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VOLUME 07, NUMBER 03 DEC. 18, 2014


Rally Calls for Interest in Bank’s ‘Bad Landlord’ Loans BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC The chill in the morning air matched the cold shoulder that Signature Bank tried to give protestors — tenants and elected officials fed up with their lending to landlords who intimidate and harass — on December 15, when a representative threatened to call the police. The representative did not give his name, but told the group that they could not rally on Slate’s property, the sidewalk in front of its corporate headquarters at 565 Fifth Ave. near 46th St. in Midtown. “It may be your property, but it’s a public sidewalk,” Assemblymember Richard Gottfried said he told him. After the kerfuffle, Gottfried, Councilmember Corey Johnson, tenants of 222-224 W. 21st St. Continued on page 2

Photo by Zach Williams

Marchers make their way through Chelsea, on Dec. 13 — here, at Sixth Ave. and W. 20th St.


Still no snow, but plenty of holiday spirit. See page 11.

Activists Say #ThisStopsToday BY ZACH WILLIAMS A growing national movement against police brutality and institutionalized racism showed no signs of waning in the days following a demonstration that brought tens of thousands of people through the streets of Manhattan on Dec. 13. Longtime activists in Chelsea say they have seen nothing like the daily protests led by young people, which have inspired an increasing number of New Yorkers to participate ever since a grand jury announced on Dec. 3 that an NYPD officer would not face criminal charges for placing a fatal chokehold on Eric Garner, an unarmed black man from Staten Island. Just eight days before, a grand jury in

Ferguson, MO decided the same for the police officer who killed teenager Michael Brown. In response, activists continue to agitate for police reforms across the country — but few places have seen protest activity as densely concentrated as that in Midtown Manhattan. Self-identified protesters, demonstrators and activists have marched through the Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen and elsewhere. They have laid down in symbolic death within Times Square, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Penn Station, Columbus Circle, Grand Central Station and other iconic spots.

‘Chelsea Now’


Continued on page 12

Chants of ‘Shame’ as Rally Targets Bank Lending Practices Continued from page 1 and 457 15th St. in Park Slope marched, chanted and held signs that condemned the bank’s lending practices. State Senator Brad Hoylman also joined later. A man, security for the bank, stood watchful the entire rally. Signature Bank has funded projects of Slate Property Group, a relatively new real estate venture that bought 222-224 W. 21st St. in Chelsea earlier this year. After Slate took over the building, tenants were served eviction notices and extensive construction began. Dust flew, services such as water and gas were disrupted, a water pipe burst and flooded a closet, bed bugs abounded, storage was taken away, the front door was left open, and locks were changed without proper notification. W. 21st St. resident Cher Elyse Carden told Chelsea Now, which has reported extensively on Slate’s treatment of its tenants. A rally was held in August on the steps of her building, to protest Slate’s tactics. The tenants still do not have gas, a service that was shut off Aug. 25, said Carden.

“I wake up every day with a deep sense of uncertainty,” she told the crowd at the rally. “It’s not fair to have to live like this.” Carden, a cancer survivor, told Chelsea Now when she gave a tour of the building in November, that the construction and upheaval has caused sneezing, coughing, a lot of pain and inflammation. “I used to walk with pepper spray up and down the stairs,” she said because of the building’s security issues. Out of the 23 original tenants that were in the building, only four remain, said Andrew Rai, another tenant — who noted that tenants have been harassed and intimidated to move out, and their lives have been disrupted. There wasn’t a buzzer for at least two and a half months — and the constant construction, with its earsplitting noise, drove some tenants away, he said. “Today is about standing up for tenants, long-term residents in Chelsea who have been really raked over the coals. Anyone who would have to live through the experience that these folks have lived through would be out here as well on a cold December morning,” Johnson told Chelsea Now.


December 18 - 31, 2014

Outside of Signature Bank’s headquarters in Midtown, tenants marched, chanted and held signs decrying their lending practices to bad landlords.

Johnson said the rally was about solidarity with tenants in Chelsea and sending a message to the bank that it is working with bad actors “that are really hurting people.” “Enough is enough. Signature should stop doing business with Slate and these companies,” he told those gathered. Chelsea Now asked a Signature Bank spokesperson about the representative and the rally and was told that the bank “cannot comment on client matters.” Public advocate Letitia James recently

Slate bought the building at 457 15th St. in Park Slope in October and residents reached out the Chelsea tenants, said Theodore Brooke, who has lived there for 14 years. Brooke said that they were notified of the sale with a flyer that was stuffed in their mailbox. A video camera was put in the lobby and Slate has been requesting information from residents, said Brooke. “We’ve been working with the tenants to try to save their homes and bring the buildings under rent stabilization as it

‘I wake up every day with a deep sense of uncertainty,’ Carden told the crowd at the rally. ‘It’s not fair to have to live like this.’



Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

released her 100 Worst Landlord list and is also investigating the banks that lend to them. The Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development has been looking into this issue, and Signature Bank is on its list. Chants of “Shame on Signature,” “Hold Banks Accountable,” “Save Affordable Housing” and “Save Our Homes” were heard while protesters walked back and forth in front of the bank. They held brightly colored signs with slogans like “Protect Tenant Rights,” “Landlord Intimidation Must Stop,” and “Signature Banks Lends To Bad Landlords.”

should be,” said Gottfried. “We’re here to appeal to the bank as the mortgage holder that they have got a responsibility here. They have power and influence to have this landlord do the right thing and protect these homes and protect the community that the bank is an investor in.” Betsy Eichel, an organizer with nonprofit Housing Conservation Coordinators (HHC), said her organization is trying to ensure that the Chelsea tenants can stay in their apartments. Initially, she said, Slate tried to evict all residents.

Continued on page 23 .com

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December 18 - 31, 2014


‘Let’s Talk!’ Forum Ponders Bike Safety Strategies BY ZACH WILLIAMS Seniors who attended a bike safety forum on Dec. 8 were quick to indicate their desire for increased scrutiny of cyclists, as efforts continue to improve traffic safety in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. Several dozen attended the forum, hosted by Councilmember Corey Johnson as part of his “Let’s Talk!” series. The event featured representatives from the city Department of Transportation (DOT), the NYPD and the traffic safety group Transportation Alternatives. The panel answered questions submitted by the audience. As the first year of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero moves toward conclusion, topics such as enforcing existing traffic laws, improving safe street infrastructure and addressing the role government should play remain top concerns for the local residents in attendance. Cars are the biggest cause of traffic accidents, according to Johnson — but he noted in his opening remarks that more needs to be done to lessen risky cycling behavior, especially three particular practices.

“I see all the time cyclists, both recreational and people on delivery bikes, running red lights, not yielding, riding on sidewalks,” he said to applause. Commercial cyclists were of particular concern for many in the audience. Restaurants who utilize them for food delivery must provide a safety vest with the business name and an identifying number, noted DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione who added that the business must pay the fine for failure to do so. However moving violations, for example running a red light, are the responsibility of commercial cyclists themselves. The NYPD’s 10th Precinct deploys a traffic safety team every weekday to enforce laws against such behavior, according to Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry, who did not offer further specific numbers on the ticketing of cyclists. Some people in the audience expressed support meanwhile for city licenses for cyclists, as well as a law requiring adults to wear helmets. Thomas DeVito, Manhattan organizer for Transportation Alternatives (transalt. org), said that in other cities where such laws were implemented, bicycle ridership

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numbers decrease — resulting in a greater danger of injury for those remaining. “They change their behavior in an environment where there are a lot of cyclists. They will drive slower,” he said of automobile drivers. About 1.6 percent of New Yorkers currently ride bikes, DeVito noted, double the rate of five years ago. Reversing this trend could undermine the Vision Zero goal of increasing this percentage to six percent, according to DeVito. Transportation Alternatives has played a prominent role in advocating for broader adaptation of Complete Streets, a design which designates separate lanes for pedestrians, cars and bikes. The traffic medians which divide bike lanes from space for automobiles also boost pedestrian safety by providing space for pedestrians who are crossing the street, according to DeVito. “I’d like to emphasize that it’s not just bike lanes. All of these streets have all the sorts of amenities to them that benefit every single New Yorker, including drivers,” he said of Complete Streets such as Ninth Ave.

According to the DOT report “Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets,” total injuries to people on Ninth Ave. fell by 58 percent following its redesign as a complete street. Traffic flow can actually increase overall by slowing down some drivers, the report notes by citing that median speeds on Union Square North increased by 14 percent following a redesign. Despite such successes, some streets are easier to convert than others, according to Forgione. The number of protected bike lanes is reaching a limit within the Community Board Four (CB4) area, said Forgione, though she added that CB4 has requested that the DOT examine the feasibility of additional bike routes in the area. Asked whether crosstown routes could gain protected bike lanes, she said such an effort would be more complicated than it was on Ninth Ave.

Continued on page 16

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Photo by Zach Williams

L to R: Transportation Alternatives organizer Thomas DeVito, 10th Precinct Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry and DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione joined Councilmember Corey Johnson for a “Let’s Talk!” event focused on bike safety.

December 18 - 31, 2014

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Safe City, Safe Streets Ceremony Recognizes NYPD Heroics

Photo by Zach Williams

L to R: NYPD Officers Ravi Singh, Scott Williams, James Quirk, Sgt. Maggie Clamp, Officers Jackson Dagobert, Sean Malone and Gerard Collins were honored at The Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce’s 11th Annual Safe City, Safe Streets luncheon.

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON For local businesses to thrive, merchants, their staff and their shoppers all need to feel safe. Honoring the police who protect the neighborhoods where its 200 members do business, the Greenwich VillageChelsea Chamber of Commerce (GVCCC) held its 11th Annual Safe City, Safe Streets luncheon at Manhattan Penthouse last week. Officers of the Year awards were given out to outstanding members of the Sixth, Ninth, 10th, 13th and Midtown South precincts. Mathew Heggem, the chamber’s president, gave the welcoming remarks. Before the awards, Deputy Chief James P. O’Neill, the New York Police Department’s chief of department, spoke. O’Neill, however, was filling in for Police

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Commissioner Bratton, who had pulled out a few days earlier as the event’s keynote speaker. Having gotten wind that Bratton would be speaking, protesters angered over the recent lack of an indictment of a police officer in Eric Garner’s death, had planned a protest action. Though Bratton was a no-show, the protest still went on, with a few dozen people staging a die-in on the sidewalk outside the venue, at 80 Fifth Ave., near 14th St. A few toted signs on posts that read, “Bratton Has Blood on His Hands! Fire Him!” and “Broken Windows, Broken Lives! Fire Bratton!” by The protest, however, started after most of the luncheon’s guests had already arrived. Meanwhile, upstairs at the event, O’Neill, a 31-year NYPD veteran, told the audience that grand larceny is “the biggest problem” for police in the southern half of Manhattan. However, in some good news, he reported that grand larcenies in Manhattan South are down this year. According to CompStat figures for this year through Dec. 7, grand larcenies have dropped by 7 percent compared to the same period last year — a decrease from 10,397 grand larcenies last year to 9,681 this year. Police continue to battle terrorism citywide, he said. “There have been a number of terrorist plots against New York City since 9/11 and all of them have been thwarted,” he stated. An officer hacked with an ax in a “lone wolf attack” two months ago in Jamaica, Queens, is “having a good recovery,” he reported. The threat of terrorism “requires the vigilance of

all New Yorkers,” the high-ranking chief added, “particularly those living and working around the most vulnerable targets.” In department-wide initiatives, he noted, police efficiency will increase as every officer gets equipped with a handheld computer device that will allow them to check arrestees for outstanding warrants and other vital information on the spot. “It will be a big help,” he said. As part of the city’s retraining of officers in the wake of Garner’s death during an arrest, all police are also currently undergoing a three-day training period, O’Neill added. “If you’ve been following what’s been going on, you know what that’s all about,” he said. During his remarks, that was the extent of what he had to say about the protests that have been roiling the city since a Staten Island grand jury cleared Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death on Dec. 3. Asked afterward by about the die-in in front of the building and the ongoing protests over the lack of an indictment in the Garner case, O’Neill said police had been striving to maintain a “balance.” “We’ve been dealing with these for the last couple of weeks,” he said. “People have a right to protest. We have to balance the rights of protesters with the rights of people to [go about their lives in] the city.” Maria Diaz, the chamber’s executive director, introduced the Officer of the Year awards part of the program. Winning the award for the Sixth Precinct were

Continued on page 11 .com

CB4 Elects Officers, Welcomes Applicants Chair, Delores Rubin; Co-Secretary, Lowell Kern; Co-Secretary, Miranda Nelson. The officers are in place, but each of the 12 community boards in the city have 50 volunteer members serving staggered two-year terms. For anyone who is interested in being a community board member, the search has begun. Information on how to submit an application and resume by the deadline of 5 p.m., Jan. 30, 2015, is available online at, the website of Manhattan Borough President (MBP) Gale Brewer.


Photo by Eileen Stukane

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer notes that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has agreed to end the downsizing of Section 8 voucher tenants.

Throughout the evening, two issues drew unanimous dismay from elected officials. The first and most troubling issue was the Staten Island grand jury’s failure to indict in the Eric Garner case. Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal captured the prevailing disappointment in her written statement: “Justice is not served by denying Mr. Garner’s family and the community the critically important opportunity to examine all the facts and circumstances that ultimately led to Mr. Garner’s death that only a public trial can provide. We must do better.”

DECALENDARING CANCELED, AFTER OUTCRY BY EILEEN STUKANE At December’s Community Board 4 (CB4) full board meeting, officers were elected for the coming year with only one position, co-secretary, changing. The 2015 CB4 officers are: Chair, Christine Berthet; 1st Vice Chair, Hugh Weinberg; 2nd Vice


The second issue, an entirely different matter but also incredulous, was the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s (LPC) surprise “decalendaring” — eliminating from landmarks consideration 96 sites citywide, including the district’s former IRT Powerhouse on W. 58th St. and The Mission of the Immaculate Virgin

Beaux-Arts building on W. 56th. However, as the outcry from elected officials, community boards including CB4 and other civic organizations, was enormous, two days after the CB4 meeting, on Dec. 5th, the LPC announced that it was canceling its plans to vote on the across-theboard decalendaring of the sites — which would have seriously affected preservation in this city and upended what is supposed to be government transparency. Manhattan Borough President (MBP) Gale Brewer immediately released a statement that she will be introducing legislation to require “a proper public hearing on proposed decalendaring of items older than five years” and another bill to require an LPC public, searchable database of all requests for consideration.

OLD CHELSEA STATION AGAIN ENDANGERED In addition to above major issues, State Senator Brad Hoylman spoke about how elected officials and the community were completely blindsided by the United States Postal Office’s (USPS) proposed sale of air rights to allow development over the Old Chelsea Station. This underthe-radar attempt especially outraged Hoylman since he, along with the community, had fought to stop the USPS from selling the building last year. According to Hoylman, and as reported in Chelsea Now (Dec. 4, 2014), had it not been for Save Chelsea, no one in public office or on the CB4 board would have known.

Continued on page 10

December 18 - 31, 2014


Transparency and Trust TALKING POINT BY PAUL SCHINDLER The nation’s two most significant news stories in recent weeks both underscore a critical shortcoming too big to ignore — that government, at all levels, too often fails in its obligations for transparency. Whether it’s about guaranteeing that police conduct toward those they’re sworn to protect is free of abuses or that the US is carrying out its foreign policy and intelligence-gathering in ways consistent with the Constitution, international treaties, and basic humanity, Americans need to know they can trust those in authority. And the US cannot to expect to lead in the vital mission of forging peaceful mechanisms for resolving global conflict if other nations cannot trust it to abide by the rules of decency demanded of everybody. Over the long run, indifference to such standards can only threaten the safety of our service members and other citizens abroad. A Staten Island grand jury’s failure to issue any indictment in the death of Eric Garner brought the issue of police accountability to a boil. Millions watched the video demonstrating that police officer Daniel Pantaleo applied a chokehold to bring Garner to the ground and then kept pressure on his head as fellow cops pinned him there. The city medical examiner concluded Garner’s death was a homicide caused by compression of his neck and chest. What we don’t know is what evidence was presented to the grand jury. At least when a grand jury similarly delivered no indictment in the Ferguson, Missouri police killing of Michael Brown, we had the benefit of the full transcript of its proceedings, providing solid basis

One lesson from the Ferguson transcript is that the close relationship between police and local prosecutors becomes problematic when potential police misconduct is at issue.

for public debate about that outcome. New York and other jurisdictions need to eliminate policies barring release of grand jury records. One lesson from the Ferguson transcript is that the close relationship between police and local prosecutors becomes problematic when potential police misconduct is at issue. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is right in asking Governor Andrew Cuomo to give him interim authority — pending a permanent legislative solution — to intervene in cases where unarmed citizens are killed by police. It’s particularly frustrating that video documentation of Garner’s death did not change the outcome at the grand jury, but surely Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken the right step in his pilot program for police wearing body cameras to document their interactions with the public. More evidence can never hurt. Public trust in the NYPD would also be enhanced by City Councilmembers Ritchie Torres and Antonio Reynoso’s proposed Right to Know Act, requiring police to inform citizens that, except where specific reason to suspect a crime exists, they have the right to refuse a search. That protection can help ensure that the mayor’s pledge to curb the abuses of Stop and Frisk becomes reality.


Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: | E-mail: © 2014 NYC Community Media, LLC Member of the New York Press Association

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The federal government role here is constrained by the primacy of states in law enforcement. But the Justice Department is right to consider civil rights charges against Pantaleo, and Attorney General Eric Holder took an important step this week in broadening the existing ban on racial profiling by federal law enforcement officials to similarly bar such practices based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, and national origin as well. Difficult as making progress on police-community relations nationwide will be, the revelations contained in the

NYPD: THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). Commander: Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-7418216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-7418210. Detective Squad: 212-7418245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced. The next meeting is Jan. 26.


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just-released Senate report about CIA torture and deception from 2002 to 2008 present even more daunting challenges. Putting a light on this history is indispensable, but absent consequences for those whose illegal and inhumane conduct was documented it’s hard to see specifically where the issue moves next. Coming after revelations unearthed in recent years by Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, however, this report makes clear the nation is long past due for an open debate about how the US conducts surveillance and anti-terrorism efforts. Dick Cheney apologists have already come out swinging hard, and this is no time for Americans who care about our decency on the world stage to shrink from the fight. 2016 is just around the corner, and we have no one to blame but ourselves if we let this challenge go unmet. Paul Schindler is the editor of Chelsea Now’s sister publication, Gay City News.

COMMUNITY BOARD 4 (CB4) CB4 serves Manhattan’s West Side neighborhoods of Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. Its boundaries are 14th St. on the south, 59/60th St. on the north, the Hudson River on the west, 6th Ave. on the east (south of 26th St.) and 8th Ave. on the east (north of 26th St.). The monthly full board meeting, open to the public, takes place on the first Wed. of the month. The next meeting is Jan. 7, 6:30 p.m., at Fulton Center Auditorium (119 Ninth Ave., btw. 17th & 18th Sts.). Call 212-736-4536, visit nyc. gov/mcb4 or email them at info@

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Contributors Stephanie Buhmann Sean Egan Raanan Geberer Michael Lydon Dusica Sue Malesevic Winnie McCroy Puma Perl Paul Schindler Trav S.D. Eileen Stukane Zach Williams

Chelsea Now is published biweekly by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. (212) 229-1890. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $75. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2014 NYC Community Media LLC, Postmaster: Send address changes to Chelsea Now, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

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December 18 - 31, 2014


Community Activities To be listed, email



HOLIDAY COAT, FOOD & TOY DRIVE All NYPD Precinct locations are accepting donations for those in need. This December, the United States Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program takes your gift of a new toy, wraps it, and then distributes it to children. Through the first week of 2015, drop off coats in good condition for the New York Cares Coat Drive. Also through the first week of 2015, the Canned Food Drive accepts donations to be distributed by City Harvest. To participate, visit any NYPD Precinct. The 10th Precinct is located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.), the 13th Precinct at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.), and the 18th Precinct at 306 W. 54th St. (btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). For more info, call 646610-5323.


notes, water splashes, car horns and applause. Free. Sun., December 21. Parades begin from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in four of the five boroughs (sorry, Staten Island). Info at

AFFORDABLE HOUSING APPLICATIONS DUE DEC. 26 Through December 26, Gotham West is accepting applications for affordable housing rental apartments at 530 W. 45th St. The size, rent and income requirements can be found at the website To apply online, visit NYC Housing Connect at (click on “Apply for Housing” and select “530 West 45”). Each applicant may submit only one application. Duplicates will result in disqualification.

MANDATORY ELECTRONIC RECYCLING IN 2015 Recycling your electronic products has always been good for the environment — and in 2015, it becomes the law. New Yorkers have many options when it comes to disposing of TVs, monitors, computers, laptops, tablets, printers, DVD players and other electronic devices. Apartment buildings with 10 or more units can enroll for a pick-up program, at Goodwill, Salvation Army, Best Buy and Staples will accept your unwanted goods — and on the website of your favorite brand, find info about free mail-back programs. Donate or sell working electronics by visiting For more info, visit

Thirteen becomes your lucky number, when Make Music New York celebrates the first day of winter by hosting a baker’s dozen of parades. Streets, parks and other public spaces are enlivened with the joyful noise of artistic expression, as marchers become the medium. Beginning at 2 p.m. at 6th Ave. & Spring St., composer Daniel Goode leads a “Soho Gamelan Walk,” with participants drumming on the hollow cast iron fronts of buildings (gloves recommended!). At 4 p.m., meet at the basketball courts by the W. Fourth subway stop for “Village in Volume celebrates In C” — a global celebration of the 1964 minimalist work by —Scott Stiffler Terry Riley. Bring your own instruments (large cue cards display musical cells, which will lead participants through the piece as well as along the route around Washington Square Park. At 5 p.m., meet below the High Line at Gansevoort & Washington Sts., where the fi rst 100 people will receive on-loan speakers from Friends of the High Line. You’ll need them for “The Gaits: a High Line Soundwalk” — whose free smartphone app turns Photo by Liz Ligon courtesy Friends of the High Line footsteps into twinkling Their app and your feet create a joyful noise, metallic sounds, electric at the “High Line Soundwalk” portion of Make guitar chords, dulcimer Music Winter. .com





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December 18 - 31, 2014


Good News & ‘Trash’ Talk at CB4 Continued from page 7

UNIONIZATION LETTERS TABLED UNTIL 2015 Another building-related concern involves luxury residences, particularly those newly developed and close to the High Line, where workers are making their desire to unionize for better quality of life known (Chelsea Now, Nov. 20, 2014). Two items on the CB4 agenda, letters in support of luxury building workers’ attempts to join the 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU), were tabled until January 2015, not ready due to the ramp-up period for Jesse Bodine, the new district manager, and other internal events. The usual e-blast alert to items removed did not go out. Unaware that the letters had been postponed, representatives of 32BJ SEIU attended the meeting to speak out in the public session. Alfred Marini, a porter at 540 W. 28th St. off the High Line, nevertheless used the opportunity to report that a number of developers and boards of West Chelsea’s new luxury buildings are thwarting workers’ rights to organize. He explained that a luxury building receiving a 421A tax break in development is supposed to provide a standard salary and “decent benefits” to its workers. At his building, concierges are paid $12 an hour, well below the $21 an hour set by 32BJ. Marini also reported that only after workers began organizing did the management of his building offer health insurance. “I took my daughter to the pediatrician with the new healthcare card and the doctor told me that he couldn’t accept it because it was one of the worst healthcare programs,” he said, “I had to pay out of pocket to have her cared for, and that was money that I don’t have.” He asked that standards that have been established for workers in residential buildings across the city not be undercut, and that the rights of workers to organize be respected.

GOOD NEWS FOR SECTION 8 TENANTS MBP Brewer was able to change the tempo and draw the first applause of the evening when she announced “one small victory.” The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) had agreed to end the downsizing of Section 8 voucher tenants, particularly seniors, in Mitchell-Lama housing. HPD, facing federal budget cuts of about $35 million, decided to save money by trying to force Section 8 seniors to downsize


December 18 - 31, 2014

from one bedroom apartments to studios, since HPD pays a portion of the rent. “I and a lot of other people thought this was inhumane,” said Brewer, “You can’t ask people in their 80s who have lived in a one-bedroom for many years, who were promised a one-bedroom when a building went from Mitchell-Lama to private, to downsize. There will be no more moves and those who have already moved can move back if there’s an opportunity to do that.” Applause broke out. Another “small victory” announced by Brewer was strong support in the City Council for the Fair Chance Act to become law for all employers in New York City. Fair Chance has also been known as “Ban the Box” in reference to the box on job applications that asks an applicant to indicate whether he or she has a criminal record. With the Fair Chance Act, there will be no box to check in private sector job applications, as there is now no box in government-related job applications. A person can be asked about past history after being offered a job but not before (there are state and federal laws prohibiting those who committed certain crimes from working in certain fields). An unusual bit of news from Brewer was about YouTube, which is owned by Google, in the neighborhood at 75 Ninth Ave., and has 12 studios available free of charge, equipped with lighting and cameras. “Get some discussion going because they’re looking for you and any group in the city to use their studios. I’m like their ambassador,” she said. Brewer went on to describe the hottest YouTube topic right now, a woman from Argentina who knits. “She has made millions of dollars showing people how to knit. The way it works, YouTube puts up ads, she gets a percentage, and now she is a millionaire. I’m not making this up,” said Brewer, adding, “Please use the studios.” Public Advocate Letitia James’ representative Ed Sullivan spoke about the effort James is making to require a commitment from Comcast for free broadband internet in NYCHA public housing, senior and youth centers, and parks, before the city approves its $45 billion merger with Time-Warner Cable. “They’re making billions off this merger and they could bend themselves a little bit to have the people who live in public housing able to get on the Internet.”

SHOUT OUTS FOR INVOLVEMENT Assemblymember Richard Gottfried is sponsoring the New York Health Act, a bill that would establish a universal, sin-

Photo by Eileen Stukane

A crew from Blowback Productions, filming a documentary of the gentrification of Chelsea for HBO.

gle-payer healthcare system in the state of New York. Representing Gottfried, Eli Szenes-Strauss explained that starting this month the Assemblymember will be holding Assembly Health Committee public hearings on the bill. This is to be a progressive campaign in different cities throughout the state and everyone is urged to participate. Last spring Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York and Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, authored a bill to create a privately funded commission to make recommendations for a National Women’s History Museum. The bill passed in the House with a vote of 383-33, but is now being blocked in the Senate by Republican Senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mike Lee of Utah. Speaking for Maloney, Shelby Garner announced that the Congresswoman had started a social media campaign, #BecauseOfHer, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The campaign asks anyone who might have a story about a woman who inspired him or her to express it in social media, in order to let the Senators know that there is national public support for the bill to be passed and for a National Women’s History Museum to be created.

TRASH TALK The greatest board discussion of the evening centered on the letters from CB4’s Waterfronts, Parks and Environment Committee — one addressed to Councilmember Johnson, and another to Iggy Terranova from the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY). Both letters expressed concern with the overflowing trash baskets on 10th Ave. The High Line, the Intrepid, the active cruise ship terminal and the concentration of art galleries, clubs and cabarets have

attracted large numbers of people — and, as shown in photos accompanying the letters, trash on the street (which was either overflowing from, or never reaching, the litter baskets). Discussion of the larger baskets requested from Johnson for the district, and the necessity of perhaps more frequent pickups by the DSNY, was animated. Delores Rubin, co-chair of the committee, explained that the DSNY urged calls to 311 from residents who witnessed a trash problem. Terranova had visited the committee and explained that the DSNY benefits from 311 calls, which help the department analyze routes and the timing of pickups. Photos of offending trash baskets, included with calls or online comments, would be appreciated. For public trash issues, call 311 or contact DSNY online at Documentary filmmakers and Chelsea residents Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson of Blowback Productions ( were on hand with their crew to capture the action of the CB4 meeting for their next HBO project, which uses Chelsea’s transition from industrial to high-tech hub as a microcosm of what is occurring in cities across the nation. Other Blowback documentaries for HBO are “Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags,” a history of the Garment District, and “Hard Times: Lost on Long Island,” a look at how the Great Recession has affected suburban life. The monthly full board meeting of CB4, open to the public, takes place on the first Wed. of the month. The next meeting is Jan. 7, 6:30 p.m., at Fulton Center Auditorium (119 Ninth Ave., btw. 17th & 18th Sts.). Call 212-736-4536, or email them at info@ .com

10th Precinct Officer Among ‘Safe City’ Honorees Continued from page 6 Sergeant Maggie Clamp and Officer James Quirk. They were honored for rushing wounded law-enforcement officers, who had engaged in a close-range shootout with a fugitive in a W. Fourth St. smoke shop on July 28, to Bellevue Hospital After receiving a “10-13” radio signal — meaning, “assist police officer” — at 1 p.m., Clamp, the Greenwich Village precinct’s patrol supervisor, and Quirk, her driver, responded to the scene within seconds. While directing and maintaining the crime scene, Clamp immediately placed the injured officers — an NYPD detective and a U.S. marshal — in her vehicle for transport to Bellevue, where they received instantaneous medical treatment. As the chamber’s program notes read, “Due to the quick action, decisiveness and leadership of Sergeant Clamp and the outstanding driving skills of P.O. Quirk, under the most stressful circumstances, both officers were successfully treated for their wounds.” Clamp joined the force in 2006 and Quirk in 2011. The Officer of the Year for the 10th Precinct went to Scott Williams. The

seven-year NYPD veteran has been at the Chelsea precinct since 2008, first on the Cabaret Unit, which addresses quality-of-life issues around nightclubs, and since September 2009 with the Anticrime Unit, which focuses on felony crimes. During his career, Williams has made 220 arrests, 60 for felonies. In one of his most notable collars (along with fellow Anticrime Unit members), he busted two foreigners for possession of 53 forged credit cards, which had their magnetic strips reprogramed with 53 different individuals’ personal information. The culprits were going to different ATMs and withdrawing money from each account. Upon interviewing the two defendants, Williams was able to obtain a search warrant for their hotel room, where an additional 26 forged cards were recovered, along with $20,000 in cash. The GVCCC Ninth Precinct Officers of the Year were Ravi Singh and Michael Delwey. The two work the 4 p.m.-tomidnight shift in the East Village precinct, and have more than 60 combined arrests this year, including for larceny, assault, burglary and narcotics, among others. Singh will be promoted to sergeant soon and so will be transferred to

Photo by Zach Williams

NYC Community Media publisher Jennifer Goodstein, with NYPD Officer Scott Williams of the 10th Precinct (holding his Officer of the Year award). Williams played a key role in the arrest of two foreign nationals who were using the identities of 53 different individuals to withdraw money from local ATMs.

another precinct. The Midtown South Precinct’s Officers of the Year were Sean Malone and Gerard Collins. So far this year, the partners have made 11 felony arrests, 35 misdemeanor arrests and 17 quality-of-life arrests. Jackson Dagobert was honored as the 13th Precinct Officer of the Year.

A member of the precinct since 2011, he is on its Conditions Unit, which concentrates on quality-of-life issues. He has made more than 90 arrests this year. Speaking afterward, Tony Juliano, the chamber’s former president, said, “I’m so unbelievably humbled by these hero cops that we honored today. This is our best event of the year.”

Shine a Light on It

Photo by Jenny Rubin

Photo by Jenny Rubin


Snow still eludes photographer Jenny Rubin, who did manage to capture some of the local holiday spirit while visiting Engine 3/Ladder 12/Battalion 7 (on W. 19th St., near Seventh Ave.) and the Robert Fulton Houses tree (in front of 419 W. 17th St.). December 18 - 31, 2014


Digital Organizing is Key to Youth-Led Movement A Continued from page 1 Crowds with arms up in surrender entered Macy’s at Herald Square chanting “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” and the Disney Store near Times Square. Protesters blocked traffic on the Lincoln Tunnel, West Side Highway and other thoroughfares. Honking erupted in response, often in solidarity. It’s no coincidence that a great amount of such activity occurs within Midtown, according to State Senator Brad Hoylman — who took part in the Millions March NYC on Dec. 13. The confluence of tourism, culture and media at the crossroads of the world make Times Square particularly attractive for political activity, he said in a telephone interview. “It’s a good place to get attention and these demonstrators are smart and they want their voices heard,” he added. In years past, various protests have called for people to shut down the business of the city — but where they fell short, this new outburst of dissent continues to express longevity, according to seasoned activists. “Many of us have been in the struggle for many, many years and we have never seen anything like it,” said Toni Arenstein, a Chelsea resident and member of Peoples Power Assemblies ( on W. 24th St. There are also concrete demands. They demand that the officers involved in the fatal arrest effort of Eric Garner receive punishment both through the department and a federal indictment. The federal Department of Justice and NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure should further investigate the department’s use of force against minorities. Furthermore, Gov. Andrew Cuomo should back the appointment of a state special prosecutor to investigate further, and should also oppose proposed legislation, which would make police disciplinary policies subject to contract negotiations. And “Broken Windows” — the law enforcement philosophy that punishing small offenses will prevent violent crime — should end, according to the demands published on The organization behind the website — a coalition of activist groups — goes by the moniker #ThisStopsToday. It is also used as a hashtag on Twitter, added within a tweet as an indication of a topic. Other popular hashtags


December 18 - 31, 2014

The West Side Highway, on Dec. 4. The NYPD has arrested more than 300 people over the course of recent protests.

utilized by activists in recent weeks include #EricGarner, #ICantBreathe and #Ferguson. Coupled with the right meeting spot, activists can quickly rally or read the latest developments by searching the social media platform for such hashtags, as many of them did in the early evening hours of Dec. 3 following the grand jury announcement in the Garner case. That night would be the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center and activists were determined to steal the spotlight. From Union Square, they moved north — and from Times Square, they moved east. Dozens of NYPD officers followed along each route as the two groups coalesced into a growing critical mass of about a thousand people. Radio City Music Hall was one of many places where they tested the tolerance of New York’s finest. As in most instances throughout the protests that week and later, the rank-and-file said little in response to the chants of many and the taunts of a few, beyond “Get on the sidewalk” and “Get back.” The police thwarted their effort to

Broadway & W. 28th St., on Dec. 13. Some motorists voice support for protesters who such incursions.

advance down W. 50th St. to their intended destination by gradually flanking the crowd and forcing it onto the west side of Sixth Ave. There was still a long night ahead as demonstrators gave up on the effort and moved west towards the Hudson River. Pedestrians

with smart phones took snapshots as the march passed. Patrons of an Applebee’s near Times Square peered out into the streets as cable new pundits discussed the Garner case on a flat-screen television hanging in a corner. Some among the crowd related the .com

Against Police Brutality, Institutionalized Racism

As the Dec. 13 march begins, local high school students meet the main group of protesters near Union Square.

Photos by Zach Williams

block traffic, but the NYPD has no patience for

event to viewers via live stream video broadcasting from cameras on “selfie� sticks. Activity meanwhile erupted on social media platforms. When protesters could take control of a street, they would move fast and against traffic to shake the NYPD. They .com

A Grand Central Terminal die-in, on Dec. 5.

advanced up Broadway from Times Square as far as Columbus Circle, where they staged a die-in before marching to the West Side Highway. They would snarl traffic for the next hour. They would hold firm at one location with a line of police increasing pressure

on them to leave. When police issued warnings that they risked arrest if they continued to block traffic, many obeyed by going on the sidewalk and traffic median, only to end up on the north side of the police line soon afterwards. But police then shepherded others east-

ward onto side streets, splitting the crowd. Those north of the police then spread out as some marched towards the Upper West Side while others remained to see what happened with those who remained.

Continued on page 14 December 18 - 31, 2014


Activists Take to the Streets, Stores, Social Media

Photos by Zach Williams

On Dec. 3, the NYPD blocked the way for protesters trying to reach Rockefeller Center (and the tree-lighting ceremony).

A Dec. 10 meeting of Peoples Power Assemblies, on W. 24 St., contemplates how the movement should evolve.

Continued from page 13 Police would recapture the initiative through such maneuvers throughout the weeks of protests. When marchers emerged from the highway near W. 72nd St. their numbers had fallen by half — but they would continue onwards, this time southbound through Columbus Circle and Times Square again, past Penn Station, blocking traffic and staging die-ins every few blocks. By the time they took over the eastbound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge, only about 200 people remained with the march. The next day however, thousands more would come. They began anew on Dec. 4, at Foley Square near City Hall. In the course of the night, thousands of protesters would roam Midtown again as well as cause temporary closures of the Lincoln Tunnel and the Brooklyn Bridge. “It’s good to see people come together for the right reason,” said Chef Lowe of Brooklyn that night. “We’ve covered a lot of ground.” On Dec. 5, marches and die-ins continued, and have everyday since then. They also continue to organize, both in-person and within cyberspace. About 75 activists packed the Chelsea office of Peoples Power Assemblies on Dec. 6 and Dec. 10 to discuss how the movement should evolve. “This is one of the centers in the city for organizing these protests, but we are not the only center. Some are not even using centers. Some are just


December 18 - 31, 2014

Marching, on Dec. 5. As the movement becomes more organized, a general feeling prevails that people of color should lead the way.

going on social media,” said Larry Holmes, a PPA organizer, at the Dec. 6 meeting. They also discussed demands as well as a request from #ThisStopsToday for individual organizations to plan events throughout the 11 days of action occurring Dec. 10-21 in order to spread resources evenly. The length of time in the effort references the number of times that Garner said “I can’t breathe” before he died on July 17. In forums such as these, they hash out the details of as small as who can carry signs to the next event and as large as the overall goals of their movement. Experience spreads along with suggestions to deploy more activists on roller skates or bicycles as scouts during future actions.

Social media communication, such as this #ICantBreathe tweet, attracts larger numbers to the protests.

But even as activists continue to work together, divisions arise — particularly when it comes to the involvement of white people within the movement at, some say, the expense of people of color leading the way. Most activists insist on non-violence while some have done otherwise, notably on

the Brooklyn Bridge on Dec. 13 when two NYPD officers were beaten by a small group of marchers. Nonetheless, activity continues to pop up in unexpected places, some inspired by individual acts of initiative. Players for the Brooklyn Nets and LeBron James donned black shirts reading “I Can’t Breathe” before a game on Dec. 9 as protesters rallied outside Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. Just hours before, city council members staged their own die-in on the City Hall steps. “Our country finds itself confronted with the tragic results of deep rooted bias and inequality. We are in desperate need of change, and unfortunately, New York City is no exception.” said Council Member Corey Johnson in a statement, one of about two dozen council members involved with that die-in. As of press time, the tweets continue with four more days of planned actions in the 11-day effort, Old and young alike meanwhile continue to organize and agitate for police reform and accountability. With their social media savvy and a cause appealing to their ideals, young people are presented with a unique opportunity, according to Emma Morgan-Bennett, a student-organizer at Bard High School Early College on E. Houston St. “We are energetic and young and can march for as long as we want and also, the most important fact is that if we don’t get off our butts and change things, this is the America we are going to have to live with,” she said. .com

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December 18 - 31, 2014


Bike Safety Advocates Call for Street Redesign Continued from page 4 Creating a protected bike lane there was relatively easy because a small amount of space could be appropriated from each traffic lane, as well as parking space, thus maintaining the original traffic capacity of the thoroughfare. Such a strategy is more difficult on narrower crosstown routes, said Forgione. The NYPD has faced criticism in recent months for department vehicles parked in bike lanes, especially as officers ticket nearby cyclists for moving violations during ticketing blitzes. However, Irizarry said that police do not mean to exacerbate congestion when asked by an audience member how NYPD can do this with “impunity.” “I’m sure there are instances when that happens. I don’t know if impunity is the right word,” she said. Officers in her precinct often must decide whether to park in a bike lane or risk arriving late at emergencies such as robberies and domestic violence situations, Irizarry added. The precinct is also struggling to reach adequate staffing levels, she said. The next

Photo by Zach Williams

Residents attending the Dec. 8 “Let’s Talk!” bike safety forum were particularly concerned about cyclists who run red lights, don’t yield and ride on the sidewalk.

class of new officers from the police academy will only replace about a half-dozen outgoing officers rather than add additional enforcement muscle, she said. Ongoing protests against police brutality both within the local community and throughout the city have also strained resources in

the 10th Precinct, according to Irizarry. Furthermore, the holiday season diverts officers who are needed to keep an eye on the large volumes of tourists visiting the city as well as the pickpockets and other criminals who target them. “Now our officers are being pulled in

every direction,” she said. Johnson said that a new effort is underway within the city council to add 1,000 new police officers to the NYPD. A similar measure did not pass this year, he said. In the meantime, Irizarry said auxiliary police officers can help with public outreach (though they cannot issue tickets). Educating the public was a strategy touted by each of the panelists. Vision Zero supporters have said in recent months that a culture shift is necessary in order to truly realize the plan to eliminate traffic fatalities in New York City. Seemingly minor traffic offenses such as failing to yield to pedestrians, jaywalking and cyclists running red lights are major factors in many traffic accidents. “All of us have a responsibility to make our streets safer,” said Irizarry. “We can’t put the blame on one sect of people that are riding bicycles. We can’t put the blame on vehicles.” As she mentioned a third group’s role, audience members chuckled in self-awareness. “I see pedestrians all the time who are crossing when the light clearly says ‘Don’t Walk,’” she said.

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December 18 - 31, 2014


ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT Rudolph and Friends: Where Are They Now? The answers may shock you! THE ABOMINABLE SNOW MONSTER


RUDOLPH Rudolph, or “Rudy” as friends knew him, came to view his fame with puzzlement. His refusal to do the convention circuit, often seen as arrogance by fans, was more due to embarrassment. “Look, I’m just a working buck who happened to get born with a shining nose. Some Christmas Eves, the weather gets bad and it works out good for everybody, I’m glad of that. Most years I just pull the sleigh, same as the other guys.” “He was the most decent reindeer I ever met,” recalls close friend Hermey the elf. “But after his folks died the way they did and then the divorce…it just broke him. He let Clarice have it all — the cave, the kids, the rights to the song. Everybody says the cancer got Rudy, but that’s a lot of crap. He had the biggest heart in Christmas Town, and that lousy doe broke it to pieces. That’s what he died of.” Dr. William “Sparkly” Elf, North Pole Large Animal Veterinarian, disagrees. “A biological deviation like Rudolph’s nose…well, it rarely comes alone. Generally something like that is part of a syndrome, a suite of genetic anomalies and honestly, it’s never good. If he’d been born with fifth hoof coming out of his chest, no one would have been surprised he died young. Frankly it’s a miracle he lived as long as he did.”

CLARICE “Look, I make no apologies,” says Clarice, retired to Boca Raton, Florida. “Do you know how old I am in reindeer years at this point? Am I gonna do regrets? No. No I am not. So I got all the money. I had kids to raise, and who’s supposed to pay for my chemo — Santa? Look, I was a young doe when Rudy and I hooked up. I was the first one to look past the nose, okay? I oughta get some slack for that, but everybody wants to give me a ration of crap for leaving Rudy. Fine. Yes, Rudy was a nice buck. Absolutely. But not to put too fine a point on it, he was pretty .com


For Rudolph and his associates, life after that famed “foggy Christmas Eve” was fraught with physical and spiritual challenges.

dull. Yeah, dull! Oh, sacrilege! Lookit, here’s a buck who’s on the cover of Time and Newsweek, saved friggin’ Christmas, right? And he won’t take one friggin’ endorsement deal! Like to know how many kids I had in my first litter? Five! No one ever writes a hit carol about that, do they? It’s all ‘Rudy, Rudy, Rudy.’ You try livin’ in a North Pole cave with a Reindeer with clinical depression who refuses to get treatment. It’s no picnic.”

YUKON CORNELIUS Cornelius gave up prospecting in 1972 and moved to Key West, where he

opened a very successful bar: Silver and Gold. In 1979, he established the annual “Polar Bear Ball” and, while now retired, is still the honorary Grand Bear. Asked to comment on “The Rudolph Years,” he said: “Rudy was a good kid, but naive, you know? Working for Santa because of the ‘True Meaning of Christmas’ my wrinkled old prospector’s behind! When did Santa get on the right side of the nose issue? When he found a way to exploit it, that’s when! Nah, I got outta the whole North Pole Christmas scene as soon as I could. I’m one of the lucky ones! Look at all those elves who didn’t reach retirement.”

“Bumble” as he’s still called, runs an LGBT trailer park in Saskatoon, Canada. “I’ll tell you what. When Hermey, the elf who wanted to be a dentist, pulled my teeth? I may not have asked for it, but it was empowering. He could never help himself, but he sure helped me. He had the deepest closet of anybody I’ve ever known. What was he hiding from? His imagination. We were all gay up there! Anyhoo, before I got my chompers yanked, it was all ‘monster this, monster that.’ Well you know what? I AM a monster. I’m a big, gay, hairy monster, which is just how God made me. But it doesn’t mean I have to devour talking sentient reindeer, does it? We all make our own prisons, don’t we? Well, bust out, that’s what I say! “I’m still in touch with the old gang. I see them at fan cons, or we email. I won the King Polar Bear sash in Key West five years running! I mean, come on, who’s going to beat me? Unless I let ‘em, right? Which I sometimes do. I can’t go anymore. It’s just too much of a schlep, with my hip and all. Oh, it’s just arthritis, don’t worry about me! I’m just about the only one of us who didn’t get ‘The Big C.’ I guess I’m just lucky.”

SAM THE SNOWMAN Telling Rudolph’s story was only a single stop on Sam the Snowman’s long life journey. Blacklisted for his membership in the Communist party, Sam the Snowman made a remarkable comeback, winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Snowman in “The Big Country With A Lot Of Snow” — but he is probably best remembered for his music. Prominent New York Times music critic John Rockwell famously wrote: “Sam the Snowman’s voice… had the sheen and finesse of opera without its latter-day Puccinian vulgarities and without the pretensions of operatic ritual. It was genteel in

Continued on page 18 December 18 - 31, 2014


Life After ‘Rudolph’ Wasn’t All Reindeer Games



What was King Moonracer’s true involvement in the disastrous parachute drop? Misfit Doll and Tall Elf have their own theories.

The United States Postal Service gave the Rankin/Bass version of “Rudolph” its stamp of approval, with this four-set collection marking the beloved TV special’s 50th anniversary.

Continued from page 17 expressive impact without being genteel in social conformity. And it moved people.” In 1995, Sam the Snowman died of cancer of the mouth at the age of 85. In accordance with his wishes, he was melted. His water was scattered over the Grande Tetons by his life partner, Snow Miser.

MISFIT DOLL Misfit Doll runs a successful psychotherapy practice in Eugene, Oregon and is the author of “Sub Plot: The Gulag of Misfit Toys.” “Anyone can see a train with square wheels is challenged. People can be cruel, but they can also see with their own eyes what the problem

is. Some disabilities are not so visible. Some disabilities are on the inside. That was me. ‘What are you doing here, what are you doing here?’ That’s what they all kept asking me. Bird that Swam, Jelly-Shooting Water Pistol, all of them. Oh, I was in the right place, all right. How ironic I should have survived. What happened to us was terrible, terrible. Was it Rudolph’s fault? No. No. Should he have seen, should he have known? Perhaps. He was a young buck with serious problems of his own. In my book, I say he was as much a victim, as much a ‘misfit’ as the rest of us. Do you know I got death threats for saying that? Death threats. Imagine. Santa says he didn’t know. “Santa says Moonracer supplied the parachutes. Santa says he was as shocked and horrified as anybody else.

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Well, he’s given a lot of money to the survivors over the years. Did it begin and end with Moonracer? It seems impossible to me. But we’re all old now, aren’t we? If anyone was going to come forward…No, no, it’s done. It’s a closed book. Anyone who knew anything died a long time ago. Most of them from brain cancer.”

TALL ELF WITH GLASSES Tall Elf With Glasses left the North Pole in 1975 and worked as a merchant marine, shrimp fisherman, roofer and drifter prior to his arrest in 1988 for a series of pipe bombings he claims he did not commit. “Yeah. Yeah. Pipe bombing. All too convenient, right? They followed me for years, dropping evidence wherever I holed up. Bunch of wires in an Alaska flophouse, blown up mailbox in Klamath Falls, whatever town I took some crap job in. Because I know, see? I know it all. They hadda make it so they could get me out of the way whenever they needed to. Make it so if I ever got called to the stand at Moonracer’s trial, no one would believe me. Cause I could connect the dots, see? “Oh, yeah, yeah, glow in the dark paint, lotta dead elves, class action lawsuit, Santa settles, he’s very sorry, what a tragedy, lets establish a foundation… It’s a drop in the bucket for him. He’s Santa! Nothing sticks too him. “Listen. Rudy? Brain Cancer. His folks? Brain Cancer. Clarice? DYING…of BRAIN CANCER! When

did any of those poor bastards ever pick up a paintbrush with glow in the dark paint on it? NEVER! Reindeers DO NOT MAKE TOYS! Oh, oh, oh, and a whole bunch of toys that MIGHT have died of cancer just happen to get shoveled out of Santa’s sleigh with defective parachutes — and Moonracer, ever the good soldier, it’s all his fault. And which elf does not eventually end up with brain cancer? The TALL elf. Me. Me and Bumble are cancer-free. The only ones with their brains at least three feet away from that damn nose! “You do the math. You ask yourself how some poor little reindeer got born the way he did and how Santa always wore a lead-lined hat for what, a FASHION STATEMENT?! ‘You could even say it glows?!’ Hello? What do you think makes a reindeer schnozz glow bright enough to cut through a winter storm? That beak was friggin’ radioactive! You know what? I’m tired. Leave me alone. Get outta here, go on, lemmee rot. Visiting hours are over.”

KING MOONRACER King Moonracer was tried and found guilty of crimes against toymanity by the World Court at The Hague in 1989. Sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, he died of pancreatic cancer in 1991. NOTE: For the real story, see

The Bramson ORT Programs Employment Disclosures are posted on


December 18 - 31, 2014


An Exploration of Expressionism Points The Way Dual-venue exhibition charts Picasso’s evolving style ART PICASSO & JACQUELINE: THE EVOLUTION OF STYLE Through January 10 At Pace Gallery 534 W. 25th St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves.) And 32 E. 57th St. (btw. Madison & Park Aves.) Hours: Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Closed from 2 p.m. Dec. 24 through Jan. 1 Call 212-421-3292 Visit

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN ( In its sixth major Picasso exhibition, which involves two venues and features over 125 works, Pace Gallery re-examines the artist’s fascination with his wife and muse, Jacqueline Roque (they married in 1961). Stemming largely from the last two decades of Picasso’s oeuvre, the paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints are on loan from the artist’s family and private collectors, as well as major American and European Museums. They reflect Picasso’s transformative exploration of Expressionism during this period, which was not only sparked by his obsession with Jacqueline but also by his admiration of Matisse, El Greco, Velazquez, Delacroix, and Manet. The exhibition begins in 1954 — the year Picasso started living with and painting Jacqueline, which also happened to be the year Matisse died. An early rival and later a good friend, Matisse was the only contemporary that Picasso considered his equal. Some of the most impressive works in this installation evoke various phases of Picasso’s own work (Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism), as well as those of Matisse (the cut-outs, the odalisques and their heavily patterned Moorish backgrounds). In a matter of months, Picasso created a body of work that referenced the achievements of the first 73 years of his life, acknowledged his great respect for Matisse and Delacroix, and pointed the way forward to an Expressionist style that proved to be an influence on later Neo-Expressionist artists. Accompanying the exhibition is a group of more than 50 photographs by David Douglas Duncan, one of the central documentary photographers of the 20th century and a confidant of Picasso. Duncan captured Picasso at work as well as scenes from quotidian life with his muse. .com

©2014 Estate of Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) | Jacqueline avec une Écharpe Noire (Jacqueline with a Black Scarf) | Oct. 11, 1954 | Oil on canvas, 36 ¼ x 28 ¾ in. (92 x 73 cm) | Private Collection | Photograph by Claude Germain.

©2014 Estate of Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

©2014 Estate of Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) | Jacqueline en Costume Turc (Jacqueline in Turkish Dress) | Nov. 20, 1955 | Oil on canvas, 39 1/3 x 32 in. (100 x 81 cm) | Private Collection | Photograph by Claude Germain.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) | Woman in Armchair (Jacqueline), January 2, 1962 |Oil on canvas, 63 ¾ x 51 in. (162 x 130 cm) | Private Collection | Photograph by Claude Germain.

December 18 - 31, 2014



December 18 - 31, 2014


Just Do Art The Holiday Edition



“GENA ROWLANDS IS LUMINOUS. A magnificent Oscar-worthy performance from one of the true screen greats. SIX DANCE LESSONS is pure joy from start to finish!” ®

–Pete Hammond, Deadline



Courtesy of Summoners Ensemble Theatre

Adapted from Dickens’ performance notes, “A Christmas Carol” pours on the period charm, through Dec. 28 at Merchant’s House Museum.


A CHRISTMAS CAROL AT MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM Performed in a house known for being visited by considerably more than three ghosts, this Summoners Ensemble production of “A Christmas Carol” is faithful to Charles Dickens’ vision of how his 1843 novella should be presented to live audiences. Based on the author’s own solo touring version, storyteller John Kevin Jones and director Rhonda Dodd emphasize the beautiful narrative imagery and wry humor largely absent from cinematic adaptations. Further credibility is added by the setting: the landmark 1832 Merchant’s House Museum, home to many spectral sightings (so far, none of them involving former business partners weighed down by chains). What Merchant’s House does have to offer is period charm, as Jones portrays 15+ characters in an elegant Greek Revival double parlor filled with mid-19th century furnishings and holiday decorations. Fri.–Sun., Dec. 19–21 & 26–28 and Mon.–Tues., Dec. 22–23 at 7 p.m. Special Christmas Eve performance at 6 p.m. on Dec. 24. Limited seating, reservations highly recommended. For tickets ($37.50–$57.50), call 800-838-3006 or visit Also visit At Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery).

A SWINGING BIRDLAND CHRISTMAS Like the whiff of fresh forest air you get when passing a sidewalk Christmas tree stand, this annual summit of topnotch vocal talent sends you on your way with the feeling that you’ve just tapped into the true spirit of the season. Rarefied

You can’t learn to dance... without stepping on a few toes.

Photo by Bill Westmoreland, Graphic by Todd Johnson

Don’t miss cabaret’s Christmas Dream Team, live on the Birdland stage.

wit Jim Caruso, in-demand pianist Billy Stritch and brassy Klea Blackhurst bring their own distinct variations of sparkle and shine to holiday classics, then the tear up the classy joint in trio form with searing arrangements (“It’s the Holiday Season,” “Let it Snow”) and breezy, laugh-out-loud banter. Now celebrating its half-decade mark, “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” has become as much of a beloved tradition as the seasonal TV specials that inspired it. If you can’t make these upcoming gigs, the Caruso/Stritch charisma is on display throughout the year, at Birdland’s Monday night “Cast Party” — where crooners, Broadway legends and virtuoso musicians gather for a raucous open mic night that’s pure cabaret bliss. Dec. 21, 23, 24, 25 at 6 p.m. and Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. At Birdland Jazz Club (315 W. 44th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves). For tickets ($30 plus $10 food/drink minimum), call 212-581-3080 or visit (where the “Swinging Birdland Christmas” CD is available for purchase). “Cast Party” happens every Mon. at Birdland. Doors open at 9pm, show at 9:30pm. $25 cover, $10 food/drink minimum. For info, visit




December 18 - 31, 2014



December 18 - 31, 2014


Chelsea, Brooklyn Tenants Unite Against ‘Social Apartheid’

Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Assemblymember Richard Gottfried and State Senator Brad Hoylman (first and second from left) have shown support for the tenants of 222-224 W. 21st St. City Councilmember Corey Johnson (not pictured) also attended the Dec. 15 rally.

Continued from page 2 “They were largely successful with that,” said Eichel. “They were able to get a lot of people to leave.” A lawyer with HHC filed what is called an HP, or housing part, in housing court in Manhattan, to compel Slate to turn the gas back on. They have until the end of the month to do so or they will be fined, said Eichel in a phone interview later. At one time, the building was rent stabilized but is no longer, said Eichel, and so Slate is not obligated to renew anyone’s lease. Slate did sue the tenants to evict them, she said, but the tenants beat that and can stay. Hoylman said that he would like to see stronger provision protecting tenants from landlord harassment, providing them with legal council, and making certain that landlords don’t take tenants

to housing court on baseless charges. There are a number of bills on the table, he said, but the climate in Albany is challenging as Republicans now formally control the state senate. “The community and government officials need to start putting pressure on irresponsible lending by banks to real estate speculators who are promising high returns to investors that result in harassment, baseless legal actions and other tactics to force rent regulated tenants out of their homes,” said Hoylman. “And this is happening on 21st Street, and frankly, all across the city.” “It’s not just an individual issue, it’s a very broad issue,” said Rai, who was born and raised in Chelsea and has seen the neighborhood change. “For me, this fight is more for the future generations and what kind of example we want to set in terms of society for our children and our grandchildren. Do we set up a mentality of apartheid? This is social apartheid.”

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ST. COLUMBA’S CHURCH An Inclusive And Welcoming Catholic Community Wish Their Chelsea Friends & Neighbors A Joyous Holiday Season. WE WILL BE CELEBRATING THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD AT: Wednesday, December 24th - 5:00 pm (English)

Thursday, December 25th - 12:00 am Midnight Mass (Bilingual) With St. Columba’s Parish Choir and Soloists 9:00 am (English) | 10:30 am (Spanish) | 12:00 pm (English)


343 West 25th Street (Between 8th & 9th Avenues) New York, New York 10001 We are most pleased to announce that the Archdiocese of New York recently stated that St. Columba will continue to serve the Chelsea community. During the coming year, we plan to work very closely with our friends at Guardian Angel Parish to serve the needs of all.


December 18 - 31, 2014



CHELSEA NOW, DEC. 18, 2014  

CHELSEA NOW, DEC. 18, 2014

CHELSEA NOW, DEC. 18, 2014  

CHELSEA NOW, DEC. 18, 2014