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Four seasons oF Joy as hotel work resumes BY J O Sh r O g e r S he groundbreaking was five years ago, but the construction celebration was Tuesday as work to build a Four Seasons hotel is once again in motion a block from the World Trade Center. Developer Larry Silverstein told Downtown Express there was no chance the project will ever get stalled again. “We’ve got the financing, it’s going [to happen —] 100 percent absolutely,” he said immediately


Continued on page 18

Progressives move to name sPeaker BY PA u l SC h iNd l e r espite a mushrooming of candidate debates around town, the race for City Council speaker is limited to just 51 voters. But that’s not to say that this year’s seven announced candidates have suddenly decided to open up to a wider constituency an exclusive prerogative councilmembers previously guarded jealously. In fact, individual members have often enjoyed little leeway in casting their vote for speaker.


Continued on page 8


Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess

Chabad Battery Park City naturally celebrated the seventh night of Hanukkah Tuesday with a menorah lighting, but the congregation also had a large replica of Noah’s Ark on hand for children. More photos, P. 31.

Advocates push for 1 more school below Canal St. BY SAM SPOKON Y chool advocates are still reeling from the recent announcement that the city’s Department of Education plans to build only one new 456-seat school below Canal St. as part of its five-year capital budget. Many, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, believed that two schools of that size


would be coming to Community Board 1, which is set to face more overcrowding as residential neighborhoods like the Financial District and Battery Park City continue to grow at faster rates than most others throughout the city. “I was disappointed to learn that only one new school is planned,” Silver said at the Dec. 3 meeting of his School Overcrowding Task Force. “I’m

asking D.O.E. to have at least 1,000 seats in C.B. 1 by the time the plan is finalized [next June].” Michael Mirisola, a representative of D.O.E.’s School Construction Authority, had made the announcement at a District 2 Community Education Council meeting last month. He explained that the

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Continued on page 6


December 4 - December 17, 2013

Seasonal Tidbits

Don’t count Larry Silverstein as one of the big developers who’s worried about incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign rhetoric about development. At Tuesday groundbreaking ceremony not attended by the next Hizzoner, Silverstein said “I’d like to thank Mayorelect de Blasio, who’s always been a strong supporter of all of our efforts in rebuilding Lower Manhattan into what it is today.” The World Trade Center developer was happy to celebrate construction on his Four Seasons project near the W.T.C., perhaps so much so that he flubbed the name of Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson, calling her “Mary” a few times during his formal remarks. Hughes, for her part, did not seem to take offense.

ns o i t w lica t. o N pp en a g llm in nro t p e ce for c a

Before things got started, we spoke to the lady we call Catherine about another subject. Hughes said she’s glad New York Rising’s border in Lower Manhattan has moved up to 14th St. from Chambers St. because she said those Downtown neighborhoods clearly need to be part of the conversation about preparing for future hurricanes. Though she is not ready to back a further expansion to West Chelsea and through the East 20s favored by at least a few including Councilmember Margaret Chin and State Sen. Brad Hoylman. Hughes, who co-chairs the Downtown committee, and others have said the $25 million in state funds set aside for Southern Manhattan will only go so far.

B.P.C. Layoffs

Matthew Monahan has had two stints as the chief spokesperson at the Battery Park City Authority, indirectly serving under both Gov. Cuomos, but he is one of at least two victims of the latest cutbacks at the authority, and is no longer permitted to speak with the press. Kevin McCabe, assistant to the authority’s chairperson Dennis Mehiel, told us that he has taken over Monahan’s press responsibilities. Monahan and Anne Fenton, deputy chief operating officer, will be leaving at the end of the month due to a staff “realignment.” “They are providing transition support for the next several weeks but are not

responding to the daily flow of events; hence I am the current point of contact for these matters,” McCabe wrote us in an email. He also said Phyllis Taylor, executive vice president and general counsel, is going at the end of the month voluntarily. “Ms. Taylor is also leaving at year’s end, however this is not due to the realignment,” McCabe wrote. “She has decided to go the private sector; a move we were made aware of before we instituted the structural changes within the organization. She has been a valuable asset to the Authority, who will be hard to replace.” The authority is not saying much more about the moves, heightening concerns in the neighborhood and on Community Board 1 about the organization’s future, particularly now that B.P.C. is fully developed. “We’re a bystander to them not a stakeholder,” Anthony Notaro, chairperson of Board 1’s B.P.C. Committee, said Tuesday night at a board meeting.

Menin chat

We had a chance to speak with former Community Board 1 Chairperson Julie Menin two weeks ago after she participated that day in a panel discussion hosted by the Lower Manhattan Marketing Association. The theme of that meeting was the future of the arts Downtown, and during her remarks Menin said that she thinks much more can be done within the area to move the arts forward. “I’ve long believed that we need to have a ‘Museum Mile’ in Lower Manhattan,”

Downtown Express photo Sam Spokony

Julie Menin

she said during the discussion, “and to do that we need to effectively cross-market all of Downtown’s major cultural institutions.” Menin, of course, gained some additional notoriety this year while campaigning to be the next Manhattan Borough President, although she lost to Councilmember Gale Brewer. Menin didn’t offer any hints about future job endeavors. “Right now, I’m just going to be spending time with my kids,” she said.

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December 4 - December 17, 2013

Deal reached to keep Stuy Community Center open BY J O S h r O g e r S The Stuyvesant Community Center has been saved and will not close as planned next month, under an agreement announced last week by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Battery Park City Authority Chairperson Dennis Mehiel. “The B.P.C.A. understands the importance of affordable community space for people of all income levels, and it is clear there is a need for this facility to continue operating,” Mehiel said in a prepared statement Nov. 25. “I look forward to having Speaker Silver’s assistance in fostering a productive dialogue, as we establish a longterm solution to keep the center operating and affordable for local residents.” The announcement was first reported by last week. The authority’s September announcement that it was planning to close the center Dec. 20 opened up class divisions in the neighborhood. The B.P.C.A. cited the opening of the more expensive Asphalt Green earlier this year as a reason to allow the closing, but many Downtowners say Asphalt’s prices are beyond their reach. “Speaking for the middle and lower classes, are we not a part of this community,” 16-year-old Michael DeMaria asked Community Board 1 last month before the board passed a resolution asking for the center to remain open. DeMaria, a nearby Tribeca resident, said the Stuyvesant Center is “about everyone

Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Bob Townley, center, a Community Board 1 member and the leader of Manhattan Youth, spoke about the importance of the Stuyvesant Community Center at a board meeting last month.

regardless of how much money they make. Asphalt Green is the complete opposite.” Silver and Mehiel agreed to form a committee to come up with a way to keep the center on Chambers St. open. A source familiar with the discussions, said it is not yet clear whether there will be any community representation on the committee. Authority officials had previously said the center — which has two gyms, a weight room and a pool — was losing members along with about $200,000 a year, but members of Community Board 1 countered that the declining membership was due to the

fact that the school’s pool had been closed for more than a year. Kevin McCabe, Mehiel’s assistant, wrote in an email to Downtown Express that “it is still too early to determine exactly what the financing structure and operational management will look like, but the objective will be to implement a more cost effective business model with additional funding sources. Of course, maintaining affordability for residents will be paramount.” Silver said in a statement: “I am thrilled to work with Chairman Mehiel and the B.P.C.A. to find a solution which will allow

this vital community resource to remain open as a public amenity. This is critically important for our Lower Manhattan families…. The Stuyvesant High School Community Center has served our community well for 20 years. I fought hard to secure this space …and I have made it a priority to see that our community has continued access to this wonderful facility.” Silver and other local elected leaders maintained that the center’s closing would have violated a “binding commitment” going back more than two decades under which the authority pledged to run and maintain a community center in exchange for the city approval to build the high school. It was actually the authority which filed a lawsuit 20 years ago to compel the Board of Education to allow the authority to open the center. Silver, who has been the state’s most powerful legislator for nearly two decades, has strong influence over the B.P.C.A. as he controls a vote on its supervising board, the state’s Public Authorities Control Board. Bob Townley, executive director of Manhattan Youth, said “this is great news for the community,” calling the Stuy center a “great resource that needs to be developed…. “I want to thank the Battery Park City Authority for listening to the community, which is not easy to do sometimes.” Silver’s office declined to comment beyond the statement.

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December 4 - December 17, 2013 sentence, he will face five years of post-release supervision, the D.A. said.

MUGGeRS on The RUn

aRMed RobbeR GeTS 27 yeaRS

The Bronx man convicted of a gun robbery of nearly $150,000 from a check-cashing store near the South Street Seaport has been sentenced to 27 years in prison, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced on Nov. 25. Ajamu White, 39, was found guilty on Nov. 7 of first degree robbery, second degree grand larceny, second degree criminal possession of a weapon, and several other felonies, the D.A. said. Around 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 7, 2012, White walked into NYC Check Express, at 200 Water St., just as two employees were opening for the day. He pointed a gun at one employee’s head while making her unlock two doors and safe, and then handcuffed both workers, according to court documents. White then fled with the cash, and the victimized employees were able to report the crime later that day. The robber was eventually caught a week later, while he was staying in a hotel on W. 94th St., the D.A. said. When a hotel employee came to clean White’s room, she found a loaded semi-automatic pistol hidden underneath his pillow, and quickly reported it to management and police. When he was questioned by hotel staff and later by a undercover cop posing as an employee, White claimed he was a federal law enforcement officer. He later tried to flee the scene, but was apprehended by officers from the 24th Precinct. White was also convicted of both felony and misdemeanor charges of criminal impersonation, stemming from that second incident. In addition to the prison

Police are searching for three suspects accused of mugging a man as he was leaving his Lower East Side

home on Nov. 23. The victim, 45, was exiting an elevator in his building near the corner of Henry and Clinton Sts., around 11:15 p.m., he was grabbed from behind and choked form behind by an unknown man, police said. Police say another man and a woman then teamed up to steal items from the victim’s pockets, after which all three suspects fled the scene.

one PURSe To Go

An unfortunate woman apparently had her purse stolen on Nov. 27 after leaving it behind in a pizza shop near City Hall, police said. The woman, 55, told cops that she walked into Rosella’s Pizzeria, at 164 William St., around 3:30 p.m. while carrying the purse and several shopping bags, and ordered a slice. She then placed all of her items on the ground while sprinkling some garlic on the slice, and quickly gathered her things and rushed out. About half an hour later, she realized that she didn’t have her purse, but upon returning to the pizza shop to reclaim it, she found it was already gone.

Child inJURed in ShooTinG

— Sam Spokony

Luis Gonzalez, 50, was arrested on Nov. 29 after police say he accidentally fired a rifle into the ceiling of a Lower East Side NYCHA residence, which left his grandson injured by falling debris. Gonzalez, who lives upstate, was visiting relatives at the Jackson St. building in Vladeck Houses, when the gun discharged around 10:40 a.m., police said. The 4-year-old boy was struck by pieces of metal that fell from the ceiling, and was later treated at NY Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital for minor cuts. Gonzalez was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment and both assault and attempted assault.

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December 4 - December 17, 2013

Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

Union picket line near Spruce Street School last month, a few days before First Precinct Captain Timoney said he would not allow bullhorns to be used.City.

Spruce students get unwanted lessons in union pickets BY SA M S P O K O NY Union workers are making their voices heard outside Spruce Street School in a protest over the construction of a new Pace University dormitory — but some parents and residents want them to keep the noise down. Construction on the new 33 Beekman St. dorm — a 30-story building that will include around 380 student housing units — began in June, according to a spokesperson for the Naftali Group, which owns the site. Since then, labor unions have demonstrated next to the work site to protest the fact that non-union workers were hired for the job, while also condemning Casino Development Group, the organization that was hired to construct the building, for allegedly not providing fair wages and benefits to its employees. The union members currently hold their rallies every weekday — from 1-3 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, and 8-10 a.m. on Friday, according to a protester — while chanting and marching along the sidewalk on the north side of Beekman St., near its intersection with William St. Some parents of students at the Spruce Street School, which sits on the same block, are angry about the loud volume of the protests, saying it disrupts classes and frightens the children while they’re entering or leaving the school building. “They just don’t care about us,” said Sarah Sakar, whose daughter is a fourth grader at the school. “I understand what the union is saying, and they have the right to protest, but this is infringing on the kids’ ability to learn. We just want them to stop the noise.” A representative of the Spruce Street School declined to comment. One of the union members at the site

explained that he feels for the angry parents, but stressed that he and his fellow protesters are more focused on making their point. “We don’t mean to upset the locals,” said Eoin Daly, 42, a carpenter who immigrated to New York from Ireland, and who also has three kids of his own. “But in order to get the point across, we have to picket and we have to make noise, because if you don’t make some noise, people don’t listen.” Paul Hovitz, a member of Community Board 1, expressed concerns about the fact that the protests are also just outside New York Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital (formerly known as Downtown Hospital). “It’s causing patients, doctors and hospital staff to be disturbed while they try to work,” said Hovitz. A representative of the hospital declined to comment. At the First Precinct’s Community Council meeting on Nov. 19, Sakar and several other locals raised the issue with police. Captain Brendan Timoney, who heads the precinct, said that he has met with union leaders to discuss the matter — the current protest schedule was a result of talks with police — but explained that basically nothing can be done, from a legal standpoint, to quiet the shouting or to force the demonstrators to move, since the protests involve constitutionally protected rights to free speech. “We were able to persuade [the union members] to stop blowing whistles,” said Timoney, “but aside from that, there’s really not much you can do.” However, when Timoney was informed that the protesters were using a bullhorn at a recent rally, he said that activity would have to be stopped, since a sound permit is required for any amplified noise in a public place.

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December 4 - December 17, 2013

Push to get another school Downtown Continued from page 1

other new school listed in the capital plan — the one that was originally thought to be below Canal St. — will actually be located in Hudson Square, as part of Trinity Real Estate’s development just north of the street. Trinity’s school is planned to be located at the base of a residential tower that will be built on Duarte Square, on the north side of Canal St. at Sixth Ave., according to past presentations by the developer. Even if the school ends up on Canal St., it may provide little comfort to the Lower Manhattan school advocates, who have often voiced concerns about children crossing the five-lane roadway which feeds the Holland Tunnel. Eric Greenleaf, a Downtown school advocate who has been closely analyzing school overcrowding for years, said in an interview that he was skeptical that the Hudson Square school would be able to offer many or any seats to Tribecans because of all the planned development to the north. In addition, at the Dec. 3 task force meeting, he pointed out that both birth rate statistics and publicly available U.S. Census data — which show that the neighborhoods below Canal St. collectively grew by around 77 percent from 2000 to 2010, higher than any other

Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

Community Board 1’s Paul Hovitz, right, makes his point to Dept. of Education officials Tuesday. To the left are Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Catherine McVay Hughes, the board’s chairperson.

part of the city — fly in the face of the city’s plans. “We could let a smart eight-year-old look up census data, and they would probably do a better job of dealing with it than the D.O.E. has,” Greenleaf said at the meeting.

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A report released by C.B. 1 in March showed that, from 2000 to 2010, the Financial District saw a 242 percent increase in children aged 0-4, and a 158 percent increase in those aged 5-9. Over the same period, Battery Park City saw a 149 percent increase in children aged 0-4, and a 75 percent increase in those aged 5-9. “This is simply the wrong message to be sending to these fast-growing residential communities,” C.B. 1 Chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes said of D.O.E.’s plans. She and others have stressed that a lack of new schools could soon have the effect of forcing young families out of those neighborhoods, or preventing others from moving in. Now that the bad news has been broken, the primary strategy for many school advocates involves pressuring D.O.E. to amend its capital plan to include at least several hundred more seats for the school to be sited below Canal St. Paul Hovitz, co-chairperson of C.B. 1’s Youth and Education Committee, has pointed to the fact that a similar situation took place during D.O.E.’s planning for the new Peck Slip school, which is now scheduled to move to its

new building in 2015. In that case, a plan that originally called for 456 seats at the site was later changed to include 712 seats. “As we did with Peck Slip, we are hoping beyond hope that these new seats will be increased to over 700,” Hovitz said. It seems as though at least one person at D.O.E. has already acknowledged that that may be a very possible outcome. In an interview last week, Hovitz said that he has had multiple conversations with a D.O.E official who told him that, when looking for a site for the new C.B. 1 school, it would be “prudent” to find a site that could hold not only 456 seats but several hundred more. Mirisola was also present at Silver’s task force meeting. When asked about D.O.E.’s timeframe for locating the new school, he said he wasn’t sure, but added that the process would not start until after the capital plan is approved next June, which would mean the incoming de Blasio administration will have the final say on the plan. “So then we won’t even have a chance to incubate that new school before next September,” said Hovitz.


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Gateway tenants not cool with the cool air BY SA M S P O K O NY Many Gateway Plaza residents may feel cold again this winter, as planned repairs to their apartment windows, insulation and heating units are still incomplete. The six-building, 1,700-unit complex on South End Ave. underwent an extensive energy audit in August 2012, after which auditors compiled a list of recommendations for upgrades and repairs. The audit was the result of a collaborative effort between the LeFrak Organization, which owns the Battery Park City complex, Gateway’s Tenant Association and State Sen. Daniel Squadron. In addition to the plans to replace shoddy windows, insulation and PTAC units (which provide heating and air conditioning), LeFrak also committed to upgrading the development’s boilers and ventilation systems, according to Squadron’s office. And at a public meeting in February, a LeFrak representative told tenants that the repairs and upgrades would be completed by the following winter — the end of 2013 — according to Glenn Plaskin, Gateway’s tenant leader. “It’s a quality of life issue for our units, especially those with elderly residents, or families with young children,”

Plaskin said in a phone interview last week. “We get so many letters from people who say that cold air is coming right through their windows and the insulation of their walls.” In addition to those issues of discomfort, he explained that the faulty infrastructure causes “exorbitantly high” energy bills for some residents who have to crank up their heat to deal with the frosty air.

‘We get so many letters from people who say that cold air is coming right through their windows.’

also not yet taken place, he said. Squadron sent a letter to LeFrak on Nov. 19, asking for an update on the status to the repairs and upgrades, but the landlord has not yet responded to the request, according to Squadron’s spokesperson LeFrak’s spokesperson said the firm was not ready to “provide any details” on the matter. “The good news is that LeFrak is aware of what needs to be done, and they’ve taken some steps forward by

installing some of the PTAC units and getting price estimates for the new windows,” said Plaskin. “I’m optimistic that everything will eventually get done, but tenants need to keep making their voices heard if they want it to be done in a timely manner.” IN PRINT OR ONLINE

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Plaskin said he’s learned that Gateway’s management has already installed some new PTAC units — perhaps several hundred — and that LeFrak is currently testing several different brands to see which is most effective. But no new windows have yet been installed, and insulation repairs have

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December 4 - December 17, 2013

City Council Speaker’s race Continued from page 1

“In many parts of the city, councilmembers aren’t allowed to think for themselves,” observed Ken Sherrill, a Hunter College political scientist and longtime student of New York municipal government. Traditionally, county Democratic organizations — especially in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx — played the dominant role in the battle for Council control. When Christine Quinn, the first woman and first openly L.G.B.T. member to lead the Council, won her hard-fought contest in late 2005, the support of the Queens organization was instrumental in helping her dispatch her prime competitor, none other than Brooklyn’s Bill de Blasio. Borough party leaders certainly won’t let a little public exposure to the speaker’s contest dampen their resolve to play an inside game again this year. But a key conceit in the current political narrative is that 2013 is different. A new mood among the public. A new direction. A new mayor. De Blasio himself would seem philosophically aligned with charting a new course in choosing the Council speaker. Not only did he find himself at the short end of the stick when a leader was last chosen, but his campaign this year, stuck in the doldrums for months, gained critical traction as he contrasted, in debate after debate, what he described as his inclusive style of leadership and decisionmaking with a heavy-handed control of the Council he saw from Quinn, who for months had been the clear frontrunner. De Blasio’s specific criticisms of the speaker focused on her delay in allowing a vote to guarantee most workers in New York paid sick days, her cautious response in addressing the NYPD’s stop and frisk policies, and her use of discretionary allocations to individual members to reward allies and punish dissenters. Boiling down the particulars, however, it’s clear the mayor-elect was faulting a political regime in which a Council speaker relies on powerful county organizations to maintain their reins on power. De Blasio has widely divergent relationships with the seven speaker candidates — the most distant being that with Harlem’s Inez

Dickens, whose opponent he endorsed in the September primary — but in debates each has been careful to acknowledge the “mandate” he earned in his sweeping 50-point victory over Republican Joe Lhota. Still, at a Baruch College forum sponsored by the good government group Citizens Union, only Mark Weprin of East Queens and East Harlem’s Melissa Mark-Viverito said they or their senior staff had spoken about the contest with de Blasio or his senior staff. Weprin said he and the mayor-elect have spoken directly, while Mark-Viverito was more coy — though she can afford to be. The first councilmember to endorse de Blasio in defiance of Quinn, she is widely thought to be his favorite — and the favorite — in the race. “I see myself as the progressive candidate, who has an inclusive vision and a record of accomplishment,” she told the crowd at Baruch and repeated in much the same formulation the next evening in an NY1 debate. To credibly make such a claim is a leg up in a year when the city elected the “unapologetic progressive alternative” as mayor and what observers consider the most progressive slate of City Council candidates in recent memory as well. In the current Council, the Progressive Caucus, co-chaired by Mark-Viverito and Brooklyn’s Brad Lander, numbers 11 members including Lower Manhattan’s Margaret Chin. The caucus saw its greatest success with the override of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of a package of police-community relations reforms championed by Lander and Jumaane Williams, another contender for speaker. Out of that caucus, in recent weeks, has emerged a “progressive bloc” of 20 or more members — including newcomers to the Council — who have pledged to stand together in support of the same candidate in the speaker’s race. That pledge, if it can genuinely be carried out, represents a fundamental challenge to the county Democratic leaders. Hunter’s Sherrill said the progressive bloc’s bid reflects members’ “sense that traditional political machines are greatly weakened. And they are trying to fill the vacuum.” Beyond the specifics of the bloc’s ideology, its emergence squares nicely with a mood among voters for greater government transpar-

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Three of the contenders to become City Council speaker: Dan Garodnick, above with Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Mark Weprin.

ency and among councilmembers themselves for greater input into how the body is run. A week before the November election, several dozen members and candidates just days away from winning their seats gathered at City Hall to embrace a package of procedural reforms, chief among them one that would “take the politics out of member items” by allocating discretionary funding for Council districts on a “fair and objective basis.” The package, based on process and not outcomes, drew the support of at least 30 future councilmembers — a broader spectrum than the progressive bloc itself. An advocate for transparency and accountability, Citizens Union hails the vigorous discussion about revising Council rules. On the day it sponsored its speaker’s forum, it also released the findings of the questionnaires victorious Council candidates completed earlier in the year, which it said demonstrated “widespread support for reforms previously thought to be unachievable.” The group found 44 or more members of the 2014 Council supporting steps to strengthen committees relative to the speaker and more than three-dozen advocating greater member authority in drafting bills as well as more equitable and transparent allocation of discretionary funds to each Council district. Only on questions of limiting additional stipends to members and requiring greater disclosure of outside income did support for reform just barely win a majority. Discussing proposed reforms at the Baruch forum, the speaker candidates were most tepid on this last category, which — unlike proposals for decentralizing power from the speaker to the other members — would instead require sacrifice on the part of the Council’s rank and file. At several forums, the tenor of each candidate’s remarks about reform and the Council’s responsibility to act as a check and balance on the mayor has been telling. Mark-Viverito speaks proudly about being first out of the blocks for de Blasio and, at Baruch, pointed to “a clear mandate in this city that we need to move in a new direction.” While insisting she would not hesitate to “stand up and defend what the body wants,” she predicted the Council and the new mayor’s goals would largely be “aligned.” Dan Garodnick, an East Sider generally

considered to be in the hunt with MarkViverito, talks less about ideology than about his skills as a “creative problem solver,” mentioning his efforts at organizing tenants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in a buy-out bid when their rent-stabilized status appeared threatened. Asked if reforms could weaken a Council already disadvantaged relative to the powers of the mayor, Garodnick responded, “That question hits right at the challenge we have. But that speaks to the skill of the speaker.” Queens’ Weprin, the third candidate given a decent shot at prevailing, cites his 16 years in the State Assembly prior to joining the Council in 2010 to claim his bona fides as a progressive, but lays greatest emphasis on two other factors — use of his Albany know-how to advance the city’s interests there and the eight years he is still qualified to serve in contrast to the term limits most of his rivals face in 2017. “I will say what some others won’t,” he said. “I will never run for mayor.” Three of the other candidates — Harlem’s Dickens and Annabel Palma and Jimmy Vacca, both of the Bronx — have typically sounded less urgent calls for thoroughgoing Council reform. Both Palma and Dickens supported Quinn’s mayoral bid, and Dickens, in particular, can sound defensive when asked what Continued on page 9


December 4 - December 17, 2013

Continued from page 8

changes are needed. “Bill de Blasio has an aggressive, progressive agenda,” she said at Baruch. “But he has spoken out against the Council rubberstamping the mayor. I don’t believe he wants to make that mistake.” Vacca, who is both plainspoken and colorful, raised the most vivid caveat about pushing power-sharing on the Council too far, arguing, “I don’t want to be Boehner, who goes into Obama’s office and says he does not have his House behind him.” The seventh candidate, Brooklyn’s Jumaane Williams, who established progressive credibility over the past two years with his leadership on the police reform question, is the hardest candidate to peg. Entering the race last week, he was immediately engulfed by controversy over past statements voicing opposition to marriage equality and a woman’s unfettered right to choose. Rosie Mendez, a lesbian representing the Lower East Side, told Capital New York those positions were a deal-breaker for her, and some who attended Williams’ presentation to the Progressive Caucus this past weekend said he struggled to explain his thinking on either question, at points becoming emotional. Among Mendez’s five L.G.B.T. colleagues on next year’s Council, only Corey Johnson, who replaces Quinn on Manhattan’s West Side, would speak about the Williams flap, saying, “My principles in this decision with regard to marriage equality and choice are fundamental to me and who I am.” One longtime Brooklyn gay Democratic activist speculated that other

councilmembers are playing the matter lowkey out of recognition that Williams is not in it to win. His goal, that source speculated, was to highlight his concerns about police relations with communities of color — an objective now likely overshadowed by his ham-handedness on social issues. Outside observers and several councilmembers who spoke on background all agree that Mark-Viverito has the best shot at winning — but none would say the prize is yet hers. Numerous recent press reports last week chronicled the breakdown of efforts to set up a meeting between the progressive bloc and the Queens organization headed by Congressman Joe Crowley. One councilmember told this newspaper that “freeze is beginning to thaw.” With a growing Hispanic population in his district, the member said, Crowley would like to “make history” by helping elect the first Latina speaker. “I don’t know if de Blasio is behind her, but I would think he would be, and his lift could help at the end,” the councilmember said. Another member, however, insisted that Mark-Viverito could prevail only if de Blasio stepped in on her behalf. According to that account, her Council colleagues are uncomfortable that she is too far to the left and has proved herself both “strident” and “aloof.” The mayor-elect, this source speculated, may be reluctant to step in because a Mark-Viverito speakership would immediately confront him with issues such as non-citizen voting in municipal elections, a question he is not interested in taking up at the outset of his administration.

The possibility that Mark-Viverito’s candidacy could be derailed because she is too progressive alarms Allen Roskoff, president of the LGBT Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club and a fierce critic of Quinn in her years as speaker. “What I fear is that the county leaders will be able to pick off members of the Progressive Caucus,” he said, pointing to Crowley as “the chief culprit” in that effort. The Queens leader, Roskoff charged, is angry that some in his county have bucked his organization in favor of the progressive bloc and has threatened to put up primary challenges even against councilmembers from other boroughs. Roskoff also denounced what he termed “red-baiting,” such as the claim made by Queens Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz that Mark-Viverito — who only in recent weeks began to join her colleagues in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance — had earlier refused to do so because she felt that Puerto Rico, where she was born and raised, should get its independence. George Arzt, who served as Mayor Ed Koch’s press secretary and runs a communications and government relations firm, said of the challenges facing Mark-Viverito’s candidacy, “The Pledge of Allegiance is a factor. Not a significant factor, but a factor.” The bigger problem, according to Arzt, is her relationship with colleagues. “What do we say on report cards? She has a reputation for not working and playing well with her colleagues,” he said. Asked whether he thought de Blasio would intercede on her behalf, Arzt said, “I don’t believe it’s in his interest to get involved. He

doesn’t need that war right now, and the other question is: Can she herd the other 50 cats? If she can’t, the mayor has to step in and give away the store on every vote.” As did several others, Arzt suggested that a dark horse — Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who represents Elmhurst and Corona in Queens — could prove an acceptable compromise to county leaders and to the Progressive Caucus to which she belongs. Her selection, Arzt said, would also satisfy the mayor-elect’s interest in seeing a member of the Latino community win a citywide leadership role for the first time. A good number of councilmembers and major outside players, including labor giant SEIU 1199, would dispute Arzt’s assessment of Mark-Viverito’s ability to effectively lead the Council. Ken Sherrill observed that no matter how close de Blasio is to Mark-Viverito, it’s not clear what he is looking for in a Council speaker. Noting the tremendous fiscal pressures the new mayor will face, he said, “I would think he would want a speaker who would restrain the leftward impulses of the Council.” Sherrill also raised the possibility that a progressive mayor imposing a progressive speaker on the Council ironically might not serve progressive interests. “New York already has a strong mayor under the City Charter,” Sherrill said. “Be careful what you wish for.” If de Blasio wants to have a say, however, Sherrill has no doubt how that would work out. “I don’t think there will be many people who will want to cross him here,” he said. “If he wants it, I think he’s going to have his way.”

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December 4 - December 17, 2013

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State lets landlords benefit from illegal activity, advocates say B Y SAM SPOKONY Even though one of the city’s illegal hotel kingpins has now been shut down, housing advocates say that the resulting loss of rent stabilized apartments is still a major problem. A year after the city filed a lawsuit against Smart Apartments (also known as Hotel Toshi) for violating a state law that bans tourist rentals of less than 30 days in residential apartments, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Nov. 19 that a settlement had been reached. Smart Apartments will pay a $1 million penalty to the city, and is now permanently prevented from doing business, according to statement released that day. The city’s lawsuit cited 47 buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn that contained units used by Smart Apartments as illegal hotel rooms. Seventeen of those buildings are located in the Downtown Manhattan area, at or below 14th St., according to a list released by the Mayor’s Office. In at least one of those buildings, apartments that were formerly rentstabilized — and which were, for years, used by Smart Apartments as illegal hotel units — are now being leased by the landlord for market rate rents. “Our landlord was completely in cahoots with [Smart Apartments],” said a resident of 79 Clinton St., one of the buildings cited in the lawsuit, who asked to remain anonymous, saying he feared reprisals from the landlord. “Before [Smart Apartments] came in, the whole building was rent-stabilized. Then, they started using five of the apartments as illegal hotel rooms. And now that the illegal hotels are gone, we know that all those units now have tenants who are paying market rate.” Gilman Management Corporation, the owner of 79 Clinton St., did not respond to a request for comment. Housing advocates believe that landlords are now capitalizing off their association with Smart Apartments — which allowed them to use residential units for years without listing a legal tenant — by illegally de-regulating apartments that were once rent-stabilized. Those advocates are also criticizing the state’s department of Homes and Community Renewal — which oversees rent regulation (as well as the similarlyinitialed agency, D.H.C.R.) — for not launching an investigation into these allegedly illegal practices by the landlords. “What we’re seeing is landlords using the vagueness of H.C.R. regulations to install illegal hotels in rent stabilized units,” said Tom Cayler, who leads the West Side Neighborhood Alliance’s Illegal Hotel Committee. “And if the landlords get caught, it’s actually a win-

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal is trying to restore rent protections on apartments in former illegal hotels.

win situation for them, because even though they no longer have an illegal hotel unit, they now have a free market unit. And H.C.R. is doing nothing to rectify it. They have no interest, as far as I can see, in re-regulating units that were used for illegal hotels.” Cayler added that he believes many units across the city have been unlawfully de-regulated as a result of illegal hotel use, and that the total impact of those practices will not be revealed until a thorough investigation is conducted. A spokesperson for the Homes and Community Renewal agency did not respond to a request for comment. State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal of the Upper West Side has also been pushing H.C.R. to investigate this issue, after learning that 89 rentregulated apartments in a W. 73rd St. building may have been unlawfully deregulated by way of illegal hotel use. In a July 2012 letter to H.C.R., Rosenthal asked the state agency to examine the rent histories of each unit in the building, to determine which had been illegally de-regulated and to “aggressively enforce” rent regulations for those units. Rosenthal followed that up with another letter this past January, but never got a response for H.C.R. in writing, she told Downtown Express. Instead, she said an H.C.R. representative told her that investigating the allegedly illegal de-regulations was not a priority for the agency at that time. “When all those units suddenly became de-regulated after the illegal hotel operation was gone, it was a perfect time for [H.C.R.] to step in and recapture them,” Rosenthal said last week. “There are just too many New Yorkers in need of affordable housing for this to be overlooked… “It’s such a simple case to make, but it just requires some effort.”


December 4 - December 17, 2013

Income limits raised at Southbridge & other Mitchell-Lamas BY SA M S P O K O NY A newly adopted change to the MitchellLama housing program will allow a wider range of middle-income families to enter the program. Gov, Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Nov. 14 that makes it easier for families with fewer than two dependents to qualify for a Mitchell-Lama apartment. The law went into effect immediately. Now, any household which brings in more than 100 percent but less than 125 percent of the area median income will be eligible for the state-subsidized housing. Under the old law, only higher income households with two or more dependents could still be eligible for an apartment. Families within that income range will still have to pay a rental surcharge in order to get a Mitchell-Lama unit. The legislation was sponsored by State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose Lower Manhattan districts include Southbridge Towers, a Mitchell-Lama co-op near the Seaport. “Thanks to our legislation, more families will have the chance to make a life here, no matter what their family looks like,” Squadron said in a statement released on the day his bill was signed into law.

“With the cost of housing steadily rising and income levels remaining stagnant, it is more important than ever to make affordable housing more accessible to a greater number of families,” Silver said in a statement released that same day. New York City’s area median income for 2013 — as determined by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development — is $60,200 for an individual, $68,800 for a family of two, $77,400 for a family of three and $85,900 for a family of four. And 125 percent of that area median income is $75,250 for an individual, $86,000 for a family of two, $96,750 for a family of three and $107,375 for a family of four. Victor Papa, president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and also a resident of Southbridge Towers, praised the newly approved expansion. “Anything that broadens eligibility and improves the Mitchell-Lama program is always welcome,” Papa said in a phone interview two weeks ago. “It’s noteworthy that Squadron and Silver sponsored this, and hopefully they’ll continue to be active in supporting legislation that will save Mitchell-Lama in a city that sorely needs it.”

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December 4 - December 17, 2013

Downtown Express photos by Sam Spokony

Downtown art space For Uptown college Renzo Ortega, below, and Chris Charbonneau were among 150 Hunter College art students who welcomed visitors into their new Tribeca studios on Nov. 25. The second, third and fourth floors of the 205 Hudson St. building are now home to the college’s M.F.A. Studio Art program, and are lined with small-but-inspired spaces in which students can fully devote themselves to their craft.

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Visitors were able to tour the studios following a ribbon cutting ceremony that night. Ortega, 39, who is originally from Peru, said that he likes the new space just because it makes him feel comfortable while working. “I can really concentrate in here,” he explained, “and since all the students are close, it’s easy for us to share our work with each other.”


December 4 - December 17, 2013

Building plans move forward on garden lot BY SA M S P O K O NY A developer has filed plans for a sixstory, 70-foot-tall residential building on a contested lot that was part of a Lower East Side community garden for more than 30 years. Supporters of the Children’s Magical Garden, at the corner of Stanton and Norfolk Sts., were dismayed this spring when Serge Hoyda fenced off part of the garden’s land that he purchased in 2003. The sliver has been privately owned for decades, according to city records, but it was used continuously by the garden. Both before and after Hoyda fenced off the lot, supporters of the garden tried to convince him to agree to a “land swap” to keep C.M.G. fully intact. But on Nov. 22, Hoyda’s representatives filed an application with the Department of Buildings, seeking approval to start construction. On Nov.

26, D.O.B. assigned a plan examiner to evaluate the application. A decision is pending, according to city records. The address of the new building — with six full-floor apartments — would be 157 Norfolk St. “The community gardeners are meeting after the Thanksgiving holiday to vote on the best solutions for the community garden, and for the many children who consider our garden to be their second home,” C.M.G. Director Kate Temple-West said in a Nov. 26 statement. “Soon we’ll be convening a town hall meeting to share our ideas with the wider community. We welcome and will hold a place at the meeting table for the developer.” This summer, C.M.G.’s city-owned portion was included in the city’s GreenThumb program, giving it permanent community garden status.


Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

W W W. D O W N T O W N E X P R E S S . C O M

Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.

Assemblyman Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email

In May, Kate Temple-West, C.M.G. director, right, watched in dismay as workers fenced off the privately owned parcel.

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December 4 - December 17, 2013

Clock strikes midnight on Downtown art gallery A Downtown arts era ended Nov. 23, when the Clocktower Gallery at 108 Leonard St. closed after more than 40 years of continuous installations. Since its founding in 1972 by Alanna Heiss, who also started the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA P.S. 1), the gallery was a home for transgressive and avant garde art. The city-owned 108 Leonard building is slated to be sold to a private developer, the Peebles Corporation, who now plans to put in luxury condos, a hotel and retail space at the site, along with a 16,000-square-foot community facility for public use. The building — which also has an address of 346 Broadway — also formerly held the Manhattan Criminal Court offices that the city is now planning to move to 71 Thomas St., a proposal that is moving forward against backlash from some residents around that area.

As for the future of the Clocktower Gallery, it will now exist in a somewhat nomadic state until a new permanent location can be found. This month, the gallery is beginning a partnership with the Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation, and Clocktower will then move into the center’s Red Hook space for a year-long residency, while also renewing partnerships with other arts organizations throughout 2014. “The Clocktower, the oldest alternative space in the city, will move in with Pioneer Works, one of the youngest alternative spaces in the city,” said Heiss, who remains the gallery’s director, in a statement released after the closure of 108 Leonard St. “Dustin Yellin [director of Pioneer Works] and I are thrilled to see our two institutions meet in this significant way.”


W W W. D O W N T O W N E X P R E S S . C O M

— Sam Spokony

Downtown Express photos by Milo Hess

Visitors to the Clocktower Gallery Nov. 23rd took in the unique art space one last time before the gallery closed.

December 4 - December 17, 2013

BY JANel blAdOw It’s beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas so let’s cheer those of our cool neighborhood who have survived the last year, recently returned or are still plugging away to make it back soon!

A mysteriOus CAPer....

“The Cat in the Hat” can quickly clean up messes, but he has nothing on the resourceful kitties of “Fulton & Company.” Fulton and his four feline friends — Amen-ita, Tenderly, Tiffany and Ebony — are the heroes of a new book by Southbridge Towers resident Una Perkins. Perkins first wrote her book about her rescues from our streets years ago, then shelved the manuscript. While grieving for her last cat (she had five at one time and religiously fed strays around the area and under the Brooklyn Bridge), Perkins picked it up again for solace. “I cried and cried when that cat died. It was so sad,” she said. She reworked, rewrote it, and came up with practically another story. It’s a mystery for Tweens — “juveniles, not children,” she says. But we see it as a perfect Christmas gift for children of all ages, cat lovers and anyone who still relishes the old Seaport neighborhood. Perkins, who authored “Fulton & Company” under her pen name Una Leonora, said the cat caper is about how five little amazing felines brought down a drug ring operating in their own neighborhood. And to make the story even more purrfect (sorry, couldn’t help myself), the drug lord was living right under their mistress’s nose. I smell something fishy!


A Seaport neighbor for more than 40 years, Perkins is proud of her neighborhood involvement on Community Board 1 and her youthful spirit. And, she notes - “I’m still working!” She is a paralegal with legal services’ Mental Health Project. She will be signing copies of her colorfully illustrated book on Dec. 15, 2 to 6 p.m., in the Southbridge community room. Stop by.

reCentLy OPened... Paris cafe (south Street and Peck

Slip) is restored, refurbished and renewed, and open for lunch, dinner and drinks/snacks at the bar. Speaking of which, it was relocated to the south wall after Superstorm Sandy’s surge picked up the old, massive U-shaped bar and tossed it around the pub like mother more than a twig. Up the street, SUteiShi (24 Peck Slip) reopened about the same time last month. Stop by because they have a great promotion going on — put your card in the bowl and if it’s drawn, you win a platter of delectable sushi worth $100! Over at Barbalu (225 Front St.), the delicious Italian-style deli is back for sandwiches, pastas and more.

COming sOOn...

Barbalu is diligently working on getting its other room open. Look for fine Italian dining by Christmas. And Jack’s Coffee (222 Front St.) hopes to have those roasted stir brewed aromas wafting through the streets within weeks.

And stiLL tO COme...

Work progresses on Nelson Blue, Bridge Cafe and what was once Stella’s is going to become a seafood restaurant.

Longtime Southbridge resident Una Perkins just published this new children’s book under her pen aame.


December 4 - December 17, 2013

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A sculpture of Anthony Heniz May’s in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

‘Pixelated’ art piece is taking shape for Father Fagan Park B Y PAShA fArM ANArA Father Fagan Park, at Prince St. and Sixth Ave., will soon be home to artist Anthony Heinz May’s third sculpture in New York City, “Disangeopia.” “Disangeopia” is an arch-like structure constructed with pixel-shaped pieces of wood, with two tree trunks holding the structure to the ground. A major theme of “Disangeopia” is the role of technology in our society, symbolizing the trend of substituting live experiences with technological shortcuts. “We have ostracized nature for the artificial more and more,” May said. “We can sit at home and go to the Louvre from your couch, then go to a forest in the same five minutes. It almost marginalizes the true physical experience of doing those things. I think that’s dangerous.” This project uses wood from trees knocked down by Superstorm Sandy. May was able to get in touch with the Parks Department’s Manhattan forestry division, which collected around 1,000 trees brought down by Superstorm Sandy. Their annual average is around 50 to 70 trees a year. May originally planned to build the sculpture on site, but due to issues with insurance he was forced to relocate the construction to his studio in Queens.

Even though the process didn’t go as planned, the setback has proved useful. “While doing it at the studio, everything is within arm’s reach,” he noted. “You don’t have to have an unrealistic thousand-yard cord in order to plug in an electric drill, because everything is right there. It’s funny because at one point it seemed like the great cloud, but then there’s the lining.” “Disangeopia” has one unique characteristic unseen in May’s previous works: two tree trunks. His sculptures up till now have been based on a single trunk, and adding this extra component adds a new dynamic to his work. “The idea of using multiple trees brings with it new problems to solve, new ways of arranging, new ways of bringing things together,” he said. May hopes that his piece allows “people to look and reflect upon themselves the choices they make and their immediate surrounding and really their soul for existence.” Going forward, May plans to be a part of a cultural art exchange with Canada. He was one of three artists selected to travel to Quebec at the beginning on the new year. May plans to finish his piece at his Queens studio, and have it installed at Father Fagan Park by the end of the first week of December.

December 4 - December 17, 2013



Wintermarket & 8th Anniversary Celebration

AT NEW AMSTERDAM MARKET South Street between Beekman St & Peck Slip



December 4 - December 17, 2013

Billion-dollar Four Seasons back on track Continued from page 1

after the Dec. 3 “groundbreaking ceremony” (one attendee call it a “ground raising”) on the project valued at nearly $1 billion. “Come back in three years and buy an apartment,” Silverstein added, referring to the 157 luxury condos that Four Seasons will also run with the 189 hotel rooms. He’s a man who knows from Downtown delays. After 9/11’s devastation a dozen years ago, his team rebuilt 7 W.T.C. in 2006, and finished 4 W.T.C. last month. He expects to soon finalize a tenant so work can continue at Tower 3, but he’s not sure when work will be able to start at the site’s Tower 2. Unlike at the World Trade Center where delays have been caused by financial disputes, government turf wars and market forces, the problem at the Four Seasons site was much simpler: the worldwide financial meltdown of ’08. There was no way to get loans to build the hotel, but Silverstein said this week that he was not worried. “Luckily we had no mortgage debt on the land so we were able to sit back and relax, and wait for the world to come together,” he said. “Ultimately, the world does come together. “ He and his partners got the Children’s Investment Fund to fund the project. Silverstein Properties Inc. and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System bought the former Moody’s site at 99 Church St. in 2006 and built the foundation for the Four Seasons until 2009 before the financial collapse brought the project to a halt. Construction work at what is now 30 Park Pl. resumed last month. The site also faces Barclay St. There will also be an 8,500 square foot public plaza on the block. The building’s exterior architect, Robert A.M. Stern, said over the loud sounds of construction equipment, “30 Park place is the gateway between Tribeca and the Financial District.” He said he hoped the 926-foot tower would be a “worthy neighbor” to the landmarked

Woolworth Building on the same block. It will be the largest residential tower Downtown. The five-star chain’s Craig Reid, president of hotel operations in the Americas, said the Downtown Four Seasons would be the best one in North America. He also said it would be the first one in New York that the hotel helped design. “We’re going to embrace a lot of the qualities of yesterday,” he said. “We want to honor the character of the neighborhood, the flavor of the town, the locals, and yet we want to bring in a level of service and a level of residential experience that hasn’t been seen in New York and in Lower Manhattan prior.” Silverstein said the hotel should help spur the rest of the W.T.C. development and retail, which in turn helps the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. “At the end of the day they’re all supportive of each other. It all becomes one huge,” he said before pausing for emphasis — “enterprising area.” The expected opening is mid-2016.

Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers

Larry Silverstein, right, and others signed a piece of concrete that will be part of the Four Seasons. The hotel designed by Robert A.M. Stern, will have the Woolworth Building to the left, and the World Trade Center to the right.

Rendering and photo courtesy of Silverstein Properties, Inc.


December 4 - December 17, 2013

Post-Sandy effort puts Downtowners’ views on the map BY SA M S P O K O NY A new interactive, online map is helping Downtown residents provide input on post-Hurricane Sandy community reconstruction. The New York Rising program, an outgrowth of Governor Cuomo’s Office of Storm Recovery, now features interactive maps for six communities involved in the statewide effort, one of which focuses on the Manhattan area south of 14th St. Visitors to the site can identify and label key neighborhood locations, including residential buildings, commercial centers, infrastructure systems and city parks. Residents are also able to highlight areas they believe contain particularly vulnerable populations, and they can provide additional input by writing comments on each location. “As a member of New York Rising’s Lower Manhattan Planning Committee, I’ve been actively trying to ensure that the consultants hired by the state have, and use, the most accurate information about our neighborhood,” said Kerri Culhane, associate director of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, whose presence is already being felt on the interactive map. “This process is intended to be community-driven, and I encourage anyone with computer access

to review the map and add comments.” Residents who want to get involved in that process can also attend New York Rising’s next meeting for Lower Manhattan on Thurs., Dec. 12 at 8:30 a.m. at the Community Board 3 office, 59 E. Fourth St. The Lower Manhattan Planning Committee, which often meets in the evening, hopes to produce a final plan by March 2014, which will help decide how state funding — up to $25 million — should be used to rebuild parts of the neighborhood that were affected by Hurricane Sandy, and to build resilience against future storms. The committee, co-chaired by Catherine McVay-Hughes, the chairperson of Community Board 1, and Dan Ackerman, the chief of staff for the Downtown Alliance, is also likely to make recommendations for Lower Manhattan that will cost more than the $25 million set aside for Downtown.

The New York Rising map of Lower Manhattan allows people to highlight and comment on buildings within the community. The map is available at


Santa’s Winter Garden Create Photo Memories with Old Saint Nick!

Brookfield place * Winter Garden * 220 Vesey street

Friday – Sunday, December 13 – 15 9am – 1:30pm & 3 – 6pm


he winter Garden is the settinG for santa, his reindeer, and some lively elves! brinG your family, co-workers, and friends for a Photo with kris krinGle. Photo PackaGes start at $20. Proceeds benefit new york theatre ballet


December 4 - December 17, 2013

On The Spot with

martin Luther King Addo The new face of fitness at Southbridge Towers is Martin Luther King Addo, even though he had to come halfway around the world before opening up shop. Addo, 44, gained fame as a champion bodybuilder in his home country of Ghana, where he was twice crowned “Mr. Ghana.” After following his father and moving to New York in 1999, Addo worked as a fitness instructor and personal trainer at gyms throughout the city before opening his own business. In July, Addo opened his own gym, Southbridge Fitness Center, in a cozy, twofloor space at 66 Frankfort St., tucked within the Downtown housing complex. Ever since then, he’s been helping Southbridge Towers residents — especially the seniors — stay fit and limber, while also offering personal training sessions for those looking to drop a few pounds or pack on some muscle. Addo spoke about bodybuilding, the suspension workouts he now offers to customers, and his love for working with the people of Southbridge. Interview has been condensed and edited.

BY SA M S P O K O NY How did you first take an interest in fitness and working out? I was born and raised in the countryside of Ghana, in a little village called Asafo, and ever since I was a little boy, a lot of the things we did were about manpower and hard work. We would go to the river to fetch water and bring it back to our family’s house, and we would go to the farm to bring food back. We would walk miles to do that, or to get firewood. Everything was hard labor. It was basically a workout, but we considered it normal. Once I was in high school, I took a strong interest in running the 100 meter dash for track and field, and after that I started learning about bodybuilding. At that time, I subscribed to the muscle and fitness magazines from the U.S., and I started following the careers of my role models, including people like Arnold Schwarzenegger. How did you end up pursuing bodybuilding on a professional level? My first gym was actually in the backyard of my aunt’s home in Accra [Ghana’s capital city], which I started using when I was 20. I didn’t have weights and machines, so I used paint cans full of cement or plastic containers to do workouts. A few years later, after going to college to become a personal trainer, I first entered the Mr. Ghana competition in 1994. I didn’t win, but the judges told me I would do better once I learned how to pose and flex correctly for

the show. I went back and learned all those styles, and then I won the Mr. Ghana competition in 1995 and 1996. Why did you decide to move to New York and continue your work here? I decided that I was finished with my bodybuilding career in Ghana a few years after winning the competitions, and around that time my father, who was a chef at the Intercontinental Hotel in Manhattan, came to Ghana to say that he was ready to take me back to the U.S. with him. I hadn’t seen him since I was a little boy, and so I moved to the U.S. and started off by living with my father in Yonkers. My first job in New York was at the Palace Hotel [in Midtown]. I worked in the private gym inside the hotel, doing fitness instruction and personal training with guests and other clients from throughout the city. After that, I worked for a lot of other gyms, including Equinox at 14 Wall St. Now that you have your own gym at Southbridge, you’ve had to work with a very small space — only about 900 square feet. How have you utilized the space to give effective workouts and grow your business? This is the first time I’ve opened my own club, and I’ve definitely used a lot of the experience that I’ve gained by working for other people during my time in New York. In terms of making the small space work, I’m using TRX suspension training equipment, which doesn’t take up any floor space since it hangs off the wall. The equipment is great, compared to what you find in most big gyms, because it only weighs a few pounds, so it can be easily carried and tied to any of our wall mounts. And it can be used to perform a wide range of multi-functional exercises — you can work out your chest, back shoulders and lower body. In addition to that, we also have a treadmill and an elliptical trainer, as well as some weights and machines in the downstairs space. Considering that many of your clients are seniors, what are some of the added benefits of that suspension training equipment, as opposed to typical weights and machines? When you exercise using this equipment, you are totally in charge, because it’s controlled by your own body weight. So seniors don’t have to worry about the possible dangers of working with machines or heavy weights that could fall and cause injury. What about classes for children? Kids ages 6 to 12 are put into our empowerment program, where we teach them about strong leaders in addition to staying in shape. It’s a combination of physical fitness and motivational training. The kids can talk to us about how they’re doing in school, and we can help to turn everything into positive energy for them. And for ages 12 to 18, we offer programs that are based on more serious physical workouts, because kids that age already have a lot of energy, and many of them are involved in sports at school.

It seems like you really enjoy working with the seniors here at Southbridge. As someone who’s gained some fame as a bodybuilder, what makes you so passionate about your work now? I was raised by my grandmother, so I feel very connected with seniors. And when I was growing up in Ghana, I was raised to believe that our seniors are the most important people in our life, because these are the people who paved the way for us to be here. So we need to give back to these people, and we need to help take care of them when they reach this stage in their life. There are a lot of seniors here at Southbridge, and I love them very much. They also understand the importance of staying physically fit, because it allows them to continue doing the everyday activities they love, and so I enjoy helping them do that. I’m glad to consider the residents here part of my family. For more information about Southbridge Fitness Center, including details on memberships, visit southbridgefitnesscenter. com or call 212964-4414.


December 4 - December 17, 2013


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December 4 - December 17, 2013

Editorial Publisher

Jennifer Goodstein Publisher EMERITUS

John W. Sutter Editor

Josh Rogers Arts Editor

Scott Stiffler Reporter

Sam Spokony Sr. V.P. of Sales & Marketing

Francesco Regini Retail ad manager

Colin Gregory

Account Executives

Allison Greaker Julius Harrison Alex Morris Rebecca Rosenthal Julio Tumbaco Art / Production Director

Troy Masters Senior Designer

Michael Shirey Graphic Designer

Chris Ortiz Contributors

Albert Amateau Jerry Tallmer

Answers needed on park air rights sales One mystery surrounding the

amendment to the Hudson River Park Act that the Legislature approved way back in June was answered Nov. 13, when Governor Cuomo finally signed the bill into law. However, many questions still remain about the modifications to the 1998 Park Act, specifically, regarding the provision allowing the Hudson River Park’s unused development rights to be sold across the highway one block inland from the park. For starters, no one seems to know exactly how many unused air rights the 5-mile-long park has. Madelyn Wils, the president of the Hudson River Park Trust, the park’s governing authority, is on record saying this summer that the park has about 1.6 million square feet of unused air rights potentially for sale. However, the Trust and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried — who sponsored the recent amendment along with Assemblymember Deborah Glick — now say the exact number of air rights can’t be quantified until a formal ULURP or land use application is done, presumably, sometime soon. Also, no one seems to know where the air rights could be transferrable to. Would they have to go directly across the highway from the pier they are taken from? Or could they be stacked anywhere along the park’s length, from Chambers St. to W. 59th St.? Most importantly, will the city or will

the state oversee these air rights transfers? If it’s the city, under city zoning, a sevenmonth-long ULURP public review process would be required. Admittedly, many local residents scoff that ULURP has not spared the community unpopular large-scale projects, such as the Rudin residential redevelopment of the St. Vincent’s site, the N.Y.U. 2031 superblocks expansion or the Chelsea Market vertical expansion. Yet, with a community-sensitive councilmember, ULURP can be an effective way to scale back oversized, noncontextual development and add into them community “gets” — like affordable housing, a school or a health facility. Pier 40 is the focus of everyone’s attention right now. That’s mainly because the new amendment requires any revenue from the sale of this massive, but crumbling West Houston St. pier’s air rights be funneled back into the Pier 40 to fund sorely needed repairs. Plus, Pier 40 simply has a huge amount of airs rights for sale — around 600,000 square feet — and potentially 740,000 more if its pier shed is razed. Meanwhile, the St. John’s Center building across the highway has been a long-coveted development site, only in need of a residential zoning change. We hear that, initially, at least, discussions among stakeholders were that a potential air rights transfer from Pier 40

to the St. John’s site would be handled under the state’s General Project Plan, or G.P.P., process. We’re told that, yes, a G.P.P. does involve an extensive public comment period. Yet, the decision on a G.P.P. is ultimately by the much-maligned mechanism of “three men in a room” — the governor and the heads of the Assembly and state Senate. The new legislation would seem to indicate that city zoning would, in fact, govern the process — but again, we absolutely need concrete assurances. Yes, of course, the revenue these air rights sales would be a godsend for currently cash-strapped Hudson River Park. Yet, at what cost? For years, activists and preservationists have battled to save the Lower West Side waterfront from overdevelopment. Now, will this new provision, simply override and blot out all those hardwon gains? The hard work of figuring out next steps on this issue will fall to Mayor Bill de Blasio when he takes office next month. There will also be some new Trust board members in place. We hear Community Board 2 will be reviewing the air rights issue in January. We’re looking forward to the board’s helping clarify this murky, but very serious, provision that has the potential to radically reshape our communities.


Milo Hess Jefferson Siegel

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“Spruce School parents protest as union pickets near classrooms” (posted Nov. 26): Thanks for posting this. I am a parent of a child at Spruce Street. The protest is obnoxious. It’s beyond frustrating the city can’t do anything about it. It’s like the union workers get a free pass to be thugs. I can’t get Margaret Chin or her deputies to call me back about this and 311 is useless. I thought free speech was free until it infringed on others? Chris Chris — I’m a union carpenter. How exactly are my brothers and sisters and I “thugs”? Because we’re exercising our democratic right to protest against contractors that underpay our non union fellow tradesmen? That sounds

more like “altruism” to me — because we’re standing up on behalf of others less fortunate for ourselves. Dude, we live in a DEMOCRACY and we have the right to protest. @Gregoryabutler

“A giant among tall ships, Seaport’s Peking reopens for select Saturdays” (Posted, Sept. 18): Peking was my home in the 1950’s for more than 2 years. She was a good home and played an important part in shaping my life. She was always a great lady that instilled me with pride in having served aboard her. She deserves our collective aid to save her. Gordon Payne (11/30/13)

Retraction of 9/11 Museum bathroom article EDIT O R ’ S N O TE : Downtown Express has retracted an article printed in our last issue, “No bathroom for 9/11 Museum,” because the thrust of the article and the headline are not accurate. The 9/11 Museum, scheduled to open next year, will in fact have bathrooms. An article quote by Joe Daniels, president of the museum and 9/11 Memorial, which seemed to suggest the opposite, was taken out of context. At a recent City Council hearing Daniels said: “I think people will

understand that the 9/11 Museum itself is not going to be the place to go for the facilities, but I’m confident that the surrounding area will have them.” The “people” Daniels was referring to were those visiting the free public memorial above the museum, which will charge admission. There are no plans for memorial bathrooms but museum visitors will have full use of the facilities. The article in question was pulled off our web site the same day it was posted. We regret the error.

December 4 - December 17, 2013


Downtown Notebook

That Sad Thanksgiving

By PA UL S C HIN DLER I was just days shy of nine years old that Thanksgiving Day. Much later I read Melville’s line about the “damp, drizzly November in my soul,” but Thanksgiving’s almost always carved out a warm place in my heart. A long weekend. None of Christmas’ ups and downs. And as I’ve grown older, I’ve always been able to find family. Back then, my older brothers and I usually spent Thanksgiving morning at the nearby schoolyard courts shooting baskets. Not that I ever had the coordination needed or the guts to throw my elbows around, but at least I could show my big brothers I could hit the hoop. I can’t remember if we went to the schoolyard that Thanksgiving. I remember that six days before, when I was going back to school after lunch, I heard the president had been shot. Panicky, the other kids and I also heard that John-John was shot. And then it was Johnson was shot. And only then, John Connally, the Texas governor. An hour or so later, we heard that President Kennedy was dead. One girl stood up clapping. Hurt made my mind go blank. I kept my mouth shut. My brother was home sick, so after school I had to go to his sixth grade class and pick up his homework. He had the only man teacher at the school, and a few of the boys in his class were hanging around talking about whether Goldwater did it. They ignored me and kept me waiting, but even though I felt very small I thought they were idiots. When I was finally walking home, I thought I had to not cry when I got there. I kept thinking, “I didn’t even know him. Why do I want to cry?” I think I already felt shame from the feelings men gave me.

When I got home, my brother screamed at me for smiling on a day like that. My father got home a little later and walked right over to the hi-fi. We had a Vaughn Meader record called “The First Family,” where he mostly made fun of the way Kennedy said “vigah” and “Cuber.” My dad cracked the album over his thigh. On Sunday, when my parents were at the grocery store, my brothers and I watched Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald. After that, my dad took us bowling for my oldest brother’s birthday. Later, when we watched the crowds file past the president’s coffin, my mom told me you could tell the Catholics because they were making the sign of the cross. She stood in front of the TV crying. We all cried when Jackie prompted John-John in a salute to his father at the end of it all. On Thanksgiving, we knew President Johnson would go on TV to talk to the country. We knew we would watch it. It was after we ate. I later learned that Johnson was a big talker and a colorful man. That day, he looked like a grandfather. His Texas drawl was soft and slow and his face was very tight. It seemed like we were supposed to feel better after he spoke, but it was still just sad. I really wanted to see Jackie, the beautiful lady behind the black veil a few days before. It would be years before we saw her again, and by then a lot of people had turned on her. I don’t know if the whole country watched the president on TV this Thanksgiving. It’s probably something to think about. And it’s probably good to remember that on one sad Thanksgiving Day, we all did. Paul Schindler is editor-in-chief of Gay City News, a sister publication of Downtown Express

transit sam ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING IS IN EFFE CT ALL WEEK Wednesday is a Gridlock Alert Day for the Rock Center Tree Lighting! Residual delays will creep Downtown as Fifth and Sixth Aves. close between 48th and 52nd Sts. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., as do all crosstown streets between 48th and 52nd Sts. between Fifth and Sixth Aves. One tube of the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel will close 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. Twoway traffic will run in the other tube. Expect delays in the tunnel and on West St., as well as at the inbound Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. The Jets play the Raiders 1 p.m. Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Fan traffic to and from the game will clog up the Lincoln Tunnel, sending drivers down

to the Holland. Expect slowdowns before and after the game. All Manhattan-bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge will close 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday nights, as well as midnight Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday and midnight Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday. With the Battery Tunnel closure, this will make for slow inbound travel overnight as most drivers detour to the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, and onto Canal and Delancey Sts. In the Holland Tunnel, one NewYork bound lane will close 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights. That means slow going into Lower Manhattan, and on Canal St. too. On West St./Route 9A, one lane will close in each direction between West Thames and Vesey Sts. 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights. The

same closure will repeat 10 p.m. Friday night to 5 a.m. Saturday. No F service in either direction between Jay St-MetroTech in Brooklyn and West 4 St. 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights. Shuttle buses will run between BroadwayLafayette and East Broadway; take the D between West 4 St and BroadwayLafayette. Maiden Lane will close between Broadway and Nassau St. 11 p.m. Friday to 8 p.m. Saturday. During the same hours, Liberty Pl. will close between Maiden Lane and Liberty St., and only one lane of Broadway will be open between John and Liberty Sts. Washington St. will close intermittently between Laight and Hubert Sts. between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily through Mon., Dec. 16. At the end of each workday, one lane will reopen.

Con-Ed storm repairs mean partial street closures on the following streets: Dover St. between Water and Front Sts., parts of Hanover, Wall, John, and Gold Sts., as well as Beaver St. east of New St. Closures will take place 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Gridlock Sam’s 2014 Parking Calendar is here! This year, the calendar will be available online as a free download and through the Gridlock Sam store as a printed copy for $3 shipping and handling. To access the download link, follow me on Twitter @gridlocksam, or subscribe to the Gridlock Sam e-Newsletter at Readers, send me your traffic and parking questions at and follow me on Twitter @ gridlocksam.


December 4 - December 17, 2013

Downtown gun buyback uncertain B Y SAM SPOKONY Funding is available for 10 new gun buyback events across the city, but it’s unclear whether one of those will be held for the Lower East Side’s public housing developments. In its fiscal year 2014 budget, the City Council set aside $150,000 to fund the buybacks, which offer cash to residents who anonymously turn in guns to their local police precinct. The New York Police Department has also provided a matching contribution of $150,000. In October 2012, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver worked with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to sponsor the first-ever Lower East Side gun buyback event, which took 50 firearms — including four illegally altered, semiautomatic handguns — off the street. “The scourge of gun violence has brought tragedy to far too many families in our community, particularly on the Lower East Side, which recently saw yet another fatal shooting,” said Silver in an e-mailed statement last week, referring to the Nov. 10 murder of 30-year-old George Taliferro in Smith Houses. “I would welcome another gun buyback and I am continuing my strong effort to curb gun violence,” Silver said. The 10 locations for the new buybacks will be chosen through discussions between the City Council, N.Y.P.D. and D.A.’s Office, according to a D.A. source. “Every illegal firearm taken off our streets means lives saved and crimes averted, and that is why gun buyback programs are an invaluable tool in keeping New Yorkers safe,” said

Councilmember Margaret Chin, who has also allocated $800,000 for the installation of security cameras in public housing developments. “Curbing gun violence in our communities is of the utmost priority, and I expect the next administration to give this issue its full attention.” The Council also allocated more than $4.5 million in funding for other antigun violence initiatives in its F.Y. 2014 budget. But that money is all focused on five neighborhoods — in Harlem, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island — that have statistically higher rates of shootings than the Lower East Side. Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, in an interview with The Villager, called for a second Lower East Side gun buyback earlier this year, following January’s fatal shooting of Raphael Ward, 16, a Baruch Houses resident. Since Ward’s murder, there have been a total of eight more shooting incidents reported in the Fifth, Seventh and Ninth precincts, which collectively cover Chinatown, the Lower East Side and the East Village. The N.Y.P.D. did not respond to a request for comment. In interviews conducted at Smith Houses following Taliferro’s death, residents of the development generally supported the idea of bringing another gun buyback to the Lower East Side. But one woman, who has lived there 35 years, was bluntly critical of the program. “It’s bulls---,” said the 60-year-old woman “For every gun they turn in, there are still five more on the street.”


December 4 - December 17, 2013


Masterpieces of holiday simplicity Caruso’s musical ‘Nice’ list sure can swing BY JIM CARUSO ( I love spending the holidays in New York City — but between the over-blown seasonal spectaculars, the inclement weather and throngs of gaping tourists, a Manhattan Christmas can sometimes be overwhelming. In concocting this list of December must-sees, I’ve noticed that my choices are all masterpieces of simplicity — emphasizing clarity, sophisticated humor and good old-fashioned showbiz. Maybe those are the qualities I wish for myself, and should include in my letter to Santa. So, with all due respect to The Rockettes, the 76-foot tree in Rockefeller Center and the upcoming slush-fest, here is my grown-up Christmas list of musical, magical morsels.

ON THE RECORD: A TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT VOCAL GROUPS OF THE 20th CENTURY Through December 15 Sat. at 3pm & Sun. at 6pm At Stage 72 158 W. 72nd St. (btw. Amsterdam & Columbus) $25 (half price for students/seniors) Call 800-838-3006 Visit

Photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy

The powerhouse quartet of “On the Record” focuses their pipes on popular music’s last 100 years.

As solo singers, Bill Daugherty, Paul Kropfl, Amanda Savan and Deborah Tranelli are wonderful. As a quartet, they’re even better. Their show, “On The Record, A Tribute to the Great Vocal Groups of the 20th Century,” celebrates such disparate and influential ensembles as The Andrews Sisters, The Mills Brothers, The Beach Boys and The Beatles. This multi-media chronology showcases the sights and sounds of singers and arrangers who have shaped the popular music scene for the last 100 years.


December 17-28 At Birdland Jazz Club 315 W. 44th St. (btw. 8th & 9th Aves.) $75-$200, plus $20 food or beverage minimum Call 212-581-3080 or

After 14 years headlining at the eponymously named Feinstein’s at The Regency, Michael Feinstein moves his smart, suave and sophisticated holiday show to Birdland, ‘the jazz corner of the world.’ The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer has been a

Continued on page 26

Photo courtesy of the artist

Michael Feinstein’s headlining debut at Birdland Jazz Club happens Dec. 17-28.


December 4 - December 17, 2013

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Something up their sleeves? Helder Guimarães and Derek DelGaudio claim they have “Nothing to Hide.”

Continued from page 25 friend to the club for years, even highlighting Monday night’s weekly Cast Party on his PBS “American Songbook” series. Lucky audience members will be privy to ravishingly performed yuletide standards and insider stories celebrating the legacy of popular song — making this the nightclub event of the season.


December 21-25 At Birdland Jazz Club 315 W. 44th St. (btw. 8th & 9th Aves.) All shows 6pm, except Sat. at 5:30pm $30, plus $10 food or beverage minimum 212-581-3080 or

As the late, great Kay Thompson chirped, “It’s the holiday season! So whoop-de-doo, and dickery-dock!” That’s just one tune I’ll be singing with my musical cohorts Billy Stritch and Klea Blackhurst in our fourth year of “A Swinging Birdland Christmas.” If you miss the cozy, traditional Christmas TV specials of yore, this just might be the perfect show for you! Tight harmonies, superstar guests and all-round yuletide euphoria will abound at the iconic jazz room.


Through January 18 Wed.-Fri. at 7:30pm, Sat. at 2pm,

5pm & 8pm Sun. at 4pm & 7:30pm At Pershing Square Signature Center 480 W. 42nd St. (btw. 9th & 10th Aves.) $76.50-$149.50 Call 212-279-4200 Visit Also visit As a kid, I annoyed children of all ages as “Jimbo the Clown,” with magic, ventriloquism and mayhem, so I have a passing knowledge of card tricks. But this show, directed by TV and Broadway superstar Neil Patrick Harris and starring sleight-of-hand artists Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimarães, had me slack-jawed and screaming, “How’d they DO that?” This show had a wildly successful theatrical run at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and now you can catch the fun Off-Broadway at the Pershing Square Signature Center until January 18. This isn’t your basic bunny-out-of-a-hat show, folks. The delicacy, wit and laser-beam precision is a thrilling thing to watch — and is, as they say, fun for the whole family! Jim Caruso’s “Cast Party” happens every Monday night at Birdland Jazz Club (315 W. 44th St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). Doors open at 9pm, show at 9:30pm. $25 cover, $10 food/drink minimum. For info, call 212-581-3080 or visit and

December 4 - December 17, 2013




If Noah had a surplus sale — and if his ark gathered the popular music of all cultures and races instead of all creatures great and small — the scene might resemble what goes down at Tribeca’s ARChive of Contemporary Music every December. More than 250,000 recordings are donated to the not-for-profit music library and research center annually. They keep two of each, and then sell off all remaining copies. The desperate need of these purpose-driven hoarders to create more shelf space means your own collection can grow to include any number of over 25,000 LPs, 45s, CDs, cassettes, books, posters, magazines, VHS tapes and DVDs that are up for grabs. Standouts from this year’s sale include a collection of punk/new wave 45s and a special Lou Reed section. Not a music lover? Then peruse the vintage flea market and yard sale. Join ARC as a member, and you’ll score an invite to their December 5 pre-sale party (with food, drink, early shopping and spirited discussion with fellow enthusiasts). Sat., Dec. 7 through Sun., Dec. 15, 11am6pm daily. At the ARChive of Contemporary Music (54 White St., btw. Broadway & Church St.). Visit, call 212-226-6967 or send email to

Image courtesy of ARChive of Contemporary Music

They take two, and then sell the rest to you: ARChive of Contemporary Music’s surplus is up for grabs, Dec. 7-15.


It’s been standing tall and looking good since arriving at 4am on Monday — but you’ll have to wait until 6pm on December 11 to see the Washington Square Park Christmas Tree in all its spruced up glory. That’s when the lights on this 45-foot-tall Vermonter will first begin to sparkle and shine. To mark that occasion, the Rob Susman Brass Quartet will accompany the crowd in the singing of holiday songs (with

Photo by Ken Howard

You would even say it glows: The Washington Square Park Christmas Tree lighting ceremony happens at 6pm on Dec. 11.

lyric sheets provided by The Washington Square Association). When the time comes to throw the switch, Santa Claus will lead the children in an illumination countdown. Then, on Christmas Eve (at 5pm), those complimentary songbooks make another appearance, along with the Brass Quartet — as revelers fill the park with musical

sentiments of peace on earth and goodwill to all. Both events happen at the Washington Square Park Arch (at the foot of Fifth Ave., one block south of Eighth St.). The Washington Square Park Christmas Tree is lit from 4pm-1am daily, through the season. For info, call 212-2523621 or visit


December 4 - December 17, 2013

Put this bite-sized ‘Carol’ on your lunch menu NY Classical Theatre’s two-person take on Dickens has brevity, wit

Photos courtesy of New York Classical Theatre

Limited time and space — but NY Classical Theatre’s two-person “Christmas Carol” gets the job done. Scrooge goes from grump to goose-buyer, in 15 minutes.

BY SCOTT STIFFLER Second only to Shakespeare when it comes to inspiring liberal (often horrendous) adaptations, there really is no excuse for messing up Charles Dickens’ beautifully structured tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s overnight conversion from stingy misanthrope to kind and

generous soul. Mr. Magoo and Alastair Sim did very well by the source material, while Fred Flintstone and Kelsey Grammer dropped the ball — and the George C. Scott version is so long and torturous, it was still playing as we went to press. So it comes as a tremendous relief to hear that New York Classical Theatre

(whose summertime production of “The Tempest” roamed Battery Park) is behind this brief, but loyal, two-person version of the often-overlong holiday classic. Brevity and wit are on the menu of “A (15-Min!) Christmas Carol,” in which Scrooge will

act rotten, see ghosts and change his ways — all before you can finish your lunchtime sandwich. Free. At 12:30 & 1:15pm, Dec. 10-12, at One Liberty Plaza (meet by the cafe tables). Also, at 12:30 & 1:15pm, Dec.

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December 4 - December 17, 2013

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December 4 - December 17, 2013

Complex Cosme’s good cause

Filipino photographer’s NYC debut will help typhoon relief

Image courtesy of the artist & Tally Beck Contemporary

“Mater Dolorosa Protectrix” (digital photograph on canvas, 34 1/8 x 27 1/8 in, 2013). Niccolo Cosme’s solo exhibition is on view through Dec. 22, at Tally Beck Contemporary.

ART THE ALTAR BOY: NICCOLO COSME'S SOLO EXHIBITION Through December 22 At Tally Beck Contemporary 42 Rivington St. (btw. Eldridge & Forsyth Sts.) Gallery Hours: Tues.-Sun., 12-6pm Call 646-678-3433 Visit

BY SCOTT STIFFLER Currently living in Manila, Filipino photographer Niccolo Cosme says that although his city was spared from the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, “We started to feel its impact day by day. We have never seen anything of this magnitude, where communities, towns and provinces were washed out. We found ourselves in volunteer work every night, assisting in relief operations, at the airbase where the refugees are flown from the typhoon-affected areas. It felt like we were at war. Work, family, the whole Philippines is affected by this event.” When Haiyan hit just over a week before Cosme was set to make his NYC debut as a solo artist, November 20’s opening night reception at Tally Beck Contemporary was hastily reorganized as a benefit. All of the usual festivities took place, but the evening’s centerpiece was an auction of artwork by Cosme and fellow

Image courtesy of the artist & Tally Beck Contemporary

“Sagittae Sebastiani” (digital photograph on canvas, 22 ½ x 19 ½ in, 2012), part of Niccolo Cosme’s solo exhibition at Tally Beck Contemporary.

Filipino artist Lenore Lim — which raised $900 for Red Cross relief efforts. Donations will be accepted at two upcoming talks directly related to the subject matter covered in Cosme’s solo exhibition. On December 11, Tally Beck (whose gallery specializes in Asian contemporary art) discusses Cosme’s use of religious imagery in “The Art of Ecstasy: The Legacy of Sexuality in Counter-Reformation Religious Art.” On December 17, Tally Beck Contemporary will present “Family Tree: Niccolo Cosme and the Photo Personification” — a lecture by NYU’s Anne Hoy (who teaches art history). Both events begin with a reception at 6pm, followed by the talk at 7:30pm. As for the basis of these talks, Cosme’s

“The Altar Boy” is comprised of 16 large-scale “personification photographs” drawn from the artist’s background as a gay man growing up in the intensely Catholic culture of the Philippines. Inspired by the manner in which Christian imagery was adjusted to the context of different cultures, Cosme uses live models to stage photographs whose hyper-realism, says Beck, “recalls the surrealism of Pierre et Gilles” while referencing ecstatic and hagiographical imagery — Reformation-era religious painting and sculpture “that focused on emotionally charged images of saints. These works also blurred the lines between sexual and spiritual ecstasy, and we see this ambiguity in Cosme’s personified photographs.”

December 4 - December 17, 2013


Hanukkah in Battery Park City Hanukkah floated Downtown on Dec. 3, as local children explored the Traveling Noah’s Ark during a holiday celebration at the Jewish Heritage Museum, organized by Chabad Battery Park City. Most of the animals on the ark were props, but some -- including a llama

-- were live and (one would assume) happy to be part of the Festival of Lights. Rabbi Chaim Zaklos of Chabad had a little trouble with the wind, but he was able to light the nine-foot-tall menorah on the festival’s seventh and next to last night.

Downtown Express photos by Milo Hess


December 4 - December 17, 2013

Home for the Holidays! Chips and Salsa Platter

Party Platters

Cocktail Sandwich or Wrap Platter

An elegant selection of bite size gourmet sandwich or wraps, freshly prepared with an array of cold cuts and assorted cheese from around the world on a bed of lettuce and tomatoes. (served with mayonnaise, mustard and honey mustard on the side)

Sm $50.00 (35 pcs) Md $65.00 (45 pcs) Lg $80.00 (65 pcs)

Large Shrimp Cocktail Platter

The perfect platter for any occasion. Choose one of the following homemade fresh salsas: mild, medium or hot, plus complimentary guacamole.

Sm $30.00 (6-8p) Md $45.00 (10-12p) Lg $55.00 (15-18p)

Crudité Platter

A wide variety of crispy fresh vegetables. Complimentary with the platter is a choice of two dips.


Finger Food

20 pcs rolls- California Rolls

(Chicken or beef) $8.99 p/p

California Roll Platter $35.00

Amish Sushi Platter

70 pcs rolls- Tuna, salmon, ebi, eel, yellowtail, avocado and cucumber


Sushi Delight Platter

Poached large shrimp beautifully arranged and garnished with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce.

Sm $50.00 (8-10p) Md $65.00 (12-14p) Lg $85.00 (16-18p)

35 pcs rolls- Tuna, salmon, eel, avocado, cucumber. 10 pcs nigiri- Tuna, salmon yellowtail, shrimp, octopus, squid.

Sm $70.00 (6-8p) Md $90.00 (10-12p) Lg $130.00 (15-20p)

Heroes By Foot


Fresh Mozzarella Platter

The perfect appetizer: homemade mozzarella cheese, sliced Holland stem tomato, sun dried tomato, fresh basil with olive oil and balsamic vinegar elegantly designed in a floral display.

Pick from these delicious options; Amish Style, American, Vegetarian and Italian (served with mayonnaise, mustard and honey mustard on the side). Chicken Cutlets, grilled or fried (served with roasted vegetables and fresh mozzarella).

Sm $45.00 (8-10p) Md $55.00 (10-12p) Lg $70.00 (14-18p)

2 foot $45.00 (6-8p) 4 foot $90.00 (12-14p) 6 foot $130.00 (18-20p)

Assorted Cheese Platter

Royal Sandwich or Wrap Platter

A unique selection of imported and domestic cheeses garnished with fresh fruits or a gourmet selection of olives with assorted crackers or sliced bread on the side.

X-Sm $40.00 (4-6p) Sm $60.00 (8-10p) Md $80.00 (12-14p) Lg $100.00 (16-18p)

Oven Baked Hors D’oeuvres

A delightful selection of bite size, handmade hors d’oeuvres, including potato puffs, spinach turnover, mini meatballs, mushroom crowns and pigs in a blanket.

Md $55.00 (50 pcs, 8-10p) Lg $110.00 (100 pcs, 16-20p)

An endless array of fresh cold cuts and wraps, all made with assorted cheeses served on a variety of artisan breads and wraps with lettuce and tomato. (served with mayonnaise, mustard and honey mustard on the side)

$8.49 (p/p)

Dessert Platter

A delicious assortment of brownies, cookies, and chocolate garnished with fresh berries.

Salmon Platter

Served chilled or poached with dill sauce, or grilled with teriyaki glaze.

Sm $60 (6-8p) Lg $100 (10-15p)

Meat Entrees

Mini Kebab

Chicken fingers

with special house sauce $8.99 p/p

Mini shrimp kebab $11.99 p/p Stuffed chicken breast

with spinach and feta cheese $8.99 p/p

Mini meatballs $8.99 p/p Buffalo chicken wings with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing $7.99 p/p

Eggplant rollatini $7.99 p/p

Hot Pasta Trays

Marinara, Ala Vodka, Alfredo Siciliana, Milanese Suggested with penne

Baked Ziti

Ziti Baked with Ricotta, Mozzarella, Romano Cheese, Spices with Red Sauce

Half Tray $40.00 (8-10p) Full Tray $80.00 (20-30p)

Stuffed Turkey or Chicken Breast with Spinach and Feta Cheese

Chicken Parmigiana Chicken Franchese in Lemon Sauce Chicken Marsala Swedish Meatballs Italian Meatballs

For all meat entrees please choose one side dish: mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, white or yellow rice.

Half Tray $50.00 (8-10p) Full Tray $100.00 (18-20p)

Meat Lasagna

Half Tray $50.00 (8-12p) Full Tray $100.00 (18-25p)


Arugula Salad

Mushroom, Cherry Tomato, Parmesan Cheese

Mediterranean Salad

Romaine, Onion, Olives, Cucumber, Tomato, Feta

X-Sm $35.00 (4-6p) Sm $50.00 (8-10p) Md $65.00 (12-14p) Lg $85.00 (16-18p)

Fancy Mesclun Salad Cucumber, Tomato, Mixed Bell Peppers.

Md $40.00 (10-12p) Lg $50.00 (15-18p)

Please check out our full Holiday Menu at Amish Market Tribeca 53 Park Place, New York, NY 10007 T: (212) 608-3863 • F: (212) 608-3864 •