VOLUME 6, NUMBER 24 OCTOBER 09, 2014
THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL'S KITCHEN
Idling NJT Buses Kicked from Hell’s Kitchen Curb BY ZACH WILLIAMS Afternoon rush hour on 10th Ave. remains frantic, but New Jersey Transit (NJT) buses no longer queue there before entering the Port Authority Bus Terminal. NJT announced to Community Board 4 (CB4) on Sept. 17 that a partnership with the Port Authority (PA) would better manage the NJT fleet, which transports thousands of daily commuters in between the bus terminal and New Jersey. Agency buses will now linger within the Lincoln Tunnel until PA traffic enforcement gives them the go-ahead to drive to the bus terminal, NJT officials said. CB4 Chair Christine Berthet — who is also co-founder of the Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety (CHEKPEDS) — told Chelsea Now that the new cooperation between NJT and PA indicates fresh momentum for addressing pedestrian and traffic issues on the avenue. Continued on page 7
Photo by Jenny Rubin
Urban Flotilla Honors Harbor Heroes
The Chelsea waterfront was even more picturesque than usual on October 6, when over two dozen vessels took part in the Parade of Boats. Sponsored by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, the procession is a prelude to their annual benefit. This year’s Heroes of the Harbor Award Dinner recognized the work of Sims Metal Management, the New York and New Jersey Ferry Industry, and Captain John Doswell. For more info, visit waterfrontalliance.org.
CB4 Approves Expansion of Special West Chelsea District BY WINNIE McCROY The Chelsea community came together on Oct. 1 at the Fulton Auditorium for the monthly full board meeting of Community Board 4 (CB4). Top issues included presentations on domestic violence, the Special West Chelsea Rezoning of W. 15th St., and the Balanced Business Policy. “If you don’t think domestic violence is happening in this community, I’m here to let you know that it is,” said Rose Pierre-Louis, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. “Thirty percent of crime in NYCHA housing is DV-related. In 2013, 4,000 reports were filed in CB4 — 11 per day. Since 2002, there have been 15 DV-related homicides in CB4. And 121 of 573 felony assaults in CB4 are DV-related; almost a quarter.” Pierre-Louis said that the takeaway from the incident involving NFL player Ray Rice incident was the teachable moment allowing youth to see the dynamics
of unhealthy relationships. She referred people to the Family Justice Centers in each borough, including the renovated Manhattan office, co-located with DA Cyrus Vance’s Special Victims Unit, dealing with DV, elder abuse and trafficking. “Last year there were 280,000 DV reports filed with NYPD,” said Pierre-Louise. “What’s good about this is it indicates people are reaching out for help. But we don’t have a sense who is going to other resources beyond the FJC, whether it be counseling or the emergency room.” Pierre-Louise noted connections between DV, homelessness and child abuse, saying that it cut across the very fabric of the city, as the 24 percent of New Yorkers who live with high poverty and low unemployment accounted for 42 percent of domestic violence cases last year.
Continued on page 5
© CHELSEA NOW 2014 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Local Fest Has Global Flavor
The South Korean documentary “Let’s Dance” is part of Oct. 16-19’s Chelsea Film Festival. See page 17.
Photo by Chris Kreussling (Flatbush Gardener)
Have your beloved beast blessed, at Chelsea Community Church’s Oct. 19 service.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
IT’S MY PARK DAY AT MATHEWS-PALMER PARK Meet new people, learn new things and spruce up the neighborhood — when the West 45/46 St. Block Association and their allies give a fall overhaul to 20 street tree beds (the more dignified, and preferred term, over tree “pits”). Volunteers will help make life better for beloved trees in the area around MathewsPalmer Park by cleaning the beds, breaking up the soil, and adding compost and mulch. It’s much more fun than it sounds — and it’s good for the environment! Sat., Oct. 18, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Meet at MathewsPalmer Park (enter on 45th or 46th St., btw. 9th & 10th Aves.). RSVP to email@example.com (if possible). On Facebook: facebook.com/westfortyfifthstreet.blockassociation.
ANNUAL COMMUNITY MEETING Hosted by the 300 West 23rd, 22nd, 21st Streets Block Association, this gathering is as much about catching up with each other as it is about updating the community about topics of concern. To that end, the
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guest speakers will be the NYPD’s Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry (the new 10th Precinct Commanding Officer), and reps (or electeds) from the offices of State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, Comptroller Scott Stringer and City Councilmember Corey Johnson. Members of the Lower East Side Ecology Center will explain the particulars of Chelsea’s annual Nov. 1 Jack-O-Lantern Composting Project, and attendees can pick up free spring flowering daffodil bulbs (plant them now, enjoy them later!). Wed., Oct. 22. Socializing at 6:30 p.m. Meeting starts at 7 p.m. At St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church (315 W. 22nd St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). For more info, contact them at 300WBA@gmail.com.
FALL E-WASTE COLLECTION Electronic waste accounts for 70 percent of the toxins (but just one percent of the volume) found in landfills. Do your part to decrease those numbers, by bringing unwanted or broken electronics to Tekserve. In collaboration with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, they’ll be accepting your laptops, desktops, printers, scanners, fax-machines, keyboards, cables, cords, chargers, tablets and e-readers, TVs, VCRs, DVRs, DVD players, cell phones, and more (no appliances or smoke detectors). For CDs, discs and VHS tapes, there is a suggested 50-cent donation, per item. Tax deduction forms for computer equipment will be provided. Sat., Oct. 18, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at Tekserve (119 W. 23rd St., btw. 6th & 7th Aves.). For the full list of acceptable items and all other info: lesecologycenter. org or 212-477-4022. Also visit tekserve.com.
CHELSEA COMMUNITY CHURCH’S 15TH ANNUAL BLESSING OF ANIMALS When people of all denominations get together at this Chelsea Community Church event, the fur flies — and we mean that in a good way. It’s time for CCC’s annual Blessing of the Animals, held in conjunction with its host church, St. Peter’s. All species are welcome. Tenor Otto Walberg, the service’s long-time lay leader and performer,
Photo courtesy of Penn South Ceramics
Anna Copeland’s Mexican Tree of Life, part of an exhibit on view in the window of Assemblymember Richard Gottfried’s office, Oct. 14–Nov.14.
has commissioned a new song, called “The Blessing” — written by award-winning poet Joan Larkin and composed by noted arranger Bob Christianson. Howls of approval are strongly encouraged! Free (collection taken). At noon on Sun. Oct. 19 at St. Peter’s (346 W. 20th St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). Visit chelseachurch.org or send an email to info@ chelseachurch.org.
THE W. 400 BLOCK ASSOCIATION FALL MEETING Contrary to what Bogart said — and yes, we’re liberally paraphrasing here — the problems of one little block do amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. That’s why all Chelsea residents are invited to the Fall General Meeting of the W. 400 Block Association (covering 21st, 22nd & 23rd Sts.). Come find out what’s happening in the neighborhood, hear from local officials, and share your concerns (not just about problems; good ideas are always welcome). Thurs., Oct. 16. Meet and greet at 7 p.m. and meeting at 7:30 p.m. At Frederic Fleming House (443-445 W. 22nd St., btw. 9th & 10th Aves.). For info, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PENN SOUTH CERAMICS DISPLAY IN ASSEMBLYMEMBER GOTTFRIED’S OFFICE WINDOW Throughout 2014, Penn South Ceramics Studio instructor Ava McNamee has been teaching her students how to take a lump of clay and create a Mexican Tree of Life. These colorful and intricately decorated pieces are based on the ceremonial candelabra made by crafters from Puebla. Several of the most vibrant works will be part of an exhibit sponsored by Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (whose District Office window serves as the venue). Many of the featured artists will attend the Opening Reception on Tues., Oct. 14, 6–7:30 p.m. Then, the exhibit remains on view through Nov. 14, at 242 W. 27th St. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). Visit pennsouthceramics.com for more info on current and future classes. .com
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September 25, 2014
Rooted in Chelsea, a Vegan Business Model Blossoms BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Pamela Elizabeth is one busy restaurateur. Last month alone, two new vegan restaurants — one fast food and one an upscale sit-down — opened on the Upper West Side, expanding an empire that began nine years ago in Chelsea. Elizabeth and her business partner, Ronen Seri, opened their first vegan eatery, Blossom Restaurant on Ninth Ave. (btw. W. 21st & W. 22nd Sts.) on Oct. 22, 2005. Elizabeth immediately remembered the month, day and year her first restaurant opened and the whirlwind that engulfed her. “Did we make the right decision? Is it going to succeed? Are people really going to love the food?” said Elizabeth in an interview with Chelsea Now at her latest restaurant, Blossom (at 507 Columbus Ave., btw. W. 84th & W. 85th Sts.). Elizabeth and Seri ran a natural pet and supply store called The Barking Zoo, which they then sold (it’s still in business, on Ninth Ave., btw. 20th & 21st Sts.). The Bronx native had been a vegetarian since she was 17, and then
Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
Blossom Restaurant on Ninth Ave. (btw. W. 21st & W. 22nd Sts.)
turned vegan. “I always wanted to do something to help animals or to bring an awareness to people that animals should be noticed and have feelings and should be treated right,” she said. “I thought of opening a very small vegan cafe — you know maybe just two or four tables.”
Growing up, Elizabeth had no ambitions to be a business owner. She was interested instead in the arts — especially opera, which she still sings (“Othello” is one of her favorites). But, at that time in 2005, there was such a dearth of options for vegans, especially when it came to high-end
choices, and she wanted somehow to fill that void somehow. She and Seri were scouting for space, and happened upon a “For Rent” sign in the window on Ninth Ave., she recalled. At that time, it was an Italian restaurant, dismal inside and with the owner living upstairs. “But you could see it had potential — it’s just an adorable little intimate townhouse,” she said, and “that idea of a little cafe just turned into a restaurant because we found the space.” Blossom Restaurant opened three months later. “That was probably the craziest time of my life,” Elizabeth said. “I had no idea what I was getting into. The restaurant business has got to be one of the hardest businesses in the world.” Blossom Restaurant’s menu includes one of Elizabeth’s favorite dishes: port wine seitan with white mushrooms, tempura onion, garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. Although Elizabeth doesn’t drink alcohol, she loves the plate. Other customer favorites, she said, are the seitan scallopini
Continued on page 12
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Less High-Rises and Bars, More Balanced Businesses, Says CB4 Continued from page 1
CHELSEA SAYS ‘NO’ TO HIGH-RISES After the kerfuffle caused by Jamestown Properties’ wildly unpopular expansion atop the Chelsea Market, CB4 has been eager to prevent similar situations. To that end, the Chelsea Land Use Committee has applied to incorporate areas into the Special West Chelsea District (SWCD), to ensure that new buildings adhere to the character of the neighborhood. The rezoning would affect 11th and 12th Aves., btw. W. 27th and W. 30th Sts., the Chelsea Market block, 85 and 99 10th Ave. and the south side of W. 15th St., btw. Ninth and 10th Aves. Among the amendments are strengthened street wall requirements, setbacks, building heights capped at 135 feet, and unenclosed sidewalk cafes permitted on wide streets. Carolina Halt, planner liaison to CB4 and CB7 from the Department of City Planning, said the community is looking for ways to regulate the corridor of W. 14th/15th, btw. Ninth and 10th Aves. The M1-5 zoning district has
no height restrictions, threatening the existing character of the neighborhood. “Under current regulations, a building could have unlimited height,” said Halt. “But with M1-5 laid over this Special West Chelsea District, buildings would have to adhere to a base height of 50–95 feet, capped at 135 feet. Setbacks are 15 feet on narrow streets, 10 on wide, and it doesn’t involve changes to existing permit density. It is in line with the Chelsea Market, and an appropriate transition from the Meatpacking District to West Chelsea.”
VORNADO WANTS TO GO HIGHER These proposed changes don’t sit well with Vornado Realty Trust, who, along with Aurora Capital Associates, wants to build a 190-foot office tower on the Prince Lumber site, just north of the Apple store. They came out in force to argue for their proposal. “You are probably looking at me as a big, bad developer with no regard for the neighborhood. But we selected Aurora Capital because they’ve built ten buildings here,” said David Greenbaum, president of the New York Office Division of Vornado
Trust. “We ask your assistance to build a great building we all can be proud of. We understand your concerns… and we want to be clear that we don’t want to build another hotel in your neighborhood; we would like to build an office building.” Greenbaum said that they were not asking for upzoning, were unopposed to a height limit, and were sympathetic to the community’s anger over the midblock [Chelsea Market] tower. Geoff Smith, vice-president of development for Vornado, added, “We are confident this will allow us to build a great building we’re proud of, to create an influx of office workers.” Jared Epstein, a vice president with Aurora Capital, urged the community to rethink the height limit, saying it would “force them to put up a hotel with a nightclub and restaurant, which is not what the community or what we want.” He said that their 190-foot tower would be more contextually consistent with the soaring midblock hotel. Jim Power of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP argued that corner lots should be allowed to rise higher than
Photo by Winnie McCroy
Rose Pierre-Louise, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, draws attention to Chelsea crime statistics.
midblock lots, and that the proposed height and setback restrictions were “inappropriate and inconsistent with those principles.” And Harry Kendall, a CB4 resident and partner in BKSK Architects LLP, said that after Vornado and Aurora had asked them to look at the site, he agreed that “The new building needs to reflect the architectural style of the
Continued on page 6
What’s your charitable dream? When Harry met Sarah,
he was a taxi driver who “never had a nickel.” Sarah, a passenger in his cab, was a nurse who listened to patients’ stock tips and invested. They had a storybook marriage. Sarah set aside money to take care of Harry. After their deaths, the remaining money started the Sarah and Harry Rogers Fund in The New York Community Trust to maintain parks and protect the City’s air and water. We continue to make grants in their names.
$ Prospect Park photo by Michael Pick / Creative Commons
$ Rogers Fund, established in 1994 with
Grants given from the fund to nonprofits, to date
$ Market value of the fund (as of March 2014)
Contact our counsel, Jane Wilton, at (212) 686-2563 or email@example.com
90 September 25, 2014
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of gi vi ng
At CB4, Sen. Hoylman Talks Taxes, Crime Data CB4 voted unanimously to recommend adoption of the SWCD.
Continued from page 5 neighborhood, and we quickly came to the feeling that distinctive masonry and good ceiling heights are necessary to sculpt this building. Height is not the problem here. Good architecture is.” During the public session, 19th St. resident Frank Lowe reminded CB4 that Jamestown had used similar tactics, saying, “I don’t think we should allow ourselves to be swayed by the threat of another hotel. We made the mistake to allow Jamestown to increase the bulk of their building, and there’s no reason to allow Vornado to. This should be cut back at the knees.” CB4 member Lee Compton said, “I don’t think that a 265-foot hotel that slipped through should define the rest of the neighborhood.” Board members agreed, noting in their letter that they “reject the argument that the out-of-scale midblock hotel under construction should establish the new context for the block. We only regret that this action comes too late to prevent that particular building.”
ELECTED OFFICIALS REPORT Congressman Jerrold Nadler informed the community that he was against arming the Syrian rebels, adding that a president should not be allowed to declare war without a Congressional vote. “I voted against the appropriation of funds for arming Syrian rebels because I worried about this authorization of war, and secondly, because there are questions,” said Nadler. “Who are these moderate Syrian rebels, and how do we know these arms won’t be turned against us or our allies?” Nadler said ISIS was not a direct threat to the U.S.; the issue was that “people from the U.S. or England will go train with ISIS and return here to commit murder and mayhem. That threat cannot be dealt with by the military in the Middle East, but with border control… not with boots on the ground, but by doing what we are doing.” State Senator Brad Hoylman talked about foreign real estate owners who leave buildings vacant for upwards of 10
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State Senator Brad Hoylman argues for revising the Hate Crimes Law.
months a year, paying no tax. “The idea was to capture some of that revenue with a pied-à-terre tax of .5 percent for the first million, and max out at a top rate of 4 percent for properties of 20 million or more,” said Hoylman. “Some are telling me the sky is going to fall, that I’ve cast a chill over real estate, that foreign investment will turn away from New York. I’ve touched a nerve, and I’m proud of that. This will only impact two percent of properties, but could generate $660 million in revenue.” Hoylman also referred to last year’s “Summer of Hate,” with nine people injured or killed in bias-related crimes, and asked the Comptroller’s office to revise the Hate Crimes Law. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure, so we asked the comptroller to look at the way the NYPD collects hate crime data, and create action plans around bias-related crimes,” said Hoylman. “No one is funneling it to the right person to create this policy. We recommended that the NYPD make a tracking system, do training related to record keeping, and do periodic hate-related trainings. The great news is that the NYPD accepted these recommendations
and are working to implement them.” Other elected officials sent their representatives. Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal’s office said that they would provide free flu shots on Oct. 23. Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office invited all to brainstorm on how to spend $1 million set aside for the community needs. On Oct. 9 at the FIT High School auditorium, he will lead a series on affordable housing. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney worked to extend the Debbie Smith Act, an important piece of legislation in combatting rape, and provide federal funds to assess the 400,000 backlog of unprocessed rape kits. Maloney also introduced legislation to prevent arbitrary limits being set on multifamily housing mortgages. A representative from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office invited all to FIT on Oct. 15 for National Guard training in emergency preparedness, including a backpack of supplies with a flashlight, first aid kit and AM/FM radio.
CHELSEA WANTS BALANCED BUSINESSES First Vice Chair Hugh Weinberg headed the public session, during which many community members voiced support for CB4’s new Balanced Business Policy, an attempt to meter the high concentration of alcohol-serving establishments with needed retail shops. Manhattan Plaza resident Douglas Leland said that he visited a friend near Flaming Saddles, and had to close the window to hear over the “free-for-all.” “And Bartini on Tenth Avenue has so much noise, I don’t know how people live there,” said Leland. “I urge you to act on legislating the noise in these bars.” Kathleen Treat commended CB4, say-
Continued on page 19
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September 25, 2014
Idling NJT Buses Moved from 10th Ave to Lincoln Tunnel Continued from page 1 “I think we’ve seen a big change, this change of buses is enormous in perception and in reality,” she said. The announcement follows at least two CB4 requests to address problems arising from the dozens of NJT buses which illegally idled on 10th Ave., forming a line in the far Eastern lane that often stretched for four or more blocks. Letters concerning the issue sent by CB4 in January 2014 went unanswered, Chelsea Now reported on Aug. 14. CB4 also wrote to NJT about the issue as far back as 2010. “We feel the inaction is unusual and not appropriate for a major bus company,” reads the January 2014 letter from CB4 to NJT. However, the transit agency took a different posture at a Sept. 17 private meeting with CB4, which also included representatives from the NYPD, the PA, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) and private bus carriers such as Peter Pan and Trans-Bridge Lines. The meeting focused on the traffic situation around the bus terminal, according to Ernest Modarelli, co-chair of the CB4 Transportation Planning Committee. “Out of the meeting, CB4 learned that there was some confusion on the part of the bus companies caused by miscommunication by the NYPD which would have one traffic agent directing buses down a street, and another officer issuing tickets to buses for using a residential block. NYPD said they would look into the issue and try to correct the miscommunication,” he wrote on Sept. 28 in an email to Chelsea Now. Collaboration among these groups resulted in the announcement from NJ Transit that they would end the practice of using 10th Ave. as a de facto bus staging area, according to a NJT spokesper-
son. The change — implemented on Sept. 15 — will also improve the efficiency of the NJT fleet by reducing by 25 percent the driving time of its fleet as well as helping to reduce traffic congestion during rush hours, the spokesperson added. Under the plan, NJT buses will remain in New Jersey longer before journeying through the Lincoln Tunnel towards the bus terminal. PA traffic police will then send the buses north rather than south, according to a PA spokesperson. “Therefore they enter the terminal without traversing the city streets,” wrote a Port Authority spokesperson, of the plan, in an email. “[The plan] is still in the early stages and it will be reevaluated as conditions dictate, but so far it has been successful.” The spokesperson declined to provide information on how many PA police officers were deployed to the area as part of the plan, nor the cost. Such data is not made publicly available, the spokesperson added in a subsequent email. The situations often credited with causing traffic delays and accidents remain common on 10th Ave. Vehicles drive through red lights and pedestrians cross the street outside of designated crosswalks. Buses turn right at the intersection with W. 40th St. on their way into the aging bus terminal that is largely blamed for the overall traffic problems at the bottleneck of 10th Ave. The immediate blocks to the south as well as side streets were clogged with buses and private vehicles around 5 p.m. on Sept. 26. Pedestrians dashed across the avenue in between interstate buses and large industrial trucks. Sedans swerved around buses, which blocked intersections during red lights. There was plenty of honking while an unidentified man presented an obscene gesture to the
Photo by Zach Williams
Changes in New Jersey Transit policy allowed the MTA’s M11 bus to resume service to a stop at 10th Ave. and 37th St.
bus driver of an otherwise empty double-decker sightseeing bus, which had turned towards the man before stopping abruptly in the crosswalk — just before it would have hit the pedestrian. There were no NJT buses idling along the avenue, but those from Coach USA assumed NJT’s former position albeit in much smaller numbers. One Coach USA bus idled near an MTA bus stop at W. 37th St. and 10th Ave. for at least 30 minutes before leaving, far exceeding city and state limits on idling vehicles.
Continued on page 10
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Along W. 39th St. parked buses from private carriers clogged the southern shoulder of the west-bound street. But signs of progress were apparent as well. The MTA’s M11 bus had mostly ceased stopping at the stop at W. 37th St. due to the NJ Transit buses which had previously idled there as a matter of course, as Chelsea Now reported Aug. 28. Nearly one month later, three pas-
212-679-3427 September 25, 2014
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Beyond affordable units
To The Editor Rent-regulated housing constitutes 46 percent of the city’s rental units. Add in Mitchell-Lama rentals, Section 8, public housing, etc., up to 60 percent of the city’s rental housing is regulated in some form. The statement that there’s been a “failure to support affordable housing in the last 20 years” is a pointblank denial of the facts worthy of Fox News. What is needed is an innovative approach to urban revitalization that understands housing units are only one part of the puzzle. Jobs, community and transportation are just as important parts of the equation. The mindless demand for more units and more money — always argued in an us-against-them manner — is what breeds failure. Mark Tyler
READER COMMENTS FROM ChelseaNow.com Safe vistas for (some of) the High Line
Re: High Line at the Rail Yards is a Whole New Chapter at the End of the Road” (news, Sept. 25, 2014) Let’s hope this section and its fabulous wide-open views won’t eventually be smothered by more hi rise development, as is happening on Parts 1 and 2. At least, I guess, the Hudson River vista is safe! Maggie B.
21st St. situation needs more press Re: Rights Trashed Amidst Market-Rate Conversion” (news, Aug. 14. 2014 print edition): I don’t see this being resolved anytime soon and eventually being settled in the tenents’ favor. All the fraud that occurred at DHCR during the Pataki years will come to light now for this building as it has for many other buildings. Just sit tight and whatever happens don’t move. More rallies, more media!
Free range animals good for the soil
Laws must be written to protect tenants
Re: Letters to The Editor (Sept. 25, 2014, regarding Nico Young’s letter on the eco advantages of vegetarianism): Young’s letter gets it partly right. It is the industrialization of agriculture, the factory-farming of animals and heavy use of pesticides, GMOs and preservatives that is so detrimental to the environment and to human and animal health. A recent fascinating and informative article by Ronnie Cummins, “The Carbon Underground: Reversing Global Warming” (organicconsumers.org) explains how regenerating soil can take the excess carbon out of the atmosphere. Among other references, he cites Michael Pollan’s introduction to Courtney White’s book (“Grass, Soil, Hope”). Pollan writes: “This process of returning atmospheric carbon to the soil works even better when ruminants are added to the mix. Every time a calf or lamb shears a blade of grass, that plant, seeking to rebalance its root-shoot ratio, sheds some of its roots. These are then eaten by the worms, nematodes, and microbes-digested by the soil, in effect, and so added to its bank of carbon. This is how soil is created: from the bottom up.”
Re: Rally Protests ‘Unconscionable Harassment’ of 21st St. Tenants” (news, Sept. 25, 2014 print edition): Let’s hear from members of out City Council and the Borough President about exactly what laws they plan on sponsoring to prohibit this sort of conduct that has been going on for years on the part of landlords and their agents. It’s okay to say that they “will not stand for it” — but specific laws have to be written and legal action has to be taken immediately against bad actors who disobey them.
E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to Scott@ChelseaNow.com or fax to 212229-2790 or mail to Chelsea Now, Letters to the Editor, NYC Community Media, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. 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.
Wake up, Chelsea! Re: Rally Protests ‘Unconscionable Harassment’ of 21st St. Tenants” (news, Sept. 25, 2014 print edition): Is this the beginning of a strong tenant movement in the tradition of Jane Wood and Chelsea Coalition on Housing when Chelsea residents would fill the block to prevent tenants from illegal harassment of tenants in order to turn a bigger profit by any means. I do believe the Chelsea community is waking to fact that the changes in Chelsea, million-dollar condos replacing homes for non-millionaires (teachers, postmen, students, artists, you, me) is changing the face of this neighborhood...this city. Our voices must be heard loud and clear. And it looks like wake-up time has come! Gloria Sukenick
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September 25, 2014
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COMMUNITY BOARD 4 (CB4) 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.). The monthly full board meeting, open to the public, takes place on the last Wed. of the month. The next meeting is Nov. 5, 6:30 p.m., at Roosevelt Hospital (1000 Tenth Ave., btw. 58th & 59th Sts.). Call 212-736-4536, visit nyc. gov/mcb4 or email them at info@ manhattancb4.org. COMMUNITY BOARD 5 (CB5) 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. The board meeting, open to the public, happens on the second Thursday of the month. The next meeting is Nov. 13, 6 p.m., at Xavier High School (30 W. 16th St., btw. 5th & 6th Aves., 2nd fl.). Call 212-465-0907, visit cb5.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. THE 300 WEST 23RD, 22ND & 21ST STREETS BLOCK ASSOCIATION Contact them at email@example.com. THE WEST 400 BLOCK ASSOCIATION Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawedoff 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 800577-TIPS, text “TIP577” (plus your message) to “CRIMES” (274637) or submit a tip online at nypdcrimestoppers.com. .com
CHELSEA GARDEN CLUB Chelsea Garden Club cares for the bike lane tree pits in Chelsea. If you want to adopt a tree pit or join the group, please contact them at email@example.com or like them on Facebook. Also visit chelseagardenclub.blogspot.com. LOWER CHELSEA ALLIANCE (LoCal) This group is committed to protecting the residential blocks of Chelsea from overscale development. Contact them at LowerChelseaAlliance@gmail.com. THE GREENWICH VILLAGE-CHELSEA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Call 212-337-5912 or visit villagechelsea.com. THE MEATPACKING DISTRICT INITIATIVE Visit meatpacking-district.com or call 212-633-0185.
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
Professional Networking October 22, 2014, 6-8 PM
PENN SOUTH The Penn South Program for Seniors provides recreation, education and social services — and welcomes volunteers. For info, call 212-243-3670 or visit pennsouthlive.org. 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
THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). Commander: Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-7418210. Detective Squad: 212-7418245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct. The next meeting is Oct. 29.
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THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.). Deputy Inspector: David Ehrenberg. Call 212-4777411. Community Affairs: 212477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30 p.m., at the 13th Precinct. The next meeting is Oct. 21.
212 473 7875 email@example.com September 25, 2014
Bus Volume Decreases in Frantic Hell’s Kitchen Rush
Photo by Zach Williams
CB4 members expressed optimism that traffic conditions will improve on 10th Ave., which buses frequent in order to access the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Continued from page 7
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September 25, 2014
sengers waited for the M11 there, which was largely unimpeded by nearby idling private carrier buses. Then an upsurge of buses heading north swarmed the stop, though the space immediately in front was still unoccupied. Two M11 buses would drive past on their way uptown. Just when it seemed that some things never change, a third M11 bus easily served the stop once the traffic subsided about 10 minutes later. A few blocks north, four NYPD officers observed traffic while nearby a NJT official did the same, though the latter declined to offer details to Chelsea Now about what he was doing there. Despite the ongoing challenges, CB4 members expressed optimism that traffic forces are negotiating a turn for the best. “Hell’s Kitchen [from 30th to 39th Sts.] has been transformed from a bus parking lot back into a neighborhood, and my neighbors and I hope the initiative is a permanent solution,” Modarelli added in the email. In the past year, other progress has been made in addressing dangerous traffic conditions, Berthet added. A DOT study of Hell’s Kitchen’s traffic conditions, released last spring, resulted in numerous changes on Ninth Ave. such as delayed signals and increased turning signs. “Now what we’re seeing is a lot of the results from the study of Hell’s Kitchen,” she said in a phone interview. Neighboring Community Board 2 approved a resolution on Sept. 18 calling on DOT to conduct a similar study of Seventh Ave. between 14th and Canal Sts. Conditions there are similar to those on Ninth Ave. before the changes.
“Complete Streets type redesigns, such as the kind that would be addressed in the requested study, including such improvements as pedestrian safety islands with landscaping, protected bicycle lanes, dedicated bus lanes, and traffic lights with leading pedestrian intervals or split phase timing have resulted in notable decreases in crashes and injuries on other NYC streets,” reads a draft version of the resolution provided to Chelsea Now. On Seventh Ave., at least four lanes of traffic are thick with cars, buses and trucks during rush hours. Automobiles routinely drive into a designated bus lane. Bicyclists compete for space with automobiles and car doors alike. Pedestrians islands — a method employed on Ninth Ave. to safeguard pedestrian crossings — are non-existent. Street redesigns reduce injuries to street users, states the resolution, which cited recently released DOT statistics indicating that injuries on Ninth Ave. have fallen 58 percent following the study. The resolution asks that a similar study be concluded within six months. The resolution as approved by CB2 could not be obtained by press time. A DOT spokesperson said in an email that the department is reviewing CB2’s request. CB4 will likely take up the issue of asking DOT for a traffic study of Seventh Ave. in October, Modarelli and Berthet both said. Implementing changes takes time, according to Berthet. “We are making progress and there’s a lot of small incremental progress which is hard to see,” she said of ongoing efforts.
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September 25, 2014
Pamela Elizabeth is Building a Ve Continued from page 4 in a white wine, lemon and caper sauce, and the black eyed pea cake, which is Yukon gold potatoes and black eyed peas served with a chipotle aioli. After the success of Blossom Restaurant, Elizabeth and Seri quickly made the move to grow, opening Cafe Blossom two years later on the Upper West Side. It recently closed because of a lease issue. “It was a thriving business,” she said. “Our customers were crying, it was really intense.” The newly opened Blossom Restaurant is not far from that closed restaurant, which was at 466 Columbus Ave. Next Cocoa V, a vegan chocolate and desert and wine bar, opened in 2009 on Ninth Ave. in Chelsea, but has since closed. “I can’t even talk about Cocoa V,” said Elizabeth. “I loved Cocoa V so much. I still dream about that reopening, and maybe it will one day.” Thinking that the Cocoa V space would serve better as a bakery, Elizabeth converted the former wine and dessert bar into Blossom Bakery in 2012. Elizabeth said there is a high demand for vegan baked goods. As of now, however, that space is being used to fulfill wholesale orders and is not open to the public. “I go back and forth about moving our wholesale production out of that space and reopening as a full-fledged bakery,” she said. Whole Foods throughout the city — the Chelsea, Union Square and Columbus Circle locations — carry four of Elizabeth’s items: biscotti, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal harvest cookies. “They all do very well,” she said. “We want to expand that line of baked goods.” A frozen vegan pot pie is also in the works, and there is talk with Whole Foods of expanding to more stores — and perhaps even taking the products nationally. “That’s taking things to a whole other level,” said Elizabeth. “That’s very exciting to me because we’re going to be able to reach so many more people.” Seri and Elizabeth are co-owners of the three restaurants, including Blossom
September 25, 2014
Courtesy of Pamela Elizabeth
Sweet Potato Coconut Curry is just the tip of the vegan comfort food iceberg.
on Carmine in the West Village, which opened in April of 2012. (Seri owns the vegan bistro V-Note, at 1522 First Ave. btw. E. 79th & E. 80th Sts.). But in 2010, when Elizabeth opened her first quick-service Blossom du Jour (BDJ) in Chelsea (also on Ninth Ave.), she did it on her own. It has since moved to W. 23rd St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves), as Elizabeth wanted a larger space and more centralized location. Shrewd. Fast. Food. With that motto, Elizabeth has taken the all-American concept of food in a hurry and made it both healthy and vegan. “I’ve wanted for a long time to introduce vegan fast food,” said Elizabeth. “I would look at Hale and Hearty and how they would have sandwiches and soups and salads and I would think ‘why can’t this work with all the food options being vegan?’ Of course, it can.” The fourth BDJ opened on the Upper West Side (449 Amsterdam Ave. btw. W. 81st & W. 82 Sts.) in September, and a fifth location is already on the horizon. “People want this food on the go — especially in cities.” The slogan “Shrewd. Fast. Food.” came about because its “food for the discerning person. The person who wants to eat better for whatever reason. I don’t want to say anything about what other fast food companies are doing. But we all know what the food is,” said Elizabeth. BDJ offers sandwiches, wraps, salads, desserts, smoothies and juices —
A fifth version of the quick-serve Blossom du W. 23rd St. shop, btw. Seventh & Eighth Ave
Courtesy of Pamela Elizabeth
Blossom’s Tofu Ceviche (hiziki, lime, avocado, cilantro served with a toasted baguette).
all vegan, some also gluten-free. Two of the most popular items, said Elizabeth, are the Midtown Melt — Cajun spicy seitan with v-cheese, agave, guacamole, lettuce and chipotle aioli — and The Skyscraper, a vegan burger with all the fixings. Elizabeth said that she hopes to have 10-12 BDJs in New York City, and then expand outside to college towns, where a lot of young people are vegetarian or, at least, open to the type of cuisine. “It’s always been about animals for me, not about health. I know that a vegan diet is a healthy diet, but it’s always been about animals for me,” said
Elizabeth. At one time, proceeds from Cocoa V went to an animal rescue organization. Now, people who have a Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary card get 15 percent off at any Blossom establishment. Promotions are run at BDJ, where when a particular sandwich is purchased, a dollar will go to the farm. For a three-month promotion during the summer, $2,700 was donated. Elizabeth lived in Chelsea for 17 years, but recently moved to the Upper West Side. “It’s probably the most grounded place in New York City, people are .com
Vegan Empire with Chelsea Roots
Photo by Scott Stiffler
Jour concept is on the horizon (seen here, the es.).
really down to earth,” said Elizabeth, who still considers Chelsea her base. “It’s a different energy and I think that the restaurant has benefited from that.” But it took a little time for the
neighborhood to adjust, she recalled. “When we first opened there was a little backlash there. We’d get the person calling and saying, ‘Oh, can you deliver a steak to my address?’ ” she said. “Crazy stuff like that. That doesn’t happen anymore. It took awhile for people to get used to what we were doing.” It was a different time then, and Elizabeth said she is aware how sensitive the subject of what people eat is. “It’s a very personal thing and people don’t want to feel like they’re being pushed or told and that’s not our intention at all. The intention is just to offer delicious food. It happens to be vegan,” she said. At Blossom, people are encouraged to fill out comment cards that ask if they are vegan or vegetarian. Elizabeth said that they have found that 65 to 70 percent of their patrons are not vegans or vegetarians but people who eat meat. “We’re definitely a destination restaurant since we’re on Ninth
Avenue. We’re not on Eighth, we’re not on Seventh, where it’s bustling,” said Elizabeth, with clientele coming from all over. “People do have to seek us out.” The landscape has changed since the first Blossom Restaurant opened and now, there are many more vegan offerings. “Everyone recognizes the word vegan today. It’s not like a couple years ago, five years ago, six years ago: ‘What’s that?’ Today everybody knows,” she said. “They might not know a vegan. They might not be vegan, but they know what that word means. That’s a tremendous step forward.” Elizabeth said that Blossom has built a reputation, and people who do want to eat healthy seek out her restaurants. She attributes some of her success to this trend toward healthy eating and the team that she works with. She also credits her passion for what she does. “I feel like that everyday before I go to bed and when I wake
Courtesy of Pamela Elizabeth
Restaurateur Pamela Elizabeth followed her passion, and found that a vegan menu (and mindset) is good for business.
up. I know how hard it is [but] it just means the world to me to put this kind of food out there. You can’t be afraid to try to move forward. That’s a big thing. You have to take risks.”
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September 25, 2014
ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT The Radiant Center of All Things New Lafayette St. space reflects Company XIV’s decadent aesthetic THEATER
ROCOCO ROUGE Presented by Company XIV Conceived, Directed & Choreographed by Austin McCormick Runtime: 90 min. 21 & over admitted Through November 2 Tues.–Sun. at 8 p.m. Oct. 25 show at 10 p.m. only | No Oct. 28 show At XIV 428 Lafayette St. (btw. Astor Pl. & E. Fourth St.) Tickets from $55 to $125 Visit companyxiv.com or call 212-677-1444 Facebook.com/CompanyXIV Twitter: @Company_XIV Instagram: CompanyXIV
BY TRAV S.D. (travsd.wordpress.com) Company XIV has single-handedly spoiled it for all of the other New York indie theatre companies as far as I am concerned. They are so bloody good, they speak to me on so many levels, that the bar is too high for most of them to clear, and I’d just as soon stay home. I first learned about the company when assigned to write a feature about them for this very paper back in 2010. Since then I’ve seen them about a half dozen times in venues ranging from the Minetta Lane Theatre to their former headquarters, which was unpleasantly situated near the headwaters of the Gowanus Canal. (Those waters are the very reason the company is no longer based at the Brooklyn location. They were among the unlikely victims of floods caused by Hurricane Sandy). The displacement had a happy long-term result however, for now they have a splendorous new home. In early September they unveiled their new combination lounge and 100-seat theatre, simply called XIV, fortuitously located on Lafayette Street across from the Public Theater, and a couple of doors down from the Astor Place Theatre, long-time home of Blue Man Group. This little stretch of road is brimming with historical resonance and meaning — it’s been a center for theatrical
September 25, 2014
Photo by Phillip Van Nostrand
“Rococo Rouge” presents a succession of numbers, jaw-dropping in their beauty, rigorous precision, and illusion of effortlessness.
activity for well over 150 years. The building they’re in on Colonnade Row dates to the 1830s. A symbolic location like this is the perfect place for Company XIV to make their home base. The clue as to why is embedded in their name. The moniker is a nod to the pleasure-loving French monarch Louis XIV (1638-1715), affectionately known to posterity as the “Sun King,” because he aspired to be the radiant center of all things. The resident Sun King of Company XIV is Austin McCormick, the company’s founder, artistic director and choreographer. McCormick was trained in the archaic art of Baroque dance, and that is the core of what he does, although he incorporates later artistic movements that resonate and productively speak to that original aesthetic, mixing in ideas from the Second Empire, Orientalism, the fin de siècle, Weimar, burlesque, and contemporary pop and hip hop. The bottom line is a striving for the beautiful and the sensual, and McCormick invokes all of the arts to achieve a kind of helpless intoxication: ballet and other types of dance, opera as well as more folkish song forms, poetry, costume, and lighting design all serving the same end. A marked feature of their work is the crossing of boundaries, the mixing together of many notions and
ideas. Gender bending plays a strong role, as does the harmonious blending of black and white and the tongues of many lands — Spanish, Italian, German and French are spoken and sung almost as much as English in Company XIV productions. Darkness and light, humor and pain, fantasy and real-life spectacle are all swirled together. In the tradition of masque and Carnival, Company XIV’s ritual of art is especially well-suited to holidays, and I’ve seen them do Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s shows. Their aesthetic serves them all equally well. In fact, if you were to add the three holiday traditions together you might arrive at something like Company XIV. One has always regretted the lack of an appropriate setting for this elegant troupe; now they have one. The new space reflects the company’s decadent aesthetic, sporting chandeliers, large ornamental gold crowns suspended from the ceiling (evoking their namesake), a blow-up of a poster for a Moulin Rouge show called “Follements,” and a theatre curtain featuring erotic images including depictions of both sex organs. Victorian waiter-girls in silk top hats and ribbons take your drink order. They appear to enjoy their work.
Continued on page 16 .com
Buhmann on Art
Courtesy of the artist & George Billis Gallery, NYC
Wes Hempel / “Burying The Evidence” / oil on canvas, 72x52” / 2014.
Courtesy of the artist & George Billis Gallery, NYC
Wes Hempel / “Language Vaccine II (Vow of Silence)” / oil on canvas, 52x76” / 2014.
BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN (stephaniebuhmann.com)
WES HEMPEL Wes Hempel explores notions of masculinity by setting portraits of present-day men against backdrops that resemble paintings of the historical Neoclassical and High Renaissance era — Nicolas Poussin and Guido Reni frequently come to mind. Hempel’s work especially reflects his interest in masculine sexuality as it has been represented throughout art history. When studying works of the past in museums, Hempel found that absent to him as a gay man was the depiction of his own story: “Paintings of the old masters on the walls of museums like the Met, the
Louvre, and Rijks museum still have a certain cache. They’re revered not just for their technique but because they enshrine our collective past experience. Of course, it’s a selected past that gets validated.” By choosing to present contemporary males as objects of desire in familiar looking art historical settings, Hempel wittily and romantically imagines an art discourse that never excluded the gay experience. In a time when this subject is still able to shock the unenlightened, Hempel’s paintings are not simply aesthetically stimulating, but serve as a poignant reminder that art, no matter how seemingly liberal, has also had its historic limitations. Through Oct. 25. At George Billis Gallery (525 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.– Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 212-645-2621 or visit georgebillis.com.
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Company XIV Invokes All of the Arts Continued from page 14 Their inaugural show in the new venue — “Rococo Rouge” — is a smasheroo, a kind of solid restatement of the kind of work the company has always done, but also an ambitious announcement about the kind of work they intend to do going forward. Essentially it’s a complex, highly thematic variety show with song and dance being a common denominator, but articulated in so many clever, different ways, it is essentially a vaudeville. Shelly Watson is our hostess, streetsinger, Virgil, madam and opera diva, equal parts Texas Guinan, Sophie Tucker and Marian Anderson. And she guides us through a succession of acts that feels every bit like a menu of some sumptuous repast with nothing but lobster, oysters, caviar, chocolate and champagne. (And something forbidden: say, live monkey’s brains). It opens on an elaborate court dance, the company decked out in carnal red, waving fans, and then a succession of numbers, each fairly jaw-dropping in their beauty, rigorous precision, and illusion of effortlessness. Every single artist in the collaboration is extraordi-
Photo by Phillip Van Nostrand
“Rococo Rouge” opens on an elaborate court dance, the company decked out in carnal red, waving fans.
nary. Many of the numbers remind one of the acrobatic roots of early ballet; and we come close to the artistry of the circus with an aerial act, a pole dance, and a show-stopping cyr wheel. The latter is done by a female dancer in male drag as a macho Italian man (later to be balanced out in the show by a male dancer in female drag who lip-syncs). One vignette is set to the “Habanera” from “Carmen.” Watson closes out the show with the old Peggy Lee classic “Is That All There Is?” (which Mistress Astrid used to use at a closer at the now
defunct Va Va Voom Room). Achingly beautiful scenic effects are achieved: a never-ending snow of shimmering red glitter flutters to the ground, where it seemingly vanishes. A can-can dance demonstrates the amazing effects that can be achieved by moving colored fabric in dim light — it made me realize how the “Serpentine” dances of Loïe Fuller must have evolved. I only caught a couple of names. Katrina Cunningham is a gorgeous chanteuse. Rob Mastrianni is a kick-ass classical guitarist and electric sitar player.
(He even got me clapping to his difficult rhythms, and I never clap with crowds in time to music!) But as I said, every single person in the cast is extraordinary, and they all feed into this almost cosmic sense of true collaboration, a group of people coming together to make something that is somehow a part of all of them. And when the show was over, people were audibly bummed. In sum, I propose that you get there as quickly as possible. The night I went, the audience was a mix of tourists and bold-faced names like Nolé Marin from “America’s Next Top Model” and former Village Voice dance editor and critic Elizabeth Zimmer. Reigning royalty of New York’s burlesque scene are to be found there every night. And mysterious characters. In the audience behind us was an amazing trio of African American gents decked out in matching grey top hats, tails, scarves and KILTS. We predict that in the wake of the buzz that’s already circulating, the audience will be composed entirely of people like THOSE guys — and those tourists in their kickin’-around clothes won’t be able to get within five miles of the place. “Rococo Rouge” plays through November 2, to be followed no doubt by something equally breath-taking.
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VILLAGE JAZZ ALIVE play when The Ann Hampton Two hands would be more Callaway Trio performs (witty than enough in most towns, between-song banter includbut it won’t get the job done if ed in price of admission). you want to count the number The winner of our of Village jazz venues offerGIVEAWAY will receive ing classic, contemporary two tickets, compliments and cutting-edge music until of this newspaper and the the wee small hours of the morning. A half-decade ago, Photo by Bill Westmoreland Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. To the Greenwich Village-Chelsea enter, send an email to Jazz@TheVillager. Chamber of Commerce began to recognize iconic jazz artists by hosting Village com, along with your phone number Jazz Alive. This swanky, swinging, fall (only enter once, please). A winner will destination event pays tribute to singers, be selected at random, and contacted by phone on Oct. 20. If you want to guaranmusicians, and composers who contribtee attendance, visit bit.ly/VillageJazzAlive, ute to Greenwich Village’s enduring music where your purchase of VIP tickets will culture. include a meet and greet reception with This year, Ann Hampton Callaway Ann and a signed CD. Regular admission joins the ranks of past honorees Odetta, Art D’Lugoff, Randy Weston and Arturo includes free drinks, appetizers and a Sandoval. Admired throughout the world performance by the Trio. The event takes as a singer, composer, arranger, lyricist, place on Wed., Oct. 22, 7–9 p.m. at the Metropolitan Room (34 W. 22nd St., btw. producer and educator, Callaway’s distinct voice and impressive range will be on dis- Fifth & Sixth Aves.).
September 25, 2014
Just Do Art: The All-Annual Edition a Bad Costume Contest and Halloween Party on Oct. 31. The fest returns in mid2015, with an all-film format. Two-hour blocks of multiple performances at 7, 9 & 11 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 17, 24, 30. Also at 5, 7, 9 & 11 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 18, 25 & Nov. 1. Best/Worst of Fest performances on Sun. Nov. 2 at 7 & 9 p.m. At Chelsea’s newly-opened Treehouse Theater (2nd floor of 154 W. 29th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves). For tickets ($15) and schedule, visit badtheaterfest.com. Twitter@badtheaterfest and on Facebook at facebook. com/BadTheaterFest. For venue info: treehousetheaternyc.com.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
HIGH LINE OPEN STUDIOS Apple picking is fine, but what you take home can only be fun to look at for a short period of time before it all goes bad. Our idea of a fall weekend tradition is the High Line Open Studios tour. Dozens of West Chelsea-based artists will make their workplaces accessible to art lovers, enthusiasts, collectors, curators and dealers (with great deals on long-lasting work that’s suitable for framing, or already framed!). Fri., Oct. 17 from 6–8 p.m. and Sat./Sun., Oct. 18/19 from 12–6 p.m. On event days, a greeter at the West Chelsea Art Building (508/526 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.) will provide a map (also available in the lobby of Westbeth Artists Housing, 55 Bethune St., and at participating sponsors’ locations). Visit highlineopenstudios.org for a downloadable version of the map along with artist and sponsor info.
THE CHELSEA FILM FESTIAL Photo by Scotto Mycklebust
Enter with curiosity, exit with art — when you take the High Line Open Studios tour (Oct. 17-19). Seen here, the studio of Rodney Durso.
THE BAD THEATER FEST We’re betting — and really, really hoping — that bad is just another name for good, when it comes to the short plays, comedy shows, dance, puppet theater and films presented by edition #3 of the annual Bad Theater Fest. Weird, wonderful and eccentric are words used by organizers to describe the 50-plus works. Based on our quick scan of the lineup, we’re inclined to agree. “Golden Lear” is Shakespeare’s gloomy and lengthy “King Lear” finally done right: performed in 30 minutes by TV’s iconic Golden Girls. “Everybody Dies” is demented monologist Jason Blanche’s confession of his crippling fear that his status as an only child will one day take him back to Boston, to serve as primary caretaker for his “overwhelming mother.” Stand-up comic Tabitha Vidaurri’s “Write if You Get Work” dissects every day job she’s had over the last eight years. Three best friends give equal attention to the absurd and scatological, in the scripted humor of “The Rolling Scones Sketch Show.” Banished to the basement and forced to collaborate on a lowly advice column, four once-powerful women plot to get their old mega-media jobs back, in “Dear Penelope.” Oh, the horror! “Cat” is an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway atrocity, with one man doing all of the singing, dancing and feline pelvic thrusting. In addition to dozens of other shows, bad art will grace (or curse?) the lobby, and there will be .com
Photo by Jaqueline E. Fouasnon
This Bad Theater Fest penguin mascot symbolizes good (although not always clean) fun. It all goes down Oct. 17-Nov. 2.
Courtesy of Seyong Jo &the Chelsea Film Festival
South Korean director Seyong Jo’s “Let’s Dance” screens at Oct. 16-19’s Chelsea Film Festival.
Now an annual fall event, the Chelsea Film Festival (CFF) supports the work of emerging, risk-taking filmmakers whose documentaries, shorts, and feature-length passion projects deserve big screens and wide audiences. International in scope (a dozen countries are represented), the festival’s commitment to empowerment is also hyper-local. As a non-profit cultural organization, CFF provides free arts classes to Chelsea youth, year-round. From India, “Blemished Light” opens the festival, with filmmaker Raj Amit Kumar in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. The crime drama takes place in both NYC and New Delhi (“archetypal cities of economic and patriarchal control”), where four characters must perpetrate violence or fight it, in the name of freedom. “Let’s Dance” is South Korean filmmaker Seyong Jo’s documentary about the social uproar following a 2009 whistle-blowing incident in which obstetricians named colleagues who were performing surgical abortions. “A Quintet” has young filmmakers from Germany, the United States, Italy, the Balkans and Turkey meet in Berlin, then return home to create their segments based on what they’ve discovered about each other. Oct. 16–19 at the SVA Theatre (333 W. 23rd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.) and The New School University Center (65 Fifth Ave., corner of 14th St.). Visit chelseafilm.org for screening schedule, film synopsis & clips, and ticket purchase. Individual tickets are $13 ($8 for students/seniors), with festival passes at $91 for the general public and $56 for students/seniors). Follow the fest on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube & other social media. September 25, 2014
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CB4 Approves Better Business Policy Continued from page 6 ing she’d like to see a toy store in the neighborhood, and Allison Tupper wanted to “keep the ones we have, but we need lots of different businesses.” Gwen Arment, co-chair of the HK5051 Block Association, believed the area was oversaturated with bars, and was “very disturbed by the lack of enforcement and disregard of complaints by DCA [Department of Consumer Affairs], SLA and DOB. We desperately need this policy to ensure primarily residential neighborhoods are not compromised further by liquor establishments.” Susan Lahn of the W. 58th St. Block Association encouraged the policy be adopted, and hoped community concerns about losing affordable retail would be taken under consideration. Secretary Frank Holozubiec explained that it would limit the concentration of alcohol-serving establishments and attract a diversity of other businesses. A recent survey found that in CB4, 28 percent of retail footage was given to liquor establishments. JD Noland suggested that the com-
Photo by Winnie McCroy
CB4 chair Christine Berthet (standing) and board members discussing the expansion of the Special West Chelsea District.
mittee strengthen the language, and Jay Marcus worried the policy impacted businesses they had traditionally supported, such as quiet wine bars over loud clubs. “I also don’t agree that we should turn down any clubs not willing to close by 2 a.m.,” he said. “I think it’s too broadly worded, anti-nightlife, and should be a much narrower set of recommendations.” Holozubiec said the policy would not substitute for a case-by-case determination of businesses, but was meant to put constituents on notice.
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Compton noted that CB4 had struggled for years to come up with a consistent approach, and called the policy, “a flawed document, but a very good attempt…and we should give it a try and amend it as a living document.” Burt Lazarin asserted that without such a policy, approval of new nightclubs would happen, “piece by piece, and a few years later we will have a new neighborhood and demographic we weren’t thinking about.” Paul Seres cautioned that whenever CB4 adopted policies or guidelines, they “tend to get thrown back into our face when the community is unhappy with decisions we make. It’s a great first step, but some language changes need to be tightened up.” In the end, CB4 voted overwhelmingly to pass Item 14, the Balanced Business Policy, with Noland’s changes incorporated. Other community members had concerns about traffic, with Leland noting the danger at 42nd St. & Ninth Ave. and urging additional signage. Elderly 24th St. resident Fanny Cole said the M34/A selective service buses had to go, saying, “We’ve been selected to be suckers! It takes a half an hour for the bus to come.” Peter Mullan, executive vice-president of Friends of the High Line, invited all to enjoy the northernmost section, opened several weeks ago. “We give a big ‘thank you’ to the board for helping to make this happen, and note that the new section doesn’t have lighting, so it has to close earlier. Please come and enjoy it,” he said.
OTHER AGENDA ITEMS As the Meeting Agenda proceeded, Chair Christine Berthet noted that Item 17, a letter to Silverstein regarding tenant issues, would be sent as an administrative letter. Item 18, about
affordable housing, was tabled. CB4 members were pleased that a working group had successfully moved bus pick-up points past 10th Ave., and voted to support Item 13, a letter to the DOT and NYPD about the Jitney Bus Operation on W. 42nd St. They asked that operators apply for the appropriate DOT permit, and change their locations so as not to impede access to the Lincoln Tunnel or impact local traffic. Berthet bundled items, including letters to LPC allowing the Burlington Coat Factory to keep its too-large sign until they vacate, and to deny a front door replacement at 333 W. 20th St. They also bundled Items 4-8, and voted to support letters to SLA regarding liquor licenses for bars, and Item 9, supporting a thank-you letter to Johnson for providing $1.6 million in capital funding for parks. The Transportation Committee approved several letters to the DOT and DCA regarding the midtown protected bike lane, art from bridges on W. 45th St., btw. 10th and 11th Aves., and a newsstand application. Rubin noted that bike lanes shouldn’t be governed by a one-size-fits-all blanket rule, and an amendment was made to address bike education, to be specific about which streets get bike lanes, and to ensure they weren’t placed on small streets. Noland, concerned about two recent high-profile bike deaths, said that bicyclists must observe traffic rules, and Berthet suggesting asking the 10th Precinct to better enforce those rules. Items 15–16 regarding affordable housing applications were put on hold, and Items 17–18 were tabled. CB4 voted unanimously to send a letter to the DCA regarding Item 19, Giovanni Rana’s sidewalk cafe outside Chelsea market, urging them not to renew their permit due to overcrowding. The board passed Item 20, a letter thanking Hoylman for legislation publicizing stipulations agreed to by liquor serving establishments, and to increase funding for additional SLA investigators. The final issue, Item 21, was a request for the NYPD to permit a ride-along for spot inspections of liquor-serving establishments. After members voiced concerns, CB4 agreed that the letter should be redirected to the SLA, and ultimately tabled the issue. The next full board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 5 at Roosevelt Hospital, 1000 10h Ave. For more information, visit nyc.gov/mcb4 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. September 25, 2014
In a City Bursting with New Developments, BY LAUREN PRICE Lower Manhattan, in recent decades, has established a strong record of land use conversions. Since 1995, 16 million square feet of office space have changed use, creating nearly 14,000 residential units and 350 hotel rooms. Most of that shift was spurred by the city’s 421-g Tax Incentive Program, which provided a real estate tax exemption and abatement for conversion of commercial buildings, or portions of buildings, into multiple dwellings. The program applied to much of Manhattan south of Murray St., City Hall, and the Brooklyn Bridge. In the wake of 9/11, $1.6 billion in triple-tax-exempt Liberty Bond financing also ensured the revitalization of a district many city leaders — unnecessarily, as it turned out — worried could spiral into a serious slump. According to the second quarter 2014 report from the Downtown Alliance, residential inventory continues to expand south of Chambers St. The district is now home to an estimated 61,000 residents who live in 30,500 units in 323 mixed-use and
Courtesy of Modern Spaces
The School House on the Lower East Side has loft apartments available for rent.
residential buildings. That population represents a near tripling since the attack on the World Trade Center. In the pipeline of upcoming residential projects are 2,200 new residential units in 10 buildings currently under construction. They include 70 Pine (at Pearl St.), which will be completed by the end of this year, the final
phase of 20 Exchange Place that will be ready for moving in next spring, and the expected completion of the nine-story penthouse known as the Woolworth Residence at 233, in the iconic tower on Broadway, and the Four Seasons Residences at 30 Park Place (near Church St.), in 2016. Lower Manhattan’s median rent
has reached $3,550, rising three percent since the previous quarter and six percent year-over-year, according to data provided by Miller Samuel/ Douglas Elliman. Also, according to the same report, the number of new rentals increased 11 percent. Total unit sales jumped 26 percent since the previous quarter and 14 percent yearover-year, making the current market the most active since 2011 and besting trends seen elsewhere in Manhattan. The average price per square foot increased a strong 16 percent yearover-year to $1,271, ahead of the pace seen across Manhattan as a whole. According to Zillow, the median price for available homes in Tribeca is $4.45 million, with a median listing price per square foot of $2,157. Median rent in the second quarter stood at $6,711 versus $2,178 for the city overall. By comparison, the Lower East Side, despite its rapid gentrification and proliferation of chic restaurants and nightspots, is a relative bargain. There, the median list price per square
Continued on page 21
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September 25, 2014
Lower Manhattan’s Surge is a Standout Continued from page 20 foot is $843, a number that is still a good bit higher than the citywide average of $507. The median price of currently listed homes on the Lower East Side is $650,000 and median rent stands at $2,995. Originally converted from a public elementary school to a condominium two years ago, the School House (371 Madison Str. at Jackson St. on the Lower East Side) is offering rental units with seven-foot-high sleeping lofts, some with an extra room that would be perfect as a home office or additional sleeping space. Square footage ranges from 542 to 1,810 square feet. Standout amenities include an indoor swimming pool that is nearly Olympic-sized, a resident’s lounge, two landscaped courtyards with fountains, and doorman services. Marketed and leased by Modern Spaces, currently available no-fee monthly rents starts at $2,900 (modernspacesnyc.com/ search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=371+Madison+Street+manhattan&type=rentals).
One of the tallest residential towers in New York, 50 West (at Rector St.), is slated for completion next fall. A curtain wall development from Time Equities, it will feature one- to five-bedroom units, including a duplex penthouse, ranging from 1,045 to 9,000 square feet and floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of New York Harbor and the Hudson and East Rivers. Sold through the Marketing Directors, prices range from $1.665 million to $18.63 million (50westnyc.com). A loft apartment with about 3,300 square feet to roam around in, located at 28 Laight St. (btw. Hudson & Varick Sts.), is currently on the market. This residence boasts four exposures and includes original details such as whitewashed ceiling joists, exposed whitewashed brick, a wood-burning fireplace, and wideplank maple floors. It also features three bedrooms, including a double-size master suite with a sitting room. Priced at $5.995 million, it’s listed with Town Residential (townrealestate.com/sale/id-889834/28laight-street-3a-tribeca&scroll=1).
Courtesy of platinumpropertiesnyc.com
The living and dining space of a 4,500-square-foot loft at 88 Franklin Street.
Another loft, this one with about 4,500 square feet, is being marketed at 88 Franklin Street (at Church St.). An 1880 building originally engineered as a sewing factory, the residence includes 50-foot south-facing frontage adorned with energy efficient double-paned custom milled solid windows and 10-inch-wide
hickory floors. This five-bedroom loft was restored, maintaining much of the original details, including wood beams, 11-foot ceilings, and a steel wheel mounted on an exposed brick wall that was used in the old freight elevator. The asking price is $8 million (platinumpropertiesnyc.com/88franklin-street-4th-floor-0).
September 25, 2014
September 25, 2014
Spend Your Fall Getting Fit by Going in Circles
Photos by Devon Cormack
The circular area at Penn South (seen here) and the track at nearby Chelsea Park are great places to walk.
BY TEAM HEAT (Devon Cormack & Heather Hardy) Fall is upon us! Don’t let the lack of sweet summer sun discourage you from heading out for some exercise — but it’s a little chillier, so you may need to add a layer or two. This 45-minute workout won’t cost you a dime, and will get you breathing that fresh autumn air while enjoying the beautiful sights that Chelsea has to offer. Brisk walking is a good warm-up. For Penn South Residents who prefer to stay close to home, there is a nice circle area behind Building 7 next to the basketball cage on 28th Street, which allows for a nice walk, and is loaded with park benches for those of us who need a break (no shame in that, but get
back to work as soon as you catch your breath). The track around Chelsea Park (28th St., at 10th Ave.) is another good place to walk. The high buildings that surround the track keep the wind out, which offers less resistance. A good 15-20 minutes of walking/jogging/running/sprinting (either one or a combination, depending on your physical condition) will get your muscles limber, and prepare you to train. Now it’s time for some quick muscle toning. Pick a park bench and do the following exercises — 10 times each, then repeat the set. After that, cool down with a walk around the track. For triceps, try dips! For shoulders and arms, try push-ups! For back, try inverted push-ups! For abs, try seated crunches!
Devon Cormack and Heather “The Heat” Hardy work at Gleason’s Gym (77 Front St., Brooklyn) as personal trainers, while prepping for fights. Hardy entered into the history books on June 14, by winning the first female fight at Barclays Center. With a professional record of 10 wins and 0 losses (including 2 KO’s), her next fight is Oct. 15, as part of a Broadway Boxing event at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (42nd St., Times Square). For info, visit dbe1.com. For tickets, call Gleason’s Gym at 718-797-2872. Chelsea resident Devon Cormack is a three-time World Kickboxing Champion, coaches Heather Hardy, and coordinates fight scenes for film & TV. Visit heathertheheathardy.net and facebook.com/ TheHeatHeatherHardy. To train with Team Heat, send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit gleasonsgym.net.
Seated Crunches September 25, 2014
OUR BRAND-NEW EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT IS NOW OPEN. AND WE HOPE YOU NEVER GET TO SEE IT. INTRODUCING THE RONALD O. PERELMAN CENTER FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES. 570 FIRST AVENUE AT 33RD STREET. We’ve completely rebuilt our emergency department since the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. State-of-the-art improvements have been made, and it’s now triple the size of the former ED, with treatment areas that have room for families at bedside. We provide experts in virtually every specialty to handle emergencies for both adults and children, and specialized teams on call for stroke and heart attack. But to truly appreciate our new emergency department at Tisch Hospital, you have to see it in person. And we hope you never get to do that. To learn more, visit nyulmc.org/emergency
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