Page 1

Metal masters, p. 15

Volume 2, Number 22 FREE

East and West Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown

December 22 - 28, 2011

A symphony of no’s on Parks’ musician rules at speak-out BY ALBERT AMATEAU There was only one speaker on Monday in favor of the Parks Department’s citing musicians and other performers in Washington Square Park for violating park rules. The lone supporter was Bill Castro, Manhattan borough Parks Department commissioner, who told a packed audience that the recently enforced rules still allow buskers plenty of room to perform in Washington Square — as long as they’re

50 feet from any monument and 5 feet from a bench. “The rules are not intended to ban performers from this or any other park, regardless of whether they solicit or accept contributions,” Castro said. “The department seeks to regulate and accommodate a variety of activities and uses,” Castro added, but he promised that the department would review and reconsider the enforcement

Continued on page 4

‘Tear down this wall!’ activists cry outside CHARAS Photo by Byron Smith

A roller-skating occupier posed before entering the Trinity lot Saturday on stairs the protesters had quickly thrown up against the fence.

Occupy gives it another try as Tutu, artists give support BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Ratcheting up the pressure on Trinity Wall Street to let Occupy Wall Street use its vacant lot at Canal St. and Sixth Ave., O.W.S. made its strongest push for the lot yet, briefly occupying the space Saturday afternoon before police quickly responded and made dozens of arrests. Afterward, the occupiers then marched north, intending to protest outside Trinity Rector James Cooper’s house, but police had sealed off the street with a mass of officers holding orange nets.

Also, in a big boost for the Occupy effort, Desmond Tutu on Dec. 15 wrote a letter of support, with a plea to Trinity to let the protesters use the Duarte Square space. “You are the answer,” Tutu told O.W.S. “I know of your own challenges and of this appeal to Trinity Church for the shelter of a new home and I am with you! May God bless this appeal of yours and may the good people of that noble parish heed your plea,” the Nobel Peace Prize-winning archbishop wrote. “Yours is a voice for the world not

just the neighborhood of Duarte Park,” Tutu said. “Injustice, unfairness and the stranglehold of greed which has beset humanity in our times must be answered with a resounding, ‘No!’ You are that answer. I write this to you not many miles away from the houses of the poor in my country. … You see, the heartbeat of what you are asking for — that those who have too much must wake up to the cries of their brothers and sisters who have so little — beats in me and all South Africans who

BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL Despite years of organizing meetings, rallies, brainstorming sessions and soaring real estate values, the East Village building that once housed the CHARAS / El Bohio Cultural and Community Center remains boarded up, empty except for the pigeons that call the former school building home. To mark 10 years since the community center was evicted by developer

Gregg Singer, more than 100 people braved belowfreezing weather on Sunday for a demonstration. They first gathered in Tompkins Square Park, then marched to the E. Ninth St. entrance of the former P.S. 64 building, where they set up tables to create a “Curbside Community Center.” With musical accompaniment by the Hungry March Band, the Great Small

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December 22 - 28, 2011

Photo by Marlis Momber

After protesters banged on the old P.S. 64’s construction fence with sticks, police responded and a scuffle broke out between several protesters and officers.

‘Tear down this wall!’ activists cry outside CHARAS Continued from page 1 Works players presented an illustrated history of CHARAS. Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping warmed up the crowd with a sermon. Participants wrapped yellow tape emblazoned with the word “Occupy” across the length of the blue plywood construction fence in front of the former school building, as others hung banners proclaiming, “Mr. Bloomberg Tear Down This Wall,” and “Liberate Space.” The coda to the day’s events was a symbolic drumming on the wooden fence, as

participants put it, to send a message loud enough to be heard by City Hall. However, after several minutes, police arrived and ordered the tables be removed from the street. Tempers flared, a scuffle ensued and four people were arrested. The community center, created in 1979, offered after-school programs and meetings on Puerto Rican culture and tenants’ rights, as well as numerous cultural offerings. Real estate developer Singer bought the building at auction in 1998. After several legal challenges to try to stay in the building, CHARAS was forced out at the end of 2001; The eviction saw a heavy police presence remove a group of CHARAS supporters who

had locked themselves to each other inside the building. “My daughter attended her first dance workshop there,” said East Villager Barbara Caporale, lamenting the loss of the space. In following years, plans were proposed for condos, a school dormitory and a youth hostel. Singer even threatened to convert the building to a drug-treatment facility. None of these plans came to fruition. Complicating any development plans was the landmarking of the structure four years ago. “CHARAS ran a vibrant center that gave to the community for over 20 years,” said Carlos “Chino” Garcia, the executive direc-

Photo by Jim Flynn

Rapping on the wall, protesters said it must go.

tor of CHARAS. “Gregg Singer has had 10 years and has done nothing for the community. It’s time we get the building back.” Asked if CHARAS would consider relocating to the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, a.k.a. SPURA, Garcia laughed. “SPURA? That’s another 10 years,” he said. “I might be dead by then.” The letters spelling “CHARAS” stand for “CH” for Chino Garcia, “AR” for former District Leader Armando Perez and “AS” for poet and playwright Bimbo Rivas. Of the three neighborhood activists, Garcia is the only surviving member. From Puerto Rico’s indigenous Taino language, “bohio” means “the hut.”

Photo by Jefferson Siegel

Carlos “Chino” Garcia, right, speaking in the park before the march to the former CHARAS / El Bohio.

December 22 - 28, 2011



NOTEBOOK ‘OPERATION...(BURP)....SANTACON’! After he gave his report on year-to-date crime stats for the Sixth Precinct at last Thursday’s Community Board 2 meeting, Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo asked if there were any questions. C.B. 2 District Manager Bob Gormley had a good one: Did the precinct do anything special in how it policed Santacon on Sat., Dec. 10? Yes, del Pozo said, in fact, there were an additional 40 police officers on duty in the Greenwich Village precinct to keep an eye on the tsunami of alcoholic St. Nicks. Del Pozo handled one of the suds-soaked Santas personally, mano-a-mano — or is it mano-a-Santo? “I chased one Santa three blocks and tackled him,â€? the D.I. said. “He just took a garbage can and threw it into the street. ‌ Barring that, we had no serious Santa-related crimes,â€? he reassured the board, some of whom were chuckling anyway. The can-tossing Claus was cuffed and charged with disorderly conduct. “He was subsequently released with a summons with adequate time to complete preparations for Christmas,â€? del Pozo said. Most of the officers in “Operation Santaconâ€? (we have no idea if it was actually called that — but, hey, why not?) were posted along strips popular with the beerguzzling, red-suited set, like Bleecker and MacDougal Sts. and Sixth and Seventh Aves. How about the Meatpacking District? Gormley queried. Nope, del Pozo said, “They have a tight rein on their Santas in the Meatpacking District.â€? Probably the booze is too expensive there for them, someone quipped. Oh, poor drunken Santas. TRUST DISRUPTION: Locked-out art handlers from Sotheby’s auction house briefly disrupted the Hudson River Park Trust’s board of directors meeting earlier this month. It turns out that Diana Taylor, the Trust’s chairperson and Mayor Mike’s main squeeze, sits on Sotheby’s board of directors. The protesting Teamsters demanded that Taylor intercede with Sotheby’s C.E.O. Bill Ruprecht to end the labor dispute, but Taylor pronounced, “If he accedes to any of your demands, I will resign from the boardâ€? of Sotheby’s. The New York Observer reports, “Now a group calling themselves Teamsters Joint Council 16 are demanding that Ms. Taylor resign from her chairperson position at the Hudson River Park Trust unless she apologizes for her comments‌or else be ousted by Governor Andrew Cuomo.â€? No disrespect to the Teamsters — but, yeah, umm, good luck with that. ‘IT’S ALL GOOD...’: On Monday, Mayor Bloomberg dubbed Cornell University the winner of the city’s search for a “genius schoolâ€? to develop a 2 million-square-foot tech campus on Roosevelt Island. Some mistakenly thought that this must have been a crushing blow to New York University. However, N.Y.U. actually wasn’t involved in that competition — though is hoping to win another tech project in the city. The mayor has repeatedly said he could choose more than one winner in the Applied Sciences NYC initiative. In a statement, Lynne Brown, N.Y.U. senior vice president, said, “We are very pleased that the city and the Cornell/TechnionIsrael Institute of Technology partnership have come to

COPIES & MORE SINCE 1982! Photo by Milo Hess

Ah...the true meaning of Santacon.

agreement on establishing an applied sciences institute on Roosevelt Island. This is an important development for the city’s economic future, and we congratulate everyone who has been involved with the process. N.Y.U. and its partners are enthusiastically continuing our talks with the city on establishing a new applied sciences institute in Brooklyn. We believe our Center for Urban Science and Progress will have a transformative impact on the tech sector in Brooklyn, and — along with Cornell’s new institute — make New York a world leader in innovation and technology.� FRANCO’S ‘HOURS’ IN CLASS: TMZ and the New York Post are reporting that a former N.Y.U. professor is suing the school, charging he was canned for giving James Franco a “D� for blowing off class. Jose Angel Santana said he gave the “127 Hours� actor the “poor� grade because, well, he spent barely any hours in class — missing 12 of his 14 “Directing the Actor II� classes while pursuing a master’s in fine arts. “The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that’s for sure,� Santana told the Post. “The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco.� However, the actor told an entertainment Web site last year, “I did the work. I did well in everything else.� Indeed, Santana told TMZ that Franco was a good student — that is, when he actually attended class: “When he was in my classes he was a model student,� Santana stated. N.Y.U. spokesperson John Beckman said the axed professor is just seeking to hype himself at Franco’s expense. “While we have not seen the lawsuit papers yet, the claims we have seen in the media are ridiculous nonsense, and their utter baselessness will emerge in due course through the legal process,� Beckman told us. “Beyond that, it is regrettable and disappointing to see a faculty member — former or otherwise — discuss any student’s grade for the purpose of his or her personal publicity.�


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December 22 - 28, 2011

A symphony of no’s at speak-out on musician rules Continued from page 1 policy that began in the park around May. The rules only apply to buskers, meaning performers who accept cash contributions. Given that Washington Square, the spawning ground in decades past of music luminaries including Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and Joan Baez, has benches along its paths and large monuments, including the iconic arch, the central fountain, the Garibaldi statue and the monument to Alexander Lyman Holley, the claim of “plenty of room” rang hollow. All others at the Dec. 19 speak-out, sponsored by Community Board 2 and its Parks Committee, called for an end to what they called an anti-life and hypocritical enforcement effort. Indeed, one speaker, Mitchel Cohen, mocked the rules, saying he was in favor of barring musicians because they interrupted the sound of jackhammers and sirens and they prevented people from getting close to the monuments. “Everybody knows that people come to Washington Square Park from all over the world to see the Holley Monument,” Cohen quipped. Gregory Nissen, a theater composer and pianist, introduced himself as Robert Zimmerman who just blew in from Minneapolis with his banjo, but decided to leave because the cops wouldn’t let him play in Washington Square.

Photo by Albert Amateau

Sand artist Joe Mangrum, left, and musician Colin Huggins (“The Crazy Piano Guy”) at Monday’s Board 2 speak-out.

Katie Kat, a soprano and voice instructor at New York University who performs under the arch (“great acoustics”) with her partner, Roxanne Walitzki, sang part of an aria from Puccini’s “La Bohème” at the end of her

remarks and won admiring applause. C.B. 2 members Keen Berger and Doris Diether, both speaking as individuals, urged an end to the enforcement. Berger, a resident near Washington Square for 47 years, said she has visited the park at least 2,000 times. She said she cherished the music and didn’t recall negative reactions against performers. Diether reminded the forum that performance in Washington Square dates back more than 50 years. “This is ridiculous,” Diether said about the enforcement, which she recalled started two or three months ago. “First, they said that musicians were blocking the pathways. Then, they said there was no solicitation in the park. The rules are idiotic and the Parks commissioner [Adrian Benepe] should be told they’re idiotic and they should be thrown out,” Diether said. “The people who perform are the people who keep the park safe,” said Susan Goren, a regular parkgoer known as “The Squirrel Whisperer.” The rules, she said, are eliminating what people find joyful in the park. A longtime jazz performer known as Black Bobby said, “First they came for the black folks. Now, from the look of the audience here tonight [largely white], it seems that there is equality.” Norman Siegel, a civil rights lawyer, recalled that he came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in 1965 to study at New York University Law School on Washington Square South. He said he was concerned that the Bloomberg administration was targeting free expression in the parks — in Zuccotti Park [previously, the site of the Occupy Wall Street encampment] and Washington Square Park. Noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that music is protected under the First Amendment, Siegel threatened that another lawsuit was likely unless the city

narrowed the scope of its parks rules. Robert Lederman, president of A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists’ Response To Illegal State Tactics), reminded the meeting that he has a pending federal lawsuit challenging the city’s rules limiting where artists can vend art and other expressive matter in Union Square, on the High Line and in Central Park and Battery Park. The rules were only imposed on musicians, according to Lederman, after he raised the issue to Parks that musicians were excluded from the Union Square limits, while vendors were forced to abide by them. Lederman, who cited an editorial, “Don’t ban the buskers” in last week’s issue of the East Villager, said the rules practically ban artists and musicians from any New York City park. The activist said the hypocrisy of the rules is apparent from the city-sponsored holiday markets that pre-empt space in Union Square and other parks. Lorie Moody, a resident of 2 Fifth Ave., agreed, citing the Greenmarket in Union Square and “the less-than-glorious, whitetented event in Washington Square,” referring to the annual Taste of The Village event under the Washington Square arch. Colin Huggins, “The Crazy Piano Guy,” who wheels his piano to play in Washington Square and other parks, said he has received summonses that would cost more than $2,000 in fines if they are not eventually dismissed. He said his playing brings people together. Joe Mangrum, who does sand painting in Union Sq. and Washington Square, has also received numerous summonses. “New York City is unique because there is this creative freedom,” Mangrum said. The city, he said, appears to be “militarizing’” the park. “Freedom is the most important thing we have. If you don’t have that you don’t have a country,” Mangrum said. Ryo Sasaki, a jazz trumpeter, said he came to New York four years ago from Japan because of the music culture. He has been playing in Washington Square Park for three years, “and suddenly this season we cannot do it anymore,” he said. “I learned to play music in school but I never learned how to entertain and communicate with people. Those skills I learned in Washington Square Park,” Sasaki said. “The city crated a problem that never existed,” said Natalie Albert, a neighborhood resident for 40 years. Tobi Bergman, chairperson of the board’s Parks Committee, called for speakers supporting the parks rules at the end of the two-hour forum, but there were no takers. Pros and cons may weigh in online at www. . “I take it as a good sign that the enforcement could change,” said Brad Hoylman, C.B. 2 chairperson, citing Castro’s assurance that the department would reconsider the policy. Earlier this year, Board 2 opposed the Parks Department’s limits on vendors of expressive matter in the four Manhattan parks. “That was even before we knew that musicians would be summonsed,” Hoylman said.

December 22 - 28, 2011




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December 22 - 28, 2011

Eight soldiers are charged in death of Danny Chen BY ALINE REYNOLDS Criminal military charges have been made, and new, disturbing details released, concerning the sudden death of Private Danny Chen on Oct. 3. The charges, at least, give Chen’s family and others hope that justice is on the way. Chen, 19, an Army private from the East Village who was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in a guard tower in Kandahar, Afghanistan, is now believed to have committed suicide, according to U.S. Army officials, who released a new report Wed., Dec. 21, on the military’s investigation into his death. Eight soldiers of the Third Battalion, including one higher-ranking offi cer, purportedly precipitated Chen’s death by physically and verbally harassing the Asian-American. The soldiers have consequently been slammed with a litany of charges, including involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and reckless endangerment, as well as maltreatment and verbal threats. The accused soldiers are First Lieutenant Daniel J. Schwartz, Sergeant Blaine G. Dugas, Sergeant Andrew J. Van Bockel, Sergeant Adam M. Holcomb, Sergeant Jeffrey T. Hurst, Specialist Thomas P. Curtis, Specialist Ryan J. Offutt and Sergeant Travis F. Carden. While in Afghanistan, Chen was allegedly hung, forced to swallow liquids and

Photo courtesy the Chinatown Partnership

“We don’t want any plea bargains here,” OCA-NY President Liz OuYang said on Tuesday.

hit with rocks by fellow soldiers and superiors, according to Councilmember Margaret Chin’s Office. In notes to his friends, Chen spoke of being harassed and of being the only Chinese-American

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that attended military training sessions at Fort Benning in Georgia prior to being deployed in Afghanistan. Chen also reportedly wrote home, saying that it was “best not to respond” to the harassment, but also that he was “running out of jokes to respond with,” according to Chin’s Office. Earlier Army accounts revealed that Chen was dragged out of bed and racially taunted by his peers in the hours prior to his death. “A preliminary hearing will be held to determine if there is sufficient evidence to take the matter to a trial by a courtmartial,” Army spokesperson George Wright said of the charges. The trials would begin sometime in the coming months, Wright said, either in Afghanistan or in this country. Wright added, “The Army is a valuesbased organization. We inculcate our soldiers with the need to treat all with dignity and respect. We enforce standards, and when our soldiers fail to meet those standards, we take appropriate action.” Chinatown community activists and politicians — who strongly back the Army’s ongoing investigation — were pleased to hear that charges have been pressed. Hours after the news broke on the morning of Dec. 21, the New York chapter of OCA, an Asian-American civil rights organization, held a press conference in Chinatown to report the latest developments. “We don’t want any plea bargains here. The soldiers need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said OCA-NY President Liz OuYang. “Justice for those that did this to Danny is an important element of ensuring these incidents don’t happen again,” she said. The charges “are an important first step in ensuring that those responsible for this

deplorable crime are brought to justice,” echoed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in a statement. “I also hope that this horrible incident will lead the U.S. Army to increase sensitivity training and to improve its outreach to the Asian-American community,” Silver added. “It’s a good beginning,” said Councilmember Chin, “but I think they still need to do the full investigative report.” OuYang, Chin and others met with Wright and other Army officials at the Pentagon last Wed., Dec. 14, to discuss the military’s training and recruitment policies, with the hope that some of its rules will be altered and others more strictly enforced. “The meeting wasn’t specifically about Chen’s case, because they told us the case was still under investigation,” Chin explained. The concerned group demanded that, moving forward, commanding officers and other supervising soldiers be monitored and held accountable for their actions while on duty. They said appropriate interventions must be made “to weed out people who have racist views,” according to OuYang. “We want there to be clear guidelines that the commanding officer will be disciplined if these types of hazing occur under his watch,” she said. “Based on numerous reports of Asian-American soldiers, diversity training is not effective, and we want community input into it.” The officials were “receptive” to the group’s queries, according to Chin. “It was a very productive meeting,” the councilmember said. “We gave them a whole bunch of questions they said they’d answer in about two weeks, and we’re going to be following up on their response.” A follow-up meeting is tentatively scheduled for the second week of January, according to Wright. “Army leaders discussed diversity, investigation and reporting procedures, leadership and accountability,” Wright said. “They also pledged to look at ways to continue this dialogue and review diversity training and policies. “Our intent is to bring in soldiers that are openminded and that are willing to embrace a diverse subculture called the Army,” he said. Chen’s father, Yan Tao Chen, and mother, Su Zhen Chen, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. They will be meeting with Army officials to learn more about their son’s maltreatment while in the service. The meeting will take place Wed., Jan. 4, at the Fort Hamilton Army base in Brooklyn, according to Frank Gee, the couple’s spokesperson and interpreter. “After two months of agonizing over their loss, they sort of feel relieved of conflict by the seriousness of the Army that they’re going to prosecute eight soldiers,” Gee said. “They hope the truth will come out to prevent anything like this from happening again.”

December 22 - 28, 2011


Tomatoes rap Trader Joe’s for not signing agreement BY BONNIE ROSENSTOCK About a dozen protesters dressed like giant tomatoes danced and rapped to the beat of Technotronic’s 1980s hit “Pump Up The Jam” in front of the E. 14th St. Trader Joe’s on Sat., Dec. 3. The costumed, vocal vegetables are part of an ongoing campaign against the supermarket chain’s refusal to collaborate with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and sign their Fair Food agreement — which includes paying tomato pickers one cent more per pound and protecting them against labor rights violations. The protesters were members of the Community/ Farmworker Alliance (NYC) — a local coalition of community members that organizes in solidarity with C.I.W. in their Campaign for Fair Food. “I am involved with C.I.W. because as a consumer, a tomato lover and coming from a farmworker family background, it is my responsibility to work together with farmworkers,” said Lupe Rodriguez, one of the rapping red tomatoes. “I am deeply inspired by the C.I.W. because not only are agricultural workers leading a powerful change to improve their lives, but every day across the country, they are putting food on the table for thousands of families.” The tuneful tomatoes distributed Christmas cards addressed to Trader Joe’s press-averse C.E.O. Dan Bane (the company’s corporate headquarters are in Monrovia, California) and encouraged entering and exiting shoppers to “Get your booty to sign the Fair Food agreement / Make my day.” C.F.A. organizer Amanda Bell, a third-year law student at Columbia University (and former C.I.W. summer intern), said in a telephone interview that people were happy to sign the card. Bell asserted that farmworkers on average make less than $12,000 a year and are not eligible for overtime pay despite working 14 hours a day under harsh conditions. They typically earn 50 cents per 32-pound bucket of tomatoes — a rate virtually unchanged for three decades. “It’s more than just the money involved,” Bell added. The pickers are also subject to labor rights violations, including modern-day slavery, she noted. With the assistance of C.I.W., federal officials have successfully prosecuted seven farm slavery operations in Florida’s fields involving more than 1,000 workers since 1997 — in addition to two forced-labor rings in 2010 alone — prompting one federal prosecutor to call the Sunshine State “ground zero for modern-day slavery.” C.I.W. has also aided in many successful prosecutions of human traffickers by the U.S. Department of Justice. C.I.W. is a farmer-led organization of mostly Latino, Haitian and Mayan Indian immigrants based in Immokalee, Collier County, in southwest Florida, since 1993. Immokalee, a vast agribusiness area, is a leading supplier of winter tomatoes sold to New York consumers by Trader Joe’s and other outlets. In 2001, C.I.W. farmworkers launched their first-ever Campaign for Fair Food, targeting Taco Bell, since as a major corporate buyer of fruits and vegetables, the fast-food chain could leverage its buying power for the betterment of farmworker wages and working conditions. After four years, in March 2005, Taco Bell acceded to C.I.W.’s demands. Three other fast-

Photo by Andalusia Knoll

These funky fresh tomatoes have gone sour on Trader Joe’s.

food leaders, McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway, followed suit. Whole Foods signed on in September 2008 (the first in the supermarket industry) and in June 2009, the chain announced that it had secured the cooperation of two of Florida’s largest organic growers, Alderman Farms and Lady Moon Farms. Food-service industry leaders Bon Appétit Management Company, Compass Group, Aramark and Sodexo, as well as East Coast Growers, Florida’s third-largest tomato producer, have also become signatories. The agreements are slated to go into effect across more than 90 percent of the Florida tomato industry during this winter’s growing season. The agreement includes a one-penny-per-pound wage increase, a strict code of conduct (protections against sexual harassment for women and labor rights violations), a complaint resolution system, a participatory health and safety program and worker-to-worker education — and such elementary rights as having a break in the shade instead of sitting next to the tomato plants, not working during a lightning storm and access to a toilet with toilet paper and soap. In addition, workers no longer have to overfill the bucket, which was a source of friction and violence by crew leaders. (They will fill it only to the rim, which will give workers a little more earning power at the end of the day). Trader Joe’s has been feeling the heat from the numerous protests and consumer inquiries and finally responded to customers on its Web site. In an Oct. 23 post, “Update about Florida Tomatoes,” Trader Joe’s reiterated that it buys “only from growers signed on to and abiding by the C.I.W. Fair Food Code of Conduct…we have contracted directly with the two growers who employ the workers that harvest the tomatoes we sell [and they] have signed agreements. However, the supermarket chain will not work directly with C.I.W. “The C.I.W., an entity with which we have no business relationship, continues to demand that we sign an agreement with them that is unacceptable to us for reasons we presented in May,” the chain stated. In response to an e-mail query, Alison Mochizuki, Trader Joe’s director of national public relations, responded, “At this time, we do not have any additional comments,” and included

the Oct. 23 statement in the body of her e-mail. Trader Joe’s is a privately held chain currently owned by Germany’s “ultra-private” Albrecht family — which is notorious in Germany for not talking to the press, according to an August 2010 report called “Inside the secret world of Trader Joe’s” on CNNMoney. “The company has never participated in a major story about its business operations… . In exchange, suppliers have to agree to operate under Trader Joe’s cloak of secrecy,” the article reported. A standard vendor agreement states that the ven-

dor “shall not publicize its business relationship with TJ’s in any manner.” Trader Joe’s founder Joe Coulombe sold his company to the late Theo Albrecht in 1979 for an undisclosed amount. Sales in 2010 were roughly $8 billion, according to Fortune 500, which listed the company at number 314. Gerardo Reyes, a tomato farmworker in Immokalee, had a lot of questions for Trader Joe’s. “What are they going to do if there is a case of slavery?” he said. “Are they going to enforce the mechanism that they don’t even have in place? We are demanding transparency, using the tools that we have created according to the codes,” he said. Tomatoes are one of Florida’s main crops and where most of the work is. (Oranges are becoming more and more mechanized.) For this reason, C.I.W. chose to focus on this industry. The agreement only covers tomatoes and only in Florida. “We are forcing them to change without directly aiming at other crops,” Reyes said. “And if there are abuses in other places, whether they are covered or not, it is going to be a huge contradiction for them to explain. They can’t do business as usual. “It is vital for the supermarket industry to sign to make sure the penny-per-pound and rights are established in the right way,” he added. “It’s ironic that a company that claims to be progressive threatens to undermine the agreement.”


December 22 - 28, 2011

City Council’s pot bill calls on state to ‘legalize it’ BY PAUL DERIENZO A joint oversight committee of the City Council held a contentious hearing last month over an attempt by the Council to support passage of a state law legalizing medical marijuana. The Council’s resolution asks the state Legislature to pass the bill — which is sponsored by Tom Duane in the state Senate and Richard Gottfried in the Assembly — but which has languished for years in the warrens of Albany. Similar to a law recently passed in New Jersey, the legislation would closely regulate use and distribution of marijuana. Currently, 16 states and the District of Columbia make provisions for medical use of pot. All except California require the patient to suffer from major illnesses. California leaves it to the patient’s doctor to decide if the condition would be helped by a joint. In fact, California was not the first state allowing medical marijuana. New York passed a law allowing for medical use of marijuana in 1980, called the “Antonio G. Olivieri Controlled Substance Therapeutic Research Program” after a state assemblyman who died of brain cancer that year. That law, still on the books, says the program is limited to “cancer patients, glaucoma patients and patients inflicted with other diseases...approved by the commissioner.” The program also set up a “Patient Qualification Review Board,” but reportedly the program was inactivated in the late 1980s. The United States maintains that the various state laws legalizing medical marijuana are invalid because of federal laws that categorize marijuana as a “Schedule 1” drug with no redeeming value whatsoever. The Justice Department has threatened that it will no longer tolerate the unlicensed dispensaries and pot growers proliferating in California since voters approved a broadly worded proposition legalizing medical marijuana there in 1996. On Nov. 18, New York City councilmembers met to hear testimony on the medical use of marijuana and fate of the medical marijuana bill collecting dust in Albany. The measure supporting the Albany bill was authored by Councilmember Daniel Dromm, who co-chaired the meeting and was joined by Councilmembers Gale Brewer, David Greenfield, G. Oliver Koppel — a former state attorney general — and Ruben Wills. They heard testimony from Dr. Adam Karpati, executive deputy commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Ellen Brickman of the New York State Nurses Association; a former law enforcement official; an addiction medicine doctor; and Arlene Williams, known as the “Ganja Granny”; as well as Assemblymember Gottfried and state Senator Duane. Dr. Kapati, the only speaker representing the city, expressed the Bloomberg administration’s opposition to the measure. His points reflected a circular argument that because medical marijuana lacks “clear, scientifically validat-

File photo

On May 8, a Cannabis Peace March participant held a protest sign in Foley Square outside the courts. The march had started out from Washington Square.

ed medical benefits” for medical use and numerous alleged drawbacks, it should not be legal. Activists and supporters of the bill say they welcome research but claim that scientists are being stymied by the government. The joint oversight committee’s final report says that the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency have erected almost insurmountable hurdles to research into the medicinal properties of cannabis. Unlike almost any other area of research, a scientist looking into pot has to get permission from both the F.D.A. and D.E.A. to obtain a valid license to possess it, and then apply to access the drug, which is only available from government storehouses. According to the City Council oversight committee report, “Marijuana is the only major drug for which the federal government controls the only legal research supply.” Brickman of the Nurses Association testified that, “The safety of medical use of marijuana has been firmly demonstrated.” She claimed that pot as a medicine is supported by “more than 100 articles on the therapeutic use of the drug” published in the 19th century before marijuana became

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year

politically controversial in the 20th century. Brickman also cited positive reports published over the years, such as by the commission headed by former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Schafer during the Nixon presidency that advised decriminalizing cannabis. Brickman added that marijuana as a medicine is also getting positive reviews in Canada, Britain and the Netherlands, where it’s prescribed by doctors. She concluded by asserting that, having been used for thousands of years, marijuana is probably safer and more effective than many drugs approved by the F.D.A. Among the witnesses testifying before the oversight committee in City Hall’s ornate Council Chambers was Arlene Williams, a 74-year-old cancer survivor who has tirelessly advocated for legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana. Dubbed the “Ganja Granny,” she said she was buoyed by the “positive atmosphere” during the hearings and felt the Council would “have legalized it right there” if medical marijuana was brought to a vote. Gottfried testified that his medical marijuana legislation is “sensible, strict and humane,” but that “political correctness run amok [is resulting in the] suffering of thousands of our fellow New Yorkers.” His bill would license and regulate “registered organizations” to dispense marijuana to certified patients. Gottfried’s system would allow a “practitioner” — someone licensed to prescribe a controlled substance — to certify that a person is sick enough to get pot. Bridget Brennan, the New York special narcotics prosecutor, said she doesn’t oppose medical marijuana, but disagrees that Gottfried’s bill is strict enough in controlling access and distribution of pot. Brennan sent a letter to the committee stating her position opposing the bill with a fundamentally NIMBY stance that it, “Allows an unlimited number of unregulated marijuana dispensaries to proliferate anywhere, including next to schools, public parks and other highly inappropriate locations.” She also worries that the quality of the marijuana cannot be checked for pesticides and may aid Mexican drug cartels. Whatever the problems delaying the bill, patients who say they benefit from marijuana are facing a bleak future. Barbara Jackson, another medical marijuana cancer patient, died a few years after she made headlines when she was arrested trying to buy her “medicine” on a Bronx street. Her case was soon dropped but illustrated what patients face without a legitimate supply of the drug that’s been proved to them as a lifesaver. Arlene Williams, who will soon turn 75, said, “I think they should give us marijuana.” Speaking of the gay community that is beginning to support the Gottfried bill, she said, “We helped you get out of the closet, now you can help us get out of ours.” DeRienzo is co-host of the public access TV show “Let Them Talk” on MNN



Assembly Member

Dick Gottfried 242 West 27th Street New York, NY 10001 (212) 807-7900

Wishes You & Your Family A Healthy, Happy Holiday Season!


December 22 - 28, 2011


City says it will help P.S. 137 rather than close it BY ALINE REYNOLDS The John L. Bernstein School (P.S. 137) has been rescued from closure, according to the city Department of Education, which has decided to give the Lower East Side elementary school a chance to overcome its academic struggles. Last year, P.S. 137 received the lowest progress report score in District 1 for the second year in a row, and consequently was the only Manhattan elementary school — and one of nine public schools in the borough — on the chopping block this year. However, D.O.E. has since announced that the school isn’t a candidate for next year’s phase-out process, since it surpassed average statistics of failing schools citywide, according to spokesperson Frank Thomas. Instead, D.O.E. is implementing a targeted action plan, including leadership coaching, new programming and professional development, to help the school get back on its feet. “P.S. 137 is struggling, but after the conversations we had with the school over the last two months, we believe it has the capacity to improve,” said Thomas. “We look forward to working with the school to develop a plan that will help improve academic outcomes of students.” In the 2010-’11 school year, P.S. 137 students scored a 45 percent in math proficiency, compared to the 31 percent average score of citywide elementary schools

proposed for phase-outs; and a 37 percent in English Language Arts, compared to a 25 percent average score of the other struggling schools. Though it hasn’t reached rock bottom, in order to avoid a possible closure in future years, the school is expected to raise its scores, having, last year, received an “F” in its overall progress report; a “D” in student performance; and a “C” in school environment. Neither the school’s principal, Melissa Rodriguez, nor other school staff returned multiple calls for comment. “The substitute teachers and budget cuts hurt us really bad,” said Rose Torres, the school’s Parent Association vice president. “I hope the progress report goes up, and hopefully the students will do well in their reading and their math.” With D.O.E. assistance, the school is making efforts to raise student performance — by extending extra help hours before and after school, for example, ordering new academic books for the students, and offering additional services to the teachers, according to P.A. Treasurer Elizabeth Torres. Elizabeth Torres’s own two children — one in fourth grade, and the other in second grade — have made academic progress since last year, both earning “student of the month” in September for their grades, according to their mother.

"Wishing everyone a happy holiday season for all traditions and a happy and healthy new year." Assemblymember

Deborah J. Glick 853 Broadway, Suite 1518, New York, NY 10003

Tel: 212-674-5153 / Fax: 212-674-5530

Sound off! Got something to say? E-mail letters to

While Elizabeth Torres said she was “elated” about the school remaining open this year, she expressed concern about the

‘We’ll keep fighting to have our school open, and to have parents understand they have to be involved in their childrens’ education.’ Elizabeth Torres

school’s future. She and a group of parents plan to join the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice on a Jan. 10 trip to Albany to protest the forthcoming state budget cuts. The P.S. 137 Parents Assocation is soliciting greater parental input this year, having parents come to the school more frequently to monitor the students’ progress. “We’re going to continue to fight to have our school open, and have parents understand they have to be involved in their childrens’ education for them to succeed,” said Elizabeth Torres.

Asked about the risk of the school being phased out in future years if there’s continued low performance, Thomas replied, “I just can’t say how likely it is. That’s an entire year away.” P.A. President Maria Diaz said she felt relieved to be able to drop her search of alternative schooling for her three grandchildren that attend the school. “I’m feeling great about it — I was hoping they weren’t going to close the school down,” she said. Lower Manhattan’s local elected officials also praised D.O.E.’s decision about P.S. 137. Councilmember Margaret Chin, who fiercely lobbied against the school’s closure earlier this fall, said, “I am happy that the D.O.E. has demonstrated their commitment to this small neighborhood school. Principal Rodriguez knows where her school’s weaknesses lie, and she has demonstrated a willingness to address those issues in a comprehensive manner.” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “As I expressed to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott last month, it is essential for the D.O.E., faculty, parents and the community to come together to make sure this school is put onto a path for success.” Silver continued, “Together, we will work hard to ensure that P.S. 137 — which just two years ago was awarded an ‘A’ grade by the D.O.E. — reaches the level of success we know it is capable of achieving.”


December 22 - 28, 2011


Jimmy Perez, 49, pleaded guilty on Mon., Dec. 12, to stealing a laptop, jacket, cell phone and electronic equipment that a patron had left at a table in Ludlow Bar, 165 Ludlow St., around 3 a.m. on Fri., Dec. 2. Perez was arrested after he returned to the bar on Tues., Dec. 6, when the manager recognized him and called police. He was sentenced to nine months in jail.

women on the Lower East Side and in the East Village, including a 73-year-old victim in a motorized scooter. He is charged with choking a woman from behind in a hallway of 57 Pitt St., threatening to kill her and stealing her wallet around 1:30 a.m. Fri., Dec. 9. On Dec. 10 he attacked a woman, 73, in her motorized scooter as she entered the elevator of her Baruch Houses building at 595 F.D.R. Drive, around 5:10 p.m., according to the complaint filed with the Manhattan district attorney. He slammed her head against the scooter handlebar and fled with her bag, the complaint says. The next day at about 2:30 a.m. Navarro followed a woman into an apartment building at 520 E. 12th St., told her, “I want your money and I don’t want to hurt you,” and fled with her money and her iPhone, the complaint says. Navarro was being held in lieu of $255,000 bail pending a Jan. 10 court appearance.

Arrest in 3 muggings

Robbery arrest

Wilberto Navarro, 44, was arrested Mon., Dec. 12, and charged with mugging three

Police arrested Duwayne Bascom, 30, on Wed., Nov. 30, and charged him with rob-

Baruch bruisers Lillian Rios, 50, her daughter, Cheryl Rios, 31, and Alyssa Cruz, 16, all residents of the Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side, were arrested and charged with assault around 3:23 p.m. Mon., Dec. 12, after a traffic agent told police the suspects punched and kicked her.

Ludlow St. thief

bing a convenience store on First Ave. near E. Seventh St. with an accomplice around 8:40 p.m. on Mon., Nov. 21. Bascom blocked the door with a soda can while his partner, not apprehended, simulated a gun and took $300 and 20 lottery tickets from behind the counter, according to the complaint filed with the Manhattan district attorney. Police tracked down Bascom, who was identified by prints lifted from the soda can.

Assaults A man and a woman were arrested for hitting a 76-year-old man in the leg with a metal pole around 9:50 p.m. Wed., Dec. 14, on E. 14th St. across from Union Square Park. Reginald Qualls, 19, and India Lawrence, 18, were charged with seconddegree assault. In a “mugging,” Jeremy Sheehan was charged with assault for hitting a victim in the head with a mug in the Monster Bar, 80 Grove St., around 1:10 a.m. Fri., Dec. 16. A rowdy patron of the diner at 759 Broadway near E. Ninth St. refused to leave and punched the manager in the eye around 3:26 a.m. Fri., Dec. 19, police said. When the suspect finally left, he kicked the glass door and cracked it.

old, was sentenced on Tues., Dec. 20, to prison for 22 years. Fulton’s sexual abuse of one girl started when she was 12 in 2007 and lasted two years, according to the Manhattan D.A.

Car theft A man who parked his 2006 Hyundai at the southwest corner of Varick and Houston Sts. at 9 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 15, returned at 2 a.m. to find it had been stolen.

O.W.S. banner drop The security guards at 75 Varick St. at Canal St., which is owned by Trinity Real Estate, called police at 4:45 p.m. Sat., Dec. 17, to say that two people had entered the office building and hung a 100-foot-long white banner with “Reclaim Your Humanity” in black letters from its 17th floor. Police arrested Moses Appleton, 24, and Suzahn Ehrehimian, 23, as they came out of the elevator on the first floor. The suspects said they worked in the building but were not specific, police said. Their hands were stained with black paint and they were charged with burglary. Earlier, Occupy Wall Street protesters had unsuccessfully tried to occupy the adjacent vacant lot at Duarte Square, which is also owned by Trinity.

Arrest card snatcher Police arrested Michael Reid, 47, for robbery in connection with the theft of a credit card from the hand of a woman victim on Christopher St. near W. Fourth St. around 9:55 a.m. Sat., Dec. 17. The victim chased and struggled with the suspect, who made his escape, but police soon apprehended him.

Deliveryman mugged An intruder held up a deliveryman at knifepoint in the lobby of the office building at 712 Broadway near E. Fourth St. on Wednesday evening Nov. 30. The building’s manager urged tenants and visitors to close the outside doors securely after entering and to not let strangers into the building.

Larceny arrests

Jingle Bell… Jingle Bell Rock… Jingle Bell Swing…

Merry Christmas from MANATUS

FULL BAR! Our 20th Year!

A woman shopping at an AT&T store at 745 Broadway on Monday night Dec. 19 put her bag at her feet and found it stolen a short time later, police said. A suspect, Sharif Vailes, 22, was arrested at 8:32 p.m. on Grove St. near Sheridan Square and the bag with two laptop computers was recovered. A patron of Filene’s at 40 E. 14th St. forgot her credit card at the checkout at 12:46 p.m. Tues., Dec. 13, but it was discovered 40 minutes later when it was being used at a nearby Duane Reade. Eyan Cabbell, 26, a Filene’s cashier, was charged with larceny in the case, Police charged Benjamin Morgan, 26, with larceny for using the credit card of friend, without permission, to run up charges of $113 for food and drink at Pour George, 35 W. Eighth St.

Child-rape sentence

Jeremy Fulton, 29, former youth minister of Mariners’ Temple Baptist Church, at Henry and Oliver Sts., who pleaded guilty in April to raping three girls between 10 and 16 years

Charged in trespass The grand jury that refused to indict Rayon McIntosh, a McDonald’s employee, for assault against two women who rushed behind the counter during a predawn argument in the chain’s W. Third St. branch, charged the women, Denise Darbeau and Rachel Edwards, with criminal trespass and other unspecified charges. The Oct. 13 incident was caught on video and showed McIntosh striking Darbeau and Edwards with a metal rod. The two suspects were freed without bail pending a Jan. 11 court appearance.

Soho shoplifters Two men entered Folli Follie, at 133 Prince St., around 7:30 p.m. Fri., Dec. 16, and asked to see watches. One of the suspects grabbed five watches from the case, while the other grappled with the attendant. They fled with the watches with a total value of $1,900.

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December 22 - 28, 2011


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December 22 - 28, 2011

Donuts, latkes, music — a sweet start to the holiday First, they were served donuts — jelly and chocolate, to be precise. Then, Ariel Sternman, on guitar, and Yaniv Hoffman led the assembly through a medley of traditional Hanukkah songs, including “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah” and “Little Dreidel.” Then, the latkes, with accompanying applesauce, came out. After all, what’s Hanukkah without latkes? Members of the Caring Community on Washington Square North didn’t leave empty-handed, taking home traditional menorahs, gifts of Chabad at N.Y.U., located just down the block at the corner of MacDougal St.

Occupy commu nity news! Photo by Tequila Minsky

The Church of St. Luke in the Fields (An Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New York)

487 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 www.stlukeinthefields.orHt212.924.0562


Christmas Eve, December 24 5:00 pm Family Service with Christmas Créche 10:30 pm Music for the Christmas Vigil 11:00 pm Festival Holy Eucharist of the Nativity

Christmas Day, December 25 11:00 am Traditional Carol Service Join us for worship in our newly restored Sanctuary during Christmastide

212.254.8620 |

5:00pm Christmas Pageant and Holy Eucharist 9:30pm Prelude and Congregational Carol Singing 10:00pm Festive Choral Eucharist

CHRISTMAS DAY SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25 8:00am Said Eucharist 10:30am Choral Eucharist

December 22 - 28, 2011

Photo by Dominique Scott

Hark, the T.N.C. herald carolers sing! Fa, la, la, la... The 20th Annual Tompkins Square tree lighting filled the East Village park with festive yuletide atmosphere on Sun., Dec. 11. The Carolers of Olde New York from Theater for the New City performed, above, with Crystal Field, the theater’s director, front row, third from right. The Mandel & Lydon Trio also performed, and Veselka restaurant provided refreshments. Albert Fabozzi, holding mic above, paid tribute to the late Kevin Dowd, a former vice president of the Tompkins Square Park Neighborhood Coalition. Other sponsors included East Village Books, Vazac Avenue B bar, Saifee Hardware and Emigrant Savings Bank. The event was co-hosted by the neighborhood coalition, the East Village Parks Conservancy and the Third Street Music School Settlement.

CHRISTMAS EVE – DECEMBER 24 5:00 P.M. CHRISTMAS EVE FAMILY SERVICE Carols and the Christmas Story for All Ages The First Church Family Music Ministries The Rev. Davis preaching: “Let’s Go Now!”

11:00 P.M. CANDLELIGHT SERVICE 10:30 P.M. ORGAN RECITAL Dr. William F. Entriken Carols, Lessons and Meditation The First Church Choir Dr. Walton preaching: “Rebranding Christmas”

CHRISTMAS DAY – DECEMBER 25 11:00 A.M. WORSHIP SERVICE The Rev. Sarah S. McCaslin preaching: “This

Little Light of Mine”

The Rev. Dr. Jon M. Walton, Pastor The Rev. Barbara E. Davis The Rev. Sarah Segal McCaslin à The Rev. Dr. Mark D. Hostetter Dr. William F. Entriken, Organist and Choirmaster Emily Scott, Director of Family Music Ministries Fifth Avenue, between 11th and 12th Streets New York, NY 10011 à (212) 675-6150 à



December 22 - 28, 2011

Chewing over Gennaro Feast TALKING POINT BY ALEC PRUCHNICKI Before too long, the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy will be applying for a street permit to allow it to be held in September 2012. This was a routine application until last year, when representatives of Nolita merchants and residents requested that the feast be decreased in size and hours, and that its noise be reduced. The merchants were concerned about lost business during the feast, and residents were annoyed at the noise and congestion. I have no connection to either Nolita or Little Italy, other than going to the feast many times over the years. I tried to interview every merchant on Mulberry St. between Houston and Kenmare Sts. — the latter which, last year, was unsuccessfully proposed as the feast’s new northern boundary. There were 17 merchants who said business was worse during the feast, five who said it was better, six who said no difference, and 11 who declined comment. I visited the feast eight times over its 11 days. About 40 percent of the stores between Kenmare and Prince Sts. were completely blocked by the vendors’ stands, with the rest visible from the street but partially blocked. There was a new rest area between Prince and Houston Sts. with tables, chairs and even

two bocce courts. The Mulberry St. library had a window display of Italian-themed books, and Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral had a blood drive — though, I admit, these may have happened other years and I just never noticed them. The crowds did seem slightly smaller then before and I think there was a lot less loud music and amplified sound. There was also an interesting fashion show one afternoon. The fashions were mostly historical, representing clothing worn in Little Italy over the years. In essence, it was a reaffirmation of the neighborhood’s character and an answer to charges that there’s no Italy remaining in Little Italy. Basically, if Nolita merchants believe their economic interests are harmed, they may ask for the feast to shrink. Feast supporters will likely refuse. However, instead of rejecting the potential business of a reported 1 million feast-goers, the Nolita merchants and feast supporters should work together to find some way that these people can be lured into the local stores. The Villager recently reported on cooperation between merchants in Chinatown and Little Italy —normally natural competitors — to increase tourism to both neighborhoods. If Chinatown can work with Little Italy, why can’t Nolita? Only a few Nolita stores capitalize on the natural tie-in to Little Italy. No other neighborhood in the city, or maybe the country, can exploit this marketing angle like Nolita can.

Photo by Milo Hess

A feast for the eyes at parade The Queen of Little Italy strutted in Saturday’s annual East Meets West Parade in Chinatown and Little Italy.

Christmas S S : CHEDULE OF


ST. ANTHONY CHURCH 154 Sullivan Street New York, NY 10012 (212) 777-2755

December 24 5:00PM - Vigil Mass for Christmas

December 25 - Christmas 12 MIDNIGHT - Mass of the Nativity preceded Christmas carols begin at 11:30pm 9:00AM - Mass of the Nativity 11:00AM - Mass of the Nativity

December 22 - 28, 2011


Metal masters give Wildstyle a thorough thrashing CLAYTON

Megadeath, top, and Slayer, bottom, blew away the tattoo heads at the Wildstyle show in Vienna, Austria, last month. Thrash-metal veterans, these rockers have honed their blistering guitar riffs — as well as their menacing stage stances.

Photos by Clayton Patterson


December 22 - 28, 2011

Occupy gives it another try as Tutu, artists give Continued from page 1 believe in justice. “Trinity Church is an esteemed and valued old friend of mine; from the earliest days when I was a young deacon,” Tutu continued. “Theirs was the consistent and supportive voice I heard when no one else supported me or our beloved brother Nelson Mandela. That is why it is especially painful for me to hear of the impasse you are experiencing with the parish. I appeal to them to find a way to help you. I appeal to them to embrace the higher calling of Our Lord Jesus Christ — which they live so well in all other ways — but now to do so in this instance...can we not rearrange our affairs for justice sake? Just as history watched as South Africa was reborn in promise and fairness, so it is watching you now.” However, in a post the following day, Tutu added: “I also now challenge those who disagree with Trinity. My statement is not to be used to justify breaking the law. In a country where all people can vote and Trinity’s door to dialogue is open, it is not necessary to forcibly break into property. … My deep prayer is that people can work together and I look forward to that conversation.”

STAIRWAY TO OCCUPY Things started out at noon on Saturday with what was billed as a “three-month anniversary party” at Duarte Square for the “99 percent” movement that has gone global. But a few hours later, a wooden staircase was suddenly thrown up against the chain-link fence on the lot’s northern side. Retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard was the first to scramble up the steps, tumbling down inside the gravel-covered space. Others followed, as the crowd chanted, “We are unstoppable! Another world is possible!” Among those entering the lot were other clergy, plus two hunger strikers

who had been forgoing food for two weeks in hopes of swaying Trinity. Another set of stairs was added inside the lot, making it easier on the way down, as the protesters scampered in. Others yanked the base of the chainlink fence out of the ground, allowing more people to come in from underneath. But police responded quickly, making about 50 arrests and clearing the lot. Speaking shortly after the lot had been secured by police, John Murdock, a board of directors member of the Yippie Cafe on Bleecker St., said he had earlier seen O.W.S. members drawing up plans for the “taking of the lot,” and had expressed skepticism. “I said, ‘So, of course, this is where we all get arrested, right?’” he said, noting that they had looked at him with some annoyance. “‘Until Trinity lets us in, they’re not going to let us get in,’” he said he told them. The attempt to take the Trinity lot is being dubbed “Occupy 2.0,” as in, the hoped-for second home base for Occupy after their eviction from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan last month. As the crowd was still milling around in Duarte Square Saturday afternoon after the failed occupation bid, a long white banner was unfurled from the top of the Trinityowned building at 75 Varick St. It might have said “Occupy” something, but no one could really read it. Nevertheless, everyone cheered. An O.W.S. spokesperson later said no one knew who did it, but that it’s the kind of autonomous act emblematic of Occupy. “A aqui — aqui capitalista — a!” the crowd hurled at the Trinity lot (Spanish for “Here is capitalism”).

OCCUPY COUNCILMEMBER City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, who represents Washington Heights, was among the crowd, wearing a hoodie against the cold. A strong O.W.S. supporter, he had

A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask came in under the fence which had been yanked off its foundations.

Photos by Byron Smith

Occupy Wall Street members cheered after they felt they had “taken the lot.”

been arrested on Nov. 15 after the Zuccotti Park eviction. Rodriguez said he was there this past Saturday as a legal observer. “I want to be sure that we protect our First Amendment rights, and that we do celebrate this beautiful and peaceful movement that has become the voice of the working class and middle class,” he said. As for the failure of the occupiers to hold the Trinity lot, he said, “This movement is about more than one park — it’s about affordable housing, quality education and jobs.”

‘GO! MARCH! MARCH!’ A man with an electric bullhorn jumped atop the pedestal of the Duarte statue and said of Trinity Rector Cooper, “He kicked us out of our park — but he lives three minutes away! ... Go! March! March! March!” he exhorted the protesters. They marched across Watts St., then up Varick St., chanting, “We are the 99 percent!” and “Bloomberg, beware! Zuccotti Park is everywhere!” As the occupiers passed the Trump Soho condo hotel, police officers stood guard in front of the swank hotel’s plate-glass lobby windows. At the next corner, which has a Starbucks, the protesters got louder, reprising their “A aqui — aqui capitalista a!” chant. A window of the multinational coffee chain was later broken, allegedly by a protester who hurled a brick. However, police had sealed off the block of Charlton St. between Varick St. and Sixth Ave. where Cooper lives. As the protesters approached either end of the block they were met by a wall of officers in riot helmets, standing silently, holding an orange net up like a fence. Laura Gottesdiener, an O.W.S. organizer, later said, “Their plan was to just nonvio-

lently protest outside the house.” Giving up on that idea, they kept marching north. As they passed through the Village, the demonstrators got reactions, mostly positive. On King St., a man flashed them a peace sign through his townhouse window as his young daughter looked on curiously. A white man standing in front of a building on Bedford St., wearing a blue stocking cap and a white T-shirt, shouted at them, “F--- Obama! He’s the guy that bailed out the banks!” But a black woman standing on Seventh Ave. South in front of a jazz club said, “Occupy! All right, baby!” and shook their hands. At 12th St. and Seventh Ave., police arrested a man near a crosswalk — possibly for marching in the street. He was small, but struggled against being handcuffed, and it took them sometime to restrain him, as the crowd chanted angrily. Some of the O.W.S. demonstrators headed on up to Times Square where they held a General Assembly speak-out, following a number of more arrests along the way during their march.

TRINITY ‘SADDENED’ After O.W.S.’s failed effort to hold the lot, Cooper issued a statement, which said, in part: “We are saddened that O.W.S. protesters chose to ignore yesterday’s messages from Archbishop Tutu [to not forcibly break into property], from the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, and from Bishop of New York Mark S. Sisk. Shchori, the Episcopal Church’s national leader, said: “Other facilities of Trinity continue to be open to support the Occupy movement, for which I give great thanks. It is regrettable that Occupy members feel it

December 22 - 28, 2011


support; Can L.M.C.C. or Board 2 help? Will they? is necessary to provoke potential legal and police action by attempting to trespass on other parish property… . I would urge all concerned to stand down and seek justice in ways that do not further alienate potential allies.” Sisk said: “The movement should not be used to justify breaking the law nor is it necessary to break into property for the movement to continue.” In his statement, Cooper said, “The protesters say they want to improve housing and economic development; Trinity is actively engaged in such efforts in the poorest neighborhoods in New York City and indeed around the world. We do not, however, believe that erecting a tent city at Duarte Square enhances their mission or ours. The vacant lot has no facilities to sustain a winter encampment. In good conscience and faith, we strongly believe to do so would be wrong, unsafe, unhealthy and potentially injurious. We will continue to provide places of refuge and the responsible use of our facilities in the Wall St. area.”

of vacant space. They are trying to create a space for artists, and this movement has a lot of incredibly creative young people.”


Father Paul Mayer being arrested in the “LentSpace” lot on Saturday, which he had entered with retired Bishop George Packard.

O.W.S. BISHOP ‘SAD’ TOO Retired Bishop Packard, a friend of Cooper’s, had been acting as O.W.S.’s gobetween with him — that is, at least up until last Saturday. “We’re not talking now, I don’t think, after I popped into his property,” Packard said. “I’m just sad. We called Trinity out to make a statement and they just acted like a corporate church.” Packard, 67, said that in his conversations with the rector, “He would always say Duarte Park is off the table — it’s nonnegotiable. He said, ‘George, this is just a splinter group.’ I said, ‘Jim, if this is a splinter group, it’s a pretty damn big splinter group — at least talk to them.’ ” Packard said it was a breakthrough when Cooper recently agreed to meet with a handful of O.W.S. members who were on a hunger strike to compel Trinity to give them the lot. According to Gottesdiener, Cooper had not met with O.W.S. since Nov. 15 when they made their first failed attempt to take over the “LentSpace” lot after they were evicted from Zuccotti earlier that morning.

talist Paul Bartlett; John Zorn, who owns the Stone music club on Avenue C; Steven Englander, director of ABC No Rio; performance artist Penny Arcade; actress Parker Posey; Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth; and poet John Ashbery. Haimsohn, who lives nearby on Canal St., said, “We’re still talking to L.M.C.C., and O.W.S. people are talking to Trinity. But who knows who the decision makers are? Is it Bloomberg? “L.M.C.C. has no plans to use the space until the spring again, so it’s quite vacant now,” Haimsohn said. “There are people at L.M.C.C. who are interested in this. Word on the street is the resistance is coming from Trinity’s board. Trinity keeps trying to

hide behind L.M.C.C., saying they have the lease.” A veteran of many protest movements, Haimsohn said she occasionally cooked for the occupiers and brought food down to them when they were at Zuccotti Park and also worked in the O.W.S. kitchen there. “I feel it would be wonderful to have a gathering space again,” she said. “Things can happen online or in small gatherings, but it’s another thing to have a central space where people can share ideas and have collaborations with not just artists but environmentalists, too. It would be a perfect collaboration with what L.M.C.C.’s mission statement is for ‘LentSpace’ — its Web site talks about it being an urban model for use

ARTISTS FOR OCCUPY Two main groups are helping Occupy put pressure on Trinity — Occupy Faith NYC, a group of progressive churches, and Occupy Art NYC, a coalition of artists. More than 500 local artists have signed a petition asking that the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, which is currently leasing the Trinity lot, allow the protesters access to the space. Among the petition signers are performance artist Laurie Anderson, who is on L.M.C.C.’s advisory board; her husband, rocker Lou Reed; novelist Salman Rushdie; journalist Laura Flanders; performance artist Jana Haimsohn; arts organizer and environmen-

Young occupiers kissed while swept up in the excitement of the momentary occupation.

Lloyd Kaplan, a P.R. spokesperson for Trinity, said that Trinity has licensed “LentSpace” for use by L.M.C.C. The latter is curating the temporary exhibits there, but Trinity has approval of these, he said. “It would have to meet their standards,” he explained of L.M.C.C. and any potential use for the space, “and then it would have to be approved by Trinity.” The original agreement may have been silent on the space being closed for the winter, he noted, though he believed this was added well in advance of O.W.S. However, he said, “There was always an assumption that this [‘LentSpace’] was not going to happen in the winter because it would get too cold.” What if L.M.C.C. decided to invite O.W.S. to occupy the lot? “It is unlikely to happen where they say yes and we say no — but it’s possible,” Kaplan said. However, he added, “The way the license reads, they curate and we approve.” The cultural organization’s lease for the property was recently renewed through April 2013, he said.

L.M.C.C. STATEMENT Asked whether L.M.C.C. supported O.W.S. using the space, a spokesperson didn’t specifically answer that question. Instead, she provided the following statement, saying she wanted to clarify what the organization’s agreement is with Trinity for the lot. “L.M.C.C.’s Artist Residencies and Public Programs are designed to support artists’ creative practice. This goal is realized through securing and adapting temporarily vacant space Downtown into artist studios and performance and exhibition spaces through the generosity of real estate owners. L.M.C.C. has been contacted by Occupy Art NYC regarding the use of ‘LentSpace,’ the larger enclosed portion of Duarte Square. It is private space owned by Trinity Wall Street, and is currently licensed for use to L.M.C.C. for art installations. Our agreement allows us to provide artistic programming between May and October, during weekday lunchtimes. Our agreement does not allow us to use this space between November and April. As is the case with all of our real estate arrangements, we welcome artistic proposals, and we provide a range of artists and arts organizations with access to the space as per our agreement with the property owner.” O.W.S. has already drawn up plans showing how they would program the site. There would be a collection of communal tents for

Continued on page 30


December 22 - 28, 2011

December 22 - 28, 2011


In plays or politics, Havel always stood for freedom TRIBUTE BY JERRY TALLMER It was, of course, Joseph Papp who introduced Vaclav Havel to the United States of America, and vice versa. The year was that terrible one all over the world, 1968 — here, Paris, Prague, Chicago, Beijing, everywhere — and the play, translated by Vera Blackwell, was poet-politician Havel’s “The Memorandum,” in a bang-up production directed by Papp himself at the Public Theater right here on Lafayette Street. Ir was a drama rooted in the nightmare no-man’s land of Prague’s own Franz Kafka, and revolved around the problems of a certain middle-level civil servant named Josef Gross as he grappled with an anonymous, depersonalized memorandum from on high in a new (and insane) officialese language called Ptydepe.Josef Gross was played by Paul Stevens. His hectic secretary was Mari Corman. Others in a topflight Off Broadway cast included George Bartenieff, Sudi Bond, Raul Julia, Olympia Dukakis. The show ran that spring from May into June. The next year, repeated political prisoner Vaclav Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia. He would serve that term, from 1989 to 1992, and then, when Slovakia broke away on its own, would be re-elected

to the presidency of the Czech Republic, 1993-2003. But he never stopped writing plays, essays and other works of high intelligence and artistry, always on the side of individual freedom in a world — a universe — that was not so free A close ally in all this was Czech-born British playwright Tom Stoppard. In 1986, another man of high imagination, MacArthur Award winner Richard Foreman put his directorial hand and eye to bringing Havel back to the Public Theater with “Largo Desolato.” Vaclav Havel, born October 5, 1936, a reformed heavy smoker, died this past Sunday, December 18, 2011, age 75. He was often in America, whether as president, ex-president, playwright or general intelligence. I covered an event at Trinity Church a few years ago in which he and Rudolph Giuliani were honored for past braveries, the New Yorker during 9/11, the Czech president-playwright for his whole life. Havel during part of 2006 was a visiting playwright in residence at Columbia University. One beautiful day that year, he and another ex-president, a fellow named Bill Clinton, packed an auditorium of a thousand students and many faculty members as they — Havel and Clinton — kicked the gong around. Here is a bit of what Vaclav Havel said from that stage that day: “It seems I am

Vaclav Havel.

always a pioneer. I go where no one has gone before. Now I’m the pioneer of ex-Czech presidents, [whereas] the United States is full of ex-presidents. “This gives me a certain creative inspira-

tion. People want to know how to address me. Mr. President? Mr. Ex-President? Mr. Former President? Mr. Havel? I’m waiting for someone to say: Mr. Former Havel?” Take a memorandum to that effect.


December 22 - 28, 2011

Assembly continues the fight for tax fairness for New York



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BY SHELDON SILVER Since we first introduced our proposal to extend New York’s “millionaire’s tax� in May, the state Assembly’s Democratic conference has led the way in the fight to bring fairness to our tax code. We strongly believe that those making $50,000 a year should not be paying the same tax rate as those earning $5 million, as would have been the case had we simply allowed the millionaire’s tax to expire at the end of this year. That is why, working with Governor Cuomo, we passed legislation that brings New York’s tax code closer to common-sense fairness, provides much-needed tax relief for the middle class, honors our commitment to provide a quality education to our children and makes critical investments that will spur job growth and help our economy. This law will help our Lower Manhattan families and small businesses by making the tax code fairer and by creating critical new programs that will help our youth find jobs and spur hiring by local businesses. Small business owners will now be able to receive tax credits for hiring unemployed young people, and additional funding will be made available for summer youth employment, job training and workforce educational programs. One of our top priorities must be making sure our young people, particularly in this challenging economy, are equipped with the tools they need to succeed. This legislation also includes an infrastructure fund that will inject $1 billion in job-creating investment into our economy by investing in long-overdue improvements to roads, bridges, schools and parks. There is no shortage of badly needed investment projects in New York City, and the highquality jobs they create will be of enormous benefit for Lower Manhattan residents. In addition to new programs, this initiative provides the most significant tax relief to middle-class families in decades. Under the new tax code, 99 percent of all tax filers in New York State will receive a tax cut. Assembly Democrats made clear from the beginning that any solution that balances our budget on the backs of the hard-working men and women of our community would

Sheldon Silver.

be unacceptable. We vowed not to allow our most vulnerable citizens — like the seniors who rely on senior centers throughout Lower Manhattan — to suffer because of an unnecessary tax cut for the wealthiest among us. Every household earning less than $300,000 a year will see their taxes go down; those earning between $300,000 and $2 million will see no increase over what they were paying before the millionaire’s tax surcharge went into effect; and those earning more than $2 million will see a modest tax hike over what they were paying before the surcharge. The agreement will provide $2 billion in revenue for the people of New York in each of the next three years by creating a more progressive tax structure. Working together, we have advanced a plan that will spur job creation, make our tax code fairer, and put the state budget on a sound foundation. Our work is far from done. When the coming session begins in Albany this January, Assembly Democrats will be back at work, fighting to protect our schools, create jobs and pass a fair budget that puts the middle class first. Silver represents the 64th Assembly District and is the speaker of the New York State Assembly

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December 22 - 28, 2011


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Down and out on Bowery The historic Bowery took another blow — actually, two — recently. First, the cornice was removed from 133 Bowery. Just days later, the dormers were removed from the roof of 140 Bowery, shown before and after, above and below. Both are Federal-era structures that the city has refused to landmark. Referring to the dormers’ destruction, David Mulkins, chairperson of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors (BAN), said, “One of the most distinct, evocative components of that iconic stretch from the Bowery Savings Bank at Grand St. to the Germania Savings Bank at Spring St., this is indeed a tragic loss.”

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December 22 - 28, 2011

EDITORIAL Turning over the Port The Lower Manhattan community has a special relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. This was made clear when Community Board 1, upon hearing that Governor Andrew Cuomo, shortly after taking office, was thinking of removing Chris Ward from the Port’s helm, unanimously passed a resolution calling on the new governor to rethink his decision and to keep Ward on board. The resolution most importantly pointed out the fact that it was under Ward’s watchful eye that this community, this city and this country finally saw the “hole in the ground” disappear, and in its place, saw rising steel, towers of concrete and memorial pools. For the first time, there were visible, tangible signs of progress. But, as Ward pointed out to us before his recent departure, we are in the midst of a transition period as it pertains to the 16 acres worth of construction he helped move forward while serving as the Port’s leader. It was Governor Cuomo’s prerogative to have Ward step down as executive director. We think Cuomo made a wise decision in asking Ward to remain on board with the Port in an advisory role until the end of the year to help with transition issues. And to Patrick Foye, the governor’s choice to replace Ward, we say, “Welcome to Lower Manhattan.” If there is one piece of advice we would offer, it is to recognize the aforementioned special relation between the Port and this neighborhood. We hope Foye will pick up where Ward left off in terms of heeding the concerns of Downtown residents and business owners. Specifically, we hope the track record of transparency, communication and the dedication to meeting construction deadlines at the W.T.C. site, will continue. The rebirth of Lower Manhattan depends on it.

Too brusque at B.P.C.A. Last month the Battery Park City Authority laid off 19 employees. Reports indicated they had no prior knowledge of the impending pink slips they found on their desks, no prior knowledge that the Authority was even considering a scaling down of the agency and no previous indication that their jobs were in jeopardy. To our dismay, these reports proved factual. Seven months ago, our sister paper Downtown Express called for this city-state agency to implement a sunset plan. That suggestion was made in the wake of an inspector general’s report that showed the agency had “overspent” in regard to a corporate party. However, the overspending paled in comparison to private-sector corporations’ overspending on the same type of events. Nonetheless, B.P.C.A. had fulfilled its role, citing the development of 99 percent of the land it was created to oversee. Downtown Express said, seven months ago, that the Authority should sunset and praised it as an example of urban planning that the rest of the country could aspire to. But, a sun sets slowly and carefully. It doesn’t simply disappear without warning. We cannot ignore the obvious link between the Authority’s board chairperson, William Thompson, his mayoral ambitions and how this downsizing is meant to burnish his credentials come campaign season. B.P.C.A. needs to wind down after a successful run, but we are sad to see it done without respect for the people who helped build the foundation on which it will be remembered.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Real estate and religion To The Editor: Re “Occupy Wall St. reaches out to C.B. 2 to help get lot” (news article, Dec. 15): How about an independent commission from Community Board 2 to determine how the space might be made “safe” for Occupy Wall Street to use in the manner described by O.W.S. reps? It sounds like O.W.S. is already canvassing the neighborhood to ensure Trinity is being “responsive and responsible to their residential and business neighbors.” Portable restrooms could easily be obtained, as one does for any outdoor site. If it becomes clear that the space could be used safely, it would appear that Trinity Church would have to chose its master: real estate ethics or Christian ethics. Otherwise it will bear a terribly ironic resemblance to that biblical request, to which the reply was “There is no room at the inn.” Just in time for Christmas.

members of the camp arguing amongst themselves, often shouting and swearing — great P.R. The large banner which reads, “This is Democracy,” is displayed next to the port-a-loos. Tent numbers have decreased since the “strike.” People generally don’t care anymore. My conclusions: Politicians don’t listen to those protesting. Politicians don’t listen to those striking. People are apathetic (cite the poor turnout for the Feltham election). The camp will alter nothing. Merry Xmas. Owen Marsden

Busk they must To The Editor: Re “Don’t ban the buskers” (editorial, Dec. 15): I think Adrian Benepe needs to be serenaded by the buskers! Let’s call for a busk-in.

K Webster Aron Kay, a.k.a. “The Yippie Pie Man”

Upstate needs O.W.S., too To The Editor: Re “New York City needs the creativity of O.W.S.” (talking point, by K Webster, Dec. 1): Dearest K, very well described. The same issues are true of Occupy Albany. Reverend Joyce Hartwell Hartwell is interfaith minister, The Artists’ All-Faith Center of the Capital Region

Occupy London is a joke To The Editor: Re “Occupy London Tent City is still holding its ground” (reporter’s notebook, Dec. 15): My office overlooks said camp. I pass said camp daily getting to my office. The writer’s sole visit is merely a subjective observation on said camp. Here are mine: Since the “strike,” activity in the camp has decreased dramatically. I have noted on several occasions prominent


Park rules have huge impact To The Editor: Re “Don’t ban the buskers” (editorial, Dec. 15): The park rules for artists were a deception and a pretext from the very beginning. The rules’ pretext or stated purpose was to reduce the number of street artists, reduce pedestrian congestion and commercialism, and improve park aesthetics. Judges, many community people and the media fell for this seemingly reasonable explanation. Yet, in the four parks where these rules were initially enforced — Union Square Park, the High Line, Central Park at Columbus Circle and Battery Park — the Parks Department has replaced a handful of street artists temporarily selling their own art under the protection of the First Amendment for a few hours a day with numerous non-First Amendment-protected, corporate vending concessions selling food, souvenirs, gifts, beer and wine, as well as almost daily corporate product promotions. The month-long Holiday Markets in Union Square and

Continued on page 31

December 22 - 28, 2011


Don’t believe the hype; Chinatown is going strong TALKING POINT BY MARGARET S. CHIN Since the release of the 2010 Census, one headline has been used to sum up the experience of Chinese-Americans in New York over the past decade: “Chinatown is shrinking.” For Asian Americans, such as myself, who have dedicated their lives to ensuring that ethnic communities, like Chinatown, receive their fair share of services and equal access to government, the notion that our historical enclave is losing ground arouses a certain amount of disbelief. Articles, like the one that appeared in the December issue of The Atlantic, entitled, “The End of Chinatown,” by Bonnie Tsui, spark outright indignation. Tsiu argues that immigration to the U.S. from China has slowed due to better work opportunities and an increasing quality of life back home, and because of this, Chinatowns in America “will lose their reason for being.” This is inevitable, Tsiu writes, “Because Chinatowns are where working-class immigrants have traditionally gathered for support, the rise of China —and the slowing of immigrant flows — all but ensures the end of Chinatowns.” This is a significant, and inaccurate, leap. Tsiu bases her argument on the decline in the number of Chinese immigrants to the U.S., from 87,307 in 2006 to 70,863 in 2010; and 2010 Census data which showed population declines in Chinatowns in Manhattan and San Francisco. “If China continues to boom…workers will have better things to do than come to America,” she concludes. The American Dream has been eclipsed by the Chinese Dream. What’s worse is that Tsiu attempts to use Manhattan’s Chinatown to illustrate her point. Inexplicably, Tsui says Chinatown is shrinking without considering undocumented, and thus uncounted, immigrants, who make up a significant portion of our population. Tsui also fails to tackle the root cause of census undercounts, not just in Chinatown, but in ethnic communities throughout our city. Recent immigrants are more likely to live in illegal dwellings, have limited English capacity and are less likely to engage mainstream society. Several reporters have challenged Tsui’s use of data, including New York Times immigration reporter Kirk Semple, who points out that the population of foreign-born Chinese in New York grew from 261,551 in 2000 to 348,474 in 2010; and that foreign-born Chinese make up a higher percentage of the overall population now than in 2000 — 4.3 percent up from 3.3 percent. In addition, the overall number of Chinese New Yorkers has grown by about 33 percent over the last decade. There are several reasons, other than pride for my district, that the “death of Chinatowns” storyline strikes me as irresponsible. After decades of fighting for resources for the Chinese-American community, Tsui’s assertion that “the influx of migrants who need the networks that Chinatown provides is itself slowing down,” is regressive and dangerous. The truth is that we need culturally and linguistically competent social

services more than ever before. Social services, such as those who hand out food to the needy, are overwhelmed when they come to Chinatown. Asian-Pacific Americans have the second-highest poverty rate among all racial groups and are one of the most linguistically isolated populations. I am proud that Chinatown has the reputation for providing much-needed social services, not just for Chinese immigrants, but to those from Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and anyone else who needs assistance. I am proud of the network of dedicated organizations, social-service providers and advocates in Chinatown that never give up the fight for fairer budgets and the equitable distribution of resources in our city. Tsiu’s cavalier attitude that all Chinatowns will one day be “a welcome gate and populated mostly by chains like Starbucks and Hooters, with signs in Chinese,” belittles serious issues, such as the lack of affordable housing, workforce development and educational opportunities, that have ripple effects in ethnic communities throughout our city. These are complex problems that cannot be written off as the collateral damage of gentrification. Finally, I take issue with Tsiu’s characterization of the “good life” in China. In a recent study of Chinese millionaires, nearly half reported they wanted to leave the country


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according to the Hurun Research Institute. China has significantly opened up since the mid-1970s and the growth of world-class cities like Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai has allowed cosmopolitan influences to take root — but the middle class is still struggling. Freedom of the press and speech are still under siege by the Chinese government, political oppression and human rights abuses are well reported, and legal protections are lacking. Nothing makes me more proud than to see first-generation Chinese seniors from Chinatown picketing the latest round of budget cuts outside of City Hall, or Chinese tenants groups mobilizing against bad landlords. We cherish the freedom we have here. Chinese immigrants have come to Chinatown for more than 100 years. Today, membership in hometown associations in Chinatown is growing, and new families are putting down roots. It is the Chinese-American spirit of perseverance and our contributions to this country that ensure Chinatown’s perpetuity. Chinatown will always be a place for younger generations to learn about their history and for the legacy of the Chinese in America to be celebrated.

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On Saturday, Chinatown and Little Italy played host to the annual East Meets West Parade. There were floats, marching bands, dragons, antique cars, Italian songs, wide-eyed kids, the Queen of Little Italy and, of course, Santa. Above, an enthusiastic paradegoer shook her pompoms.


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December 22 - 28, 2011

Photos by Clayton Patterson

Breaking: Community Media parties at P.J. Charlton! Community Media held its holiday party last Friday evening at local favorite P.J. Charlton restaurant, at Greenwich and Charlton Sts. The food and drink were superb at the cozy Hudson Square eatery, owned by neighborhood activist Phil Mouquinho. Clockwise from top left: columnists Kate Walter, left, and Michele Herman; Publisher John W. Sutter, right, and ad salesman Julius Harrison; administrative assistant Cynthia Soto; award-winning photojournalist Tequila Minsky; and legendary Greenwich Village activist Doris Diether.


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December 22 - 28, 2011


EASTVILLAGERARTS&ENTERTAINMENT Last call for a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah One final ho ho hurrah COMPILED BY SCOTT STIFFLER

CZECHOSLOVAK-AMERICAN MARIONETTE THEATRE: “A CHRISTMAS CAROL, OY! HANUKKAH, MERRY KWANZAA (HAPPY RAMADAN)” Just when you thought there wasn’t one more possible permutation of “A Christmas Carol,” along comes the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa (Happy Ramadan).” This adaptation of the holiday mainstay (which at this point in the season has overstayed its welcome) deserves serious consideration thanks to the sheer amount of non-Dickens names dropped in its long but promising title. Adapted, directed and performed by Vit Horejs, it features over 30 puppets. Along the way, the familiar tale gets injected with a blend of English, Jewish, African, American and Czech winter rituals, customs and holiday songs. Performed in Czech, English, Hebrew and Swahili. Dec. 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30, at 7pm; Dec. 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and Jan. 1, at 4 pm. At Clockworks Puppet Theatre (196 Columbia St., btw. Sackett & DeGraw; Brooklyn; F or G Trains to Carroll St. Station). For tickets ($20; $12 for kids), call 212-868-4444 or visit Also visit

WASHINGTON SQUARE CAROLING You supply the vocal chords and the holiday spirit. The Washington Square Association will supply the songbooks. That, plus the Rob Susman Brass Quartet and a very tall Christmas tree, is all you’ll need to have a merry time singing holiday songs. The tree is lit from 4pm-1am, daily. The caroling festivities happen on Sat., Dec. 24, at 5pm — at the Washington Square Park Arch (located at the foot of Fifth Ave., one block south of Eighth St.). For info, call 212-252-3621 or visit

Photo by Orlando Marra

Ghost of a chance: a Dickens classic gets the Czech marionette treatment.

A SWINGING BIRDLAND CHRISTMAS Like a modern day Ed Sullivan — but with charisma and vocal talent — our favorite cabaret impresario Jim Caruso holds court every Monday night at Birdland, as he gleefully emcees “Cast Party.” The long-running cabaret-themed open mic features newcomers, Broadway babies and living legends. Throughout, smooth crooner Caruso and the unreasonably talented pianist Billy Stritch keep things moving with an easy, breezy brew of satire and sincerity. That chemistry bodes very well for “A Swinging Birdland Christmas.” Return with Caruso and Stritch to those thrilling days of yesteryear — when seasonal specials from showbiz veterans lit up the small screen. Along for the sleigh ride is the equally compelling Klea Blackhurst (whose comedic chops can be consumed by watching her on the IFC channel’s “The Onion News Network”). The amiable trio will perform swinging arrangements of “Christmas Waltz,” Kay Thompson’s “Holiday Season,” “Sleigh Ride,” “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” and other favorites. Bonus track: Stritch, on piano, is joined by the other members of The Birdland Jazz Quartet (John Hart on guitar, Paul Gil on bass, Carmen Intorre on drums). Through Sun., Dec. 25. All shows at 6pm (except Dec. 25, at 7pm & 10pm). At Birdland (315 W. 44 St.). For tickets ($30 cover, $10 food/drink minimum), call 212581-3080 or visit Also visit jim-caruso. com, and

Continued on page 26

Photo by Ken Howard

The Rob Susman Quartet leads the singing on Dec. 24. See “Washington Square Caroling.”


December 22 - 28, 2011

Have yourself a merry little... will be from their 2010 debut album (“Let’s Go Coconuts”). The band’s guitar-based sound references everything from the Kinks to Queen to the Shins. On Sun., Dec. 25, at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. At The Jewish Museum (1109 Fifth Ave., at 92nd St.). For tickets ($20; $15 for children). For info, call 212-423-3337 or visit

Continued from page 25

TRINITY WALL STREET’S CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE FOR CHILDREN On Sat., Dec. 24 (at 4pm), Trinity Wall Street’s annual Christmas Eve Service for Children, Youth and Families features a sermon presented in a storytelling format. Children are “highly encouraged to participate,” and the Eucharist is celebrated. The Trinity Youth Chorus performs. At Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall St.). For info, call 212-602-0800 or visit trinitywallstreet. org.

the exhibit “Emma Lazarus: Poet of Exiles” will be given throughout the day. At the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place). For info,

call 646-437-4202 or visit Follow the museum, on Facebook, and at twitter@MJHnews.

Continued on page 27

THE MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE: “I LIFT MY LAMP” On December 25, “I Lift My Lamp: A Statue-esque Hanukkah” pays homage to poet Emma Lazarus and the Lady of the Harbor, by featuring Statue of Liberty-inspired crafts and films (all activities are free with Museum admission). At 11am, a young Russian immigrant mouse gets separated from his family while arriving in America, in the 1986 animated film “An American Tail.” Lady Liberty also makes cameos in Hitchcock’s 1942 fugitive tale “Saboteur” (at 1pm) and in 1985’s “Ghostbusters II” (at 3pm). Tours of

HANUKKAH CONCERT: THE MACAROONS Indie music fans, unite! The Macaroons — a spinoff band from acclaimed rockers The LeeVees — are brining their equally acclaimed songs to The Jewish Museum for three shows in one day. Many of the tunes

Photo by Leo Sorel

A storytelling sermon, audience participation and the Eucharist: All on Christmas Eve, at Trinity Wall Street.

Meetings & Events More than a movie theater Available for business meetings, employee appreciation events, product launches, worship services and more!

Village East Cinema (12th Street/2nd Avenue) or

Image courtesy Swank Motion Pictures.

“An American Tail” screens at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, on Dec. 25.

Angelika Film Center (Houston Street/Mercer Street) For more information and competitive rates, email or call 212.871.6838 •

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Photo courtesy of The Macaroons

Let’s go (coco) nuts. See “The Macaroons.”

December 22 - 28, 2011

Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

A choo choo runs through it. See “Holiday Train Show.”

Photo courtesy of the artist

The holidays come to a head…of Lettuce.


Photo by Mark Osberger

Adam Kee as Scrooge, Madalyn Mattsey as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Kyra Bromberg as Tiny Tim.

Last call for holiday arts Continued from page 26

THE HOLIDAY TRAIN SHOW AND GINGERBREAD ADVENTURES Within the enchanting setting of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, model trains zip over bridges and past replicas of New York landmarks made of plant parts such as nuts, bark and leaves. Marvel at the replicas, stroll the spectacular grounds, decorate (and eat!) gingersnaps — then break for some hot chocolate. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students/seniors (free admission for children under 2). Included in the price of admission to the Train Show: “Gingerbread Adventures.” Explore the plant ingredients (such as cinnamon and ginger) that make up a classic gingerbread recipe. Step inside a child-sized gingerbread playhouse, decorating a gingersnap cookie with frosting and candies and examine gingerbread ingredients under a microscope. In the Adventure Garden, you’ll see a display of gingerbread houses designed by some of New York’s most imaginative bakers. Kids can take home a pot decorated with wheat seeds that will quickly grow into a miniature head of wheat hair (a living reminder that flour — a key gingerbread ingredient — is derived from a plant). The Train Show and Gingerbread Adventures run

through Jan. 16. At New York Botanical Garden (2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx). Open 10am-6pm, Tues.-Sun. Closed Dec. 25. On Dec. 24, closed at 3pm. On holiday weeks (Dec.19-Jan. 2), hours are 10am-7pm. For tickets and info, call 718-817-8700 or visit

HEDDA LETTUCE: “LETTUCE REJOICE 2011!” Scott Thompson, as Buddy Cole (in a Kids in the Hall sketch), once pointed out that, “An angry drag queen is scarier than a Minotaur.” That being said, it’s worth noting that when the divine Hedda Lettuce gets her dander up, the wit that flows forth from her focused rage is like a little prayer. So don’t think for a minute that all this seasonal cheer and goodwill toward men is going to mellow Hedda. Reading the press release for her upcoming show (“Lettuce Rejoice 2011!”) is like taking a Master Class in how to offend and amuse. In Hedda’s world, beloved Christmas classics like “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” get a bad girl makeover — and emerge as “Here Comes Tranny Clause” and “Do You Think That He’s Queer.” Later in the show, other bitter little pills to swallow include Hedda’s homage to the recently departed Amy Winehouse. “Too soon perhaps,” Hedda wonders aloud. “Not for the sardonic Miss

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Lettuce,” she immediately replies. If that’s not enough for you, consider this: Each night, one of the faithful comers will win a basket filled with Boy Butter Lubricant! Perhaps the happy winner will put that provocative tub down long enough to catch Hedda as she hosts her monthly screening of a classic movie (at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas). Dec. 23 and 28. At 7:30pm, at The Metropolitan Room (34 W. 22nd St., btw. 5th & 6th Aves.). For tickets ($22), call 212-206-0440. Visit and

MANHATTAN CHILDREN’S THEATRE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL This presentation of the Charles Dickens holiday classic (adapted and directed by MCT Artistic Director Bruce Merrill) features original music by Eric V. Hachikian. Through Dec. 24; Sat., Sun., at 12pm and 2pm; also on Fri., Dec. 23, at 12pm and 2pm. At Manhattan Children’s Theatre (380 Broadway, 4th floor; two blocks south of Canal St., at Broadway & White). Tickets are sold online for $18 (adults) and $16 (children). At the door, $20. For reservations and info, call 212-352-3101 or visit

Continued on page 28

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December 22 - 28, 2011

Merry and bright things to do Continued from page 27

VIRIDIAN ARTISTS: “HOLIDAY PRESENCE” EXHIBITION Born on Long Island in the ’60s, Viridian Artists Inc. grew up in SoHo, spent the ’70s on 57th Street and has called Chelsea home for over a decade. Each year at this time, Viridian invites its regulars (and guest artists) to “create some small but special artworks to share during this season of celebration, contemplation and giving.” In addition to the exhibition of those works, Viridian is bringing back its Holiday Store — stocked with art cards, prints, artist books, small art and art jewelry (items are under $100). “Holiday Presence” is on view through Dec. 31. At Viridian Artists (548 W. 28th St., btw. 10th and 11th Aves., 6th fl.). Gallery hours: Tues. through Sat., 12-6pm. For info, 212-414-4040 or

HOLIDAY EVENTS AT THE MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM Prior to the last 75 years, the Merchant’s House Museum was home to a prosperous merchant-class family for nearly a century. Their slice of domestic life as lived from 1835-1865 has been preserved by displaying original furnishings and personal possessions. It was during the Tredwell era that many of our beloved Christmas activities (trimming trees, singing carols, sending cards) began. Sadly, however, this was a time bereft of molded-plastic, lit-from-within Frostys — and the 19th century Hit Parade didn’t include “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Those 1950s innovations (now holiday classics in their own right) can be seen alongside their 1850s counterparts in “From Candlelight to Bubble Light: A 1950s Christmas in an 1850s House.” This visionary mash-up of times and traditions finds the museum’s halls

Photo courtesy of the artist

A sweet deal on art: David Dorsey’s “Raspberry Cupcake” (oil on canvas). See “Viridian Artists.”

retro-decked with conceptual stylist (and East Village icon) Deb O’Nair’s collection of vintage holiday decorations and 1950s/60s Americana. Through Jan 9. At Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Regular hours: 12-5pm (closed Tues. & Wed.). Admission: $10 ($5 for students/seniors). For info, call 212-777-1089 or visit

Photo courtesy of Merchant’s House Museum

Frosted, and frozen, in time. See “Holiday Events at Merchant’s House Museum.”



Photo by Nathan Hull

Elizabeth Treat, as Rosina. See “Amore Opera.”

With “The Marriage of Figaro” and the American premiere of Mercadante’s “I due Figaro” already under their third season belt, Amore Opera’s Fall Figaro Fest concludes with Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.” Amore promises their production (with full orchestra) will enchant and amuse — in English and Italian! Maestro Richard Owen (former resident conductor at Deutsche Oper am Rhein and Duesseldorf Symphony

in Germany, and current cover conductor at the New York Philharmonic) returns to Amore to take the baton. Through December. Thurs.-Sat, at 7:30pm; Wed., Dec. 28 also at 7:30pm; Sun., Dec. 18, 2:30pm. The “Opera-inBrief” series features “The Kid’s Barber of Seville” at 11:30am on Thurs, Dec. 29 and Sat., Dec. 31. “Hansel & Gretel” is performed on Sat., Dec. 17 and Wed., Dec. 28 at 11:30am & 3pm. At the Connelly Theater (220 E. 4th St.). For tickets ($40; $30 for students, seniors; $15 for the Opera-in-Brief shows), call 866-811-4111 or visit amoreop- The New Year’s Eve Gala (on Sat., Dec. 31, at 7:30pm) includes hors d’oeuvres and champagne before the show, dinner and desert during the intermissions and a champagne toast at Midnight. A concert featuring the talent of Amore Opera will be presented after the show. Tickets are $125.

THE LA MAMA CANTATA Most people have one good book in them. By the time she left this mortal stage (on January 13, 2011 — at the age of 91),

Continued on page 29

December 22 - 28, 2011


Just Do Art! Continued from page 28 Ellen Stewart had over 3,000 theatrical productions to her name — having nurtured theater, dance, performance art and music as founder and artistic director of La MaMa (currently celebrating its 50th anniversary season). Writer and composer Elizabeth Swados’ new theater work pays tribute to La MaMa’s mama, by presenting a musical journey through Stewart’s life and times. The text is taken from Stewart’s own word as well as those who knew her well. A cast of 18, accompanied by a piano and percussion ensemble, bring the story to life — and what a story. Arriving in New York (via Louisiana, via Chicago), Stewart spent her early years as a fashion designer for Saks Fifth Avenue — then found herself, in 1961, in the improbable position of being a woman of color determined to open a theater “dedicated to the playwright and all aspects of the theatre.” In the process, she distinguished herself as one of a very few creative types responsible for creating what came to be known as the Off-Off Broadway movement. At the November premiere of “The La MaMa Cantata,” our own Martin Denton (a regular contributor to this paper, and editor of declared, “Like the best works at La MaMa over the years, the CANTATA is a dazzling showcase of diversity and imagination. The cast is alarmingly talented. They communicate Ellen’s words, commentary for her collaborators, along with passages from St. John and Corinthians to honor Ms. Stewart’s spiritual side with passion and joy. Swados’ score is magnificently varied, and filled with emotion.” Such high praise from Denton (an enthusiastic theatergoer, but no light touch), plus the long shadow cast by Stewart, is more than reason enough to clear your crowded holiday calendar. At 7:30pm on Thurs., Dec. 29 and Fri., Dec. 30 (the Dec. 30 performance will be live-streamed, and features a post-show talk-back with the cast and creator). At the Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. 4 St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($25; $20 for students/seniors), call the La MaMa box office at 212-475-7710 or visit lamama. org.

Photo by Ahron H. Foster

Front, left to right: Keith McDermott, Grant James Varjas. Rear, left to right: Kevin Boseman, Brett Douglas, Ken Forman, Cameron Pow, Chuck Blasius.

ACCIDENTALLY, LIKE A MARTYR Playwright Grant James Varjas imbued his latest endeavor with an unmistakable ring of truth — by imbibing, dishing and learning valuable life lessons at an East Village watering hole very similar to the old school dive which serves as the setting for “Accidentally, Like a Martyr.” Back in the day, Varjas spent his wonder years as a budding gay man by logging countless hours at The Boiler Room (still going strong at 86 E. 4 St., btw. 1st and 2nd Aves.; Decades later, extended families are still being formed at your local gay bar — but today’s young bucks are more likely to be found raising a glass alongside straights and finding their casual kicks with the help of a smartphone app instead of that second Happy Hour drink. “Martyr” is more concerned with the former rather than the latter. In 90 minutes (with a few flashbacks to 2007 thrown in), a group of gay men spend a pivotal winter evening hunkered down in their favorite bar, grappling with life and aging in the 21st century. The cast includes Keith McDermott (who was the young male lead opposite Richard Burton in the original Broadway production of “Equus”) and Brett Douglas (“The Play About the Naked Guy”). Through January 8. Thurs. through Sat. at 8pm; Sun. at 3pm; Mon. at 7pm. At Paradise Factory (64 E. 4th St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($18; $15 for students and seniors), call 212-352-3101 or visit Also visit

Photo by Peter James Zielinski

I remember mama: “The La MaMa Cantata” gives musical praise to the late, great Ellen Stewart.


December 22 - 28, 2011


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C.B. 2 â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;strong supportâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for O.W.S. Continued from page 17 use by working groups to organize the lotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s operations â&#x20AC;&#x201D; such as first-aid, sanitation and food. There would be a main circular gathering area in the center for General Assemblies, teach-ins and community-based events. Port-a-potty facilities would be located in the spaceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s corners.

BOARD 2â&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ROLE Occupy is also looking to Community Board 2 for assistance â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and the boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chairperson and some of its leading members, notably Keen Berger and Sean Sweeney, have given positive signs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is a strong support on C.B. 2 for O.W.S.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s freedom of speech and the work they are doing on the profound issue of economic inequality in our city and country,â&#x20AC;? said Brad Hoylman, the boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chairperson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We would strongly encourage Trinity Church and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to engage with O.W.S. in a serious way to see if some agreement might be worked out among the parties for use of the empty lot â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but C.B. 2 doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have an official position at this point. Some of C.B. 2â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s committee chairpersons have expressed

interest in hearing from O.W.S. at a public hearing, which would be the first step in C.B. 2 drafting a resolution on the subject. But, of course, at this juncture we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what the specifics of such a resolution would say.â&#x20AC;? Last week at an informal â&#x20AC;&#x153;O.W.S. Holiday Partyâ&#x20AC;? with members of Board 2 and the community, Sweeney indignantly said that Trinity has some nerve to deny the lot to the protesters, since the church got all its copious real estate holdings from the Queen of England for an annual rent of just one peppercorn. Sweeney indicated that Board 2 might be able to use its clout to help Occupy get the lot, since Trinity is seeking a rezoning for the entire Hudson Square neighborhood, which includes the lot at Duarte Square, where Trinity hopes to build a residential tower with a public school in the bottom floors. This rezoning application will come before Board 2 for its approval. Asked about that dynamic, Hoylman said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;C.B. 2 reviews each zoning application on its own merits, but certainly an applicantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reputation and standing in the community has an impact on whether the board would be supportive or not. On the other hand, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re unlikely to see any zoning proposals for Hudson Square until early spring, so it would be premature to suggest how the board would vote on this project.â&#x20AC;?

December 22 - 28, 2011


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Continued from page 22 Columbus Circle have scores of vendors, and are located at the city’s two busiest subway entrances. They create objectively dangerous pedestrian conditions, completely hide famous monuments and use huge tents and generators. (Weren’t tents and generators supposed to be illegal in New York City parks, according to the mayor?) In this video a police officer assigned to the Union Square Holiday Market admits it’s unsafe for the public: h t t p : / / w w w. y o u t u b e . c o m / watch?v=gqZy8UL_u44 . The handful of medallion spots set aside for artists in these four parks was a red herring intended to trick community boards into believing these revised rules would have no effect on free speech in other parks. However, in Washington Square Park, the new regulation to keep 50 feet from any monument eliminates the entire open plaza between the arch and the fountain. The park’s paths are narrower than 15 feet, and in the very few spots where they aren’t, it’s impossible to be 5 feet from a bench. Plus, one can’t use any planted area — so you have a virtually 100 percent prohibition. In fact, virtually 100 percent of the city’s parkland is now off limits to those exercising their First Amendment rights. While publicly claiming to be a great lover of freedom and of artists’ rights, Mayor Bloomberg has outdone Giuliani in repressing artists’ rights and in trashing free speech generally. Robert Lederman Lederman is president ARTIST (Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics)

It may take a miracle To The Editor: Re “Vilnius worshipers lose court fight over Soho church” (new article, Dec. 15): The spirit of Our Lady of Vilnius will not die. We will not let it. I don’t know how we will do it, but we will. And we will do whatever we can to end the bullying of parishioners. Christina Nakraseive

Horns reference is hurtful To The Editor: Re “Go down, Moses, way down in Little Italy, on Mulberry” (news article,

Dec. 15): The reference in the article to “a horned, long-bearded Moses” without editorial clarification only goes to further prejudice and malevolence. Regrettably, there are people (I have personally encountered a few) who believe that Jews have horns because of this ongoing malicious canard. To some people, possessing horns is only one short step from family connections with Satan. Yes, it might be possible that Michelangelo may have depicted Moses with horns. In the past, there was a gross mistranslation in the Douay-Rheims version of the Torah — the translation most commonly used by the Roman Catholic Church. The word “keren” in Hebrew can mean both “horn” and “ray.” What the scriptural writer had in mind when he described Moses descending from Mt. Sinai was most certainly a halo of rays of light. The Hebrew Masoretic Text also uses words equivalent to “radiant,” suggesting an effect like a halo. Some historians believe that Michelangelo understood the error and was actually depicting emanations radiating from the head of Moses — the man who provided the ethical foundations for Judaism and subsequently Christianity and Islam. Emanations are comparable to a halo, except that Moses was in a special class since he was one of the few human beings who ever had a direct conversation with God. How else might one depict, in carved marble, rays emanating from a person’s head? New Yorkers can view an excellent example of “rays” carved into a stone version of Moses in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at the General Theological (Episcopal) Seminary in Chelsea. In any case, to blithely suggest that Moses had “horns” in the article without further clarification is downright misleading and mean-spirited — if not morally objectionable in its inferences. That’s a rather startling act toward the man who provided the world with a code of ethics that is the foundation for several of the world’s major religions.

Photo by John Bayles

Occupy Christmas trees Not far from Duarte Square, Soho Square is still well-stocked with Christmas trees for sale.

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

Justin Ferate

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to the East Villager, Letters to the Editor, 515 Canal St., Suite 1C, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The East Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The East Villager does not publish anonymous letters.

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December 22 - 28, 2011

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The newpaper serving New York City's East Village