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L Downtown Express photo by Zach Williams

Way to go, Champ! The Downtown Little League’s Grace Kirwin accepted congratulations from State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who honored the league’s two state championship teams last week. Article, P. 12.

Art studios by the dozens coming to Governors Island BY D U SI CA SU E M ALE S E V IC


paceworks, a non-profit that offers affordable studio space for artists, is renovating an over 20,000-squarefoot building on Governors Island. The renovation will cost around $4.5 million, and the capital funds are coming through the city’s Dept. of Cultural Affairs. Once completed, it will house 43 visual art studios, a performance/rehearsal space and a possible community space/ gallery. The studios will range in size, from about 180 to 200 square

foot and two studios will be around 596 sq. ft. “We started talking to the Trust for Governors Island sometime ago about doing Building 301,” said Paul Parkhill, executive director of Spaceworks, in a phone interview. “Governors Island was one of the initial public projects that was identified kind of early on in our evolution as a potential space.” Building 301 is a one-story redbricked structure with a modified L-shaped plan and was formerly P.S. 26 and a child development cen-

ter, which served children of Coast Guard personnel. Spaceworks will sign a 20-year license agreement with the Trust. Construction is slated to begin next spring. Turner Construction will manage the bidding process that will start later this year and Douglas Hassebroek of BRB Architects is the architect. “Because it’s a public building and we’re using public capital funds the process takes some time,” said Continued on page 8


essons from Superstorm Sandy has the city stepping up its storm preparedness efforts with attention being paid to seniors and those with special needs. It has been almost two years since Superstorm Sandy hit on Oct. 29, 2012, and the city says it is better equipped to respond, but of course, the true test will not happen until another emergency event occurs. “After Sandy we did an evaluation of what went well and what needed improvement,” said Nancy Greco Silvestri, spokesperson for the Office of Emergency Management, which helps coordinate the city’s response in a disaster. The city developed 14 additional playbooks to explain operations before, during and after an emergency — especially for a coastal storm — informed by its May 2013 Hurricane Sandy After Action report. “A number of them particularly addressed the needs that we saw among the special needs population Continued on page 3


Con Ed beefs up steam, electrical systems for next storm B Y DUSICA SU E M A L E SE V IC In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Con Edison said it has implemented protective measures for their steam and electrical systems with an eye toward keeping the electrical power on for more people and restoring steam service more quickly. When Sandy hit two years ago, Con Ed said the amount of outages was unprecedented in the company’s history. Over 200,000 Lower Manhattan residents and businesses were without electricity and steam service. For the electrical system, Con Ed will be able to split networks, explained Greg Koumoullos, project manager for electrical systems for Con Ed, at Community Board 1’s Planning Committee meeting on Oct. 6. This means that certain parts of the electrical grid can be shut off while others remain on. “If a flood comes again and the water comes in, we can actually disconnect the network, split it in half so the areas that we expect to be dry can remain in power, while the areas expected to be flooded underwater can go out of power,” said Koumoullos,

who specifically works with the Fulton and Bowling Green network switches. Right now the switches are manual, but Koumoullos said that by the summer of next year, the switches will be automated. With automation the company can wait until the last possible moment until a surge would come, and then split the network. In addition, Con Ed is also making

but would then be operational again, said Koumoullos. The submersible transformers and installations have been developed fairly recently and Koumoullos said that both the manufacturers and Con Ed have tested them. Protective measures have also been put in place for the steam system — crucial for heating. During Sandy, a

‘In the event that it does flood, the equipment that is under water will not be damaged.’ some of its equipment submersible. “In the event that it does flood, the equipment that is under water will not be damaged,” said Koumoullos. During Sandy, equipment that was inundated with water had to be replaced or repaired before it could be utilized again, thus adding more time to restoring power. By making equipment submersible, if a storm were to hit, after the water would recede, the equipment would need to be dried out

significant portion of the system lost steam service, said Frank Cuomo, project manager of Con Ed’s steam distribution group. Steam is very sensitive, said Cuomo, and water is the worst thing to mix with it. For the steam system, it has to be turned on in a specific geographic order — sections cannot be skipped — and that was one of the reasons C.B. 1 in Lower Manhattan was the one of the last to be turned back on, he said.

C.B.1 committee members noted the amount of time it took after the electricity resumed for the steam to come back on, which was ten days. Cuomo said the company is trying to reduce the outage time. “It doesn’t have to make its way from Grand Street like it did during Sandy, pipe by pipe by pipe,” said Cuomo. “We already have pressure down in the area.” Isolation valves will also be put in place at Trinity Place. Cuomo said 137 buildings that went without steam during Sandy, would stay in service. Also, the East River and Brooklyn Navy Yard stations, due to their geographic locations, would be isolated if another superstorm were to occur. The East River station, which is the highest capacity station, is critical to get up and running, Cuomo said. During Sandy, equipment had to be dried and sent out for repairs. Now, there are walls in place as well as other protective measures and the stations could come back online once water receded. If Sandy happened today, said Cuomo, “you wouldn’t have the same type of impact as you had in the past.”

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Helping seniors through the next Sandy Continued from page 1

and seniors,” she said in a phone interview. There are nearly 39,000 people over the age of 65 in Lower Manhattan, according to the Lower Manhattan NY Rising Community Reconstruction Plan, which was released in March 2014. Sandycaused power outages “disproportionately affected vulnerable populations, including seniors and tenants of public housing, who were stranded with limited access to vital services,” according to the report. One of the big lessons that emerged from Sandy was about emergency canvassing, which is physically going door to door to check on residents, said Greco Silvestri. The city has created a whole new playbook around post-emergency canvassing. The strategy describes a coordinated citywide outreach for residents and assessing their needs — including medical and health services, medication, do they have heat or water, do they need to be evacuated and do they need to be transferred to a shelter. During Sandy, medical professionals also went with teams to knock on doors, which is something that came together after the fact. This is now a protocol that is part of a fully fleshed-out plan, she said. Part of the response during Sandy was the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, who works with the city and state’s O.E.M. Now, the organization is making sure to talk to patients on a regular basis about emergency preparation and the importance of Go Bags. Medication for seniors is an integral component. “We’ve learned in our work, especially around Hurricane Sandy, that the general recommendations to people are that they have three days supply of medication,” said Eloise Goldberg, vice president for providers’ services for Queens, Nassau and Suffolk countries. “We have moved away from that because we realized that when there is a serious event, three days is not sufficient.” The nurses group now recommends that its patients have a two-week supply of medication, Goldberg said in a phone interview. Depending on the approaching season — hurricane, summer, winter —

patients are advised what to have on hand, in addition to non-perishable food, batteries and flashlights. Aixa Torres, president of the Smith Houses Tenant Association, saw firsthand what happened during Sandy and Irene. Sandy damaged some apartments so badly that they are still empty two years later, said Torres in a phone interview. Two buildings in the Lower East Side’s Alfred E. Smith Houses are more vulnerable to flooding, she said. During Sandy, there was no power or water. Torres used Facebook to communicate with the adult children of seniors living in the building. “We don’t have the generators that we need,” said Torres. “Because of Sandy we’re getting them.” The New York City Housing Authority social service works with the buildings’ management to maintain a list of seniors and those with special needs. Residents fill out a form that NYCHA uses to keep track. Torres said that Go Bags have been hand delivered to seniors. “There is a necessity for us to be prepared,” she said. “We have to be our neighbors keepers.” The city’s Office of Emergency Management also works very closely with VOAD, which stands for volunteer organizations active in disaster. The volunteer group works with several non-profits, such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Meeting with VOAD has helped delineate roles community groups can play in the government’s response, according to O.E.M. In terms of sheltering, the city has expanded its emergency supply stockpile to include other items such as canes, walkers, additional wheelchairs and medical equipment. The stockpile supports 70,000 New Yorkers for seven days, said Greco Silvestri. The shelters have also improved their accessibility features for those with special needs. The city operated a number of special medical needs shelters during Sandy, and since then has added signage to the facilities and clarified agencies’ roles and responsibilities. For example, a resident may need specific treatments or medications from a healthcare professional rather than a shelter manager, she said. There has been more training as

Downtown Express file photo by Sam Spokony

Smith Houses residents carrying supplies delivered by the National Guard after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012.

well as operational exercises at the shelter themselves. During Sandy, the hurricane evacuation zones were based on maps from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2003 data. The N.O.A.A. updates its data every ten years. In 2013, when they released new data, the city updated its hurricane evacuation zones. “So based on the new scientific data we increased the evacuation zones from the three that existed during Sandy to six evacuation zones that we have currently and that allows for more flexibility in evacuation decision making,” explained Greco Silvestri. This helps in making sure that the city is not over or under evacuating and targeting the area that’s most likely to experience life-threatening storm surge based on the particular storm that’s approaching, she said. The six zones are ranked by risk, with Zone 1, which includes parts of Lower Manhattan, the most likely to flood. The O.E.M. partnered with the National Weather Service to launch a public awareness campaign called “Know Your Zone,” in June of this year. They placed ads in newspapers as well as online, targeted subway platforms and buses, and tried something new: putting Know Your Zones ads on over 500,000 coffee cups that one gets at the local deli. “So if you were, for example, in Zone A during Sandy, you could be in Zone 1 or Zone 2 under the new

system,” she said. People can look up their zone or call 311, which will also tell residents where the nearest evacuation center is. The O.E.M. went to local precinct councils, community boards and sent a letter to every home in Zones 1, 2 and 3. Frank Lowe, who works for the O.E.M. and is his eighties, has focused on nursing homes in Zones 1 and 2 to discuss planning and preparation with his peers. The city also distributes Ready New York guides with new tips learned from Sandy that encourage residents to develop a plan and have their Go Bag ready. “After Sandy struck, we learned that there had to be better planning for getting flood zone residents the information they need, and specific plans in place to serve seniors and other homebound individuals,” said Councilmember Margaret Chin in an email statement. Chin introduced legislation for the O.E.M and other city agencies to develop emergency preparedness guidelines for buildings, including information such as whether a building is in a flood zone. She also co-sponsored a law last year that required the city to assist vulnerable and homebound individuals through an outreach and recovery plan. The new laws “will allow our city to make major strides in keeping seniors and other vulnerable populations better prepared for future storm emergencies,” she said. October 23-November 5, 2014


GETAWAY ON CITI BIKES In what may be a first, two men used Citi Bikes as their getaway rides after snatching a woman’s handbag off a bench in the Seaport last weekend. A 36-year-old New Jersey woman had her purse behind her in front of 89 South St. when police say the team grabbed her purse at 2 p.m. on Sun., Oct. 19. While riding away, the thieves dug in the purse and took two credit cards and an iPhone 5, worth $500, out and dropped the bag on the ground. The woman cancelled the credit cards in time and the iPhone was tracked to Norfolk and Broome Sts. It then was turned off and not recovered. Police said one of the suspect is about 16, 5 ft. 8” and 150 pounds, but had no description of the second biker.

trying on shoes when a woman picked up the tourist’s purse and walked out the store around 3 p.m. In the purse was a $500 iPhone 5, Chanel lip gloss worth $100, credit cards, an Australian driver license, her hotel room key and sunglasses valued at $200. Police say there is video available and that the credit cards were cancelled in time. The crimes do not appear to be linked since the suspect this week has straight hair and two weeks ago she had a Mohawk. On Thurs., Oct. 9, a Tribeca woman was trying on shoes, when a woman with a Mohawk dipped into the 41-year-old’s purse and stole her wallet with $300, various credit cards, a health insurance card and driver’s license in it. Police say that suspect got away with $600 total.



On Wed., Oct. 15, at around 5:22 p.m., police responded to a 911 call for a person in the water in the East River near Rutgers Slip on the Lower East Side. A boat from the New York Police Department’s Harbor unit responded and officers removed an unidentified female in her 40s from the water and transported her to Pier 16, at the South Street Seaport, where she was pronounced dead on arrival by E.M.S. medics. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. The investigation is ongoing.

A thief broke the front windows of the Watermark Bar at 78 South St. in the Seaport last week and got away with 3 Apple iPads worth $1,500. The Watermark Bar, which is closed for the season and will not reopen until March 2015, was broken into on Tues., Oct. 16 at 4:30 p.m. An employee reported the break-in to the police later that afternoon at 5:20 p.m.

NO SECRET TO SHOPLIFTERS Last time it was underwear, this time it was bras. Lots of bras, worth almost $4,000. At the 591 Broadway Victoria’s Secret in Soho, which was hit for the second time this month, a team of two women and one man stole 84 Angel Demi Bras, sizes C and D, from a two drawers at around 10 a.m. on Fri., Oct. 17. A 31-year-old female employee reported the robbery several hours later at 3:30 p.m.

SHOE DIVERSIONS For the second time this month, a woman got her purse stolen while distracted by shoe bliss at the Steve Madden’s at 425 Broadway in Tribeca. The thief got away with $980 worth of stuff this time, Mon., Oct. 20. The victim was an Australian tourist, 31, who was

SLEEPING AND SUBWAY RIDING DON’T MIX Police say a 23-year-old Brooklyn woman fall asleep while waiting for an uptown train at the A, C Fulton St. stop in the Financial District at 2 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 16, and woke up to find her $100 iPod, $250, credit cards and her Coach wristlet worth $100 were gone. The thief used the cards to make five purchases and got away with $545 worth of stuff.

between Hudson and Greenwich Sts., the rear driver side window was broken. One victim, a 24-year-old diabetic from Connecticut, lost his insulin pump — a $1,500 Mini Med Paradigm — a $300 iPad and other items for a total of $2,050. The second crime was in front of 98 Charlton St. A 28-year-old New Jersey woman went to a bar around 1:30 a.m. early Sunday morning, Oct. 12. When she and her friend returned around 3 a.m., the left front window of the car was broken and her Steve Madden handbag was gone. Inside the purse was a Louis Vuitton brown wallet, credit cards, an iPhone worth $500 and a pair of Ray Ban glasses that cost $450. In total, the thief got away with $1,250 worth of stuff.

BMW STOLEN IN TRIBECA A Financial District man parked his car at 452 Greenwich St. in Tribeca on Thurs., Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. When the 51-year-old returned a day later, his blue 1997 BMW Z3, worth $15,000, was nowhere to be found. Police say the car wasn’t towed and there was no broken glass at the scene.

TEENS BUSTED FOR CAR THEFT Police arrested two 16-year-old male teens from Brooklyn earlier this month. They are accused of stealing an Avis 2014 white Nissan sedan, worth $25,000, from a public garage at 10 Wooster St. between Canal and Grand Sts. in Soho on Sat. Oct. 11 around 11 a.m.


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Silver challenger says the fight is for women B Y J O SH RO G E R S The energy fueling the campaign of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s Republican challenger is women’s rights, and yes, energy. By the way, she see the issues as inextricably linked. Maureen Koetz, the long-shot challenger who has worked on energy issues in and out of government for over two decades, says “electricity is my favorite thing in the whole world. “I believe energy is the number one women’s issue from the practical side. We used to have to stay home and stoke coal. You couldn’t leave your house because you couldn’t turn the oven on and off,” Koetz, 57, said last week during an interview at Hudson Eats, close to her apartment in Gateway Plaza. A divorced mother, Koetz said she moved back to New York in 2009 after her daughter, now 24, left for college. She settled in Battery Park City, she said,W because of her love of the water. Koetz entered the race principal-

ly in reaction to Silver’s handling of the Vito Lopez affair. Silver acknowledged two years ago that he was wrong to go outside the Assembly’s Ethics Committee to settle a sexual harassment case against Lopez, who was then an Assembly leader. Silver’s actions led to some newspapers calling for his resignation, particularly in light of Michael Boxley, Silver’s former counsel who was fired in 2003 after he was arrested for sexual assault — the second time Boxley was accused of assault or rape. Although the criticisms of Silver have probably hurt his standing with voters statewide, they have not appeared to have had much effect in Lower Manhattan, where many residents and community leaders praise him for delivering schools and other needed services for Downtown. In recent years, prominent Downtown women — including the last three chairpersons of Community Board 1, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and even two former foes,

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Councilmember Margaret Chin and her Democratic primary opponent last year, Jenifer Rajkumar — all have supported the speaker.   “I think they stand with him because we have a 19th century political machine still in place that he’s running, and once you are swept in under that machine there aren’t any alternatives,” Koetz said. “Nobody else in America is allowed to cover up for a rapist, cover up for sexual harassment,

consort with a convicted felon who’s got $400,000 hidden in the apartment he shares with [Silver’s] chief of staff,” Koetz added later. The latter was a reference to William Rapfogel, the former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, who last year pleaded guilty to stealing $9 million. Rapfogel’s wife Judy is Silver’s chief of staff, although neither she nor Continued on page 13

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October 23-November 5, 2014


Peck Slip Parents to city: Be more divisive at Tweed

Photo courtesy of the Peck Slip School PTA.

Six-foot dividers separate two Peck Slip School classrooms at its temporary home in Tweed Courthouse.

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Peck Slip School parents, fed up with six-foot partitions for divided classrooms at the Tweed Courthouse, called again for the use of the Dept. of Education’s two conference rooms last week at Community Board 1 Youth and Education Committee meeting. Parents brought their children, many with their face painted, to the crowded meeting that had people congregating in the doorway Oct. 14. “In an evening in September, it was back to school night. You can’t imagine what coursed through each parent of a first and second grader when we [went] into our kids’ classrooms only to confront the absolute most pathetic excuse for a learning environment,” said P.S. 343 (Peck Slip School) parent Eden Lopez, who emphasized the parents’ support for principal Maggie Siena. Lopez said four classes have been crammed into two classrooms that also include offices for instructors. “Most egregious, the state-of-the-art noise-reducing dividers, they’re flimsy six-foot high dividers, which, of course, offer no buffer at all in a room with 15foot ceilings,” said Lopez, whose son is in the second grade. “It was and it is an outrage. At our temporary quarters, we don’t have a gym, we don’t have an art room, we don’t have a proper cafeteria and we don’t have a playground for our kids.” There was not enough time for construction or the necessary filing to make changes due to the courthouse’s landmark status, said Thomas Taratko, the D.O.E.’s executive director for the Office of Space Planning. “We did not do this intentionally to fall short,” said Taratko, who has visited the classrooms four times. “We tried our best to do what we could.” Taratko said that the dividers could be extended to around 10 feet. The higher, stronger partitions should help reduce noise. There is also a plan to get rid of the offices. The classrooms are on the first floor of the courthouse and are housed in a space that is 2,400 sq. ft. They range from 750 to 900 sq. ft. Another D.O.E. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that


October 23-November 5, 2014

one of the two conference rooms was too small to be used. The committee’s chairperson Tricia Joyce, said “We’re four weeks into the school year and we’re still talking about let me see what I can do.” Downtown Express first reported about the problem last month. Downtown school advocates have been trying for years to get the building’s conference rooms converted to classrooms, but Taratko said it’s not even being considered. “It was not on the table to give up those other two rooms,” he said. “That has not changed.” The school’s P.T.A., which had sent two letters to Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina about the conference rooms, met with her team, said Lopez. Parents were told by Farina’s deputy that they “have not a whit’s chance in securing additional space on the floor” because there is a new school on the horizon. Peck Slip School is slated to be open by the fall of 2015. In an email response to questions about using the conference rooms, Harry Hartfield, D.O.E. spokesperson, wrote: “Students thrive when they are able to learn in a safe and supportive learning environment, and the D.O.E. works tirelessly to ensure this for all our students. “Next September, students at Peck Slip will move into a new, state-of-the art building in Lower Manhattan,” he added. “In the meantime the school will continue in D.O.E. space and our Office of Space Planning is already working to make sure the classrooms provide appropriate space for these children.” Maria Ho–Burge, whose daughter is in the first grade, said that the administration had suggested the use of headphones and also that rugs would help mitigate the noise in the classrooms. “I asked my daughter Lola, did the rugs help,” she said. “Yes, they helped the tables look really pretty” but did not make the classrooms less noisy. “I’m so tired of hearing about happy kids who are adapting,” said Joy Martini, whose son is in the first grade. “Our children are well-loved, of course, they’re happy. Happy isn’t the measure of a great educational environment.”

Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Peck Slip School Principal Maggie Siena, who has warned before about the problems of dividing classrooms at Tweed, sat next to Thomas Taratko of the Dept. of Education at last week’s Community Board 1 meeting.

Teachers have had to coordinate and adjust their lesson plans, said Martini. “Our teachers are not teaching as they would under normal reasonable circumstances,” she said. The parents have started a petition, she said, asking Farina for the conference rooms. “These rooms were divided in thirds, not in halves,” said Paul Hovitz, the C.B. 1 committee’s co-chairperson. “Yes, there’s learning going on and that’s to the credit to the principal and the staff, but it’s in spite of the situation.” “I am in a tough spot, I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude and loyalty towards our families,” said Siena, the principal. “I also feel some loyalty towards our chancellor, who I think has exceeded our expectations for what she’s doing in New York City for New York City students.” Siena has been talking about the potential problems of dividing the Tweed rooms for almost three years. In 2012, she said “You could have two classes in a room, but it would be very noisy.” And a year later she said, “I am very reluctant to put 50 children in one of

those rooms that can’t be divided with an auditory division.” This is not the first time that the Tweed Courthouse has been used as temporary “incubator” space for students while their school is being built. It was also used for Spruce Street School and P.S. 276. C.B.1 had passed a resolution asking for soundproof dividers that go to the ceiling. “The feedback was so overwhelming the first time around that this had to happen if these rooms were divided again,” said Joyce. “Somewhere along the line and probably because we had to move so quickly as usual with our overcrowding situation that we’re converting things over the summer.” The committee has done two resolutions and C.B.1 will write a letter asking for the two conference rooms. Borough President Gale Brewer, in an Oct. 10 letter to Farina, also requested the rooms. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver offered the D.O.E. the use of a conference room across the street at 250 Broadway in an Oct. 14 letter addressed to Farina. No word from the D.O.E. whether it will accept Silver’s offer.


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Island studios Continued from page 1

Parkhill, who presented the plans before Community Board 1 last month. Parkhill said the project should be complete by the end of 2015 and that he hopes to be filling up the studios in the spring of 2016. Once the site is up and running, there will be some challenges to bringing the artists’ materials to the island because ferry service ends at 6 p.m. Overlooking Buttermilk Channel, Building 301 is near Yankee Pier and the Brooklyn ferry stop. Spaceworks plans on working with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, who runs the Arts Center at Governors Island. “L.M.C.C. has come up with a variety of strategies for how they work with their artists who do residencies there so we’re going work closely with them to try to coordinate efforts,” he said. The idea for affordable artist studios in all five boroughs began in the Dept. of Cultural Affairs during the

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Bloomberg administration. Worries that high rents were driving artists away prompted the agency to hire a consulting firm to create a business model. Then Parkhill, who has worked for non-profits for 20 years, was hired in the spring of 2012. For Governors Island, Spaceworks hopes to partner with small arts organization from each of the five boroughs. “Since Governors Island is technically in Manhattan but really a five-borough resource and not exactly of any of the boroughs, we thought it made sense to try to bring organizations from around the city to participate in the program there,” he said. There are different applications for performing and visual artists, who get a studio space for a year. Visual artists must submit a resume, artist statement and portfolio online. Then a panel reviews the artist’s application and ensures that the artist is currently working, showing and committed to using the space on Continued on page 9


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Part of Building 301, which Spaceworks, will convert to artist studios.

Continued from page 8

a regular basis. “The thing we’re most concerned about is people getting the spaces and then not using them,” said Parkhill. After the vetting process, a lottery is then used to determine who gets the space. Currently, Spaceworks has two projects in Long Island City and Gowanus, and is working with the Brooklyn Public Library to offer space at certain branch locations. To rent a space for an hour can cost from $12 to $16 and monthly rent is around $350.

Photos and renderings courtesy of Spaceworks.

A rendering of a dance studio, left. Building 301 on Governors Island.


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October 23-November 5, 2014


Grand St. residents in drive to boost bus trips BY HANA RASKIN Joseph Hanania moved back to New York from Los Angeles to escape isolation and dependency on cars, only to find himself in a corner of the city underserved by the mass transit. Hanania lives in the Grand St. coops at the corner of Grand St. and the F.D.R. Drive. It is a close-knit community with many longtime residents and a large elderly population. Hanania loves his neighborhood. He wakes up to the sun rising over the East River and is lucky to have some of Manhattan’s rare tennis courts located right across the street. But the abysmal bus service makes it difficult to get to other parts of the city. “I feel like I’m living in a suburb,” he said. Indeed, the Grand St. co-ops community has few transportation options. None of theses options are ideal, particularly for the area’s older, less-mobile residents. They can either walk the 12 or so minutes to the F, M or J trains on Essex/Delancey St. or take the M21 crosstown bus, which runs, according to Hanania, “at best every 20 minutes, and often every half hour or every hour.” Less economical, taxis are also nearly impossible to get right off the F.D.R.

Hypothetically, the most convenient option for the residents of the co-ops is the M14A bus, which starts its route right outside their door. But the bus runs so infrequently and is so unreliable that residents are increasingly frustrated. The most perplexing part for those who depend on the 14A bus is why, on average, three M14D busses operate for every one M14A bus. According to Hanania, “The difference is especially noticeable when there are service delays on freezing days, and it takes half an hour — or more — for a jammed 14A bus to arrive.” A few months ago, Hanania started an online petition to improve bus service on Grand St. The petition asks the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for a more equitable allocation of the M14 crosstown busses, and proposes extending the 14D route two blocks south from its “eastern terminus at Delancey St.” to Grand St. Hanania explains that the bus could then “cut back to Delancey St. via Columbia St. to resume its current route.” This alternative course would cover five additional blocks and serve many more residents. So far, the petition has more than Joseph Hanania standing at the end of the line: the M14A bus stop at the east end of Grand St.

200 signatures and significant community support. Petitioners emphasize how much they rely on the bus service but how it currently fails to meet the community’s needs. Hanania has seen results from another petition on a different issue that he started last year. That initiative — to improve the East River Park tennis courts — garnered support from Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who secured the necessary funding to resurface and fix the courts. He also spearheaded an ongoing effort to bring the East River ferry service to the Lower East Side. Hanania got his first taste of community organizing when he was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, covering a story on an activist called Little Bits in South Central L.A. Little Bits mobilized an indifferent neighborhood to have the conditions

of its streets improved until the Department of Transportation listened and made the desired changes. “It impressed the heck out of me,” Hanania said, explaining the inspiration for his activism. Hanania’s bus stop sits at the edge of the F.D.R. On a rainy, cold day, a tease of the coming winter, a local resident waited in the bus shelter. Now in her late 60s, she has lived in the area since she was 17. “It’s like we are at the end of the world here,” she said. “Service has not gotten better. If anything, it’s gotten worse.” Hanania is still collecting signatures. To sign the petition and join the effort, visit: http://www.change. org/p/carmen-bianco-bring-betterbus-service-to-the-grand-st-coopsby-rebalancing-service-between-the14-a-and-14-d-lines.


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October 23-November 5, 2014

Still no answer on Albany St. left turn BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Financial District Committee members pushed for some sort of timetable on whether or not a left turn from West. St onto Albany St. would be possible. “We’ve lost a southbound left turn for the public, forcing people to loop through Battery Park City,” said committee member Michael Ketring at the Wed., Oct. 1 meeting. “What are the plans to consider that left turn at Albany St.? ” Shilpan Patel, deputy director of the state’s Dept. of Transportation, said it was not only the state D.O.T. but also the city D.O.T that needs to make that decision. Once West St., also known as Route 9A, is complete, then a traffic study would have to be conducted for the viability of the turn. “At this point, we’re been asking for this for years now,” said committee member Pat Moore. “It’s like my mother, my father. City D.O.T. says you have to talk to state, state says you got to talk to the city.” The issue of the left turn was also brought up at the Battery Park Committee meeting last month and Community Board 1 has passed a resolution concerning the turn. “When we’re heading south, we

have to go all the way down to the end of the island, loop around, come back and make a right-hand turn. That’s ridiculous,” said Moore. Patel said the D.O.T.’s primary focus is to finish 9A although it’s not clear when it will be completed — perhaps next year — nor when a traffic study would take place. Toby Hansson, the senior principal, transportation, for the Route 9A Reconstruction project, said that the left turn was intended to be at Liberty St., but that the plans changed. “Albany St. never had a left turn. It was never permitted before. It might have been allowed, but it was never a legal left turn,” said Hansson. “It was condoned,” said chair Edward Sheffe. “We can’t put the left turn at Albany until we know what the traffic will be when we’re done. There’s also a M.T.A. Battery Park underpass,” said Hansson. “There are lots of players involved. We can study it. I wouldn’t say that you’ll get that left turn back.” “A lot of people come to me and they’re frustrated with the progress Continued on page 14

Community Board 1 members have been asking for years to get the left turn on Albany St. restored for southbound West St./Route 9A drivers.

Start Here. Go Anywhere.

Borough of Manhattan Community College

October 23-November 5, 2014


More honors for Downtown’s two championship teams BY ZACH WI L L I A M S Two Downtown Little league softball teams received state recognition on Oct. 16 for going where no Manhattan team has gone before. Dozens of local parents, players and their siblings assembled at the Battery Park City Ballfields at night to see State Senator Daniel Squadron honor the teams for their respective state championships this summer in the 11 years-old and under (11u) and 14 years-old and under (14u) divisions. Photo opps would be obligatory. Proud parents took even more pictures of the two teams clad in their blue and white uniforms. One parent spoke up from within the crowd reflecting what might just have been on others’ minds. “It just keeps going on and on and on,” said the parent of the continuing saga of the two teams. Just three years ago, the Downtown teams did not stack up much against the city competition. Then this year it all came together as the two teams kept winning in spectacular fashion. The 11u team bounced back from an early section tournament loss to Staten Island before eventually winning the state championship in late July. While the 11u team had no national tournament to go to, the 14u team would continue to the Eastern Regional Tournament, the last round before nationals. They beat Delaware but were knocked out of the tournament following a 4-2 loss to New Jersey on Aug. 4. Two months later, the accolades continue. Enthusiasm ran strong as parents kept shooting away with their cameras. This was after all not just an accomplishment for the players, but also for the parents who themselves harbored childhood dreams of glory on the ballfield. Yet, one mother was missing. There was a problem, Squadron was due to arrive at any minute but one of the championship trophies was missing. Just in the nick of time, Maggie Marino, mother of 14u slugger Sophia, arrived following a heroic run to nearby Gateway Plaza and back. Upon a fashionably late arrival, Squadron would present each player with a copy of an official proclamation in honor of their achievements as well as take individual photos with each player. “People think about all the great things about Downtown but all too often they forget two parts of what you represent,” Squadron told the teams. This is a neighborhood with a “Main St. USA” spirit and some serious athletic prowess, he added.


Downtown Express photo by Zach Williams.

Downtown Little League pitcher Jamie Morrison celebrated in July after throwing to Anabella Pelaez (wearing a mask at first) for the final putout putting the 11u team in the state tournament, top. Pelaez and her sister Isabella, and the other players on Downtown’s state championship teams, were honored last week by State Sen. Daniel Squadron.

Much of the competition questioned where a team from Lower Manhattan would even have space to play, according to 14u manager Joe Marino, father of Sophia. In contrast to years past when other teams were rather unwilling to play

October 23-November 5, 2014

the fledgling Downtown teams, coaches from throughout the city now seek advice on how to build a successful Little League program for boys and girls alike, he added. Ava O’Mara, who played on the 14u team, told Downtown Express,

reflected on the event. “I guess its something that as a team you think its interesting but you don’t really think it has an effect on other people besides you,” she said. “It’s cool to see it has an affect on someone like a senator.”

Koetz takes on Silver in Assembly race Continued from page 5

the speaker have been charged with anything. With regard to the issues related to women’s safety, Dan Levitan, a spokesperson for Silver’s campaign, in a statement, pointed to the incumbent’s record of supporting women’s equality, adding, “Under Speaker Silver, the Assembly has worked hard to strengthen its policies concerning sexual harassment…including the appointment of an independent, outside counsel chosen by the Assembly Ethics Committee to investigate all complaints.” Levitan also sent a list of 15 accomplishments Silver, 70, has made in recent years. “From protecting affordability at Battery Park City and Gateway Plaza to opening new high-performing public schools and relieving overcrowding,

to helping restart the rebuilding of the World Trade Center and getting help for residents affected by Hurricane Sandy, no one has accomplished more for Lower Manhattan residents than Shelly Silver,” Levitan wrote. Silver, by most accounts, has used his clout in Albany to help his district. He and members of his School Overcrowding Task Force have been able to keep city education officials’ feet to the fire, and were driving forces in getting schools like Spruce Street, P.S. 276 and Peck Slip open. Levitan also mentioned Silver’s effort to keep the Stuyvesant High School Community Center open, and his support for youth and senior programs throughout the district, which includes, Battery Park City, FiDi, the Seaport, Chinatown and much of the Lower East Side. Koetz doesn’t accept the premise that Silver has helped the district, but said even if true, it doesn’t balance against

Silver’s actions regarding Lopez and Boxley. Born in Queens, Koetz, has spent most of her adult life in Washington D.C. She was a lieutenant in the Navy from 1984-88, and later worked as an attorney on the U.S. Senate’s Energy Committee. She also worked in President George W. Bush’s administration on energy issues, and also for the Nuclear Energy Institute. Most recently she has been running her own small business consulting firm. She is open to allowing fracking in New York, saying it will lower taxes and energy costs. She thinks “the gas companies have done a pretty good job” of protecting the environment where they’ve done fracking, but there’s always room for improvement. “Gas company, it’s incumbent on you to figure out how to do this without unnecessarily using or abusing

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the air, land and water assets that are necessary for these extraction and processing systems,” she said. The procedure is widely unpopular in liberal Lower Manhattan, and Silver backs a three-year moratorium so the issue can be studied to see if the process can be done safely. Silver has a campaign war chest of nearly $3 million, although he is unlikely to spend much of that this year, and Koetz has less than $40,000, according to her most recent filing. She said that in light of U.S. House majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat this year, she no longer considers herself a long shot. But at the end of her interview last week, she acknowledged the difficulty of a Republican winning Downtown: “Everyone rejects you for your differences.” The election is Nov. 4. IN PRINT OR ONLINE

W W W. D O W N T O W N E X P R E S S . C O M


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October 23-November 5, 2014


Destroy a garden to build 3 low-rent apartments? BY ZACH WILLIAMS Community Board 3’s Land Use Committee voted on Oct. 14 to oppose a proposed 16-unit housing project that would displace the Lower East Side’s Siempre Verde Garden. At issue are two city-owned land parcels — 181 Stanton St. and 137 Attorney St. — which currently are used by the garden on a temporary basis per a 2012 agreement between the gardeners and the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The department sought C.B. 3’s support for the city’s plan to divest itself of the property so that William Gottlieb Management Company could develop the parcels, along with its adjacent parcel at 139 Attorney St. Three units of affordable housing would be included in the project, in return for which, Gottlieb would receive a tax abatement, in addition to the two parcels. But the C.B. 3 committee voted unanimously to urge H.P.D. to make the garden a permanent fixture of the neighborhood. Two committee members abstained from voting, though, contending that the approved resolution should address the issue more widely by urging H.P.D. to turn over more land for permanent community gardens. Three dozen garden supporters attended the meeting, some waving vegetable-shaped placards. A petition in support of the garden received more than 1,000 signatures in time for the meeting. Nonetheless, garden supporters were surprised that the committee voted in their favor. As part of the 2012 agreement with H.P.D., garden organizers signed a letter stating they would not oppose future development of the parcels. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so overwhelmed by the action of a community together,” said Claire Costello, a garden supporter. “Power to the people.” Thehbia Hiwot Walters, who represented H.P.D. at the meeting, told the committee that the time had come to develop the parcels, especially given the recent push from the city to expand its affordable housing stock. She said that while she understood the zeal with which activists oppose the plan, the committee should consider the department’s position and the benefits of additional affordable housing. “My intent coming here was not to have a large fight, because I get it,” said Walters who did not mention the 2012 letter. An H.P.D. spokesperson said on Oct. 15 that the department is considering the committee’s vote, but did not elaborate on whether the proposed project remains viable. A


Downtown Express photo by Zach Williams

Thehbia Hiwot Walters, of H.P.D., left, told the Community Board 3 meeting that the city wants the garden property to be developed now.

Gottlieb representative did not respond to a request for comment. Where the department sees an opportunity to expand affordable housing — albeit on a small scale — the C.B. 3 members see the loss of a popular community garden in favor of project by a wealthy developer. Committee members agreed that the larger community benefits more from Siempre Verde Garden. “Three units isn’t worth it,” said Herman Hewitt. “Even if they permanently affordable, it’s not worth it… . The developer is getting the maximum benefit from that small piece of property.” Critics said that, besides destroying a neighborhood green space, the proposed building would block the windows of next-door apartments and simply would not be a good fit within the “L”-shaped trio of lots. The project is currently in predevelopment, with H.P.D. officials negotiating details with the developer, a department spokesperson said last week. A public Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP, would follow an agreement. There would be the possibility of allowing the gardeners to use another H.P.D. property on an interim basis, should one be available at that time, according to the department. The department spokesperson told The Villager it was “disappointing” that the gardeners were protesting the project. Garden supporter Elissa Sampson said the proposed project would not benefit the community the way the garden has since the 1980s. The

October 23-November 5, 2014

lots’ mature trees attest to the garden’s presence since the time when many such properties were abandoned during the ’70s and ’80s, she said.

“It’s a bad land use trade-off,” Sampson said last week. “When you have public land, it sets a high threshold for its best and most appropriate usage. In this particular case, the lots are unsuitable for development due to their small and irregular shape, and the small benefit to the community at large provided by an 80-percent luxury development.” Children learn the basics at Siempre Verde Garden, such as that “salads” grow outside and that raising tasty veggies requires some real physical exertion. On a recent visit, the cherry tomatoes and peppery arugula there looked as high quality as anywhere else. Nearby, though, a pile of flowers had wilted in their pots in the autumn cold. Costello said there were plans to hang these on street signs, but the Department of Transportation permit process proved too difficult. Through the garden, Costello has become friends with her neighbors and seen the joys of making a green oasis within a landscape of brick, concrete and asphalt. Within the last two years, she has led efforts that literally brought tons of unpolluted topsoil to the garden. “It’s just made me a happier person,” she said, “and it’s changed my life immensely.”

Still no go on left at Albany

Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers

The intersection of West and Albany Sts.

Continued from page 11

of Route 9A, so I think this committee should do a resolution urging the relevant stakeholders to come together and try to speed up the construction,” said C.B. 1 chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes, who also mentioned that the com-

munity would like the bike lanes opened as well. Before 9/11, Route 9A was also under construction for ten years and was completed just before the attacks, said Sheffe. “So we got 20 years of Route 9A being torn up,” he said. “And it’s time to get it fixed.”

Lights and wine by the Winter Garden Talk with Anne Frank’s friend Anne Frank’s childhood friend and stepsister, Eva Schloss, will share her wartime experiences and discuss the publishing of Frank’s diary on Wed., Nov. 5 at 7: 30 p.m. at P.S. 89’s theater, located at 201 Warren St. Schloss, a Holocaust survivor, met Frank as a child while both families were in Holland after Germany invaded Austria in 1938. After the time of Anne’s famed diary account of her time hiding from the Nazis, both girls ended up at the Auschwitz concentration camp. After the war, Schloss’ mother married Anne’s father, Otto Frank. Tickets for the event organized by Chabad of Battery Park City are $36 in advance and $45 at the door. Student tickets are $18 and Holocaust survivors gain

Photos by Ryan Muir, courtesy of Brookfield Place

An offer you can’t refuse: free food and wine. Every Thursday, starting Oct. 23, through Nov. 20, Hudson Eats is hosting a wine pairing series from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Brookfield Place at 200 Vesey St. The series on food and wine pairings will be led by Mike Martin, the director of Vintry Fine Wines. The series will explore what wines, which will be available for purchase at Vin-

try Fine Wines at 230 Murray St., pair well with cheese, meats, chocolate, seafood and foods that utilize spice from the Hudson Eats restaurants. Pre-registration is encouraged, go to wineseries for more information. Also at Brookfield Place starting Nov. 2, “Light Cycles,” an installation by lighting artist Anne Militello, which premiered last

entrance free of charge. Go to www. for more information.

year, will once again transform “the Winter Garden’s soaring, 10-story glass atrium into a kaleidoscope of glittering color and light from dusk to midnight daily.” The installation will be shown until March 7, 2015. In December, to celebrate the holiday season, Militello’s installation will take on new colors and transform into “Metamorphosis.

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October 23-November 5, 2014


Committee says no thanks to Peck Slip trees


Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.

BY JOSH ROGERS It’s not often a local community asks the city to spend less money on a project and tells officials not to worry about how long it takes to finish, but that’s exactly the message Seaport leaders are telling the city regarding the long-awaited construction of Peck Slip Plaza. It still may turn out to be a request denied. Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee voted Tuesday night to


ask the Parks Dept. to approve a “simplified” design. Last month, the committee’s views were clearly shifting to scaling back the plan, and this week, after a presentation by Jason Friedman, an architect and committee member, all but one member voted for his draft resolution. Seven years ago, the board voted for the current design after working Continued on page 17


Assemblyman Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email


October 23-November 5, 2014 1980 PECK SLIP – LOOKING WEST

October 2014


with the Parks Dept. to maximize the number of trees in the plaza — over the objections of local preservationists and the State Historic Preservation Office, which argued that large green space was not appropriate for the South Street Seaport Historic district. “In fact the space [now] is excellent,” Paul Hovitz a board member, said of the half-acre space. “If it took them another seven years? Go ahead take the time, because everyone loves it the way it is.” Catherine McVay Hughes, the board’s chairperson, agreed, “A lot has happened since 2007, so let’s just try and get it right this time,” she said at the Oct. 21 meeting. The consensus is that with more children and schools nearby, more green areas in Lower Manhattan, and the growing need for open space, it makes sense to not clutter the area up.

Friedman said he hopes the space is open with cobblestones, which could allow for many uses. His slides showed different possibilities including public art and a green market. He also showed an 1850 drawing after Peck Slip was paved over. The one dissenter on the new approach was Joe Lerner. “To me a park means grass… just open space is not good enough.” “I live around the corner and I miss green space — I miss it, Joe, but I also see that there s a real need in Peck Slip for this flexible community space,” said Marco Pasanella, the committee’s co-chairperson. Assuming, Friedman’s resolution passes the full board next week, it’s far from clear the city will take the invitation to spend less than the $4 million price tag. Parks spokespersons have not answered questions on Peck Slip over the last month.


October 2014

Photos, illustration and renderings courtesy of Jason Friedman

Opposite page: Illustration of Peck Slip in 1850 about 40 years after the docking area was paved over. The street was later used as a parking area for the Fulton Fish Market. This page, topOF right: TheSEAPORT– plaza last weekend for Taste of the Seaport. TASTE THE OCTOBER 2014 Local architect Jason Friedman’s vision for varied uses include public art and wide open cobblestones, below. Bottom left, the approved Parks Dept. plan,

which he and others on C.B. 1 now oppose.





October 23-November 5, 2014


Russell Brand calls for ‘revolution’ on Wall Street PUBLISHER

Jennifer Goodstein EDITOR

Josh Rogers REPORTER

Dusica Sue Malesevic ARTS EDITOR




Jack Agliata Allison Greaker Jennifer Holland Julio Tumbaco ART / PRODUCTION DIRECTOR


Michael Shirey Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess


Andrew Gooss

Russell Brand came to Zuccotti Park and Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan Oct. 14.


British comedian Russell Brand marched Downtown Tuesday to promote his book and honor two of the things Lower Manhattan is famous for: George Washington and Occupy Wall Street. Brand, also Katy Perry’s ex-husband, marched with a few hundred Occupyers

Milo Hess Jefferson Siegel PUBLISHER EMERITUS

John W. Sutter

from Zuccotti Park to Federal Hall on Wall St., site where Washington took the nation’s first presidential oath. “This is a statue of George Washington who was an earry revolutionary, who is also good to honor,” Brand told, during an interview near Federal Hall.

Brand’s new book, “Revolution,” was inspired by Occupy. He told that revolution is “inevitable.” “The Occupy Wall Street movement gave me a great deal of hope that change is possible,” he added, “that revolution isn’t something that belongs to the past, but belongs to the future.”

standard for our customers. During my time at this store, I have received many compliments about our store and employees, as well as recommendations of things we can improve. All of us at Gristedes take customer feedback very seriously. I am always grateful when a customer approaches me directly with their requests and feedback, and I hope more shoppers will feel free to do this. Indeed, if it is not for you, the customer, we are not in business. I hope that residents of Battery Park City and Lower Manhattan who regularly shop with us continue to do so and enjoy the improvements, and those residents who have never shopped with us before or stopped, take the time to give us a chance to

earn their loyalty and respect.

Letters GRISTEDES GETTING BETTER PUBLISHED BY NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC ONE METROTECH CENTER NEW YORK, NY 11201 PHONE: (212) 229-1890 FAX: (212) 229-2790 WWW.DOWNTOWNEXPRESS.COM NEWS@DOWNTOWNEXPRESS.COM Downtown Express is published every week by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech Center North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201 (212) 229-1890. The entire contents of the newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2014 Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.

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To The Editor: For the past six months, I have been the store manager at the Gristedes located at 71 South End A ve. in Battery Park City. I quickly realized how fortunate I was to be working in such a close-knit community with local residents who take great pride in our neighborhood. One of the consistent complaints we have heard over the years is the need to upgrade and modernize this store. Currently, we are in the middle of making vast improvements to the store as local residents deserve a supermarket that is clean, comfortable, and inviting. It is our goal to always work toward meeting this

October 23-November 5, 2014

Bob Capano Store manager, Gristedes (South)

LETTERS POLICY Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be emailed to or can be mailed to 1 Metrotech Center North, Brooklyn NY11201.

Seeds of today’s Greenmarket were planted in ’76 BY A L B E RT A M AT E A U 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 Grow NYC, which now runs the city’s Greenmarkets, and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Washington Market Park, City Hall, and now Water St.are among the nearby locations where farmers from a 150mile (and larger) radius arrive for their weekly outdoor rendezvous with their city customers. 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 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 St. 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

Photo courtesy of G.V.S.H.P.

Barry Benepe speaking at St. Brigid’s Church earlier this month about the history of the city’s Greenmarket program.

borhood 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 Grow NYC, 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 mid-19th 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.”


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Programs for students of ALL AGES! Music & Art Camps Private & Group Instrumental Birthday Parties & Space Rentals


74 Warren Street October 23-November 5, 2014





BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 212-267-9700, Preschool Art: Come learn art with paper, clay, wood, and paint. Ages 4 and under | Free, drop in | Nelson A. Rockefeller Park| 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

LAVENDER BLUES MUSIC: MUSIC & MOVEMENT FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS 28 Washington Street, During the 40 -minute sessions kids develop an understanding of rhythm and music, build awareness and control of their body, develop social and coordination skills — all while singing, dancing and having fun. Ages 1-4 years old | $15 | 10:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.


Art & Games Age 5+ | Free, drop in | Nelson A. Rockefeller Park| 3:30-5:30 p.m. EVERY THURSDAY UNTIL 10/30

SEE/CHANGE South Street Seaport, 19 Fulton Street, Seaport Yo u t h m a r k e t – Youthmarket is a network of urban farm stands operated by neighborhood youth, supplied by local farmers, and designed to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to communities throughout New York City. All ages | 12 p.m.-5p.m. until November 20th NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, ny pl.or g / lo c at ion s / b at te r y-p a rkcity Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers : Enjoy simple stories, lively songs and rhymes. Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; first-come first-served. Ages 0-18 months | Free |11:30 a.m. EVERY THURSDAY AT 11:30 A.M.

Music Makers and Story Shakers: Bring your imagination and get creative! Listen to a story and create a hands-on musical project. In this four-week series we will “travel” to four different points on the globe and create musical instruments from those countries. Limited to 15 children, first-come, first-served. Ages 4-8 | Free | 4 p.m.


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25 BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY Teardrop Park 212-267-9700, Stories for all Ages – Just a Little Scary: Using all of her performance skills, and an ever present spirit of playfulness, master storyteller Julie Pasqual brings you “Just a Little Scary;” exciting stories that make you wiggle, squiggle, and shout with fright and delight, just in time for Halloween. Join us in Teardrop Park, located between Warren & Murray Streets. All ages | Free, drop in | Teardrop Park| 11 a.m. THE SKYSCRAPER MUSEUM 39 Battery Pl.’s_ up/family_programsTimes Square Scavenger Hunt: After a tour of Times Square, 1984, young architects will work with their families to design and build an architectural model. Please RSVP at Ages 6-11 | $5 per child | 10:30 am – 12 pm DOWNTOWN NEW YORK GHOST TOURS Meet at Wall Street (Exact location given once tickets are purchased) Get in a spooky Halloween mood by exploring cemeteries, haunted sites and the dark back alleys of the oldest neighborhood in New York. Walk with the restless spirits of those driven to

October 23-November 5, 2014

madness after the Great Stock Market crash. Don’t lose your head as you try to spot the famous horseman of Kipp’s Bay. Finally, to prove you “ain’t afraid of no ghosts,” drop into one of the filming sites of “Ghostbusters 2.” The tour lasts approximately 90 mins. All ages | $25 – adult, free for kids | Tours 5:30 and 7:30 pm

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26 FIDI FAMILIES South Street Seaport Stage at the intersection of Fulton and Front Streets, Howlin’ Halloween: Join FiDi families for a Howlin Halloween at the South Street Seaport. 11 am Rock out to kids favorite Music for Aardvarks. 11:30 am Free Photos with Amazebooths. 12 pm Pet costume parade and contest. 12:30 pm Kids costume parade and trick or treating. Activities include a mini pumpkin decorating station and snacks from Insomnia Cookies, GoGo squeeZ and BItsy’s Brain Food. All ages | Free | 11 am – 1 pm LITTLE CLUB HEADS HALLOWEEN COSTUME DANCE PARTY Broad Street Ballroom 41 Broad Street, Little Club Heads Halloween Costume Dance Party features 8 year old twin DJ’s Amira & Kayla, Host Mr. Blue, Mascots DJ Nubby & Bubby, Dancing, Magic Show, Photo Booth, Games, Crafts, Costume Contest, and Goodie Bags. Advance ticket purchase required. Contact: Ages 1-12 years old | $15 | 12 pm- 3 pm THE FRIENDS OF WASHINGTON MARKET PARK Washington Market Park, Chambers Street and Greenwich Street halloween-parade-and-party/ Annual Halloween Costume Parade and Party: The annual Halloween Party and Costume Parade is the park’s longest running event, and it is one of the highlights of the year and for children in the neighborhood! Inside the park, Friends volunteers run a dozen free events, from Penny in a Haystack to a Bone Dig in the sandbox to a Hay Maze on the lawn. Parade line-up begins at 12:45 p.m. at CitiGroup Plaza (Greenwich Street at N. Moore Street). The parade travels

south along Greenwich Street to the park. All ages | Free | 1 pm – 3 pm

MONDAY, OCTOBER 27 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: Enjoy simple stories, lively songs and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; first-come firstserved. Ages 0-18 months | Free | 9:30 a.m. Toddler Story Time: A librarian shares lively picture books, finger plays, and action songs with toddlers and their caregivers! Ages 12-36 months | Free | 4:00 p.m. BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 212-267-9700, Preschool Play: Interactive play on the lawn. Toys, books, and play equipment provided. Ages 4 and under | Free | Drop in | Wagner Park | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. EVERY MONDAY

Children’s Basketball: Adjustable height hoops and fun drills to improve skills. Close-toed shoes required. Ages 5 – 6 | Free | Drop in | Rockefeller Park | 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., 5-6 year olds, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., 7 & older EVERY MONDAY UNTIL 10/27

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: Enjoy simple stories, lively songs and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; first-come firstserved. Ages 0-18 months | Free |11:30 a.m. EVERY TUESDAY AT 11:30 A.M.

Picture Book Time: A librarian will share classic picture books and new stories. All ages | Free | 4 p.m. BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 212-267-9700, Preschool Play: Interactive play on the lawn. Toys, books, and play equipment provided.

Ages 4 and under | Free | Drop in | Wagner Park | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Soccer for Preschoolers and Elementary Schoolers: Have fun passing, shooting & dribbling! Parks programming leaders facilitate the fun. Everybody plays! Closed-toe shoes required. Free | Drop in | Nelson A. Rockefeller Park 2:30 – 3:15 p.m., 3-4 year olds 3:30 – 4:15 p.m., 5 to 7 year olds 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., 8 to 11 year olds EVERY TUESDAY THROUGH 10/28

FRIENDS WASHINGTON MARKET PARK Greenwich Street between Duane and Chambers, washingtonmarketpark. org/events/childrens-tennis-clinics/ Children’s Tennis Clinics: Grouped by age, children receive instruction from the tennis pros — this year from Super Duper Tennis. The children participate in drills and games and learn the basics of the sport while having a great time. Ages 7-10 | Free | 3 pm -5 pm 3 -4 pm 7-8 year old olds 4 - 5 p.m. is for 9-10 year olds

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, Toddler Story Time: A librarian will share lively picture books, finger plays, and action songs with toddlers and their caregivers. Ages 18-36 months | Free | 10:30 am EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 10:30 A.M.

Bilingual Birdies Mandarin: This Fall Bilingual Birdies takes you on a journey to honor the changing colors of the leaves, celebrate different fruits for the harvest, explore the sun and the moon, and learn about various modes of transportation. Bilingual musicians teach theme-related vocabulary through live music, dance, and puppetry. All ages | Free | 4 pm BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY Wagner Park, 212-267-9700, bpcparks. org Preschool Play: Interactive play on the lawn. Toys, books, and play equipment provided. Ages 4 and under | Free | Drop in | Wagner Park | 10 am – 12 pm Wednesdays at Teardrop: Come

Halloween celebration at the Winter Garden two years ago. This year, Brookfield Place’s free children’s event with a costume parade, face painting, and much more will be Sun., Oct. 26 from noon to 3 p.m., and will also include trick or treating nearby at the recently opened Hudson Eats.

enjoy lawn games and art projects. Art supplies provided. Ages 5 and up. | Free | Drop in | Teardrop Park | 3:30 pm – 5:30 p.m.


Picture Book Time: See 10/28 for info.


HOMETOWN HALLOWEEN Trinity Church Yard, Broadway and Wall Street, Hometown Halloween features a graveyard trick-or-treat and the silent movie Phantom of the Opera with improvisational choral and organ accompaniment. Graveyard Trick or Treat with the “permanent residents” of Lower Manhattan. Don’t miss the hot apple cider, photo booth, and a chance to win a prize. Costumes encouraged. Silent movie at 5pm. All ages for trick or treating, 10 and over for movie | Free | 3:00pm

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, nypl. org/locations/battery-park-city Toddler Story Time: A librarian shares lively picture books, finger plays, and action songs with toddlers and their caregivers. Ages 12-36 months | Free |10:30 am

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30 BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY Preschool Art and Art & Games: See 10/23 for info NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers and Music Makers and Story Shakers: See 10/23 for info SEE/CHANGE Seaport Youthmarket – See 10/23

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31 HALLOWEEN AT THE SEAPORT South Street Seaport, Peck Slip Plaza This year the neighborhood’s annual Halloween party for children starts at Peck Slip Plaza (near South St.) with sweets and cider from local businesses, many of whom will also be offering treats to Trick or treaters. All ages | Free | 6 pm DOWNTOWN NEW YORK GHOST TOURS See 10/25 for info

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers and Toddler Story Time: See 10/27 for info



Space Oddities: Space Oddities explores the Earth, the Sun, surrounding planets, stars, constellations and more.. Presented by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Ages 5-12 | Free | 4 p.m. 22ND ANNUAL CANSTRUCTION COMPETITION 2014 Winter Garden, 220 Vesey Street and West Side Highway, b r o o k f i e l d . c o m / e ve nt / c a n s t r u c tion2014/ Canstruction® is an international charity competition where architects, engineers, contractors and students they mentor, compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food. At the close of the competition all of the food from the New York City competition will be donated to City Harvest. The exhibition is scheduled to be open from 11/6 through 11/20. All ages | 10 am – 6 pm | Free October 23-November 5, 2014


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

Subway breakdancers are the least of your problems, in this 1980s-era “Nightmare” scenario.

door (front of the line access) Reservations & Info at

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 true-life 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 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.

October 23-November 5, 2014

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 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. 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 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.

Don’t be afraid to scare yourself

Halloween happenings to frighten, scar and even enlighten BY SCOTT STIFFLER

THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW IN “SEASICK” 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

Photo by KL Thomas

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.

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 888596-1027 or visit For artist info: Continued on page 24

Y O U T H O U G H T T H E Y RE P O 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 for more gas safety information and take safety into your own hands.

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Seasonal events of grave importance Continued from page 23

GHOST TOURS AND SPIRITED EVENTS 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 mid1800s. Filled with creepy photos, unsettling audio and first-person accounts of unsettling 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 patri-


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.

arch 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 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

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for week 2. Call 212-777-1089 or visit 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.

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 and 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, storyweavers, 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 212-254-1109 or visit

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

BY TRAV S.D. ( 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 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 Italianmade “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 Price made for American International Pictures with Roger Corman. Two are from the so-called Poe Series: “The Tomb of Ligeia” (1964), considered by many critics and Corman himself as the best of the bunch, and “The Raven” (1963), a comical riff suggested by Poe’s famous poem, featuring Price and Hollywood veterans Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre as a trio of quarreling medieval sorcerers. “The Comedy of Terrors” (1963) goes even farther down the path to silliness, with Price, Lorre and Karloff being joined by Basil Rathbone and comedian Joe E. Brown in his last screen performance. And for sheer camp heaven, you cannot beat “Dr. Phibes Rises Again” (1972), the sequel to his camp hit of the previous year (which is included in the first volume of this Blu-ray series). The films are all in the most pristine, watchable versions currently available for home video, and this goes also for many of the extras, such as the trailers. While some of the bonus material, such as commentary by Roger Corman, has been previously available, there are new treats — including comments by Price historian David Del Valle, and Elizabeth Shepherd, co-star of “The Tomb of Ligeia.” And, best of all: from beyond the grave, introductions and “parting words” from Vincent Price himself. If you don’t go in for parties or trick-or-treating, you could do far worse than to barricade yourself in your dungeon this Halloween and spend 20 hours or so with this boxed set. —Additional research by Ian W. Hill

Courtesy of Scream Factory

Volume II of Scream Factory’s Vincent Price Collection has seven of the late master’s spookier vehicles.

October 23-November 5, 2014


A ‘Tempest’ trilogy galvanized by Sandy’s tide Series contemplates man, nature, power, freedom BY TRAV S.D. ( In these times of multiple daily apocalypses (environmental, biological, socio-political), there are an infinite number of possible human responses. The mass media would apparently like us to panic and stay tuned. Retailers would like us to panic and go shopping. Politicians would like us to panic and run to them for help they will then proceed not to provide. But there is an older, more calming reaction we can have in the face of crisis: we can exorcise the bad demons through art. That would appear to be the tack La MaMa is taking this season with its trilogy of shows collectively branded “Tempest 3: The Tide is Rising.” Part of an overall season called “La MaMa Earth,” the series knits together three completely different interpretations of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” running now through December 21. “The Tempest” has long inspired artists of all types. Hogarth interpreted it on canvas. Sir Arthur Sullivan and Silbelius set it to music. Notable Prosperos have included David Garrick, William Macready, Charles Kean and John Gielgud, who also played the role in Peter Greenaway’s 1991 cinematic riff “Prospero’s Books.” And there are countless screen versions. Science fiction classic “Forbidden Planet” (1956) is an adaptation of “The Tempest.” Paul Mazursky’s did an updated, modern version with John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands and Molly Ringwald in 1982. The following year, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. of TV’s “The F.B.I.,” played Prospero in a movie version. Julie Taymor directed a version in 2010 with Helen Mirren portraying a feminized “Prospera” (much as Vanessa Redgrave had earlier essayed the role in 2000). And the Public Theatre did a musical version of its own last season. La Mama’s trilogy starts with an all-star Downtown mega-collaboration directed by Karin Coonrod, with a score by Elizabeth Swados, and starring Reg E. Cathey as Prospero, Joseph Harrington (“Billy Elliot”) as Ariel and Tony Torn as Stephano. This will be followed next month with a visit from South Korea’s Mokwha



TEMPEST (Through Nov. 2) Adapted & Directed by Karin Coonrod Music by Elizabeth Swados Through Nov. 2 $40 ($30 for students/seniors)

Photo by Steven Schreiber

Constant invention, clarity of storytelling and Reg E. Cathey’s Prospero are three reasons to see the first in La MaMa’s “Tempest” trilogy.

Repertory Company, who will perform an adaptation by Tae-Suk Oh that combines Shakespeare’s text with elements of Korean folklore and a true story from the 5th century, taken from the traditional “Chronicles of Three Kingdoms.” Then, in December, Italy’s MOTUS Theatre Company will present “Nella Tempesta” — a mashup of “The Tempest” with passages from Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Aldous Huxley, and others, including the actors themselves. Both international productions will be presented in their native languages, with supertitles. According to artistic director Mia Yoo, the germ of the project originated in the summer of 2012 at La MaMa’s artist retreat in Umbria, Italy, where Coonrod and Swados were both in residence as teaching artists. The beginnings of a collaboration emerged, resulting in the creation of a song for Ariel that Yoo says “had an eerie, magical quality. They continued working together over the next few days. When we left [the retreat] we said ‘We need to find a way to make this happen.’ ” The galvanizing event occurred just a few weeks later when Hurricane Sandy hit New York. “There was a river flowing down Seventh Street,” recalls Yoo. “It was

October 23-November 5, 2014

surreal. We were without power for days. I said, ‘There must be something we can do.’ ” “The Tide is Rising” — the series’ subtitle— is a phrase from “The Tempest” which was also used by Mayor Bloomberg at the time of the disaster. The connection between the works in “Tempest 3” and Sandy are not literal, according to Yoo, “…but it’s a way of using art to talk about issues like climate change, the manipulating of the environment, and the tempest that’s occurring in our time. Shakespeare’s text presents us with an investigation of man and his connection to nature beyond the human to human issues of power and freedom.” Yoo says she didn’t initially set out to make a trilogy happen; the arrival of the second two shows were fortuitous coincidences, giving us “three incredibly different global perspectives.” The current version is a faithful interpretation of the play, with Swados’ eclectic score ranging from the avant-garde to the blues, and Koonrod making full use of the height, depth and breadth of the cavernous Ellen Stewart Theatre, while still making it feel intimate by having her actors move out into the audience as well. Cathey’s Prospero was one of the most moving Shakespeare performances this writer has seen, and Coonrod’s two-

THE TEMPEST (Nov. 20–23) By Mokwha Repertory Company $30 ($25 for students/seniors)

NELLA TEMPESTA (Dec. 11–21) By MOTUS Theatre Company $30 ($25 for students/seniors)

At La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre 66 E. Fourth St. (btw. Bowery & Second Ave.) Call 212-254-6468 Visit

hour production moved at such a clip, with such constant invention and such clarity of storytelling, I never regretted a minute of it. (How often can you say that?) This “Tempest” will be up through Nov. 2. The South Korean “The Tempest” will run Nov. 20–23, and MOTUS Theatre Company’s “Nella Tempesta” will run Dec. 11–21.

October 23-November 5, 2014





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October 23-November 5, 2014

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BY JACK RYAN A Brooklyn inventor and Navy veteran with the help of his son and nephew has devised a system that will help homeowners and building managers “batten down the hatches” before the next big storm hits. On the day after Hurricane Sandy struck, Tim Bracci, a skilled master mechanic who grew up in the metal-fabricating business, walked for days and witnessed fi rsthand the devastation caused by the storm. “All of my friends were affected,” he said. “Some still haven’t gotten the help they need. It was heartbreaking to see families left homeless with their possessions — including treasured photographs — and family heirlooms gone forever.” One of his sons and one nephew lost their homes. They were determined fi nd a way to protect the community from another ordeal like this. For Tim and his family, BrakeWater is more than a business, it’s a mission. “We set out to fi x a tragedy,” he said. “You can’t do anything to change earth, global warming, or weather, but you can protect homes by keeping the water out.” In the Navy, he recalled, hatches were used to keep ships watertight. He was certain that the same principle could be used to protect homes from flooding. Working with his son Jonathan and his nephew Michael, they began to design prototypes that would soon become BrakeWater technologies. It took about eight months to develop the technol-


Navy veteran finds way to keep homes watertight

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