VOLUME 6, NUMBER 25 OCTOBER 23, 2014
THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL'S KITCHEN
Business Owners, Activists Want Redesign for Fifth, Sixth Aves. BY ZACH WILLIAMS About three dozen transportation activists made their way through Chelsea and the West Village on Oct. 19 to support businesses in favor of redesigning Fifth and Sixth Aves. The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is studying Fifth and Sixth Aves. for possible redesigns, which would better integrate bicycle, automobile and pedestrian traffic. Activists from Transportation Alternatives (TA), a traffic safety advocacy group (transalt.org), celebrated DOT’s effort with a neighborhood walk-through. A petition which had urged the department to conduct the study garnered more than 15,000 signatures in support of the two-year effort. Earlier this year, a DOT traffic study of Hell’s Kitchen resulted in numerous changes to the area — including pedestrian islands, designated bikes lanes and other safety-minded measures. Streets that have been redesigned to include separate space for automobiles, bikes, and pedestrians (and sometimes buses) have resulted in an average decrease in accident rates
Photo by Zach Williams
Continued on page 4
On October 19, Tom DeVito, Manhattan organizer for Transportation Alternatives, speaks to supporters of a comprehensive street redesign for Fifth and Sixth Aves.
Peace Officers Assigned Inside, Outside BRC It’s Only a Play BY WINNIE McCROY After a series of minor-level assaults this summer outside of the Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC) shelter at 127 W. 25th St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.), the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has assigned a contingent of 24 “peace officers” to keep order. When neighbors expressed concerns that the officers would not run patrols outside the facility to stop the pattern of attacks and general quality of life crimes such as drug deals, public intoxication and public urination that have plagued the area since the shelter opened three years ago, the DHS has now agreed to institute regular patrols. “BRC took and continues to take the issue of safety and security seriously, responds immediately and cooperates fully with the police, DHS and all officials,” said BRC
Executive Director Muzzy Rosenblatt. “We support and welcome the arrival of DHS peace officers in the coming weeks and have worked only collaboratively with all involved to facilitate their arrival.” DHS Press Secretary Christopher R. Miller told Chelsea Now that they were assigning a full complement of peace officers to the site to monitor the building and patrol the perimeter of the facility. These officers will not carry guns, but they are trained in security measures, and are able to make arrests and issue summons. X-ray and metal detectors will be installed at the shelter, and there will also be a marked DHS vehicle parked outside the facility. Councilmember Corey Johnson reportedly allocated
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Broadway’s hottest ticket concerns a fictional turkey brought to life by seven real, delicious hams. See page 23.
‘Park’ it Here for Kid-Friendly Halloween Fun BY SCOTT STIFFLER
HAUNTED HIGH LINE HALLOWEEN Before it was your friendly neighborhood park, the High Line was a spooky and sometimes dangerous no-man’s land where trains ruled the tracks. Find out the truth behind the legends, at Friends of the High Line’s annual family-friendly Halloween celebration. Caped and costumed kid explorers will trick-or-treat with characters like the Mad Cookie Man and the West Side Cowboy, make giant art creations, explore a haunted train tunnel, and discover how brave children helped make the High Line happen. Free. From 11 a.m.–3 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 25. On the High Line (W. 14th St. to W. 17th St.). For info, visit thehighline.org. Follow the High Line on Facebook or @highlinenyc on Twitter for updates about these events.
JACKSON SQUARE PARK HALLOWEEN PARTY It used to be unsightly and unsettling, but now it’s lush and tranquil — and for an afternoon, it just might be a little scary. Celebrate the newly beautified Jackson Square Park at this
Photo by Dottie Francoeur
Chelsea pumpkins contemplate their inevitable smashing, at the Nov. 1 Jack-O’-Lantern Composting event.
Halloween party sponsored by the Jackson Square Alliance (who, along with students from Notre Dame School, are committed to Park maintenance and upkeep). Treats for the little ones and coffee for the big kids will be provided, as well as prizes for the 3 p.m. Pumpkin Decorating Contest and the 5 p.m. Costume Parade. Everyone is invited, even your dog (who’ll go home with a snapshot, courtesy of the 4 p.m. Biscuits
& Bath Canine photo shoot). Free. From 3–6:30 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 29. At Jackson Square Park (Horatio St. & Eighth Ave.). For info, visit jacksonsquarealliance.org.
JACK-O’LANTERN COMPOSTING What a difference a day makes. Smash a pumpkin on Halloween night, and you’re a mischievous punk — but do it on November 1, and you’re an upstanding, green-minded member of the community. Give your favorite October gourd a second life, at Chelsea’s annual Jack-O’-Lantern Composting event. Members of the 300 W. 23rd, 22nd & 21st Sts. Block Association, Citizen Grower and the NYC Compost Project will be on hand to supervise the
purpose-driven destruction of pumpkins, then provide compost education and outreach (and free snacks!). Free. From 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 1, at Clement Clarke Moore Park (22nd St. & 10th Ave.). For more info, send and email to 300wba@gmail. com. Also visit citizengrower.com, nyc. gov/compostproject.
TODDLER HALLOWEEN PARTY The Penn South Toddler Committee’s annual Halloween Party takes place on Sat., Nov. 1 from 3–5:30 p.m. in Pinwheel Park (btw. 24th & 25th Sts. and Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Free. This event is open to the general public. For more info, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Rowa Lee, courtesy Friends of the High Line
Suit up and explore the High Line’s spooky past (and present?), at Oct. 25’s Haunted High Line Halloween event.
October 23 - November 5, 2014
DHS Assigns Two Dozen Peace Officers to BRC ELECTED OFFICIALS HELP GET SECURITY
Continued from page 1 $1 million in funds from DHS earlier this year for these security upgrades. On Sept. 23, DHS Deputy Commissioner Michael Gagliardi told Johnson he would install a lieutenant, two sergeants and 21 peace officers to the shelter, starting in mid-October (they arrived on the weekend of Oct. 11 & 12). The incidents that most recently prompted this assignation include an attack on a female tourist from New Zealand on July 22 at nearby business, The City Quilter. Owner Dale Riehl reportedly witnessed a man (who appeared to be hallucinating under the influence of drugs) hit the woman in the chest and yell at her. Riehl took a picture of the man and went to the shelter next door to explain what happen. After interviewing the woman and witness, police officers then went to the BRC and were told that the man had left the building. The next day, the assailant was reportedly back, pacing in front of The City Quilter. More recently, on Sept. 23, a 24-yearold female employee from 130 W. 25th St. (directly across from BRC) was report-
Photo by Scott Stiffler
Peace Officers were recently assigned to work inside the BRC, and patrol the block (25th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves).
edly entering her building in the afternoon when a 64-year-old man grabbed her breasts, put his hands around her neck, and told her he had to talk to her. The woman recognized her assailant from the block, and called police. The next day as officers escorted her to work, she pointed out the man who was standing outside of BRC, and they watched him walk into the facility. The NYPD reportedly experienced resistance from BRC staff in locating the man. After an hour, they found and
arrested the man, who reportedly is not a resident, but receives therapy and meals at the shelter. Local resident Carla Nordstrom remarked, “Had there been DHS peace officers patrolling our block, it is possible that these incidents could have been prevented.” Other reported incidents include a man who assaulted another resident with his crutches inside the facility on Aug. 28, and a 74-year-old man arrested with 148 bags of heroin in May.
According to BRC Community Advisory Board member Tina DiFeliciantonio, concerned citizens had worked with Councilmember Johnson, who allocated the funds for a patrol force during the hours when clients were circulating outside of the facility (they have a 10 p.m. curfew). So she was shocked to discover at a recent BRC meeting that the patrol force was no longer going to happen, saying, “people felt like the rug was pulled out from under their feet without any prior notification and without consultation of the community, which is why this money was appropriated in the first place. At this point the community is pushing to put the money where it originally belonged: for foot patrol.” DiFeliciantonio, who is a supportive voice for the BRC and their programs, was also concerned that Rosenblatt had not answered queries regarding where he stands on the issue of neighborhood foot patrols. “The last I heard, Muzzy was going to have the BRC do the patrols on the perim-
Continued on page 5
Y O U T H O U G H T T H E Y RE PO RT E D THE G AS LE A K . T H E Y T H O U G H T Y O U D I D . “Smell gas. Act fast.” Those are the words we want you to remember. Don’t assume that a neighbor will call 911 or 1-800-75-CONED. Just leave the area immediately and make the call yourself. If you prefer, you can report a gas-related emergency anonymously. You don’t even need to be there when help arrives. Visit conEd.com for more gas safety information and take safety into your own hands.
October 23 - November 5, 2014
DOT Study Considers Redesign for Fifth, Sixth Aves.
Photos by Zach Williams
Supporters of a Complete Streets rethink gather at Zen Bikes (W. 24th St.), after their Oct. 19 walking tour of Chelsea and the West Village.
Continued from page 1 of 20 percent, according to Tom DeVito, Manhattan organizer for TA. He told Chelsea Now that a study of Fifth and Sixth Aves. represents
how such initiatives are moving in from the Manhattan periphery. “They’re right down the center of Manhattan, where everybody is, where densities of pedestrians are the highest of the city, and density of cyclists are the highest in
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October 23 - November 5, 2014
Transportation Alternatives members know that every good idea deserves a great T-shirt.
the city,” said Albert Ahronheim, chair of the TA Manhattan Activist Committee. “And put cars together in that mix and you have two avenues with the highest rates of injury in the city.” Business owners said in interviews that a progressive approach to traffic makes the surrounding neighborhood more livable by improving safety in addition to boosting their bottom lines. Retail sales increased by as much as 49 percent for Ninth Ave. businesses between 23rd and 31st St. following the redesign this year, according to a recent DOT report (“Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets”). Injuries to all street users fell by 58 percent on Ninth Ave. Traffic flow can move more quickly even as drivers reduced speeds, notes the report. Commercial vacancies fell by 49 percent along Union Square North as speeds decreased by 16 percent while median speeds increased by 14 percent. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative continues with the implementation of a 25 mph default speed limit citywide (which takes effect on Nov. 7). In Chelsea, activists are looking to Seventh Ave. as the next subject of a DOT study. The Community Board 4 Transportation Planning Committee approved a resolution on Oct. 15 supporting the idea, contingent on neighboring CB5 doing the same. CB2 approved a similar resolution in September.
Transportation Alternatives, along with more than 145 local businesses, are pushing for improved safety measures on Fifth and Sixth Aves.
But reaching zero traffic deaths requires more than clever design and improved street signage, activists say. A cultural shift among New Yorkers is necessary in order to reduce local habits such as jaywalking and aggressive driving, they say. Nonetheless, the increase of traffic safety awareness in the last few years contrasts starkly with the previous two decades, according to John Keoshgerian, owner of Zen Bikes on W. 24th St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). “There were no bike lanes. There was no advocacy,” he said of prior years. .com
DHS and BRC are Patrolling the 25th St. Block Continued from page 3 eter, but that’s not what the community is asking for. Standing in front of the BRC is highly inadequate,” said DiFeliciantonio. “I had experience with four DHS offices in front of BRC recently. I walked along with a client who just exited, and they did a drug deal right in front of me. I went back to tell the officers, and said they might be interested that a drug dealer is on the corner. It really points to a need for patrols. And I really believe it would service the clients and their need for healing and sobriety as well as the residents and businesses on street. To me it just makes common sense.” DiFeliciantonio says her bedroom window is only 15 feet away from where BRC residents sleep, but notes that she has not experienced any related issues. She said that unlike others, she was never opposed to the influx of homeless people in the neighborhood, and understands their desire to get sober and improve their lives. But she cannot abide by the stonewalling about keeping these clients and her neighbors safe in the process. “I asked DHS if they had done an eval-
uation of this plan, because peace officers can’t even see to the east or on the opposite side of the street at all because of construction,” she said. “To me this should be about an exchange of information, so progress can be made. Instead, a lack of transparent communication between all parties is what I have found.” She believes that Johnson’s office is working behind the scenes to rectify this situation and address the larger issue, and is confident that eventually things will change for the better. But for now, she finds fault with the issue that BRC clients who are trying to get clean and sober must also run the gauntlet of drug dealers who are also being drawn to that area, looking to make a quick buck.
DHS, BRC AGREE TO PATROL THE BLOCK In response to these community concerns, as well as those voiced by Councilmember Johnson on behalf of his constituents, Commissioner Gagliardi penned an Oct. 7 letter saying that they had revised their tactics. “The effectiveness of the security plan at the BRC 25th Street shelter residence has been called to our attention for
review and consideration,” he wrote. “In consultation with our provider agency The Bowery Residents’ Committee and your office, we have decided to augment security measures at this site in the following ways.” For the next two months, the DHS will have two peace officers patrol the block every four hours from 8 a.m. until midnight. In addition, BRC security will patrol the block every two hours from 8 a.m. to midnight. “We are committed to engaging in an ongoing dialogue with your office, BRC and staff regarding the effectiveness of these patrols, and reevaluating after this two month period,” Gagliardi wrote. “We will continue to have the patrol car outside the building.” Johnson was pleased with the results of the situation, telling Chelsea Now, “The security plan that the Department of Homeless Services is implementing is a significant step forward, as it puts in place what the community has been advocating for over the past several months. It is important that this proposal be given an opportunity to work, and I support DHS evaluating the program two months from now. I also think that
DHS has a lot to learn from the folks who live on the block, and that an on-going dialogue with the community, BRC, and DHS must continue.” Chelsea Now was not permitted to sit in on the BRC’s Oct. 7 Community Advisory Board (CAB) meeting, with Miller saying, “Our CAB meetings are generally limited to the provider, shelter residents, elected and invited guests like NYPD…that said, it was a productive meeting.” But with the community concerns being addressed, albeit on a trial basis, neighbors to BRC will be able to determine over the next two months whether regular patrols make a difference in curbing these ongoing quality-of-life issues. “These developments show DHS’s dedication to the community process, and our commitment to the safety of our clients, staff, and surrounding community,” said Miller. Rosenblatt expressed a similar sentiment, saying, “BRC is committed to working with our neighbors and government partners to sustain the success we enable our clients to achieve in an environment that embraces safety, security and respect.”
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October 23 - November 5, 2014
Seeds of Today’s Greenmarket Were Planted in ’76 BY ALBERT AMATEAU Barry Benepe, co-founder of the Greenmarket program, where farmers bring their products directly to city consumers, spoke last week about how it all began 38 years ago and how today it has grown to 60 markets in the five boroughs. Benepe, a planner and architect, led the event, held Oct. 7 at St. Brigid’s Church on Avenue B, and co-sponsored by GrowNYC, which now runs the city’s Greenmarkets, and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Union Square, Tompkins Square, St. Mark’s Place and Abingdon Square are among the locations where farmers from a 150-mile (and larger) radius arrive for their weekly outdoor rendezvous with their city customers. GrowNYC, the Times Square Alliance and Taste NY recently came together to present the Times Square Greenmarket: Farm to TSq. Its brief debut season happens every Thursday, through Nov. 6, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (locations vary; see grownyc.org for details). Celebrity chefs and restaurateurs join the thousands of shoppers who come to the markets for varieties of fruits and
vegetables rarely found elsewhere. In recent years, producers of fresh meat, fish and whole milk in glass bottles have come into the markets. Greenmarkets, hugely popular from the beginning, were an idea whose time had come. Co-founding the program with Benepe was Bob Lewis, a fellow planner who worked for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. “Bob Lewis and I were concerned that the spread of suburban development was eating up farmland and that our sources of food were moving farther and farther away,” Benepe explained. With Lewis responsible for reaching farmers and Benepe handling relations with government agencies and fundraising, the first Greenmarket project began in 1976 — dark days in municipal affairs. The founders received permission to use a vacant city-owned site at 59th St. and Second Ave., where the Roosevelt Island tram terminal was built a few years later. “It was a case of ‘location, location, location’ and we had an ideal location,” Benepe recalled. “It was a fenced lot
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October 23 - November 5, 2014
Photo by GVSHP
Barry Benepe speaking at St. Brigid’s Church about the history of the city’s Greenmarket program.
between Bloomingdale’s and Alexander’s. We didn’t have to do any publicity; the newspapers and TV came to us to cover the opening. We were the good news after all the bad news of the day.” “If the 59th Street market hadn’t done so well immediately, we might have failed,” Benepe said. “In the summer of 1976, the Department of City Planning asked if we could open a Greenmarket in Union Square Park,” he said, recalling that the park had fallen on bad times and had become the local center for illegal drug deals. “S. Klein, a major discount department store, closed its store on Union Square where it had been for decades. The city thought we could help bring the neighborhood back,” Benepe recalled. The new market in the street-level plaza on the north side of the park had to contend with the menace of the drug trade and the general decline of the neighborhood. “It was not an easy success,” Benepe said. “It took three years for the market to catch on.” Union Square’s north plaza has a long tradition as a public venue. For decades it has been the site of political and labor union rallies. Each spring, flower and plant vendors would conduct a market in the space. The Union Square Greenmarket has become the flagship of the entire program, expanding down the park’s west side and doing business year-round four days a week — Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The third market to open in 1976 was in Brooklyn at Atlantic and Flatbush Aves. Before the first markets opened, Benepe had to raise money for the program. “I went to Jack Kaplan, who was head of the J.M. Kaplan Fund,” he recalled. “It was appropriate because
Jack made his money from his sale of Welch’s grape juice.” “We needed $35,000 and the Kaplan fund said they could give us $15,000,” he added. “They gave us $10,000, so we had to look for the rest. We got some from The Fund for the City of New York. The Council on the Environment of New York City, which later became GrowNYC, became our main sponsor.” At first, the Wholesale Grocers Association opposed the Greenmarket program. “They stopped their opposition when they found out that it was farm produce,” Benepe explained. “They didn’t care about that.” As the program became known, farmers far and wide wanted to join. “We had one farmer from Delaware who loaded a school bus full of melons and drove it to the city. He sold every one. But our farmers’ council said it wasn’t fair to bring in growers from far outside the region, so we narrowed the radius,” Benepe said. “The council doesn’t decide who joins the market, but we take their opinions seriously.” The farming region is centered on the Hudson Valley, but it is part of a larger system of valleys that extend from Pennsylvania through New Jersey and New York up to Massachusetts and west along the Mohawk Valley to the Finger Lakes. It includes what is known as the Black Dirt region of very fertile earth — “muck” as the locals call it — from Orange County, N.Y., through Sussex County, N.J. It is part of a centuries-old wetland that has been farmed since it was drained in the mid19th century. Benepe has firsthand farm experience. “My father bought a farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1938 when I was 10 years old,” he said. “It was not just a hobby, it was run to make it pay.” The New York City Greenmarket program has inspired similar enterprises in New Jersey, Long Island and beyond. Benepe, who had just returned from a four-week stay in Paris, proudly displayed a poster proclaiming a greenmarket opening in the French capital. Greenmarkets have become an important source of farm income, Benepe noted. “We’ve played a role in helping people get started in farming and remaining in farming,” he said. “The children and grandchildren of farmers who started with us are coming to the Greenmarkets. They see a future in farming.” .com
Rediscovered Film Offers Picture of Penn South’s Past BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Serendipity played a starring role in the making of 1973’s “Domestic Tranquility,” a short film set in Chelsea’s Penn South that now gives a glimpse into the neighborhood’s past. “It was really a wonderful accident,” the filmmaker Harriet Kriegel told Chelsea Now during a recent visit to her Penn South apartment and a walk to where many of the film’s scenes were shot. It was the fall of 1972 and Kriegel was finishing up her master’s in theatre at Hunter College when she saw an ad in a local paper calling for women interested in learning how to make films. She debated with herself about going, but curiosity won out. She got the kids bathed, made sure they had dinner and left her two young sons with her husband. In the basement of St. Columba (at 343 W. 25th St., a few blocks away from her apartment), Kriegel met the organizers of the gathering. Women Make Movies, which was founded that year and still facilitates movies by and for women, had received $9,000 in funding from the New York State Council on the Arts. “Women’s stories did not exist much on film at all,” said co-founder Ariel Dougherty, who also lived in Chelsea at that time, in a phone interview. Dougherty asked Kriegel what she wanted to make a movie about. Although Kriegel had an interest in drama, acting and the theatre, this ques-
tion had never been posed to her before. “You kind of have these fantasies, one day you’ll make ‘Gone With The Wind,’ ”she recalled. “I was stunned.” As a writer, Kriegel was used to dealing with words. Her master’s thesis would become the anthology “Women in Drama,” which she would edit, and she had written for The Nation and Commonweal. “But this was a whole new concept,” she said. “I had to think about how to express my ideas visually.” At the time, Kriegel was interested in the women’s movement and art, but was also contemplating a picture she considered very special. While living in the Netherlands in the sixties, she had bought a watercolor by Amsterdam-born Christina Chalon (1748-1808). Kriegel got up from the red couch in her living room and showed Chelsea Now the watercolor in which the domestic scene, of a woman bent over a bucket washing something, is not idealized. “I love the Dutch Masters,” said Kriegel, whose living room is filled with art and art books. “All of the Dutch Masters had these wonderful domestic scenes, these lovely women and they’re very serene. But she’s really working. Men don’t paint that.”
Continued on page 12
Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
“Domestic Tranquility” director Harriet Kriegel, in the Penn South apartment she’s lived in since 1970.
October 23 - November 5, 2014
POLICE BLOTTER Recent 10th Precinct Tweets (On Twitter: @NYPD10Pct)
next Community Council Meeting will be Wednesday 10/29 at 7pm at the#10pct. Hope to see you all there!
women, please secure your valuables, especially purses, while dining out. The back of a chair is too easy prey.
new 25 mph speed limit begins November 7. Slow down to save lives. #25saveslives#VisionZero.
a moment to wish PO Rivera best of luck in his new assignment. He will be missed.
in 3 female homicide victims are murdered by a current/former partner. For help, contact @SafeHorizon 800-621-HOPE #SaveALife.
1 in 4 assaults against women by intimate partners are reported to police. We’re here to help #NYCendDV.
training & placement can be the difference between leaving #DV & staying. Contact @ NYCHRA for assistance in getting into the workforce.
Grand Larceny: Drunk duped into ill-advised ride A 27-year-old man who had been drinking at the Meatpacking District’s Brass Monkey bar (55 Little W. 12th St.) closed the place down — then spilled out of the place, along with the rest of the crowd, just after 4 a.m. on Sat., Oct. 11. Heavily intoxicated, he began talking to four men. They offered him a ride to an afterparty, and the group got into a black BMW 7 Series. They drove around for approximately 30 minutes, at which time the man (now referred to as “victim”) realized that he was missing several items. When he asked his new acquaintances about it, they kicked him out of the car. The victim’s account, clouded by his altered state, did not allow him to identify the precise (or even approximate) location where he had been unceremoniously deposited. He did, however, have the wherewithal to realize that several credit cards, a Nautica brand wallet (worth $20) and $700 iPhone 5S were missing. It was later discovered that two of the credit cards had fraudulent charges totaling $262.
Criminal Possession: Definite boozer a probable burglar Police approached a 49-year-old male at around 3 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 15, when they observed him in front of a building on the 200 block of W. 21st St., with an open container of alcohol. Upon investigation, it
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was discovered that the man had an open warrant for his arrest. The bold boozer would have ended up in the slammer anyway, since he was also found to be in possession of a controlled substance, a pocketknife and burglary tools.
Petty Larceny: Costly comic caper Where is The Batman — or a vigilante version of Hello Kitty — when you need them? Their services would have come in handy, when somebody made off with $950 worth of comic book merchandise during the recent New York Comic Con (at the Javitz Center, 655 W. 34th St.). On the morning of Sun., Oct. 12, a victim told police that he went to retrieve his pricey collectibles from a storage room. Upon opening the door, he discovered two paintings (worth $250 each) and 150 comic books
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.
(worth a total of $450) were missing. The room, he noted, was under “24 hour uniformed security watch.” Police had no comment when asked if we should be on the lookout for an invisible supervillain who can pass through solid walls and then imbue his ill-gotten gains with the same guard-evading properties.
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.
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 Nov. 19.
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October 23 - November 5, 2014
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October 23 - November 5, 2014
Mayor Signs Bill Doubling Fines for Harassing Tenants BY ZACH WILLIAMS By the end of the year, New Yorkers will be able to browse a new online listing of the city’s most notorious landlords. On Sept. 30, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law changes to the city administrative code that will increase fines on landlords found guilty of harassment, as well as mandate that the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) publicly expose them on its website. Landlords found guilty of tenant harassment “by a court of competent jurisdiction” will now face a maximum fine of $10,000 per residential unit, up from $5,000 previously. Those found guilty more than once during a five-year period will receive a minimum fine of $2,000 per residential unit — again, twice the previous level. Their names will appear on the new online list, as will the associated building address. Such publicity will help deter building owners from illegally pressuring tenants, especially vulnerable senior and immigrant populations, said Councilmember Margaret Chin, who co-sponsored the legislation with colleague Jumaane Williams, of Brooklyn.
Photo by Zach Williams
Mayor de Blasio approving a bill — co-sponsored by Councilmember Margaret Chin, left — to boost fines for tenant harassment.
“We want to send a stronger message because tenant harassment is happening every day in my district and in the city,” Chin said in an interview. De Blasio said HPD demonstrated a commitment to addressing tenant concerns during his tenure as public advocate, when he compiled a Worst Landlords Watchlist. A department spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment. “There are a lot of good landlords out there. But the ones who don’t do the
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right thing need to feel consequences,” the mayor said before signing the bill into law. The measure passed the City Council on Sept. 23 unanimously, 49 to 0. The Rent Stabilization Association, which represents building owners, and the Real Estate Board of New York did not respond to requests for comment. Another bill signed into law Sept. 30 requires HPD to compile a housing information guide. Building owners will have to publicly post notice of the guide as well. Among the issues to be included in the guide are owners’ responsibilities, housing discrimination, eviction levels, heat, hot water and repairs, as well as rental assistance for elderly and disabled tenants. With market-rate rents continuing to rise, there is plenty of incentive for landlords to use nefarious tactics to replace rent-regulated tenants with more profitable neighborhood newcomers, housing activists say. Tenants in these neighborhoods say landlords berate them, seeking to prove their primary residence is elsewhere. Tenants say building owners withhold needed apartment repairs for them, while
conducting extensive renovations elsewhere inside the buildings, often making living conditions unbearable. As all this is going on, sometimes, landlords jack up their buyout offers from four to six figures, showing how badly they want the in-place tenants out. State officials have taken action of their own in recent months. An investigation by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into the business practices of Steven Croman remains ongoing. Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo issued a subpoena on Aug. 20 to Marolda Properties amid allegations that the company is using eviction proceedings, low buyout offers, poor building services and the denial of lease renewals to target elderly immigrants in the Chinatown area. But in Housing Court, it’s the landlord who prevails more often than not. Since 2008, when a law allowing tenants to sue over harassment was passed, landlords were found guilty of the charge only 45 times among roughly 3,600 cases, The New York Times reported on Sept. 30. However, settlements were reached in 810 of those cases, the Times noted. Williams said the new law’s passage marks a “turning point” for New York City tenants. “It’s not easy to fight and win in court,” Chin said. “It’s important for tenants to see they have a fighting chance.” The increased fines will go into effect 180 days from the bill’s signing into law on Sept. 30. The requirement for an offenders list will go into effect 90 days from Sept. 30. Some tenant activists dismissed the new law, saying the fines — albeit now doubled — are merely the “cost of doing business” for landlords. However, Jaron Benjamin, head of Met Council on Housing, said for many landlords, especially smaller ones, these penalties will indeed sting.
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Photo by Janet Charles
Spare time for FIERCE, at their Nov. 2 Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser.
On Nov. 4, Penn South senior residents (and outside members of their Program for Seniors) can get a free flu shot.
FREE FLU SHOTS FOR PENN SOUTH SENIORS Partners in Care, a licensed home care agency and affiliate of the not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York, is offering free flu vaccinations to all Penn South senior citizens as well as non-residents who participate in the Penn South Program for Seniors. Free. Tues., Nov. 4, from 9:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m. at 290 Ninth Ave. (side
entrance at 26th St.). If seniors are unable to attend this event, Partners in Care nurses will administer a flu vaccination in the home. For more info, call 212-609-7700 or visit partnersincareny.org.
SHRED DAY NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, NYC Councilmember Corey Johnson, and the AARP invite you to “Shred Day.” Bring up to three boxes, per household, of
documents containing personal and/or sensitive information. Free. Thurs., Oct. 30, 3–6 p.m. at Penn South (321 Eighth Ave., at W. 26 St.). For info, call the Community Action Center at 212-669-3916.
FIERCE BOWL-A-THON The youth-led nonprofit FIERCE is looking for participants and sponsors to help make their fall fundraising event a
success. The 2014 FIERCE-LY Elemental Bowl-A-Thon is a costume bowling party to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color at FIERCE who are leading the fight for police accountability and social justice in New York City. Form a team and win prizes! Sun., Nov. 2, from 3–6 p.m. at Frames Bowling Lounge (550 Ninth Ave., at 40th St.). For info, call 646-336-6789 or visit fiercenyc.org.
October 23 - November 5, 2014
Conflicts and Concerns in Continued from page 7
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She imagined the life of Chalon, who came from a family of Dutch artists and who ended up committing suicide, according to the man who sold her the picture. During the sixties, seminal books such as Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” and Doris Lessing’s “The Golden Notebook” were published, and Kriegel was thinking about feminism and being a housewife. It was a lot to express in the almost seven-minute film and Kriegel wasn’t sure how she going to going to do it visually. She wrote an outline and dialogue, although much of it wasn’t used — the sound was overlaid after. Instruction from Women Made Movies was wonderful, she said. “I couldn’t even take a good snapshot let alone use a film camera,” she said. Dougherty said the women were taught close-ups, pans and long shots. Kriegel learned how to load film, shoot with a Bolex 16mm camera and use a tripod. The women in the film gave their time and Kriegel remembers their patience as one time she struggled to load the camera. “It was very much a neighborhood thing, very much a Chelsea thing, mostly Penn South,” said Kriegel. “All the women lived in the neighborhood, almost everybody lived in the co-op with some exceptions.” After the meeting at the church in the fall of 1972, she started shooting and finished sometime in the spring of 1973. The film was completed after an arduous editing process. “The interesting thing for me was the editing process, which took forever, never would have believed it,” she said. “It demanded so much time if you wanted to do a careful job.” In addition to the editing, it was challenging to accommodate the schedule of the women who were in the movie, as some had children. “In order to make this work, I had to plan very carefully ahead of time,” said Kriegel. The film opens with Chalon’s watercolor, which soon the main character, Rachel (Sandra Kazan), will dust. She then vacuums, which bothers her husband, a writer who is working on his typewriter. The viewer never sees his face. While looking in the closet, she
A 1974 gathering of Women Make Movies m women.
Penn South’s Sandbox Park, as it was in 197
Sandbox Park has changed since serving as a with graffiti is now clean, and the benches th of the swings. .com
n Penn South Filmmaker’s 1973 Short Still Timely
Photo by Alfonso Barrios | Collection of Jane Warrenbrand
members, at 19th St. & Eighth Ave. The organization still facilitates movies by and for
Courtesy of the filmmaker
Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
a location for “Domestic Tranquility.” The wall he mothers sat on have been moved in front
said Kriegel, who said she was lucky and had an extremely supportive husband. Kriegel grew up in Washington Heights. After getting married in 1957, she and her husband moved to Chelsea and have not left. They moved into the first Penn South building in May of 1962 and have lived in their current apartment since 1970. Kriegel said Chelsea has changed enormously with the surrounding area becoming very prosperous with an art scene, Chelsea Piers, the High Line and restaurants galore. “When we first moved here, you couldn’t find a decent restaurant, let alone a coffee shop,” she said. “You wanted to find something, you had to go down to the Village.” The playground in the film, now Sandbox Park, has also changed. Where once was a wall with graffiti is now clean, with a swing set in
front of it. The benches the mothers sat on in the film have been moved in front of the swings. There is now a colorful large jungle gym with bridges and slides. There is still a sandbox. The film was shown at Penn South in the summer of 1973. It was chosen that year to be part of MOMA’s New Director Series. The 16mm film then languished in Kriegel’s closet until 2012, when the New School hosted a screening of early Women Make Movies films, including “Domestic Tranquility.” Kriegel dug it out of the closet and repaired the film for the screening. “When I first saw it, I was super critical,” she said. “When I saw it recently, I said, ‘that’s not bad.’ ” For more information on Women Make Movies, visit wmm.com. To view “Domestic Tranquility,” see the online version of this article, at ChelseaNow.com.
comes across artwork, which may be hers. Her husband asks her to take the kids, who are watching television and painting, outside so he can concentrate (two of the children are played by Bruce and Mark Kriegel). She and the three kids go to the playground in Penn South, where they play in a sandbox, while she sits on a bench with other mothers. One woman embroiders, another is reading a magazine with an article title, “The Spotlight’s on Spot Reducing… Try These for Size,” while the main character takes out an art book and studies a painting of a nude woman reclining. The other mothers comment on her weight. Cut to a scene where two men are making kissing noises and saying lewd comments to Rachel. Then we are back in the apartment, the women are gathered to eat banana bread and drink coffee. For our main character, she is there and not there, the conversation sounding like a fast-forwarded recording. The last scene is Rachel painting, one tear falls, and the viewer hears her daughter asking for some peanut butter. The issues addressed — street harassment, body image, being a working mother and deferred dreams — are ones that women still grapple with today. “It’s striking that the conflicts and our concerns have not changed,” October 23 - November 5, 2014
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ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT Don’t Be Afraid To Scare Yourself Halloween happenings to frighten, scar and even enlighten THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW IN “SEASICK”
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
HALLOWEEN ONBOARD THE GHOSTSHIP FRYING PAN Built in 1929, United States Lightship #115 is now enjoying life as the Lightship Frying Pan (open to the public for free during the hours of Pier 66 Maritime Bar & Grill). For one terrifying night only, though, the good ship becomes a ghost ship — when a $15 ticket grants you access to a Halloween celebration that includes a complimentary beverage, ghoulish goodies and tricky treats. DJ Bryan Black will spin spooky beats as you shake the barnacles off the boat by dancing the night away in the ship’s belly. At 7 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 31. The Lightship Frying Pan (aka the Ghostship Frying Pan) is docked at Pier 66 in Hudson River Park (W. 26th St. entry). For tickets ($15), visit fryingpan.com. Festive attire suggested, valid state or gov. ID required.
Set sail for dark waters, without ever leaving Pier 66.
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY’S 38TH ANNUAL VILLAGE HALLOWEEN COSTUME BALL If you find yourself freaked out by the six-deep Village Halloween Parade crowds, the best alternative celebration always takes place at the Theater for the New City — where superheroes, zombies, vampires, pirates, witches, formal wear swells, and scary-good artists gather for a bewitching night that celebrates creativity and rewards innovation. The fiendish fiesta takes over all four of TNC’s theater spaces, plus its lobby and the block of E. 10th St., btw. First & Second Aves. Entertainment includes dance music from the Hot Lavender Swing Band (a gay & lesbian 18-piece orchestra), aerial dance by Suspended Cirque, and performances from tons of Downtown underground royalty (including Epstein and Hassan, Penny Arcade, Trav S.D. and Tammy Faye Starlite as Nico). In the basement, David Zen Mansley’s House of Horrors maze has a possession and madness theme — and outside, the barely controlled chaos offers free entertainment from R&B and Dixieland bands, fire-eaters, jugglers, storyweav.com
Photo by Lee Wexler
The dapper and daring John Grimaldi works his magic, at Theater for the New City’s annual Halloween extravaganza.
ers, and stilt dancers. The Cino Theater is transformed into a Withes’ Cauldron cafe, where the buffet offerings include American and international delicacies by neighboring East Village restaurants and couscous from a coffin lid. The fiercely competitive Costume Competition, which rewards winners with one-year passes to TNC and a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne, includes categories for “Most Hydrofracked,” “Most Beheaded,” “Most Corrupted” and “Most Global-Warmed.”
Fri., Oct. 31, at Theater for the New City (155 First Ave. at E. 10th St.) and the block of E. 10th St. btw. First & Second Aves. Free outdoor entertainment starting at 4:30 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with indoor entertainment at 8 p.m. via continuously running cabarets. Admission: $20. Costume or formal wear required. The food and drink is graveyard-dirt-cheap. Reservations are strongly recommended. For info, call 212-2541109 or visit theaterforthenewcity.net.
First they float your boat, then they deck you one. Upon navigating your way down the staircase to UNDER St. Marks theater, you’re warmly greeted by the ship’s captain, then welcomed to a Bon Voyage party where everyone gets a colorful lei and the chance to join the cast as they joyfully bop, sing along and even play spoons to seafaring pop hits like “The Piña Colada Song” and “Kokomo.” Then the luxury cruise liner leaves port, a virus spreads and it’s every paranoid, puking, and hallucinating passenger for themselves. Authored by Clay McLeod Chapman — who never met a car trunk he didn’t want to stuff a body into — “Seasick” is the latest incarnation of The Pumpkin Pie Show, whose roots in campfire story one-upsmanship makes for a crackling night of theater where the pace is fast, the stakes are high and the disturbing images have eternal staying power. This year, they’ve outdone themselves by ruining our pleasant associations with buffet dining, karaoke, shuffleboard and the notion of safety in numbers. Physically nimble and vocally intense throughout, the hypnotically watchable Hanna Cheek, Abe Goldfarb, Katie Hartman and Brian Silliman pull double duty on the good ship Argonautica by giving life (and perhaps death) to the vacationing Pendleton family as well as a handful of remaining crew members. Each individual responds to the rapidly spreading norovirus with varying degrees of unexpected heroism and villainy. Playing a captain spooked by past failures, Chapman tries to lead by example but only succeeds in setting the bar for one-way trips to madness. Haunted houses and slasher films may provide a faster way to go to hell this Halloween — but for those looking to drown themselves in dark waters, nothing beats “Seasick.” Through Nov. 1. Thurs.–Sat. at 8 p.m. At UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Pl., btw. First Ave. & Ave. A). For tickets ($18, $15 for students/seniors), call 888-596-1027 or visit horsetrade.info. For artist info: claymcleodchapman.com.
Continued on page 19 October 23 - November 5, 2014
The ‘Price’ is Right for Halloween Volume II is a cross section of vintage Vincent FILM SCREAM FACTORY PRESENTS
THE VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION II $79.97 7 films on a 4-Disc Blu-ray set Bonus: audio commentaries, rare photos & archival materials, 32-page collector’s book Available in stores & at screamfactorydvd.com
BY TRAV S.D. (travsd.wordpress.com) The actor Vincent Price starred in films of every genre throughout his long career, but above all he will forever be associated with horror. Tall,
mustachioed and cultured in a manner alien to all contemporary American movie stars, Price excelled at playing villains in the sort of campy Gothic horror film that reigned at the cinema prior to the slasher movie craze that took hold in the late 1970s. Just in time for Halloween, Scream Factory is releasing “The Vincent Price Collection II,” a 4-disc compendium for Blu-ray featuring seven of the late master’s spookier vehicles. As with the first volume, the set is a cross section of work from different phases of his career. The picks are of equal quality and importance to those in the first release — it is more of a continuation than a comedown. (Actually, Scream Factory would have to put out many such volumes until they ran out of excellent Price horror films). “House on Haunted Hill” (1959) was Price’s first collaboration with schlockmeister William Castle, an “old dark house” confection where insane millionaire Price locks a group of friends and associates in a haunted
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house overnight and challenges them to survive the night in exchange for $10,000. “The Return of the Fly” (1959) was a big-budget shocker for a major studio (20th Century Fox) in which Price reprised his role from the original hit, his part now expanded into buzzing anti-hero. The Italian-made “The Last Man on Earth” (1964) was the first of three film adaptations of Richard Matheson’s novel “I Am Legend,” in which Price struggles alone in a world in which everyone else has been transformed into a vampire. As in the first volume, this set contains several of the low-budget classics Courtesy of Scream Factory Price made for American Volume II of Scream Factory’s Vincent Price International Pictures with Collection has seven of the late master’s spookier vehicles. Roger Corman. Two are from the so-called Poe Series: “The Tomb of Ligeia” (1964), considered by many critics and Corman watchable versions currently available himself as the best of the bunch, and for home video, and this goes also for “The Raven” (1963), a comical riff many of the extras, such as the trailsuggested by Poe’s famous poem, fea- ers. While some of the bonus material, turing Price and Hollywood veterans such as commentary by Roger Corman, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre as a trio has been previously available, there are of quarreling medieval sorcerers. “The new treats — including comments by Comedy of Terrors” (1963) goes even Price historian David Del Valle, and farther down the path to silliness, with Elizabeth Shepherd, co-star of “The Price, Lorre and Karloff being joined Tomb of Ligeia.” And, best of all: from by Basil Rathbone and comedian Joe E. beyond the grave, introductions and Brown in his last screen performance. “parting words” from Vincent Price And for sheer camp heaven, you can- himself. If you don’t go in for parties not beat “Dr. Phibes Rises Again” or trick-or-treating, you could do far (1972), the sequel to his camp hit of worse than to barricade yourself in your the previous year (which is included in dungeon this Halloween and spend 20 hours or so with this boxed set. the first volume of this Blu-ray series). —Additional research by Ian W. Hill The films are all in the most pristine,
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A Terrifying Trek Through NYC History and Fiction This year’s ‘Nightmare’ is the stuff of urban legends HAUNTED HOUSE NIGHTMARE: NEW YORK Produced by Timothy Haskell & Steve Kopelman Through Saturday, November 1 Hours vary daily At Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center 107 Suffolk St. (btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.) Tickets: $30 in advance $35 at the door Student Rush tickets: $20 (1 hour before, at the door) VIP tickets: $50 in advance, $60 at the
Photo by Michael Blase
It’s not your island: Manhattan’s original inhabitants have a bone to pick.
door (front of the line access) Reservations & Info at nightmarenyc.com
BY SEAN EGAN “Nightmare” did not become New York City’s longest-running haunted attraction by remaining static or playing things safe. In each of its 11 years in operation, this adult-oriented haunted house company has switched things up, providing an entirely new theme and show. Most recently, the company’s examined the lives and crimes of some of America’s most notorious and violent serial killers in their back-to-back houses called “Killers” and “Killers2.” Breaking from this series, the folks at “Nightmare” decided to play things a little more introspective this year, to terrifying effect. Simply titled “Nightmare: New York,” the new haunted house draws its inspiration from urban legends and truelife horror stories from the city itself. Tracing tales from early stories about witchcraft and cannibalistic natives all the way to modern fears of “super rats” that evolved in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, this haunted house is a distinctly New York experience — though it is just as likely to unsettle and scare any out-of-towner who decides to trek down its path through the city’s history and fiction. Upon reaching the front of the line, you’ll be asked if you want to be marked with a large red X on your face, which .com
indicates to the cast that you’re up for a “more intense” experience during your walkthrough. I opted to be branded with the scarlet letter, and honestly, while you’re here you might as well go straight in. Taking on a more active role in the proceedings and allowing the cast to get physical with you enhances the fun, and the terror and thrills of the performance (though if you opt out, these things are still plentiful). From the get-go, the house is intense, and doesn’t let up until the very end. Being guided through the winding halls of “Nightmare: New York” is a totally immersive sensory experience. The sound design keeps you on your toes even when nothing immediately intimidating lurks ahead. The touch of a cast member, or a prop knife, or the multiple inflatable, claustrophobic tunnels on the skin is enough to cause panic. The dim lighting almost swallows you at times, but everything remains entirely legible and terrifying. It’s the perfect equilibrium: dark enough to feel momentarily safe hiding in the corner, but still dark enough to not see the horror lurking just behind you in said corner. Much of the credit for the success of “Nightmare: New York” lies in its production design, which is stellar throughout. Since New York is its narrative and thematic through-line, the house feels like a unified whole because of the world created by the designers. Though everything flows quite nicely, there are still a few exceptional standout
set pieces. In one early highlight, groups are led into the room of an old mansion by a suspiciously genial butler — who proceeds to reveal terrifying specters in
a stately fireplace. Another set, a replica of a subway car circa the 80s, is simply
Continued on page 20
WITNESS AT A CROSSROADS: PHOTOGRAPHER MARC RIBOUD IN ASIA OCTOBER 16, 2014 THROUGH MARCH 23, 2015
150 WEST 17TH STREET NYC RUBINMUSEUM.ORG
October 23 - November 5, 2014
October 23 - November 5, 2014
Seasonal Events of Grave Importance Continued from page 15
GHOST TOURS AND SPIRITED EVNENTS AT MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM At Merchant’s House Museum, every room is a door to the past — and maybe, a portal to the afterlife. Now celebrating its 78th year as a museum, the meticulously preserved East Fourth Street row house has enjoyed a longer life than most of the Tredwell family members and servants who lived there over a nearly 100-year period. Some say they never left — and can back up that claim with compelling (often identical) tales of unexplained sights and sounds. Years ago, mounting anecdotal evidence compelled museum caretakers to begin documenting every strange encounter. Merchant’s House is now one of the world’s most carefully and consistently investigated homes to paranormal activity — and one of the few that you can walk through five days a week. For the next two weeks, that walk guarantees some goosebumps along with its usual history lesson about life in the mid-1800s. Filled with creepy photos, unsettling audio and first-person accounts of unset-
Photo by Keila Fontanez
Photo by Gardiner Anderson
Mourners cross Great Jones St., en route to bury Seabury Tredwell. The 1865 funeral reenactment begins at 4 p.m. on Oct. 26, at Merchant’s House Museum.
tling encounters with the unexplained, these annual Candlelight Ghost Tours have a way of making believers out of skeptics. Other events include Oct. 26’s 4 p.m. “Parlor to Grave: 1865 Funeral Reenactment and Graveyard Procession.” It begins in the Museum’s double Greek revival parlors, as they discuss the funerary customs of 19th century New York City and recreate the 1865 funeral service of family patriarch Seabury Tredwell. Then, mourners follow the coffin to nearby Marble
Cemetery for the graveside service and a cemetery talk. 19th century mourning attire is encouraged ($40, $55 VIP Seats). On Halloween night “Tales of the Supernatural” ($25) are told at both 7 and 8:30 p.m. Veteran associates of the House will perform dramatic readings from 19th century Gothic literature and tell true ghost stories as reported by Merchant’s House visitors through the years. Reservations are highly recommended for all of these events. The 50-minute Candlelight Ghost
The Pumpkin Pie Show bids Bon Voyage to all things nice and normal, in “Seasick” — a tale of disease and desperation on board a luxury cruise ship.
Tours are on Oct. 24 & 25 and Oct. 28–30 ($25 for week 1, $30 for week 2). They begin every half hour from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., with a few kid-friendly versions available. Super-spooky version (including fourth floor servants’ quarters) is $35 for week 1 and $40 for week 2. Call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse. org. At Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Regular Museum hours: Thurs.–Mon., noon to 5 p.m. Admission: $10, $5 for students & seniors, free under 12). Become a Museum member and get discounts on all events, year-round.
October 23 - November 5, 2014
‘Nightmare:’ Has Plentiful Scares and Psychological Depth Continued from page 17 stunning, and eerie in a way that hits close to home. The acting is also top-notch. Instead of letting the makeup and costumes alone carry the scares, the unique theme allows for a lot of the cast to sink their teeth into strange characters that go above and beyond the standard haunted house boogeyman fare. Many of the actors get a chance to embody distinctly warped individuals. One low-key, deranged man insists to guests that Gene Hackman used to serve him hard-boiled eggs. Another standout performance comes from an unhinged man in the subway, giving an intimidating rant while aiming a gun dead at you. Figures like these seem to have a psychological depth and sense of purpose that makes their scares stick — and when the characters aren’t quite as well-defined, at the very least they are suitably scary and/or gleefully gruff and explicit when barking orders and administering threats of bodily harm. The whole thing is a blast that comes together to provide an adrenaline rush and a chilled spine.
Photo by Michael Blase
Subway breakdancers are the least of your problems, in this 1980s-era “Nightmare” scenario.
And yet, “Nightmare: New York” seems to be tapping into something deeper than just reiterating the city’s ghost stories. Towards the end of the tour, near the temporal present in the show, a hooded figure in modern clothes forces the group to put burlap sacks over their heads, and follow a rope to
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an uncertain fate, sensory deprivation heightening the terror of what’s to come. Suddenly you’re not in the world of the fantastical or the world of the past — you’re very much in the present, a part of your own interactive horror story. As you’re fumbling, being dragged along a rope by a madman,
“Nightmare: New York” shows it understands that sometimes, our own expectations can disturb and unnerve more than any grotesque costume or special effect — and that the fear of being blind and vulnerable to danger in our own backyard is one that will linger long after Halloween passes.
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and the scares are real than he would be at home, watching Fox News “reporting” on the twin evils of Ebola and Obama. Now that’s what I call a nightmare scenario!
And Now, Dear Readers Here’s a letter from the vaults (or, more appropriately, the crypt). Yes, it’s a reprint — but the problem is as timely as it was in 2012, and will be in 2120.
Dear Aunt Chelsea: This year, it’s our turn to host the Halloween party for families in our building. We’ve always seen ourselves as hip and fun parents, but can’t decide whether to give the kids candy or healthy treats. Confused
Dear Aunt Chelsea: Our son is ten (almost eleven, as he constantly reminds us) and wants to go a haunted house attraction that advertises itself as “blood-curdling.” He says he knows it’s all an act, but we’re both worried that it might be too intense, or just plain unhealthy, for someone of his age. I don’t want to be responsible for weeks, months or even years of bad dreams. Should we let him go? Haunted by a house
Dear Haunted: A few decades ago, I’d have said to keep the little one at home and out of psychological harm’s way for as long as possible — but that sort of advice went out of style at roughly the same time as rotary dial phones. The notion that we can protect our kids from growing up without being hideously scarred by something is a lie that adults tell themselves in order to have some sort of control — just as Halloween horrors are a way for kids to keep the terrors of real life at bay. So let him go. He’s far better off in a house where the blood is fake .com
Dear Confused: Letting the little ones dress up like bloody zombies only to reward them with sugar-free organic snacks is a mixed signal guaranteed to inspire disillusionment and mistrust. Hand out apples instead of jumbo Kit Kats, and you might as well include an engraved invitation for the juicebox set to leave burning doggy stuff on your doorstep. You see yourselves as hip and fun parents? Then see this holiday for what it is: an annual get out of jail free card for mischievous behavior and eating inappropriate amounts of junk food. You can’t spell “kid” without “id” — so let them run wild, and make sure there are plenty of pillows on the floor (to act as shock absorbers once they start bouncing off the walls). When they wake up on November 1st with a tummy ache, hand them an orange and tell them the party’s over. Eventually, we all need advice from a caring but uninvolved source. When your time comes, send an email to askauntchelsea@ chelseanow.com.
Aquarius You will find it difficult to abandon the freedoms granted to you by a flamboyant, well-received Halloween costume. Pisces Don’t let a possible Zombie Apocalypse prevent you from 401(k) contributions and responsible estate planning. Aries Beware the final stroke of midnight, which unlocks a sinister portal to the netherworld — and reminds us we’ve missed the opening credits for that “Golden Girls” repeat. Taurus It is better to dole out candy treats on demand than to slip and fall while cleaning a tricky rooftop corner clogged with toilet paper and raw eggs. Gemini Invoking the mantra spoken by Reta Shaw in 1966’s “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” will allow you to momentarily distract a thirsty vampire. Cancer Like a slasher film victim who won’t leave the house, an uncharacteristically foolish friend needs you to intervene with helpful, life-saving strategies. Leo False walls, crypts, hidden passages and dreams of October 27 are all places where secrets are buried and treasure is found. Virgo Popcorn balls and quarters make lousy trick-or-treats — just as your sour attitude is no match for the deal you feel should be sweetened. Take it! Libra Blame the witches’ brew in the costume party punch if you must — but don’t leave without telling that certain someone how you truly feel. Scorpio You will scream at the laundromat TV, when forced to sit through one of those horrendous “Good Witch” movies on Hallmark Channel. Regret follows at home, while folding. Sagittarius Your inability to resist pumpkin-flavored seasonal snacks will cause a bloody, limb-severing incident in the supermarket express line. Capricorn Temper toxic words toward an undeserving target, lest they cast a spell of doom over your potentially powerful cosmic aura. October 23 - November 5, 2014
October 23 - November 5, 2014
‘It’s Only a Play’ But You’ll Like It McNally’s tale of a turkey is full of delicious hams THEATER
IT’S ONLY A PLAY Written by Terrence McNally Directed by Jack O’Brien Through January 4, 2015 Tues. & Thus. at 7 p.m. Wed. & Sat. at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. Fri. at 8 p.m. Sun. at 3 p.m. At the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre 236 W. 45th St. (btw. Broadway & Eighth Ave.) For tickets ($77–$172.00), telecharge.com Visit ItsOnlyAPlay.com
Photo by F. Scott Schafer
Modern times: Terrence McNally’s 1980s play is updated, with today’s famous names and trending topics.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER Desperately clinging to the notion that they have a Tony-caliber hit on their hands, a group of high-strung theater types puff their chests and lick their wounds in the bedroom of a lavish East Side townhouse as those all-important opening night reviews trickle in. Downstairs, “the party of the year for the play of the season” swells to capacity, as megastars and uninvited cast members from long-running Broadway hits come and go. This necessitates frequent visits to the bedroom from a just-off-thebus theater world wannabe tasked with checking coats that serve as calling card sight gags (Tommy Tune’s is a tall and less-than-masculine fur; Lady Gaga’s is a noisy collection of see-through orbs). Relentlessly funny, breathlessly paced and acted with salty gusto by a cast of high-end Sunday hams, Terrence McNally’s “It’s Only a Play” is a love letter to the theater masquerading as a death threat. By evening’s end, dozens of famous names (Liza!), trending topics (selfies) and media succubi (NYT critic Ben Brantley) are called out and knocked down a few pegs. Little harm is done, though. In the world of plays about plays, you only zing the ones you love — or at least know about (and in this realm, there’s no greater indignity than escaping public notice). That said, much disdain, possibly sincere, is heaped upon British imports (“The Phantom of the Opera is closing,” .com
screams a newspaper, “Positively last ten years!”), and the occasional dart has fast-acting poison on its tip (such as the ring of humiliating truth about used-tobe-good Faye Dunaway. Ouch!). With one disappointing exception, the cast is in top form — world-class winners playing straw-grasping losers, for whom the Kryptonite of bad news has only temporary power to wound or weaken. Their misplaced confidence returns with the slightest bit of distance between them and a scathing review or a personal betrayal. Megan Mullally’s classy but clueless producer Julia Budder (who can’t even quote Sinatra’s “New York, New York” correctly) is a living, breathing ambassador for the never-say-die attitude in the face of mounting disaster. As the sole bankroller of this “300-pound Butterball,” she alone can prevent yet another version of “Riverdance” from kicking her floundering production to the curb. Mullally elevates the show’s most thinly drawn character from simply ditzy to admirably determined. As sitcom star James Wicker, who’s just flown in from LA to support the playwright, Nathan Lane — always dialing it up and never phoning it in — summons new variations on the slow burn, the knowing look and the sudden realization (especially good is his reaction to the true nature of those snacks he’s been gobbling).
The Playbill gives no indication how former “Harry Potter” actor Rupert Grint came up with his supersized-evenfor-this-show portrayal of hypertense director Frank Finger — but if he’s ever seen “The Young Ones,” Mr. Grint needs to hightail it back to London, return his WhatsOnStage award and make a sizable donation to the estate of the late comedic genius Rik Mayall, whose 1980s Britcom character is alive and well and currently appearing eight times a week at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Due apologies if I’m wrong about that — but otherwise (to steal from McNally), shame, shame, shame on Rupert Grint. As lead actress Virginia Noyes, a teeter-tottering Stockard Channing fully embodies the stretched skin and pickled liver of a foul-mouthed Hollywood transplant. Nursing a pharmaceutical goody bag and a court-ordered ankle monitor, Channing brilliantly pantomimes a world of crumbling hopes and dreams as the brief but stinging review of Noyes’ performance is read aloud by another. Playing a theater critic who has no business being in the room, F. Murray Abraham (engrave his Tony now) capers about with glee, fueled by the slightest drop of others’ misfortune. Wakee, wakee Mr. Grint: Abraham’s Ira Drew is masterful and inspired — with physical tics that recall a silent movie villain and a Tex Avery cartoon, boiled down to their essence then reconstructed into some-
thing equally unique and memorable. It’s the best performance of the lot, and that’s saying something. Newcomer Micah Stock, as coat check boy Gus, skillfully milks befuddled for most of the play, then cuts loose with an impromptu musical theater audition that makes the notion of seeing “Wicked” both unwelcome and unnecessary. Amid this loopy collection of broadly written and played characters, Matthew Broderick’s stiff and sober Peter Austin stands alone, if not exactly tall. Dressed in the duds of a noble bygone era (his father’s top hat, white tie and tails), the self-doubting M.I.A. playwright of “The Golden Egg” finally arrives at his own party. Fresh from a melancholy Broadway walkabout, he delivers the first of many soft-spoken platitudes about the dignity of a life lived in, and for, the theater. His earnestness soon becomes profoundly sad, because from what we learn about “The Golden Egg” as the play progresses, its author probably doesn’t have the chops to attain the theatrical purity he so greatly admires. Not covets, mind you, admires. For two hours and thirty-five minutes, Peter Austin is the only one in that bunker mentality upstairs bedroom whose steely resolve isn’t a product of selfish desperation. “Plays don’t pop up like toast,” he cautions, although the one he’s in is as well-done and delicious as it gets. October 23 - November 5, 2014
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October 23 - November 5, 2014