The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
December 25, 2014 • $1.00 Volume 84 • Number 30
Behind the ban: Why Governor Cuomo nixed fracking in N.Y. State BY SARAH FERGUSON
FRACK BAN, continued on p. 4
Tenants worry landlord didn’t get all the lead out of 2 L.E.S. buildings BY ZACH WILLIAMS
ity councilmembers and housing activists joined tenants on Dec. 10 to call on landlord Samy Mahfar and the city to better mitigate high levels of lead in two Lower East Side residential buildings. Testing done at the two buildings in April — 102
Norfolk St. and 210 Rivington St. — indicated lead levels at least five times above federal guidelines. While Mahfar said levels have since decreased to safe readings, his critics say that he must use a contractor certified by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for future renovation work, LEAD, continued on p. 7
PHOTO BY CLAYTON PATTERSON
hristmas came early for the fracktivist c ro w d . G o v e r n o r Andrew Cuomo’s announcement last week that he would ban high-volume hydrofracking across New York State was a game-changing position that surprised even
the most ardent opponents of this controversial process for extracting natural gas. “We were stunned,” said Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, which was one of the first groups in New York to raise the alarm about the dangers of fracking.
Michelle Myles doing the outline for a customer’s tattoo at Daredevil Tattoo.
Female tattoo artists are really making their mark BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC
ichelle Myles is one of the original gangstas of tattooing in the Lower East Side. Myles and her business partner, Brad Fink, opened Daredevil Tattoo in 1997 on Ludlow St. A year and a half ago, they moved the business to 141 Division St. Myles’s story of how she got into tattooing starts back when the art was still illegal in New York City. From 1961 until 1997, tattooing was ver-
boten and underground. In 1989, Myles had moved from Ferguson, Missouri, to attend Parsons to study art. She had gotten her first tattoo during high school. “I went into this shop. I really liked the black panthers on the wall but I only had $25, so I got a little black cat tattoo,” she told The Villager, during an interview at her shop in Chinatown. “I just kept getting tattooed whenever I had a chance and a few bucks.” Her interest grew and she
eventually started doing tattoos herself in 1991. Two years later, she moved to Ludlow St., which was then a very different neighborhood. “The first place that I had was across from the old Daredevil, an apartment I rented as a studio,” she recalled. “But that was when tattooing was illegal, so there was no sign out front or anything. It was funny when I moved down there; everybody told me, ‘Don’t TATTOOS, continued on p. 8
Soho fur vendors in bleach attack.................page 5 Trying to get funds on track for the L.............page 6 Editorial: Time to focus on healing................page 10 Special Effects Fest....................page 17
membership, they both paid all charges for food, drink and services that they or their friends “ordered, consumed and/or used.” COIB concluded, “The Board is aware of no evidence that Respondent’s conduct in accepting the gratuity from Soho House was corrupt, or was undertaken with a corrupt intent, or resulted in an unwarranted advantage to Soho House.” In the end, COIB fined Hamilton $10,660 — including the 10 years’ membership, plus a $2,500 fine — which Hamilton agreed to pay. Hamilton, who is currently spending time in Florida, did get back to us, but she declined to comment for publication. A recipe for noise: Eight A/C units atop the four-story building housing Babbo restaurant.
doing, Gruber is keeping mum. “The B&B Hospitality Group has no comment on this matter,” Gruber told the Daily News.
Akgul, who lives next to Mario Batali’s Babbo on Waverly Place, recently filed a $10 million lawsuit over noise and odors from the super-chef’s restaurant. Akgul told us that while Batali did succeed in getting a second variance for a 10-year extension for Babbo — which is located in a dubiously grandfathered commercial space — during that process Akgul discovered that the place doesn’t have proper permits for a slew of air-conditioning units on its rooftop. “There used to be two A/C units in the back,” Akgul said. “They removed them and put eight units on the fourth-floor rooftop — two of them are compressors and one is on 24 hours a day. They sit on beams and vibrate through the [shared] ‘party wall,’ which is my building’s wall.” Opponents, including Akgul and Doris Diether — the Village’s iconic “zoning maven,” who lives across the street — had caught Batali illegally using the place’s top floors for commercial purposes when they are supposed to be residential. Due to their complaints, which were backed up by Community Board 2, Babbo stopped using these floors — which now sit vacant. We called Babbo recently to ask about the lawsuit. After we briefly held through a stirring snippet of Italian opera, a woman who handles reservations answered and said, “The restaurant has no comment with regards to that.” “Could we talk to a spokesperson?” we asked. “This is what everyone has been told [to say],” she answered. Meanwhile, it turns out David Gruber, former C.B. 2 chairperson, is in fact a spokesman for Batali and his partner Joseph Bastianich, who also is a defendant in Akgul’s suit. But just like the reservation person said everyone is
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December 25, 2014
TALLMER MEMORIAL, TAKE TWO: The memorial for Jerry Tallmer at Theater for the New City on Mon., Feb. 23, will not be open to the public, as incorrectly reported last week, but will be by invitation only, according to his widow, Frances Monica Tallmer.
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UMM...WHAT DID GROUCHO SAY? Former Community Board 2 Chairperson Jo Hamilton was wrong to have accepted a free 10-year membership to the swanky Soho House club, the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board recently ruled. Hamilton served on C.B. 2 from April 1999 to June 2014, except for a one-year hiatus from March 2005 to April 2006. The private-membership club opened in the Meatpacking District in 2003. Hamilton said that during her time on C.B. 2, as the COIB disposition states, Soho House came before the community board five times on State Liquor Authority licensing-related issues. “I never asked for or sought a membership in Soho House,” she told the conflicts board. “People employed by Soho House are personal friends of mine, and they offered me the complimentary membership, which I accepted, in 2003.” Hamilton told COIB that the club annually renewed her complimentary membership until 2013. “I understood their offer to be predicated on personal friendship, not my status as a member of C.B. 2. I now understand from information provided to me by [COIB], that Soho House provided me with complimentary membership for reasons related to my position on C.B. 2.” (For the record, according to the City Charter, “No public servant shall...accept or receive any gratuity from any person whose interests may be affected by the public servant’s official action.”) The annual rate for a founding member of Soho House in 2003 was $816, so Hamilton would have been charged that rate. As a result, she got a free ride to the tune of $8,160. Hamilton told the board that her husband, William Hamilton, was a founding member of the club and did pay full membership dues. She also averred that, during their decade-long
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TO BARGE OR NOT TO BARGE? A lot of people think Pier55, the planned $130 million 2.7-acre “entertainment pier” off W. 13th St., will be great. Of course, its construction will be about 87 percent funded by Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, who will then pay for all of the pier’s ongoing maintenance, operation and programming for the next 20 years. But what about Gansevoort Peninsula just a block to the south? Will there ever really be a marine waste-transfer station there for recyclable waste? That was Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s plan, and as far as we can tell, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to carry through on it. Either way, the peninsula’s garbage trucks will be relocated to the newly built multidistrict Department of Sanitation garage at Spring and Washington Sts. And the word is that, starting in early 2015, the peninsula will then be cleared, and remediated of any toxic residues from its years of previous use as a municipal waste incinerator (a.k.a. the Gansevoort Destructor). But to allow the waste-transfer station, the state and city will both first have to sign a memorandum of understanding (M.O.U.) to agree to pay a reported $50 million to the Hudson River Park Trust as compensation for “alienating” part of the peninsula from park use to allow the trash-barging operation. However, the state reportedly wants the city to pay the full amount since the trash-transfer station is a city project. And another question does spring to mind: Imagine, say, Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy or Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” being performed on the future Pier55 as, a block downriver, bottles and cans loudly clank, clatter and crash as a garbage truck dumps them into a barge with its engines roaring and snorting, ready to make the trip to the new recycling plant in Sunset Park. It doesn’t exactly sound conducive to a world-class entertainment pier — but what do we know?
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December 25, 2014
Fracktivists gush after Cuomo bans drilling Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN
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The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue. Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718) 260-2500 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.thevillager.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2012 NYC Community Media, LLC
December 25, 2014
FRACK BAN, continued from p. 1
“Some people cried. I sort of screamed happy curse words,” said Adams, recalling the jubilant reaction in his office as he and his co-workers watched Cuomo and his commissioners lay out their rationale for a ban during a year-end cabinet meeting that was broadcast live. “We had four press releases ready to go that day, depending on the outcome, and none of them predicted that,” added Adams, who had longtime frack foe Debra Winger on speakerphone when the decision came down. Adams credited the myriad grassroots activists in New York who hammered on Cuomo for the last eight years to renounce fracking, even when mainstream environmental groups said a ban would never happen. Many are now saying New York has set a benchmark for the rest of the country to follow, and potentially roll back fracking initiatives elsewhere. “With the gas industry — losing is not in their playbook — and we just beat them,” Adams said. “So it shows it’s not a lost cause.” Cuomo’s decision to impose an outright ban of H.V.H.F. is all the more striking given the recent moves by states like Maryland and Illinois to allow fracking to proceed. In fact, most people were expecting Cuomo to allow some limited trial of fracking in the Southern Tier, along the border of Pennsylvania, where some town boards have said they want the drilling. That was the plan floated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation back in 2012. With Upstate polls still fairly split on the issue (though trending more negative of late), most figured Cuomo would play King Solomon and try to “split the baby.” Instead, Cuomo decided to ban fracking across the state, deferring to the recommendations of Howard Zucker, the acting Department of Health commissioner, and Joseph Martens, the D.E.C. commissioner, who together concluded that the drilling technique’s overall
Things are looking up for Andrew Cuomo and New York State, in the view of anti-fracking activists, after the governor last week decided to ban hydrofracking.
risks outweighed its economic benefits. Yet, while Zucker said he felt it would be “reckless” to proceed, he conceded that his department’s analysis — based on a two-year review of existing health and environmental studies — was still inclusive, largely because comprehensive, “longitudinal” studies of the impact of H.V.H.F. on people’s health, water and the environment have yet to be completed. “The science isn’t there,” Zucker said. “But the cumulative concerns, based on the data and information I’ve read… give me reason to pause.” No doubt there’s reason for New York to act with an abundance of caution. As D.E.C. Commissioner Martens noted, “New York is a very water-rich state.” Upstate rivers, reservoirs and aqueducts provide drinking water to more than 17 million people in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Other states don’t have such high concentrations of people living downstream. But what also tipped the balance was the declining economic viability of fracking in New York. Martens said his department crunched the numbers and found that at least 63 percent of the
Marcellus Shale would be off-limits to drilling because of restrictions around drinking water sources, as well as state parks and historical areas. Martens also cited the growing list of towns that have enacted bans and moratoria on fracking. It turns out the so-called “Dryden Decision” (upheld by the Appellate Court in July), which confirmed the right of towns to pass zoning laws barring fracking under the state’s “home rule” provision, is more of a deal breaker than many thought. Not only can towns vote to ban gas drilling, but those towns that did want gas drilling would have had to revise their zoning rules in order for it to proceed in their areas. As a result, gas companies were facing a hodgepodge of local restrictions across the state that would have been a headache for the industry and state regulators alike. “It would have been fought town to town, pitting neighbor against neighbor,” said Adams. And then there is the plunging price of oil, which has sent the nation’s shale market reeling. Given falling gas and oil prices, it’s unlikely banks would finance much drilling in New York right now anyway — especially when there’s plenty of less-regulated shale plays in Pennsylvania and beyond. (Indeed, some proponents of drilling say in some ways it makes sense for Cuomo to leave the gas “banked” in the ground, until prices go up again. ) Cuomo of course must have done calculating of his own based on the polls, which show Democrats overwhelming opposed to fracking. “The people who are for fracking don’t like Cuomo anyway,” noted Adams. “So it was sort of a no-brainer for the governor. There was nowhere near the economic benefit first promised, and if he approved it, he risked a massive backlash from his base.” Now, instead of a big protest rally that anti-fracking groups had been planning to hold in Albany on Jan. 7 to demand “Not One Well!” Catskill Mountainkeeper and scores of other environmental groups and activists will be gathering to do a victory dance on the steps of the capitol that day. They also plan to launch a campaign to accelerate the transition to renewable energy across New York State. “We can convert dairy farms in the Southern Tier to solar energy farms to help power New York City,” said Adams of Catskill Mountainkeeper, which just received a $1.87 million grant to promote solar energy through bulk buying of solar equipment. Members of the Joint Landowners Coalition, a network of property owners who support gas drilling, are holding their own rally in Binghamton, N.Y., on Jan. 5 to denounce the ban and Governor Cuomo for “depriving people of their mineral rights.” TheVillager.com
POLICE BLOTTER Health club clash
Three fur vendors were arrested in Soho on Saturday after they threw bleach on anti-fur activists. The attack — during which at least four individuals were hit with the liquid, including a small child — came during one of the ongoing protests against the “fur stall” — a sidewalk location where furs are sold — at Broadway and Spring Sts. According to the AntiVivisection Coalition, two of the men involved in the attack had gone up to the rooftop of the six-story building above the protest and then poured gallons of bleach onto the crowds below, “hitting two babies, a police officer and even covering their own fur coats with the noxious substance.” Fifteen anti-animal-cruelty activists had gathered at the spot to continue their weekly demonstration at the fur stall, which holds up to 100 fur pieces, the majority of which are new fur from minks, rabbits, foxes, seals, raccoons and chinchillas, the activists say. The fur foes railed through a megaphone about the creatures’ suffering, held large images of animals exploited in the fur industry, and on a laptop showed video footage of the fur industry’s cruelty. Police reportedly had been at the scene for a few minutes before the attack and were part of the crowd hit by the bleach. The officers commenced a search of the building and arrested the two fur vendors, who were reportedly caught red-handed with their bleach bottles and buckets still in hand. A third fur vendor was also arrested for his part in the attack. The remaining fur vendors were ordered to shut down their stall and leave the area. A police spokesperson confirmed that three men were arrested for “acting in concert” to throw a mixture of bleach and ammonia: David Haber, 53, of Cortland, N.Y.; and Luis Justino, 40, and Lawrence Andrews, 35, both of the Bronx. They were all charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. A video of the incident is posted at http://bit.ly/13SWb6o , at the end of which one of the activists shouts through the bullhorn, “I’d like to make a shout-out to those who tried to silence the animals. You lose! The animals have spoken today!”
Police say they arrested a 41-year-old man on Dec. 9, more than a month after he allegedly assaulted a co-worker. According to police, the perpetrator argued with a 20-year-old man at the New York Health and Racquet Club, at 24 E. 13th St., on Wed., Nov. 5. The heated dispute then turned violent when the first man swung a pair of scissors at the victim. Having failed in his slashing attempt, the perpetrator grabbed a trash can and struck the victim on his left arm, which resulted in the victim getting stitches. Eric Hunter, 41, was charged with felony assault.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANTIVIVISECTION COALITION
Fur vendors gone wild
Part of the “fur stall” at Broadway and Spring St. The furs are displayed on the S.U.V. as well as on a table on the sidewalk.
Pointed encounter A pedestrian took up arms against a motorist blocking the sidewalk near the southeast corner of Sixth Ave. and Washington Place. At about 10:30 p.m. on Mon., Dec. 15, the pedestrian began yelling at the 37-year-old driver of the vehicle. When the driver exited the car he received a poke in the stomach from the knife-wielding pedestrian, who then fled. The victim refused medical attention. Police arrested Marc Firstenberg, 67, the next evening and charged him with felony assault.
Soho gunpoint robbery According to police, on Wed., Dec. 17, at about 8:10 p.m., two men armed with guns robbed an unidentified man inside 166 Mercer St. in Soho, which is reportedly a doorman building. A police spokesperson said the two suspects, who were dressed as utility workers, took the victim to the basement, where he was punched in the head and tied up. The pair falsely believed there was a safe with cash in the basement. They displayed black firearms and threatened to kill him. In the end, they took his wallet containing $800 and, initially, his phone — but then left the phone, before fleeing. The victim was uninjured. It was not immediately clear whether he was a building resident or employee. There have been no arrests and an investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime
Stoppers Hotline, 800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www. nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting to 274637 (CRIMES), then entering TIP577.
Uber-rude passenger A driver for Uber, a commercial ride-sharing service, picked up passengers at about 9 p.m. on the night of Dec. 16, only to see they were toting an open container of alcohol. When he asked the passengers to exit the vehicle near the southeast corner of Seventh Ave. South and Bleecker St., he did not receive any apology. Instead, police said that Michael Rascoe, 25, poured liquor onto the automobile’s interior. When the 46-year-old hack popped out of the vehicle in protest, the man allegedly punched him in the head and whacked him with a glass bottle, police said. Detectives arrested Rascoe on Dec. 19 and charged him with felony assault.
He pissed off cop A man apparently tried to play the hero for two people stopped in the Village by police for urinating in public. However, police dispute that he was offering any help. The bizarre incident began at about 3:15 a.m. on Thurs., Dec. 18, when Maxwell Schoenfelder, 23, allegedly approached a police officer and demanded that the two people be released. Schoenfelder was not deterred by the officer’s refusal to do so, nor the officer’s order that he move on. Police said Schoenfelder continued to disrupt the officer by attempting to yank the two purported public pee’ers away. The man then allegedly pulled and flailed his right hand away from the police officer as he was being placed under arrest. Schoenfelder faces a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.
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he newest talk of constructing an additional exit at First Ave. for the L train asks Uncle Sam to pick up the bill. Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials say that federal dollars would go a long way toward securing the $300 million necessary for the agency’s plan to overhaul the 10.3-mile subway line — as part of which, new exits and entrances would be installed on Avenue A as part of the First Ave. stop. Several years of further review by the Federal Transit Administration are necessary, however, before a fi nal decision on the M.T.A.’s request, which was announced on Dec. 12. Sixty percent of the roughly 31,000 weekday riders who enter or exit the First Ave. station would use the proposed new entrances at Avenue A, according to the M.T.A. Plans also call for the installation of elevators at the 90-year-old station in order to make it compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Adding new exits at First Ave. and the Bedford Ave. stop in Brooklyn is one part of an overall plan to update the L line, which has experienced a 98 percent surge in ridership since 1998, and a 27 percent increase since 2007, according to the M.T.A. Another proposed improvement would boost train service by two trains per hour, a 10 percent increase over the present frequency of service. “We have to increase capacity on the Canarsie Line and improve customer flow at stations to meet this increasing demand, and securing fed-
Straphangers exiting the cramped L train station at 14th St. and First Ave.
eral funding for a project of this magnitude will go a long way toward achieving that goal,” Carmen Bianco, New York City Transit president, said in a statement. A previous effort led by state Senator Brad Hoylman was unsuccessful in convincing Extell Development to bankroll new exits on Avenue A while it developed an adjacent lot. Raising awareness around the cause of new entrances/ exits there both for the safety and convenience of subway riders was the primary motivation behind that effort, a Hoylman spokesperson told The Villager in March. In a Dec. 22 e-mail, a Hoylman representative praised the M.T.A.’s request for federal funding. “This badly needed funding will help support new street-level entrances that will make it easier for straphangers to enter and exit the station, and ultimately reduce potentially dangerous platform crowding,” said Peter Ajemian. City Councilmember Rosie Mendez is also behind the proposed plan, according to her spokesperson, John Blasco, who noted an additional po-
tential benefit. “Bringing an entrance to Avenue A would help a lot with traffic on First Ave.,” he said in a telephone interview. If eventually approved, the project would be the fi rst improvement to the L line under the plan, which would take several years to complete once funding is acquired, according to the M.T.A. Repairs to the Canarsie tube, through which the L train runs from Manhattan to Brooklyn, are also necessary due to damage from Hurricane Sandy. Fifty millions dollars in funding for L train improvements were included in the M.T.A.’s 2010-2014 capital plan, with additional funding included in the agency’s proposed 2015-2019 plan, according to the M.T.A. The newly announced request for federal dollars will be made through the F.T.A.’s Core Capacity program. Eligible projects must propose expansions in capacity of at least 10 percent to key transportation corridors that are either already overcapacity or will be within five years, according to the F.T.A.
Online auction to ﬁght N.Y.U. plan
manuscript page from an original score by Philip Glass, a Gary Indiana photograph of William S. Burroughs, an original framed photograph by actor Joel Grey, signed copies of all Eric Bogosian’s published works and a signed box set of Lapham’s Quarterly are among the items being offered in an online auction for N.Y.U. Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, the group fighting New York University’s South Village superblocks expansion plan. The “holiday fundraiser,” on Indiegogo, started last Friday and runs through Jan. 11. Supporters will base their premium choices on a range of photos and descriptions of each item. Arrangements will be
made individually for shipment or pick up of each item. Everyone who contributes during the fundraiser will also receive a “Save the Village” button. To bid on items, go to www.indiegogo.com/ projects/get-nyu-fasp-to-the-state-appeals-court . On Oct. 4, a legal ruling that would have saved three open-space strips of parkland from being destroyed by N.Y.U.’s nearly 2 million-square-foot development plan was overturned by the Appellate Division’s First Department. N.Y.U. FASP and fellow other plaintiff groups recently filed a motion with the New York Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court — urging it to review the case and overturn the First Department’s ruling. TheVillager.com
Tenants, politicians demand assurances on lead L.E.S., continued from p. 1
PHOTOS BY ZACH WILLIAMS
as well as implement a lead mitigation plan in all of his New York City properties. Renovation work began slightly more than a year ago at 102 Norfolk. Amid the noise and water shutoffs, tenant Seth Wandersman — speaking at the Dec. 10 press conference outside 210 Rivington St. — said he did not initially consider the possibility that the dust covering common areas in the building might be poisoning him. It took a Freedom of Information Act request and plenty of 311 calls before he and other tenants could find out just how much lead they were being exposed to, he said. “I suddenly realized that these problems weren’t temporary but could stay with the residents for the rest of our lives,” Wandersman said. As he spoke to reporters, a man videoing the proceedings caught the eye of Councilmember Rosie Mendez. He said he was working on behalf of the landlord. A brief standoff ensued as Mendez, attempting to block his view, positioned herself between the landlord’s representative and the tenants. The videoing, she said, was just another indication of bad faith from Mahfar, who, according to the Cooper Square Committee, once employed Michel Pimienta, a “tenant-relocation specialist” who was previously investigated by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Tenants expressed their concerns about being exposed to extremely high levels of lead, as they were joined by Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, at right.
Pimienta paid a fine and gave up his relocation business in October following the investigation, the Daily News reported. But if Mahfar does not mend his ways, as well, pressure will increase, Councilmember Margaret Chin stated. “This has to stop,” she warned. “We are calling on Samy Mahfar to do the right thing or else the city agencies are going to go after you.” The city meanwhile needs to do more to enforce laws already on the books that target buildings built before 1960 as likely in need of lead mitigation, according to Chin, who added that more coordination is necessary among the Department of
Buildings, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Reached by telephone, Mahfar said subsequent testing by a private company indicated that lead levels at the two buildings were within legal limits. During renovation work, adequate effort was made to limit dangerous lead exposure, he said.
“We have reports showing that there is no exaggerated levels of lead,” he said on Dec. 16. He offered to provide a copy of these tests to The Villager, but none were received by press time. During the interview, he could not recall the name of the company that conducted the tests nor the date they were performed. According to the E.P.A., lead exposure can affect any organ in the human body, stunting cognitive growth in children and decreasing kidney function in adults. Despite a 1978 federal ban on its use, lead-based paint remains one of the most common causes of lead poisoning, according to the agency’s Web site. Roughly 69 percent of homes built between 1940 and 1959 contain leadbased paint, with the number rising to 87 percent for older residential buildings, according to the E.P.A. Web site. Issues in the Lower East Side are only part of the overall problem across Manhattan, Borough President Gale Brewer said in a statement. “I’ve been fighting landlords like Samy Mahfar all over Manhattan,” she said, “ those who refuse to use safe procedures, who harass rent-regulated tenants, and only erractically correct H.P.D. violations.”
Christmas At The Church of the Ascension
Saturday, Dec. 20 Front Garden (5th Avenue) 5pm - 8pm
Thursday, December 25 Holy Eucharist with Hymns - 11am
The Feast of the Nativity
Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24
Councilmember Rosie Mendez blocked a representative of landlord Sammy Mahfer from videoing tenants at the press conference.
Family Service - 5pm (Children’s Choir) Music for the Christmas Vigil - 10:30pm Festival Eucharist - 11pm
Holy Eucharist at Side Altar - 9am Holy Eucharist with Choral Music - 11am Meditation and Sacrament - 7PM Monday Through Friday Holy Eucharist at Side Altar - 6PM
Fifth Avenue at 10th Street - New York, NY 10011 TheVillager.com
December 25, 2014
From underground days to today, female tattoo TATTOOS, continued from p. 1
December 25, 2014
COURTESY OF MICHELLE MYLES
move to Ludlow. It’s the worst heroin block in the whole city.’ So I moved there and I tattooed all the drug dealers and never had problems.” Back then, Myles explained, the tattooing scene was much more intimate. “You at least knew of everybody else who was tattooing in town,” she said. “It was a much more closed sort of thing. It was more about a couple individual artists that didn’t have shops.” Since tattooing was still underground then, it was difficult to learn how to do it, explained Clayton Patterson in a phone interview. In 1986, Patterson and Ari Roussimoff took over what was a tattooand-body art society and formed the Tattoo Society of New York. The club provided a sense of protection and community, Patterson said. He explained that it was a Department of Health offense if anyone was caught doing ink, and the city could shut an artist’s operation down at any time. Meetings — which Myles attended — were held at famed Downtown haunts like the Pyramid Club and CBGB. “It was a very exciting time in New York,” Patterson said. In 1997, the tattoo ban was finally lifted. Yet, many tattooers were not happy about legalization. “A lot of them were really opposed to legalization because when tattooing was illegal and underground, it was a hidden economy,” Patterson said. “A lot of people like that sort of outlaw lifestyle.” Myles said when she first heard tattooing would be legalized, she thought it was a calamity. “Now, I love my shop and it all worked out,” she said. “But at the time, it was the worst thing possible because I wasn’t prepared for it.” Myles had moved to the second floor above the music venue Pianos at 158 Ludlow St., and had just spent money to renovate the loft — she was living in the back and was tattooing in the front. “And then I was walking down the street and I saw Clayton Patterson and he was like, ‘Did you hear, they’re going to legalize tattooing?’ And I was like, ‘Noooo,’ ” she said with a laugh. “It wasn’t really the sort of place you would want a legal shop because it was old-school L.E.S., where you threw the keys out the window when somebody yelled up.
Some examples of Michelle Myles’s work, which features a traditional American style.
“Everyone was just afraid it would open the floodgates — everyone would open a shop in New York,” she said. “And that’s basically what happened.” Myles and Fink had gone to high school together and when tattooing became legal, she called him up. About a week later, they signed the lease on Daredevil. “But at the time we just had the very front of the shop,” she said. “It was teeny tiny space and we renovated it.” Together, they eventually expanded the shop. About 10 years ago, they brought Fun City Tattoo on St. Mark’s Place. (Fink is a well-known tattoo artist in his own right and also owns a shop in St. Louis.) “At first, at 174 Ludlow St., we had a 10-year lease, then a fiveyear lease, and then the landlords started giving us two years at a time,” Myles said. The two-year leases were hard, she explained, because the shop would need repairs — for example, the floor would be falling apart — but she didn’t feel she could invest in making the fixes. Then, as the development boom was starting, the landlords wanted to raise her rent. She couldn’t open her front door cause there were construction trucks outside her place every day. “You couldn’t even drive down
Ludlow for all the construction,” she recalled. “It was a mess — the whole block — and, really, 50 percent rent increase for that.” Still, Myles doesn’t blame her former landlords for recognizing the value of the retail space and wanting to make the most they could. “That just makes everything around it more expensive,” she said. “You know, we got priced out.” She sold Fun City last year and put everything into the new space on Division St. in Chinatown. With help from her husband, a contractor, the new shop opened in July 2013. She picked the spot because there was an option to buy, a process she is in the midst of completing. “I love this neighborhood down here now, it reminds me of Ludlow 10 years ago,” she said. “It still has character, there’s still weird storefronts. Chinatown is kind of awesome just ’cause it is so crazy down here. We’re really enjoying the neighborhood. “I wish I had known when I moved to Ludlow that someday everything would be gone, ’cause I feel like I would have savored it more, and so I feel the same way this time around,” she said. “Wow, O.K., I really got to enjoy the quirkiness of the neighborhood ’cause eventually it always changes.”
Also, the way business is done now is harder, she said. “It used to be you could come down to the Lower East Side and shake hands with your landlord and strike a deal on a place,” she said. “Give him a couple bucks deposit. Now, just to open a storefront you’re going to get raked over the coals — credit check, you have to give them your blood.” Before moving into the Division St. space, the landlord asked for a six-month deposit, plus Myles had to pay to build out the shop. “It’s insane,” she said. “It’s really hard for, I think, normal people to do business when you are trying to rent a space and you’re competing with Subway. That’s really unfortunate. It used to be you’d see all these weird mystery storefronts down here that were rented by complete derelicts. It’s a little harder to be a derelict these days and be in business.” Similarities can be drawn between how the Lower East Side itself and the tattoo world have both changed, said Patterson. The L.E.S. today is more corporate, and tattooing, which is definitely mainstream now, could be headed in that direction, as well, he said. Patterson, who has known Myles for a long time, said she is a major player in the city’s tattoo scene. TATTOOS, continued on p. 9 TheVillager.com
artists have been making their mark in the city TATTOOS, continued from p. 8
PHOTO BY CLAYTON PATTERSON
Linda Wulkan, right, at work on a customer’s tattoo on St. Mark’s Place.
as a graphic designer for an Israeli newspaper, she had a tattoo-artist friend who let her work at the shop doing what is called “flash,” or drawings. “There was a lot of freedom to it,” she said of tattooing. “I didn’t give up on it. I was pretty much there every day I was off.” She decided to move back to New York City about 13 years ago. She then began working at a tattoo shop, which no longer exists, in Brooklyn. Wulkan did ink there for a couple of years, but felt she had outgrown the shop’s style Tattoo on a woman’s side by Linda Wulkan. — mostly a lot of names, praying spent some time Upstate before hands and Jesus her family uprooted and moved to heads — and wanted something Israel, where she has spent most of more challenging. her life. She found another job in the Wulkan has been steeped in art West Village and kept at her craft. her whole life. She first studied It’s a trade in which experience sculpture and got her bachelor ’s goes a long way, she said. in fine arts and art history. She She eventually got the gig at was doing conceptual installations Whatever Tattoo on St. Mark’s and back then, she said, which really has stayed there for about seven didn’t pay the bills. years. She then studied cinema and “I wasn’t really that excited went back to school again for illus- about tattooing at first,” she adtration and graphic design. mitted. “I thought it was just anWhen she got laid off working other medium.” COURTESY OF LINDA WULKAN
“She’s now front row,” he said. Myles said that the Web has transformed everything about the ancient body art. “I can’t believe how the Internet’s changed tattooing,” she said. “I can’t believe how it’s changed doing business. There’s just tons and tons of really great artists. It’s tough to stand out from the crowd.” Myles described her style as versatile, but she enjoys traditional American tattooing, which has a limited color palette and features many designs that are iconic, simplified and very stylized. Vintage circus art adorns the walls of Daredevil. Myles enthusiastically showed The Villager the contents of the shop’s huge glass cases, which house tattoo memorabilia that Fink has been collecting for 20 years. Myles has been researching early tattoo artists in New York City, such as Martin Hildebrandt, Samuel O’Reilly and Charlie Wagner. “Modern tattooing was born a few blocks away from where we are right now,” she said. “We’re really excited to bring that to life and have a place in New York City that pays tribute to that history.” Myles also mentioned Nora Hildebrandt, who some have identified as Martin Hildebrandt’s daughter. Nora Hildebrandt was extensively tattooed, a rarity in the late 1800s. Myles said that when she first started out, the tattooing scene was predominantly male. “I think, at first, people kind of don’t take you seriously,” she recalled. “I specifically remember somebody once saying, ‘Oh, you tattoo, too. That’s cute.’ But in the long run, it’s what set you apart. At first, it might be a drawback, but in the end, it’s what makes you stand out. Although, these days there are so many girls in tattooing, it’s not like it used to be.” Linda Wulkan, a tattoo artist at Whatever Tattoo, at 17 St. Mark’s Place, called Myles “a female icon in New York City.” After living in Brooklyn, Wulkan now resides in Chinatown, above Daredevil. She started tattooing 11 years ago, and said that today there seem to be more female artists and less of an issue with it. She didn’t intend to become a tattoo artist, Wulkan told The Villager at the St. Mark’s shop, explaining it as a “happy accident.” She was born in New York, and
But then she went to her first tattoo convention and saw the work of James Kern and got excited, thinking that if people wanted that, she could do it. She described her style as illustrative, which is not considered a conventional tattoo style. She is focused on color and detail, which is also exhibited in her drawings that line one wall of Whatever Tattoo. “I always want to build up some contrast in the artwork,” she explained. For a while, she was the only female tattoo artist at the St. Mark’s shop but another woman has recently joined the ranks. “There’s definitely more female artists working — more and more,” she said. Tattooing has changed for both good and bad, said Wulkan, who doodled while talking. Its omnipresence in the media — starting with the reality show “Inked” and all its various spinoffs — has changed everything, she said. For example, it seemed like “sleeves” — fully tattooing one’s arm — was a trend, she explained. A sleeve “doesn’t happen overnight,” she said, but some clients don’t understand the time commitment involved. Since she wants to do top work that will last for people, she tries to give advice to clients and persuade them to go the better route. “There is a lot of customer service that goes into this and there’s a bit of psychology,” she said. “The ultimate goal is to give them the best tattoo you can and for them to be happy with it.” In her own case, the first tattoo she was going to get was supposed to be an abstract sea snail. But when she spoke with the artist, he convinced her to go back to the drawing board for a more simple design. One of Wulkan’s favorite stories is about an older French couple who came in with their son, who was in a wheelchair. The parents told Wulkan that their son really wanted to get a tattoo in New York City. They maneuvered the wheelchair into the shop and agreed on a traditional, Sailor Jerry-inspired tattoo — a heart with a dagger. “Even though he was shaking,” Wulkan recalled, “we found a relatively simple design and it come out great and he was super-stoked. It’s a good feeling when you can do something like that for someone.” Visit Daredeviltattoo.com and lindawulkanart.com for more information December 25, 2014
Like after 9/11 and Sandy, it’s time for unity EDITORIAL
t was encouraging to see Mayor de Blasio lead a moment of silence on Tuesday for slain Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. The patrol partners’ horrifying execution on Saturday in Bed-Stuy by a deranged gunman sent a shockwave through the city — and the nation — one which continues to reverberate. As the leader of the city, it is up to the mayor to be strong at this moment and send the message that he is not an advocate, but a leader. He is right to call for a timeout from the protests that have been roiling the city and snarling traffic. Frankly, the protesters’ message has been conveyed at this point. Yes, the verdict in the Eric Garner case was stunning, particularly given the video showing Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo putting Garner in a chokehold. But the story continues, as the New York Post and the American Civil Liberties Union, among
others, push to bring all the grand jury proceedings to light. And the federal investigation is ongoing. “There’s a lot of pain right now,” de Blasio said on Tuesday. “We have to work our way through that pain. We have to keep working to bring police and community closer together. We have to work for that more perfect union. We have to put the divisions of the past behind us. They were left to all of us in this generation, and we have to overcome them. “We need to protect and respect our police just as our police protect and respect our communities,” the mayor said. “We can strike that balance. We must.” Those were the right words for the mayor to say, and they needed to be said. At the same time, Patrick Lynch of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association police union needs to tone down his rhetoric. Everyone on all sides must stop piling on. In short, it’s time for the city to come together. We came together after the 9/11 attacks that killed thousands and leveled the World Trade Center. We
did it after Superstorm Sandy, too. Now once again is the time for all of us as one common people — one city — to overcome a deep problem we are facing. If there is any rally or march at this point, it should have one theme only: peace and unity. Enough of the endless marches, of blocking traffic. And enough of the pro-police rallies with people wearing T-shirts saying, “I can breathe” (in a twisted take on Garner’s last words). The Internet — while showing us what happened to Garner — is also allowing protesters to keep their actions going...and going, plus inflaming passions and emboldening sick individuals, as we saw with the two officers’ shooter, who bragged online about what he was about to do. On the other hand, body cameras for police officers will provide more video evidence that can be used to help protect both cops and those whom they are arresting. More information is always helpful. In addition to embracing peace and unity, people need to start working on these thorny issues
more constructively. Just marching around and playing cat-and-mouse with police will not achieve any long-term results. We saw that with Occupy Wall Street, which started out encouragingly by calling our attention to the country’s growing income inequality, but then simply devolved into protesters marching around and clashing with cops. Again, if you want to change the system, you’ve got to enact systematic reforms. Think: “Big picture.” Sadly, in the current climate, while uniformed police officers were arresting a youth on East Broadway for alleged assault last Friday, they were joined by a plainclothes cop who took some quick punches at the suspect while he was being cuffed. It was all caught on video. That kind of police violence is precisely part of the problem. After the two officers’ murder on Saturday, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, we felt, put it best: “In the face of such senseless violence, we should calm down the rhetoric and work together to find a way to create a safer and more peaceful city.” Amen.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Just an amazing victory
Anti-fossil fuel agitators
To The Editor: Re “Fracking risks too big to allow drilling in N.Y., says Health commish” (news article, Dec. 18): Regardless of the political calculations that may have gone into the decision to ban fracking, it is a great victory for environmental activists and for the New York State environment.
To The Editor: Re “Fracking risks too big to allow drilling in N.Y., says Health commish” (news article, Dec. 18): It is a sad day when a state chooses to listen to the fear, uncertainty and doubt spread by anti-fossil fuel agitators rather than making a decision for economic strength that would benefit schools, communities and many of its poorest citizens — especially when the vilified technol-
ogy, hydraulic fracturing, has been used safely and successfully for more than 60 years and has brought prosperity to other formerly struggling regions. Additionally, D.E.C. Commissioner Joseph Martens’s comment about the low price of oil and gas making fracking in New York State “unlikely anyway” is evidence of a very shortsighted and uneducated view. The current low price of oil is largely due to Saudi Arabia flooding the market and has nothing to do with the price of natural gas that could be developed in New York. Marita Noon Noon is executive director, Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy
Same old song and dance
Are they the new Siskel and Ebert? 10
December 25, 2014
To The Editor: Re “Mom-and-pop shops: Are they too small to save?” (talking point, by Sharon Woolums, Dec. 18): Déjà vu all over again. Here is how this will play out. The City Council will again stall as long as possible. Eventually they will hold a hearing on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act bill. A few LETTERS, continued on p. 20
What a waste it would be to lose our clean water TALKING POINT BY OTIS KIDWELL BURGER
cientists searching for extraterrestrial life look for moons or planets containing water because almost all of our life forms are composed of water (plus viruses, minerals, bacteria, etc.). Other life forms may be composed of something else, like liquid methane, but a Mork based on liquid methane would be a less-adorable alien. Life was born in water. We still are, and still carry private oceans in us. Prehistoric settlements also put water to practical uses. Recognizing that humans and their pets and livestock were large mammals needing a lot of water and producing lots of waste, they located villages when possible along waterways, which provided both water and convenient waste disposal. The Romans did manage both with elegant tall aqueducts and big sewers, and their water pipes were made of lead. ... Did the empire fall to barbarians or to lead poisoning? The Dark Ages that followed were not only dark but dirty. Streets were foul with garbage and excrement. “Gardez loo!” (“Watch out for the water!” from the French, “Gardez l’eau!”) householders would shout, emptying a slop jar or even a chamber pot above the unwary pedestrians below. In New York City in the late 1800s, thugs sometimes used this nasty habit — without the warning call — to attack and daze a victim, kill him, strip him and dispose of the body in the nearest alley or waterway. Streams and waterways have continued to lead a complicated double life since prehistoric times. In 1830, after an outbreak of cholera in London, Edward Chadwick “cleansed” the city by flushing all waste into the Thames, which was at the time the town’s source of drinking water. In 1938, our family visited Polperro in Cornwall, England. The houses were built on the edges of a central stream, which channeled everything into the harbor and then the ocean. After meals, windows flew open, and — “scrape! scrape!” — the leftovers and garbage were donated to the river below. At high tide, some things would reappear in the harbor — grapefruit rinds, etc. One morning, I came into the bathroom. My 10-year-old brother was leaning out the window, watching the end of a pipe that protruded from the house and over the stream. My little sister stood at the controls. “O.K., Emmy, flush away!” he shouted. She did. And yes, the toilets also emptied into the stream. TheVillager.com
Part of the High Bridge spanning the Harlem River between Manhattan and the Bronx, a section of the Croton Aqueduct, as depicted in a Harper’s magazine illustration from 1860.
We children did not play on that waterfront but walked a long way to a sheltered beach to build sandcastles. The drinking water, at least, came from farther upstream? Not in all cases. An early photo of a Midwestern U.S. town shows two small boys with a bucket, collecting
phoid, river blindness, malaria, etc. Or of being collected by crocodiles. Free, safe, drinkable urban water is very recent and by no means universal. The Great Plains in the middle of America, once covered by shallow seas, are now fairly waterless, often with desert and badla nd s. Nowadays, even the mighty Colorado is so dammed and diverted that it is nearly bled dry by towns and farms and scarcely reaches the Gulf of California. And its reservoirs are shrink-drying. The vast areas of central California, once the lush green “Salad Bowl,” irrigated by water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, are now dried and dusty...cut off from water because the snow packs in the Sierra Nevada that produced water are drying up. The Western half of this country is suffering a decades-long drought. The Eastern half is wetter but suffers pollution: rivers that catch fire, acid rain, coal ash, pig farms runoff, algae blooms from fertilizer runoff, zebra mussels and leaping Asian carp that can harm people. Corporations wanted to introduce fracking into our water systems, poi-
In the 1800s, before the Croton Aqueduct, drinking water was obtained from municipal street pumps on the sidewalk.
water from a city stream. Behind them, upstream, a hillside privy is emptying into that same stream. In parts of India, there are quite impressive old brick-lined wells with stairways going down into them. But is the water clean? The Ganges is not only used for bathing and drinking, but for disposing of the dead. And in some parts of the world, collecting water entails a long day’s walk and the risk of also collecting cholera, ty-
soning millions of gallons of clean drinking water to extract undrinkable water and gas. But, thank God, Governor Cuomo has banned fracking in New York State. Wars have been fought over water. They still are. Water is precious and necessary and growing scarcer. The lives of Upstate farmers, vintners, cows, cities — and New York City, too — depend on it. When the Dutch settled here, Manhattan was a well-wooded island, with many freshwater streams and springs. Drinking water was provided by private wells and springs. The first public well was dug in front of the old fort on Bowling Green in 1677. In 1775, a reservoir was built on Broadway between Pearl and White Sts. The Collect, a large freshwater pond, was tapped by wells. Water was conveyed by hollow logs, then wooden pipes and later, cast-iron pipes. The population kept growing. More local reservoirs were built. In 1830, a tank for fire protection was installed on 13th St. (Fires often devastated the city.) Garbage was cleaned by the rivers and by roving pigs. Backyards housed out houses, which were cleaned out professionally, but in poor neighborhoods were apt to overflow in heavy rains. House manure was soon ankle deep on the streets. My great-grandfather, William Henry Wilcox, was born in 1821 on Cedar St. in Lower Manhattan. His autobiography tactfully does not discuss outhouses, slop jars, chamber pots and other household waste-disposal arrangements, but he does describe the other uses of water. My house on Bethune St. was built in 1836 and has been much modified. Most of the working parts of the backyard have long since disappeared. But his yard once had an “airy” near the kitchen, and a room above it, and an arched brick-lined vault under the garden that kept perishables cool and flooded every spring from an underground spring. Washtubs were kept near the airy. A cistern stored rainwater running off the roof, and a bucket on a long stick with a crook hauled up the water, for washing and for washstand pitchers. “We had no water pipes to freeze up and deluge the house,” my great-grandfather wrote. “Plumbers and their life-sucking bills had not yet begun to prey on the community. Water was drawn up from the cistern...and our drinking water was obtained from the street pumps. These were placed on the edge of the sidewalk every few hundred feet apart. Several times a day the servant would need to go and get a pail of water which would soon become unpalatable...especially in warm weather, WATER, continued on p. 21 December 25, 2014
A lifelong love of tattooing fuels her artistry INTERVIEW BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC
mma Griffiths was a part of New York’s Downtown tattoo scene when the art form was illegal. Now based in Brooklyn, she spoke to The Villager via e-mail about what spurred her to become a tattooer, what the scene was like when it was underground and what legalization has wrought. The Villager: Tell me a bit about your background. Where did you grow up in the United Kingdom? Why did you decide to move to New York?
COURTESY OF EMMA GRIFFITHS
Emma Griffiths: I grew up in South Wales and south England, and attended Maidstone College of Art and Liverpool College of Art. I came to New York City on a whim in 1990 and have stayed pretty much since then. I lived in Fort Greene initially and then moved to the East Village in 1991. V: Why did you start tattooing? Were you always interested in it? My grandfather and his twin brother, who died in World War II, both had a lot of tattoos that they had done in Burma. My grandfather said the “Tatti Wallah” would come to the camp and set up and tattoo the soldiers. My father was also military, he was in the Royal Navy and he had [tattoos of] two pinups by Pinky Yun done in Hong Kong. So I was always around tattoos and didn’t really think anything of them; they were just part of my granchi [her A lion “sleeve” by Emma grandfather] and Griffiths. my dad. I first started registering tattoos when I moved to Maidstone and my boyfriend at the time was getting these super-old-school tattoos done in the Rochester/Chatham area that got giant cookie scabs on them as they healed. Never forgot it. Also, there was one guy in my town who was a skinhead pikey with swallows on his hands, spider webs up his neck and a dotted line with “cut here” on his throat. So all of this spurred my interest. V: What was the East Village underground tattooing scene like? Tattooing in the East Village in the early ’90s was amazing and something I will honestly cherish till the day I die. Back then it was illegal, it was hidden. Tattooers to me were mythical, magical, scary people who you had to search out and get the bottle up to go into their shop. I remember one time seeing Filip and Titine Leu [famous tattoo artists] walking up Second St. between A and First Avenues sometime in
December 25, 2014
Tattoos run in Emma Griffiths’s family.
One of Griffiths’s creations.
the early ’90s, probably on their way to Jonathan Shaw’s shop. And I remember standing dumbstruck/starstruck and watching them walk to the corner and go out of view. I always say, if they had walked up into the clouds I would not have been surprised. I just felt so in awe. Tattoo-wise, it was all word of mouth pretty much and you knew of every tattooer in New York. Clayton Patterson had started the Tattoo Society, which met approximately once a month — that was incredible. Many of the local tattooers came to that and we all showed our work and hung out. The established tattooers would come, and my friends and I just starting out would be too scared to look at them let alone talk to them — just a good dose of fear and respect. V: What did you feel when tattooing was legalized in 1997? As for the legalization of tattooing in New York, it was inevitable I guess. It has its good and bad. I’d say mostly bad. It’s complicated and the changes in tattooing tie into the changes in N.Y.C. Both have gentrified and been usurped by the middle classes. When it did legalize, the big change was that everybody opened street shops, including me. And tattooing started to become a more visible business. It has slowly become less of a secret, revered craft to a showy, promoted business venture for people to make money.
and started running it as a street shop. It was all pretty much custom, but we were open to the public. Between 1998 and 2008, the whole neighborhood gentrified so badly. And I just didn’t want to live and work with that kind of thinking around me. So I moved the shop to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, six years ago. I am in a beautiful commercial building, no signs in the windows again, although that may change. By appointment and it’s just nice and chill and I have great clients.
V: What were the challenges and pleasures of owning your own shop? Why did you close in 2008? Why did you move to Brooklyn? I opened my shop in 1998 on Rivington St. between Clinton and Suffolk. I had it 10 years and initially ran it as a private studio. It had the old bodega (drug front and number-running) awning with the Rivington Mini Market sign for a good few years. I liked that whole hidden secret thing. Then I put signs up
V: How would you describe your style? How I would describe my style is a hard one because I learned to tattoo in the ’90s and the prevailing attitude then was that you should be able to do any tattoo that walks in the door, so versatility was premium. Because of that, I actually learned to do and love to do many styles/types of tattooing from color to black and gray, super-traditional, realistic, bold, floral, animals, portraits, etc. Sometimes I think it’s a problem and I think, “Oh, I should specialize” as that is the prevailing attitude now. But I know I would get bored and I actually love the variety of styles of imagery that gets brought to me. It can be daunting, because you can have a customer wanting a rose and you have so many choices of how to do it, starting simply with color or black and gray, bold or fine line, realistic or stylized. And I do like to do it all really; there is so much to learn. I will say, though, that it is very important for me that the tattoo is well executed technically and that it is respecting the parameters of the craft and the aging process. I want my tattoos to age nicely and that also dictates my style with tattooing to a large degree. So saying all of that, I like very clear, linear, often highly rendered imagery, with lots of contrasts and with tones, color and texture. And bold, I like bold. Visit Emmagriffithstattoo.com for more information TheVillager.com
Behind the bar, to serve and preserve Extraordinary photos ensure the city’s forgotten won’t disappear
hances are the Terminal Bar wasn’t what Frank Sinatra had in mind when he famously sang, “It’s quarter to three, there’s no one in the place except you and me.” Nah, the Terminal Bar was a dump, a real dive and a hell of a watering hole that some called “the roughest bar in town.” Murray Goldman, the bar’s owner since 1956, thought that was TheVillager.com
media hype — but Martin Scorsese did use it in “Taxi Driver.” Located across the street from the Port Authority Bus Terminal on the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 41st Street, the bar was where an endless, diverse stream of customers would wander in for a drink and chat it up with the bartender and a rogues gallery of regulars. Shelly Nadelman got to know a lot of them during the ten years he
PHOTO BY SHELDON NADELMAN
COURTESY OF PRINCETON ARCHITECTURAL PRESS
BY NORMAN BORDEN
Terminal Bar, as viewed from Port Authority in 1981.
spent there as a bartender, from 1972 until its closing. When Goldman (his father-in-law) offered him a bartender’s job to help feed Nadelman’s growing family, he started working the day shift. But he didn’t just serve his customers drinks. He also took their picture — thousands of them. Using his 35mm camera, he shot black and white portraits of the regulars, the locals, the pimps, prostitutes, office workers, commuters, bus
drivers, gay men, drag queens, and adventure-seeking tourists. This let him satisfy his passion for photography while still tending bar. Nadelman’s son, Stefan, says, “My father looked at all new customers as potential portraits. When they walked in he would size them up, imagining them as sixteen-by-twenty-inch TERMINAL BAR, continued on p. 14 December 25, 2014
Photos from a decade at ‘New York’s most notorious watering hole’ TERMINAL BAR A PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD OF NEW YORK’S MOST NOTORIOUS WATERING HOLE BY SHELDON & STEFAN NADELMAN Princeton Architectural Press
TERMINAL BAR, continued from p. 13
Sheldon “Shelly” Nadelman doing his “chemistry thing” (taking 86 proof Gordon’s Gin and replacing it with a clear, cheaper 86 proof). “Nobody ever knew the difference,” says Nadelman, who admits to duplicating the trick with Scotch, cognac and Rye whisky. This self-portrait was taken in 1973.
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Candy, in 1981, was one of many subjects captured on and around the garbage can that came into view after a newsstand outside the front door was taken away. “So here was this new venue for me,” recalls Shelly Nadelman. “I used a telephoto lens and stood in the same spot behind the bar to shoot the entire series.”
are no pretty pictures here, no glamour shots. The first few pages set the stage with location shots: the exterior of the bar, the pedestrian traffic, the Port Authority terminal across the street. The rest of the book is filled with headshots and group portraits of customers organized by categories such as “The Regulars,” “Old-Timers,” “The New Wave,” ”One-Shot Opportunities” and “The Place to Be.” Other sections include “Family,” “Bartenders,” “Porters” and “Con-
PHOTO BY SHELDON NADELMAN
cast of New York characters that he served, even remembering their favorite drink. “The Terminal Bar” went on to win the 2003 Sundance Jury Prize in the short film category, among other honors. Stefan says, “There were several publishers who approached me after the film hit the festival circuit, but these discussions inevitably fizzled out. So the book idea was filed away once again. Over the past decade, I released some more short Terminal Bar films on my YouTube channel that complemented the original.” These attracted more attention to the original documentary, and in 2013 Stefan got a book offer. He says, “I think the past 12 years helped age the photos a bit more, and that extra distance from the 70s gives the collection more historic value.” As photography books go, this one may be as unique as its subject. There
Kim (left) at the concession counter during its Korean food phase (1973). Rented out by bar owner Murray Goldman, the space offered Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Italian cuisine over the years.
PHOTO BY SHELDON NADELMAN
prints, and if they met all the necessary criteria, he’d ask if he could take their picture.” He’d develop the roll of film in his darkroom and then make 8x10 inch prints. He hung some on the bar’s walls to promote his work and once in a while, a customer would buy one for five bucks. Over the years, he took more than 2,600 images that documented a period of New York’s visual and cultural history that has vanished (only 22 were self-portraits). After the bar shut down on January 8, 1982, the Times Square area underwent major changes — sanitized and Disneyfied and corporatized. In fact, the headquarters of the New York Times now occupies the block where the Terminal Bar once was. When Murray Goldman decided to close the business because of rising rent and decreasing business, his son-in-law went home to New Jersey. His photo archive from the bar would go unseen for 20 years until Stefan began to sort and scan the negatives. He had long recognized their historic significance and featured many of the images in his first film, “The Terminal Bar” — a 22-minute documentary about the bar’s customers. The elder Nadelman plays a key role, recalling details about the
PHOTO BY SHELDON NADELMAN
PHOTO BY SHELDON NADELMAN
Hardcover | 176 pp. | 8x9 in. | $35
Murray Goldman (seen here, circa 1978) bought the Terminal Bar in 1956 and worked the day shift until it closed in Jan. of 1982. Shelly Nadelman remembers him as “a sympathetic soul, and he loaned so much money and received so many bounced checks in return, you could paper the walls of the bar with them. He drank Johnnie Walker Red on the rocks.”
cession Workers.” Some of Nadelman’s recollections about his customers are used as captions. Of the “New Wave” gay men and trans people who began to frequent Terminal Bar after the Stonewall riots, Nadelman recalls his 19731978 photos of one customer who “used to come in on Saturdays, and the more he drank, the more lipstick he put on. Every time he came in he had another hairdo. I bought one of his Pentax cameras from him: fifty TERMINAL BAR, continued on p. 17 TheVillager.com
Burton’s weird, but not unwelcome, change of pace ‘Big Eyes’ comes close to something great FILM
© 2014 THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
BIG EYES Written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski Directed by Tim Burton Runtime: 106 minutes Opening Wide on Dec. 25 Visit bigeyesfilm.com
BY SEAN EGAN
his biopic has the strange distinction of being both one of the most and least Tim Burton-y movies Tim Burton has ever made. Signs of the goth-king auteur’s favorite themes and visual motifs abound from the opening sequence, depicting thousands of art posters being printed — a sight immediately reminiscent of the Rube Goldberg wonders of “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” and the turning gears of mass production central to his adaptations of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Sweeney Todd.” The kitschy, 1950s aesthetic found in movies like “Edward Scissorhands” and “Mars Attacks” are evoked heavily here through the set design and costuming. And, most important of all, the film focuses on a misunderstood, alienated outsider artist — a staple of essentially every Burton film ever. But “Big Eyes” also represents a very distinct departure for the director. Known primarily for his big-budget spectacles, this is a far more restrained affair, finding the director working with the lowest budget of his career and focusing on more grounded human drama. Collaborating with screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (the scribes responsible for Burton’s masterful “Ed
(Con) Artist Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) sits down to perform, as his artist wife (Amy Adams, left) and a friend (Krysten Ritter) look on.
Wood”), “Big Eyes” dramatizes the lives of Walter and Margaret Keane, the married couple responsible for unleashing the genuinely strange, maudlin paintings of large eyed-children referenced in the title. The stranger-than-fiction true story follows the personal journey of introverted Margaret (Amy Adams), the artist behind the pictures, as her charismatic, wheeler-dealer husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) takes credit for her work, building an unlikely art empire in the process. As Walter’s ego balloons, Margaret begins to regret her decisions, and learns to assert herself — culminating in an outrageous courtroom paint-off between the two. Though the story is more realistic and the tone lighter than his usual fare, “Big Eyes” is unmistakably a Burton picture. The whole thing seems to be the director’s skewed take on Sirkian melodrama (complete with rich, Technicolor-esque cinematography from Bruno Delbonnel) — which is a weird, but not unwelcome change of pace for the director. It’s incredibly satisfying to see his gothic, German-expressionistic tendencies
clash up against the candy colored world of the movie — such as when a guilt-ridden Margaret begins to hallucinate her signature, saucer-sized eyes on supermarket patrons. It’s a genuinely exciting and disturbing sequence, and one of the director’s most visually and emotionally striking scenes in recent years. Burton’s oddball vision is supported by talented collaborators. Alexander and Karaszewki’s script moves along at a good pace, deftly shifting between (and mixing) quirky comedy and domestic drama. Waltz puts his grinning, wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing persona to good use, turning in perhaps his most over-the-top comedic performance to date, while still being able to transform into a hulking Noseferatu-like figure of domestic abuse. Best of all is Adams, who gives Margaret a quiet dignity, revealing her slowly building regret, anger and fear primarily through her expressive face and, yes, eyes.
“Big Eyes” comes close enough to being something great that it’s frustrating that it doesn’t capitalize on its incredible potential. At some points it seems as if Burton and his collaborators didn’t have enough faith in the source material or their audience. Intrusive voice-over narration articulates plot points and, worse, describes characters’ feelings rather than allowing the performances to speak for themselves. Danny Elfman’s score similarly does a little too much hand holding, aggressively telling the audience what to feel and precisely when to feel it. And a Lana Del Rey song employed during the middle of the film is comically out of place, dabbling in the kind of plot synopsis lyricism more fitting for a sitcom theme song. Most disappointing is the movie’s refusal to explore its characters and the complicated social issues it touches upon more fully. While Waltz and Adams turn in excellent performances, the screenplay only hints at their deeper motivations, and lacks a nuance on par with the acting. Though the film gets credit for raising interesting questions about the nature of art and its relationship to commerce, as well as the struggles of women in society and the art world, it deals with these ideas in a surface level way. Still, “Big Eyes” is not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination — in fact it’s really quite good — light, stylish and fun. It’s certainly Burton’s best, most fully realized project in years, and strikes of an old pro trying something new and challenging himself. While “Big Eyes” might not be a late career masterpiece, it’s an enjoyable crowd pleaser, and a quiet return to form from one of cinema’s most distinctive directors.
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December 25, 2014
Just Do Art on New Year’s Day
COURTESY OF NUYORICAN POETS CAFE
COURTESY OF MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM
Celebrate New Year’s like they did in the days of old, at Merchant’s House Museum.
There’s no admission to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe New Year’s Day Extravaganza, but your voluntary donation of a used paperback will help Books Through Bars.
calendar. Facebook: facebook.com/merchantshouse. Twitter: @merchantshouse. Regular Hours: Thurs.– Mon., 12–5 p.m. Admission: $10 ($5 for students/ seniors, free for under 12).
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
THE POETRY PROJECT’S 41st ANNUAL NEW YEAR’S DAY MARATHON BENEFIT READING
“COME CALLING” on NEW YEAR’S at MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM
New Year’s Day used to be about more than recovering from the night before. The real party happened on Jan. 1, and had nothing to do with football games or floats made out of roses. In an 1844 diary
December 25, 2014
PHOTO BY HUGH BURCKHARDT
Founded in 1966 by the late Paul Blackburn — when displaced Lower East Side coffeehouse poets were welcomed into the St. Marks Church artist/ activist fold — The Poetry Project’s mission to “promote, foster and inspire the reading and writing of contemporary poetry” endures. This annual New Year’s Day event brings together dozens of writers, musicians, dancers and artists for a 12-hour celebration of expression. $20 gets the general public in the door, and helps sustain the Project’s present state of “rude health,” as does the purchase of donated food, beverages, books and tons of terrific raffle prizes (including booty from Anthology Film Archives, BAM and the Strand Bookstore). Visit poetryproject.org for a list of the Marathon’s 140+ participants — and if you can’t make the Jan. 1 celebration, check out the Project’s Mon., Wed. and Fri. night reading series, as well as its 2-3 weekly writing workshops. Thurs., Jan. 1 from 2 a.m.–2 p.m. At The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church (131 E. 10th St. at Second Ave.). Seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Food and refreshments available. Wheelchair accessible (with assistance, by calling 212-674-0910 in advance). Tickets are $20 general, $15 for students, seniors, and Poetry Project members. Purchase at the door, or in advance at poetryproject.org.
Poet Anne Waldman and musicians Daniel Carter and Thurston Moore, at the 2011 edition of The Poetry Project’s annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading.
entry, former New York City mayor Philip Hone likened it to “a general carnival” where “Broadway, from one end to the other, was alive with private carriages, omnibuses, cabs, and curricles, and lines of pedestrians fringed the carriageways.” That custom of starting the year by traveling to visit friends is alive and doing very well, at this “Come Calling” event — which fills the lovingly preserved Tredwell family residence with the sights, sounds and customs of an old-fashioned 19th century New Year’s celebration. Tours of the house run throughout the afternoon, refreshments are served and a raffle drawing takes place at 4:30 p.m. Through Jan. 5, Merchant’s House Museum remains decked in festive splendor — part of their “Christmas Comes to Old New York” exhibit. Scenes of holiday preparation are recreated, linking many of our modern holiday traditions (handmade ornaments, poinsettias, evergreens) to the mid-19th century. “Come Calling” happens from 2–5 p.m. on Thurs., Jan. 1. At Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). $20 ($10 for members). Reservations required. Call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org/
ALTERNATIVE NEW YEAR’S DAY SPOKEN WORD & POETRY EXTRAVAGANZA at NUYORICAN POETS CAFE
From 2 p.m. to midnight, over 160 performers will perform at Nuyorican Poets Cafe, marking the 21st year of this New Year’s Day extravaganza. Arrive with your own material, and claim one of the open mike slots (interspersed throughout the day). There’s no admission fee, but the organizers encourage you to bring a book. Used paperbacks will be given to Books Through Bars, which distributes donated books to incarcerated people (more info to be found at booksthroughbarsny.org for more info). On Jan. 2, Nuyorican’s first “Friday Night Slam” of the year is hosted by Mahogany L. Browne ($13; line forms outside 1 hour before 10 p.m. admission). On Jan. 3, multi-award-winning jazz vocalist Laurie Dapice and Marylyne Myrthal are among the featured artists in “Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz Jam” (doors open at 9:30 p.m.; $15 admission). The Spoken Word & Poetry Extravaganza, a free event, happens on Thurs., Jan. 1, from 2 p.m. to midnight. At Nuyorican Poets Cafe (236 E. Third St., btw. Aves. B & C). For more info, call 212-780-9386 or visit nuyorican.org. TheVillager.com
No pause for ‘Effects’
Contemporary Performance fest burns bright for three nights THE SPECIAL EFFECTS FESTIVAL January 8–10 At The Wild Project 195 E. Third Street (btw. Aves. A & B) Tickets: $15 Reservations: 212-352-3101 or visit thewildproject.com More info at contemporaryperformance.com
PHOTO BY SARA BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY
urated by Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson, the Special Effects festival is a brick and mortar articulation of their online Contemporary Performance Network — a forum where artists, presenters, scholars and festival organizers can meet, share work and collaborate. This three-day event at the Wild Project gathers its talent from artists dedicated to traversing, merging and/or reaching beyond the fields of experimental theatre, dance, video art, visual art, music composition and performance art.
The Jan. 8 opening night party, curated by Heather Litteer, features “performative interviews” of female legends from the Downtown arts scene. Later that same night, then again on Jan. 9, Adrienne Truscott (of the Wau Wau Sisters burlesque duo) performs her Edinburgh Fringe award-winning solo show. A mix of stand-up, video, nudity and a little whimsical dance, “Asking For It” has Truscott confronting taboos surrounding rape — including the requisite somber attitude that surrounds its discussion in polite circles. On Jan. 9, Ben Gansky (of the Brooklyn performance space Cloud City) curates “Gray Spaces” — an evening of new and in-progress “marginal zone” performance work existing in the zone between black box theatre and white room art museum mentalities. There’s more Brooklyn-to-East Village crossover on Jan. 9, when composer/vocalist/choreographer Colin Self’s “Vocal Test” explores vocality, corporeality and familial systems as a site for energetic transformation. Jan. 10, “group” is research clinic Institute for New Feeling’s 90-minute, immersive live music and video experience that requires cardiovascular, breathing and physical contact exercises from audience members.
Adrienne Truscott is “Asking For It.” Her solo comedy about the rules and rhetoric of rape plays Jan. 8 & 9.
Portrait of a bar and a bygone era TERMINAL BAR, continued from p. 14
PHOTO BY SHELDON NADELMAN
dollars and a telephoto lens. He was also a beer drinker.” The eight photographs of Larry, a “Regular,” were taken over a seven-year period and end with Larry wearing a gold chain. Clearly, Larry enjoyed having his picture taken. In “The Place to Be” are portraits of couples, friends, and guys just hanging out at the bar after work. The photograph of the “Merry Christmas” banner over the bar and Joe the porter taking a break gives the place a sense of community…but we know there were few silent nights at the Terminal. Shelly Nadelman has clearly captured the essence of the Terminal Bar — its tawdriness, sleaziness and, most of all, the faces and idiosyncrasies of the people who posed for him.
people are gonna disappear…” And yet during the Terminal Bar’s existence, from 1956 to 1982, some of the city’s forgotten people found a home of sorts, a temporary refuge from the streets and the chance to get their picture taken. They won’t disappear. Shelly Nadelman and his son Stefan made sure of that.
Jersey, bartending, with some of the regulars (1980).
His pictures are 30 to 40 years old and you wonder where these people are now. But then Nadelman’s observa-
tion in his son’s film comes to mind: “The street’s gonna get you, the street’s gonna eat them alive, all these
Norman Borden is a New York-based writer and photographer. The author of more than 100 reviews for NYPhotoReview.com and a member of Soho Photo Gallery and ASMP, his image “Williamsburg” was chosen by juror Jennifer Blessing, Curator of Photography at the Guggenheim, for inclusion in the upcoming 2014 competition issue of The Photo Review. Seventy of his contemporary photographs are in “Synagogues of New York’s Lower East Side,” which Fordham University Press just reissued as a trade paperback. Visit normanbordenphoto.com. December 25, 2014
December 25, 2014
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Continued from p. 10
councilmembers will bring up the same concerns raised with previous bills and call for additional research and investigation, placing the bill on the Council’s “snail’s track.” Over time, additional councilmembers will sign onto the bill, pledge their support for small businesses and pose for photos at numerous rallies in front of City Hall. However, no matter how many councilmembers sign onto the bill, it will never make it out of committee for a vote on the Council floor — giving councilmembers a pass on having to live up to their promises. Those “walking dead” small businesses coming to the end of their lease agreements will not survive this protracted process with the City Council. They will be casualties. They will be evicted. Years will pass. A new election cycle will come around and those term-limited city councilmembers who supported the bill will also fade away. We will then be right back where we are now: a new City Council, a new speaker, a new bill. And the band played on.
are being made to save retail shops. In order to do this, we have to figure out what the many different factors are that combine to lead to this unfortunate trend. George Jochnowitz
New York, New York? To The Editor: Re “Mom-and-pop shops: Are they too small to save?” (talking point, by Sharon Woolums, Dec. 18): When my photo business required more space I had to leave town. There simply was no “next step up.” The next step required superstar money and I could not meet the standard. It was impossible. I see the same sort of thing happening with longstanding small businesses that have become part of the fabric of their neighborhood. When the lease ends, so can their business — and after a long period of contribution to the community. With that in mind, it would seem the message may have gone from: “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” to “You can’t make it here.”
Alfred Placeres Placeres is president, New York Federation of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
Bookstores and nail salons
To The Editor: Re “ ‘Keep fighting,’ jail-bound attorney urges MoRUS crowd” (news article, Dec. 18): I differ with Stanley on this. In my opinion, thanks to N.Y.U.’s and real estate developers’ greed on the Lower East Side — it’s over.
To The Editor: Re “Mom-and-pop shops: Are they too small to save?” (talking point, by Sharon Woolums, Dec. 18): The situation seems quite complicated. Being parts of big businesses doesn’t save bookstores. Borders bookstores has gone out of business. Barnes & Noble has closed many of its branches all over the city. On the other hand, nail salons are quite stable. They are either momand-pop shops or parts of mom-andpop mini-chains. The disappearance of retail stores is quite distressing. W. Eighth St. has had vacancies for some time. Now E. Eighth St. has just lost two restaurants between Broadway and University Place: Cafetasia and Au Bon Pain. Both of these were parts of chains. It is good news to learn that efforts
December 25, 2014
Pier55 and schools To The Editor: As someone who has lived in the West Village for more than a dozen years, and runs a small software company in the area, as well, I wanted to offer my unqualified support for this project. I think Pier55 has the potential to be truly extraordinary. It’s a unique public/nonprofit partnership that will be a world-class public park
and performance venue. It will put theater artists from the community in dialogue with local artists, schools and organizations to create longterm, meaningful programming partnerships. Stephen Daldry — a P.S. 3 and Clinton School for Artists and Writers parent — and George C. Wolfe, the creative forces behind Pier55, both have a deep and abiding commitment to engaging the community in a sustained, ongoing relationship. I strongly support this development and hope that the neighborhood will continue to be included in this process. Marlowe Greenberg
It’s music to his ears To The Editor: My wife, Pia, and I have two daughters, 11 and 9. We have lived in Westbeth for the past seven years, a building filled with wonderful artists. I’ve been a professional singer for the past 30 years. I am also the lead singer of the Original Blues Brothers Band, with Steve Cropper and Blue Lou Marini. When I heard about having a park and performance space at Pier55, my first thought was, “brilliant idea.” My wife and I attended the Community Board 2 Parks Committee hearing on Dec. 3 and saw the layout of the planned park at Pier55 and heard about all the wonderful opportunities it will provide for our community. We left the meeting very excited. To know that the elderly, young kids and young parents will all have a venue we can easily walk to where we can hear and see free entertainment is like a lottery win for everybody. This park and performance space will not only give many, many artists a platform to share their talents, but will also provide jobs for people in need of work. Pier55 will help New York sustain its place as a leader and will be an
example for the world to see how we support our artists on all levels. Bobby, Pia, Camilla and Olivia Harden
An honest look at aging To The Editor: Re “The final lace-up: My last pair of high tops” (notebook, by Scott Oglesby, Dec. 4): I wanted to express my appreciation for Scott Oglesby. It is so refreshing to hear somebody deal honestly with getting older. We may be able to fight it up to a point — but then we have to accept what is happening and not feel guilty for not being among those few running marathons in their 90s. Thank you, Scott, for your honest and humorous column. It has made me feel better. Marianne Landre Goldscheider
Move over, Taylor Swift! To The Editor: Re “Swift as N.Y.C. ambassador is not welcome on the L.E.S.” (talking point, by Clayton Patterson, Nov. 27): Clayton Patterson should be our ambassador. Very few people seem to care about this topic as much as him. Something needs to be done before we lose everything that makes the L.E.S. unique. Thank you, Mr. Patterson. Nicolas Heller E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to email@example.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.
SOUND OFF! Write a letter to the editor firstname.lastname@example.org TheVillager.com
Water, waste and N.Y. State WATER, continued from p. 11
when fresh and cool water was most desirable. As ice carts and ice delivery had not yet been thought of. Yet pump water was so far from pure that when the comparatively pure Croton water was produced, it seemed for a time almost undrinkable, so perverted had our taste become by the water to which we had become accustomed. After we had used the Croton water for a time, the pump water became absolutely offensive...so subjective to our habits do even our physical tastes become.” So much for water. As to the problem of waste! ... “The streets of the city were muddy and filthy in the extreme,” great-granddad wrote. “No provision was made for garbage except by throwing it into the street, where sooner or later it was found and devoured by hogs that roamed through all the residential parts of the city in great numbers with no one to molest them. They were recognized as the city’s scavengers, and many a poor Irishman (or woman) was practically encouraged to keep as many hogs as he could manage by the fact that it cost nothing to feed them. ... I saw a man let loose his 30 hogs one evening, and was told that they all came home at night.” In 1832 Asian cholera struck New York. “The city was almost abandoned by such terrified citizens as were able to get away,” he wrote. “Grass was seen growing between the cobblestones on once busy streets... .” The dismal and often polluted water supply had often led to various illnesses. But after the Croton Aqueduct began to dispense clean drinking water from the Croton Reservoir, the city’s health improved. Water was brought from the Croton River in Westchester, and by aqueduct from the Croton Reservoir to the city, with reservoirs at 42nd St. and Central Park. In 1836, the Wilcox family moved to Randall Place — Ninth St. west of Broadway — lined with tall brick houses on the south side of the street, and on the north side, a big sandy hill and distant occasional farms. And dense woods, in which my great-grandfather once got lost while out hunting. About the same time, my husband’s great-grandfather sold his farm for $7,000 because being “out of town” was too lonely for his wife. The Plaza Hotel sits there today. But the city kept growing rapidly. In 1905, the Catskill region was recognized as a suitable source of water, and reservoirs, such as the Ashokan, were developed. After legal battles between New York and New Jersey — over water from tributaries from TheVillager.com
the headwaters of the Delaware River — were resolved, more reservoirs, “managed” lakes, tunnels and controlled waterways were developed. In 1951 when I was six months pregnant, my husband and I and our 2-year-old daughter scrambled down into a valley that had been scraped clean of houses, trees and fences and picnicked under one surviving tree. I swam in a busy little streamlet nearby while our daughter trotted anxiously along the bank. The following year when we came back our picnic spot was covered by tons upon tons of beautiful clean cold water. A treasure! The Rondout, I think — or the Neversink? — reservoir was completed a little later. These magnificent reservoirs and many others like them and “managed” lakes and waterways are connected by tunnels, and aqueducts can distribute water to any region suffering local drought. And New York boasts the cleanest and best-tasting water of any city in the world. Again — even though he hesitated — thanks to Governor Cuomo for finally banning fracking, which could well poison this system. As to waste disposal, we are still following the prehistoric pattern — drinking water from upstream and (until recently) sewage still dumped downriver. In heavy rainstorms in New York City, raw sewage still overflows into the river from the combined sewer system, which becomes overcapacity at such times. But the Gansevoort Destructor — as the incinerator that once dumped ash as far as Bethune St. was known — closed long ago. Recycling and dog poop-scooping and trash barrels on every street corner have replaced hogs and horse manure. The city is far cleaner than it was in my great-grandfather’s day. In addition to the oil and gas people, the bottled-water companies were also rumored to have been putting pressure on Cuomo to allow fracking. After all, what better way to sell clean drinking water than when the water supply has been poisoned with the chemicals used in fracking? And indeed I heard recently that Lake Cooper near Kingston, N.Y., may be turned over to the Niagara Bottling company, privatizing a public water supply. And later that same evening in a grocery store I heard a recorded voice: “Why drink tap water? Visit our shelves full of safe, tasty bottled water.” Same water as in the watershed’s reservoirs, but bottled. Oh, please! How about poisoning the air and then selling bottled oxygen? Most of our other natural resources are for sale. But water for us is the stuff of life. And in many parts of this country, it is already rendered undrinkable by fracking.
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December 25, 2014
Two-sport athlete on a roll at LaSalle Academy SPORTS BY ROBERT ELKIN
he East Village’s LaSalle Academy is noted for its baseball and basketball programs that eventually sent a number of its students to the pros. However, LaSalle, at 215 E. Sixth St., has other teams, such as track and field, that are more low-profile, though it doesn’t even have a football program because of the school’s location. And did anyone even know LaSalle had a bowling team? Well, they do. Now LaSalle is trying to upgrade the bowling team, though its members unfortunately have to travel a distance to the Whitestone Lanes in Queens for their league matches and to the 34th Avenue Bowl, also in Queens, for practice. The Cardinals keglers reached the playoffs of the Brooklyn-Queens division of the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association but lost to
Archbishop Molloy of Queens, 742-691, 807-651 and 829-578. Molloy thus moves onto the semifinal round of the citywide finals in early January. Jonathan Glover rolled games of 201, 192 and 204 for a three-game series of 597. His high game for the season was 263. He felt good in bowling that high during the past regular season. Many student-athletes concentrate on one sport. But some may do any number, depending on the season. Glover, for one, happens to be a twosport athlete whose other passion is basketball. Over the past years, Glover bowled recreationally at the 34th Avenue Bowl. He was so outstanding that he received a bowling scholarship to attend LaSalle Now that the bowling season is over on an interscholastic level, he’s switching from spinning balls down the lane to shooting them into the hoop. He didn’t play in any bowling matches during one week before the break because he competed on the school’s hoops squad. “It’s hard to play two sports at one
time,” said Cheryl Glover, Jonathan’s mother, who doubles as an assistant coach for the bowling team, as well. “He loves basketball, and bowling is something that I love,” she said. “He’s good at both sports. It doesn’t really have an effect on his schoolwork. He gets so wrapped up in the sports that he could forget about the academics. He tries to balance it out.” It’s hard to pick one, but the 5-foot10-inch junior said, if he had to, he’d go with the nonbouncing balls. “If I had a choice to make between the two sports, I would do bowling,” he said. “I feel that bowling would take me on a better path than basketball will. And I am more talented in bowling than in basketball, for I picked up bowling faster than I did basketball.” His coach, Ron Anderson, said playing more than one sport helps keep Glover on point. “I love the idea for him to play two sports,” Anderson said. “It keeps his mental attitude straight, thinking what he has to do, and helps with his school work.” Bowling season started in September with tryouts and practices. They learn the fundamentals of the sport, how to read the lanes’ condition, and learn proper technique for how to
hold a bowling ball. Some of these boys even go to a bowling camp, and some of them are in their first or second year of competitive bowling. “Last year they were in the CHSAA ‘B’ Division Championship,” Anderson said. “They are learning as time goes on. Next year we expect to have a great season. We expect to have everybody returning except one.” During the offseason, Glover will compete in area basketball tournaments and try to hone his better basketball game. He’ll also be attending a bowling camp in Rochester, N.Y. In the summer, he’ll work on his bowling, too, as will some of the other players, working out on their own to improve their weak points. Glover is in his fourth year of bowling, including three with his teammates at LaSalle Academy. Coach Anderson attended Alexander Hamilton High School, where he was on the “B” Division Public Schools Athletic League championship basketball team in his senior year. He then went on to St. Francis College in Brooklyn and played under Coach Dan Lynch. He is more noted for being a basketball coach in “outside leagues” and has more recently turned his attention to bowling.
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