood.” A few blocks away, she noted, at the luxury development project at


November 26, 2015


G.V.S.H.P. Director Andrew Berman, above, said projects like the 300-foottall Macklowe tower are not appropriate for the University Place / Bowery corridor. Next to him was a map showing the area’s potential “soft sites,” as well as side-by-side renderings showing the proposed project and how it would look under the G.V.S.H.P. rezoning.

the former Blatt Billiards salesroom and factory, the asking price for the new condos is more than $2,500 per square foot.

block away from the site. “Instead of Bowlmor, we need to build less,” he emphasized, the pun eliciting an eruption of applause. “Instead of Bowlmor, this tower is going to loom over this amazing corridor that we all walk every day — I walk with our kid — that we walk with our dogs.” After praising G.V.S.H.P. Director Berman’s work, Norton said, “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 20 years. Cities change, change is inevitable, it’s not always a bad thing. But what makes New York great is its diversity. It’s not just the people — it’s the diversity in its neighborhoods. “Greenwich Village is wonderful for reasons that are very particular to it. If you want to live in a condominium, there are places for that. And there are places to do that without compromising the city’s incredible DNA.” Referring to de Blasio, the actor continued, “It’s hypocritical to position yourself as a populist leader, but perpetually allow development that does not allow affordable hous-

‘You can’t throw up 1-percenter towers all over and say that you’re for everybody.’ Edward Norton

“We have enough luxury condos in this city!” she declared, as the crowd applauded. “Many of them sitting empty,” she added. “Use these sites to provide for the community’s enrichment and not the enrichment of the developer.” State Senator Brad Hoylman stressed, “The city should be listening to our community. This is a community-driven rezoning. “I still can’t get over that Bowlmor is gone,” he said, noting he lives a

ing. You can’t throw up 1-percenter towers all over the city and say that you’re for everybody.” Norton said there is a “very, very narrow window of time” to persuade the city to adopt the G.V.S.H.P. rezoning and rein in Macklowe’s monster, and he urged people to put on the pressure. However, Berman and Hoylman later told The Villager that they don’t think “Billy’s behemoth” can be stopped at this point. “No, the die is cast for this building,” Hoylman conceded. Tobi Bergman, chairperson of Community Board 2, said, “The one thing this area doesn’t need is more shade.” He added that the city’s response — or lack thereof — to the rezoning proposal has been “astounding and confounding.” “We’re a neighborhood that has to restore our diversity,” he emphasized. “We’ve lost more and more, and this has become a neighborhood for rich people — a high-value neighborhood which is losing diversity. We have to save not just the scale of the neighborhood, but its diversity.” Bergman said he wants City Hall to work with the Village as “a team.” “We have a fight going on at Elizabeth St. Garden,” he noted. “It is a beautiful community garden. We need affordable housing. We don’t need it there. The city says they have no place to put affordable housing. Embrace this zoning. “There are many sites where people would be willing to accept affordable housing if they understand it’s part of teamwork for the community,” Bergman said. “It’s a very small ask with a very big benefit.” Summing things up, preservationist Berman said, “What the city is saying is, ‘This is O.K. for this neighborhood.’ We’re saying, ‘It’s not O.K. for this neighborhood.’ ” In January, Berman wrote Carl Weisbrod, the director of the Department of City Planning, advocating for the plan. In July, five local politicians did the same in a joint letter. In August, Weisbrod responded to the pols, countering that, in fact, in the proposed area, “only one site is considered ‘soft’ under standard criteria.” “While we appreciate your and the community board’s desire to incentivize affordable housing development, [that] would require a much more aggressive increase in permitted densities,” the planning czar wrote. “Such an approach would still not result in a significant number of likely development sites.” Berman blasted Weisbrod’s response as “inaccurate.”



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November 26, 2015


Jury drama as Silver trial enters homestretch SILVER continued from p. 1

fense were on Mon., Nov. 23. The case hinges on the issue of explicit quid pro quo: doing something to get something in return. The prosecution said Silver was using his office — specifically, as one of the three most powerful men in the state as Assembly speaker — to make money. The Lower East Side Democrat has represented the 65th Assembly District for 39 years and was assembly speaker for 20 years. “Sheldon Silver is anything but honest,” said Andrew Goldstein, assistant U.S. attorney, during his closing remarks. He said Silver has been “cheating, lying [and] getting away with it” for years, abusing his position for more than a decade. The government divided its case into two schemes: asbestos and real estate. In the asbestos scheme, Dr. Robert Taub of Columbia University referred his mesothelioma patients to the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, which then doled out referrals fees to Silver to the tune of more than $3 million. Silver allegedly then gave his support to two state Department of Health grants totaling $500,000 for Taub’s research. The prosecution also stated that Silver used his office to help get Taub’s son a job, Taub’s daughter an internship and gave an official Assembly proclamation to Taub. The defense countered that the state was doing a good thing by supporting Taub’s research and that the doctor stated in court there was no explicit quid pro quo. Steven Molo, one of Silver’s defense attorneys who presented the closing summation, showed the jury the original nonprosecution agreement with Taub. In it, the words “in exchange for” and “at Silver’s request” were crossed out before Taub would sign it. “It took two to tango and there was no dance of corruption with Dr. Taub,” Molo stated. Molo also used what the prosecution termed the “friendship defense”: Taub and Silver were friends and that is why he helped the doctor out. “That defense is absurd,” Goldstein said. Goldstein said the two men barely knew each other and when Taub threw a 400-person wedding for his daughter, Silver was not on the guest list. In the real estate scheme, prosecutors said Silver requested that major developers Glenwood Management and the Witkoff Group move their business to a small firm, Goldberg & Iryami, for property tax work. Glenwood hired the firm in 1997 while the Witkoff Group did so in 2005, according to prosecutors. Goldberg was then cutting checks to Silver for referrals, totaling $700,000. The developers wanted a tax break, called 421a, to be renewed, and each time that happened, new buildings were sent to Goldberg & Iryami, said Goldstein. The tax abatement was extended in 2003, 2007 and 2011. In 2003, there were two properties with Goldberg. That jumped to six in 2007, 16 in 2008 and 22 properties in 2012, according to the prosecution. “Glenwood is rewarding Sheldon Silver every time they get what they want,” Goldstein said.


November 26, 2015


On Monday, Andrew Goldstein, assistant U.S. attorney, right, gave his closing remarks, as Sheldon Silver sat listening, at left.

On Monday, one of Sheldon Silver’s attorneys, Steven Molo, standing at right, gave the defense’s closing argument, as Silver listened, at far left.

“This was a scam orchestrated by the speaker of the Assembly.” Molo said the real estate scheme “makes absolutely no sense” and was the “strangest quid pro quo ever.” Molo insisted Silver was pro-tenant. “Mr. Silver was not in Glenwood’s pocket,” he said. “The real estate case is zero. It is nothing.” Both the developers and Taub did what they did to garner “goodwill” with the then-Assembly speaker, according to Molo. “Remember the environment we’re talking about,” he told the jury, meaning the political goings-on of Albany.

Molo said that because New York State has a citizen Legislature that is only in session for six months a year, its members are allowed to do outside work and there will be “some form of conflict.” Nevertheless, no crime had been committed, according to Molo. “Did Mr. Silver sell his office? No,” said Molo, who repeatedly said the prosecution had “a theory looking for a case.” Goldstein said the defense’s “politics as usual” defense was “outrageous.” “He did these things for money,” he said of Silver. “Let’s dispense with the nonsense.”

Opposing pictures painted of new arts charter BY AMY RUSSO


ensions ran high during a presentation at a Community Board 3 meeting on Nov. 10 by the New York City Charter School of the Arts, a.k.a. City School of the Arts, which is scheduled to open in fall 2016. Founding Principal Jamie Davidson and Trustee Jim Chu spoke to a table full of locals about their intentions for the school, which is authorized to open in either Community School District 1 or 2. Davidson, who has a background in language and literacy and received her master’s in education from Harvard, worked with teachers at Bronx Prep after graduating, and was challenged to improve that school’s academic results. While at Bronx Prep, she met Geoffrey Kiorpes and Kate Quarfordt, who would eventually become co-founders of City School of the Arts. Kiorpes was working at Bronx Prep as a piano teacher while Quarfordt was a theater instructor. Together, they developed the idea for an arts-focused charter school. City School of the Arts will be a middle school, serving grades 6 through 8. It will start with 102 sixth graders, growing by one grade per

year for the next two years, reaching posed lease location are facing a pro306 students total. posed consolidation next year due to Davidson and Chu want to en- under-enrollment…” gage with District 1 and 2 residents However, when asked about the to ensure that the school’s opening school’s planned location, it was is transparent. They stated that, con- stated that this information could trary to the belief that the opposition not yet be disclosed, though it was has been widespread, the school has hoped the school could operate in a lot of support. a privately owned space. One atA 42-page informational packet as- tendee at the meeting, Luke Henry, sembled by the District 1 Communi- a C.E.C. 1 member and former canty Education Council, with data and didate for state Assembly, claimed arguments against the new charter’s that for the past two years no locaopening, was distributed to meeting tion has been given. attendees. According to C.E.C. 1, the “We’re still investigating what the charter “claimed support from almost options are,” Chu later admitted. all of the partners listed in the many “We’ve had a letter of commitment applications,” yet these partners have that was withdrawn from us. We cur“either been totally unauthorized or rently do not have a space or location.” are in fact interested parties who plan Local resident Naomi Peña, who to benefit financially from the char- also was at the meeting, offered a ter’s funding stream… .” unique perspective. As a parent of City School of the Arts, which children enrolled in both a charter received its charter from the State school and a public school, she could University of New York, will receive speak to the differences between 80 percent funding per pupil from both educational systems. the state Department of Education, Peña’s two major concerns were a figure that has some locals con- that the students and faculty accucerned that too many dollars will be rately reflect the neighborhood, and stripped from needy public schools. that there be adequate resources and C.E.C. 1 further claims, “There is fair treatment for special-education no need [for the new charter] accord- pupils. She argued that teachers ing to enrollment data in D1, where may experience a disconnect with T:8.75” 3 middle schools very near the pro- students if they are from areas with

markedly different socioeconomic conditions, citing a Long Island vice principal who was not equipped to connect with students who live in public housing. Peña worried that the charter might not effectively provide for the 15 percent of its student body it expects to have disabilities. “You need to create an environment that allows these children to succeed, not just general ed,” Peña said. Davidson explained that the 15 percent figure mentioned in the school’s plans is a conservative figure. With regard to English Language Learners, she stated, “We want to meet or exceed the E.L.L. target in the district. We have staffed an E.S.L. teacher that is distinct from the special-ed teacher.” “I think there were many questions that people have and there are some people who feel that they have not been answered,” said Carolyn Ratcliffe, chairperson of the C.B. 3 Arts and Cultural Affairs Subcommittee, at the meeting’s end. Ratcliffe recommended that the school also present to the board’s Youth and Human Services Committee, where more parents could weigh in on the matter.

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New York City November 26, 2015


Burial vaults’ discovery once more unearths BY ALBERT AMATEAU


he two burial vaults with coffins and scattered skeletons that construction crews discovered under the street on the east side of Washington Square Park on Nov. 3 and 4, reminded Villagers that much of the park served as a paupers’ cemetery during the first two decades of the 1800s. “To this day the remains of more than 20,000 bodies rest under Washington Square,” said Emily Kies Folpe in her book “It Happened on Washington Square,” published in 2002. “From time to time, bones have resurfaced,” said Folpe in the potter’s field chapter of her fascinating history of Washington Square Park and its environs. An 1848 guidebook noted that bones from the field had been “collected in vast trenches on either side of the square and planted over with trees.” And in 1890 workmen digging the foundation for the marble Washington Arch came upon headstones dated to 1803 with German inscriptions. The headstones were thought to be from a private German graveyard at the north side of the field. Indeed, the burial vault that was uncovered Nov. 3 on Washington Square East near Waverly Place was actually a rediscovery. Folpe noted that in the summer of 1965 Con Edison workers broke through that burial chamber while digging a 12-foot shaft for an electrical transformer. Twenty-five skeletons were jumbled in a corner of the 15-footby-20-foot chamber, which was 14 feet tall, the arched roof of which was 5 feet beneath the surface of the street, Folpe wrote. Con Edison closed the shaft and filled the hole, and the incident was apparently forgotten for 50 years. Some of the land on the east side of the burial ground, which opened in 1800, had been a fenced-in cemetery of the “Scotch Presbyterian Church” located in Lower Manhattan. The city Common Council compensated the church for taking over their cemetery, but the church elders said it was not enough. The Council reassured the church in a document saying, “It is not the intention to disturb the ground that is within the graveyard nor will there be any absolute necessity for such a measure.” Nevertheless, the church dug up the remains and transferred some of them to the new potter’s field. The need for a potter’s field at what is now Washington Square became pressing around 1797 when a wave of deaths from a yellow-fever outbreak overwhelmed the old


November 26, 2015

An illustration of the Presbyterian church on University Place in 1846.

potter’s field at what is now Madison Square Park. In a complex real estate transaction, the Common Council bought the land bounded on the west by Minetta Brook and on the east by Margaret St. (which became Washington Square East) for 1,800 pounds sterling. It wasn’t an easy deal. Wealthy New Yorkers, including Alexander Hamilton, had built summer homes north of the swampland around Minetta Brook. They fired off a letter to the Common Council protesting a potter’s field “in the neighborhood of citizens who had at great expense erected dwellings on the adjacent land for the health and accommodation of their families during the summer months.” The letter also noted the rapid growth of the city and predicted that the field would “in the course of a few years be drawn within a

precinct of the city.” The Common Council found a possible alternate site, but a vote on the matter was tied, leaving Mayor Samuel Varick to cast the deciding vote in favor of the original location. By 1798 about 2,000 New Yorkers had died of yellow fever, about 660 of whom were buried in the new potter’s field. About 150 years earlier, the Dutch West India Company’s New Amsterdam settlement had been threatened when relations with the Lenape, the local Native Americans, turned violent. Farmers in what is now Greenwich Village (Noortwyck, to the Dutch) fled behind the Wall St. palisade. Willem Kieft, the director of the colony, solved the problem by freeing some African slaves and granting them the abandoned farms, to serve as a buffer between the na-

tives and the settlers. It wasn’t such a good deal for the freed slaves. They had to pay 22 bushels of any two crops that they grew and a fat hog every year to keep their freedom. And worse, their children — even those born in the future — remained slaves of the company. The first farm grant went to Catelina Anthony in July 1643 for eight acres around what is now Canal St. and Broadway. North of there, Manuel Trompeter received 18 acres in December of that year. On Sept. 5, 1645, a grant went to Anthony Portuguese for a piece of land in the marsh around Minetta Brook, marked as Bestavers Rivulet on early maps. The name Portuguese indicates that Anthony came from the Portuguese colony of Angola in West Africa. Freed slaves were farming about 300 acres in Manhattan by the end of the 1600s. But by the mid-1700s they had lost their lands to British and Dutch neighbors. Between the opening of the potter’s field in 1798 and the last burial in April 1825, it was the place for other lugubrious events. It was where people convicted of crimes and sentenced to death were hanged from temporary scaffolds. The superintendent (and gravedigger) of the potter’s field served also as the hangman. Contrary to reports in the 19th century and contrary to belief popular even today, no one was ever hanged from the huge 300-year-old elm tree that still stands near the northwest corner of Washington Square Park. The last person hanged in the square was Rose Butler, a young black woman convicted of setting fire to the house where she worked. The hanging, on July 8, 1819, was delayed several days in the hopes that she might reveal any accomplices to the arson. But she never confessed to setting the fire, which might well have been an accident. The square was also a “field of honor” where bellicose gentlemen fought duels to settle disputes and redress insults. In 1803, William Coleman, editor of Hamilton’s New York Evening Post and a staunch Federalist, was killed in a duel with Captain Thompson, the harbormaster of the Port of New York and a partisan of Aaron Burr’s Democratic-Republican Party. The duel over an insult arose out of their political rivalry. Two months later, Burr killed Hamilton in a duel in Weehawken, N.J. Another wave of yellow fever swept over the city in 1822 adding POTTER’S FIELD continued on p. 11

Washington Square’s past as potter’s field POTTER’S FIELD continued from p. 10

more bodies to the square. By 1823 the burgeoning city ordered that surplus earth from development on the north side of the square be moved to  fi  ll  in  the  burial  ground,  which had sunk below the level of adjacent streets. That project marked  the  fi  lling  in  of  Minetta  Brook and its subsequent underground course. By 1824, the burial ground was nearly full and no more interments were allowed after May 1, 1825. By then, the growing city had overtaken the neighborhood and a new  potter’s  fi eld  was  established  between Fifth and Sixth Aves. at 40th and 42nd Sts., the present location of Bryant Park. Meanwhile, the former burial ground was converted amid great pomp and ceremony to a military parade ground. The Common Council approved the change in February 1826, giving local militia a place to drill and show off their uniforms and equipment. The new Washington Military Parade Ground was formally opened on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of


Workers at the trench on Washington Square East earlier this month, a few days after the two old burial vaults were found.

Jacob a. Riis revealing new york’s other half

Independence. In a conversation with The Villager last week, Folpe, who lives a block north of the park, recalled the genesis of “It Happened on Washington Square,” which covers the history of the 9.75-acre park from the very beginning to 2000. An art historian who teaches at New York  University  and  has  lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Folpe became active in neighborhood and park issues in the late 1990s, when she joined the Washington Square Association and spoke with Village advocates, among them the late Tony Dapolito and other members of Community Board 2. The book took more than a year to complete and then more than another year getting ready for publication, entailing a search for maps and photos and the rights to include them in the book. Would she undertake the same kind of effort for a different subject? Folpe told The Villager, “It was very exciting, but for days on end I didn’t see or speak to anybody — sometimes in the dark reading microfi ches in the city archives. I really like people, but I guess if another subject grabbed me, I would do it.”

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November 26, 2015

Chelsea ‘dark dentist’ busted on meth, child porn charges BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


r. John Wolf, a Chelsea dentist, was arrested last Friday at his Charles St. apartment in the West Village on charges that he provided dental work in exchange for methamphetamines, as well as possessing and distributing child pornography. Wolf’s dental practice is located at 212 W. 15th St. His attorney admitted this week that Wolf, 59, had a drug problem, but that the case against him was largely based on “tapes and... the uncorroborated statements of a government cooperator,” The New York Times reported. In March, a drug dealer who was arrested at J.F.K. Airport was found to be packing nearly 2 kilograms of meth, according to a federal complaint against Wolf. The dealer reportedly told authorities that he had provided drugs to the dentist in return for work on his teeth. The dentist was one of 10 clients in New York that the dealer provided with drugs, the federal complaint states. In turn, Wolf “further distributed” the drugs to other local users. The dealer also said he witnessed Wolf and his employees using meth during his visits. Cooperating with law enforcement, the dealer subsequently reportedly recorded Wolf talking about child porn. He said that Wolf showed him images on his cell phone, “including infants and toddlers being penetrated men.” In addition, the complaint states that, earlier this month, an undercover F.B.I. agent was introduced to Wolf by the dealer as his “roommate” and someone who was also interested in child porn. On Nov. 16, the undercover visited Wolf at his Chelsea office and secretly recorded their conversation. They discussed child porn Web sites, and at one point Wolf said he preferred “more perverted” sites. The dentist then reportedly plugged a flash drive into his computer and ran a cord from it to a large screen, on which he showed the agent 35 minutes of child porn. Many of the images were reportedly of young girls, ages 5 to 13, engaging in sex acts with other children and adults. One video, according to the complaint, showed a man having vaginal intercourse with a girl who is only around age 2 to 4. Wolf was said

to have been particularly “excited” about a video featuring an 8-year-old “retarded” girl engaged in sex. “At various times Wolf audibly moaned and made comments such as ‘oh my God’ and ‘that’s some twisted [s---],’” the complaint states. During the visit, the dentist reportedly told the G-man there had been sex parties in the building’s basement. Federal agents searched Wolf’s home and office last Friday and found meth and a flash drive with 246 files, mostly child porn, the Times reported. Wolf is charged with conspiracy to

An informant said he witnessed Dr. Wolf and staff using meth in the office.

possess methamphetamine with the intention to distribute it, and with possession and distribution of child pornography. Some of Wolf’s other claims that were allegedly secretly recorded by the informant — such as that the dentist, who is H.I.V. positive, had “at times” purposefully tried to pass the virus on to sex partners by poking holes in condoms, and had attended underground beastiality parties in the city, including in Brooklyn, where there was sex with animals — were “just in [the complaint] to prejudice,” his attorney, Marc Agnifilio, stated, according to the Times. “It’s not part of the charges, so it shouldn’t be in the complaint,” he said, adding that Wolf was likely whacked out on meth when he said those things. His attorney stated, “He seems to be a very good dentist with a drug problem.” According to the Times, Wolf admitted to possessing child porn, denied having sex with minors and “indicated he was unwilling to discuss his drug use or distribution.” Wolf has a history of AIDS activism, and won a lawsuit to allow him to treat patients who were H.I.V. positive over his landlord’s objections, the Times reported. He formerly sang with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District argued that Wolf is a danger to the community, and Wolf was being held without bail.

Terrorists are down and out in Bowery subway drill


n a drill reportedly planned for more than a year, but which came on the heels of the recent Paris terrorist attacks, police — packing blue plastic fake machine guns — swarmed into the J/Z Bowery subway station last Sunday in a simulated response to a terrorist incident. The phony terrorists, including one with a mock suicide vest, were all “killed.” But 30 actors playing civilians also “died,” while six others survived, though with “serious injuries,” the Daily News reported. Firefighters and other first responders also participated in the two exercises in the station, at Bowery and Kenmare St., which was closed for the drill. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, were on hand for the action. “We did very well, I think, this morning,” Bratton said afterward. “There were casualties, but the idea is to get in and minimize to the greatest degree possible the casualties.” “This was an impressive display of the capacity of this city to respond to an incident,” de Blasio said. “This is why this city is so fundamentally prepared for any situation.” The News reported that Johnson said Homeland Security doesn’t know of any “specific credible threat of a Paris-like attack against the U.S. homeland.” However, he added, “We are and we continue to be and we have been concerned about copycat-like attacks.” Johnson encouraged people to go about without their normal lives and travel as the holiday season approaches. “Terrorism cannot prevail,” he said, “if the people rePHOTO COURTESY OF N.Y.P.D. fuse to be terrorized.” A firefighter dragged an actor playing an injured person out of the station during the simulation.


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’60s draft-card burners recall inflammatory time ANTI-WAR continued from p. 1

from a fire extinguisher, an event captured in a short documentary film shown to a group of about 50 apparent lefties gathered in the decidedly funky Maryhouse auditorium at 55 E. Third St. The footage also showed a swarm of police, some reportedly perched  on rooftops, concerned about the prospect of sniper attacks on the card burners. The cops formed a corridor and escorted them to safety to a Lower Manhattan office, recalled Tom Cornell, an associate editor at the Catholic Worker newspaper and a Catholic deacon who was one of the trio of aging draft-card burners and speakers on stage. Cornell, born in 1934, said the card burning was also designed to show defiance to a bill signed two months earlier by President Lyndon Baines Johnson that made damaging or mutilating a draft card a federal offense. “There was no legislative purpose to that law,” he said. “It was meant to stifle dissent. It was meant to intimidate.” He noted that Dorothy Day,  co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement who is now a candidate for sainthood in the Roman Catholic PHOTO BY NEIL HAWORTH, COURTESY OF WAR RESISTERS LEAGUE Church, spoke “for the first time out- Draft-card burners in 1965 at the Union Square Pavilion, from left, Tom Cornell, Marc Edelman, Roy Lisker, doors” at the Union Square rally. Cor- David McReynolds and Jim Wilson. Dutch-born clergyman and activist A.J. Muste is at right in hat and topcoat. nell also claimed  that Dutch-born pacifist clergyman A.J. Muste, who was in the East Village, described his decithere, called it “the most successful sion to burn his draft card as “an act of penance” for supporting President demonstration since World War II.” But while the card-burning theat- Johnson the year before. “I thought he would stop the slide rics were successful as agitprop, garnering front-page coverage in The to war,” he recalled. “I felt so betrayed New York Times on a Sunday (Cor- by the horror of Vietnam.” All of the five draft-card burners nell said two young Timesmen gave  explicit instructions on how to get were eventually arrested and most maximum impact) and publicity served short prison sentences, except from other papers across the country, for McReynolds, who by then was too old to be inducted. Jim Wilson, it stirred tragic consequences. Three days later, a young Catho- now about 70 and active back then in lic Worker volunteer named Roger the Catholic Movement “by way of Allen  LaPorte went up the United Selma,” received the harshest penalNations, “sat in front of the Secretar- ty — two years of hard time behind iat building at 5 o’clock in the morn- bars from a three-year sentence for ing,  set himself on fire and died” at failing to report for induction. He PHOTO BY MARY REINHOLZ Bellevue Hospital at 22, said famed was 20 or 21. Speaking at Maryhouse last week, ’65 draft-card burners, from left, Jim “I was the youngest of the Wilson, Tom Cornell and Dave McReynolds. pacifist and socialist David McReynolds, 86, the retired longtime na- group,”  Wilson said,  noting he first tional secretary of the War Resisters got off easy with a two-year suspend- a U.S. district judge and a govern- Kunstler, who represented him at the League, who had also burned his ed sentence and two years probation ment prosecutor who sought to im- next court hearing. The judge rejected draft card that long-ago Saturday in for draft card burning. But while on pose five years for every day that he the government’s arguments for extra probation, his draft board ordered had allegedly violated his probation time and sent Williams back to prison Union Square. where he finished his term. “It’s impossible for me not to accept him to report for induction — “which by not reporting for induction. “There was a community in prison “The judge looked at me and said: some sense of responsibility for Rog- I refused. I was arrested in December er La Porte,” said McReynolds, add- of 1966. The judge sentenced me to ‘Mr. Wilson, how do you plead?’ I and community outside of prison,” ing, “I think he was trying to absorb three years and I went two years,” he said, ‘Guilty, your honor.’ The judge he recalled. “A lot of people came said, ‘I don’t think you understand — hundreds of thousands that were the violence.” His protest was one of said. refusing induction. The jails weren’t At one point during his time be- the seriousness of this.’ ” several self-immolations protesting That’s when Wilson called re- big enough. It was an important thing hind bars, Wilson was taken by pristhe war in Vietnam. McReynolds, an atheist who lives on guards to Foley Square and faced nowned civil liberties lawyer William to do.”


November 26, 2015

Officials and residents hail a safer Sheridan Square BY VILLAGER STAFF


n Nov. 16, Margaret Forgione, commissioner of the city’s Department of Transportation, and local officials announced welcome pedestrian-safety improvements at the intersection of Seventh Ave. South and W. Fourth St. at Sheridan Square. The intersection, where Christopher and Grove St. also meet, is in the top 1 percent of Manhattan intersections for people killed or severely injured from 2009 to 2013, and is located in a Vision Zero Priority Area, according to D.O.T. Joining Forgione at the announcement were state Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Community Board 2 Chairperson Tobi Bergman and Brooke Schooley, president of the 7th Ave. South Alliance. The safety improvements include sidewalk extensions with flexible delineators, a left-turn-only lane and flashing amber arrow on Seventh Ave. South, approaching W. Fourth St.; a new crosswalk across the north side of Seventh Ave. South and Christopher St.; a new concrete expanded pedestrian island at the Christopher St. subway station; and a new leading pedestrian interval signal at the eastern W. Fourth St. crosswalk. The improvements clarify vehicular movements, calm traffic and slow turning vehicles. Additionally, pedestrians have more space and safer and shorter routes as they go to and from the subway entrance. “Navigating the intersection at Seventh Ave. South and W. Fourth St., between the crush of commuters from the Christopher St. subway station, unclear street signs, and the constant flow of vehicles, has long been a dangerous proposition for pedestrians,” Hoylman said. “With the Department of Transportation’s newly implemented safety improvements, however, what was formerly one of the most dangerous intersections in all of Manhattan has been transformed into a safe haven for


A new concrete expanded pedestrian island at the Christopher St. subway station is among the intersection’s improvements.

pedestrians, bikers, commuters and drivers alike.” “These streets are truly the crossroads of the West Village,” Glick said. “The endless flow of neighbors and visitors surrounded by increased vehicular traffic cried out for safety improvements.” Added C.B. 2 Chairperson Bergman, “Places like this, where major avenues intersect the small, crooked streets of Greenwich Village, present difficult safety challenges. These crosswalks are often swarming with people, especially at night when vision is limited and people in an entertainment district may be less attentive. Turning vehicles are especially problematic… . We expect this particular location to soon become an important focus of a national monument for the L.G.B.T. movement. We hope D.O.T. will soon consider permanent changes to curbs and crosswalks that will go even farther toward protecting the thousands of pedestrians who cross these busy streets every day.” Schooley said the 7th Ave. South

Alliance is glad for the improvements. “We are delighted that D.O.T. is taking action to help ameliorate the inherently dangerous pedestrian crossings on this wide, heavily trafficked avenue with its nonperpendicular intersections,” she said, “and we are thrilled to be able to partner

with them to maintain these newly installed pedestrian areas.” C.B. 2 voted to support the project, and implementation began in June and was completed this fall. The 7th Ave. South Alliance will be the maintenance partner for the project to keep up the planters and do litter removal.

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Announcing the improvements, from left, Tobi Bergman, D.O.T.’s Margaret Forgione, Brad Hoylman, Deborah Glick and Brooke Schooley.

November 26, 2015


Autumn sonata Colin Huggins, “That Crazy Piano Guy,” in Washington Square on Saturday afternoon.


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR L.E.S. Di$maland To The Editor: Re “L.E.S. psychic tsunami” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Nov. 19): My image and the name and slogan of my LES FUN Gallery are also utilized in the mural at the new Mr. Purple restaurant without my permission or knowledge. “FUN for Everyone?” I think not. Fun for anyone who can spend $15 on a cocktail.

I am outraged at this blatant commercialization of Adam Purple, who I saw all the time and who was a tremendous inspiration to me. This outrage may even “Trump” the $64 “Basquiat Burger,” at the new PYT on the Bowery, against which I also spoke out and led a campaign against on Yelp until they censored all of our comments. Vague promises of “but you are getting recognition and they can sell your book” don’t cut it. No way in hell would I put my book in there until that


bar gives back to the community. Patti Astor Astor is owner, FUN Gallery

We are not the threat To The Editor: Re “French vigil in Wash. Sq., again, after night of horror” (news article, Nov. 19): I’m not sure what Mayor de Blasio meant by saying, “Stay true to your values.” I hope it is not meant as a warning to protect against dictatorial impulses. As we were on 9/11, the French are the victims here. The threat to their values — and their lives — comes from the terrorists. Resolution has to mean more than sticking to your lifestyle. Here it must mean destroying the ideology that feeds these attacks. That is how we best honor the victims. And why close the article with meaningless gibberish from, literally, a clown — Reverend Billy? Michael Burke

Berman: I was misquoted To The Editor: Re “Architect and developer try to build the case

Security fears are in the air this holiday season. 16

November 26, 2015

LETTERS continued on p. 27


Marcia Resnick, left, and Amanda Rubin, a former photography student of hers, at the launch of Resnick’s new photography book.

Punk cool rules at Resnick photo book launch


BY BOB KRASNER riends, family and fans filled the East Village’s Howl! Happening Gallery for the launch of “Punks, Poets and Provocateurs: New York City Bad Boys, 1977-1982,” by photographer Marcia Resnick and writer Victor Bockris. Downtown denizens and colleagues praised the work, a collection of photos and text that captures the energy of a truly special place and time. Noted lensman Bob Gruen, whose own work intersects with Resnick’s, said, “The book is amazing. It’s a long time in coming and I’m thrilled that I can see all these great photos collected together.” Author Bockris noted in his remarks that Resnick’s work is “not only art, but also anthropology” and that the book “is a celebration of the counterculture.” Resnick  took a moment to reflect on what it meant to her to see the volume in print. “I’m really glad that the book is finally out,” she said. “It was a really important five years of my life and of Downtown New York City.”

From left, Snooky, the photographer Godlis and Tish.


West Villagers photographer Bob Gruen, left, and activist Jim Fouratt. November 26, 2015


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November 26, 2015

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When day and night move as one Stephen Wilkes puts a face on time BY NORMAN BORDEN Imagine if you could actually see the passage of time — the transition from dawn to dark — in one photograph. Fine art photographer Stephen Wilkes has accomplished just that in his remarkable series of 18 large format images called “Day to Night.” For the past six years, Wilkes has been making panoramic photographs of iconic cityscapes, landscapes and historical events such as Times Square, Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration, respectively. Normally perched 50 feet above the street in a cherry picker [crane], he takes up to 1,500 pictures from one camera angle over 12 to 15 consecutive hours. Then, back in his studio, he digitally blends about 50 of those pictures into a single image. The result: half of the picture shows the scene in broad daylight while the other half shows it at night, with glimpses of life’s little moments throughout. For example, in the print of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it seems as if the Fireman, Spider-Man and SpongeBob balloons are on an improbable collision course in Columbus Circle. They’re heading toward oncoming cars and taxis that have their headlights on — because for them, it’s night. The other details, with Central Park and the skyline divided by day and night, are mesmerizing. Wilkes says, “I discovered that being 50 feet above the street is the point where you begin to see the energy of New York…it’s almost like when you scuba dive and put your hand into a school of fish. They react as if they’re a single unit rather than as individuals — it’s emergent behavior. I see the same thing when I get above New York and other cities…there’s an ebb and flow of activity, a form of emergence. It’s an exciting thing to study and see how it translates all over the world.” The Times Square picture was one of the most challenging for Wilkes. He explains, “Whenever I do these pictures, I have to think about the transitions as time changes. Do I have all the visual material? For every moment with people, I need a moment without them. So when I’m shooting a place


For “Times Square, New York, 2010,” Wilkes spent over a half-day in July of 2010 perched 50 feet above, staying put during a bomb scare to capture our city’s “emergent behavior.”

as busy as Times Square, I need to pay attention to what’s going on. But what happened on that July day was crazy. There’d been a bomb scare, so the police suddenly stopped traffic and cleared the streets within three minutes. I kept photographing because in closing the streets, the cops had given me the place where I had nobody in the scene, and that allowed me to create a checkerboard scene of time. Wherever you see shadow, it’s night, and where there’s light, it’s day. If not for that bomb

scare, the picture I would have gotten probably wouldn’t have been as exciting.” During the first five years that Wilkes spent photographing “Day to Night,” he concentrated mainly on taking pictures of well-known cityscapes. Lately, he’s gone back to nature to capture the magnificent beauty of landscapes. He’s done just that DAY TO NIGHT, continued on p. 20

November 26, 2015


‘Day to Night’ mesmerizes with extremes and in-betweens


“Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, 2015” is the result of 26 hours spent on an 18-foot high platform (minus two hours for lunch).

DAY TO NIGHT, continued from p. 19

with his stunning image of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. After a three-week vacation in Africa, Wilkes went to the Serengeti to photograph the largest migration of mammals in the world. Witnessing something like that, he says, was a life-changing experience. The photographer explains, “When my wife and I got there, we realized there was a five-week drought going on. It was interesting to see how it was affecting the animals…I found one watering hole along the river and after studying it for several days, got permission to go off-road and photograph it. I went in there at about 2 a.m. Using a flatbed truck, we built an 18-foot

high platform attached to a crocodile blind that had a 20x24” window. I was in that space for 26 hours with my assistant, and took two hours for lunch. What we saw in those 26 hours was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.” Adding to the experience, Wilkes says that this was the first picture in the series that actually bridged many of the social issues most important to him: rising seas and climate change. And with water so scarce, it was amazing to spend 26 hours watching how these competitive species shared the water without so much as a grunt between them. He observes, “They’ll fight over a dead animal in the grass — but when it came to water, everybody had to share. The animals have it figured out.” The drought actually worked in




November 26, 2015

Wilkes’s favor, since it forced the animals to drink in a specific area. “I was able to capture this very powerful narrative of animals during the day and night,” he says. “I think the fact that I was in a crocodile blind and had immersed myself there for a long time let the animals accept the fact that I was a fixture.” When asked why he spent 26 hours instead of the usual 15-hour

shift: “I stayed there because of the moonlight…that can be a one hour exposure in itself. We photographed the stars, but the main thing is to get the detail from the moonlight, and sometimes you have to wait till the moon gets to a certain height in the sky to get the beautiful light and details.” And there are amazing details, from the stars to the baby elephant and zebra, to the papa (or mama) elephant in the foreground, wildebeests in the background, and more. It’s quite a story. At this point in the series, Wilkes is excited that he is merging history into his work with the image of Obama’s inauguration and Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Now the pictures are also speaking to conservation and nature. “They do it in a way that is enlightening and that is very gratifying,” he says. Wilkes hopes to go to Brazil and Russia, and is scheduled to photograph the Brooklyn Bridge next spring. “One of the things I love about this project is that it’s essentially everything I love about the medium of photography and the things I’ve been drawn to since I was a kid. It’s exciting to be able to put a face on time.” “Day to Night” is on view through Jan. 9, 2016 at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery (505 W. 24th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 212-243-8830 or visit Artist info at


“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, 2013” finds Spider-Man, SpongeBob and others on an illusory collision course with nighttime taxis.

Herbal delights

Fifty years ago, ‘Whipped Cream’ gave us a taste for ‘Honey’ BY JIM MELLOAN


y parents picked up Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass’s two 1965 albums, “Whipped Cream & Other Delights” and “Going Places,” sometime in the first year after their release. I would have been 10 years old. But I don’t recall being, shall we say, intrigued by their covers, especially “Whipped Cream,” until after I turned 11 in September of 1966 and we moved to London in November of that year. Then, the stimulation of pubescent hormones, combined with swinging England and its ads for burlesque shows in the back of “What’s On in London” — and skirt lengths shortening at a rate of approximately an inch per month — contributed to significant fascination with this album cover featuring model Delores Erickson wearing seemingly nothing but a pile of whipped cream, with a bit of it in her hair, and taking a lick off her finger. The cover was so iconic that Alpert used to tell the audience in concerts, “Sorry, we can’t play the cover for you.” “Going Places,” with the girl in a kind of Hispanic maid costume showing some fishnetted leg, wasn’t bad either. The liner notes for “Whipped Cream” were my first encounter with the word “hippie.” At the Brass’s first concert, “The teens were there, but so were the ‘hippies’ and the ‘squares,’ the ‘little old ladies’ and the screen starlets, the celebrities and those who make them celebrities.” Fifty years ago this week, “A Taste of Honey” from “Whipped Cream” peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The band’s popularity began to soar. In 1966, they sold more than 13 million recordings — more than The Beatles. In April of that year, four of their albums were in the Top 10, a feat last achieved by The Kingston Trio in 1959. Not one of the Tijuana Brass was Hispanic. Alpert used to say that his group had “four lasagnas, two bagels, and an American cheese.” Alpert was one of the bagels — his family were Jews from Ukraine and Romania. But he was born


This iconic Herb Alpert cover piqued the interest of a young Jim Melloan just coming into his own.

and grew up in the predominantly Mexican-American Boyle Heights section of Eastside Los Angeles. Before the Brass existed, Alpert had success as a songwriter in the late ’50s, co-writing “Wonderful World” (first performed by Sam Cooke and later by Herman’s Hermits, and Art Garfunkel with Paul Simon and James Taylor), and “Alley Oop,” by the Hollywood Argyles. In the early ’60s, a pre-Beatles Ringo Starr was belting out “Alley Oop” in the special vocal spotlight his band Rory Storm and the Hurricanes gave him called “Starr Time” at a Butlin’s holiday camp in the UK. Getting back to short skirts and other sexy delights, the Brass will be forever associated with “The Dating Game,” which used a few of its songs, in particular, “Whipped Cream,” “Spanish Flea” and “Lollipops and Roses,” as incidental music throughout the show. In 1967, the band performed the Burt Bacharach-penned theme to the James Bond spoof “Casino Royale,” a bouncy and infectious earworm if ever there was one. My friend Jerry has said he would like this one to be played at his funeral.

In the late ’60s, still in England, it became a favorite game for my sister and I to put on some Tijuana Brass and look out the window at pedestrians walking by. We would select one, and as the person walked down the street, we would imagine that this person was the star of his or her own TV show, and we were watching the credits and this was the theme song. We found this hilarious, and I bet it still is. If you live in a place where you can look out the window and

see pedestrians walking by, I suggest you try it now. Herb’s only No. 1 hit in the ’60s featured him as a vocalist, with the Bacharach-David tune “This Guy’s In Love With You,” a favorite of my cousin Samia’s. The song was perfect for Alpert’s limited vocal range, and audiences fell in love with it. This was part of a 1968 CBS special called “Beat of the Brass,” in a paradisiacal sequence shot in Malibu in which he sings to his then-wife. It was not intended for release as a record, but CBS was flooded with thousands of calls asking about it, so it came out and spent four weeks at No. 1. The Brass split up in 1969, but reformed a few times and released records in the ’70s and ’80s. Alpert had a No. 1 hit with “Rise,” in 1979, and released the album “Keep Your Eye on Me” in 1987, which had two hits: “Diamonds,” featuring Janet Jackson, and “Making Love in the Rain,” featuring Lisa Keith with backup vocals by Janet Jackson. The title track was not a hit, but for whatever reason it’s the one I remember. The videos for both that and “Diamonds,” in a sign of the times, both slipped in “say no to drugs” messages. Alpert turned 80 this past March. In September he released “Come Fly With Me,” which went to No. 7 on Billboard’s Top Jazz Albums chart. Pretty good work for an old bagel from East LA. Jim Melloan is a writer, actor, musician, and editor. His radio show “50 Years Ago This Week” airs Tuesdays from 8–10 p.m. on

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The power of place Linda Troeller’s Chelsea Hotel photos chart ‘art in the near’


“Living in Plastic, 2013.”


“Stanley Bard, Hotel Chelsea, 2008.”


“Gerald Busby, Composer, 2014.”



iving in the Chelsea Hotel,” Linda Troeller’s recently published book, looks back — in words and photographs — at her two decades as a resident of the historic and cultural landmark. For Troeller, the Chelsea was both sanctuary and muse, guiding her through a spiritual journey she calls “art in the near” — where the boundaries between the artist’s life and a separate “regular” existence fade away, and where creative energy defines and shapes love and friendships. As per the late Herbert Huncke, “Live glory days, and if you have too many lost days, meet new people, swing around again and almost anything can happen here.”


November 26, 2015

Troeller had already become a well-known visual artist when, in 1994, she was introduced to Stanley Bard, the manager of the Chelsea Hotel. She grew up in New Jersey and says she always knew she was headed for the arts, despite her mother’s early hopes that she would “enjoy the life of a wife and eventually have a child.” It was not until she watched a documentary about Ansel Adams, who Troeller had assisted in workshops, that she began to support her daughter’s photographic dreams. She was the inspiration for one of Troeller’s most intimate works — 1988’s “TB-AIDS Diary,” a photo collage series that recalls her mother’s 1930s struggle with tuberculosis while recounting the story of another mother who lost her son

to HIV-related illness. In an especially moving part of the “Chelsea Hotel” book, Troeller describes her depression after the loss of her mother, and the comfort she received when a staff housekeeper, in the midst of a chore, turned to her and warmly embraced her. Healing has been an ongoing theme of Troeller’s work — award-winning photographs are included in her book “Healing Waters,” an exploration of water therapy all around the world. Two of her other books, “The Erotic Lives of Women” and “Orgasm,” traverse the sexuality of women far beyond the usual acceptable borders. Writer and journalist Victor Bockris, in his foreword, describes the photographs as “emerging out of darkness or flitting between shad-

ow and visions.” As presented by Troeller, the hotel itself is as vital and fluid a character as its inhabitants. “Memory is also in the muscles,” she writes, “especially the heart muscles.” She coped with her eviction from the hotel by “falling into a daydream,” imagining a healer sprinkling her with lotion and twirling her in circles to find a new way. The saturated color and dreamlike images of the hotel, contrasting with the desolation as the building is vacated, evince the photographer’s long journey to acceptance of the loss of her community and home. One feels both the communal spirit and the introspection of the subjects in the portraits — espeCHELSEA HOTEL, continued on p. 23

Hotel as home, where creative energy defines, shapes life


“Self-Portrait, Zac Posen Dress, 2006.”

CHELSEA HOTEL, continued from p. 22

cially the self-portraits. Troeller describes the series as “reflecting the turmoil around me.” In a 2006 self-portrait, we see Troeller breezing through a hallway, wearing a Zac Posen dress that seems to be made of watercolors floating around her. A later photo, created in 2012 (and recently declared a finalist for the Magdalena exhibition), reveals only her eye, staring almost despairingly into the camera beside a portrait of Mary. “I believe in the power of cultural memory and that the creative ‘input and output’ that’s evolved at the historic Chelsea Hotel will emerge in a new way,” said Troeller. “These photographs of my visual journey are there to keep reminding us of the power of place, and social and physical borderlines. The Chelsea Hotel is where I have felt the most comfortable being an artist, and I hope many artists can utilize it in some way when it reemerges as a hotel.” One of Troeller’s first associates,

when she moved into an eighth floor room shortly after meeting Bard, was Herbert Huncke, who lived across the hall. His first words to her, after noticing a Chanel jacket in her possession, were: “You look like you’re a divorcee. It would be nice to have someone rich on this floor.” Despite learning that his initial assessment was incorrect, they became fast friends, developing a ritual in which she’d spot him a few dollars to get to his daily methadone program, and he’d pay her back by reciting his poetry over coffee in his favorite diner when he returned. The relationships Troeller developed were multi-faceted, leading to lifelong friendships as well as creative collaborations and influences. And love — in a 2006 interview on the Hotel Chelsea blog, Troeller mentions “finding a snake and my husband” during her tenancy. One photo in the book reveals the man she would eventually marry, Lothan Troeller, lying in bed beneath an Andres Serrano portrait of Linda, one of many photos within a photo contained in the book.


“Hot Chelsea, 2000.”

Another of the many artists whom she met and shared influences with was designer Alexander McQueen, who came to see her photographs in the lobby and invited her to a show. “His use of partial nudity, the dark colors of war, and the pale lace of peace inspired me,” she said. “I got away from direct narrative string editing, and let photographs talk more to each other in structure and frame. Color, unusual color, any colors became exciting material.” Troeller had to give up the eviction fight eventually due to the dust and toxins. She spent a year on this book, “a story about dear remembrance and photos of good times and bad times. Many of the residents that I met still live amid the renovation and have continued creative projects.” She is looking forward to co-hosting an upcoming party among

friends celebrating the 80th birthday of composer Gerald Busby, a longtime resident. Included is a screening of Jessica Robinson’s film about his odyssey, “The Man on the Fifth Floor.” “We have to keep going,” Troeller told me the first time we spoke. “We have to keep going even if we don’t know where we are going to. There’s no reason something good can’t come out of this.” “Living in the Chelsea Hotel” (2015, Schiffer Publishing, $34.99) is available at bookstores, from online retailers, or at Linda Troeller will give a presentation and sign books on Wed., Dec. 16, 1–3 p.m. at B&H Event Space (420 Ninth Ave., at W. 34th St.). Artist info at Learn more about “The Man on the Fifth Floor” at

November 26, 2015


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November 26, 2015



re we all sex offenders? That was the question posed to the audience of mostly college students by Galen Baughman, a Soros Justice Fellow and the final speaker at the City University of New York TEDx talks at the Borough of Manhattan Community College last week. TEDx talks are known for introducing new speakers with new ideas on everything from tech, to teaching, to society. But Baughman was the first TEDx presenter to address the issue of sex offenders from an unusual viewpoint: He is one. And he must register as a sex offender forever. His crime? He had consensual sex with a teen when he was a teen. He was 19, his boyfriend, 14. They had sex once. It was consensual. The younger teen did not want to prosecute, but his parents did. Had Baughman and his boyfriend slept together in another country — Canada, for instance — it would not have been considered a criminal act. But here, Baughman informed his audience, his crime resulted in a prison sentence. He served nine years. Four and half of those were in solitary. Just when he was about to be set free, well, that’s what Baughman came to talk about. “Three and a half years ago,” the 32-year-old told the audience, “I was sitting alone in a cell in Arlington, Virginia, waiting for a trial that would determine whether I would spend the rest of my life in prison.” See, Baughman had originally been handed a six-and-a-half-year sentence. But when it was over and he was about to be released, the authorities informed him that they considered him a violent sexual predator too dangerous to let go. As it turns out, the state can lock up “violent predators” indefinitely. The legal term for this is “civil commitment.” The person is kept behind bars to get “treatment” — except that treatment looks exactly like prison. Because it is. How does the state get away with keeping some people for years — sometimes decades — after their release dates? It plays on the public’s fear of sex offenders, Baughman explained. Politicians score points by keeping

sex offenders locked up. It sounds so good. It is for the sake of our children! The problem is that once a person gets the label “sex offender,” the public ceases to consider that person a human. In most people’s minds, a sex offender is a monster out to rape little kids. The fact that the Department of Justice reports that sex offenders actually have the lowest recidivism rate of any criminals other than murderers is not well known. What’s worse, “The label ‘sex offender’ is a made-up category,” Baughman continued. You can get labeled a sex offender for raping a toddler — or for sleeping with your freshman girlfriend when you’re a senior. There are people on the sex offender registry for urinating in public. For visiting a prostitute. For streaking. Teens even get on it for sexting. “We brand all these people the same. And once they get that label we treat them all as if we know what they’re going to do next,” he said. We treat them as if they’re going to hide in the bushes and pounce on a kid walking home from school. Even if they never did anything remotely like that. That’s what the state decided about Baughman: Since he was officially a sex offender, he was automatically a menace to society. At his civil commitment trial, the state argued that he suffered from a horrible mental illness, which caused him to be attracted to sexually mature teens. At that, the audience of mostly college students burst out laughing — they probably suffered from the exact same thing. Luckily for Baughman, his jury concluded that this made-up disease (it isn’t in the psychiatric diagnostic manual) was ridiculous. Because our laws are so overly broad, and because so few people commit a new crime after release, Baughman told the crowd, a child is “more likely to be labeled a sex offender, than to be abused by a sex offender.” Baughman added that he is the only person in Virginia to have successfully fought indefinite detention via a jury trial, and won. Another 5,000 people nationwide are languishing past their release dates, most because they carry the label “sex offender.” But if all it takes to get that label is to be attracted to sexually mature teens, or to sext, or streak, maybe, indeed, we’re all sex offenders — who just haven’t been caught. Skenazy is a keynote speaker and author and founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids”

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR LETTERS continued from p. 16

for St. John’s project” (news article, Nov. 19): I was disappointed to see myself so drastically misquoted in this article regarding the proposed zoning changes and development for the Pier 40 and St. John’s Terminal sites. First, regarding funding for Pier 40, I did not say the developer should simply “give” the money to the park instead of paying for air rights. While that would be nice, it’s not what I would expect or suggest that this or any other developer do. What I did say — and what several dozen community groups have been saying for more than two years since the state Legislature passed legislation allowing the transfer of air rights from the park to increase the allowable size of development in our neighborhood — is that alternative mechanisms for funding the park from nearby development should be explored, especially those that do not involve upzoning or increasing the size of allowable development. The specific example I cited was placing a dedicated tax on new development adjacent to the park that would go directly toward funding the park, as has been successfully done in places like Hudson Yards and Battery Park City. This would mean that new development around the park would financially support the park, but not make the funding a function of increases in the allowable size and scale of development, but simply upon the development that current zoning allows. The quote attributed to me that for the Pier 40/St. John’s development to proceed at this point was “crazy” is somewhat removed from its original context and might leave the reader with a false impression. What I pointed out was that the Hudson River Park Trust and the city had still not provided complete or accurate figures about how many air rights there are at Pier 40 or in the remainder of the park that could potentially still be used after this process is over. What I said was “crazy” was that such information had still not been provided, and that this process should not and could not proceed in a meaningful and appropriate way without it. The Pier 40/St. John’s development proposal being put forward by the city and St. John’s Partners will benefit this developer incredibly handsomely.  The benefit to the public, and the tremendous potential impact this nearly 2-million-squarefoot development would have, is less clear. This does appear to be another case of the city moving ahead to accommodate a developer’s plans, while community-initiated rezoning

plans for nearby areas that would protect neighborhood character are being stonewalled. Both raise basic issues of equity and fairness that must be addressed as this process moves forward.    Andrew Berman Berman is executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Trust be putting out an R.F.P. [request for proposals] to all property owners within one block of the park between Chambers and W. 59th Sts. to get the highest return for the air rights, so as to possibly spread the density along the border of the entire park?

Editor’s Note: The Villager stands by its reporting.

Westway déjà vu

375 more students To The Editor: Re “Architect and developer try to build the case for St. John’s project” (news article, Nov. 19): O.K., so 1,500 residential units in the St. John’s Partners project then projects out to how many elementary school seats? Ballpark numbers: 1,500 units...3,000 residents? And 375 kids (at a ratio of 1 to 8 adults, roughly the New York City overall ratio)...divided by 18 about 21 kids per cohort. So in loosey-goosey terms, this project would need one classroom per grade. Last I checked, P.S. 3 and P.S. 41 didn’t have that to give. Should we check P.S. 234? (Insert wink emoticon.) It’s not very satisfying when developers each say, “I’m not that big,” when collectively, they place a huge load on local infrastructure. At this point, in return for a school floor, I’d be willing to toss in another “X” feet of height on this project.  And, finally, regarding the still-undefined commercial site at this project’s south end: Hotel? Hospital. Hotel? Hospital. Which one does the Village really need more? Michael Markowitz Markowitz is a former member, Community Education Council District 2

Was the fix in? To The Editor: Re “Architect and developer try to build the case for St. John’s project” (news article, Nov. 19): The 2013 amendment to the Hudson River Park Act that allows the transfer of Pier 40 air rights to the inboard properties allows the Trust “to transfer by sale any unused development rights as may be available for transfer to properties located up to one block east of the boundaries of the park along the west side of Manhattan.” Why is the assumption that all the air rights should be transferred to the St. John’s Building? Shouldn’t the

Tom Fox

To The Editor: Re “Architect and developer try to build the case for St. John’s project” (news article, Nov. 19): It has always begged the question: Why the rush to, and laserlike focus on, this particular deal without regard to bid or competition? Just because it was available? It’s been years since this began being discussed — plenty of time for competitive bidding. There are still questions about how many total square feet of unused development rights are available parkwide and what process will be used to legitimately and transparently determine the value of this public space. Instead, the community is getting a shell game.  This 2013 amendment to the Hudson River Park Act allowing the park to sell its unused development rights to sites outside the park stands to undo everything that the folks who fought Westway stood for. This is just the beginning. This out-of-scale development will be able to be located anywhere within one block of the park from Chambers to 59th Sts. That’s Westway minus 100 feet, give or take. Hardly a victory. In fact, it’s a repudiation of that previous generation’s efforts.  This was not how to save Pier 40. The Village, and the entire West Side along the park, will soon come to regret inaction on preventing Assembly Bill A8031 from becoming law. This all could have, and should have, been contained to the pier.  Now the Pandora’s box has been opened.  Patrick Shields

Buses, N.Y.U. keep rolling To The Editor: Re “Pols put on a push to cap number of tour buses at 225 licenses” (news article, Nov. 19):

That’s about 25 buses an hour, isn’t it? After Margaret Chin handled the N.Y.U. growth cancer so well, do we really want her handling public transportation on our clogged roadways, too? What a friend to the Village! Not.  Follow the money! Semper Fi-nancials! All of this is stealth eminent domain. The city sees no other way to maintain an income than by turning over residential qualities, etc., to proven moneymakers for the city, mainly N.Y.U. and other schools in our neighborhood. Funny how they think they own the right to drive us out of the Village’s “community facility space” for what they believe to be a moneymaking improvement for them. Semper Fi-nancials! Diane Whelton

Must do better on buses To The Editor: Re “Pols put on a push to cap number of tour buses at 225 licenses” (news article, Nov. 19): The cap should be much lower. These tourist buses are an enormous nuisance, taking up traffic lanes and parking throughout Manhattan, but particularly crowding our narrow Village streets. Mrs. Chin’s efforts never seem to favor our community. Mrs. Brewer should know better. When we’ve asked for the return of the M5 route that was deleted — i.e. turning on Houston St. — Mrs. Chin has been and remains deaf to our needs. Our community’s public bus transportation is extremely lacking while these tour buses own our streets. Time for the politicians to listen to our community! Sylvia Rackow Rackow is chairperson, M5 Bus Committee

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November 26, 2015



November 26, 2015

November 26, 2015


A Coney Island blast from the past in Little Italy; BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


piece of historic Coney Island lives on in Little Italy, where gallery owner Allan Reiver has an original, working Mangels shooting gallery from the early 20th century. Reiver, 73, who owns the Elizabeth St. Gallery, at 209 Elizabeth St., hunted down the hidden shooting gallery on Stillwell Ave., near Surf Ave., on the street where the Nathan’s hot dog shop is located. The attraction had been boarded up in the 1930s — “when weapons were outlawed in New York City or shooting galleries were curbed,” Reiver thinks — and was actually hidden behind a basketball hoop-shooting concession. It turned out that the basketball game’s operator — who had previously repeatedly denied to Reiver that the shooting gallery was still there — was actually “living” in it, inhabiting the space between the two amusements. “It was his living room,” Reiver said. There was a switch for the shooting gallery, and when Reiver flicked it on, the old attraction sprung to life in “perfect working condition.” The Little Italy gallery owner said the vintage shooting gallery had used .22-caliber short rifles — which were on chains — that shot bullets with “a very soft lead shield,” so that when they hit the target, they turned to powder. In fact, Reiver said, lead powder 3 feet deep was piled up at the base of the machine, and he had to clean it carefully with alcohol to make it safe to handle. He bought the contraption the same day and moved it to his loft on Elizabeth St. When he later relocated to a building across the street where his gallery is today, he installed the shooting gallery there. In the late 1800s, William F. Mangels, a young German immigrant, opened a factory blocks from the beach where he created carousels and other amusement rides, along with his renowned shooting galleries. Known as the “Father of Amusement Rides,” he held a patent on the mechanism that made carousel horses go up and down to “gallop.” Mangels lived on Ocean Parkway near Coney Island, and today lies buried in Greenwood Cemetery. Reiver, in fact, claims his is the only intact, original Mangels shooting gallery in the country. Many of them were disassembled and their parts sold off individually as collector’s items. “I don’t know of another one that’s in working condition in America — especially not in original working


November 26, 2015

A windmill with pipes. The pipes bend back when hit by a shot. Racks of doves on the left, and “spinners” on the right — hit one of them right and they spin.


Allan Reiver in front of his original Mangels Coney Island shooting gallery.

condition,” he said. “If there’s one out there, it’s probably laying in parts and pieces in a garage somewhere. This one’s in totally original condition, I’ve done nothing to it.” The objects in his Mangels shooting gallery include a lion, a stag, a whale, a tank, battleships, an Indian in a canoe (reflective of that time’s accepted racism against Native Americans), pipes on the arms of a spinning windmill and racks of doves. Shooters could also aim at symbols of playing card suits — clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades — as they spun on a wheel, or at a swinging target, inside of which was a pan that

loudly clanged when hit. When running, the aged machine, with its grinding metal gears and moving chain-link belts, sounds a bit like a subway train — and apparently sucks up a lot of electricity. As Reiver was recently giving The Villager a demonstration, he said, “I should turn it off in a few minutes.” A couple of years ago, the Coney Island USA Museum unveiled a restored, working 1940s Mangels shooting gallery. Reiver said that, at one point, he had offered his shooting gallery to the museum, but they felt the ’40s one they had “would suffice for their purposes.”

He also said he believes his is older, dating from “sometime after the turn of the century.” The diverse objects in Reiver’s one also move at the original speed, whereas video of the Coney Island museum’s shooting gallery — whose targets are mainly soldiers and tanks — seems to show it moving considerably faster. However, Dick Zigun, the unofficial Mayor of Coney Island and the producer of the annual Mermaid Parade, claimed Reiver’s statements were “off target.” MANGELS continued on p. 31

Original Mangels shooting gallery still cranking

A nearly full view of the vintage Mangels shooting gallery. The holes in the white circles, at bottom, were bull’s-eyes.

MANGELS continued from p. 30

“There are four operating Mangels shooting galleries in the U.S.A. — ours, two at Knobels [sic], a Midwestern bar,” he said, obviously including Reiver’s in that number. “Our Coney Island Museum was never interested in purchasing his,” he added. Finally, he said of the museum’s Mangels attraction, “Ours runs at the correct speed.” An Internet search for a Knobels bar instead yielded Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysberg, Pennsylvania. Dick Knoebels told The Villager, “Yes, we do have an intact Mangels shooting gallery. We also have a 15car Mangels Whip ride, a Mangels Kiddie Whip and Mangels boats and pony cart. We have a lot of Mangels stuff.”

Shoot a suit.

Harris Falk, a board member at Coney Island USA, said the Midwestern bar with a Mangels shooting gallery is actually the Sandy Chanty seafood restaurant, in Geneva-onthe-Lake, Ohio. Indeed, a shooting gallery was found there and rebuilt to working condition in 2004. Zigun later added that there, in fact, may even be a couple more of the old-school amusements out there, that the Doris Duke estate sold one about a decade ago and that there is one at the National Gun Museum, in Washington, D.C. At any rate, although Reiver claims he offered his shooting gallery to the Coney Island Museum before, he now says he doesn’t think he could bring himself to part with it. To watch a brief video of Reiver’s original Mangels Coney Island shooting gallery, go to .

A target that only the owner of the Washington Redskins might approve of today.

A favorite target of early 20th-century dentists and gynecologists? November 26, 2015







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The Villager • Nov. 26, 2015  


The Villager • Nov. 26, 2015