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

December 22, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 51





Eliz. Gardeners hope alternative sites grow on Chin and de Blasio BY DENNIS LYNCH


ommunity members trying to convince the city to drop its plan to develop senior housing at the Elizabeth St. Garden have a new ally in Public Advocate Letitia James, who toured the garden and pledged her support for their effort on Sat.,

Dec. 17. Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, state Senators Brad Hoylman and Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Assemblymember-elect Yuh-Line Niou and Comptroller Scott Stringer all support maintaining the space as a garden. There are more GARDEN continued on p. 6

Blurred gender is in focus in Seliger’s Christopher photos BY BOB KR ASNER


ark Seliger has been on assignments around the world, photographing more boldfaced names than he can remember. But his latest portrait project couldn’t be further away from his usual fare, or closer to home. The award-winning celebrity lensman has shot Obama, Kar-

dashian, Dylan, Springsteen, Schumer, Cobain, Roberts, DiCaprio — and the list goes on — for Rolling Stone, Vogue, L’Oumo Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Details — that list goes on, too. For the last three years, though, he’s been spending some serious time on Christo-


The pumpkin lies heav y on the shoulder of a monument in Elizabeth St. Garden. Indeed, the garden is in a stressful situation, as Councilmember Margaret Chin continues to push an affordable housing project for the beloved natural refuge in the hear t of Little Italy.

Nadler: We have to fight; Breaking the Trump funk

TRANS continued on p. 10



political forum about — what else? — Donald Trump drew an anxious overflow crowd of several hundred to New York University’s Kimmel Center Monday evening. Titled “What To Expect From the Trump Administration and the New Congress,” in addition to Nadler, the expert panel included Burt

Neuborne, a professor of law and civil liberties and founding legal director of N.Y.U.’s Brennan Center for Justice; Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights; and Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “We are all here today to discuss the devastating aftermath of the 2016 election,” Nadler said, opening up the

event. “The outcome was as upsetting as it was unexpected for so many of us. But we must not be overwhelmed. We must not back down. We must not roll over and play dead. We must fight. “Donald Trump represents a clear and present danger in many, many ways,” the congressmember acknowledged. “He has given us no reasons NADLER continued on p. 5

You’re fired! Stars shun Trump Soho Hotel ........p. 4 C.B. 3 member on hunt for her stolen laptop....p. 7 H.D.F.C. regs need review.......p. 9


D.I.D. DRAMA: As usual, the Downtown Independent Democrats’ holiday party on Monday night at the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark’s Place was packed. One person who was notably missing, though, was District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar. She also didn’t make it to the club’s fundraiser about a month ago. Paul Newell, her “dueling district leader” male counterpart was there on Monday. So was Yuh-Line Niou, who won the Democratic primary in September for Shelly Silver’s former Lower East Side Assembly seat, besting Rajkumar and Newell, along with incumbent Alice Cancel and two other candidates. Showing no hard feelings, Cancel was also at the Grassroots get-together. Anyway, could it be that after the acrimonious primary, D.I.D. just isn’t big enough for the two ambitious young district leaders? After she missed last month’s fundraiser, Rajkumar told us, “Couldn’t make this one because I was out of town visiting family, a much-needed catch-up time with loved ones after the busy election year!” ‘BIG SHOES TO FILL’: On Dec. 19, the Harry S. Truman Club elected Jacob Goldman as its new district leader. This fills a vacancy left by the recent passing of long-serving District Leader David Weinberger. Following the election, the entire community was invited to celebrate with local elected officials. Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilmember Margaret Chin and Assemblymember-elect Yuh-Line Niou were all in attendance. Each division of the district has two Democratic district leaders, one male and one female. Goldman will serve along with his co-leader, Karen Blatt. District leaders are unpaid volunteer elected officials that help pick party leaders, judges and provide assistance in local elections. They are also a conduit between the needs of the community and its elected officials. “I had known and have been a close friend to David Weinberger for more


A ssemblymember-elect Yuh-Line Niou, who will take office in Albany next month, left, and Terri Cude, who was elected Communit y Board 2 chairperson last month, represent new leadership for the Downtown area.

A ssemblymember Alice Cancel attended the D.I.D. affair in festive attire. After holding down Sheldon Silver’s former A ssembly seat for a bit more than half a year, after winning a special election in April, the longtime district leader will hand over the reins of power to Yuh-Line Niou next month. Niou won the open Democratic primar y in September.

than 20 years, having worked with him at the United Jewish Council, and it is a very humbling honor to take his role,” Goldman said. “As everyone says, I have very big shoes to fill. But I am here to represent our neighborhood.” Goldman is a local businessman, broker of LoHo Realty, and has served in many neighborhood capacities since moving to the Lower East Side more than 20 year ago. He is a past president of the landmarked Bialystoker Synagogue, a past school board member who fought hard and successfully to get the NEST+M school approved and started and a past member of the Neighborhood Advisory Board. He is also a lawyer. His co-leader Blatt added, “Jacob Goldman brings a valuable skill set to the role of


December 22, 2016

Councilmember Corey Johnson worked the room in style while rocking a scar f.

district leader…and has a record of local community engagement. I look forward to working with a strong and committed partner.”

RAPFOGEL’S RETURN: Speaking of Lower East Side politicos and power brokers, we hear from a reliable source that William Rapfogel is about to be paroled — that is, if he hasn’t already been let free. Rapfogel pleaded guilty in 2014 to taking $1 million in kickbacks in an insurance scam while heading the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, the agency he ran for 20 years. He used the agency’s money to buy the insurance at inflated rates in return for the payola. He was accused of stashing $400,000 of his ill-begotten loot in the Grand St. apartment and Upstate Monticello home he shares with his wife, Judy Rapfogel, Shelly Silver’s former longtime chief of staff. Rapfogel, a lifelong friend of Silver’s, was sentenced to three-and-one-third to 10 years in jail, but was granted work release a year ago and transferred to a minimum-security “dorm”-like Harlem facility. TheVillager.com

Local Finest fêted at Officer of the Year Awards BY ZACH WILLIAMS


olice Officer Robert Karl knew something was wrong when a little dog passed him one day on Ninth Ave. The Tenth Precinct veteran recognized it from a minute before when it walked in the opposite direction with its owner. A dog without a leash stuck out when the pair headed in the opposite direction toward W. 15th St. with another man. “The dog was well-behaved the whole time and that’s the only reason I paid attention to it,” Karl said. One man took out a baggie of cocaine. The other held some cash. Neither of them knew the guy 5 feet away was an undercover cop — who was about to add another arrest to his career total of 353. Experiences like that earned Karl an Officer of the Year award on Dec. 15 from the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. The 13th Annual Safe City Safe Streets event also honored five other officers who distinguished themselves by thwarting criminals, assisting crime victims and serving the local community. Karl came from a line of cops, while fellow honoree Robert Lewis of the Sixth Precinct joined the department when he was a 20-year-old college student after a friend dared him to take the entrance examination. Three years later, in 1996, Lewis got a call telling him he was at the top of the wait list for the Police Academy. “I didn’t even know I passed,” he said. But he followed this unexpected opportunity to the first of hundreds of arrests in the northeast Bronx. Karl meanwhile followed the footsteps of his great-grandfather — the first person in his family to wear the New York Police Department badge — to Chelsea’s precinct where he has spent the entirety of his career since graduating from the academy in 1999. Twenty years or so ago, the area faced different challenges compared to the thefts that now dominate local crime statistics. Karl recalled the prostitutes and drug dealers who congregated on 11th Ave. back then. The population grew by 25 percent in the next decade while crime fell by about 600 incidents per year over the course of Karl’s career. During that time, Karl became a plainclothes officer in the precinct’s anti-crime unit. He pretended to party at local clubs while keeping an eye out for pickpockets and bag snatchers who preyed on unsuspecting revelers. This shift from uniformed patrol also reflected a larger shift in the department’s strategy to combat crime. The “Broken Windows” approach of policing depends on preventing lowlevel crimes, like petty theft, to prevent more serious crimes, such as rape and murder. TheVillager.com


A “hero sandwich” at the G.V.C.C.C. Safe Cit y Safe Streets luncheon, from left, Officer Rober t Lewis, Villager Publisher Jennifer Goodstein, Chamber Executive Director Maria Diaz and Officer Rober t Karl.

The enemies of law enforcement were evolving at the same time, according to John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, who was the keynote speaker on Dec. 15. As the murder rate dropped over the past two decades, a new threat emerged — terrorism. This September’s bombing on W. 23rd St. showed that the threat continues to evolve, with lone attackers inspired by ISIS having replaced organized terrorist cells run by Al-Qaeda. Police established dedicated units to guard high-risk targets throughout the city. But despite the additional resources, a safe city still depends on the help of civilians, like the food cart vendor who alerted police to a bomb in Times Square in an incident that was thwarted six years ago. Complex threats as dangerous as terrorism and as prosaic as petty larceny all require street savvy, according to Miller. “Like politics, I think all terrorism is local,” he said. He added that events like Safe City Safe Streets strengthen the relationship between cops and the community — even at a time when that relationship has come under greater scrutiny because of police killings of unarmed civilians in New York City and across the country. However, vigilant cops like Karl and Lewis remain the top weapons against crime, even in an era of bomb-sniffing dogs, shot-spotting technology and statcrunching computers, Miller stressed. Lewis brought that shared instinct for action from the streets of the Bronx when he transferred to the Sixth Precinct earlier this year. Crime rates have fallen dramatically in the West Village and Greenwich Village in the past decade. Reported rape incidents fell by half in the last year alone. But Officer Lewis remained on patrol even when he was off the clock on a September after-

noon this year. He had just left the stationhouse when he saw three men beating another man at the corner of W. 10th and Bleecker Sts. Instinct took over, he said. He grabbed the wrist of one assailant with his left hand and the wrist of another with his right and began leading them back toward the nearby police station. “They was calling me, ‘Mister, Mis-

ter, Mister,’ ” Lewis said. “They didn’t know what was going on until we got into the precinct.” The victim got his iPhone back, but the third perpetrator got away — though only for the time being, Lewis assured. “We know who he is,” Lewis stated, “and the detectives will be apprehending him soon.” In addition, this October Lewis busted an intoxicated driver for bribery after he offered the officer $4,000 to let him off. Also honored by the chamber as Officers of the Year were two of the Ninth Precinct’s Finest, Sergeant Thomas Wahlig and Officer Vanessa Felix-Hidalgo. The pair make up the East Village precinct’s domestic violence unit. Their role is to visit the homes of victims, as well as provide referrals to court, counseling services and shelter alternatives. They also assist in obtaining orders of protection and safety planning. Wahlig began his career as a patrolman in East New York in 2005, and was assigned to the Ninth in 2010. Felix-Hidalgo has been on the force since 2002 and at the Ninth since 2004. She was assigned to patrol until 2011, when she became a domestic violence officer. She has made more than 100 arrests in her time at the East Village precinct.


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Paparazzi have not been seen hanging around the front of the Trump Soho Hotel for the past six months — because their favorite subject, celebrities, are repor tedly no longer staying there. In the past, paparazzi could frequently be seen standing to either side of the front door waiting for stars — like singers Rihanna or Chris Brown or T V actors — to enter and exit.

You’re fired! Stars shun Trump Soho BY DENNIS LYNCH



Member of the New York Member of the National Press Association Newspaper Association

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December 22, 2016


he Trump Soho Hotel is not the place to be anymore, at least for members of the New York paparazzi. Sightings — of both the “shooters” and their celebrity prey — have sharply decreased since Donald Trump rose to the top of the Republican Party and won this year’s presidential election, according to pavement-pounding pap. “Almost nobody has stayed there for the last six months at least,” said the photographer, who hasn’t snapped pictures of any celebs there since around April. “Most A-listers now stay at the Greenwich Hotel owned by [Robert] De Niro, or the Bowery Hotel or the Mercer Hotel, some Uptown at the Ritz [Carlton] or London [NYC]. It’s possible some celebs are staying [at the Trump Soho], but not the usual numbers who were before.” The photographer speculated that many entertainment stars are avoiding the Trump Soho because of its connection to the president-elect, or that a booker with connections to the many network TV morning shows and studios Uptown possibly left the organization at some point for unknown reasons, as well. The decrease in sightings confi rms the fi ndings from some data scientists who track the hotel bookings of famous and common folk alike. Hipmunk, a San Francisco-based travel company, found

that the share of Trump-branded bookings on its site fell around 58 percent in the fi rst half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. The data scientists over at the discovery-focused mobile app Foursquare also noted that foot traffic to Trump’s U.S. hotels, casinos and golf courses was down every month of 2016 compared to those

Doormen at the Trump Soho Hotel, at Varick and Spring Sts., don’t have to keep paparazzi at bay much lately, since the stars aren’t staying there anymore.

same months in 2015, except in January and February, when they increased by 4 and 5 percent, respectively. Between March and July of this year, traffic was down between 14 and 17 percent compared to those same months in 2015. Cleveland Cavaliers hoops superstar LeBron James and “several” of his teammates made headlines earlier this month when they decided to lay their heads elsewhere during a trip to the Big Apple for a game against the hometown Knicks. James was diplomatic about the choice, telling reporters during a shootaround at Madison Square Garden that it was just his “personal preference.” “At the end of the day, I hope he’s one of the best presidents ever for all of our sake, my family, for all of us,” the three-time NBA champ said, according to CNN. “But [it’s] just not my personal preference. It would be the same if I went to a restaurant and decided to eat chicken and not steak.” The Los Angeles Lakers organization also chose to stay elsewhere during a trip to face the Brooklyn Nets following the election. A source told the Los Angeles Times that the basketball team’s decision was motivated by security concerns surrounding the protests that cropped up at President-elect Trump’s many properties since his November victory, not politics. The Trump Soho Hotel did not return requests for comment. TheVillager.com

At the “ What to Expect From Trump” town hall on Monday, from left, roundtable moderator Julie Kashen, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, N.Y.U. Law professor Bur t Neuborne, Nanc y Nor thup and Donna Lieberman.

Nadler: We must fight; Breaking the Trump funk NADLER continued from p. 1

or assurances to alleviate our gave concerns about his personal conduct, his decision-making or his ability to lead.” In short we’re seeing no sign of a movement away from “the divisive and extreme campaign promises” Trump made, Nadler said. He listed some of the most egregious ones: “Promises to ignore and exacerbate climate change, promises of religious tests for immigration, promises of mass deportations, promises to ‘murder,’ in terms of budgets, all of our social and housing and other programs.” Meanwhile, the Republicans — and Trump “seems to be going that way,” too, Nadler said — are threatening to privatize Medicare and cut Social Security. Obviously, the situation is bleak, Nadler noted: The G.O.P. now controls the White House, Congress, the courts and two-thirds of state legislatures. And of course Trump’s “extremist cabinet appointments” — the likes of Sessions, Bannon and Tillerson, just to name a very few of them — only continue to raise serious concerns that there will be an erosion of civil rights violations, environmental protections and social-service programs for the most vulnerable, Nadler said. Moving right along...Nadler next touched on Trump’s enormous conflicts of interest. “We’ve never really seen anything like this,” he said. “The conflicts extend beyond him to his children. ... If he doesn’t divest the moment he becomes president, TheVillager.com

‘The arc of history moves toward justice.’ Burt Neuborne

it will make him a walking constitutional violation. “When you have all these different business interests, in a million ways... . If a land-use agreement, a zoning variance, is given in favor of a building in Kuala Lumpur — well, maybe it would have been given and maybe it wouldn’t have if he had been president. That could be considered a gift,” he explained of just one of the seemingly limitless potential conflicts of interest Trump’s presidency poses. A champion of civil liberties and of the Constitution for his entire political career, Nadler assured he will do his utmost to keep protecting them — and reach out to his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to aid him. “We will need to fight very hard to protect our civilizing programs of the New Deal and the Great Society and civil rights,” Nadler soberly warned.

On an up note, he told the crowd, “The turnout here today, initially, is very encouraging.” Neuborne, the next speaker, sternly advised the audience, “It’s a fact, we have to get over the hand-wringing phase,” plus stop blaming the F.B.I. and / or Russian hackers for influencing the election’s outcome. “We need a cold-eyed view,” he said. In that vein of realism, he noted that the problem is really much bigger than Trump. Namely, during the eight years of the Obama presidency, Democrats lost 1,000 seats in state legislatures around the country. “This was a slow-moving train wreck,” the professor said. The key to a political turnaround is to organize to regain the political majority in the country — meaning the whole country — he stressed. “We cannot continue as a coastal republic — where we carry both coasts and continue to lose the middle of the country. Everyone who voted for Trump is not a racist, or an...” “Yes they are!” a woman in the audience shouted out. “...or an enemy,” Neuborne continued. “It is not in our interest to demonize them, or not accept that there are serious social issues.” Continue to treat Middle Americans as enemies, he cautioned, and it will keep on dividing country “and we will continue to lose. “The arc of history does move toward justice,” he offered, consolingly. “This is not the first time that liberals have found themselves in crisis in this country. I

lived through McCarthy and the murders of John F. Kennedy...Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the illegal Vietnam War, Watergate, the collapse of our social contract during Reagan, after September 2001, the fear and essential security terror, the economic collapse in 2007... . Do not succumb to the idea that this is somehow a unique moment in which we are about to lose the republic,” he said. At the same time, he admitted, it’s undeniable that Trump is truly scary. “We have someone as president who is...utterly narcissistic and terribly authoritarian,” he said, “and that should make us nervous, but it should not drive us into panic.” He also disparaged Trump’s intellectual abilities. As for how to turn it around, he noted, “First, remember, ‘It’s the economy stupid,’” adding that it was that simple approach that has won for Democrats before and was also the “core of the New Deal.” Like Nadler, he was gladdened to see the large turnout. “This is a galvanizing force to many of us. And my hope is it is the beginning of the organization of a very, very powerful political movement,” he said, as the crowd cheered. Pro-choice advocate Northup noted that abortion isn’t just under threat now that Trump has been elected. Since 2010, 800 state laws have been passed restricting access to abortion, she noted. “So we and our colleagues at the A.C.L.U. and Planned Parenthood have NADLER continued on p. 8 December 22, 2016


Eliz. Gardeners seed idea for alternative sites GARDEN continued from p. 1

than a dozen parks and community organizations that support the garden, as well. Advocates have identified a handful of sites they believe the city has either failed to utilize for housing or that would make suitable alternatives for the affordable senior housing planned for the Elizabeth St. Garden. Alternatives include a city-owned building at 137 Centre St., at White St., and a cityowned gravel-covered lot at 388 Hudson St., at Clarkson St. The first of these two sites is currently office space for the Department of Sanitation and for the Police Department. The Economic Development Corporation released a request for proposals, or R.F.P., last year to revitalize the “underutilized City property,” with an emphasis on incorporating neighborhood amenities, such as universal pre-kindergarten space. The Centre St. project is not yet approved and E.D.C. was still in conversations with local officials and residents to find a suitable proposal, an agency spokesperson said. E.D.C. wants a use that will meet the R.F.P.’s goals, “including generating revenue to support Downtown Community Television Center’s programming and endowment, providing necessary neighborhood amenities, and ensuring a financially feasible development.” (D.C.T.C. is located just to the east on the same block as 137 Centre St.) The city currently envisions a mixed-income high-rise tower for the site, which it notes has a development potential of more than 125,000 square feet. But Tribeca preservationists and the gardeners want the city to readapt the existing building — which previously was almost included in a Tribeca historic district — for affordable housing. Meanwhile, the Hudson St. site covers a water shaft that connects to the newly built City Water Tunnel No. 3 and is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection. At the urging of Community Board 2, in 1999 the city agreed to build a park at the Hudson St. site once the water shaft construction was completed. Meanwhile, C.B. 2 — which supports saving the Elizabeth St. Garden — last year changed its position on the lot, saying it should now be used for the affordable housing currently slated for the garden. By comparison, the Hudson St. site could accommodate five times as much affordable housing, according to Tobi Bergman, who chaired the board the past two years and who first identified the Hudson lot as an alternative site. But, despite the community board’s change of course, this October D.E.P. abruptly announced that it planned to honor its prior commitment to C.B. 2 to provide new “public open space” at the


December 22, 2016


Public Advocate Letitia James, second from left, joined Friends of Elizabeth St. Garden members, from left, Jeannine Kiely, Emily Hellstrom and Aaron Booher, at the garden last weekend. “Count me in!” James said of the effor t to save the green spot in open-space-star ved Little Italy. She’s now the second cit wide elected official, along with Comptroller Scott Stringer, to stand with residents and Community Board 2 in their effor t to save the treasured garden from the wrecking ball.

Hudson St. lot, plus at two other water tunnel sites, also in the Downtown area, at E. Fourth and Grand Sts. The president of the Friends of the Elizabeth St. Garden said she was “baffled” as to why the city wouldn’t consider the other sites for housing. “The Elizabeth St. Garden is already a beautiful garden,” Jeannine Keily said. “It has a huge base of support from the

community, and there are better alternative sites. So I don’t understand why the city isn’t exploring alternatives. “You can build more at 388 Hudson, so seniors would be better off with that site, and there’s already a building at Centre St. Then you have a garden that wants to become a city park,” she said, referring to the Elizabeth St. Garden. However, Councilmember Marga-


This handsome, contextually appropriate building at 137 Centre St. nearly made the cut for a Tribeca historic district. Now Tribeca preser vationists and the Elizabeth St. Garden members are urging the cit y to consider readapting it for affordable housing, so that yet another grossly oversized sk yscraper can be avoided and the garden can be saved.

ret Chin supports the senior housing project for the Little Italy site. The city identified the location in 2012 following negotiations over affordable housing at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, or SPURA, project that evolved into the current Essex Crossing. At the time, the garden was still a private space leased by neighboring gallery owner Allan Reiver. In late September, 300 people — including garden volunteers, local politicians and citywide garden advocates — filled the Little green oasis in a show of solidarity. The next week, locals and politicians demonstrated against the housing plan outside the headquarters of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the lead agency on the project. After the H.P.D. rally, Chin’s chief of staff, Paul Leonard, relayed the councilmember’s position on the project in a tweet titled the “The Facts about the Elizabeth-Mott Street Site.” The Hudson St. site should be considered an additional — not an alternative — site, Leonard’s tweet stressed, adding that affordable housing could also possibly be built on a portion of the West Side site. Chin chairs the City Council’s Committee on Aging. “As the number of seniors grows, so does the demand for affordable housing units tailored to the needs of elderly New Yorkers living in every neighborhood in our city,” Chin said. “In 2012, the city designated this site for the development of affordable housing for seniors who desperately need it. These New Yorkers deserve to have that promise kept.” According to the R.F.P. for the Elizabeth St. Garden, which was drafted and released by H.P.D., any design must include 5,000 square feet of street-level open space — or roughly one-fifth of the lot — accessible to the public in order to be considered for the contract, or roughly a quarter of the lot. However, the Little Italy Special District basically already requires the same thing, garden supporters note. An H.P.D. spokesperson called the R.F.P. “dual-purpose” and said that a choice cannot be made in favor of either gardens or seniors, but for both. The spokesperson added that the city committed to using the site for affordable housing years before it was opened and used by the community. H.P.D. Commissioner Vicki Been said the R.F.P. “seeks to provide desperately needed affordable homes for our seniors while also establishing permanent open space at the heart of this historic neighborhood.” “The challenges we face in Soho and Little Italy, and across this city, demand that we make thoughtful choices and find creative solutions,” Been said. “This R.F.P. asks respondents to offer GARDEN continued on p. 23 TheVillager.com

POLICE BLOTTER Stairwell sex assault Cops said a young woman walking on Christopher St. late at night on Fri., Dec. 16, was sexually assaulted at knifepoint. According to police, around 11 p.m., a stranger grabbed the victim, 26, from behind, then took her down into a stairwell at 85 Christopher St. where he fi rst exposed himself, then sexually assaulted her. Police issued a “Level One” mobilization, in which all officers in the area are called on to search for the suspect, but no arrest was made. The investigation is ongoing. The woman was treated at an area hospital. Police did not have more information on the nature of the sexual assault. She was not robbed. The suspect is described as around 6 feet tall and in his 20s.

Houston Hall hurt Police said a bouncer at Houston Hall, at 222 W. Houston St., was injured Fri., Dec. 16, around 11:30 p.m., while escorting a patron out of the beer garden. The customer reportedly became irate, picked up a glass candle cup and flung it at the bouncer, striking his right hand and lacerating

it. The security guy would need multiple stitches to close the gash. When police arrived, the unruly reveler flailed his arms to resist arrest. Pedro Santana, 49, was charged with felony assault.

gun arrested the man, but not before the fellow reportedly kicked, punched and flared his arms in an effort to avoided being handcuffed. Montel Hooks, 19, was arrested for felony criminal possession of a weapon. It wasn’t immediately clear how police spotted the fi rearm.

A fare from heel No clean getaway Police said a man stole a lot of shampoo from the Ricky’s at 44 E. Eighth St. on Fri., Dec. 16, at 4:30 p.m. A store security guard told police that he saw a man remove Biosilk Silk Therapy shampoo from the shelves and place them in his bag. The employee tried to stop the shampoo swiper from leaving, but the alleged shoplifter resisted, and during the scuffle the employee’s hands and knuckles were lacerated. The man also allegedly damaged security towers in the store. Police arrested Andrew Acevedo, 44, for felony robbery.

A hack asked a woman to get out of his cab in front of 240 W. 14th St. early last Fri., Dec. 16, but she wouldn’t go, according to a report. The cabbie called police for help at 2:15 a.m., but the woman still refused to get out, plus then got violent. She reportedly struck a police officer with her high heel in his left knee, “causing redness, swelling, pain and discomfort.” As the officer tried to slap the cuffs on her, she flailed her arms and refused to put her hands behind her back. Rachel Libfraind, 23, was busted for felony assault.

On the case... Wild West 4th A man was packing a black .30caliber gun on the subway platform at Sixth Ave. and W. Fourth St. on Tues., Dec. 13, around 1 p.m., according to police. An officer who uncovered the

Carolyn Ratcliffe, chairperson of Community Board 3’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Subcommittee, posted on Facebook on Tues., Dec. 20, that she was exiting a cab at 4 a.m. at E. Ninth St. and Avenue B, and the driver was getting her stuff out of the

trunk, when a car zipped by very fast and the cabbie angrily swatted it with his hand. The other driver promptly hopped out and attacked the hack, then tried to take Ratcliffe’s suitcase and cell phone as she called 911. Amid the chaos, two passing opportunists snatched the East Village activist’s backpack, containing her laptop “and a ton of other stuff,” from the trunk. The perp pair must be local, Ratcliffe said, for they used her credit cards at NY Grill & Deli, at 208 Rivington St., two-and-a-half hours later, and Lot-Less Closeouts, on Clinton St., at 9 a.m., before later trying to purchase online from Walmart. They also used three of her credit cards within Lower Manhattan’s 10004 zip code to buy eight new monthly unlimited MetroCards at $117.50 a pop. “We obtained the video from Father Pat’s surveillance camera that shows the two culprits, a man and a woman,” Ratcliffe said. “The videos were sent to the detective on the case. She will obtain images of whoever used my credit cards from the M.T.A. Apple was sent a subpoena, so that if they go online on the computer, it can be tracked and the precinct notified immediately.” The duo are wanted for grand larceny.

Emily Siegel and Lincoln Anderson













300 Jay Street, Downtown Brooklyn facebook.com/citytech • @citytechnews


December 22, 2016


N.Y.U. prof.: Dems ran worst campaign in my life NADLER continued from p. 5

gone to court again and again,” she said. “So we’re used to this fight.” “One of most devastating things that will be coming...a long attempt that will probably succeed,” she predicted will be the so-called “defunding” of Planned Parenthood by cutting off its Medicaid funding, which will have a devastating impact on low-income women. “So that’s coming — the defunding of Planned Parenthood,” she stated. “And we will probably see Congress pass a ban on abortion after 20 weeks. This is a flat-up violation of Roe v. Wade, which says abortion must be available until viability...which is well after 20


December 22, 2016

weeks.” It’s extremely rare for women to get abortions after 20 weeks, she added. In dollars and cents, the targeting of Planned Parenthood will mean that about $500 million in annual Medicaid payments for low-income non-abortion services will be lost. These include the likes of STD testing, Pap smears and contraceptives — and also include men’s, as well as women’s, health. For her part, Lieberman of the A.C.L.U. said, in fiery remarks, that a Trump presidency will obviously be a trying time for civil liberties. “He is surrounding himself with people whose records on civil rights and human rights are a civil rights night-

mare,” she said. “Everybody who is not a white male citizen has reason to be afraid. Journalists and protesters have reason to be afraid.” Civil libertarians will have to stand up “against the hate” and in support of blacks, Latinos, immigrants, women and the L.G.B.T. community and protect the hard-fought victory of gay marriage. Equally important, she added, will be the need to “protect dissent.” “This guy wants to strip anybody who burns the flag of citizenship — brilliant,” she scoffed incredulously. Lieberman said public schools also must be protected and that we will need to protect ourselves against a “surveil-

lance society,” which she indicated would only get worse under Trump. And to preserve abortion rights here, she declared that Roe v Wade must be “f---ing codified in New York State!” After each speaker gave their individual remarks, there was a roundtable discussion, moderated by Julie Kashen, co-executive director of Make it Work, which was then followed by a Q&A with the audience. Nadler admitted that we won’t know exactly what things the Trump administration will do until January or February by the latest. “Are they really going to do these deportations?” he asked. “If they do, we’ll have to fight like cats and dogs.” Neuborne added, “We don’t have contested elections anymore,” referring to congressional races. Gerrymandering is a huge problem, he noted. Only 35 out of 400 seats are actually contested — the others are basically locked in. Nadler said making voter registration automatic would help boost voter turnout, and added, “We gotta do something about the Electoral College. It’s a relic of the 18th century.” However, to change it will take a two-thirds vote in the House, he noted, drawing laughs from the crowd at the futility of that idea. Neuborne advocated for the Democratic Party to create a “shadow cabinet,” as is done in England, sparking knowing applause. This entity would stake out positions and show an alternative path to the Republicans’ positions. Neuborne reiterated the idea that the economy really is the issue, adding that the bigger problem is not jobs going offshore but “mechanization and robotization” taking away people’s work. An elephant in the room was finally mentioned when the professor declared, “We ran, I think, the worst political campaign of my lifetime. The Democratic campaign was: ‘You can’t possibly elect this man.’ Then you’re trapped on his terms.” “Hillary won!” a woman cried out. Afterward, asked her thoughts on thee evening, Karen Mason, from Brooklyn, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, said, “I think it’s a start.” She said she liked Nadler’s idea of New Yorkers traveling to nearby states and trying to sway voters in contested congressional elections. However, veteran West Village activist and filmmaker Zack Winestine wasn’t so sure how people would feel about having “hordes of New Yorkers descending” and cajoling them on how to vote. On the other hand, he added, “I was intrigued by the idea of a shadow cabinet.” He said he was thinking about hooking up with local protesters at the upcoming inauguration in Washington, D.C.


C.B. 3, Mendez: Let us vet affordable co-op plan BY LESLEY SUSSMAN


ommunity Board 3 this week put on hold its approval of a plan by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to take more control of an affordable housing co-op program in effect since the 1970s that could increase real estate taxes and other costs to owners of these units. H.P.D. says its proposed changes to the program will maintain and preserve the long-term affordability of these coops, and that it is acting now because of longtime violations of standards that were established for the selling and renting of these units. Also withholding her support for H.P.D.’s proposed new regulations for the Housing Development Fund Corporation, or H.D.F.C., affordable housing units was City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who attended the Tuesday night meeting at P.S. 20, at 166 Essex St. Several of these buildings are located in her East Village district. The bulk of these income-restricted co-ops came into being after thousands of derelict buildings were seized by the city in the late ’70’s. The city began fixing up the buildings and then allowed tenants to buy apartments for nominal amounts — some as low as $250 — and turn them into low-income co-ops. Most of the buildings were concentrated on the Lower East Side, in Upper Manhattan, Brooklyn and the South Bronx. Both Mendez and the community board said there had been insufficient discussion about the plan with individuals affected by the proposed changes or with any community-based organizations, and that until this is done, the new proposed H.D.F.C. regulatory agreement will not get their support. “What H.P.D. is trying to do is a good idea,” Mendez offered. “They’re trying to keep all these units affordable for years to come. But the way they’re going about doing it is awful. No one knew about it. We need a lot more notice and information. The community must be given input.” Back in July, H.P.D. proposed changes to maintain and preserve the long-term affordability of these units and tighten their regulation. Among the changes the city agency wants to make is removing reduced real estate tax benefits and introducing an alternative tax-abatement plan, which, it says, would stem financial problems many of these buildings are experiencing. Co-op owners opposed to the replacement of the DAMP (Division of Alternative Management) tax-abatement program, however, say that the majority of these buildings have been operating without financial or other problems for decades, and that the tax benefits derived from participating in this program were promised to them by the city to continue until 2029. They argue that the TheVillager.com

In May, tenants of the H.D.F.C. at 37 Avenue B protested as the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union threw its 30th anniversar y celebration inside. The tenants charged the credit union has been seriously underpaying its rent, causing the H.D.F.C. to suffer.

new tax program will not be affordable and may force some of the low-income co-op owners to move. Co-op owners such as Eva Heinemann, who has lived at 534 E. 11th St. since 1980, told C.B. 3 board members, “I won’t be able to leave my apartment to my kid because I might have to move.” She added that when she and others moved into the 21-unit building, it was abandoned because the original owner failed to pay taxes on it. “We fixed it up and we were even able to put in an elevator by ourselves,” Heinemann said. “Now they want to remove our tax benefits and even make us pay for building monitors.” Lisa Ramaci, another resident of that building, recounted its condition when she and her group first moved in. “It was an abandoned tenement without running water, windows, heat, electricity, toilets, sinks, stoves and refrigerators,” she recalled. “Today, our building has all new plumbing, a new roof, new windows and even a little garden,” Ramaci said. “We paid to have the building professionally rewired, but everything else we did for ourselves, and we paid our own way the entire time. Now H.P.D. is demanding complete oversight of and the final word on literally every aspect of our lives as they relate to our building.” H.P.D., meanwhile, said it was proposing its changes because many H.D.F.C. co-op owners are violating regulations and standards originally set for this unique affordable housing co-op program, such as selling units at very high prices and making illegal sublets. The agency also said that some of these buildings could benefit from professional management and monitoring to ensure their ongoing viability. Ramaci urged local residents to attend a protest meeting on Tues., Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at Theater for the New City,

at 155 First Ave. In other local matters that were discussed at the final C.B. 3 board meeting for 2016, the board also approved the installation of a Jan Palach memorial in Peter Cooper Plaza as an example of The Cooper Union’s “efforts to benefit the local community through free public exhibitions of art and architecture.”

Palach was a Czech dissident whose self-immolation in protest of the Soviet invasion of 1968 served as a galvanizing force against the communist government in Czechoslovakia. Also at the full board meeting, a proposal was approved to support restrictions on amplified-sound permits in public parks within 50 feet of residential buildings during late evening or early morning hours on weekdays and weekends. Another issue discussed was the city’s plan to lower the fences around the Tompkins Square Park playgrounds. The Parks Department plans to lower the fences surrounding the park’s two playgrounds from 7 feet to 4 feet, claiming the current height encourages negative behavior by obscuring lines of sight into the play area. C.B. 3 and Councilmember Mendez have united in opposing the plan, arguing that the tall fences protect children using the playground from “vagrants” and drug paraphernalia, and that lowering them would leave children vulnerable to such threats. C.B. 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer told the board members and the audience, “Everyone loves the present fence, but the city wants to remove it and spend money on something opposite to what the community wants.”


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December 22, 2016


Blurred gender in focus in Christopher photos TRANS continued from p. 1

pher St., just around the corner from his home and studio, putting images of the transgender population onto film. Seliger has lived and worked on Charles St. since 1997, five years after he began his 10-year run as chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine. Things were always changing in his neighborhood, but he began to notice one thing in particular. “There was always this kind of theater around Christopher St. — working girls, all kinds of people early in the morning — and it was starting to disappear,” he said. Once he decided that he had the “chutzpah and ambition” to start approaching people in the street, he grabbed his Hasselblad, film and an assistant and began. “People said yes right off the bat,” he said. And as the project progressed, they rarely said no. “I think that a lot of the people had not been seen in their new identity, their chosen gender, and it was exciting for them,” he said. While the most visible transgender icons are male to female, about half of Seliger’s subjects have transitioned from female to male. “Trans guys are harder to spot,” he noted. “They are more subtle, more lowkey in terms of their transitioning.” Sometimes the subjects only gave him a minute. But others spent some time to pose and then explain their situation, and some were later interviewed for short videos. “Everybody was extremely articulate about who they were,” Seliger said. “It opened my eyes to understand the journey of trans people — it’s not an easy world. I picked up how difficult it was.” His subjects varied widely but all felt the gravitational pull of the famous Village street. “They ran the gamut of social and economic levels, from marginal to fairly affluent,” he said. “While many were locals, some were just visiting, making Christopher St. a kind of mecca. It’s like the Ellis Island of gender diversity.” Seliger came to New York from the suburbs of Texas, looking for the excitement and variety of a city that he sees as a “bunch of beautiful small towns.” His adopted town, the West Village, has seen a lot of change since he moved in. “I understand the gentrification,” he said, “but the West Village used to exist on so many levels. The diversity of art, religion, colors was a great part of New York. It hasn’t disappeared, but it’s diminished and I miss the authenticity. This neighborhood has changed dramatically in three years. Part of my message is to protect your neighborhood and keep it safe for everybody.” Another theme in the work is hones-


December 22, 2016


A female-to-male transgender man on Christopher St.

A transgender woman in the Village.

ty. Although it’s probably impossible to be objective when you make a portrait, he approached his subjects as straightforwardly as he could. “The honesty of the images was a serious aspect,” he said. “These people are honest with themselves and the people around them. After 28 years of taking pictures, I was able to take everything I had learned and put it into this project.” The resulting images are direct and nonjudgmental, due to the photographer’s openness and general philosophy. “Humanity is humanity,” he stated, “and photography is a paintbrush that allows you to capture a period of time. I’m not writing what the story is. I’m just documenting the time. You look at the pictures and draw your own conclusions.”

A transgender man, left, with a transgender woman, right.

“On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories” runs through Jan. 7 at 231 Projects Gallery, 231 Tenth Ave. The book of the same name is also available. Seliger has an upcoming show in Los Angeles at Von Lintel Gallery, 2685 La Cienega Blvd, from Jan. 14 to Feb. 25. For more information, visit markseliger.com . TheVillager.com

Miracle on Astor as ‘Mosaic Man’ poles restored BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


riends and supporters of street artist Jim Power gathered on Astor Place on a chilly afternoon earlier this month for the unveiling of the reinstallation of some of the “Mosaic Man”’s most high-profile light poles. The city initially pulled these poles off the street for the Astor Place / Cooper Square renovation job, a major, multimillion-dollar project that only recently wrapped up. After some wrangling and negotiating, it was agreed that Power would fix up seven of the tile-and-glassbead-encrusted poles. Financing came from City Councilmember Rosie Mendez and the Village Alliance business improvement district, who both gave $9,000, plus $5,000 via generosity.com, a crowdfunding site. A few of the poles, which are nonfunctional, still need some final touches. Power, 69, was born in Ireland, grew up in Queens and served in Vietnam. He has called the East Village home since 1981. His work as a stonemason led him to start doing local guerilla tile jobs. One of his first public works was repairing a pothole on the Astor Place subway island. He filed it with cement and tile shards. He also created imposing concrete treepit guards on St. Mark’s Place between Second and Third Aves., but the Fire Department deemed them too tall and demolished them. Yet, people encouragingly told him, “Go up! Go up!” and soon he was embarked on creating his 80-lightpole “Mosaic Trail.” It’s been a 35-year journey, with many ups and downs. “We’re an acclaimed neighborhood,” Power said of the East Village and his poles’ role in celebrating it. “This neighborhood has retained that bubble for 200 years, since Day One.” The artist is not shy about promoting his own work. “ ‘The Cube’ is — call it what you will — it’s iconic,” he conceded. “But ‘The Cube’ didn’t make this neighborhood. My work made this neighborhood. I like to say I’m the longest-running show Off Broadway.” For a number of years now, though, Power has been in rough shape physically. He can barely move his painful hips, and needs a double hip replacement. For the past few years, he has gotten around on a tile-encrusted electric scooter. A godsend to him on this latest project was local artist Julie Powell, who helped him renovate the poles and also kept him focused when the work hit rough patches and felt like it would never get finished. They toiled on the quirky street structures in the Sixth St. Community Center’s backyard, with only a tarp overhead to shield them from the broiling sun. Amid the pressure and the summer swelter, there were a few “Mosaic” meltdowns. The virtually disabled



What a team! Jim Power and Julie Powell in front of one of Power’s restored lampposts on A stor Place at the unveiling ceremony earlier this month. Power said Powell, the daughter of a Marine, used tough love to keep him going during rough patches. Powell said she had long admired Power’s lampposts and always wanted to work with him.

Power praised Powell for helping set him up with a foam pad under his knees and with his tools laid out nearby, which enabled him to do the work. Powell, who formerly worked at Home Depot as a manager, even got the chain to fix up Power’s apartment at The Lee supportive housing on E. Houston St. under a free program it offers for veterans. Whereas everything formerly was jumbled together, they created a clearly defined workspace and a separate living space in Power’s apartment. “We are thrilled to reach the culmination of three years of work on this project,” said William Kelley, executive director of the Village Alliance, which secured approval from the city to restore the Mosaic poles. “Jim’s works of art are integral to the neighborhood’s character and history, and now will be a part of Astor Place in perpetuity.” In her remarks, Councilmember Mendez said, “Jim, thank you. I know this took longer and more time and you put your heart and soul into it again to make them more beautiful. This really goes back to what is the character of community. And Jim, you have been part of this community and you have enhanced its character and its history.” Bob Holman of the Bowery Poetry Club was also among the speakers before Power led a tour of the poles. In 2007, he and Power co-taught a class about public art. “He was the project,” Holman said. “He took the class on a tour of his work. We got to know what it’s like to be an artist with no support.” Steve Zeitlin, director of City Lore, the New York City “cultural heritage /

folk-life nonprofit,” helped Power secure the workspace at the community center, allowing the lampposts to be returned

from a city storage facility in Queens. “Today, the poles, which prior to the renovation were often only partially finished, are complete and standing proudly, not as tiled lampposts but as totems,” Zeitlin declared. “The Directional Pole, which marks the directions to the adjoining neighborhoods; The Astor Pole, which tells the history of Astor Place and the nearby Public Theater; The Fire Pole, honoring the firefighters and first responders of Sept. 11; the Police Pole, with its new addition honoring the Ninth Precinct and the fallen officers; the Presidents’ Pole, honoring Presidents who spoke at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, including Lincoln; and the Art Pole, honoring artists from the East Village.” Zeitlin noted, however, that the project got off to a rocky start. “When Jim heard that the poles were going to be restored, he started destroying them,” he recalled. “He didn’t trust it,” chimed in Holman, adding, “He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.” Basically, Power had been concerned that someone else — not him — was going to do the renovation work. Also helping Power with the project was Clayton Patterson, the Lower East Side documentarian, who has covered the “Mosaic Man”’s doings over the years. MOSAIC continued on p. 23

The Christmas Season at St. Luke’s





5:00 pm — Christmas Pageant & Eucharist 9:30 pm — Prelude of Christmas Music 10:00 pm — Festive Choral Eucharist



8:00 am — Said Eucharist 10:30 am — Choral Eucharist* *Child care available for children under age 6; all children are welcome with us in worship.

The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields | 487 Hudson Street West Village (Corner of Grove and Hudson) New York, NY 10014 www.stlukeinthefields.org | 212.924.0562

December 22, 2016


News, arts,politics, police, opinion and more... It’s all in the Villager

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

June 16, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 24





Critics blast landmark bill as ‘anti-preservation’; Say ‘loophole’ offers little hope BY YANNIC R ACK


contentious bill that will put deadlines on the city’s preservation agency to designate landmarks within two years was passed by the City Council last week. There was heavy opposition from preservationists and even initial disapproval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission itself — but the measure might be moot due

to a loophole, according to its chief critics. The legislation, Intro 775A, mandates that L.P.C. vote within one year to designate proposed individual landmarks, and take no longer than two years to vote on proposed historic districts — limits that the bill’s opponents charge could lead to the loss of countless potential landmarks.

BY MICHAEL OSSORGUINE he Omnibus Child Victims Act, or Senate Bill S6367, is the latest effort from state Democrats to reform the statute of limitations on victims of child sexual abuse. The bill, though still in committee, has momentum in the Senate as victims are stepping forward

and Senate Democrats are arguing against entrenched opposition. State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced the Senate version of the bill with several co-sponsors, including Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Democratic Conference.

‘We shall overcome’: Vigils draw thousands to Village BY PAUL SCHINDLER


ABUSE continued on p. 14

n two vigils in the West Village on Sunday evening, one crowd numbering in the thousands, another in the hundreds voiced shock, grief, and anger over the murder of 50 patrons of an Orlando, Florida, gay bar in the early morning hours of the same day. Speaker after speaker emphasized that the violence cannot be isolated from a climate of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred that continues to persist across the nation, but also pledged to continue building community to respond to hostility and bigotry where it exists.

At the same time, both crowds rejected the notion that hate is an appropriate response to the violence and speciďŹ cally called out efforts to pit the L.G.B.T. community against the Muslim community over a tragedy in which the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, is reported to have phoned 911 just prior to the massacre and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation New York, took the lead in organizing a rally outside the Stonewall Inn that drew several thousand people. “We come together because this is a community that will

never be silent again,� he said. “I ask every person to think of someone you knew who was killed because of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred. Think of a time when you felt unsafe in your own community. And I want every single one of you to think not of what anyone else, not of what I, but of what you can do to change that.� Kidd said the L.G.B.T. community should draw strength from the 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub who were killed. “We must go forward in love,� he said. Mirna Haidar, a representaVIGILS continued on p. 5


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


Squadron slams Senate for refusing to consider the Elevator Safety Act BY YANNIC RACK


enants and politicians joined in calling on state legislators to       prove regulation and licens   %        &'     crushed to death in an elevator on New Year’s Eve. ( )* 

     * +  !,!* ( / 

 /    0 ,! When the elevator got   ) Brown reportedly helped oth      

To The Editor: Re “Close encounters of N.Y.U. Kind: Massive Mercer design revealed� (news article, Dec. 15): Neither Quinn nor Chin nor de Blasio — nor all the others who said Yes to this somewhat vulgar insult to our community — acted to help this Village community. We shall be drowned in the shadows of this behemoth for many years to come.

he term “scrappy New Yorkers� is taking on added meaning at a spot on the Lower West Side where local resi                        


grounds.       gram to encourage residents to separate out their organic                 at Spring St. and Sixth Ave.         !!   "#$-


Fans bid Bowie farewell, good luck amid the stars BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

COMPOST continued on p. 12

Grey Art Gallery goes global........page 21


lison Dalton was walking down La (     1        0%* 2  3     

     42    53 (26    

      * 2 !78,  4)        6 The superstar singer died

early Sunday in London at age 97    !   with liver cancer. Along with      :  had lived at the Soho address  !777 Asked what Bowie meant     0  '7  4)     was going through.â&#x20AC;? (              ed cards with â&#x20AC;&#x153;Aladdin Saneâ&#x20AC;?         (   40% ;%6  %      < Stardust and the Thin White

0           4     %     6         4; %    %  =                 :      >  % 6 (      came to pay their respects         &';(* 2      +  ever-changing stage perso %     BOWIE continued on p. 6

Ex-chef dies in skateboard accident...........page 8 Are kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; playdates really for parents?......page 14

Barbara Cahn Cahn is vice chairperson, LaGuardia Corner Gardens

Song of Solomon To The Editor: Re â&#x20AC;&#x153;Catches Academyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eyeâ&#x20AC;? (Scoopyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Notebook, Dec. 15): Kudos to Jim Solomon, one of the most talented and gracious human beings ever. K Webster

Good riddance, T.P.P.

To The Editor: Re â&#x20AC;&#x153;Keep hive alive! Gardeners stuck on saving beesâ&#x20AC;? (news article, Dec. 15): Thanks for the honey harvest article. I think Tequila Minsky did such a great job. She spent the whole sweet sticky day with us. What a great human-interest story. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what makes the Village â&#x20AC;&#x201D; our great diversity. The gardeners are delighted. Who doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t look good in a bee veil? Sara Jones Jones is chairperson, LaGuardia Corner Gardens

Melani Tankel Tankel is founder, Plant Your Base

Generating some buzz!

Tequila is the beeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s knees A photo of David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust period amid votive candles and flowers at the memorial in front of his Soho building.

really appreciate The Villagerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coverage of our garden, especially with the N.Y.U. expansion threatening our continued existence. After 35 years, we feel the city should recognize the value of our community garden to our neighborhood and grant it permanent protection. Thanks again for your support!

To The Editor: I applaud President Obamaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s administration for abandoning a lame-duck vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The T.P.P. challenges our domestic food safety and environmental laws by allowing corporations to attack U.S. standards as â&#x20AC;&#x153;barriers to trade.â&#x20AC;? Further, the T.P.P. would overwhelm already-overtaxed border inspectors, increasing the potential for unsafe food to enter our country. Thanks to a robust grassroots campaign, we stopped the T.P.P. this year. I strongly urge the new administration to reject the T.P.P. and any T.P.P.-like deals in the future. We must stay vigilant, especially under Trumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s regime, to ensure that future trade policy puts people before profits.

ELEVATOR continued on p. 10

Composting comes to Spring St., twice a week BY TEQUILA MINSKY AND LINCOLN ANDERSON


Drowned in shadows...


January 14, 2016 â&#x20AC;˘ $1.00 Volume 86 â&#x20AC;˘ Number 2


Judith Chazen Walsh

Thousands of points of light: Monday nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vigil stretched along Christopher St. from Waverly Place to Seventh Ave. South.

Here comes the sun energy...p. 18


To The Editor: Re â&#x20AC;&#x153;Close encounters of N.Y.U. Kind: Massive Mercer design revealedâ&#x20AC;? (news article, Dec. 15): I do agree a crane is needed â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to take another load away! There is no reason in this world or any other â&#x20AC;&#x201D; except maybe the Violet Vanity World â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to have conceived and now carry out this demolition derby. Thanks again, Quinn and Chin and all the others who said Yes when we said No.

LANDMARKS continued on p. 12

Graffiti artist tags Haring group in lawsuit ...... p. 16 Remembering Ramrod rampage of 1980.........p. 21


N.Y.U.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Violet Vanityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

Sylvia Rackow

Hoylman pushes Albany to pass child sex-abuse reform, but Senate stalls



To The Editor: Re â&#x20AC;&#x153;Keep hive alive! Gardeners stuck on saving beesâ&#x20AC;? (news article, Dec. 15): Thanks for a wonderful article. We all think Tequila did a great job covering the honey harvest. We

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To subscribe, call 646-452-2475 or email: news@thevillager.com


December 22, 2016


The electors betrayed us... Now we’re on our own



s I write, the Electoral College vote is in, and the results are grimly unsurprising. Despite pressure to dump Trump in the interests of preserving democracy, only six electors nationwide went “faithless.” In Texas, two Republican electors dropped Trump — one for Ohio Governor John Kasich, one for Ron Paul. Another resigned rather than vote Trump. Ironically, more Democratic electors dumped Hillary. In Washington State, four dropped Clinton in a moral appeal to Republican electors. They cast votes for Colin Powell and Faith Spotted Eagle, a Yankton Sioux tribal leader standing against the Keystone XL pipeline We are on our own now. The system’s last-resort safeguard against tyranny has failed. It was never more than a shadow of a chance. The cruelty is that the most reactionary aspects of the Electoral College seem unassailable, while its potential for use in the public interest appears exhausted. The group that emerged to advocate for the Electoral College revolt was called “Hamilton Electors.” But New York’s Alexander Hamilton, representative of the North’s urban moneyed elite, accepted the Electoral College as a compromise with the South’s slave-holding aristocracy. For Hamilton, the Electoral College was a break on assumption of power by a demagogue. For the slavocrats, it served to amplify the power of their rural states with small numbers of voters. (Blacks, even free ones, did not vote, of course.) Today, the electors are incapable of meeting their responsibility to keep an actual fascist our of office. Yet, the Electoral College continues to amplify the votes of the most conservative, least diverse states — making possible the fascist’s election. Yet, having raised this demand on the Electoral College gives progressives a moral authority to deny Trump’s legitimacy as president. We gave the last constitutional mechanism its full due. It succumbed, and we now face the prospect of a president with open contempt for fundamental constitutional rights. The American Civil Liberties Union in its full-page open letter to Trump in The New York Times last month named his pledges of mass deportations, barring Muslims entry to the TheVillager.com


Looking for solutions: Some of the thousands of post-its on the postelection “Subway Therapy” wall in the Union Square station. NYC Transit recently ordered that the stick y notes had to go, and several thousand were collected by the New-York Historical Societ y for its collection.

country and targeting those already here for surveillance. “These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed,” the A.C.L.U. wrote. “They are unlawful and unconstitutional, and would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution... .” The A.C.L.U. merely pledges to be “vigilant” every day Trump is in office, and that’s their job. But must we, even now, accept his inauguration as inevitable? Look at what just happened in South Korea... . Weeks of relentless, massive demonstrations finally brought about the impeachment of President Park Geun-Hye on Dec. 9. Protesters continue to fill the streets, demanding she step down. Since October, hundreds of thousands across the country have repeatedly mobilized. Days before the impeachment, some 1.7 million filled downtown Seoul — in a country with a population of only 50 million. Despite scattered street clashes, the tone of the protests has been overwhelmingly peaceful, even joyous. University professors have played a leading role. The marches coincided with strikes by public-sector workers, with hospitals and transport heavily affected. The impeachment is a victory for transparency; Park is accused of conniving with a crony for illicit enrichment through abuse of government

After massive demonstrations, South Korea’s Park Geun-Hye was impeached.

power. Contrast the situation in the United States. In the initial shock after Trump’s election, there were around two weeks of near-daily protests in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities. Then “normalization” set in. Perhaps the false hope that the Electoral College would save us encouraged quietism —although continued street heat conceivably could have swayed a few more electors. Will exhaustion of the last constitutional safeguard reinvigorate protests? Can we possibly regain the momentum — and dare to aspire to the degree of commitment demonstrated by the Koreans? That — demonstrably

— is what it takes to get the goods. We now have a month until the inauguration. Can we use this critical window to mobilize to prevent an actual fascist from taking office? This evening, as the electoral votes came in, a meeting was held at The Cooper Union to announce the launching of such an effort, under the slogan “We refuse to accept a fascist America.” The initiative calls for “tens of millions” to take the streets to declare the Trump regime “illegitimate” and demand that it “not be allowed to rule.” Journalist Jeremy Scahill was the big draw, and initiators of the call include columnist Herb Boyd, veteran activist Bill Ayers and author Cornel West. But I was disturbed by the obvious heavy hand at the affair of the cultish sect known as the Revolutionary Communist Party. And if they don’t want to be called cultish, they can stop displaying the name and image of their “chairman” Bob Avakian on their literature tables with the same avidness that our president-elect displays his own on the side of luxury hotels. The position of the left has been problematic in this dilemma. The same Scahill has just signed onto a separate statement demanding that the C.I.A. “show us the proof” that Russia meddled in the election. And indeed, the C.I.A.’s evidence hopefully will be made public in the upcoming congressional hearings. But the left’s denialism about Putin’s connivance with Trump is mysterious and makes it complicit with the looming fascist takeover. The talk of “McCarthyism” is absurd. There is nothing remotely communist about Russia’s current strongman — he is far closer to fascism. And he is conniving with America’s extreme right. This Cold War-nostalgist Russophilia is all the more perverse in light of the other horrific development that has kept me in the streets over the past frigid days: the destruction of Aleppo by Putin’s warplanes. A big contingent of high school kids were among some 200 who came out in solidarity with Aleppo in Washington Square on Dec. 16. Too many “leftist” mouthpieces are echoing Putin’s propaganda that the city was “liberated” from “terrorists.” Still, those high school kids gave me a much-needed shot of hope. Maybe — just maybe — there’s a new generation of youth coming up that can meet the challenge of defeating the Trump-Putin fascist agenda. Tomorrow night, Tues., Dec. 20, there is a Trump Resistance Town Hall happening at the L.G.B.T. Community Center on W. 13th St. If it is interesting, I will report back. Watch this space — and go create resistance. The countdown to fascism is on. December 22, 2016


‘Depressing’ W. 9th shed still hanging around BY AMY RUSSO


hile many are drawing up holiday wish lists this season, W. Ninth St. residents are wishing for the end of a sidewalk shed that has irked locals for more than a decade. According to John Zaccaro, Jr., president of the W. Ninth St. Block Association, the shed at 26 W. Ninth St. has existed for 14 years and is only one of several that have been present in the neighborhood. “It detracts from the light and air on the block, obviously,” he said. “It’s really rather depressing.” Zaccaro explained that the shed has covered some apartment windows for years while diminishing the appearance of the apartment building and Christmas decorations. He also noted that the shed has been used as a makeshift shelter for the homeless sleeping on the sidewalk. “There’s gotta be some kind of equitable resolution because everyone agrees that 14 years is too long,” he said. Locals are searching for a fix for the neighborhood eyesore, but it won’t be fast. Erik Bottcher, chief of staff to Councilmember Corey Johnson, said that the shed has been up and down for a variety of projects.


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December 22, 2016


There has been a protective sidewalk shed in front of 26 W. Ninth St. for more than a dozen years, according to neighbors.

“We’ve been asking how we can help move things along because what they’re waiting on is Landmarks Preservation approval,” he explained. The windows in the front of the building are being replaced. However, they cannot be installed without the approval of the frames, which first requires a test window to be installed for assessment. Once it has been approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, the remaining windows can be ordered and installed. Bottcher said because of winter weather conditions, it is unlikely the work will be completed before spring. In addition to the window replacement, brickwork on the side of the building must be repaired, which requires approval from the neighboring building. Once the work is approved, outdoor temperatures must be above 45 degrees for three to four consecutive days in order for the project to start — a condition that most New Yorkers would consider improbable in December. Despite the delays, Bottcher affirmed, “We’re on track to help them get these things done.” Locals believe the solution may lie in recently proposed legislation to limit the lifespan of sidewalk sheds

to six months. The bill, introduced by Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the East Side’s District 5, would allow an initial three months of work to be done with a shed in place, then would permit landlords to apply for three more months, if needed. If the shed remained past the six-month mark, the city could take over any work being done and remove the shed. Regarding Councilmember Johnson’s position on the bill, Zaccaro remarked, “He said he is in support of that. I think they’re looking into this as a resolution.” Graham Coleman, former president of the 35 W. Ninth St. co-op board, has been in contact with Johnson’s office and hopes to see the bill passed. “I welcome the current City Council measure as a necessary and longoverdue bookend to the enactment of Local Law 11 so many years ago,” he said in a statement, referring to the existing law to safeguard building facades and pedestrians. Bottcher said the councilmember is working alongside legislative staff to review the proposed actions. “He’s supportive of efforts to address this issue,” he said. TheVillager.com

Stories sung from the subterranean realm The dynamic cacophony of restless New Yorkers, rendered a cappella BY DAVID KENNERLEY “In Transit” bills itself as “Broadway’s first a cappella musical,” destined to “make history.” Indeed, under the guidance of director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall, the skillful cast delivers terrific renditions of jazzy pop tunes and power ballads with nary a woodwind, string, or drum. Instead, the ensemble, alternately led by beatbox masters Steven “HeaveN” Cantor and Chesney Snow (the role is so taxing they alternate shows), provides the musical accompaniment along with the singing. Not to mention all manner of wild, percussive beats and sound effects; every sound is produced by a human voice. And what better setting to showcase this art form than the New York subway system, where the polyrhythms of the city and its restless denizens often converge to create a glorious symphony? In this subterranean realm, a steady stream of yearning, alienated humanity is bent on getting from point A to point B. But what about the journey? For skeptics wondering whether a Broadway tuner can float without the aid of an orchestra, “In Transit” firmly whisks any doubts aside. Deke Sharon (“Pitch Perfect”) is the vocal arranger. It may also be the first musical in which the book, music, and lyrics together are credited to four creators: Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Oscar winner for “Frozen”), James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan, and Sara Wordsworth. Yet this too-many-cooks approach may explain the disjointed book and awkward tone. Is this a savvy, gritty, slice-of-life urban drama or a frothy, Disneyesque comic fairy tale? Is it a love letter to New Yorkers or an infomercial for the MTA? Like those frantic subway riders in transit, it’s neither here nor there. One moment, the sassy token booth clerk (or whatever they call them nowadays) inexplicably struts down a runway wearing a gown made of yellow MetroCards, and the audience squeals with delight. Later, a sketchy guy urinates on the subway platform, and the audience squirms. “In Transit” attempts to quash stereoTheVillager.com

Photo by Joan Marcus

The company of “In Transit.”

types, but there’s just no avoiding them in such multi-character endeavors (a cast of 11 plays more than 40 roles, if you count train announcers). First we meet Jane (a highly appealing Margo Seibert), an aspiring actress hoping for her big break, marking time as an office temp. Then there’s the good-looking former Wall Street whiz (James Snyder) now down on his luck, who becomes smitten with Jane. There’s also Ali (Erin Mackey), reeling from her breakup with Dave (David Abeles), who has since moved on. Then there’s the stylish gay couple, recently engaged and working on communication issues. Trent (an exceptional Justin Guarini, of “American Idol” fame) is still closeted with respect to his family, while his partner, Steven (Telly Leung, from “Glee”), threatens to call off the wedding if he won’t come out to his Christian-right mom. Trent refers to Steven as his roommate. The show dutifully checks off the all-too-familiar tropes of underground travel in New York: sardine-packed Photo by Joan Marcus

L to R: Justin Guarini and Telly Leung, as a recently engaged gay couple.

IN TRANSIT continued on p. 17 December 22, 2016


We need a little New Year’s NOW Entertaining notions for the first day of 2017 BY SCOTT STIFFLER Only the invention of a time machine at some point before that big ball drops in Times Square could save 2016 from being a fever dream disaster for everyone from staunch opponents of populist politicians to David Bowie fans. So, barring the rewriting of history (which we won’t realize has happened, if it happens), the only viable choice is to start next year off on the right foot. Here are three promising 01/01/2017 events that will stack the deck in your favor. Our president-elect may have the vocabulary of an average tween or a gifted toddler, but it’s the command of language deployed by others that always seems to get under his skin — and it doesn’t take much. A few wellcomposed words can conjure images and convey ideas that have the power to change minds, spark movements, and humble the mighty. With that in mind, the end of a widely panned 2016 and the looming spectre of uncharted waters ahead makes this 11-hour event all the more urgent. “An avenging engine of resistance and eager vehicle of the nascent year” is what The Poetry Project describes as the enduring aesthetic of its 43rd Annual New Year’s Marathon Reading — an “untamed gathering of the heart’s secret, wild nobility” featuring 150 new and emerging poets, performance artists, dancers, and musicians. Among the participants: 75 Dollar Bill, Ariel Goldberg, Che Gossett, Cheryl Clarke, Chia-Lun Chang, Edwin Torres, Holly Melgard, Justin Vivian Bond, Nina Puro, Penny Arcade, Rachel Trachtenburg, Reno, Steve Cannon, Steven Taylor & Douglas Dunn, Tammy Faye Starlight, Ted Dodson, The Double Yews, Thurston Moore, Unusual Squirrel, Wo Chan, Yvonne Rainer, and Anne Waldman (who founded the Marathon and will be feted at an April 27 gala). Part of the Project’s ongoing celebration of having hit the half-century mark, this installment of the Marathon has the additional distinction of serving as a benefit for, and launch of, a campaign to fund an expanded web presence and the live streaming of events throughout the coming year. “From the beginning, The Poetry Project has been the premier venue for poets in New York — a vital hub of fresh, innovative work,” said Executive


December 22, 2016

Photo by Jody Somers

Zalmen Mlotek will conduct “Light Up The Night,” presented by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Courtesy Merchant’s House Museum

Come calling at Merchant’s House Museum, for an afternoon of 19th century New Year’s customs.

Director Stacy Szymaszek. “Now we want to take the Project global and create a virtual community of poets and audiences who share our passion for bold new work.” Sun., Jan. 1, 3pm–2am, in the sanctuary of St. Mark’s Church (131 E. 10th St., at Second Ave.). Wheelchair accessible with assistance and advance notice. For tickets ($20 in advance), the full Marathon lineup and info on ongoing events, visit poetryproject.org or call 212-574-0910. At the door, admission

is $25; $20 for students/seniors/Project members. If the lack of civility in what passes for public discourse has knocked the wind out of you over the past year, spend the first day of 2017 by immersing yourself in the refreshingly polite customs of very old school New York City. Taking place inside Manhattan’s most stunning example of mid-19th century architecture, furnishings, clothing, and everyday wares, “Come Calling on New Year’s Day” invites you to knock on the door of Merchant’s House

Museum and be welcomed inside, in a recreation of how friends and family would arrive at the Tredwell home, come Jan. 1, for a spirited celebration. There will be period-appropriate punch and confectionary, and tours of the house — which is decked out, through Jan. 9, as part of the “Christmas Comes to Old New York” exhibit that links the holiday traditions of the Tredwells to our own (tabletop Christmas trees, for example). By the time those decorations come down, winter will have become the guest who just won’t leave. To that end, a new exhibit opens on Jan. 19. “How the Tredwells Bundled Up” presents a treasure trove of rarely seen objects used during the chilly months. Nineteenth century inside temps were a far cry from our standard of 68 degrees; ink froze in wells, wash bowl water iced over, and people generally did whatever they could to keep warm — which is where foot stoves, quilts, and hand-knit joint warmers came into play. Tickets to the Sun., Jan. 1, 2–5pm “Come Calling” event are $20, $10 for Museum members. Merchant’s House Museum is located at 29 E. Fourth St. (btw. Bowery & Lafayette). Regular NEW YEAR’S continued on p. 17 TheVillager.com

IN TRANSIT continued from p. 15

cars, unexplained delays, nasty smells, homeless people, garbled PA announcements, Dr. Zizmor posters, manspreading, and so on. It helps that the production is staged in the relatively small, proscenium-free Circle in the Square Theatre, increasing the intimacy that matches the a cappella sensibility. Donyale Werle’s set is a dead ringer for an MTA subway station and features an ingenious conveyor belt running down the length of the stage, replicating the forward motion of a subway train. The wispy story threads don’t carry much weight, and you can see major plot resolutions from several train stops away. The “together but alone” theme is driven home with a sledgehammer, while the message of learning to be “happy in the moment” is nothing we haven’t heard before. Despite the bumps, “In Transit” is a fun ride if you focus on the wonders of the a cappella sound effects, music, and lyrics. Jane’s song about temping until landing a plum acting gig is particularly catchy: “I do what I don’t really do, so I can do what I do,” she croons, with a dash of self-deprecation. Also a hoot is the number “Four Days Home,” sung while Trent and Steven are

Photo by Joan Marcus

Margo Seibert, center, in Broadway’s first a cappella musical, “In Transit.”

visiting Trent’s hometown, deep in the red state of Texas. “We’re in separate rooms. The frustration starts to pile up. All our porn is on the cloud and it won’t

NEW YEAR’S continued from p. 16

hours: Fri.–Mon., 12–5pm; Thurs., 12–8pm. Regular admission is $13, $8 for students/seniors. Visit merchantshouse.org or call 212-777-1089. Hot on the heels of their comedic crash course in language and culture (Dec. 25’s “Kids & Yiddish” sketch and song revue), The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) returns to the Museum of Jewish Heritage with “Light Up The Night.” Backed by a 16-piece orchestra, this high-spirited end product of meticulous research and loving restoration celebrates music from the Golden Age of Yiddish Theater. Ellstein, Goldfaden, Olshanetsky, Rumshinsky, and Secunda are among the featured composers you either already know or will appreciate upon discovery. Zalmen Mlotek conducts this theatrical concert, which also functions as a reunion: Much of the cast is comprised of performers from NYTF’s 2015-16 production of “The Golden Bride,” a 1923 operetta that inspired a new wave of NYTF programming dedicated to presenting concerts of Yiddish Theater masterpieces. “Light Up The Night” marks the premiere effort of this global TheVillager.com

Photo by Ted Roeder

Jim Behrle, in Gumby costume, with Poetry Project Marathon Reading founder Anne Waldman.

initiative — all the more reason to go, and know that you where there when it all began! Sun., Jan. 1, at 2pm. In Yiddish with projected supertitles. In Edmond J. Safra Hall, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (mjhnyc.org; 36 Battery Pl., at West St. & First Pl.). Tickets are $30, $20 for Museum or NYTF members. To order, call 212-213-2120 x230 (group sales, x204) or visit nytf.org.

come through on dial-up!” At the Circle in the Square Theatre (235 W. 50th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Runtime: 1hr., 40 mins.,

no intermission. Tickets: $89–$159. Performance times vary; visit intransitbroadway.com for tickets and more info.

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TO: Unknown Distributees Attorney General of the State of New York Isabel Peters, a/k/a Isabella Peters Dolores Matthews David â&#x20AC;&#x153;Doeâ&#x20AC;? Robert â&#x20AC;&#x153;Doeâ&#x20AC;? To Isabel Peters, a/k/a Isabella Peters, Dolores Matthews, David â&#x20AC;&#x153;Doeâ&#x20AC;? and Robert â&#x20AC;&#x153;Doeâ&#x20AC;?, being the alleged siblings of Bessie Mullings, a/k/a Bessie C. Mullings, whose whereabouts are unknown, if living, and if they died subsequent to the decedent herein, to their executors, administrators, legatees, devisees, assignees and successors in interest whose names and places of residence are unknown; and to the heirs at law, next of kin and distributees of Bessie Mullings, a/k/a Bessie C. Mullings, the decedent herein, if living and if any of them be dead, to their heirs at law, next of kin, distributees, legatees, executors, administrators, assignees and successors in interest whose names and places of residence are unknown and cannot, after diligent inquiry, be ascertained by the petitioner herein; being the persons interested as creditors, legatees, devisees, beneficiaries, distributees, or otherwise in the estate of Bessie Mullings, a/k/a Bessie C. Mullings, deceased, who at the time of her death was resident of 66 Saint Nicholas Place, New York, New York 10032. A petition having been duly filed by the Public Administrator of the County of New York, who maintains an office at 31 Chambers Street, Room 311, New York, New York 10007. YOU ARE HEREBY CITED TO SHOW CAUSE before the New York County Surrogateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Court at 31 Chambers Street, New York, New York, on January 31, 2017 at 9:30 A.M. in Room 503, why the following relief stated in the account of proceedings, a copy of the summary statement thereof being attached hereto, of the Public Administrator of the County of New York as administrator of the goods, chattels and credits of said deceased, should not be granted: (i) that her account be judicially settled; (ii) that the Surrogate approve the reasonable amount of compensation as reported in Schedules C and C-1 of the account of proceedings to the attorney for the petitioner for legal services rendered to the petitioner herein; (iii) that a hearing be held to determine the identity of the distributees at which time proof pursuant to SCPA Section 2225 may be presented, or in the alternative, that the balance of the funds due to the decedentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s distributees be deposited with the Commissioner of Finance of the City of New York for the benefit of the decedentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unknown distributees; (iv) that the persons above mentioned and all necessary and proper persons be cited to show causes why such relief should not be granted; (v) that an order be granted pursuant to SCPA Section 307 where required or directed; and (vi) for such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper. Dated, Attested and Sealed. December 8th, 2016, (Seal) Hon. Nora S. Anderson, Surrogate. Diana Sanabria, Chief Clerk. Schram Graber & Opell P.C. Counsel to the Public Administrator, New York County 11 Park Place, Suite 615 New York, NY 10007 (212) 896-3310 Note: This citation is served upon you as required by law. You are not required to appear. If you fail to appear it will be assumed that you do not object to the relief requested. You have the right to have an attorney-at-law appear for you and you or your attorney may request a copy of the full account from the petitioner or petitionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attorney. Vil: 12/15 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 01/05/2017


December 22, 2016



December 22, 2016


Tavo serves up eclectic Latin fare



e West Villagers used to have a rule of thumb: If you see a forlorn, anonymous, unimproved building, assume it’s a Gottlieb property. Bill Gottlieb, the eccentric local landlord, was more of a collector of buildings than a developer of them. Gottlieb died 17 years ago and his company is now run by more ambitious relatives. These days if you want to spot a Gottlieb property, look for a building you never paid much attention to before undergoing a major spiffi ng up, with a brand-new high-end tenant setting up shop at street level. I happened to be biking down Hudson St. a while back and — bingo — construction workers were coming out of the long-shuttered Sung Chu Mei, the popular Chinese restaurant that closed years ago, its peeling wood facade growing ever more pitiful. It had Gottlieb written all over it. A couple of days later, I arranged to have coffee with Francisco Decrescenzo, the very young and very confident creator and partner — along with his father and the chef — of Tavo, the eclectic pan-Latin restaurant that opened this week. Decrescenzo, who grew up in Monterrey, Mexico, graduated last spring from N.Y.U. Stern School of Business raring to go with a wellformulated business plan. “Since I was a kid, I wanted to do this,” he said. Though no one in his family is in the restaurant business or even thinks much about cooking. “I’m from an Italian family,” he said. “They cooked really good Italian food but not much else. When we went out, they would get chicken parm and I’d order the weirdest thing on the menu, like octopus.” To balance his youth and newness to the field, he hired 20-year veteran Julieta Ballesteros as chef. West Villagers will remember her as the original chef at Mexicana Mama, the tiny restaurant a few blocks south on Hudson St. that closed in 2014. Ballesteros is the kind of chef who starts lots of new restaurants, and she has an impressive track record: Tavo will be her 12th restaurant, and all but a couple of them are still going strong, including La Loteria in the Village, Crema in Chelsea and Los Felix on the Lower East Side. Decrescenzo and Ballesteros met through a mutual friend and bonded over two common traits:


December 22, 2016

Francisco Decrescenzo, a par tner in Tavo, a new pan-Latin restaurant in the West Village.

Both are from Monterrey and both are adventurous eaters; at Los Felix, the tacos may be filled with venison, rabbit sausage or alligator. In addition to her Mexican cooking chops, Ballesteros studied French cooking, has worked in Asian restaurants and is engaged to a Greek. Tavo, said Decrescenzo “will be a modern menu with influences from all over. There will be Latin dishes with international flavors and vice versa; Julieta loves mixing different things.” The peeling facade of Sung Chu Mei is finally gone, and the old brick inside has been painted pristine white. The interior was already a “white box” when Decrescenzo rented it, which means the guts and kitchen of the old Chinese restaurant were long since torn out. For a restaurateur, he said, this is ideal. “Usually, because of cost, time and convenience, you work with what you’ve got,” he explained. “But Julieta can finally have everything the way she wants it.” Tavo’s kitchen is right in the center — though not visible — creating two distinct zones. “The chef and I are big fans of the ambiance of sitting at the bar and talking to the bartender and other people,” Decrescenzo said. “The dining area has a traditional sitdown vibe.” The designers took their cue from Monterrey, an old industrial and

copper-mining city that sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. Look for copper inserts and a backbar with an abstract wave shape that evokes a mountain. As you might expect, Tavo will not be cheap. “The rents in the area are becoming ridiculous,” said Decrescenzo. “The food will be upscale but the ambiance will be approachable and comfortable.” To start, Tavo will offer dinner and weekend brunch, with a happy hour that will have deals on both drinks and food. Lunch may come along later. On a block with no sidewalk cafes, Decrescenzo would love to open an attractive one with plantings, and is looking forward to working with the community board and the Jane St. Block Association. He has already tucked a few planters above the facade. As for the building itself? It looked remarkably spiffy from the cafe across the street where we sat with our coffee. Decrescenzo said proudly, “I think it’s the nicest building on the block.” Tavo, by the way, is his grandfather Gustavo’s nickname. Decrescenzo learned recently that it’s also Miami slang for a cool, rich Mexican guy. Tavo, 615 Hudson St., between Jane and W. 12th Sts. Call 917-6756454 or visit tavonyc.com . TheVillager.com

Gardeners are seeding alternative-sites idea GARDEN continued from p. 6

designs that artfully balance two very important concerns — the needs of our seniors and the need the community as a whole has for green space.” The Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which manages, buys and leases city properties, currently owns the 25,000 square foot lot. The lot cuts through the middle of the block from Elizabeth St. to Mott St., between Prince and Spring Sts. The city has owned it since around 1850 as part of a larger lot, according to DCAS. A public school formerly occupied that entire lot. In 1981, the Little Italy Restoration Apartments, or LIRA, an affordable housing building, was constructed on the southern portion of the lot. The northern remainder of the lot sat largely vacant until 10 years later, when neighbor Allan Reiver leased it from the city for $4,000 a month. He created a garden, filling it with sculptures and monuments acquired in his real estate business, sometimes renting the space out for weddings and other functions. The sculptures were for sale, but Reiver said the main reason why he created the garden was simply to beautify


Volunteers come in all shapes, sizes and colors at the Elizabeth St. Garden.

the derelict lot — which his apartment window directly overlooked. The SPURA development site lies entirely in Community Board 3’s district, but the Elizabeth St. Garden is in Community Board 2’s district. However, the SPURA plan wasn’t reviewed by C.B. 2, only C.B. 3. As a result, C.B. 2 and Little Italy residents say they were blindsided

Astor ‘Mosaic’ miracle MOSAIC continued from p. 11

Noting that Power’s poles laud local police and firefighters, even Bob Hope and the U.S.O., Patterson called on the likes of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, in turn, to kick the artist some funding. “Trump, Giuliani and all the Republicans — they all support the veterans, the cops, Fire Department and public servants,” Patterson said. “But really not one of them has ever supported Jim. Jim has given his life to do his mosaic work, to the point of being homeless and living on the street. Jim is a patriot, through and through. He is a Vietnam veteran. “Trump’s son-in-law, a major East Village real-estate investor and landlord — like father-in-law The Donald and the others — all they do is take from the area,” he scoffed. “They don’t give back.” Harry Bubbins, from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which also assisted Power, also spoke at the ceremony. In an e-mail that a friend of David McReynolds shared with The Villager, the legendary socialist and peace activist noted that Power is one of the few people in the East Village he gives a dollar to when he sees him. McReynolds said Power is a character, for sure, “but does great work.” The “Mosaic Man” finally plans to get his double hip replacement sometime between April and June. As for his canine sidekick, Jesse Jane, 15, she’s ailing, too. “She needs wheels for her hind legs,” he noted. TheVillager.com

Afterward, as Power scootered home along Astor Place, he pointed out some of his early work on the facade of the Khyber Pass Afghan restaurant. It featured lots of visible cement and larger pieces of pottery — yet, it still was a Power piece. “All the elements are there,” he said. Over at The Bean, though, he paused to point out how some of the mosaic work was visibly deteriorating. He had some partners back then who tried to horn in on his business, but didn’t have his skills. The result is that the tiles have fallen off part of one of the sign’s letters. “They didn’t put the glue on the wood first,” he said disapprovingly. “You have to put it on both surfaces.” Meanwhile, Power has a paying commission job coming up at The Standard Hotel on Third Ave. Yet, he always is in need of more funding to finish the mythic Mosaic Trail. He felt he was underpaid for the Astor poles’ restoration and that, at times, also nearly derailed the project. “The one on Second Ave. with the American flag — that took me six months to make,” he said of one of his other poles. “How can you put a price on that?” In the late 1980s, according to Power, he had decorated 70 street lampposts, though many of them didn’t last. Based on the cost of labor, to do a new pole or renovate one is $12,000, he said. To do the full 80 and do the job right would require major funding. He quickly crunched the numbers, then blurted out: “Make it 600 grand — is that killing anybody?”

by the plan to build housing on the Elizabeth St. Garden and were never given a chance, until after the fact, to voice their opposition to it. After the SPURA project’s approval, locals discovered the garden was, in fact, a city-owned site and reached out to Reiver to open it to the public. Volunteers and some paid workers now maintain the garden and it has an active slate of year-round programming. The garden has a mailing list of thousands of supporters. H.P.D. closed its R.F.P. for the housing project on Dec. 15 and should now take

about three months to evaluate the proposals and announce a winner. The conversion of the Elizabeth St. Garden site would have to go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP, which requires public review at the C.B. 2 and City Council level before it can move forward. Chin said she looks forward to the discussion with the community. But gardeners have not given up fighting. They have recently invited Mayor de Blasio to visit the garden several times — making the invitations face to face at various events where they have known he would shown up. De Blasio hasn’t said no and told Brian Lehrer he would “happily, happily” visit the garden. “The mayor said that he would visit this park,” said Friends President Kiely, “and we are calling on him to see for himself how important this space is to the community. We will fight the destruction of this park in every way possible.” The gardeners had also identified two other potential sites for the housing — Rivington House, at Forsyth and Rivington Sts., and an underutilized parking lot at 2 Howard St. However, the chances of the community regaining the former Lower East Side AIDS hospice — which was sold for market-rate housing in a scandal that shocked the city — may be fading, while the parking lot is federally owned, which makes it problematic to obtain it for housing.


BROOKLYN The Community News Group is proud to introduce BROOKLYN PAPER RADIO. Join Brooklyn Paper Editor-in-Chief Vince DiMiceli and the New York Daily News’ Gersh Kuntzman every Thursday at 4:45 for an hour of talk on topics Brooklynites hold dear. Each show will feature instudio guests and call-out segments, and can be listened to live or played anytime at your convenience.






LISTEN EVERY THURSDAY AT 4:45PM ON BrooklynPaper.com/radio December 22, 2016



TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell


December 22, 2016

phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.

Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-

haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at

a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.

Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.


Profile for Schneps Media

The Villager  

December 22, 2016

The Villager  

December 22, 2016