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December 1 - 7, 2011
B.P. Stringer approves Rudin’s ‘Rat Castle’ gets Board 3’s O.K. condo plan as clock ticks down to finally finish BY ALBERT AMATEAU Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer last week gave conditional approval to Rudin Management’s plan for the residential redevelopment of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital campus in Greenwich Village. Stringer announced his opinion on Fri., Nov. 25, at the midpoint in the six-month uniform land-use review procedure (ULURP) for the proposal to create 450 new condominium apartments on the east side of Seventh Ave. and a triangle park on the west side of the avenue. The entire project also includes the conversion of the St. Vincent’s O’Toole Building on the west side of the avenue into a comprehensive-care community health center with a freestanding emergency department run by North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. But the O’Toole conversion is as of right and not part of the ULURP application. The City Planning Commission, which must approve the project, held its last public forum on the plan on Wednesday. Under the city’s land-use procedure, the commission now has 60 days to approve, disapprove or modify the plan before it goes to the City Council, which in turn has 50 days to approve or reject the plan. The City Council’s approval is the last step in the review process. If the Council calls for changes, City Planning must decide whether the modifications are within the scope of the project’s environmental impact statement (E.I.S.). Stringer noted that Rudin has made a commitment to address some of the concerns of Community Board 2, which voted in October to disapprove the redevelopment plan. But the borough president did not condition his approval on the inclusion of affordable housing, which C.B. 2 wanted. Moreover, Stringer did not repeat C.B. 2’s urging Rudin “to make a substantial capital contribution to the establishment of a new public school in the C.B. 2 area, such as 75 Morton St.” Although the review for the St.
BY LESLEY SUSSMAN In a razor-thin vote, the developer of a partially completed, seven-story building on Ludlow St. last week got Community Board 3’s reluctant approval for a Board of Standards and Appeals variance to allow him to finish work on the long-stalled residential/ commercial project. The full board’s 17-to-16 vote in favor of developer Michael Goldberg’s B.S.A. application for 179 Ludlow
St. came amid a contentious debate by board members at their Tuesday evening, Nov. 22, meeting at P.S. 24, at 40 Division St. Board members argued back and forth whether the developer deserved any community support after financing a structure that, for the past five years, has been a neighborhood eyesore and is often referred to locally as “The Rat Castle.”
Continued on page 11
Open-air market, roof park in works for Chelsea pier
Photo by Tequila Minsky
Occupy Santa Sunday evening down at Zuccotti Park, a somewhat spelling-challenged Santa was making a list of who’s been naughty and nice to him, mainly naughty.
Vincent’s redevelopment does not involve a replacement for the hospital that closed its doors in April 2010, advocates for a St. Vincent’s replacement packed the Nov. 30 City Planning hearing and demanded rejection of the Rudin project unless and until a full-service, acute-care hospital with a Level 1 trauma centerequipped emergency room replaces the
BY WINNIE MCCROY Architects Youngwoo & Associates will soon submit certification paperwork for a proposed redevelopment of Pier 57 in Hudson River Park. The overhual of the hulking structure — located just south of the Chelsea Piers — would create more than 114,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a marina and public parkland. Construction is set to commence in mid-2013. “We are drafting the
old hospital. Members of the Coalition for a New Village Hospital said the proposed North Shore-L.I.J center in the O’Toole Building, with only two inpatient beds, was inadequate. But Board 2 and Stringer have
environmental impact statement [E.I.S.] now, and then we will have that certified to enter into the ULURP [uniform land-use review procedure] process, which will probably happen this month,” said Greg Carney, a partner at Youngwoo & Associates. The certification should be completed by about March or April, after which ULURP begins, lasting around another seven
Continued on page 4
THE ART OF PING-PONG PAGE 15
EDITORIAL, LETTERS PAGE 18
Continued on page 5
515 CANAL STREET • NYC 10 013 • COPYRIGHT © 2011 COMMUNITY M E D I A , L L C
December 1 - 7, 2011
Photos by Tequila Minsky
Thanksgiving and the ‘Gingrinch’ at Zuccotti Park Their tents may be gone, but Occupy Wall Streeters still enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal down at Zuccotti Park last Thursday. With the holiday season kicking off, Newt Gingrich was cast as the Grinch in one sign after the G.O.P. presidential hopeful recently chastised the protesters, “Go get a job right after you take a bath.” Police continue to maintain a presence on the Financial District park’s perimeter.
December 1 - 7, 2011
NOTEBOOK D.G. WORD TO O.W.S. Local elected officials, to varying degrees, tried to defend Occupy Wall Streetâ€™s encampment in Zuccotti Park from eviction by Mayor Bloomberg, but failed. Desperately scrambling to find a new home, O.W.S. is now focusing on the Trinity Real Estate-owned open lot at Canal St. and Sixth Ave. So, are any local politicians endorsing the idea of a new occupation at that spot? Defending is one thing, but offering an invitation â€” â€œYo, I got your occupy right here!â€? â€” is perhaps another. We asked Assemblymember Deborah Glick for her thoughts since Trinityâ€™s Duarte Square space is, in fact, in her district. She prefaced her comments by saying, â€œI support the notion that there has to be a resolution to the growing income equality â€” which is what Iâ€™ve been speaking about for years. And I think theyâ€™ve done an incredible job speaking about it. I think they, in a very short amount of time, got a national and international discourse going,â€? she said of O.W.S. The Zuccotti Park encampment was located in the district of the powerful Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver. Glick was not on the front lines calling for O.W.S.â€™s tent city to be allowed to stay there. â€œIt was not my district. I was agnostic as to how it should proceed,â€? she said. Asked whether she would welcome an O.W.S.-palooza-style encampment at Duarte Square, she said, â€œIâ€™m not sure that you utilize the same tactics going forward. But itâ€™s not up to me to tell a leaderless group what to do.â€? But then she reiterated, â€œThey may want to think about different tactics.â€? ... F.Y.I., police are now posting a police car or van outside the â€œLentSpaceâ€? fenced-in lot at Duarte Square that O.W.S. covets. On Sun., Nov. 20, 200 members of the group marched from Judson Church down to the Canal St. lot and held a candlelight vigil, begging Trinity to let them use it. SINGER MAKES AN OFFER: Gregg Singer does still exist â€” â€œunfortunately,â€? many readers will no doubt think. We hadnâ€™t heard from him in a while, despite our efforts to reach him, so we were seriously wondering. Following the recent strategizing meeting about trying to get a community center restored in the old P.S. 64 building on E. Ninth St. near Avenue B, one of the meetingâ€™s participants, Steve Sinclair, resolved to personally reach out to the embattled developer and see if he was willing to negotiate. As Sinclair tells it, the two met at the decommissioned school building on Wednesday afternoon and had a sit-down in a pseudoswanky meeting space Singer has constructed with sheetrock walls and hardwood floors in the buildingâ€™s front. Singer was sporting a â€œfunkyâ€? jacket, sort of a safari jacket, according to Sinclair. Basically, Sinclair said, Singer told him heâ€™s been trying to rent out the building for use as university dormitory space, but that Councilmember Rosie Mendez and the community have been frustrating all his efforts, scaring everyone off. The landmarked building has a total of 152,000 square feet, 111,000 of which is usable space. At the brainstorming meeting two weeks ago, former squatter Eric Rassi pitched a â€œrudimentary proposalâ€? under which they would ask Singer to cede the buildingâ€™s two lower floors for use as a community center on the ground floor, plus a hub for up to 25 nonprofit tenants on the second floor. Two floors would equal about 40,000 square feet, according to Sinclair. Instead, Sinclair said, the idea that Singer likes would be to give from 6,000 to 12,000 square feet â€” something like 5 percent to 10 percent of the total space â€” for use as a community center, while giving a 99-year lease to Baruch College to redevelop the rest of the building as a student dorm. â€œThe average Soho loft is 2,000 square feet,â€? Sinclair noted. â€œSix thousand square feet would be enough for meeting rooms, rehearsal space, daycare.â€? More than that isnâ€™t needed, he said. â€œI donâ€™t think Eric understands how big this place is,â€?
Sinclair said. â€œIf he got one floor, thatâ€™s 20,000 square feet. Thatâ€™s like a Walmart. You donâ€™t need that amount of space for a community center. It seems to me, 7,000 or 10,000 square feet â€” something in that range. Twenty thousand square feet is good for indoor soccer.â€? Sinclair said Singer definitely wants a dorm because thatâ€™s the â€œhighest useâ€? for the building, as in highest amount of moolah. It would take about $37.5 million to build out the dorm space with up to 500 beds, Sinclair said the developer explained to him. The community center would be built out as a plain white space to be further developed as the community wished. Continuing on his D.I.Y. mission, Sinclairâ€™s plan was next to call Matthew Goldstein, CUNYâ€™s president, on Thursday and propose the idea. Asked how Singer feels about having had all his schemes for the building repeatedly stymied by the community for more than 12 years, Sinclair said, â€œHeâ€™s very bitter about it. He has a somewhat Marie Antoinette attitude about it â€” â€œLet them eat cakeâ€? â€” because he is the owner and owners in this country have some rights.â€? So, who is Sinclair? you ask. He moved onto 10th St. across from the old P.S. 64 three months ago. Heâ€™s currently a financial adviser for Wells Fargo and previously had a record label, Mechanic Records, specializing in hardcore and heavy metal bands. He signed the likes of Megadeath, Agnostic Front, Voivod, Dream Theater, Ludachrist and Scalp the Landmarked Building. (Just kidding, but thatâ€™s what Singer did to the old P.S. 64 when he brutally lopped off its beautiful ornamentation.) Heâ€™s also the president of the Progress Republican Club, which he noted is the nationâ€™s oldest Republican club. â€œIâ€™d be really happy to break this impasse,â€? Sinclair told us. â€œThat building is an eyesore every time I walk past it.â€? We told Mendez about Sinclairâ€™s meeting with Singer and this purportedly new plan, but she said, â€œThis is the same plan Gregg Singer pitched to me in 2006. He wanted to do luxury housing. He wanted to lift the deed restrictions [for community-use facility] and/or do a dorm. The community doesnâ€™t want a dorm,â€? Mendez stressed, saying he should change his tack. â€œSinger can move forward on certain things. I know people have offered him a significant amount of money to buy the building, but heâ€™s not being realistic about that. When youâ€™re asking for $70 million, a lot of people are going to walk away.â€? CORRECTION: In last weekâ€™s issue, the article â€œSoho Journal publisher guilty in S&M mortgage scamâ€? stated that Donald MacPherson would be spending his four-to-12-year prison term at Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, N.Y. However, according to Robert Clifford, a spokesperson for the Suffolk County district attorney, the former Community Board 2 member could go to Downstate and stay there, or possibly be transferred to another prison. â€œHe goes to Downstate, then itâ€™s up to the State Department of Corrections as to where to place him,â€? Clifford said. â€œHeâ€™ll likely be transferred to another facility, but thereâ€™s no way of telling at this point.â€? Weâ€™re assuming, though, that wherever it is, it will be behind steel bars.
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December 1 - 7, 2011
Pier 57 design sports open-air market and roof park Continued from page 1 months. “There are regulatory time frames for each step of that process, so it is pretty well-scripted,” said Carney. Madelyn Wils, president and C.E.O. of the Hudson River Park Trust — the state/city authority that is building and operating the 5-mile-long waterfront park — recently gave a reporter a tour of the park’s piers. She noted that the park draws an estimated 17 million people annually. “The Hudson River Park is the second largest waterfront park in the entire country,” Wils said. “It’s the longest [waterfront] park there is, and it has completely transformed the West Side. It’s given families a chance to stay in New York, because they are able to have the activities they need in order to keep kids and people happy.” Wils said the park hosted more than 100 free events last summer, which attracted some 150,000 people. Some examples include a two-day skate workshop with Tony Hawk, free concerts, a free Sunday night dance series, the River Flicks movie series and free classes for yoga, acting and Pilates. There was even a seasonal trapeze school atop Pier 40. For longtime residents to watch the transformation from buckling piers to this beautiful, continuous esplanade and public-use piers is amazing, said Wils.
Courtesy of Youngwoo & Associates
A rendering of the proposed open-air market at Pier 57. Shipping containers would be readapted to create the space.
She pointed to the future redevelopment of Pier 54 at W. 13th St. and of the Gansevoort Peninsula — the latter which will feature almost 6 acres of grass lawn. However, one of the big changes planned for Hudson River Park in the near future is the creation of the Pier 57 complex, which will feature an open-air market comprised of shipping containers on the bottom, topped by a public park. “With the transformation of the Meat Market area, you can see now the possibility of transforming the waterfront and what that can
do for the community,” Wils said. “It bridges the Village, Meat Market and Chelsea, making it a continuous, important strip.” She pointed to the popularity of similar open-air markets in London. “On the roof of Pier 57 will be a public park, and the Tribeca Film Festival will be able to use it,” the Trust president added. “What’s exciting is the kind of interesting, cutting-edge urbanism that Urban Space Management and Youngwoo want to bring to that pier. It has worked elsewhere around the world, and would be a great asset for New York.” According to Carney, the location was chosen, in part, because Pier 57’s existing caissons — the unique structures that support it beneath the water — will not need to be replaced. “The effect will be minimal, because we don’t need to do any external work to the caissons. So far, we have found them to be in good shape,” said Carney. “They are very dry, and sit in one spot on the riverbed. So we don’t have to disturb them at all, perhaps just do a bit of caulking.” In response to community concerns, Carney assured that the project will not disturb or stir up any riverbed mud or possible toxic contaminants contained therein. The E.I.S. will look at the project’s environmental impact, noted Carney, and address issues from fish habitats to traffic. The architect said that while they had done some analysis around marketing, leasing and various business impacts, many of these issues are addressed in this environmental impact study — nullifying the need for an additional economic impact study. “We think it’s positive because it generates jobs — on the front end with construction, and then in operating the piers,” Carney said of the project. “But we have not commissioned a formal economic impact study, and have no plans to.” At a July 14 public scoping meeting, members of the Community Board 4 Transportation Planning Committee raised issues about the project’s potential traffic and safety impacts and the influx of visitors it would bring. Regarding transportation issues, Wils deferred to C.B. 4, but pointed out that she found the recent increase of water taxi service
to ferry passengers to Ground Zero was a great way to keep traffic off local streets. “I also love the idea of pedestrian bridges, and what you’ll see in the E.I.S. for Pier 57 is that they’ll be looking at an alternative of a pedestrian bridge,” Wils said. As you know, it adds a lot to the cost of a project,” Wils said of adding a foot bridge to span the West Side Highway. “For the future of the park, having pedestrian bridges in appropriate places could make some sense.” Carney noted that the project’s E.I.S. deals with issues of traffic and access, and that a current survey factors in a possible reconfiguration of the bikeway and walkway to accommodate passenger loading and unloading for the pier. “It may be proposed that certain signal and crossing terms are altered. Traffic experts are looking to deal with that,” he said, adding, “As part of the public scoping process, people will have an opportunity to comment. “An overpass is part of the E.I.S. as an alternative,” he stated. “We looked at it, and if, in fact, the analysis says that there will be too much pedestrian traffic concentrated there or too many conflicts with vehicle traffic, we have suggested a number of ways that we can deal with it, and an overpass is one alternative.” The architects have also explored tapping into the mass transit system or private shuttle routes, said Carney. But there is currently no plan for bus parking, aside from a loading/ unloading zone. Freight unloading will be done during off-hours. Plans for the Pier 57 project include a pier with 115 boat slips. Wils said of the park, “There is a huge amount of boating activities, from sailing schools and free sailing lessons. It’s really a dream for people who want to be active not only at the water, but in the water.” Wils noted that since the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act, the Hudson River’s water quality has improved. People can and do safely swim in the river. She said that next spring, the park would feature 40 new moorings at Tribeca’s Pier 25 for community boaters. Carney added that plans for Pier 57 would not ignore the potential impacts of global warming — namely, the possibility of rising water levels, which are a serious consideration in such waterfront parks. “I think analysis was done by engineers looking at this,” he said. “There is a zone between the caissons and the floor of the pier, and another distance above that level. So far, the analysts have looked at what’s historically happened — as far as sea level and flooding — and I don’t think we need to do anything in addition to what’s there.” Wils said each portion of Hudson River Park related to the adjacent community differently. “The unique thing about the park is that you can spend all day there, and find a dozen different things to do. It’s really a New Yorker’s park,” said Wils. “The importance of the Hudson River Park in people’s daily lives in the Downtown community really has become what Central Park is to Midtown. It’s an extraordinary culture on the West Side.”
December 1 - 7, 2011
B.P. approves the Rudin plan Continued from page 1 noted that there is no viable successor to St. Vincent’s, the 161-year-old institution that went bankrupt twice in the past six years. Stringer’s approval is conditioned on Rudin’s following through on commitments that include removing an oxygen tank storage facility on the triangle in order to increase the size of the proposed park there. The conditions also include Rudin’s executing a restrictive declaration against increasing the size of the residential project by transferring development rights across the avenue from the triangle. Rudin is also committed to limiting retail uses on the east side of the avenue by prohibiting clubs and bars. The developer has also agreed to controlling nighttime light levels in the retail wraparound on W. 12th St. and to restricting signs on W. 12th and 11th Sts. to what is allowed in local retail zoning. Rudin has also agreed to work with the community on a commemorative feature of the triangle park, including an AIDS memorial. But the commitment does not include retaining an existing 10,000-square-foot basement beneath the triangle. Stringer said that whether or not keeping the basement is feasible, it would likely require an approval process beyond the ULURP. The borough president said he was “committed to working with all involved to realize a memorial to one of the most tragic epidemics that has ever affected our city.” The approval is also based on Rudin’s agreement on construction measures addressing noise, dust, vibration and rat control and to barring noisy construction or delivery before 8 a.m. The Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce also endorsed the Rudin proposal at the Wednesday City Planning hearing. Tom Gray, G.V.C.C.C. executive director, acknowledged Rudin for providing guarantees in 2008 that secured space in the New York Foundling Hospital building on Sixth Ave. at 17th St. for a new 564-seat public elementary school, which is scheduled to open in 2014. Gray said the residential project would create 1,200 construction jobs over the next few years, and 400 permanent jobs.
“It would return much-needed foot traffic to the area, rejuvenating local businesses that have struggled in the wake of St. Vincent’s closing,” Gray said. “With facilities designed to accommodate 80,000 patients annually [in the North Shore-L.I.J.operated O’Toole Building healthcare center] Rudin Management’s conversion of St. Vincent’s campus will not only transform the site itself but Greenwich Village as a whole,” Gray said. However, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation told the City Planning Commission that it was opposed to Rudin’s plan as set forth in the ULURP. Like Community Board 2’s negative response to the project, the society said it was opposed to the proposed rezoning that would allow density 175 percent higher than the existing residential zoning for the Seventh Ave. frontage and about 200 percent higher than currently allowable on the W. 12th St. midblock. Rudin is seeking new zoning that would almost equal what was allowed in 1979 to accommodate St. Vincent’s Coleman and Link buildings. But Andrew Berman, G.V.S.H.P. executive director, said, “Zoning specifically intended to serve a public purpose should not be given over to a private, for-profit residential development, as Rudin is proposing to do in this case.” Nevertheless, the borough president’s approval noted that because Rudin is giving up previous development rights transfers from the triangle, the maximum permitted density on the east side of the avenue would be less than what is currently on the site. The plan calls for a 16-story, 203-foot-tall apartment tower on the east side of the avenue between 12th and 11th Sts. and demolition of the 17-story Coleman and the adjacent Link buildings. The former hospital’s Reiss building on 12th St. and the Cronin building on 11th St. would also be demolished The Smith and Raskob buildings and the Nurses Residence on 12th St. would be converted to apartments and so would the Spellman building on 11th St. A 10-story apartment building would replace Reiss on 12th St. and a seven-story building would be built on 11th St. on the demolished Link site. Five townhouses would replace Cronin on 11th St.
A rendering of Rudin Management’s redevelopment design for the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site.
December 1 - 7, 2011
D.O.E. won’t split Village zone
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BY ALBERT AMATEAU Responding to opposition by many Greenwich Village parents and the District 2 Community Education Council, the Department of Education last week cancelled its decision to split the P.S. 3 and P.S. 41 elementary school zone. The education department proposed early in November to split the zone now shared by the two schools in order to relieve overcrowding, especially in P.S. 41, the Greenwich Village School, on W. 11th St. at Sixth Ave. But many parents, especially at P.S. 3, the Charrette School, at 290 Hudson St., were opposed. They feared the split zone would force parents who were not committed to P.S. 3’s original open philosophy to send their children there and would eventually change the school’s culture. Moreover, many parents in the shared zone felt that chronic overcrowding at both schools and the opening of a new school on W. 17th St. would require yet another rezoning in three years. The education department revised the zoning map for P.S. 3 and P.S. 41, but the district Community Education Council voted on Nov. 16 against the split zoning. “Parents were looking for a better solution,” said Michael Markowitz, a District 2 C.E.C. member. The education councils, whose members are elected by parents in district schools, have very limited powers. But school zoning
is their most important power. At a Mon., Nov. 28, district zoning forum at P.S. 130 on Baxter St., P.S. 41 Principal Kelly Shannon and P.S. 3 Principal Lisa Siegman acknowledged that overcrowding remains a problem. Three years ago, P.S. 41 took in seven kindergarten classes and the overcrowding continues, Shannon said. She added that there are still parents in the school who want a P.S. 41 zone separate from P.S. 3. Parents whose kindergarten-age children are on a waiting list for P.S. 41 have a long wait before the education department assigns them an alternative school, Shannon added. Siegman urged Deputy Schools Chancellors Kathleen Grimm and Marc Sternberg, who attended the zoning forum, to re-examine the way they assign children to alternate schools. On Wed., Dec. 14, the district 2 C.E.C. will meet at the O. Henry School, 333 W. 17th St., in Chelsea to vote on revised zoning for Lower Manhattan and the Upper East Side schools. But zoning for Greenwich Village and Chelsea schools will remain as they are. Zoning for the Village and Chelsea will be contingent on the expected opening of a 564-seat elementary school in the New York Foundling Hospital building on W. 17th St. in 2014. A district 2 open forum with Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott is scheduled for Wed., Dec. 7, at the Bayard Rustin School, 351 W. 18th St.
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December 1 - 7, 2011
Me and the soccer guys NOTEBOOK BY MICHELE HERMAN We used to have a friendly Irish next-door neighbor. One day he and my husband got to talking and the conversation came around — as conversations between guys will do — to sports. My husband started to lament the long-lost pickup soccer games of his youth, and it turned out that our neighbor was part of a long-standing Saturday morning pickup game in East River Park. He encouraged my husband to join the loosely organized group, and took my e-mail address, which is the one we both use at home. My husband went one Saturday, came home with a bruise the length of his leg, and decided that sleeping in on Saturdays trumps soccer, as much as he loves the game. Then our neighbor’s wife divorced the nice Irish guy and we never saw him again. But my e-mail address remained on the routing list, and for years I have read the prolific correspondence of this group. They don’t know this, but the “soccer guys,” as they are known in our household, are part of the landscape of my life. This is a bunch of men I’ve never met who talk about a sport I don’t play, but still I’ve developed tremendous fondness for Stephen, Eddie, Mario, Partha, Leith, Tauri, Blagoy and the others, even though they probably assume I’m some no-show Italian guy named Michael. I have learned their weekly and seasonal rhythms. Every week one of the three main stalwarts puts out a call to see who’s available. This is followed by a flurry of replies, most of which say, “I’m in” or simply, “In.” But I read through because (being guys) they traffic in teasing and macho, but (being smart and funny guys), they do it entertainingly. “Dear socceristas,” wrote one of them yesterday, “some of you may remember me. I’m the dude who scored that unbelievable long-distance goal and then proceeded to get injured, which some of you explained as karmic justice due to too much bragging about said beautiful goal.” Another apologized for missing the game because he woke up vomiting. “Sorry to hear!” came the reply. “Though you should know there is plenty of precedence for vomiting on the field.” Either he has a remarkable memory or a good imagination, because he then cites, term paper-like, eight previous games involving vomiting. When winter approaches, they reluctantly head to an indoor field (or “pitch” as some of the immigrants call it) on Roosevelt Island that they have to pay to use. Lately there’s been much ribbing of Dwayne, who “always arrives at a prompt 10 a.m. for the 9 a.m. game.” Then a lot of “who knew?”s when Dean showed up twice on the week’s lineup, and it turned out there actually were two different guys named Dean. And the immortal question: If Sean is pronounced Shawn, why isn’t Dean pronounced Dawn? The thing I, being a girl, find most endearing is the way they share their news: weddings, babies, travels (all of which have
been called lame excuses for missing a game). One had his first film produced, another became a professor. Occasionally, they get together after work for a few drinks. In a sure sign of time passing, lately I notice there have been fewer newlyweds and more bum knees. One of the guys has been sending around detailed and erudite recaps of the weekly game. I have special respect for him, because, as a recording secretary myself, I know that it’s hard enough to take good minutes when the participants are sitting still. Here’s a sample opening line: “The whites were well organized and generous. The darks were disorganized and selfish.” And some excerpts from the game played during the freak October storm: “While lesser
Keeping up on the action around the soccer net via the ’Net. mortals stayed at home, and the weak called in their excuses, 22 men showed up braving hail and sleet to play a beautiful game… . The hail had now begun to sting, whipped laterally across the field by a strong Arctic blast of wind, and the game was heading for a tense conclusion. Blagoy, in a moment of hypothermic madness, took off his shirt and had to be counseled by the remaining sane ones to put on something.” Sometimes another guy will reply to one of the weekly recaps with “a few minor corrections/comments.” Here’s number 4 of a recent 7-point correction: “Regarding Mario’s goal, it should be noted that just minutes prior to that, he had missed an easier opportunity, fed to him also by Juan from the right to his feet. Credit should be given to Juan who had his heart set on ensuring that his fellow Honduran scored and succeeded by electing to bounce it off Mario’s head into goal instead of his feet, which would have required some intent and ability.” Here’s part of another recap I like: “Leith, who admitted to having had a terrible game (blaming coffee), began to lose his cool. The disorganization and panic on the part of Blanco was not at all unexpected. They’d spent the better part of the past 75-80 minutes dominating possession and shots on goal, yet found themselves down 2 with no answer for the seemingly immortal front line of the Rojo. I’m not sure how old Josevi or Bernardo are, but between Pablo, Heraldo, Eddie and myself we’re definitely somewhere close to if not above a combined age of 300 years. And yet we held a 5-3 advantage as the game wound down.” I keep urging my husband to play with the soccer guys, just once, and report back.
Continued on page 8
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December 1 - 7, 2011
Diners enjoyed a scrumptious free Thanksgiving meal at Le Souk, plus live music and belly dancing.
Holiday feast at Le Souk gobbled up by lucky 200 In two seatings at Le Souk, about 200 people — mostly seniors who might otherwise have been alone or not able to afford a full Thanksgiving dinner — enjoyed camaraderie and more than 17 turkeys, with stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, homemade gravy, vegetables,
salad and pasta, plus dessert. The free dinner was courtesy of Le Souk, at LaGuardia Place and Bleecker St., and the Bleecker Area Merchants’ and Residents’ Association (BAMRA), with pies donated by Morton Williams supermarket. Entertainment included a live saxophone player and sing-
er, as well as a belly dancer. The event also raised $500 in donations for Visiting
Me and the soccer guys Continued from page 7
“Fa la la la la la” TREE LIGHTING AND SINGING IN WASHINGTON SQUARE! Under the Historic Arch a community project of
The Washington Square Association with assistance from the City of New York Parks & Recreation and the Washington Square Hotel
Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 6 pm: sing seasonal songs with the Rob Susman Brass Quartet, and a song leader, and help Santa with the illumination countdown, as the tree lights magically go on.
Saturday, Dec. 24 at 5 pm: celebrate Christmas Eve singing carols with the Rob Susman Brass Quartet.
Song Books For Each Evening
courtesy of The Washington Square Association www.washingtonsquarenyc.org
Neighbors, which will be matched by Le Souk and BAMRA.
Being a girl, I’m dying to know what they look like, and whether they’re as funny and smart and gentlemanly on the field as they are in my inbox. Would they welcome him into the fold? Would they be amused to learn about me, their female fan/eavesdropper/spy? My husband, alas, has no desire to upend his Saturday routine of leisurely bagel followed by piano lesson at Greenwich House. But he has figured out a way to put pickup soccer back in his life, making him feel more like himself than he has felt in a long time. At Pier 40 at around 5 on Sunday evenings, there are always guys ready to play pickup, provided the leagues haven’t hogged all the fields. These games are all about the kind of anonymity only guys can pull off. My husband doesn’t know anyone’s name, though he’s been playing with some of the same guys for years. The games are remarkably international — one week a bunch of Senegalese might show up, the next Israelis, Japanese or Albanians. One thing is consistent: My husband is always the oldest guy on the field, by about 25 years, and often the token white guy. For a while our teenaged son would come along, and be by far the youngest. The games sometimes get a little rough. My husband has terrible knees, but is proud to be able to hold his own by playing a smart game. I asked him what he likes about these games. He said it’s all about the soccer, with
just enough talk to get two teams organized. He likes the way strangers from all over the world come together, no questions asked, out of a shared love of the game. I find this fascinating and alien, because when I participate in group activities, the activity is often something of an excuse to get to know the people rather than the other way around. My husband learned to play soccer on the streets of Rome at age eight, when his family spent a year abroad, so he doesn’t mind when the game gets rough. The other kids lived nearby in a ghetto of corrugated-metal houses with dirt floors known as the casa abusive. There, he and his brothers were the foreigners accepted without question. (They were also the ones who brought the ball). He returned home to central New Jersey in the days before organized soccer leagues. But a hippie in his town started a phenomenon called Sunday Soccer that lasted for years and sometimes swelled to a hundred kids and three balls. “The whole town knew about it,” he told me. “I knew I could show up and there’d be people.” So he’s thrilled to trot off to Sunday soccer again, so much so that he invested in new cleats when his ancient Pumas (an object of great admiration at Pier 40) finally gave out. The games last until dinnertime or until the ball flies over the net into the Hudson. One day in the not-too-distant future, Pier 40 is going to be declared a safety hazard if it doesn’t first crumble to the Hudson floor or float out to sea. I hope no one gets hurt. And I hope my soccer guys will still be around to welcome my husband into the brotherhood.
December 1 - 7, 2011
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December 1 - 7, 2011
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Mic check! Occupy is now part of the popular culture
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BY ZACH WILLIAMS Occupy Wall Street is spreading beyond street demonstrations and into a niche a bit closer to home. As the movement enters its third month, a new type of occupation is growing within American popular culture and is finding its way into all types of public forums, including Department of Education hearings in Lower Manhattan. The ongoing demonstrations against corporate greed and government malfeasance have inspired a growing presence in everyday discourse, television, fashion and online. When a New York City political science professor couldn’t catch the words of a softspoken student toward the back of the classroom, she decided to make a cultural reference that soon resonated with her students. The professor asked for the “people’s microphone” to be used. The device, developed by occupiers, has listeners repeat a speaker’s words in order to allow others further away to hear. It may have been originally needed in order to circumvent New York City ordinances against electronically amplified sound without a permit, but it has now found a purpose elsewhere. The technique is just one of many features derived from Occupy Wall Street that have extended their reach beyond activist circles and into the wider realm of popular culture in the city and throughout the country. But in a movement that has directed considerable energy toward protesting the excesses of American consumers, as well as corporate executives, the additional mediums of exposure are a mixed blessing, according to the activists. Occupy Wall Street protester Rose Reddington, 22, said the movement’s growing profile in popular culture should be taken in stride since it could ultimately help O.W.S.’s message reach a wider segment of society. “They had those T-shirts with the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ message on it,” she said. “I ground my teeth but at the same time it’s important for other kids to ask, ‘What is Occupy Wall Street?’ and the wearer says, ‘Sit down and I’ll tell you.’ The success of a movement is all about being co-opted. That’s what happened to flower power — it suddenly became cool to be a hippie.” Among the movement’s most emblematic features, “Mic check” has allowed activists to find a new method for airing their grievances against political elites or to simply convey their message in forums where they typically feel left out. What started as a phrase indicating a desire to speak among peers became a device of protest itself, whereby activists interrupt a speaker by repeating a prearranged statement in unison. Political figures, such as President Obama, Karl Rove and presidential candidates Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul, have all been the targets of “Mic checks” in recent weeks.
Reactions have been mixed among them, with Obama and Paul allowing the protesters to speak, Rove confronting them from the podium and Bachman leaving the venue. Online videos of the encounters, meanwhile, went viral. “Do you feel better?” Paul said in response to the interruption at a Nov. 21 town hall meeting in Keene, New Hampshire. On the Web and TV, references to the protests continue to pervade news stories. Actions taken by law enforcement across the country against “Occupy” demonstrators have only increased the movement’s profile, while keeping it in the headlines. A video of Lieutenant John Pike of the University of California police “casually” pepper-spraying nonviolent protesters who refused to disperse at a Nov. 18 demonstration at U.C. Davis gained millions of YouTube views within hours. Following the outpouring of outrage over the video, the officer was suspended pending further investigation. But comedy soon followed more serious forms of coverage as the means by which millions of people are being exposed to the movement. “Saturday Night Live” is one of several high-profile TV shows to find rich material for satire in the ongoing protests. The animated series “South Park” recently devoted a full episode to a parody of the movement, complete with multiple insertions of slogans such as “We are the 99 percent.” Some New Yorkers said such satire underscores the growing need for the movement to form a more cohesive political message lest it end up becoming “the butt of a joke.” One corporate lawyer, who wished to remain anonymous, said he sympathized with the movement. He added that it has the potential to be a catalyst for big changes in the country but could just as easily become irrelevant as time passes. “The problem that I have with Occupy Wall Street is that it oversimplifies complicated issues and risks essentially turning everything into a cartoon character of itself,” he said. “I don’t want to see important messages get lost in the joke.” Some attempts to capitalize on Occupy have been openly criticized by activists. The rapper Jay-Z planned to spread the movement’s message, as well as turn a personal profit, by selling T-shirts featuring the slogan “Occupy Wall Street” through his Rocawear clothing line. Following the backlash, the clothing line released a new version. The “W” was crossed out and an “S” added to the end. “Occupy all Streets,” the T-shirts now read above the designer label. Some outside the movement said its lasting footprint within the American cultural landscape will continue to grow, but only once more artists draw inspiration from its message and commercial references to its slogans portray the movement in a more positive light.
December 1 - 7, 2011
‘Rat Castle’ variance gets O.K. but not Bean beer Continued from page 1 The project at 179 Ludlow St. was initially started in March 2006 by brothers Peter and Steven Salvesen, who, three months later, declared bankruptcy. A new developer, Michelangelo Russo, then took over the project for $5.2 million with capital funded by Goldberg. That effort, too, quickly failed because of a crash in the real estate market, and the 70 percent completed structure has stood unfinished ever since. Goldberg has now decided to try and complete the project. He plans two lowerlevel floors of commercial use totaling 2,880 square-feet, and five two-bedroom condo units above. The developer, however, needs the B.S.A. variance because his new plans exceed the maximum square footage limits on the lot, which is located between Katz’s Deli and the EarthMatters natural foods store. At the pre-Thanksgiving 6:30 p.m. meeting, attended by a small number of community residents, several board members said they were weary of listening to plan after plan for the building by Goldberg and other developers with no one ever fulfilling their promises. Board members said that over the years they had heard everything from the building being a luxury apartment building with heated balconies to it being the location of a Kabbalah Center operated by Madonna. Meghan Joye, C.B. 3 Economic Development Committee co-chairperson, said the only thing the community has ended up with is “an eyesore that’s hurting business and is dangerous.” Other board members expressed concern that the first-level commercial space would be used for a “monster club” or another liquor-selling establishment. Some expressed doubt that Goldberg would adhere to C.B.
3’s request that he “make every effort to supply community space in the building.” Arguing in favor of the variance were several community board members who said that the notoriously delayed project was a dangerous blight on the neighborhood, and that C.B. 3 should do all it could to hasten its completion. “Let them have their variance so they can finish it,” said Herman Hewitt, C.B. 3’s first vice chairperson. “We want them to go ahead with work because it’s an eyesore,” chimed in fellow board member Carlina Rivera. Rivera added, however, that she doubted Goldberg would devote any part of the building to the community. “My feeling is that it will be just another luxury co-op with no community space,” she said. Goldberg, meanwhile, who appeared at a recent C.B. 3 Land Use, Zoning, Public and Private Housing Committee meeting, tried to allay board members’ concerns by telling them he only wanted higher-end gym tenants, like Soul Cycle, to move into the lower-level commercial spaces. The final close vote recommending approval of the B.S.A. application drew groans from many opposing board members. “Let them get their variance so that they can continue to lie to us about what they will do there,” board member Thomas Parker angrily said later. “This building will do nothing for the community if we allow them to put it up,” said Joyce Ravitz, who was equally incensed at the outcome. “In a month to six months they will be giving a liquor license to someone because no one else will rent that first floor but a bar.” Harvey Epstein, who led the opposition to the variance, said the building is “too big, offers no affordable housing and doesn’t
Photo by Lincoln Anderson
Power to the people’s mic A papier-mâché people’s mic was on display at Zuccotti Park until it and the rest of the O.W.S. encampment were cleared out on Nov. 15.
belong in the neighborhood.” Dominic Pisciotta, C.B. 3 chairperson, said, “I think the plans are not really solid —especially for the lower levels — and it made me question the entirety of the project.” In other matters, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver informed the community board that his office has sent a letter to the Department of Education urging the schools chancellor to keep P.S. 137 open. The elementary school on East Broadway is in danger of closing after getting a failing performance grade from D.O.E. Parents and education advocates have argued that P.S. 137 is a good school — and that D.O.E.’s evaluation procedures are badly flawed. “Assemblyman Silver has asked the Department of Education to work with the school, parents and him to keep the school open,” Silver aide Zach Bommer told board members. In his letter to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Silver said, “I urge the D.O.E. to take the necessary steps to improve student performance at P.S. 137 and not to close this important neighborhood school.” Although the poorly attended community board meeting was held two days before Thanksgiving, it was coffee — not turkey — that was on board members’ minds as they voted to deny an application for a beer-andwine license unless certain stipulations were met at the popular The Bean coffeehouse,
which will soon open at 54 Second Ave. Among those stipulations were that The Bean, which is moving from its longtime location at 49 1/2 First Ave., operate as a full-service restaurant and coffee shop, and not have live music or D.J.-promoted events or schedule any event at which a cover fee will be charged. Richard Ropiak, C.B. 3’s Economic Development Committee co-chairperson, asked the board’s S.L.A. Policy Task Force chairperson, Alexandra Militano, “Why does a coffee shop need a liquor license?” Militano told him that she was told by the coffee shop’s operators that they “were doing it as an amenity for their customers because their customers were asking for it.” Ropiak said that did not sit well with him. He asserted that the way The Bean previously did business at its First Ave. location was “generally satisfactory to the residents who lived around it. There was never any problem with it being a coffee shop,” he said. “It was a friendly coffee shop and that’s what it should be. It should not involve alcohol.” In an earlier interview, a spokesman for The Bean said that serving wine and beer “is a way to add something. But we will be very careful not to let that change what we’re really all about,” the spokesperson said. “Our intention is to maintain the feeling and vitality of the shop we operated on First Ave.”
December 1 - 7, 2011
For Natalie Wood: A new look at a corny old Splendor NOTEBOOK BY JERRY TALLMER This past Saturday night I turned on the tube for no reason at all and was brought up short by the opening titles of a motion picture I hadn’t seen in thirty or forty years. Somebody at Turner Classic Movies — Ted Turner maybe? — had had the dazzlingly bad taste to regale us, in the shadow of the re-death of Natalie Wood, with Elia Kazan’s 1961 “Splendor in the Grass.” For the next couple of hours I couldn’t move, could hardly breathe. This is the movie in which, en route to nervous breakdown, lovely Deanie Loomis, the good girl whose mind and body hunger to be a lot less good, twice attempts to drown herself, once in a bathtub (I’d forgotten that), once in a pool at the foot of a waterfall. We’ve lately heard a whole lot all over again about Natalie Wood’s lifelong (life short?) fear of darkness and drowning. Way back when it had first come upon us, I had thought “Splendor in the Grass”
It matters not that Warren Beatty, then 24, a year older than Ms. Wood, is wooden as a stick as Bud. a pretty sappy piece of goods, Kazan plus William Inge (screenplay), plus kitsch kitsch kitsch, as Marlene Dietrich would say. All these overgrown, post-adolescent, supposedto-be high-school people hung up on sex and virginity and the Big O — in Kansas, yet — ah there, Dorothy! — while exploding in pieces all around them is the all but totally ignored real world. Which, come to think of it, is part of the film’s subtext. And now, all these years later, all of that drops away, and what remains, for me, is one exquisite, scared, doomed Deanie / Natalie
groping her way, haltingly, in the classroom, word by glowing word, to the deep regenerative ever-recurring truth and beauty of: What though the radiance which was once so bright Be now forever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind It matters not that Warren Beatty, then 24, a year older than Ms. Wood (who had, however, starred in “Miracle on 34th Street” when she was 9), is wooden as a stick as Bud, the rich boy and football hero with whom Deanie does and does not want to go all the way. (Don’t worry, Beatty will presently open up as actor, director, producer and citizen. And Natalie Wood will go on to be even more desirable opposite Steve McQueen in a movie about semi-grown-up romance, “Love With the Proper Stranger.”)
What was even more heart-tugging for yours truly, gripped by the tube last Saturday night, was all the old familiar faces and talents from the Kazan / Actors’ Studio workshop: Pat Hingle as Bud’s roaring, bullying father; Audrey Christie as Deanie’s stoical mother; Barbara Loden (subsequently a Mrs. Elia Kazan) in a slambang performance as Bud’s hell-raising sister; Fred Stewart as the other father; gorgeous Zohra Lampert as the girl Bud actually marries; and Crystal Field — yes, our own Crystal Field of Off Broadway’s Theater for the New City — as one of Deanie’s high-school chums. “Splendor in the Grass” first came upon us in 1961. One evening in the summer of that year or the next, I sat on a bench under the great old tree in the northwest corner of Washington Square Park, across the way from the building where Uta Hagen lived. And there, under the persuasions of a Village maiden and, well, a little grass, I looked up at every single leaf of the thousands on that great tree, and for the first time in my life grasped what Wordsworth was telling us about immortality. With or without the waters off Catalina Island.
Rosemarie Gregory, 78, mother of E. Villager’s ad rep OBITUARY Rosemarie Antoinette Rich Gregory passed away on Oct. 12, at Kaaterskill Care Nursing Home in Catskill, N.Y. Her son, Colin K. Gregory, is a longtime advertising account executive for Community Media, which publishes The Villager and East Villager. Rosemarie was born on April 17, 1933, to Anthony Rich and Mariella Porto Rich in Athens, N.Y. Her siblings were John Rich Sr. and Clara Rich Burger. She attended St. Patrick’s High School in Catskill, where she was a cheerleader. She met her future husband of 55 years, Albert E. Gregory, through her brother-inlaw William Burger, who was married to sister Clara. Albert was an IBM employee for 30 years
and a part-time bartender for the family-run business, Rip Van Winkle Restaurant and Motel, which was owned by her parents. Rosemarie, a lifelong Catskillian, was a waitress there for 30 years. Colin was her only child. “While my Dad was away in the service, she worked for the local pharmacy on Main St. and briefly dated the pharmacist,” her son recalled. “My Dad, from long distance, wooed her back and lived up to his promise quote in the Catskill High School Yearbook, where he said he wanted to marry Rose and live with her for 99 years.” “Coach Rose” was an avid Yankee fan to the end, always trying to convert her sister, a Met fan. Later in life, they both came to common ground in regard to their teams. Rosemarie was a faithful churchgoer and supporter of St. Patrick’s Church for most of her life.
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Fondest and funny memories of Rosemarie were shared by family and friends during her memorial, hosted by her son and grandson, Kyrie, on Nov. 5 at Travers McCurry Funeral Home in Jefferson Heights, N.Y. A beautiful photo poster was made by her granddaughter, Amadaline, and Colin’s girlfriend, Barbara Isaacs, in memory of her. Michael McCurry, owner of the funeral home, described Rose in one word by saying she was “feisty.” Friends Eleanor and Ken Buno remembered her as loyal, witty and having a kind heart. She is survived by her son, Colin; grandchildren, Kyrie and Amadaline; two great-grandchildren, Seyjin and Kaztyel; and plenty of nieces and nephews. Said Colin, “As promised by my Dad, we hope and pray that they are living the next 44 years in the other universe.”
Officer hunks will serve up beef The Annual Police Roast Beef Dinner — featuring a delicious meal served by officers from Greenwich Village’s Sixth Precinct — will be held on Tues., Dec. 6,
from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Our Lady of Pompei Senior Center, Father Demo Hall, at Bleecker and Carmine Sts. Admission is $12 at the door.
BIG FUN! SMALL BUCKS!
Sun. $3.50 Screwdrivers & our famous Bloody Mary’s, $2.50 Miller Lite Drafts & Bud Bottles
Mon. $4 Mojito’s all flavors Tues. $2 Margarita’s CHEAP-EEZ COCKTAILS (except Fri. & Sat.) - Coors & Pabst Cans $3,
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Rootbeer Floats $3, Sloe Gin Fizz $2, Tom Collins $3, Whiskey Sours $3, Rum Lime Ricky $3
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December 1 - 7, 2011
Applause and ‘monster claws’ for new Gaga photo book BY BOB KRASNER Lady Gaga may be the poster girl for outrageousness, but that’s not the reason for her success. She may only be 25, but as a singer and songwriter she’s got talent to burn. She is not afraid to stand up and advocate for the L.G.B.T. community, AIDS research or women’s rights and she contributes regularly to humanitarian causes. Her song “Born This Way” is on its way to becoming an anthem for a generation. Hundreds of members of that generation camped out two weeks ago to preorder the new book “Lady Gaga X Terry Richardson,” a photographic collaboration between her and the provocative fashion photographer. The fans drove in from all over, some spending 20 hours or more in front of the New Museum on the Bowery on Monday evening Nov. 14 into Tuesday morning Nov. 15. The outdoor overnighter was a bonding experience for some, like Amanda Beltran. “We met lots of people who were just like us. It was great,” said the 23-year-old. Three hundred of those people came back and stood in the rain a week later, waiting to get their books signed by both artists. They flashed the famous Gaga “monster claws” symbol for photographers. While the book is readily available elsewhere, only 300 were slated to be signed at the museum. When asked why they were there, the fans’ answers ranged from, “We’ve been obsessed with her for years” to “It’s her message of acceptance and equality.” Aaron Alomso, an 18-year-old F.I.T. student, summed it up succinctly: “We are in love with Lady Gaga.”
Photos by Bob Krasner
December 1 - 7, 2011
Photos by Clayton Patterson
Bonfires to band shell: Occupying East Village style The idea of “occupy,” as in Occupy Wall Street, might seem like a new one. But in the 1990s, the East Village and Lower East Side saw the continuation of an ongoing fight over who would “occupy” the neighborhood — radicals and squatters or housing development groups and the police. In 1996, documentarian Clayton Patterson draped an “Occupied Not for Sale” banner on the Eighth St. Shul, above left, which a few years later was cleared of squatters and redeveloped residentially. While police have been arresting O.W.S. marchers if they just step off the sidewalk, back in 1991, Avenue A was regularly taken over by mobs of squatters and activists protesting a park curfew, who lit bonfires in the street and gathered bottles to throw at police, above right. In 1991, the Tompkins Square Park band shell was occupied by the homeless, including a fan of Freddy of horror movie fame, below right. By 1990, police had also started putting the press in pens, keeping them at distance from the action, as seen in the photo, below left, which was the same thing police did when they recently cleared the O.W.S. tent city from Zuccotti Park.
December 1 - 7, 2011
Tagging tables and whacking winners at Pongtopia! BY BOB KRASNER If you are not among those who take ping-pong seriously, it may be time to start. The World Financial Center’s Winter Garden was recently the venue for Pongtopia! — Lower Manhattan’s first major table tennis festival — and the playing was fiercely entertaining. Over a period of three days, Arts Brookfield, in collaboration with SPiN Galactic (a ping-pong club whose creators include Susan Sarandon), presented a variety of events that made one want to grab a paddle and feel the thrill of watching that little white ball fly past your opponent’s paddle. Capping off the festival, DJ’s spun tunes while an international group of players spun the balls in a round-robin tournament, competing for a cup and $1,000. The big winner was Operation Design, a nonprofit group that partners architects, designers and artists with New York City public schools to develop innovative creative programs. The event raised more than $24,000 for the group, much of it from the live-auction sales of five ping-pong tables painted by renowned graffiti artists Billi Kid, Cern, Joe Iurato, Shiro and Cope2, the latter whose table earned the highest bid of $5,500. Custom-painted paddles, 40 in all, were also sold. Watching the masters at work left no doubt as to the skill involved. Showmanship was part of it, too, especially when Wally Green gave some willing amateurs a chance to compete against him and his paddle — which, in this case, was a cell phone. Little girls to little old ladies gave it their best shot, which points to the enduring appeal of the game. Anyone can play — some of those players are just better than you. Photos by Bob Krasner
December 1 - 7, 2011
gate and smashed the window beneath it. Despite extensive damage, the diner opened later that morning.
you,” the complaint says. The defendant stayed all night and the victim discovered him in bed with her at 7 a.m. attempting to have oral sex with her. He again threatened to kill her and demanded that she not appear against him in court, according to the complaint. He is charged with intimidating a victim/ witness and three counts of criminal contempt for violating the court order.
Subway platform groper
Stuy Town suspect arrest
Samuel Mangum, 50, was charged with sexual abuse for groping a woman, 42, on the platform of the Broadway/Lafayette St. subway station at Houston St. on Thurs., Nov. 10.
Police arrested Henry Huggins, 51, on Mon., Nov. 28, in connection with two muggings of elderly victims in Stuyvesant Town. On Nov. 23, he is charged with knocking a man, 71, to the floor in the lobby of his E. 20th St. building and stealing $400. The victim sustained a broken shoulder. He is also charged with robbing a 77-year-old man in the lobby of his First Ave. building on Nov. 3 and fleeing with $440. In both incidents, the victims had just withdrawn cash from a bank A.T.M. Huggins has prior arrests for robbery, forgery and drug offenses, according to a Daily News item.
POLICE BLOTTER Fiery South St. crash Two drivers were injured when their cars crashed around 4:30 a.m. Sat., Nov. 26, beneath the F.D.R. Dr. on South St. near Clinton St., police said. The impact sent one car across the northbound lane before it jumped the curb, crashed into a steel support of the elevated road and burst into flame. Both drivers were taken to Bellevue Hospital with serious injuries. One of drivers, Jessie Strauss, 29, identified by police as an employee of the city’s Business Integrity Commission, was charged with driving while intoxicated.
News truck hits diner An out-of-control Daily News delivery truck crashed into the Olympia Diner shortly before 1:30 a.m. Tues., Nov. 29, injuring the driver and the helper in the truck. The injured were taken to Bellevue. The truck was headed east on Delancey when it went out of control, jumped the curb, slammed into the diner’s roll-down
Threatens to kill girlfriend William Geberth, who was arrested on Oct. 11 for head-butting and threatening to kill his girlfriend in her W. 23rd St. apartment, was charged with threatening her by telephone from jail on Nov. 12, according to the complaint filed with the Manhattan district attorney. “You got me in here, you get me out,” Geberth told the victim, who put up $500 to bail him out. He turned up at her apartment that day despite a court order to stay away and told her “If you call the cops, I will kill
Christmas S S : CHEDULE OF
ST. ANTHONY CHURCH 154 Sullivan Street New York, NY 10012 (212) 777-2755
Survives subway hit
obtain a bank card from the Amalgamated Bank branch at 10 E. 14th St. around 9:30 a.m. Tues., Nov. 22.
Used account creatively The owner of Creative License, a music licensing and talent provider with an office at 71 Eighth Ave., near 14th St., told police last week that a former employee, Lisa Steenmetz, stole $7,000 from the company’s expense account by making a series of unauthorized withdrawals between Feb. 15 and May 11 of this year. He said he delayed reporting the thefts because he and an auditor were conducting their own investigation.
Car thefts A woman parked her 2001 Toyota in front of 481 Washington St. near Canal at 1:24 a.m. Sat., Nov. 26, and returned the next day at 1:45 a.m. to find broken glass at the spot but no car. A surveillance camera recorded two young thieves breaking a window, rummaging through the car and leaving but returning later and driving off with the car. A man who parked his car in front of 99 Vandam St. at 10:15 a.m. returned at 2 p.m. the next day to find it had been stolen.
A man hit by a train on the northbound track of the N and R platform of the Union Square station about 4:20 p.m. Wed., Nov. 23, was found wedged between the train and the ladder that leads from the track bed to the platform. An Emergency Medical Service team took the victim to Bellevue Hospital where he was listed in stable condition. No criminality is suspected and police are investigating the case.
A man who had just bought a new MacBook felt the bag slip from his shoulder at 4 p.m. Fri., Nov. 25, while he was walking on the corner of Broadway and Prince St. He discovered that his new computer was gone.
Horse and brass
Police arrested Christopher Edwards, 36, and Wesley Murphy, 32, around 11:50 p.m. Fri., Nov. 25, and charged them with using heroin “in open public view” in front of 200 Waverly Place. Murphy also faces a weapons charge for having a pair of brass knuckles.
A man who walked into the crowded Lacoste shop at 541 Broadway between Spring and Prince Sts. around 6 p.m. Fri., Nov. 25, managed to shove more than 50 shirts with a total value of $3,140 into his bag and walk out without paying for them.
Soho laptop lift
December 24 5:00PM - Vigil Mass for Christmas
December 25 - Christmas 12 MIDNIGHT - Mass of the Nativity preceded Christmas carols begin at 11:30pm
ID thefts 9:00AM - Mass of the Nativity 11:00AM - Mass of the Nativity
Hyunil Lee, 25, was charged with ID theft at 2:16 p.m. Fri., Nov. 25, for using a forged Chinese passport with a name not his own in order to open an account in the Bank of America branch at 36 E. 14th St. Junior Darbouze, 27, was charged with using another person’s driver’s license to
Knockoff knockdown A man who was selling counterfeit brand clothes in front of 301 Canal St. near Broadway around 4 p.m. Sat., Nov. 26, was charged with assault for resisting arrest and pulling a police officer to the ground with him during a struggle.
Keep on top of local crime
THE POLICE BLOTTER
Alber t Amateau
December 1 - 7, 2011
Officers in porn busts off hook BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD A unanimous federal appeals panel, reversing a district court ruling, has granted summary judgment to the City of New York, Mayor Bloomberg and individual undercover police officers, finding that the officers enjoyed qualified immunity from liability for a gay man’s claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution for prostitution at an adult video store in 2008. The city succeeded in arguing that one arrest could not demonstrate an official policy. Robert Pinter, 52 when arrested, alleged he was wrongly caught up in a police sting operation targeting gay men patronizing stores selling sexually oriented materials in order to support efforts to close the stores as “public nuisances.” On Nov. 18, the Second Circuit panel reversed District Judge Shira Scheindlin’s denial of summary judgment for false arrest and malicious prosecution. But the panel upheld Scheindlin’s decision to let Pinter’s claims of abuse of process, sexual-orientation discrimination and denial of the right of free association proceed. The incident occurred when Pinter visited the Blue Door video store in Chelsea in October 2008. A young man stared at him, flirted and initiated conversation, asking, “What do you like to do?” Pinter responded that the man was “good-looking” and said he liked oral sex. The young man responded in kind, voiced hesitancy about doing anything in the store, and suggested his car was parked nearby. Pinter walked to the exit, followed by the young man, who in fact was an undercover police officer, identified in court papers as UC 31107. As they were exiting, UC 31107 said he would pay Pinter $50 for oral sex. Pinter made no verbal response, though he later testified he immediately decided that any possibility of doing anything with the young man “was over.” After they stepped outside, the young man gestured toward his car, which he and Pinter headed for, engaging in “flirtation,” when suddenly two plainclothes police officers rushed up and arrested Pinter, spiriting him away in a police van. An officer told Pinter he was being arrested for prostitution. Pinter responded, “You’ve got to be kidding me... . Your officer approached me, butted his nose into my business, and created this whole incident.” A few days later, Pinter pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to conditional discharge, five counseling sessions and a $120 fine. Soon after, however, Pinter thought better of his decision and contacted the East Villager’s sister paper Gay City News. When subsequent reporting suggested a pattern of entrapment of middle-aged gay men clearly not prostitutes, and gay community members and political leaders responded with criticism of the arrests, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed some pending prosecutions. After Pinter moved to vacate his conviction, the D.A. announced he would not oppose it, though maintaining there was “probable cause” for his arrest. Pinter then filed suit, alleging there was a
city policy of “making probable cause-lacking false arrests for the purpose of obtaining a data base of arrests, which was to be utilized in independent nuisance-abatement civil litigations...against certain targeted businesses, among them the Blue Door.”
‘Your officer approached me, butted his nose into my business, and created this whole incident.’ Robert Pinter
Gay City News reported that Manhattan South Vice Enforcement Squad arrested at least 30 men, many middle-aged, for prostitution in six porn shops in 2008. Another 11 men and a woman were busted for prostitution in two spas that year. The same officers made most of the arrests. The city’s Law Department, the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement and the Police Department’s legal unit cited the arrests in nuisance-abatement lawsuits against those businesses. Qualified immunity means an officer could have believed he had probable cause to make the bust. However, explaining why this defense did not apply, Scheindlin wrote, “No competent officer could reasonably believe that it was probable that Pinter committed prostitution where the undercover knew that [the officer] initiated the contact, steered the conversation toward sex, took steps toward the location where the sex act was to occur, raised the issue of cash-for-sex, faced silences as to whether Pinter meant to accept the cash, continued walking toward the specified location, initiated further conversation about sex, and knew that Pinter was 52 years old. And there was no impediment to prevent the undercover from quickly pursuing a simple inquiry to ascertain additional information about whether Pinter had accepted or declined a fee offer.” But Pinter’s failure to tell the undercover he wasn’t interested in money for sex, while continuing to walk and flirt with him, weighed heavily in the appeals panel’s thinking. Pinter can still argue the city was misusing the criminal process to shut Blue Door down on grounds it harbored male prostitutes — and that his arrest was part of a policy targeting gays who were shopping for legally distributed matter at adult establishments the city sought to close. Pinter said of the ruling, “I am disappointed. It is a bad, legally flawed decision, laced with deepseated homophobic assumptions about the facts... . I felt morally compelled to come forward three years ago… . The outcry against the corrupt, unethical police operation that generated these arrests became so pervasive that in March 2009 N.Y.P.D. Commissioner Kelly gave an order that, in effect, shut it down.”
Medicare’s Uncertain Future By Emma DeVito Congress’ special gift to seniors this holiday season is the continued uncertainty over what’s to become of Medicare. Medicare is one of the legs of the proverbial three-legged stool of New Deal and Great Society entitlements, with the others being Social Security and Medicaid. It is no exaggeration to say, as The New York Times did recently, that Medicare is nothing less than a lifeline for older adults. Medicare, created a generation ago, is the provider of health insurance for some 49 million seniors and disabled Americans. It covers almost everyone 65 and older, including many who might otherwise be unable to obtain insurance in the private market, or, if they could, would have to pay exorbitant rates. Medicare, of course, wasn’t created on a whim, but came to be in an era when seniors too often found themselves without the protection of health insurance, when catastrophic illness would cause financial ruin to elderly families. Even everyday health care costs were a burden in a time that preceded the spiraling health costs of today. Congress’s “supercommiteee” admitted that it failed to come up with a federal deficit reduction plan just before its Thanksgiving deadline, putting in play something called “sequester.” That fancy word refers to a broad range of across-the-board cuts to the federal budget over the next ten years that would be automatic actions designed to achieve $1.2 trillion in reductions. Medicaid and Social Security are specifically exempt from this sequester process. Medicare is not, facing cuts of up to 2 percent, which would be made up of reduced payments to health providers. Much is being said about Medicare – even a Times editorial talked about “reining in Medicare costs.” The political division, however, is palpable. There are those who see a need to control costs but understand that Medicare needs to be able to continue to provide older adults with necessary and quality health care. Others would cut costs by ripping apart the existing structure and replacing it with some privatization scheme. Our experience to date with privatizing certain aspects of Medicare hasn’t been so hot. The Bush administration’s insurer-driven Part D prescription drug plan has been a costly program addition. It has improved seniors’ access to prescription drugs, but clearly has a number of shortcomings. Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurers – popular as they have become – simply cost too much, perhaps 18 percent more than traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Obama health care reform already cuts Medicare by some $400 billion over the next decade, something Democrats were pounded mercilessly over during last year’s elections by Republicans projecting themselves as the “saviors” of Medicare. The Obama cuts, however, come about primarily through the elimination of the additional, excessive payments to the private Advantage plans. Medicare, an invaluable program that needs careful and thoughtful modification, is pretty much under a full assault from the political right. The right’s most popular replacement for fee-for-service payments would be to change Medicare to a premium-support voucher program that would be used by beneficiaries to purchase private insurance. Of course, premium support is seen as saving plenty of money, and opponents fear that costs are going to be passed on to beneficiaries, who will end up paying more. How far we have come from just a few short years ago when the debate and discussion over a national health care program still left open the possibility of a “single-payer” system. You may recall that there were many who argued that we already had a model for single-payer health care, one “that works.” They, of course, were talking about Medicare. How naïve we were. A Time for Giving Each year at this time, I remind you that this is when you should consider giving charitable organizations as much support as you can. As much as the community relies on the work of charitable organizations and not-for-profit care providers, they rely on you. Your donations help sustain these many worthwhile organizations in the Village and its surrounding communities, helping them to fulfill their mission of community service. We all know that government, with its own deficit problems at the state and national levels, continues to cut back on providing financial resources for these organizations, particularly those that provide care and services for needy and frail persons. That makes your giving all the more important. Community-based providers of care and services are in danger of disappearing, which would be such a great loss to our community. Please take time this year once again to show how much you care All not-for-profits are struggling desperately to continue to provide the basic care and services that many of our New Yorkers require – especially for frail older adults, persons living with HIV/AIDS and others with disabilities and chronic conditions. Let’s show those who are in need that they are not alone. Please support a community-based organization whose work resonates with you, and give as generously as possible. (Ms. DeVito is president and chief executive officer of not-for-profit VillageCare, which serves some 12,000 persons annually in community-based and residential care programs for older adults and those living with HIV/AIDS.)
December 1 - 7, 2011
EDITORIAL B.R.C., a good neighbor Some neighbors greet new arrivals with best wishes and hands extended in friendship. Others reserve judgment until a newcomer’s accumulated deeds prove their worth. A vocal few, however, steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the established presence of a worthy addition — and, in doing so, erode the integrity of the very community they purport to defend. The Bowery Residents’ Committee has been operating programs out of their 127 W. 25th St. location since the end of July. For more than a year, a succession of court decisions have consistently validated B.R.C.’s right to be here. We’re glad they are — because the organization’s ambitious new vertical campus is providing an invaluable service not only to Chelsea, but to the entire city of New York. Although this new facility accommodates a significantly larger number of clients than were served at its Lafayette St. and Bowery locations, B.R.C. has answered concerns raised by neighbors in a timely, efficient and effective manner — dispatching mobile response teams within minutes of receiving quality-of-life complaints, and removing troublesome clients from the premises. Since the day this facility has opened, we’ve made a point to walk the block often, and at all hours — and have found little if any evidence to support claims of disheveled, inebriated, sexually menacing panhandlers out of proportion to what one regularly finds elsewhere in the surrounding area. More often, we’ve found minor quality-of-life infractions, such as sidewalk congestion and smoking, being committed by those who work on the block or passersby whose upscale aesthetics suggest they are not affiliated with B.R.C. After seeing this facility go through a long, necessary and very public vetting process, we now have an obligation (rooted as much in morality as good citizenship) to acknowledge the reality of B.R.C.’s presence — while working with them in order to ensure that the neighborhood’s quality of life remains intact. Although the shelter’s size was a source of legitimate dispute, few who’ve made even a cursory effort to examine B.R.C.’s track record can discredit their effectiveness. It is disheartening to see some of our neighbors using their public position and considerable financial resources to mount ongoing legal actions while dismissing and challenging every court decision favorable to B.R.C. Such actions are made even less palatable given the fact that the Chelsea Flatiron Coalition has yet to accept an open offer from B.R.C. Executive Director Muzzy Rosenblatt to tour the facility — or join other individuals and local organizations in attending B.R.C.’s Community Advisory Committee meetings (held at 5:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month). We encourage all concerned individuals to attend these meetings, where Rosenblatt himself will address your concerns. To see the B.R.C. facility and speak with its clients (as we have) is to respect and admire the difficult work of achieving and maintaining sobriety. Even a brief amount of time spent on their Web site (brc.org) will serve as an effective primer to understanding the integrity and dedication that B.R.C. brings to its mission of taking addicts off the street, facilitating their sobriety and placing them in stable living situations. For years, they’ve offered long-term stability to any individual willing to make a sincere commitment — all while having no discernable impact on the surrounding area’s public safety or property values. Unprecedented and ambitious as it is in size, we’re nevertheless proud to welcome B.R.C. to Chelsea — and confident that it will become a model for the city, state and country. Like the clients whose lives this organization helps turn around, it’s time for B.R.C.’s opponents to come in from the cold.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Board 2 could use O.W.S. To The Editor: Re “Occupy is still preoccupied with Trinity lot for its ‘home’” (news article, Nov. 24): There is room in this inn. Our community needs more people who volunteer in community service — and that is what Occupy Wall Street pledges to do. Trinity and Community Board 2 should welcome them at the Canal St. site with two provisos: that they help the community, and that they leave when construction of the new school begins. Keen Berger
Revolutionary spirit To The Editor: Re “Occupy is still preoccupied with Trinity lot for its ‘home’” (news article, Nov. 24): The occupiers should camp in the graveyards of Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel where the American Revolution’s heroes are buried. And Trinity Church should welcome them. Cy Adler
My Occupy wish list To The Editor: First, let me say how happy I am that this movement is gathering momentum and energy, riding a wave of success in the wake of its worldwide actions on Nov. 17 Watching Donald Trump on Fox the day after these triumphant protests, I noticed something interesting. The Donald issued a lengthy, scathing critique of outsourcing, globalization and corporate control of politics. He almost sounded like a liberal! My gut feeling is that this is a direct result of O.W.S. morphing into the political phenomenon of our time. It’s enough to make a Republican want to do the right (with a small “r”) thing! Though it has resisted a list of specific demands up to now, I don’t believe it undermines O.W.S.’s mission of raising consciousness and being a systemic force for political, cultural and social change for it to include such a concrete wish list. I see it more as a both/and, rather than an either/ or situation. Being specific about demands can also help
O.W.S. form its own electoral component — and run its own slate of candidates (from the president on down) in the 2012 elections. Here is my list, though I welcome others to create their own: 1. Repeal Citizen’s United immediately. Elections need to be funded fairly by public, not private money. 2. Raise the top tax rate back to 75 percent. Trickle-down economics simply doesn’t work, despite what the Ayn Rand cultists say. 3. Create full employment with a New Deal-like jobs program, with a focus on “green energy,” high-speed rail and medical research. 4. Curb Wall St.’s excesses by banning toxic instruments, like derivatives, C.D.O.s and “put options” — which, incredibly, allow you to bet that a company will fail! 5. Provide free universal healthcare for all, with a public option. 6. Establish a 25-hour work week. 7. Make deep education reforms, with an emphasis not just on math and science, but also on critical thinking, history, the arts and the moral imagination. This is by no means a radical platform. There are folks on the far left, emboldened by O.W.S., who want to eliminate capitalism completely. If the callous “let them eat cake” austerity hawks, like the Scott Walkers and Rick Perrys (and Obama who, though he puts on a slick front, is really in Wall St.’s pocket), continue to be the political face of America, expect these more radical movements to only get stronger — like they did in the 1930s. John Bredin Bredin is a member, Village Independent Democrats
Outsourcing is killing us To The Editor: Re “A question for Donald Trump on losing our jobs base” (Clayton, Nov. 17): ROTHCO is one of the largest companies that sells American military uniforms. Its Web site stated that the head office was in Long Island. I called what I thought was the head office. I could hardly understand the person on the phone. It turns out that the office is in the Philippines. The politicians are always blaming each other about who
The Super Committee merry-go-round!
Continued on page 20
December 1 - 7, 2011
New York City needs the creative ferment of O.W.S. TALKING POINT BY K WEBSTER You can tell that it’s time for a society to rethink itself when it justifies trashing books. The destruction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment and its 5,000-book library raises many questions. Like how exactly do you get free speech in a country where the ownership of the means to communicate is so grotesquely concentrated in the hands of the wealthy? Where corporations buy unlimited speech while people have to resort to cardboard signs? And sorry, but whenever I hear too much moral outrage about private property rights in relation to Zuccotti Park I can’t help but think about whose backs those “rights” were historically and literally built on. But I want to stick with the idea of books, the arts and ideas — this is, after all, New York City. Where is New York’s gritty art scene? Where is its edgy, daring, life-loving, risk-taking self? Where are this generation’s Beat poets? It’s Harlem Renaissance? It’s Nuyorican Cafes? Where are the Abstract Expressionists? Where is this generation’s punk scene, jazz scene? Any arts scene? Despite stereotypes to the contrary, artists and other
thinkers flourish when they have peers nearby. That’s why we see so much tepid artwork these days — no one can afford to live here and build arts communities. No one can think flexibly, give voice to life’s complexity or gather courage to challenge what is known, in the face of isolation.
It was messy, yes. But nothing worth creating is ever tidy. Mayor Bloomberg prides himself on his support of the arts. Yet probably the most stunning, provocative, intelligent, edgy work of human creativity to hit this town in a very long time was the Occupy Wall Street movement. Signage that is pure poetry, a library, puppeteers, photography, performance art, sculptural inventiveness (those bikes!), dance and language (those hand signals!). Messy, yes. Needing to work at being better neighbors, yes. But nothing worth creating is ever tidy. Artists have always struggled to fit in. It goes with the territory.
The removal of the O.W.S. encampment with its astonishing spark of life will haunt us. And while you can’t destroy an idea whose time has come, you can destroy communities. (Back to our history again.) And what is lost is incalculable. This community was earnestly trying to find solutions, to practice democracy and sustainability, and dusting off art forms to find their relevance. Ideas were being generated and tried out. Young people were trying to get a handle on their future. Some of us passionately support O.W.S. because at least it is trying to grapple honestly, with humor and ingenuity, with the enormous mess created by the 1 percent in this country. It is an irony, a bitter irony, that in hollow and dishonest words, one of the wealthiest men in America claimed to be “protecting” us. From what exactly? Thinking? It is a bitter irony that people who were trying to find our future were ordered evicted and arrested, while the people who literally stole our future were ordered guarded by our police force. An irony that a park, whose new rules must be obeyed, is cleared out in record time. But the stinking mass of corruption and theft that lies not two blocks from O.W.S. sits rotting for decades. We are in serious trouble. We need ideas. But this mayor just evicted one of the most hopeful think tanks in generations.
AIDS memorial is fitting for community of conscience TALKING POINT
had a vision. They decided to create a community park and learning center in the neighborhood whose response to the pandemic set an example for the nation and the world.
BY MICHAEL SELTZER Greenwich Villagers have much in our history to give us an immense sense of pride. Leading writers, poets, entertainers and humanitarians, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Willa Cather, to name just a few, can all claim important connections to our blocks. In 1981, we started on the road to a new moniker — the most notable “neighborhood of conscience” in the nation and perhaps the world. It was then when our community began to bear witness to the impact of the most devastating disease of our lifetime. In the 30-plus subsequent years, more than 100,000 New Yorkers would lose their lives to what would become known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn found their way to the Village like their fellow Midwesterners Eileen and Ruth Sherwood, of “My Sister Eileen” fame, did 70-plus years before. They represent a generation of gay men who have lived their entire lives in the shadows of the AIDS pandemic. When they arrived in our city, they found themselves both surprised and angry that there was so little historical evidence of the greatest public health threat of our time. Not unlike the founders of the High Line, Chris and Paul
After all, it was Greenwich Village where AIDS took its greatest toll from the very earliest days. After all, it was Greenwich Village where AIDS took its greatest toll from the very earliest days. Before very long, everyone in the Village would lose loved ones, cherished friends, colleagues and neighbors. St. Vincent’s Hospital, under the leadership of the Sisters of Charity, became the destination for men, women, children and infants stricken by AIDS-related conditions. Throughout its history, the Village has prided itself as a haven for artists, bohemians, intellectuals and activists. It’s role as a safe haven can be traced back to 1822 when thousands of Lower Manhattan residents fled here to escape a yellow fever epidemic. Member of the New York Press Association
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Our finest hour as a community, however, arguably could have been during the era of AIDS. When the responses of other locales to the AIDS crisis in their midst ranged from intolerance to outright hostility, our “Village” came together united in love, support, compassion and activism. We were all “affected” by AIDS. Villagers from every walk of life overnight became care partners, activists and lifelines to individuals who were in many cases homebound and jobless. A number of our neighbors founded remarkable nonprofit organizations, such as GMHC; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center; Housing Works; and ACT UP. Pre-existing organizations, like VillageCare, expanded their array of support services to help both the infected and the affected. Our myriad daily efforts inspired other communities that soon would also face the same scourge. Today, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pay tribute to our neighborhood and to impart our history to future generations. Once all the approvals are secured, Greenwich Village will have a stunning, new community park, a world-class, basementlevel learning center, and a new gathering place for our community’s use. This is a cause worthy of all Villagers’ support. Seltzer is a member, AIDS Memorial Park Steering Committee
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December 1 - 7, 2011
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
RICHARD BRYAN ATTORNEY, P.C.
Continued from page 18
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