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High altitude Hamlet, at RMA (p. 27)



DECEMBER 28, 2011 - JANUARY 10, 2011

Old concerns regarding new Chelsea Market design BY SCOTT STIFFLER In March of this year, public reaction to Jamestown Properties’ desired vertical expansion of Chelsea Market (which requires a zoning variance) came in like a lion — when the project’s proposed height and aesthetics were both met with widespread disapproval. Any hopes for 2011 to go out like a lamb were dashed two weeks ago — when Chelsea

Watchman missed and remembered: Claude Rolls’ 22nd St. vigil was a blessing to many.

Mourning the ‘mayor of West 22nd Street’ BY BONNIE ROSENSTOCK Dubbed by residents as the “mayor” of West 22nd Street, Claude Rolls died on Wednesday, December 14 at the age of 78 of an apparent heart attack. He was found in his newly bought red van by his friend Kelvin Maharaj around 2:45pm. Efforts by the EMT to revive him were unsuccessful, as he had apparently succumbed sometime before. When Maharaj discovered Rolls, he was parked a short distance away from his usual spot on the block (a legal length from the hydrant next to Clement Clarke Moore Park), waiting for it to become free. He had just bought the used van that morning in Queens and called Maharaj to look at it when he got back. “When I spotted it, I went over,” said Maharaj. “Because it was new, people didn’t know it was his car.” Maharaj immediately called Russell

Orenstein, who lives at 479. “He said he wanted to die sitting in his car,” related Orenstein. “I saw Claude the night before he died, saying good-night to him as I did almost every night. And while I mourn his loss, I celebrate his life more. He left this earth on the block where he lived, where the people who cared for him could do for him in death what he did for us in life.” For more than four decades Rolls, who was African-American, had been part of the fabric of the block. He kept a watchful eye on young and old alike from his van, always parked in his designated place (between Ninth and Tenth Avenues). He was there from the crack of dawn until late at night. If and where he went home to sleep is unknown — although he had a storage facility for his tools. “He wouldn’t say where he lived,” said former daughter-in-law Charmaine Rolls, who was very close to him, and

is trying to track down his address through his P.O. Box. “He was a very private person and didn’t like to speak about himself. Nobody had an address for him, but you could always find him on West 22nd Street,” she said. Charmaine, who had known Rolls since she was 14 (when he lived on West 23rd Street with his dog Zipper) and was later married to his son Kevin, came up from Georgia to identify his body and have his remains cremated. She also saw the impromptu memorial of candles, flowers, cards and remembrances next to where he parked. The majority of his ashes will be interred at Calverton National Cemetery (a U.S. military cemetery on eastern Long Island). Rolls was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1958 and had burns on his ear from a helicopter crash that melted his helmet.

Now first published several significantly altered renderings and massing comparisons. Since then, many of the project’s most vocal critics have acknowledged the updated design does address concerns expressed to Jamestown since the initial March unveiling. The bulk has been redistributed, thus

Continued on page 3

Recovery is priceless holiday gift for some BY HELAINA N. HOVITZ In the midst of another holiday season tarnished with entitlement and overindulgence, seven men stood in the chapel of a Lower Manhattan homeless shelter filled with hope and appreciation. On December 15, the graduates of the New York City Rescue Mission’s 12

Continued on page 5


Step-Recovery Program celebrated their own Christmas miracle: a new beginning. The very first step was to get and stay sober in order to create a more manageable life. Upon graduation and having completed all 12

Continued on page 6




December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

Photo courtesy of the artist

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

Last call, for painted cupcakes Viridian Artists exhibit closes Dec. 31 Born on Long Island in the ’60s, Viridian Artists Inc. grew up in SoHo, spent the ’70s on 57th Street and has called Chelsea home for over a decade. Each year at this time, Viridian invites its regulars (and guest artists) to “create some small but special artworks to share during this season of celebration, contemplation and giving.” In addition to the exhibition of those works, Viridian is

bringing back its Holiday Store — stocked with art cards, prints, artist books, small art and art jewelry (items are under $100). “Holiday Presence” is on view through Dec. 31. At Viridian Artists (548 W. 28th St., btw. 10th and 11th Aves., 6th fl.). Gallery hours: Tues. through Sat., 12-6pm. For info, 212-414-4040 or viridianartists. com.

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December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012


Chelsea Market feedback anticipates ULURP, CB4 process Continued from page 1 altering the “perceived height” when viewed from Tenth Avenue. The levels are now at 184, 197 and 226 feet (from a previous height of 130, 210 and 250 feet). The redesigned exterior, and the addition of some greenery between levels, references both the neighborhood’s industrial past and the present High Line flora.

Community Board 4 (CB4) Chair Corey Johnson said, ‘The board is pleased that the community has had an ample amount of time to weigh in before the ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] process has even officially begun,’ adding that he hopes debate surrounding the potential rezoning of Chelsea Market is, ‘done in a thoughtful and fairminded way, to both the community and the applicant.’ Despite these improvements, few if any hearts and minds seem to have been changed — setting the tone for several crucial, and potentially contentious, meetings scheduled for early 2012. Asked to weigh in on the current and upcoming public vetting process, Community Board 4 (CB4) Chair Corey Johnson said, “The board is pleased that the community has had an ample amount

Images courtesy of Jamestown Properties and Studios Architecture

Now and then: A December rendering (left) created in response to feedback from the initial March design (right).

of time to weigh in before the ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] process has even officially begun,” adding that he hopes debate surrounding the potential rezoning of Chelsea Market is, “done in a thoughtful and fair-minded way, to both the community and the applicant.” Regarding the ULURP timeline, CB4 District Manager Robert J. Benfatto noted, “I’m told that the environmental [study] is not ready yet, so the earliest it would be [ULURP] certified would be January 23. If that’s the case, then the [CB4] Preservation and Planning Committee would hear it on February 23, and the full board would hear it on the first Wednesday in March.” Anticipating that process, Benfatto noted that, “We have asked Jamestown to meet with community groups and keep us in the loop as to how it went.” Asked by Chelsea Now for their assessment of how the new design is being received by the community, Jamestown Properties managing director Michael Phillips asserted, “It seems as though many people appreciate the new design in as much as it is more in keeping with the existing structure. And, perhaps most importantly, most people seem to appreciate that Jamestown is willing to lis-

Jamestown Properties managing director Michael Phillips asserted, ‘It seems as though many people appreciate the new design in as much as it is more in keeping with the existing structure. And, perhaps most importantly, most people seem to appreciate that Jamestown is willing to listen to various voices in the community and understand that the new design is a result of our listening to them.’

ten to various voices in the community and understand that the new design is a result of our listening to them.” Despite repeated requests, Jamestown declined to reveal the names of any “electeds and stakeholders” who’ve expressed favorable opinions regarding the new design. It’s likely that Katie Kelly wasn’t among those reaching out to Jamestown with words

of support. In an email sent to Chelsea Now, Kelly said of the new renderings, “Not one of them takes into consideration the original building they will be squatting on, much less the historic neighborhood the market is close to. This is a dreadful encroachment on the neighborhoods and the buildings that are

Continued on page 4

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December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

CB4 urges Jamestown to meet with community groups Continued from page 3 fast being lost in New York City.” Jim Jasper, a member of the 300 West 15th Street Block Association, noted, “No one in our block association was impressed by the lopping off of one story in the new Chelsea Market plans. We remain opposed.” Allen Oster, however, voiced support for the design, while asking opponents to contemplate how much the area would have already changed had the economy remained

between 17th and 18th, Tenth Avenue between 20th and 21st, and the 22nd Street Time Warner Building. Talk about casting shadows. The market [Chelsea Market] has been a major engine in the rejuvenation of the west side, and Jamestown has continued to improve on the original concept.” Save Chelsea, however, doesn’t regard any ambitions to alter Chelsea Market as the stuff of improvement. “In spite of new renderings,” the group declared in an email, “Save Chelsea continues to oppose the proposed zoning change and expansion of

Jim Jasper, a member of the 300 West 15th Street Block Association, noted, ‘No one in our block association was impressed by the lopping off of one story in the new Chelsea Market plans. We remain opposed.’

robust: “I find the new rendering a great addition to the ever-upward expansion of the Chelsea streetscape,” said Oster. “The building looks like it actually belongs there. Let’s roll back the years and think about all the buildings that would have been built had the market not tanked, i.e., Tenth Avenue

Chelsea Market. While we appreciate that Jamestown has revised their architectural plans, it is very important to remember that this is first and foremost a land use and zoning issue. We continue to feel that the requested zoning change, designed to yield optimum views and maximum revenues for

Jamestown, will have numerous negative impacts for the Chelsea community. These will include greatly increased traffic and congestion in a primarily residential area, already over-saturated with hotels and commercial enterprise. It must also be borne in mind that this expansion would be a dooropener for all subsequent developers seeking to short circuit existing zoning — zoning that is intended to preserve appropriate use and neighborhood character.” David Holowka, a board member of Save Chelsea, expressed his disbelief that, “the Department of City Planning is said to be supporting these plans. Jamestown’s proposal is absolutely indefensible on urban planning merits. It would benefit the financial interests of a private owner at the expense of the common good, the very opposite of the purpose of zoning…The proposal stinks of greed and the corruption of urban planning by money. If it goes through, it’ll be a fine win for the one percent.” The precedent set for future development, should the zoning variance be granted, was also on the minds of the neighborhood’s collective block associations. Bill Borock, president of The Council of Chelsea Block Associations (CCBA), said that for all the debate over economic benefit, aesthetic concerns and alterations to a historic building, “The major concern is zoning; the fact that you have a special Chelsea Historic District, and the attempt is being made to change the zoning so developers will make a profit.

‘I find the new rendering a great addition to the everupward expansion of the Chelsea streetscape,’ said Oster. ‘The building looks like it actually belongs there. Let’s roll back the years and think about all the buildings that would have been built had the market not tanked.’

That isn’t the purpose of zoning laws. The feeling is that Jamestown, is making enough profit as is.” Borock continued, noting that after all CCBA members were polled, the organization voted to oppose Jamestown. “We opposed the original plan,” Borock

Continued on page 17

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December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012



Claude Rolls, ‘mayor’ of West 22nd Street Continued from page 1 In the spring, Charmaine will return for a planned memorial, planting and the installation of a plaque. Some of Rolls’ ashes will be strewn around the nearby tree bed where he parked his car. “He was a good person and had a great heart,” said Charmaine. “He didn’t have much contact with other family members. He loved the people in the neighborhood and had great friendships with them for 40 years. They were his family.” Rolls touched many lives on this brownstone-rowed block, which is part of the Chelsea Historic District. Because there are no doormen buildings, Rolls carved out a

niche for himself as super, maintenance man and watchman and was entrusted with the keys to many buildings and cars. He had Orenstein’s keys to both. “I trusted him with everything I had,” he said. Orenstein met Rolls in 1998. “He walked right up to my mother to introduce himself. From then on, he made sure that the garbage was put out right, so we wouldn’t get a ticket from the Department of Sanitation. He would call if the car needed to be moved. He just watched out for the neighborhood,” Orenstein said. “Bloomberg may have the title, but Claude was the real mayor.” Karl Haller, owner of Jumper Plumbing & Heating (403 West 21st Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues) said if the boiler wasn’t working, the owner would say to

see Claude, he has the key. “He was a nice human being, which is saying a lot,” said Haller. “When everything else was going to heck and I was having a bad day, Claude would wave to you and smile and give you a moment of good feeling. He was a wonderful, reassuring fixture on the block. I really miss him.” For the last ten years, Rolls moved Maya Hess’s car from one side of the street to the other. Hess, who knew him for 16 years, said he did it for quite a few people. He also performed other tasks like snow shoveling, watering, accepting FedEx and UPS packages, letting Con Edison in to read the meter. When she went out to get her coffee at 6am, she first walked over to Rolls’ car to talk to him. “He gave me his New York Post every morning even if he hadn’t finished reading it. He was a lovely man. Everybody knew him and trusted him. He was very entrepreneurial. It’s an unusual story of a man who survived here by being kind and helping people. The neighborhood embraced him. I miss him terribly,” she said. Pamela Wolff called Rolls the “éminence grise presence” that you could count on. “He and I had a longtime conversation going on for 20 years or so about life on 22nd Street.

Rolls touched many lives on this brownstonerowed block, which is part of the Chelsea Historic District. Because there are no doormen buildings, Rolls carved out a niche for himself as super, maintenance man and watchman and was entrusted with the keys to many buildings and cars. He had Orenstein’s keys to both. ‘I trusted him with everything I had,’ he said.

Continued on page 19




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December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012


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Continued from page 1 steps, each man commits to living a more noble life by serving others, according to the mission’s community relations manager Joe Little. “The way they treat other guests and residents has drastically changed by the time they’re ready to graduate,” said program counselor Ben Caswell. “The proof is in the action.” A total of 21 men graduated in 2011, setting a new record. “A few months ago, we only had two men graduating. Now we’ve got seven graduating at once!” exclaimed Little. If mission graduates follow the guidelines and stay connected with family, their chances of maintaining sobriety are greater than ever once they’ve completed the program. Jeff, for example, tried to get sober in programs that sent men packing after less than a week. It’s no surprise that he couldn’t maintain his sobriety this way: Nobody realistically could. He spent last Christmas in a meth house in New Mexico. Soon after, an old friend tracked him down and offered to pay for his ticket into Lower Manhattan if he agreed to move into the mission, and he did. Next week, he’ll be on his way back to New Mexico to reunite with his 9-year-old son, Jordan, who he hasn’t seen since last December. Greg Manning’s first attempt to work a program also failed. Still, he was determined to change his life. Greg spent years keeping misdemeanor warrants out for his arrest so he would have “3 hots and a cot,” meaning three hot meals and a warm place to stay, even if it was in jail.

But having completed the program, Greg’s future appears bright. He plans to begin taking classes in ministry at Somerset Christian College next month, and to study drug counseling and psychology at Essex County College. Though he has a heart condition and three other diseases, he is determined to stay healthy for his three-year-old daughter, Saniah Rose. “I talk to her every single day on the phone. I ask her if she’s being a good girl,

Upon graduation and having completed all 12 steps, each man commits to living a more noble life by serving others, according to the mission’s community relations manager Joe Little. and she says ‘yes’ while her mother is screaming at her in the background,” he said with a laugh. “If I can’t see her because my duty keeps me here at the mission, she won’t come to the phone. But, eventually, she does, and she says, ‘I love you daddy, I miss you, when are you coming to get me?’ ” Every Saturday, Greg leaves the mission

Continued on page 21

December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012


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

Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds

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


December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 2012: Do Something About It The proposed expansion of Chelsea Market and the presence of Bowery Residents’ Committee’s 325-bed vertical campus were among our community’s most contentious and divisive matters throughout 2011. Both issues spoke to the changing face of our neighborhood — and compelled us to confront the long-term implications of embracing or resisting that change. While we take issue with ongoing litigation following a succession of court decisions favorable to the BRC, we applaud the robust debate seen in community forums and at sidewalk protests. In 2012, those with lingering doubts — and those who have no doubt that the facility is a worthy addition — should give serious consideration to attending the BRC’s monthly meetings (held on the last Tuesday of the month). Their door is open to anyone who wishes to tour the facility or volunteer. Walking through that door is a good way to find out if the promises made are being kept, and to make your own lasting contribution to those struggling with addiction. It’s also a powerful reminder that passionate debates and charitable deeds are equally important aspects of good citizenship. A proposed expansion of the Chelsea Market building presents the community with a different, more ominous door to contemplate. In addition to the generally panned aesthetic changes, many rightfully fear that granting Jamestown Properties the necessary zoning variance will set a precedent for vertical expansion throughout the Chelsea Historic District. Concerned residents should take advantage of the opportunity to voice their opinions at January’s ULURP hearing and at CB4’s Preservation and Planning Committee meeting in February (followed by a full board meeting in March). The public vetting process of early 2012 will, literally, determine the shape of things to come — for years to come.

Teacher in need of OWS education To The Editor: Re: Leslie Sicklick’s letter “Stop Thanking OWS” (December 14-27): As an unemployed elementary school teacher Ms. Sicklick needs to educate herself about Occupy Wall Street (OWS). This worldwide movement is taking great pains to educate and help people like her who express no anger about the plight of other unemployed teachers, the corrupt debt system that she and others have become entrapped in, under funded schools, the sick political system in this country and the attack on the middle class — amongst many other things. They rage at being inconvenienced by protests and falsely claim that OWS is “scaring” school children (amongst other unfounded disparaging remarks). OWS actions, while possibly inconvenient to some, are necessary to publicize the drastic situation most people in this country find themselves in and to let them know there is now a place for them to protest. As for the “scaring” of school children, on the contrary, I have seen school kids waving and cheering from their public classroom windows when we protested the obscene foreclosures in East New York last week. Ms. Sicklick’s anger seems misplaced at best — but she offers no solution for what I am sure she will agree is a situation that is rapidly going from bad to worse. Does she want us to continue to stay asleep? I for one am thrilled that we are finally standing strong and shouting “ENOUGH!” and want to thank all who are “thanking us.” Bob Brooks

How 2011 Should Shape 2012 In Lower Manhattan, the opening of the National Memorial at the World Trade Center site signaled to the world, the nation and to New Yorkers, that hard work, performed collaboratively by dedicated groups and individuals, could result in a rebirth of a neighborhood and a renewed spirit. During the past ten years, there were periods where a promised feeling of progress seemed neglected and the neighborhood’s rebuilding seemed in jeopardy. Much of that was due to the extraordinary complex alphabet soup of agencies that all have a hand in Downtown development. Now, with the National Memorial open and welcoming hoards of visitors each day (and with 1 World Trade Center rising 80 stories above the ground), progress is clearly visible. The next year should be spent looking who, among the agencies that played a vital role, should now start closing up shop. Some of this work is already underway in the form of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey preparing to absorb the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. New Port Director Patrick Foye should make this a top priority and demand it happen in a speedy and transparent process. Foye’s predecessor, Chris Ward (in a recent interview with our sister publication Downtown Express) pointed to the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) as another agency he believed could sunset, and we agree. The LMCCC was essentially created to oversee and coordinate all of the different agencies involved in getting us to where we are today. But today, the Port Authority and existing city and state agencies can clearly coordinate and implement all construction activities. The role of the LMCCC has been dutifully carried out. These suggestions are meant to ensure that the greatest story of 2011 — the rebirth of a neighborhood — can continue, costeffectively and unencumbered by now unneeded layers of bureaucracy, into the future.

#7 train plan not ready to roll To The Editor: There is still much more to do after completion

of Mayor Bloomberg’s feasibility study for extending the #7 subway train to New Jersey. Future success is dependent upon many issues. In the past, construction of any major new freight, tunnel or bridge project has taken decades to go from feasibility studies, environmental reviews, plans, designs, engineers, real estate acquisitions, permits, procurements, constructions, budgets and funds prior to opening day service. Remember that the proposed new subway station to be built at 42nd Street and 10th Avenue had to be deleted from the current #7 subway extension from Times Square to the Javits Convention Center. No one could find $500 million dollars to cover the anticipated costs. The original cost of the overall project was $2.1 billion and is now $2.4 billion not counting the subway station that had to be dropped from the original scope of work. How do we now find $10 billion more for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit #7 subway extension from the Javits Convention Center on the Manhattan west side to New Jersey Transit’s Secaucus Junction station by Exit 15X on the New Jersey Turnpike? The anticipated final potential cost will not be known until completion. Costs will be refined by award of construction contracts followed by change orders to contracts during the course of construction. It is difficult to predict when we will see a shovel in the ground, followed years or even decades later by benefits to taxpayers. Larry Penner E-mail letters, not longer than 300 words in length, to or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to Chelsea Now, Letters to the Editor, 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C New York City, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. Chelsea Now reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Chelsea Now does not publish anonymous letters.

What was the biggest news story of 2011?

Photos by Latima Stephens

CHRISTOPHER HARDWICK, EAST VILLAGE ELIZABETH LAGNO, MANHATTAN The biggest story was probably the revolts in Egypt. The Arab Springs. I just think that it was a turning point on how Americans view the Middle East. It made people pay attention.

It was definitely the Tsunami and the earthquake… just watching that and then the nuclear reactors after that all becoming problematic, because it was just so devastating and it was so close to home and just tragic just to watch it unfold on TV.

December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012


COMMUNITY CONTACTS (To be listed, email info to



FRIENDS OF HUDSON RIVER PARK Visit or call 212-757-0981.

CB4 serves Manhattan’s West Side neighborhoods of Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. Its boundaries are 14th St. on the south, 59/60th St. on the north, the Hudson River on the west, 6th Ave. on the east (south of 26th St.) and 8th Ave. on the east (north of 26th St.). Call 212-736-4536. Visit or email them at info@manhattanCB4. org. The board meeting, open to the public, happens on the first Wednesday of the month, at 6:30pm. The next one takes place on Jan. 4, 6:30pm, at the Fulton Center (119 Ninth Ave.).

At 208 W. 13th St. (btw. 7th and 8th Aves.). Visit gaycenter. org or call 212-620-7310.

Their mission is to help homeless LGBT youth be safe and become independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood. Main headquarters: 224 W. 35th St., Suite 1102. Call 212-222-3427. The Ali Forney Day Center is located at 527 W. 22nd St., 1st floor. Call 212-206-0574 or visit





CB5 represents the central business district of New York City. It includes midtown Manhattan, the Fashion, Flower, Flatiron and Diamond districts, as well as Bryant Park and Union Square Park. The district is at the center of New York’s tourism industry. The Theatre District, Times Square, Carnegie Hall, the Empire State Building and two of the region’s transportation hubs (Grand Central Station and Penn Station) fall within CB5. Call 212-465-0907. Visit cb5. org or email them at CB5’s board meeting, open to the public, happens on the second Thursday of the month, at 6pm. The next one takes place on Jan. 12, 6pm, at Xavier High School (30 W. 16th St., 2nd fl.).

At 446 W. 33rd St. btw. 9th and 10th Aves. Visit Call 212-367-1000.

Call 212-564-7757 or visit



Founded in 1895, Hudson Guild is a multi-service, multigenerational community serving approximately 14,000 people annually with daycare, hot meals for senior citizens, low-cost professional counseling, community arts programs and recreational programming for teens. Visit them at Email them at For the John Lovejoy Elliott Center (441 W. 26th St.), call 212760-9800. For the Children’s Center (459 W. 26th St.), call 212-760-9830. For the Education Center (447 W. 25th St.), call 212-760-9843. For the Fulton Center for Adult Services (119 9th Ave.), call 212-924-6710.

Call 212-633-8052 or visit


Visit or call 212-627-2020.


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This organization promotes the well-being of individuals 60 and older through direct social services and volunteer programs oriented to individual, family and community needs. Call 212-879-7400 or visit

Contact them at

LOWER CHELSEA ALLIANCE (LoCal) This group is committed to protecting the residential blocks of Chelsea from overscale development. Contact them at



Contact them at


ASSEMBLY MEMBER RICHARD GOTTFRIED Call 212-807-7900 or email GottfriedR@assembly.state.

CHELSEA REFORM DEMOCRATIC CLUB The CRDC (the Home Club of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, State Senator Tom Duane and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried) meets monthly to exchange political ideas in protecting the rights and improving the lives of those residing in Chelsea. Visit or email them at info@

At 147 W. 24th Street (btw. 6th & 7th Aves.) THE SYLVIA RIVERA LAW PROJECT works to guarantee

PENN SOUTH Visit The Penn South Program for Seniors provides recreation, education and social services — and welcomes volunteers. For info, call 212-243-3670.

that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression without facing harassment, discrimination or violence. Visit

FIERCE (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for

Call 212-337-5912 or visit



Email them at or contact Miguel Acevedo, 646-671-0310.

Community Empowerment) builds the leadership and power of bisexual, transgender and queer youth of color in NYC. Visit



Visit or call 212-956-2573. Email them at

organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation. Visit


THE AUDRE LORDE PROJECT is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, two spirit, trans and gender non-conforming people of color center for community organizing. Visit

Visit or call 212-633-0185.

THE BOWERY RESIDENTS’ COMMITTEE: HOMELESS HELPLINE If you know of anyone who is in need of their services, call the Homeless Helpline at 212-533-5151, and the BRC will send someone to make contact. This number is staffed by outreach team leaders 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous. For more info, visit

Tenant assistance every Thursday night, at 7pm; at Hudson Guild (119 Ninth Ave.). Email them at chelseacoalition.\.

Member of the New York Press Association



Gay City



515 Canal St., Unit 1C, NY, NY 10013 Phone: (212) 229-1890 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: E-mail: © 2011 Community Media, LLC

Member of the National Newspaper Association Chelsea Now is published biweekly by Community Media LLC, 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C, New York, N.Y. 10013 (212) 229-1890. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $75. Single copy price at office and newsstands is 50 cents. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2010 Community Media LLC, Postmaster: Send address changes to Chelsea Now, 145 Sixth Ave., First Fl., New York, N.Y. 10013.


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 other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.

PUBLISHER & EDITOR John W. Sutter ASSOCIATE EDITOR / ARTS EDITOR Scott Stiffler REPORTERS Lincoln Anderson Albert Amateau John Bayles Aline Reynolds EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Latima Stephens Nikki Tucker


Vera Musa PUBLISHER EMERITUS Elizabeth Butson SR. V.P. OF SALES AND MARKETING Francesco Regini ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Allison Greaker Colin Gregory Julius Harrison Alex Morris Julio Tumbaco


CONTRIBUTORS Stephanie Buhmann Winnie McCroy Bonnie Rosenstock Jerry Tallmer Trav S. D. Stephen Wolf PHOTOGRAPHERS Jefferson Siegel Milo Hess J. B. Nicholas


December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

POLICE BLOTTER PETTY LARCENY: Cashier couldn’t be trusted around cash

approximately 12:40pm on Wed., Dec. 21 — when police observed him in a public park (at 325 W. 25th St.) without a child. A warrant check revealed that the man had an open warrant. The defendant was also found to be in possession of two knives.

A 21-year-old female employee of Gristedes was arrested on Sat., Dec. 17 when it was discovered that she engaged in fraudulent transactions — by entering fake coupons then taking cash for the coupon amount (a total of $264).

PETTY LARCENY: Bag near chair no longer there

GRAND LARCENY: In the company of thieves? On the evening of Fri., Dec. 16, a 39-yearold female resident of W. 24th St. had two people over to her apartment for a visit. The next day, she went to pay some bills and discovered $740 missing from her TD Bank account. She then discovered that the bank card was missing from her wallet — which was on the coffee table the entire previous evening.

LOST PROPERTY: Mama’s (no longer) got some brand new bags A 27-year-old woman who was helping out at an event sponsored by her company (which took place at Exit Art, 475 10th Ave.) told police that after leaving gift bags unattended overnight, she returned the next day to find that 150 gift bags — along with their contents — were missing. Inside the bags: $4,244.25 worth of gift cards and AudioStar A22 speakers. The venue’s manager told police that the bags were assumed to be trash, and discarded by his cleaning staff.

CRIMINAL POSESSSION OF A WEAPON: Knives in the park A 19-year-old man was arrested at

A 63-year-old woman told police that at around 5pm on Mon., Dec. 19, she was at eating at a Thai restaurant in Chelsea Market — and placed her bag on the ground (next to her chair). When she was about to leave, she discovered that it was missing. Inside the bag was an iPad valued at $929.

PETTY LARCENY: Stay at Yotel hotel not so swell On Mon., Dec. 12, a 36-year-old male visiting NYC (and staying at the 570 10th Ave. location of Yotel) invited a new acquaintance (found on Craigslist) to his hotel room. Both men left the room at around 5:30pm. Upon returning a little after 11pm that night, the victim discovered that his iPad (valued at $740), his Mac Pro laptop (valued at $200) and his hotel key card were missing. The victim further stated that he believes the person he met took all three items.

ROBBERY: Capital One: Forget about your wallet… what’s in your bag? At 3:35pm on Wed., Dec. 21, a man walked into the Capital One branch at 401 W. 23rd St. at Ninth Ave. and simulated a firearm by placing his hand inside a bag. At that point, he declared, “Give me the money or I will blow your brains out.” Once the perpetrator was given some money, he fled on foot (on Ninth Ave.). Efforts to locate the perpetrator by canvassing the area were unsuccessful. Employees of the bank reported to police that video of the incident is available.

GRAND LARCENY: He stole ROBBERY: He swiped NYPD money (orders) credit card A 50-year-old police administrative assistant pleaded guilty on Thurs., Dec, 22 to stealing more than $16,000 in $10 money orders from the 13th Precinct over the past two years. The money orders were made out to NYPD, for copies of accident reports in the precinct (which covers the area from 14th to 29th Sts., btw. Seventh Ave. and the East River.

ASSAULT: Heavy metal (pole) A 19-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman were arrested (on second-degree assault charges) for hitting a 76-year-old man in the leg with a metal pole around 9:50pm on Wed., Dec. 14. The incident occurred on E. 14th St., across from Union Square Park.

CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawed-off shotgun; up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.

CRIME STOPPERS If you have info regarding a crime committed or a wanted person, call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, text “TIP577” (plus your message) to “CRIMES” (274637) or submit a tip online at

Police arrested a 47-year-old man for robbery, in connection with the theft of a credit card from the hand of a female victim who was walking on Christopher St. (near W. Fourth St.) around 9:55am on Sat., Dec. 17. The victim chased the suspect, then struggled with him. The man escaped, but police soon apprehended him.

—Alber t Amateau and Scott Stiffler

THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Elisa Cokkinos. Main number: 212-7418211. Community Affairs: 212-7418226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-741-8210. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council Meeting takes place at 7pm on the last Wed. of the month. The next meeting is January 25.

THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Ted Bernsted. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212-477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council Meeting takes place at 6:30pm on the third Tues. of the month. The next meeting is January 17.

December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012




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December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

Full-length High Line park is rolling toward finish BY ROBERT HAMMOND Joshua David and I met at a community board meeting 12 years ago. At the time, the Giuliani administration was planning to demolish the High Line to make way for new development. Josh and I recognized the potential of the historic freight rail structure, but most of the audience at the community board meeting wanted to demolish it. That’s when we decided to join together to form a nonprofit organization, called Friends of the High Line, to advocate for its preservation. From the very beginning, our ultimate goal has been to save the entire High Line and to turn it into public space. That means the High Line will not be complete until the final section of the High Line at the West Side Rail Yards is open to the public. The good news is we are closer than ever before to making that dream a reality. In November, we took a major step forward when, for the first time, all the different stakeholders reached consensus to save the High Line at the rail yards and open it as a public park. The announcement was made at a press conference to mark a lease agreement between The Related Companies and Coach. A New York-based retail company, Coach, which is currently based on West 34th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, plans to occupy 600,000-square-feet of new office space within a new building to be built at the northwest corner of 10th Avenue and West 30th Street. The Related Companies will begin construction of the building in 2012, effectively breaking ground on the planned development for the Hudson Yards. At the press conference, Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced two pieces of major news for the High Line. First, CSX Transportation, Inc., the private rail freight company that still owns the High Line at the rail yards, has agreed, in principle, to donate

Photo by Iwan Baan

A bird’s-eye view of the High Line’s northern loop around the West Side Rail Yards, which will be the third and final section of the completed “park in the sky.”

this last remaining section to the City of New York, just like it did for the High Line south of West 30th Street. And second, the City of New York has reached an agreement, in principle, with the State of New York and The Related Companies to preserve the entire historic structure of the High Line at

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the rail yards, including the spur over 10th Avenue, and is working to open the High Line all the way to West 34th Street to the public as soon as possible. For a long time, reaching consensus seemed impossible. The final section of the High Line wraps around the Hudson Yards, an incredibly complex site that includes a working rail yard for the Long Island Rail Road, plans for the largest real estate development in decades, and multiple property owners, all of whom have unique needs. Both for legal reasons and as a matter of policy, the City of New York wanted to make sure each stakeholder’s needs were addressed. There were moments when we thought part of the High Line would be torn down, but those days are behind us. The city is now working to officially acquire the final section of the High Line. As always, we would be unable to do any of this work without the tireless efforts of our supporters. We are grateful for the visionary leadership of Mayor Bloomberg, the city’s Departments of City Planning and Parks, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the New York City Council, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Community Boards 2 and 4 and the Hudson Yards Community Advisory Committee. Once the city’s acquisition of the High Line at the rail yards is complete, Friends of the High Line expects to design and operate this section through a public-private partnership with the city, just like the High Line park south of West 30th Street. We have already begun the process of

collecting ideas from the community for the final section’s design. Last week we held our first community input meeting. More than 200 people came to Public School 11 in Chelsea on a rainy weekday evening during the holiday season to make their voices heard. We are now reviewing the designs with James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and we will hold another community meeting in the new year to present the designs to the public. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter for updates. There is more work to be done, of course. We expect the High Line’s final section will be funded in large part with private donations. We have made significant progress on raising money, thanks to a $20 million commitment from The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation and $5 million pledges from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and longtime High Line supporters Donald Pels and Wendy Keys. These gifts will work in concert with an operational challenge grant from The New York Community Trust – LuEsther T. Mertz Advised Fund, which is being matched the Greenacre Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts and many individual contributors. People think this means our work is done, but the reality is that this is just the beginning. We still have significant private funding to raise in order to open the High Line’s final section to the public. Robert Hammond is co-founder of Friends of the High Line (

December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012


2011: The Year in Pictures COMPILED BY SCOTT STIFFLER

Photo by Liz Galarza

March 23: Maja T. Castillo, MD joins Chelsea Now as a regular contributor, writing about the unique challenges and rewards of being a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender parent. Here, she holds Olivery Tortolani — daughter to moms Julia Tortolani (left) and Lee Shroeder (right). For info on Castillo and her practice, visit Photo courtesy of The Chelsea Greyhounds

A local indoor practice space eludes the Chelsea Greyhounds track team. In this photo (taken February 6), the Greyhounds medal — at the USATF Metropolitan Meet in Brentwood, Long Island. Left to right: Adam Fallis, Habib Apooyin, Elena Bertolotti, Brandon Tirado, Zuma Guialdo, Grant Nickson (front on knees), Raiden Guialdo and Tyruse Boock. For info, visit

Photo courtesy of Friends of 20th Street Park Photo by Winnie McCroy

May 5: At 127 West 25th Street, dozens rally to protest the incoming Bowery Residents’ Committee shelter.

May 1: Children, parents, seniors and representatives from more than a dozen local civic groups pose for a group photo in front of vacant Department of Sanitation lot to press for a desperately needed public park.

Continued on page 14


December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

Face Time: The people of 2011 Continued from page 13

Photo by Sam Spokony

At the mic: Michael Henriquez, a recruitment associate for the advocacy group Project Achieve, speaks at a June 28 Gay Men’s Health Crisis panel discussion about PrEp (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) — a controversial HIV prevention strategy in which those who are negative take antiretroviral medication daily to try to lower their chances of becoming infected.

Chelsea resident and professional photographer Jonathan Hollingsworth snapped this image of newlyweds Rhonda and Debra (along with their daughter) on the steps of City Hall — as Marriage Equality became the law of the land (in New York, at least).

Photos by Scott Stiffler

This summer, nutritionist Carlye Waxman, RD joined Chelsea Now as a regular contributor — writing about weight loss, eating right and cultivating a healthier lifestyle. Here, she visits the greenmarkets run by PS11 students and Fulton Youth of the Future.

August 10: Longtime Chelsea resident, former Community Board 4 member and veteran civil rights activist Velma Murphy Hill anticipates a return to Chicago — for the dedication of a historic marker commemorating the August 28, 1960, wade-in on Rainbow Beach (led by the South Side NAACP Youth Council, of which Hill was its president).

Continued on page 15

December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012


Activists, artists top our ‘Year in People’ Continued from page 14

Photo by Sam Spokony

August: Our art critic Stephanie Buhmann reveals yet another dimension to longtime neighborhood activist Stanley Bulbach — in a profile of his work with fiber (“handspun into yarn and woven into abstract compositions rich in symbolism,” wrote Buhmann). Visit

Photo by Lily Bouvier

August: During the Chelsea Garden Club’s tour of tree pits, a gardener (left, in hat) explains his choice of plantings — noting that the scent of herbs keeps dogs away from the pit. For info, visit

Photo by Walter Naegle

Photo by Scott Stiffler

At September 4’s Father Mychal F. Judge Walk of Remembrance, participants pledge forgiveness — and contemplate loss.

From our November 16 issue: The Penn South Senior Sandwich Brigade (which delivered sandwiches to Zuccotti Park in support of the Occupy Wall Street) changed their name to “Enduring Endeavor” — a nod to the ever-changing OWS situation. Shortly before the encampment was disassembled by police, EE delivered sweaters, hats, gloves and scarves to the protesters.


December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

Lose that holiday weight without juices, shakes or gyms BY CARLYE WAXMAN, RD Once the ball drops in Times Square and 2012 has officially been ushered in, another countdown starts — in the form of a ticking clock that tells you it’s time to drop those bad habits from 2011 and embrace that resolution to make some positive changes. For many of us, that promised change involves losing weight. This does not mean falling victim to a weight loss pill, a kale-eating contest or a juice “cleanse” to melt your pounds away (if only it were that simple). Don’t let the fads get you this year. Achieve your goal the healthy and smart way — and save yourself some cash.

THREE WAYS TO BE FIT WITHOUT JOINING A GYM Joining a gym is a great idea…if you’re a gym person. But if you’re the kind of person who ends up getting a gym membership just to say you have one, then save your money. There are plenty of ways to stay fit without joining a gym. has “Now!” deals for fitness. Try a Yoga, Pilates or Zumba class (some end up being only $8-$10 per class). If you end up liking an activity, go with it. Research shows if you switch up your regimen and do something that you wouldn’t normally do, you’ll see results faster. Netflix has a great $7.99/month membership for their online videos. If you have an Apple TV, you can stream this right on your screen. They have tons of workout videos, from Pilates to high impact dancing. That sure beats the cost of a gym membership (these days, running from $80-$200 a month), and you can do it in your own home. Start off with two or three classes a week, then build up your goal. Interactive video games are a big hit these days. Pick one that you enjoy; one you feel others will enjoy too — then invite a friend over.

LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT DRINKING YOUR MEALS, STARVING OR QUITTING SUGAR Juice “cleanses” and fasts are pretty common around this time of year. I should know, because my best friend always

Photos by Carlye Waxman, RD

Your hearty, 325-calorie breakfast: 1/2 cup of berries, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, half of a bagel with cream cheese and 2oz of smoked salmon.

Weight loss is basically 100% portion control.

chooses this as her start off to “feeling good” in the new year. But she’s usually cranky, feels sick for the first few days and removes herself from social situations. On top of this, she never loses true weight from this method — and ends up craving real foods to the point of eating like a person who’s been on a desert island for 12 months. Some cleanses are over $200 a week for the product and they try to get you to buy their supplements. Have I made my point yet? You do not need to “cleanse” yourself with these fasts. Naturally, if you eat more fruits and vegetables (which is what 99% of these “cleanses” are made up of), then you are off to a good start. So let’s build on that.

REPLACE YOUR SNACKS: No longer should you rely on potato chips, pretzels or cookies (sorry). Pairing is the key. Make a “Super Snack” that will help you get through the day without feeling hunger. This is what a snack is for. You need a protein (a lean one) and a carbohydrate (a grainy one). Here are three options (kept within 200-300 calories). —Yogurt and fruit: Try Fage 0%, with one banana and 1 tbsp honey; or Chobani Blueberry 0%, with 1 cup of frozen blueberries. —1 tbsp Peanut butter, 1 tsp jelly and one multigrain English muffin. —1 small vanilla frozen yogurt, with 20 almonds and 1 cup of frozen strawberries, thawed.

Your balanced dessert: half of a muffin, 1 cup of Greek yogurt, some crushed pecans and frozen strawberries.

cut them out, you won’t want them as badly as you used to. Remember, one French fry leads to many.

LEAN PROTEIN, 80% OF THE WEEK: Try 0% yogurt, 2% cottage cheese, 85-95% fat free chicken and meats, tofu, egg whites, 0% Greek yogurt, skim milk, pork loin, ham, roast beef and turkey. These are the dietitian-approved leaner protein foods. Include them daily. When you feel like having a hearty steak or an ice cream shake, save it for one day a week.

BUY MEASURING CUPS: Do not skip this part because you think it is tedious. When you measure, you are more in tune with what a portion should look like. It also gives you a better outlook on how much you should be eating out. Since weight loss is basically 100% portion control, this is the most crucial step.

PLAN YOUR DAY: Take a minute in the morning (or the night before) to plan out your meals. Spend your calories like you would

OMIT FRIED FOODS: Cleanse with real food — not juices.

You certainly don’t need them in your diet. Once you

Continued on page 20

December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012


Zoning concerns at heart of Chelsea Market expansion debate Continued from page 4 recalled, “and we opposed the revised plans. If something is bad for the community, and someone makes it a little better, it is still bad for the community.� Neil Selkirk, a member of the 500 West 19th Street Block Association, added, “The burden of proof surely must be overwhelmingly on the proposer of the zoning change to show that it is principally the public, both citywide and locally that will be the beneficiary of the change, otherwise why have zoning in the first place?� Speaking on behalf of the West 15th Street 100 & 200 Block Association, Stanley Bulbach declared his organization’s support for the positions taken by the CCBA and Save Chelsea: “Any zoning variance

for a still new zoning designation to permit further hyperdevelopment is damaging to the local infrastructure, which is already deteriorating and overtaxed,� noted Bulbach — who offered an alternative to the further development of Chelsea Market. “While Jamestown continues to seek a variance for additional construction, a virtually abandoned hole in the ground exists year after year on the north side of West 14th Street just east of 8th Avenue. And for almost half a decade, two semi-collapsed buildings have existed as eyesores dropping debris on the south side of West 14th Street just east of 7th Avenue. It is malpractice for city policy to consider hyperdevelopment in a newly protected area while abandonment blights our community nearby.� Miguel Acevedo, president of Fulton Youth of the Future and the Fulton Tenant

‘The major concern is zoning; the fact that you have a special Chelsea Historic District, and the attempt is being made to change the zoning so developers will make a profit. That isn’t the purpose of zoning laws.’—Bill Borock, president of The Council of Chelsea Block Associations

‘Everybody is building condominiums, and there are a lot of vacancies in these buildings going up on the Tenth Avenue corridor. Jamestown is trying to do something different, by putting in office space that’s going to create lots of opportunities for employment. Why should we not support something like that?’—Miguel Acevedo, president of Fulton Youth of the Future and the Fulton Tenant Association Association, has not wavered in his longstanding support of the Jamestown proposal. “It is sad that the community is not trying to work with Jamestown,� said Acevedo — who maintains that throughout this process, the opposition has wavered little despite alterations made on the basis of community feedback. “They [the opponents] are still not accepting. People are trying to prevent them [Jamestown] from doing anything. But they’re offering what nobody else is offering — employment. Everybody is building condominiums, and there are a lot of vacancies in these buildings going up on the Tenth Avenue corridor. Jamestown is trying to do something different, by putting in office

space that’s going to create lots of opportunities for employment. Why should we not support something like that?� Acevedo and other supporters from Fulton Houses are likely to be seen at the upcoming ULURP and CB4 meetings. Corey Johnson says he hopes those who attend this part of the process remain visible, and vocal, throughout the coming year. “I would encourage the public to continue to be engaged in this process even after CB4 makes their recommendation,� said Johnson — who noted the importance of bringing concerns the Borough President, the City Planning Commission and the City Council.

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December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

Fundamentalist cyclists have me praying for relief BY ALPHIE MCCOURT In the mid-1970s I lived in San Francisco and worked in a restaurant in Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge, 14 miles from the city. I rode the bus. Sometimes, when I worked late and the buses had stopped running, I caught a ride to the freeway and hitchhiked from there. One night I caught a ride in a van. The driver and I were roughly the same age, about 35. He addressed me as “sir.” Two longhairs, we talked a bit, mostly about where we were from and how we grew up. He continued to call me “sir.” Across the Golden Gate we went and on into the city. He drove me to the building where I lived, down behind the Opera House, on a street full of whores. He had mentioned “the club” a few times. Now, as I alighted from the van, again he mentioned “the club.” “The club?” I said. “What’s the club?” “The Hells Angels,” he said. “Oh,” said I. This Angel-biker had gone out of his way for me. Would a New York City cyclist do likewise? Perhaps, but cyclists tend to be more elitist than bikers. Leather jackets, beards, boots and booze are not for them. Two years ago, as I walked by the Church of the Holy Apostles, on Ninth Avenue and 26th Street, I was reminded of this. On that day, the people, mostly homeless men, were waiting outside the soup kitchen. A small knot of men had spilled over from the sidewalk and into the bike lane, where an official

person with a clipboard did his headcount, or whatever business he was conducting. I would have to make my way through the small crowd. Out of the knot of people came a cyclist in all his finery. He had to slow down and he was annoyed, outraged, even. He passed me, too close for comfort and his shirt sleeve brushed against mine. I am up in years, a lifelong pedestrian and subway rider. Once or twice a week I must drive in Manhattan. Now, if I were driving with the window rolled down, and my sleeve happened to touch the sleeve of a cyclist, what would happen? There would be the spit of outrage, lawsuit, settlement and a rise in my insurance premiums. Last year, on Eighth Avenue, I was standing in the street, in the parking lane, just south of the crosswalk, when a car reversed into me. It was a heavy impact but, luckily, the car suffered no damage. Nor did I. The driver emerged briefly, sat back in, resumed his reverse all the way across the crosswalk, and achieved his parking spot. That parking lane is now a bike lane. When it comes to bike lanes, we pedestrians know to look both ways. I should have known it then. Self-appointed and -anointed, cyclists perceive themselves as centurions of the climate. There is a whiff of fundamentalism about the mayor’s approach and in the attitude of these pedaling apostles of the environment. Fundamentalism, at its best, and there is no best, is a prayer before dying. At its worst, and there sure is a worst, it’s a

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prayer before killing. We need the separation of Bike and State. I grew up on a bicycle. To a boy on a bike, open road with no traffic in sight — that’s freedom, pure freedom, as close as I would ever come to flying. When I was 15, a small group of us rode the 80 miles,

Fundamentalism, at its best, and there is no best, is a prayer before dying. At its worst, and there sure is a worst, it’s a prayer before killing. We need the separation of Bike and State. over the Kerry Mountains, from Limerick to Killarney. We carried blankets, ground sheets, tents, pegs and food for the weekend. On Saturday night we cooked and camped out. On Sunday the rain came. We were experienced campers. Even so, our stuff still got soaked. On Monday, with double the weight, we rode back to Limerick. That was our Tour de Kerry. And once, on a beautiful New York Sunday, on rented bikes, a friend and I rode downtown from the East 70s to the Staten Island Ferry, halfway round the island, back to the ferry and back uptown. That was a great day. I wish I could tell all this to the cyclist who’s having a hissy breakdown because a foolish pedestrian stepped in front of him or because some driver avoided him, only at the last minute, as he angled around the offside of the car. Would he listen? Or would he rather have his hissy? There’s nothing holy about riding a bicycle. No reverence is due. The bicycle may become a good and efficient way to travel around the city but there is little freedom in it. I can’t imagine how anyone could enjoy riding in city traffic. Unless she’s towing an agenda. Or can it be the challenge? New York is renowned as a walking city. True, you had to be prepared for the taxi breaking

the red light, the car cutting it too close, the garbage truck going beep-beep-beep as he backed up. But we were used to it. Courtesy and deference should be characteristic of the new apostles of the environment. Not so, in my experience. Instead, there is a petulant insistence on their rights, with little or no regard for their own duty of care. That will have to change, now. It will take cooperation, an approach that eschews elitism, fundamentalism and the cult. The city belongs to all of us. It belongs to the weekday bicycle messengers, stripped down and built for speed, the bag of top-secret financial documents slung over the shoulder, bike-dancing through clustered pedestrians and traffic jams. There’s a lightness, a symmetry, in their perfectly engineered approach. And it belongs to the restaurant deliverymen, too often scorned as illegal immigrants, as they trundle along on heavier bikes. I defend them. They are working. More important, I have never been hit by one. Come rain, come snow, I marvel at the determination of these disciples of the pissa. Where would we be without them? Now, with bicycle rental stations offering convenient pickup and drop-off locations, even I will be tempted. Some years ago it was reported that a starlet had “accessorized” with a puppy in her handbag. (What’s next? An infant?) How about a puppy-rental station to go with the bikes and she can accessorize to her heart’s content. Some years ago, at a charity breakfast, I was asked to introduce the author of a book on schizophrenia among the Irish. “There is no humor in mental illness,” I began. And I stopped. The audience laughed — the uncertain laugh of relief. The truth is there may well be more humor in mental illness than there is in the subject of bike lanes. Yes, let’s save the environment, but, in our zealotry, let’s not forget to show a degree of consideration for the person standing next to us. The licensing and registration of bicycles is inevitable, along with special rules for the puppy on the crossbar. And traffic tickets, for a new “revenue stream.” Drivers, riders and pedestrians will form a new coalition against this additional imposition. Neighborhood groups and community boards will do their job. Hysteria will die down and the city will move on to the next.

December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

Remembering Claude Rolls Continued from page 5 In my experience he was a gentle, humble and caring man. His worst vice was smoking. He kept an eye on doings at 458 and 460, alerting me of any odd events. I’m sure his ubiquitous presence served as a brake on many potential opportunistic crimes. I will miss our rambling semi-philosophical chats. I will remember his pale blue eyes,” Wolff said.

‘We talked every day. The greatest thing was that Claude was himself. He loved life. He died the way he wanted to die — in his car. He was like another St. Francis with the animals. The squirrels ate out of his hand.’—George Downing, dog walker Rolls had Jason Edwards’ phone number and called to alert him when a good parking space was available. Edwards has lived on the block about five years and saw Rolls every day. He related that every time Rolls got rid of a vehicle, he always gave the old one to charity. “He knew from the very wealthy to the poorest in the neighborhood. All the neighborhoods in Manhattan should be so lucky to have a guy like that look after them.” He continued, “Fate led him back where he needed to be, so those of us who knew him would know what happened.” Hess added that he also had a lot of friends in the local Tenth Police Precinct and would call 911 or the precinct to alert about activities he saw. “Many police officers came by to look at the memorial and asked when there would be a service because they wanted to pay their respects,” she said. Maureen McElduff, principal of Guardian Angel School (pre-K to grade 8) at 193 Tenth Avenue, was thankful for his presence. She emailed Chelsea Now, “Knowing he was always across the street gave me a sense of security and safety not just for me but for the students in the school. ‘Shorty’ would contact me if there was a problem with any of the children. He would look out for them on the way to school, at dismissal or while at play in the park. It was always an extra reassurance knowing he was there. Although his presence was always there, he was a very quiet, humble, private man and just plain ‘nice.’ One just assumed or took for granted that he would always be there by the park in his car. He will truly be missed.”

Dog walker George Downing, who lives on West 19th Street, recalled that when he came out around 5 or 5:30am to walk the dogs, Rolls flashed his lights to let him know he was watching over him. “We talked every day. The greatest thing was that Claude was himself. He loved life. He died the way he wanted to die — in his car. He was like another St. Francis with the animals. The squirrels ate out of his hand.” Downing walked Martha Teichner’s dogs. “He loved one of my dogs Minnie, who was a rescue. Every day when George stopped by Claude’s car with Goose and Minnie, she would put her paws up on Claude’s knees and allow him to pet her,” said Teichner, a CBS correspondent. “I feel very sad about Claude’s death. He helped make 22nd Street special.” Jean Blair said she met Rolls years ago through her dog Phoebe, who has been blind since birth. “Phoebe found Claude because his pockets were always full of dog treats. Within ten minutes, they became fast friends. For the past five years, almost every day I would stop to chat with Claude; Phoebe would do tricks, and he would give her treats and a pet. If she was reluctant to go out, I would say, ‘Want to see Claude?’ and she would jump up and go out,” said Blair. “I can’t imagine the block without him. I felt safer with him there.” Rolls was born in Oklahoma. He was divorced and is survived by sons Kevin, 51, of South Jersey, Claude, Jr., 54 of South Carolina, Andrew, 48, daughters-in-law, three grandsons, four granddaughters and four great grandsons. As treasurer of the West 400 Block Association, Karen Jacob is spearheading a drive to raise funds for a plaque in Claude’s honor on the tree pit that was near his car. Cash is acceptable — or make check payable to the “West 400 Block Association,” indicating it is for Claude and mail to Karen

As treasurer of the West 400 Block Association, Karen Jacob is spearheading a drive to raise funds for a plaque in Claude’s honor on the tree pit that was near his car.

Jacob, 439 West 22nd Street (or slide the donation under her inner door). Jacob estimated that around $500 would be needed. She recalled that several years ago when her daughter graduated from high school, she had a party for her. On the guest list were people who had touched her daughter’s life — one of them was Claude. “He will be missed,” Jacob said.

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Make good on your New Year’s health resolution Continued from page 16

manage your bank account. If you have 1,600 calories to spend for the day and want to eat three big meals and one small, how will you divide those calories? When are you most hungry? If you think this way, you’ll most likely plan your meals correctly and keep yourself from hunger. This could lead to more exercise, seeing as you would have more energy. Here’s a sample one-day “thought process.” Plan: 1,500 calories

You do not need to ‘cleanse’ yourself with these fasts. Naturally, if you eat more fruits and vegetables (which is what 99 percent of these ‘cleanses’ are made up of), then you are off to a good start. So let’s build on that.

BREAKFAST: (my least hungry part of the day…250 calories) 1 banana (100) 1 plain yogurt, 0% (80) 1 tbsp honey (60) Coffee with skim milk and one Splenda (20)

LUNCH: (my hungriest part of the day…600 calories) 1 cup of lentil soup (200) 2 slices of whole grain bread (160-200) 2oz of turkey (90) 1 slice of cheese (100) Lettuce, tomato and side salad no dressing

SNACK: (before the gym…250 calories) 1 whole grain English muffin (I like Thomas’s hearty grains) (130) 1 tbsp peanut butter (100) Half of a banana (50)

DINNER: (usually hungry; kind of late, don’t want to eat too much…400 calories) 3oz grilled chicken (150) 2 cups of raw broccoli (60) (place in microwave with 1tbsp water and steam for 3 minutes) add parmesan cheese (30), 1 pat of butter (30) salt and pepper to taste) Half of an acorn squash, with sugar free maple syrup and 1 pat of butter, melted (110). Roast the cut side up in the oven, at 350 degrees, for 40 minutes.

DESSERT: (I really shouldn’t but I need SOMETHING…130 calories) 2 chocolate kisses (50), 1 cup frozen mango (or any frozen fruit) (80) Following a balanced plan like this, along working out three times a week, should have you shedding pounds in no time!

Photo by Carlye Waxman, RD

You don’t need to fast with a smoothie to get results.

December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

NYC Rescue Mission graduates embrace new beginning Continued from page 6 at 7:30am and takes three trains to New Jersey so he can take Saniah with him to his weekly doctor appointment. Greg said she runs into his arms and squeezes his face to make sure he’s really there. When they move into the mission, the men are given work assignments, like kitchen captain and security guard. Tutors help the men pick up where they left off in their education and prepare them to take the General Education Diploma exam. They are graded in seven separate areas: class participation, homework, work therapy, counseling, church attendance, quarters and hygiene and “learning center.” The men are welcome to stay at the mission to live and do work service as they continue to try to find a job and a feasible living situation. Nearly 23 million Americans currently suffer from alcohol and drug addiction, an incurable disease that doesn’t know race, age, gender or class. Jerome, for example, was a fully functional, well-dressed binge drinker with a solid job as a paralegal and didn’t seem like a guy who always spiked his coffee with whiskey and spent every Christmas blacking out. One day, while working in the courts at 100 Center Street, Jerome went into the mission for lunch while intoxicated. He ate, left and didn’t talk to anyone because

he didn’t want to “eat with the bums.” Many men approached him and tried to tell him about the program before he finally relented. His landlord promised to hold another apartment for him in the complex as long as he came back with proof that he had completed the program.

Nearly 23 million Americans currently suffer from alcohol and drug addiction, an incurable disease that doesn’t know race, age, gender or class.

While working in the mission’s kitchen, Jerome saw men coming in just as he had, unruly and intoxicated. “If they try to start a problem or start cursing me out, I remember that I was there. They probably don’t know what they’re saying,” he said. “I put my hand on their shoul-


der and ask, ‘Are you ok?’ ” Jerome spent Christmas with his daughter at his mother’s house in Harlem; it was his first sober holiday in over a decade. Last weekend, all of the men celebrated Christmas with loved ones, whether they were blood relatives or brothers at the mission. Wayne and Jeff started their celebration at the mission with a special sausage and egg breakfast followed by a Christmas service and a buffet dinner. Christmas movies were played on a projector throughout the day, and gifts were given out at noon. One anonymous donor provided K-mart gift cards for mission residents and another bought them all new sneakers and sweatshirts, which they received after graduation. “I felt the heartiness of the gift because I did not ask for it but received it,” Greg noted. “I felt new and cool.” Additionally, folks from New York Cares brought their coat drive to the shelter from 10am to 12pm. “For many, a new coat is a necessity,” said Jeff. “But for us, even one that’s slightly used is a blessing.” The men may be going their separate ways this week, but, as Jerome said in his graduation speech, they will all be taking a little piece of one another with them. “The steps we take are no easy road,” said Jerome. “But the reward is great for those who take it.”


Military charges eight in death of Chen Continued from page 7 While in Afghanistan, Chen was allegedly hung, forced to swallow liquids and hit with rocks by fellow soldiers and superiors, according to Councilmember Margaret Chin’s Office. In notes to his friends, Chen spoke of being harassed and of being the only Chinese-American that attended military training sessions at Fort Benning in Georgia prior to being deployed to Afghanistan. Chen also reportedly wrote home, saying that it was “best not to respond” to the harassment, but also that he was “running out of jokes to respond with,” according to Chin’s Office. Earlier Army accounts revealed that Chen was dragged out of bed and racially taunted by his peers in the hours prior to his death. “A preliminary hearing will be held to determine if there is sufficient evidence to take the matter to a trial by a courtmartial,” Army spokesperson George Wright said of the charges. The trials would begin sometime in the coming months, Wright said, either in Afghanistan or in this country. Wright added, “The Army is a valuesbased organization. We inculcate our soldiers with the need to treat all with dignity and respect. We enforce standards, and when our soldiers fail to meet those standards, we

Continued on page 22


December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

Death of Chen linked to harassment by peers Continued from page 21 take appropriate action.” Chinatown community activists and politicians — who strongly back the Army’s ongoing investigation — were pleased to hear that charges have been pressed. Hours after the news broke on the morning of December 21 the New York chapter of OCA, an Asian-American civil rights organization, held a press conference in Chinatown to report the latest developments. “We don’t want any plea bargains here. The soldiers need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said OCA-NY President Liz OuYang. “Justice for those that did this to Danny is an important element of ensuring these incidents don’t happen again,” she said. The charges “are an important first step in ensuring that those responsible for this deplorable crime are brought to justice,” echoed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in a statement. “I also hope that this horrible incident will lead the U.S. Army to increase sensitivity training and to improve its outreach to the Asian-American community,” Silver added. “It’s a good beginning,” said Councilmember Chin, “but I think they still need to do the full investigative report.” OuYang, Chin and others met with Wright and other Army officials at the

Pentagon on Wednesday, December 14 to discuss the military’s training and recruitment policies, with the hope that some of its rules will be altered and others more strictly enforced.

duty. They said appropriate interventions must be made “to weed out people who have racist views,” according to OuYang. “We want there to be clear guidelines that the commanding officer will be disci-

The charges ‘are an important first step in ensuring that those responsible for this deplorable crime are brought to justice,’ echoed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in a statement. ‘I also hope that this horrible incident will lead the U.S. Army to increase sensitivity training and to improve its outreach to the Asian-American community,’ Silver said.

“The meeting wasn’t specifically about Chen’s case, because they told us the case was still under investigation,” Chin explained. The concerned group demanded that, moving forward, commanding officers and other supervising soldiers be monitored and held accountable for their actions while on

plined if these types of hazing occur under his watch,” she said. “Based on numerous reports of Asian-American soldiers, diversity training is not effective, and we want community input into it.” The officials were “receptive” to the group’s queries, according to Chin. “It was a very productive meeting,”

the councilmember said. “We gave them a whole bunch of questions they said they’d answer in about two weeks, and we’re going to be following up on their response.” A follow-up meeting is tentatively scheduled for the second week of January, according to Wright. “Army leaders discussed diversity, investigation and reporting procedures, leadership and accountability,” Wright said. “They also pledged to look at ways to continue this dialogue and review diversity training and policies. “Our intent is to bring in soldiers that are openminded and that are willing to embrace a diverse subculture called the Army,” he said. Chen’s father, Yan Tao Chen, and mother, Su Zhen Chen, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. They will be meeting with Army officials to learn more about their son’s maltreatment while in the service. The meeting will take place Wednesday, January 4 at the Fort Hamilton Army base in Brooklyn, according to Frank Gee, the couple’s spokesperson and interpreter. “After two months of agonizing over their loss, they sort of feel relieved of conflict by the seriousness of the Army that they’re going to prosecute eight soldiers,” Gee said. “They hope the truth will come out to prevent anything like this from happening again.”



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CHELSEA: ARTS &ENTERTAINMENT Winter’s chill warmed by hot Downtown theater January offerings include a ‘labor’ you’ll love BY TRAV S.D. Happy New Year! Notice the difference? Okay, there isn’t any — but that doesn’t mean we can’t all take a minute to breathe, get our bearings and collect ourselves before jumping back into the rat race. A little rest and recreation! While it’s too freezing to play Frisbee in the park, might I suggest what’s in a few Downtown theatres? First, a show that will kick the year off with both an ending and a beginning. Kate Valentine (one of the early pioneers of the new burlesque scene, with her character Miss Astrid) will be presenting a very special show at Bowery Poetry Club on January 3 and 4. For this one, she’ll be breaking out her other comedy character, pregnant Bay Ridge teenager Crystal McBride. With her friend Brandi Van Pelt (Laura Sweeney), McBride hosts the mock public access cable “The Baby Daddy Show” — wherein the two clue-deprived mothers-to-be seek the fathers

At performance time, Valentine will actually be nine months pregnant. There is a real chance she could go into labor during the show, in which case special guests Victor Varnado and Abe Goldfarb (a.k.a ‘Bastard Keith’) may have to spring into action with forceps. No problem: I’m sure they’ve done it before! of their love children over the airwaves. The rub this time out? At performance time, Valentine will actually be nine months pregnant. There is a real chance she could go into labor during the show, in which case special guests Victor Varnado and Abe Goldfarb (a.k.a “Bastard Keith”) may have to spring into action with forceps. No problem: I’m sure they’ve done it before! Any way you slice it, this is guaranteed to be a memorable evening. More info at Dixon Place, an important center for the variety arts, is starting the year off right. Of course they always manage to get it right — but what’s got me excited is two monthly series that will showcase scads of New

A third entry in our winter theatre festival sweepstakes takes us into realms of a more retro kind. The always backward-looking (and therefore forward-looking) Metropolitan Playhouse will be presenting its Horatio Alger Festival January 16-29.

Photo by Roy Volkmann

It happens every month now: Dixon Place delivers the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.

York’s top variety acts (plus numerous aspirants). On the first Monday of every month, look for “The Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Hour.” On the third Monday, “Downtown Clown Revue.” Contrary to what you might think, these are not amateur nights. Yes, they are potential platforms for newbies who want a to premiere a new vaudeville act. But the vast bulk of their bills are made up of established neo-vaudevillians who either want to try out new bits, promote their own shows happening elsewhere or simply want a little stage time to keep from getting rusty. Such “fraternal” shows are very old school; an ideal set-up for vaudeville networking in the same way that the Monday Night Magic series ( is for magicians. The Bindlestiff show (which inaugurates January 2) is organized by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus — fresh from a two-year run at Galapagos. Christopher Lueck’s Clown Revue has been operating at a number of venues over the past several years (at Dixon Place for the past few months). The next edition is January 16. For information on both: Also visit and

Two annual winter theatre festivals are back this month. “Under the Radar” (January 4-15) is curated by PS122’s former artistic director Mark Russell, who bills UTR as “a crash course in theatre that is exciting, independent and experimental, created by some of the most dynamic artists working today.” The carefully culled menu of offerings includes 16 productions at five venues including “Goodbar” — a “live concept album” based on the novel “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” (which spawned the controversial 1977 film), “Lick, But Don’t Swallow” — a comedy about an angel who comes down from heaven but finds herself trapped in the body of a porn star (apparently the show was banned in Turkey after only one performance) and “The Plot is the Revolution” — featuring dueling Antigones played by Judith Malina and Silvia Calderoni. For more info, see Meanwhile, PS122 has COIL, its own festival of experimental dance, theatre and performance works from around the world (January 5-29). Artistic director Vallejo Gantner says that COIL presents work that is “fully realized, but on the bleeding front edge.” Ouch! The 2012 festival may be the

most international edition to date, with works from Argentina, Belgium, Croatia, France, Ireland and Lebanon — 11 premieres in all. Among the local entries: “Newyorkland” by director Kenneth Collins and video artist William Cusick, which mashes up scenes from movie and television crime dramas with interviews with real cops; and “Untitled Feminist Show” by Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company. I caught a workshop production of this mostly wordless, movement-based piece by the ever-elusive playwright-director Lee a few months ago. Her work never fails to surprise and inspire. As PS 122’s main space is under renovation, the majority of COIL will take place off-premise at a number of venues throughout the city. To get the skinny, go to A third entry in our winter theatre festival sweepstakes takes us into realms of a more retro kind. The always backwardlooking (and therefore forward-looking) Metropolitan Playhouse will be presenting its Horatio Alger Festival January 16-29. This company has had a tremendous track record of presenting festivals of new work by contemporary playwrights inspired by the likes of Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Nathan Hawthorne and Edgar Allen Poe. In the current outing, five latter day scribes give us their take on the novelist for young people — famed for his rags-to-riches stories. Given his problematic personal life, there are bound to be some spicy entries. At least one of them (Adam Klasfeld’s “Pluck”) delves into the unsavory backstory (accusations of pederasty) and should make for a rousing evening. Full details at On January 18, Daniel Talbott’s new play “Yosemite” will be premiering at The

Continued on page 25

December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012


Warm up to a trio of winter theater festivals Continued from page 24 Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. I must admit I was initially hoping the play was a biographical treatment of the life of a certain Bugs Bunny antagonist with a very large mustache. It turns out that it’s about “three siblings who are sent out into the snowsilent woods in the Sierra Nevada foothills to dig a hole that will be deep enough to bury a family secret.” Great Horny Toads! I still hold out hopes that it will have at least some scenes touching upon the rootinest, tootinest hombre west of the Pecos. But even if it doesn’t, the play contains some live action stars weighty enough to justify checking it out, including Kathryn Erbe (known from “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and many fine productions with Steppenwolf) and Seth Numrich (fresh from “War Horse” up at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre). For more info, visit Lastly, the month is ending on a high (low) note with a revival of the notorious musical “Carrie” — famous for being Broadway’s most expensive flop when it premiered in 1988. It ran for only three days, at a cost of $8 million, and inspired an entire book about that debacle and others like it (“Not Since Carrie: 40 Years of Broadway Flops”). The new version, rejiggered and improved (one assumes), will be opening in previews at the Lucille Lortel Theatre January 31. Beware of flying cutlery!

Photo by John Patrick Naughton

“Who’s Your Daddy?” Kate Valentine and Laura Sweeney in The Baby Daddy Show.


December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012

Just Do Art! live-streamed, and features a post-show talk-back with the cast and creator). At the Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. 4 St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($25; $20 for students/seniors), call the La MaMa box office at 212-475-7710 or visit


THE LA MAMA CANTATA Most people have one good book in them. By the time she left this mortal stage (on January 13, 2011 — at the age of 91), Ellen Stewart had over 3,000 theatrical productions to her name — having nurtured theater, dance, performance art and music as founder and artistic director of La MaMa (currently celebrating its 50th anniversary season). Writer and composer Elizabeth Swados’ new theater work pays tribute to La MaMa’s mama, by presenting a musical journey through Stewart’s life and times. The text is taken from Stewart’s own word as well as those who knew her well. A cast of 18, accompanied by a piano and percussion ensemble, bring the story to life — and what a story. Arriving in New York (via Louisiana, via Chicago), Stewart spent her early years as a fashion designer for Saks Fifth Avenue — then found herself, in 1961, in the improbable position of being a woman of color determined to open a theater “dedicated to the playwright and all aspects of the theatre.” In the process, she distinguished herself as one of a very few creative types responsible for creating what came to be known as the Off-Off Broadway movement. At the November premiere of “The La MaMa Cantata,” our own Martin Denton (a regular contributor to this paper, and editor of declared, “Like


Photo by Peter James Zielinski

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

the best works at La MaMa over the years, the CANTATA is a dazzling showcase of diversity and imagination. The cast is alarmingly talented. They communicate Ellen’s words, commentary for her collaborators, along with passages from St. John and Corinthians to honor Ms. Stewart’s spiritual side with passion and joy. Swados’

score is magnificently varied and filled with emotion.” Such high praise from Denton (an enthusiastic theatergoer, but no light touch), plus the long shadow cast by Stewart, is more than reason enough to clear your crowded holiday calendar. At 7:30pm on Thurs., Dec. 29 and Fri., Dec. 30 (the Dec. 30 performance will be

Playwright Grant James Varjas imbued his latest endeavor with an unmistakable ring of truth — by imbibing, dishing and learning valuable life lessons at an East Village watering hole very similar to the old school dive which serves as the setting for “Accidentally, Like a Martyr.” Back in the day, Varjas spent his wonder years as a budding gay man by logging countless hours at The Boiler Room (still going strong at 86 E. 4 St., btw. 1st and 2nd Aves.; Decades later, extended families are still being formed at your local gay bar — but today’s young bucks are more likely to be found raising a glass alongside straights and finding their casual kicks with the help of a smartphone app instead of that second Happy Hour drink. “Martyr” is more concerned with the former rather than the latter. In 90 minutes (with a few flashbacks to 2007 thrown in), a group of gay men spend a pivotal winter evening hunkering

Continued on page 27

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December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012


Just Do Art! 2 and Sun., Jan. 8 at 3:30pm; Wed., Jan. 4 at 7pm; Sat., Jan. 7 and 14 at 3:30/6pm. For tickets ($12; $5 student rush), call 212620-5000, x344 or visit Museum admission included with purchase of ticket. at Rubin Museum of Art (150 W. 17 St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.).

Continued from page 26 down in their favorite bar, grappling with life and aging in the 21st century. The cast includes Keith McDermott (who was the young male lead opposite Richard Burton in the original Broadway production of “Equus”) and Brett Douglas (“The Play About the Naked Guy”). Through January 8. Thurs. through Sat. at 8pm; Sun. at 3pm; Mon. at 7pm. At Paradise Factory (64 E. 4th St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($18; $15 for students and seniors), call 212352-3101 or visit Also visit


Photo by Ahron H. Foster

Photo courtesy of the artist

Diana Goulston Robinson’s “The Looking Glass,” from ArtQuilt Gallery NYC’s “Material Witness” exhibit.

MATERIAL WITNESSES: NEW WORK FROM THE MANHATTAN QUILTERS GUILD A welcome, unique and overdue addition to the Chelsea gallery scene, The ArtQuilt Gallery NYC continues to make the case for the aesthetic merits (and

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

artistry) of quilting. Their latest exhibit, “Material Witnesses: New Work from the Manhattan Quilters Guild,” showcases work from 21 members of The Manhattan Quilters Guild (a 31 year old professional association of art quilters based in NYC). The Guild’s urban roots can be seen in their chosen subject matter (jury duty, subway construction, legal injustice, crime scene investigation and abstract images of our

skyline are all accounted for here). Next up at the gallery: Paula Chung’s “Painting with Fiber: Florals” runs from January 24 through March 4. Then, Sue Benner’s “Walking Through Time” runs from March 20 through April 28. Through Jan. 7, at The ArtQuilt Gallery NYC (133 W. 25th St., btw. Sixth and Seventh Aves.), Hours: Tues. through Sat., 11am-6pm; Sun. and Mon., by appointment. For info, call 212-807-9451 or visit

Your indefatigable host Bob Montgomery — that somewhat twisted but lovable den mother of queer comedians — has put together what reads on paper as yet another stellar roster of his long-running LGBT-themed comedy series. The first “Homo Comicus” of 2012 will feature Jackie Hoffman (currently starring in “The Addams Family” on Broadway), Nashvillebased Peter Depp (star of Sundance Channel’s original series “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys”), local club and cabaret star Bianca Del Rio (from Logo’s “One Night Stand-Up: Dragtastic New York”) and Jackie Monahan (star of the recent film “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same”). Between sets, Mr. Montgomery keeps your funny bone lubricated as he pulls a few punchlines of his own. It’s all part of a good (albeit not 100 percent clean) “wild night of outsize LOLGBT hilarity.” Wed., Jan. 4, at 8:30pm. At Gotham Comedy Club (208 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Cover: $20, with 2-drink minimum. For reservations, call 212-3679000. Visit and


Photo courtesy of the filmmakers and Rubin Museum of Art

High altitude “Hamlet.” See “Prince of the Himalayas.”

The Rubin Museum of Art, The Shakespeare Society and Asian CineVision present the U.S. premiere of “Prince of the Himalayas.” Filmed entirely in Tibet, theater and film director Sherwood Hu’s high-altitude take on “Hamlet” is set in ancient times, under the shadow of the Himalayas. That location alone (a rare sight on American cinema screens) brings an epic scope to the proceedings. Factor in Hu’s eye for lavish costumes, painterly framing and historical histrionics and a good time is guaranteed for all. Well, as good a time as one can have, given the tragic arc of “Hamlet.” Described in the film’s press as “the proto-typical tale of oedipal anxiety, or of the terrifying possibilities of taking action in the social world,” this new cultural take on the melancholy Dane will, in all likelihood, be worth coming out of your winter cave for. Screenings on Wed., Dec. 28/Jan. 11 at 7pm; Fri., Dec. 30 at 7/9:30pm; Mon., Jan.

Photo is by Liz Liguori

Jackie Monahan will assault the mic, and your sensibilities, at “Homo Comicus.”


December 28, 2011 - January 10, 2012