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CB4 Meeting an ‘Intrepid’ Effort BY EILEEN STUKANE The Community Board 4 (CB4) full board meeting on Wed., Feb. 4, in Roosevelt Hospital illustrated the spectrum of quality of life in the CB4 district of Chelsea/Hell’s Kitchen. On one end of the spectrum, the community learned the benefits of residing near the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Pier 86, while on the other end heard about an incoming adult business and the problem with late night bars. “We’re not just a big aircraft carrier that’s for international visitors,” explained Susan Marenoff-Zausner, president of the Intrepid Museum, as she addressed the crowd, “We’re using our unique assets to produce programming that benefits our community.” Of the Intrepid Museum’s one million visitors a year, 200,000 of them are children. Recognizing its connection to children, the Intrepid is underwriting a number of educational programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM subjects), and history, for Title I underserved (K–12) city schools. Ms. Marenoff-Zausner described how the Intrepid Museum is reaching out to the CB4 Continued on page 6

Win Tickets!

Adah Isaacs Menken reclaims her rightful place in popular culture, in the Theater Askew production of Trav. S.D.’s “Horseplay: Or, The Fickle Mistress, A Protean Picaresque.” See page 23.

Photo by Zach Williams

L to R: Preservationists Fern Luskin and Julie Finch in front of scaffolding-draped Hopper-Gibbons House, whose fifth floor addition has been the topic of a long court battle.

Fate of Hopper-Gibbons House Hinges on Provision, Permit Interpretation BY ZACH WILLIAMS The ongoing legal battle over Manhattan’s only documented and landmarked Underground Railroad site continued in the appellate division of the New York Supreme Court on Feb. 4 through contesting arguments of the city permit process necessary for the building owner to pursue alterations to the building. Opponents of the construction argued that Tony Mamounas, owner of the Hopper-Gibbons House (339 W. 29th St. btw. 8th & 9th Aves.), needs approval from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in order to conclude construction of a fifth story to the building. But his attorney, Marvin B. Mitzner, told the five-judge panel that a 2005 permit from the Department of Buildings (DOB) preceded the 2009 historical designation of Hopper-Gibbons House and adjacent buildings as the Lamartine Place Historic District. Thus, he argued, Mamounas should be allowed to bypass the landmark


review process and apply directly to the city Board of Standards and Appeals. A decision from the court will likely take months. The DOB permit resulted in alterations in the building protruding above adjacent rooflines — which together served as an escape route for slavery abolitionists fleeing from the 1863 Draft Riots. With scaffolding and the roof addition in place, visiting history enthusiasts are already deprived of an opportunity to properly appreciate the old building, said Fern Luskin, lecturer of art and architectural history at LaGuardia Community College, who a member of Friends of the Hopper-Gibbons Underground Railroad Site and Lamartine Place Historic District, a group of local activists leading the push to protect the structure. “People come from other states to see this and that is

Continued on page 4 VOLUME 07, ISSUE 06 | FEBRUARY 12 - 25, 2015

Community Activities Twitter or Instagram, using the hashtag #SculptOff and the category #family or #grownups. Or, email to Finalists will be posted on the High Line’s social media in March — then the public votes. Winners will get to wrap their frosty mittens around vouchers for sweet treats, sports apparel, coffee, cookbooks, Bluetooth speakers or iPod shuffles. While you patiently await the next blizzard, visit for details and rules. Photo by Steven Severinghaus

Get good and Frosty, atop the High Line — when your team enters the Snow Sculpt-Off contest (competition deadline, Feb. 28).

BY SCOTT SITFFLER (submit your event to

HIGH LINE SNOW SCULPT-OFF With the kind of winter we’ve been having, chances are you’ll be able to make a few good dry runs before submitting your masterpiece in time for the High Line’s Snow Sculpt-Off competition deadline of


February 12 - 25, 2015

Feb. 28. When the next flakes fall, check the High Line’s homepage to make sure the park is open — then head to The Porch (W. 15th St.), the 10th Ave. Square (btw. W. 16th & 17th Sts.), the 22nd St. Seating Steps or The Crossroads (W. 30th St.). Adults or families in teams of five or fewer can enter by snapping a photo of the proud builders aside their snowy creation — via Facebook,

COMMUNITY GARDEN PLANNING SESSION A little cash and a great love of lush surroundings: that’s all it takes to obtain entry into local Key Parks. As we reported last August, in the article “Your $2 Trip to an Urban Oasis” (search for it on ChelseaNow. com), residents can visit the offices of Community Board 4 to obtain a key that allows them to enter several green spaces in and around Hell’s Kitchen. Our favorite: the lean and serene Alice’s Garden. Located on W. 34th St. (btw. Dyer & 10th Aves.), it’s one of the Key Parks developed

Courtesy of Clinton Housing Development Company

They’ve laid the groundwork, you add the elbow grease: Adam’s Garden will rise from this lot on W. 53rd St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves.).

by the Clinton Housing Development Corporation (CHDC). Three more Key Parks are on the way, and CHDC is asking for your help: ideas now, elbow grease later. On Feb. 17, the first planning meeting takes place for Adam’s Garden — to rise from a vacant lot on W.

Continued on page 3


Community Activities Continued from page 2 53rd St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). If you love gardening or just want to meet new people and help to beautify the block, this project is for you! Planting will take place in the spring, and a grand opening is planned for the fall. Also on the drawing board: a children’s garden and Captain Post Garden (both on 52nd St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). The Adam’s Garden planning meeting takes place on Tues., Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m. at Clinton Housing Development Company’s community room (554 W. 53rd St., corner of 11th Ave.). For info, visit, send an email to cultivate@, or call 212-9671644. Visit the offices of Community Board 4 (330 W. 42nd St. btw. 8th & 9th Aves.) for Key Park access. Although primarily used by those who live or work nearby, the parks are accessible to anyone who pays the $2, one-time fee. Before visiting, call CB4 at 212-736-4536 to see if they have keys in stock.

Courtesy of the Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair

PS3 is the place to find comics, classics and everything in between — even ephemera — when the Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair sets up shop from Feb. 20–22.

GREENWICH VILLAGE ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR Drawing 60+ of the East Coast’s best book dealers, this three-day fair offers both the serious bibliophile and the casual browser a delightful opportunity to peruse rare and vintage books spanning the past four centuries — including children’s books, modern first editions, art, photography and design, maps and prints, political flyers, unusual paper ephemera and memorabilia, Dickensiana, paleontology, architecture, autographs, African American studies, film history and comics.

Courtesy of the artist

Gay Merrill Gross, who created this “Asian Dragon” collection from US and Indian banknotes, gives free origami lessons from 3–4 p.m. every Tues., at Studio 34.

Fri.–Sun. Feb. 20, 6–9 p.m. Feb. 21, 12–6 p.m. Feb. 22, 12–5 p.m. At PS3, the Charrette School (490 Hudson St. btw. Christopher & Grove Sts.). For info, visit

FREE ORIGAMI LESSONS Patience and dexterity are among the qualities and skills you’ll learn or sharpen — when longtime instructor Gay Merrill Gross teaches participants of all ages and skill levels how to fold paper in the Japanese tradition. You’re in good hands: Gross is the author of eight books on the topic (including “Minigami: Mini

Origami Projects for Cards, Gifts and Decorations”). Materials will be provided for these classes, which are sponsored by the 34th Street Partnership. From 3–4 p.m. every Tuesday. At Studio 34 at Park East (One Penn Plaza; in the passageway that runs from 33rd to 34th Sts., near Seventh Ave.). For info on the instructor, visit For info on other free activities, visit If you’d like to hold an event in one of the Partnership’s public spaces, email events@urbanmgt. com or call 212-719-3434.

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Hopper-Gibbons House in Limbo as Legal Gears Turn Continued from page 1 what they see,” said Luskin. “They are not able to see the true history of the place because that is so dependent on the uniform cornice line.” The DOB revoked the permit shortly before the building became a landmark because of the revelation that it cannot waive provisions of the city Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL), despite a longstanding practice of doing so, Mitzner notes. According to the City Charter, only the city Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) can waive MDL provisions. But that was not clear when his client applied for the permit, according to Mitzner, who told the judges that his client acted in good faith by pursuing the permit through DOB as others had done before. But using an invalidated permit as a pretense for circumventing the subsequent historical designation of a building was questioned by one judge on the panel — to which Mitzner said there was precedence through the case of a building on E. Sixth St., when a zoning law changed but a voided DOB permit was nonetheless reinstated.

Photo by Fern Luskin

L to R: Julie Finch, City Councilman Jumaane Williams, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried and State Senator Brad Hoylman were among the friends of Hopper Gibbons House who braved the cold at a Feb. 10, 2013 rally.

The BSA and Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Eileen Rackower agreed that Mamounas would need LPC approval for the construction, Chelsea Now reported in Aug. 2013, resulting more than one year later in the current appellate case. But Mamounas has not acted in good faith, according to Julie



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February 12 - 25, 2015

Finch, who has led the preservation effort with Luskin. He defied a city order to remove the fifth floor addition and claimed on a self-certified application that the building already had five floors, she said in an email. Mitzner maintains that the original permit remains relevant to his case. The issue of historical designation is beside the point, Mitzner told Chelsea Now in an interview. “The way you correct the mistake DOB made is to go to BSA for (the waiver),” he said. “That’s what the board failed to do and why we’re here.” If the appellate court reverses that decision, the historical integrity of the building will crumble, according to Jack L. Lester, attorney for Friends of the Hopper-Gibbons. Furthermore, the 2005 DOB permit was never valid and thus could not be reinstated in any form, Lester and a city attorney argued in court on Feb. 4. “All we are asking the court to do is sustain what BSA has already done. Allow landmarks to review this, allow the historical importance of the buildings to be reviewed and then the owner still has the right to get his waivers and everything else from BSA,” Lester said. Fundraising efforts last year aided the effort to oppose the construction. State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried and Councilmember Corey Johnson, according to Luskin. Gottfried also leveraged his neighborhood contacts to boost attendance at a July fundraiser, also attended by Johnson, that helped raise more than $10,000 for the effort, Luskin said.

But even if preservationists and the city eventually prevail in the current case, it could be years before the additional floor is removed and the roof restored to its original height, according to Lester. The roofline played an important role in the saga of Abigail HopperGibbons and her family, who were outspoken supporters of slavery abolition and the embattled President Lincoln before and during the Civil War. These associations left them a target when mobs of white men, predominately Irish, rampaged through city streets for four days in July 1863 in response to the first-ever U.S. military draft. They attacked free blacks in the city and resented a provision of the draft which allowed wealthy men to pay substitutes to serve in the military for them. Tensions were already running high between blacks and whites and among different social classes before the imposition of the draft, according to the Greenwich Village Society For Historical Preservation. “Working class men were in direct competition for scarce jobs with African Americans, and the recently proclaimed Emancipation Proclamation further tied the war to the cause of slavery,” notes a July 2012 online report from the society. On July 14, 1863, the rioters came to the Hopper-Gibbons House, broke down the door and ransacked the place. Two members of the family escaped the mob with help of a family friend who led them across the rooftops, down into a home at 355 W. 29th St. where a carriage waited outside, according to the 2009 Lamartine Place Historic District Designation Report. Commemorating that day and the city’s mixed history with slavery is a religious calling as well for Finch — who, like Abigail Hopper-Gibbons, is a Quaker. She first learned of the preservation effort through the Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (15 Rutherford Place). But it’s another group of people who truly inspire her years of advocacy on behalf of the historical integrity of 339 W. 29th St.: the unknown slaves who escaped the South by following the North Star persevered despite the dangers. “If they can do that and not give up, we [Luskin and I] are not going to give up in our efforts to get that illegally, secretively-built fifth floor torn down,” said Finch. .com

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Intrepid Museum Highlights No-Cost Community Programs Continued from page 1 community with special free (with registration) programs for children ages 5–17 with developmental and learning disabilities, children ages 5–18 with autism, and individuals with dementia and their caregivers. Information about these programs, their schedules, and the registration process can be found online at, by sending an email to, or by calling 646-381-5182. In relation to the autism program, she said, “We dim lights, lower sounds, and are very careful to be as inclusive and engaging with families as we possibly can. Working with these families has helped us extend ourselves to those with other disabilities.” Other members of the Intrepid team spoke about additional no-cost community offerings. Lynda Kennedy, vice president of education, talked about the Intrepid’s desire to partner with more than the five neighborhood schools with which it is currently involved. In particular, the Intrepid conducts a free afterschool program sponsored by the

Courtesy of Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Representatives from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum made a presentation to CB4 encouraging residents to take advantage of free programming.

NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in Chelsea’s PS33. Another free program is the Leadership Institute for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT) for all 11th grade NYC public high school students. LIFTT meets every weekend during the school year and provides mentoring in college readiness and personal

leadership. Applications for next year’s LIFTT will be available by March 2015 online: For info, contact Caitlin Ballingall at cballingall@ Girls in eighth and ninth grades who are interested in the STEM fields can apply for a special free summer

camp in the museum called GOALS (Greater Opportunities Advancing Leadership and Science) for Girls Summer Intensive. The deadline for applications is March 16. For info, contact Shay Saleem at goalsforgirls@ Luke Sacks, assistant vice president of public relations, provided information on Kids Week, Intrepid’s annual six days of activities and programs exploring “Flight” for public school children on winter break. With the price of admission ($17 for ages 7 to 17), daily workshops and shows are free. For info, visit kidsweek2015. Throughout the year there are also free (with registration) Astronomy Nights, some designated for adults age 21 and over, while others are for all ages. On April 24, the anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, there will be an adult astronomy night when locals can bring their telescopes to the Intrepid. In addition, free (with registration) hour-long Saturday Family Programs are scheduled throughout the year. Sacks announced

Continued on page 15

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Policy: • April 2013: Then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio criticizes former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s annual increases in water rates as a “hidden tax.” • February 2014: Mayor de Blasio increases water & sewer rates 3.6%. • June 2014: Mayor de Blasio calls for Rent Freeze (landlords wind up with 1% rent increase, lowest ever on record).

• November 2014: Mayor de Blasio calls for stricter rent regulations. • January 15, 2015: Mayor de Blasio announces a 13% increase on real estate tax assessments.

Increased Taxes and Costs + Rent Freeze = Landlords Cannot Repair, Improve, Maintain and Preserve Affordable Housing The de Blasio Affordable Housing Equation Just Doesn’t Add Up. 6

February 12 - 25, 2015

The de Blasio affordable housing policy hurts poor and middle-income families, those most in need of affordable housing – as well as landlords of rent-stabilized apartments, the largest providers of affordable housing.

It’s Time for New Solutions to an Old Problem. .com


February 12 - 25, 2015



Rx for pedestrian crossings


Re “Design Innovation Key to Vision Zero Goals” (news, Jan. 29, 2015): To The Editor: As a pedestrian, I fear for my life crossing with the light. A taxi hit me a few years ago — not seriously, but a few of my neighbors were not so lucky. I believe that all pedestrian crossings should be simultaneous, i.e., no cars in the intersection. I was watching an intersection in Tokyo last week on TV and saw only pedestrians crossing, while traffic awaited their turn to proceed. With all the snow, ice and slush these past few weeks adding to the challenge of crossing the street (not to mention getting on and off buses), I wonder what ever happened to the safety of pedestrians — especially here in the Big Apple. With all the new islands for safe bike lanes (which we need), this winter’s storms have made maneuvering to cross the street a more dangerous undertaking.

Jennifer Goodstein

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Hooray for Jay Re “Jay Stockman Reflects on 40 Years of Activism and Service” (feature, Jan. 29, 2015): To The Editor: At least three cheers for Jay Stockman, maybe more! I have seen Jay

just about everywhere — at meetings, at demonstrations, at political events —for longer than I like to remember. As someone who has been at almost everything since Tom Duane’s original run for city office (a long time ago), I saw Jay Stockman. He was everywhere! Okay, three hundred cheers for Jay. Everyone in our community should see him as an example of what we should all strive to be. Thanks, Jay. Gloria Sukenick

Real B&B’s versus Airbnb To The Editor: Most cities and towns have legal allowance and regulation for real B&B’s, which are not hotels, nor are they fly-by-nightrent-my-apartment situations. They have specific zoning and regulations tailored to their size and kind of business. New York’s short-term rental law was a blunt instrument that damaged and made an endangered species of a well-respected and well-used product in the city. One element of the city said they have been okay with B&B’s — they happily collected lodging taxes from them — while another element of the city said they were out of bounds. An amendment to the law should be put into effect that supports the existence of B&B’s — which utilize the

entirety of a small building, thus avoiding disturbing any residential tenants — while separately regulating the Airbnb’s. B&B’s are a preferred experience all over the world. Historic homes and buildings have been preserved and opened to the public through these legitimate, small businesses. This isn’t the sharing economy. This isn’t Uber or Airbnb. This is a decadesold industry with 17,000-plus properties around the United States alone. Think of food trucks. They are legitimate, have specific laws and have boundaries within which to play. B&B’s are like them. Legit. Lawful. Appreciated by the public. Imagine if anyone could sell hot dogs out of the back of their Honda. That’s the equivalent of the short-term rental problem the law was trying to quash. Fix the law! Jay Karen E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to Chelsea Now, Letters to the Editor, NYC Community Media, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. Chelsea Now reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Chelsea Now does not publish anonymous letters.

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Account Executives Jack Agliata Alexis Benson Allison Greaker Jennifer Holland Julio Tumbaco

After Governor Cuomo nixes affordable housing atop Sunnyside Yards, Mayor de Blasio sees potential on his first visit to the High Line…

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February 12 - 25, 2015


10th Precinct Seeks to Drive Down Major Crimes BY SCOTT STIFFLER They came in from the cold, but didn’t exactly amount to huddled masses — when the 10th Precinct Community Council held its first meeting of 2015 on the early evening of Jan. 28. Sparse attendance and early signs of an informal tone prompted Chelsea West 200

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 full board meeting, open to the public, happens on the first Wed. of the month. The next meeting is March 4, 6:30 p.m., at Fulton Center Auditorium (119 Ninth Ave., btw. 17th & 18th Sts.). Call 212-7364536, visit or email them at

COMMUNITY BOARD 5 (CB5) CB5 represents the central business district of New York City. It includes midtown Manhattan, the Fashion, Flower, Flatiron and Diamond districts, as well as Bryant Park and Union Square Park. The district is at the center of New York’s tourism industry. The Theatre District, Times Square, Carnegie Hall, the Empire State Building and two of the region’s transportation hubs (Grand Central Station and Penn Station) fall within CB5. The full board meeting, open to the public, happens on the second Thurs. of the month. The next meeting is March 12, 6 p.m., at Xavier High School (30 W. 16th St., btw. 5th & 6th Aves., 2nd fl.). Call 212-4650907, visit or email them at

Block Association representative Pamela Wolff to request a round of introductions. With under 20 chairs occupied, representatives of Assemblymember Gottfried, State Senator Hoylman, the Hudson River Park Trust, 1 Oak nightclub and multiple media outlets handily outnumbered the local residents. It was a homecoming for the Council, which met at Hudson Guild and Fulton Auditorium in November and December, respectively. This “floating venue” concept was initiated in hopes of reaching those who lack the mobility or motivation to travel to the Precinct’s 230 W. 20th St. location, at which Council meetings are normally held on the last Wednesday of the month. “Now and then you have to visit your relatives,” quipped Council president Larry O’Neill, who called the meeting to order just after 7 p.m. and then introduced the Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry. Having taken command last July, DI Irizarry began by acknowledging that

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fact, then noting seven other additions — officers who had just been assigned to the 10th Precinct after graduating from the NYPD’s most recent class. Three from that group, Police Officers Caitlin Lemmo, Patrick Persichetti and Lee Bonaventure, were in attendance. DI Irizarry gave a brief overview of 10th Precinct crime statistics. Compared to 2013, this past year saw a nine percent reduction in major crimes (murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, grand larceny, grand larceny auto). The major crimes index for 2014 totaled 1,023 — a number she’d like to see drop below 1,000 by the time 2015 comes to an end. There was a slight increase in felony assaults (110 vs. 98). Of those 110 incidents, 38 percent were domestic assaults. Asked by an audience member if the Chelsea major crime stats reflected a similar pattern of reduction throughout the city, DI Irizarry said, “Yes, overall,” then provided a partial explanation. By monitoring boastful postings on social media, she noted, “We’re able to identify and target what used to be called ‘gangs,’ which we now call ‘crews.’ ” Waiting in a long outdoor line to secure the latest Apple product might be a noisy and difficult-to-navigate proposition, according to information shared by Detective Mike Petrillo — who learned of an impending project during a Jan. 28 meeting with the Meatpacking District Improvement Association ( Construction in the area will require temporary removal of the public plaza on Ninth Ave. that runs parallel to the Apple store’s 14th St. location. Petrillo speculated that the project could last as long as a year, while NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of


Down by Law: Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry aims to reduce the 10th Precinct’s major crimes index to below 1,000 (last year’s total was 1,023).

Design and Construction (DDC) conduct their work. In a Feb. 11 email, a Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesperson told Chelsea Now that, “The Ninth Avenue Reconstruction Project is a coordinated effort between DOT, DEP, and DDC that will upgrade existing utility infrastructure and reconstruct portions of the cobblestone roadway along with Gansevoort and Chelsea Plazas. The plans were vetted by CB2, CB4, and Landmarks. Construction is slated to begin this spring.” Chelsea Now will be following this project — but for the evening of Jan. 28, Pamela Wolff had the last word, asking (only in semi-jest) if the workers “could please not hit the Spectra pipeline with their backhoe.” The next Community Council meeting takes place at 7 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 25, at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). For information on crime statistics, visit crime_prevention/crime_statistics.shtml.

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February 12 - 25, 2015


Callen-Lorde Workers Vote to Join 1199SEIU BY PAUL SCHINDLER In a first in New York City’s LGBT healthcare sector, 174 staff members at the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center on January 13 voted to join 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. That count includes the bulk of the W. 17th St. clinic’s non-management staff, including doctors, nurses, social workers, patient care associates, and medical assistants. According to a release from 1199, Callen-Lorde becomes the first health center serving the LGBT community in New York to embrace the union. Workers at Washington, DC’s LGBTfocused Whitman-Walker Health Center affiliated with 1199 back in the 1990s. 1199SEIU, which represents more than 400,000 workers, most of them nurses and other caregivers, in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, and Florida, describes itself as the nation’s largest and fastest growing healthcare union. For a union looking to continue its rapid growth, Callen-Lorde — as a federally qualified health center pro-

Photo courtesy of 1199SEIU

Members of the Callen-Lorde staff’s union organizing team outside the Chelsea clinic.

viding what is known in the industry as ambulatory care — represented an attractive organizing opportunity. Economic challenges facing large hospitals that traditionally dominated institutional health care delivery coupled with specific incentives provided by President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act combine to make ambulatory care a sector of significant expansion nationwide.

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February 12 - 25, 2015


1199 has organized more than 5,000 employees of federally qualified health centers in New York City. “Nationwide, healthcare is shifting toward community-based settings,” Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU (the Service Employees International Union), said in a written statement. “As this change occurs, it’s essential that this sector provides good jobs to workers so they can provide the best quality of care to their patients.” Several Callen-Lorde employees involved in the effort to win 1199 representation emphasized that the organizing drive, which began last June when several staffers contacted the union, was relatively free of strife with the clinic’s management. “For me, it was fairly tension-free,” said Rachel Elzey, a patient navigator who has been at Callen-Lorde for almost a year and a half and works with HIV-positive clients, providing a range of services from case management to education. “We have such a strong mission to serve the LGBTQ population, especially those most vulnerable. We wanted to treat ourselves with the same respect we treat our clients with.” Ariadne Brazo, a mental health patient navigator who joined CallenLorde full time last May after interning there during her second year of graduate study at NYU, offered a similar assessment of what led employees to look to 1199. “We felt that the staff didn’t have enough of a voice in terms of our employment,” Brazo explained. “We felt the best way to do that was with a union and we felt that 1199 had a good history of social justice — which Callen-Lorde has as its mission.”

Explaining that she “shed antiunion attitudes” while studying the labor movement as an undergraduate sociology major, Brazo said the “biggest barrier” to educating fellow staff members at Callen-Lorde was “misinformation” about what unions are and what they do. By this past November, organizers had collected union cards from the majority of the staff, which management could have accepted as sufficient to recognize the union. Instead, the clinic insisted that staff undertake a formal vote. At that point, 1199 and Callen-Lorde negotiated a “neutrality agreement,” under which management agreed not to intervene in the organizing effort. Two months later, the union drive achieved the winning vote. “It was a really beautiful process for me to see personally, very empowering,” Brazo said. “I learned a lot about labor rights and how best to run an agency. It was overwhelmingly positive. That’s why I love Callen-Lorde. This whole process proved how dedicated to the community the staff is, just as management has always said.” The success in organizing doctors on staff at Callen-Lorde also represents the type of new opportunities for growth available to 1199, which acknowledged it is not yet that common. Dr. Roona Ray, a member of the clinic’s medical team who was among the organizers of the union effort, was the first staff member to reach out to our sister publication, Gay City News, several days prior to the January 13 vote. The next step for the new union will be sitting down with Callen-Lorde management to discuss the parameters of a new contract and to resolve questions of eligibility for a few employees not yet able to join 1199. Those involved in winning approval of the union said salary and benefits would be key areas of discussion, but Callen-Lorde staff now have the option of choosing a union healthcare plan if they are dissatisfied with the policy they’re able to negotiate with the clinic. According to 1199, the new union members are also eligible to participate in a range of SEIU-funded higher education opportunities. Management at Callen-Lorde, which has not yet met with representatives of the union since the successful vote last month, declined comment at this time. .com


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February 12 - 25, 2015


Courtesy of Death Ave

Owner Michael Tzezailidis designed the interior, using reclaimed wood (all of the tables are made from a single piece of oak).

The octopus, cooked for eight hours and finished on a gr and ribs are also cooked for eight hours).

Death Ave Envisions a Long Life Feeding BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Saying someone “has a vision” has become a trope — but spend some time with owner Michael Tzezailidis at his new restaurant near the emerging Hudson Yards neighborhood, and it is clear that he planned Death Ave with foresight. Start with the location: 315-317 10th Ave., between 28th and 29th Sts. When Tzezailidis went looking for space, he started in neighborhoods like Union Square, where the asking price for rent was $50,000 per month. “I would sit down and I would crunch my numbers and it just didn’t add up,” he told Chelsea Now at his restaurant. “You can’t make money doing that. I don’t care how busy you are. “It forced me to start looking for up-and-coming neighborhoods. And I was looking at all kinds of different places, of course. I thought it would be a good idea to come close to the Hudson Yards.” Upon seeing the backyard that was part of the property, he said, “I think I can make this work.” Tzezailidis and his partners signed a lease in 2011 and the idea of being neighborhood “anchor pioneers,” a title which they tout on their website, took root. “One of the exciting things about this neighborhood, obviously, is Hudson Yards. Yes, we’re Chelsea. This might be the border right here,” explained Tzezailidis. “Hudson Yards is really just an exciting new development for the city. Most people don’t really comprehend the amount of building that’s going on here. We’re happy to be part of it.” Thus far, the boundary of Hudson Yards is considered from 30th to 34th Sts., from 10th Ave. to the West Side Highway. In 2011, there was no construction on 28th or


February 12 - 25, 2015

29th Sts., he said, recalling that it was residential, one-story buildings. In the future, he said, there will be about “10,000 people just on these two blocks here. That was very reassuring.” Tzezailidis and his partners first opened a beer garden and restaurant called GastroMarket in 2012. They opened the restaurant knowing that they would take over the building next door and expand. It was a “gigantic undertaking” to renovate what was an old, rundown deli, he said. Three years ago, when he was looking for vintage photos of the neighborhood for decoration, he learned about the history of Death Avenue — so named for the street train that killed many people from the 1840s to the 1940s. “Amongst ourselves,” he recalled, “we thought, wouldn’t Death Avenue be an amazing name for a brewing company? We took the risk of going with that name because it’s kind of morbid and there’s a learning curve.” “People hear the name and they think Iron Maiden,” he added. Death Ave opened in December of last year. Its full name is Death Ave Estiatorio & Zthopoieio, which means restaurant and brewery in Greek, and nods to Tzezailidis’ heritage and culture. A first-generation American, his parents are from Greece and he grew up in Astoria and Long Island. “I grew up in a Greek household,” he said. “Everybody in my house — I lived with my grandparents, my mother, my father’s side, my aunts [and] my uncles — everyone was cooking. We weren’t a family that went out to restaurants. The restaurant was the home.” He acquired certain tastes, he said, and this is reflected in Death Ave’s brunch and dinner menus. “It’s fun doing this too, the Greek menu, playing

The Death Ave aesthetic started with eight casks perche

with it. Usually it’s not messed with,” he explained. “We’re not flipping it over, upside down on its head. We’re just incorporating it into some dishes that are kind of mainstream.” For example, instead of French toast, Death Ave serves Hellenic breakfast toast. .com

Courtesy of Death Ave

Courtesy of Death Ave

rill, typifies Death Ave’s patient method (the lamb shanks

This large backyard space inspired the Death Ave team to become “anchor pioneers” of an emerging Hudson Yards neighborhood.

g Needs of Hudson Yards Neighborhood

Courtesy of Death Ave

ed behind the bar, at the front of the restaurant.

“Instead of putting maple syrup, we put the petimezi, and we’re actually using a Greek bread that’s called Tsoureki,” which is kind of like a sweet brioche, he said. Petimezi is a classic grape syrup that the kitchen makes from scratch. Bushels of grapes are mashed using a wine crusher, boiled .com

down, and then all the traditional steps are taken to make it. The petimezi is also used as the base for the barbeque and spicy chili sauces. It complements a dish of roasted grape bread pudding that is served with homemade ice cream. Tzezailidis also highlighted the octopus, which is cooked for eight hours, and finished on a grill, “which is definitely something different than what everyone else is doing.” There is a lot of slow cooking as both the lamb shanks and ribs are cooked for eight hours. “Everything is made in house — everything — our ice cream, our sauces,” he said. “The only thing that comes out of the kitchen that’s not ours is probably ketchup.” The care that is taken in the kitchen can be seen in other aspects of the restaurant. Tzezailidis designed the space and deemed it “a real labor of love for me.” All the wood is reclaimed, mostly coming from the oldest department store in Tennessee (which has since closed). The tables are made from one piece of oak, he said. When the backyard is open, blankets are placed on the backs of the chairs, as they do in Switzerland, he explained. Every detail has been considered. The Death Ave aesthetic started with the casks that are perched behind the bar, at the front of the restaurant. “I went to a beer festival and the breweries broke out all these great casks,” he said. “I’d never really seen them before. I just thought it looked so cool the way they had set up.” These stacked casks spurred the idea to have them behind the bar. They bought an old produce refrigerator and customized it, which keeps the eight casks at

55 degrees. Four beers are now featured (Founders Pale Ale and Stone IPA among them), which will one day be replaced with a line of Death Ave beers. Currently, the other four are for the cask cocktails, which include the Older Fashion and the Fig Julip. He said that the casks were definitely the first step towards the restaurant brewing its own beer. He took Chelsea Now on a tour of the brewery-to-be, where seven huge, shiny beer tanks await, and where there will be a private dining area. It is slated to open in April. Also on the tour was the adjacent cafe, which serves coffee and Greek-inspired takeout. The brewing of beer also has roots in his childhood, as he remembers crushing grapes growing up. “I haven’t put anything on the menu that’s not inspired somehow by my background,” he said. Tzezailidis worked in restaurants before, starting in junior high as a dishwasher, then moving on to bartending and waiting tables during college. “I had one foot in this business,” he said. “Getting into the restaurant business for me wasn’t so much of an eye opener. I already kind of knew what the business entailed.” The father of three (a seven-year-old son, a five-year-old daughter and a four-month-old boy), Tzezailidis said that having kids “is a real motivational factor. You’re not doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for family.” He wants Death Ave to be the neighborhood spot. “I’m not looking for a short flame,” he said. “I would love to see this place here in my old age.” For further information, visit, like the restaurant on Facebook or follow its Twitter and Instagram @DeathAve — or call 212-695-8080. February 12 - 25, 2015


See and Be the Show, at Treehouse Theater

Photo courtesy of Treehouse Theater

The Treehouse Theater lobby.

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February 12 - 25, 2015

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC For owner Ali Farahnakian, the newly renovated Treehouse Theater (154 W. 29th St.) is a homecoming of sorts. In 2002, he started the Peoples Improv Theater at what is now the Treehouse space. After PIT moved to E. 24th St. four years ago, Farahnakian kept in touch with the landlord, who told him the 29th St. space was available again — and if Farahnakian wanted to come back, he could. “So we decided to go back and open it again, but as a black box theater called the Treehouse Theater,� he said in a phone interview. The theater opened in May of last year, and Farahnakian said that it seemed to be needed. “It [is] a 50-seat black box theater in an area where there’s not a lot of theaters,� he said. “And black box theaters are going under left and right. As it stands, I felt like if I had the opportunity to put something there that I should. We figured it would be a way to put some art back on the block.� Farahnakian also owns a rehearsal space called Simple Studios at 134 W. 29th St. and a bar called Pioneers at 138 W. 29th St. (also, like Treehouse, between Sixth & Seventh Aves.). The idea, he said, is that people could potentially use the rehearsal space, take a class or see a show at the Treehouse Theater and then grab a drink at Pioneers after. In addition to open mics, improv and comedy shows, stand-up, readings and theater, the Treehouse Theater offers classes in acting, movement,

music, writing, dance and improv. Farahnakian is no stranger to improvisation. Growing up in North Carolina, he said was always interested in comedy, but “never thought it could be a real career.� Upon graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he studied at Chicago’s famed The Second City and ImprovOlympic (now iO), and was a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade in 1991. He then moved to New York City in 1999 to write for “Saturday Night Live.� After leaving the show, he was looking for a place to teach improv classes and found the theater space in Chelsea, which already had risers. “It was time to start a theater,� he recalled. “I had been doing [improv] for over a decade at that point. I was an apprentice, really, of other people’s theaters. It was a post-9/11 New York and there was this feeling of what can I do to help — what can I do with the rest of my life? It seemed like starting a theater, a comedy improvisational theater, was something I could do. That’s how we started the PIT.� Farahnakian said that the Treehouse Theater comes from a long line of theaters. Before it was the PIT, it was the Currican Theatre. “It’s been a theater there for almost 25 years,� he said. There are challenges for a new theater — the fixed costs of bills such as rent as well as building an audience, he said. “The first year of any business, espe-

Continued on page 20 .com

Adult Business to Occupy Former Rawhide Space

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

LGBT-2-B Committee

Pulling Madison Avenue Out of the Closet and into AdRespect February 19, 2015, 6-8 PM Has LGBT equality reached advertising yet? Photo by Scott Stiffler

A new adult business moving into the space formerly occupied by Rawhide bar (W. 21st St. & Eighth Ave.) has some residents concerned about the proliferation of sex shops — which will leave the Salvation Army store sandwiched by two such establishments.

Continued from page 6 that there would be many free activities, such as movie screenings on the flight deck, taking place throughout the summer. The pier is open to the public daily during museum hours, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. (6 p.m. in summer). For more info, visit

SAFETY MEASURES FOR TALL OFFICE BUILDINGS Ezra Moser of NYC’s Department of City Planning (DCP) presented a new safety provision, a citywide Stairwells Text Amendment to the city’s Building Code, which would require all new non-residential buildings greater than 420 feet high to meet certain safety measures for evacuation in an emergency. The DCP is required to make a presentation to all community boards that are affected, and CB4 is. These new measures emerge from extensive study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as a result of the tragedy at the World Trade Center on 9/11 (the board would later vote its approval for the proposed text amendment). Moser explained that new tall non-residential buildings would be required to incorporate one of the following options: construct all passenger elevators as “occupant self-evacuation” (meaning that they would be

ed to emergency standby power, have emergency communications, and special lobby dimensions to accommodate occupants and wheelchairs), or increase the required width of emergency exit stairways by 25 percent and construct “occupant self-evacuation” elevators (but the standby power only has to accommodate a limited number of elevators) or construct one additional emergency exit stairway than would be required. Depending on the chosen option, a building over 420 feet would increase approximately one-half to three-quarters of an additional story.

SEX SHOPS TO SANDWICH SALVATION ARMY As members of the community stepped up to the central microphone to speak about issues of concern, perceived quality of life threats rose up as a theme. Pamela Wolff, of the Chelsea West 200 Block Association, alerted CB4 to the sex shops proliferating on Eighth Ave. Rawhide bar — which she referred to as “a relatively benign presence for decades” on the corner of Eighth Ave. and W. 21st St. — departed in 2013, due to a rent increase. The owner of The Blue Store, two doors down, recently put in a winning bid for the Rawhide location, and has indicated

Continued on page 16

When was the last time you saw an inclusive commercial? How do corporations and Madison Avenue stack up to today’s gay-friendly world? What creative approaches work (or don’t), and why? Veteran business journalist Michael Wilke analyzes the way dozens of commercials represent LGBT people, from stereotypes and homophobia to same-sex weddings, and examines how effective they are.

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212 473 7875 | February 12 - 25, 2015


CB4 Shamed for Refusal to Fry Cripsin’s

Photo by Eileen Stukane

The NYC Dept. of City Planning’s Ezra Moser (at podium) explains a text amendment designed to improve stairwell safety in nonresidential buildings over 420 feet.

Continued from page 15 that this new adult business (currently under construction) will cater to a diversity of genders and sexual preferences, distinguishing itself from The Blue Store’s gay-centric clientele. “Now the Salvation Army will be bracketed by two of these places,” said Wolff, “and there’s a third [Rainbow Station] directly across the street.” Online advertising by The Blue Store and others like it, Wolff maintains, draw customers from far away to the neighborhood. She worries that an elementary school, PS11 (on W. 21st St. btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.) is too close to the adult shops and their increased clientele. She is planning to approach the Council of Chelsea Block Associations with a recent survey of neighbors and will eventually meet with the CB4 Quality of Life Committee.

BOARD SHAMED FOR REFUSAL TO FRY CRISPIN’S Antony Richards, a resident of 458 W. 52nd St., presented the board

with photos showing that Crispin’s, an Italian restaurant at 764 10th Ave., had taken its separate storage room around the corner at W. 52nd St., to create a 30-capacity wine bar adjacent to his apartment. He described how the owner of Crispin’s had disregarded the rules of his building permit and changed the egress, installed open French windows rather than the required fixed windows, and installed a forbidden doorway storm guard, “which they quickly took down when they realized I took a photo of it,” he said. What was a service entrance to a storage room on a residential side street was now a hub with noisy people gathering on the sidewalk. Richards implored the board not to authorize Crispin’s, due to the owner’s disregard of building permit stipulations. Frank Holozubiec, co-chair of CB4’s Business Licenses and Permits Committee, moderated a lengthy session that centered on approval of Crispin’s wine bar and a second Hell’s Kitchen location for Mr. Biggs Bar & Grill. On its website, CB4’s policy regarding the concentration and loca-


and suffered internal bleeding, hemorrhaging, required hospitalization or a loved one died while taking Xarelto between 2011 and the present time, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Attorney Charles H. Johnson 1-800-535-5727 16

February 12 - 25, 2015

tion of alcohol-serving establishments states, “MCB4 will give the concerns of immediately-affected residents strong consideration.” Holozubiec emphasized that since Crispin’s was applying for a wine/beer license, not a full liquor license, the 500-foot rule did not apply. Board member J.D. Noland argued that a 30-capacity wine bar on a side street in the Special Clinton District was destroying residential quality of life. A Spanish-speaking board member was needed to communicate with a representative of Crispin’s who was present and who promised to keep doors and windows closed and to soundproof the premises. The fact that Crispin’s had already ignored building permit stipulations was not addressed and the board voted to approve. Richards, who opposed Crispin’s expansion next to his residence, angrily exited after calling the board “shameful.”

SECOND MR. BIGGS SHOT DOWN, DESPITE SUPPORT Over two dozen people came to support or oppose a second Mr. Biggs in Hell’s Kitchen — a proposed 220-capacity cabaret of two floors, with two dance floors and two DJs, closing at 4 a.m., on 797 Eighth Ave. (btw. W. 48th & 49th Sts.). The prospective owner, Scott Sternick, also operates the original Mr. Biggs Bar & Grill, 596 10th Ave. (at W. 43rd St.) and Mickey Spillane’s, 350 W. 49th St. (at Ninth Ave.). Some said it was better to have Mr. Biggs than the two-story Vishara Video porn shop. Others praised the owner as a good operator. Applause erupted so many times CB4 chair Christine Berthet had to remind everyone that applause was not part of the public session. Those who opposed the new venue — based on a 4 a.m. closing and the State Liquor Authority (SLA) 500-foot rule stating that no liquor license can be granted within 500 feet of three or more existing licenses — were fewer in number. Holozubiec reported that for the proposed Mr. Biggs on Eighth Ave., owner Sternick would not compromise on the 4 a.m. closing and the establishment did fall into the 500-foot rule. Concern by residents was more weighted against Mr. Biggs in committee — but at this meeting, there were board members who endorsed the public praise of Sternick. CB4 member Peter Diaz, however, who lives in the Eighth Ave. neighborhood, spoke about how residents

are already dealing with safety issues regarding the early-morning street fights from the bars Social, Latitude and Copacabana. Considering quality of life this time, the board voted 19 to 15 to deny a liquor license for Mr. Biggs in its letter to the SLA. As Sternick rose to exit, approximately 25 others — several who spoke in the public session — joined him and the room was suddenly filled with empty chairs. In this instance the clearly organized effort to gain approval for Mr. Biggs had failed and quality of life had triumphed — the opposite of the Crispin’s vote. The proliferation of drinking establishments in the district is a conundrum for CB4, which went on to approve a public parking garage at 551 W. 21st St. and other items on the agenda.

REPORTS FROM ELECTED OFFICIALS Councilmember Corey Johnson announced that Participatory Budget (PB) meetings had resulted in a selection of projects that could benefit from the $1 million available from NYC’s capital budget. These projects, which will eventually be voted on by district residents, will be on display at the PB Expo, March 19, 6:30 p.m., Heiskell Library, 40 W. 20th St. Representing Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Diana Howard reported that over 700 applications for Community Boards had been received, and 30 were from teens. Also, applications for capital grants to city agencies, nonprofits, cultural institutions, and public schools for fiscal year 2016 are due on Feb. 26. For information: NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer will be celebrating Lunar New Year, Feb. 24, 6–8 p.m., at Surrogate’s Courthouse (31 Chambers St.). Assemblymember Richard Gottfried’s liaison Eli Strauss reminded that Feb. 15th is the deadline to sign up for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. For help, call Gottfried’s district office: 212-8077900. Gottfried has also introduced two new bills: one to create licensed midwife birth centers, another to allow legal representatives or estates of nursing home residents to sue for abuse or injury. Newsletters from elected officials are available on the CB4 home page online: .com

ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT Fashion Week Photos Lift The Game Face Veil Litovsky sees ‘visual sociology’ backstage, on catwalk, in crowds PHOTOGRAPHY DINA LITOVSKY: FASHION LUST Through February 26 Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. At Anastasia Photo 166 Orchard St. Call 212-677-9725 Visit Aritst Info:

BY NORMAN BORDEN Fashionistas of the world, rejoice! New York Fashion Week (Feb. 12-19) is here — those eight chaotic, glamour-filled days where high profile fashion designers and brands send supermodels strolling down the runway to show off their new collections to department store buyers, celebrities and media people all interested in seeing what’s next (and what’s not). Hordes of photographers maneuver to capture the models’ every scripted movement. Backstage, models stay cool and composed, knowing photographers and Instagrammers are keeping them under constant surveillance. But photographer Dina Litovsky is definitely not one of the pack — and when you see how she managed to peel away the protective insulation surrounding the activities of Fashion Week in New York, London and Paris, you may be amazed by what goes on behind the scenes. To fully appreciate Litovsky’s point of view in this “Fashion Lust” exhibit, it helps to remember that these biannual spectacles used to be exclusive events for a select group: fashionistas and A-List celebrities. Not so long ago, before the camera phone, the rules of behavior were simple and .com

Courtesy of Anastasia Photo ©Dina Litovsky

A crowd watches the Issey Miyake runway show at Paris Fashion Week, Spring 2014.

strict. If you were privileged enough to sit in the front row, you were told to put on your game face, not lean forward, and make sure your legs were under your seat — and never, ever take photographs. Anyone who used a camera ran the risk of being ejected from the show. Unauthorized pictures might compromise the image of an industry that took pride in keeping information to itself. The models, designers and celebs didn’t want to be seen without their poker face on or with their guard down, which could ruin a carefully crafted image. But now, bloggers in the audience with digital cameras, iPads and iPhones can instantly post on social media what they see and feel, giving their audiences a very different perspective. The fashion world was entirely fresh territory for Litovsky when New York Magazine gave her the assignment to go backstage to photograph the 2012 Spring/Summer New York

shows. The editors liked her pictures so much, Litovsky got the assignment to photograph the 2013 Paris shows. The photographer says, “I wasn’t at all into fashion. I had to look at a copy of Vogue like a textbook. When I went to a show and asked what Marc Jacobs looked like, I got a stare like…who let her in here?” But New York Magazine hadn’t hired Litovsky for her fashion expertise. The editors recognized her talent and a unique style after seeing her work from “Untag This Photo,” her project on New York City nightlife in clubs, parties and bars, which captured social performances and group interactions. The photographer explains, “I’d become interested in how women react to cameras. There are no more walls between public and private lives and I was fascinated with how women are responding to this.” Litovsky, who earned a BA from NYU in psychology and an MFA from

the School of Visual Arts in 2010, didn’t take her first photograph until the age of 24. Even so, she quickly found her niche by integrating her ideas and knowledge of psychology into photography. She thinks of her work as “visual sociology,” explaining, “I’m exploring how culture influences people’s behavior.” Shooting “Fashion Lust” over four seasons gave Litovsky opportunities to explore and experiment. She looked for those intimate, fleeting moments that other photographers didn’t or couldn’t see. “There were probably 20 photographers for every model,” she recalls, “so the models aren’t really aware of who’s shooting what. Photographers usually want the game face, the beauty shot. But when I shot something else instead, some people became suspicious of my motives.”

Continued on page 18 February 12 - 25, 2015


Guard Down, Game On at Fashion Week wipe away the kisses (and any trace of reality). It’s the juxtaposition of the sober with the silly. And she was also in the right place at the right time to capture another unauthorized moment: a sunglass-wearing, longnailed, flame-haired woman playfully grabbing the butt of another attendee passing by. Again, Litovsky uses off camera flash to highlight the main subject, darken the background and tell the story. Fashions come and go — but work like this will always be in style.

Continued from page 17 In her search for an out-ofthe ordinary shot, Litovsky would observe a model’s body language and look for any micro-gestures — telltale movements like a tightly clenched fist that belie a model’s smiling face. “The models are so composed, always guarding their image,” she says. But sometimes they do let their guard down — and when a model at the 2014 NY Shows let out a big yawn, Litovsky finally got the picture she’d wanted after four seasons of waiting and watching. Her use of off-camera flash separates the subject from the background and adds to the edginess. It also shows the influence of her mentor, Bruce Glidden, known for his in-your- face, take-no-prisoners style. If you visit the gallery, you can’t miss or ignore the 40x60-inch image on the back wall. It’s a mesmerizing picture of a crowd of about 60 people at a 2014 Paris show, with about half of them holding phones or iPads. I see this as the photographer’s take on visual sociology as well as contem-

Courtesy of Anastasia Photo ©Dina Litovsky

Designer Jason Wu and models pose for photographers after his Spring 2013 show in New York City.

porary social commentary. Are these people here to see the show or just to Instagram it to their followers? By Instagramming where they are and what they’re seeing in real time, they’re saying to their audiences, “I am here and you are not” — or maybe just reinforcing their cool factor. Litovsky explains that she’s always

pushing to capture an image that digs underneath the layer of glamour but doesn’t ridicule anyone. So when she spotted designer Jason Wu with a bunch of well-placed lipstick kisses on his cheek and surrounded by glamorous models, she literally tripped over a guard to get the shot before Wu’s publicist was able to

Norman Borden is a New Yorkbased writer and photographer. The author of more than 100 reviews for and a member of Soho Photo Gallery and ASMP, his image “Williamsburg” was chosen by juror Jennifer Blessing, Curator of Photography at the Guggenheim, for inclusion in the 2014 competition issue of “The Photo Review.” He is also exhibiting in Soho Photo’s annual Krappy Kamera ® exhibition, through Feb. 28. Visit

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Silent Films, Live Sounds Free screening of Man Ray shorts, latter-day ‘Snow White’ at Winter Garden NEW SOUNDS LIVE: SILENT FILMS/LIVE MUSIC Feb. 17–20 8 p.m. At Winter Garden at Brookfield Place 230 Vesey Street (at West Street) Free Info:

BY TRAV S.D. ( “There is no new thing under the sun,” went the wisdom of Solomon. And so it is that among the more novel diversions to be had in the city now are silent films, a form that last enjoyed mainstream popularity nearly 90 years ago. From Feb. 17–20, WNYC’s “New Sounds Live” will be presenting “Silent Films/Live Music” at the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. Two separate programs will be presented on alternating nights. The showings are free. On Tues., Feb. 17 and Thurs., Feb. 19, four short avant-garde works by Man Ray will be shown, accompanied by an original live score by SQÜRL, a band featuring the filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (“Dead Man,” “Broken Flowers”) and his musical partner Carter Logan. Naturally, SQÜRL specializes in improvised avant-rock, creating soundscapes out of trippy feedback loops, distorted guitars and heavy percussion. American-born painter, photographer, and filmmaker Man Ray was a key figure in the Dada and Surrealism movements in Paris in the 1920s and '30s. His films are non-linear, non-narrative experiments. These films are a far cry from the Hollywood product of their day and, in some ways, remain ahead of their time. The viewer is frequently disoriented, through such techniques as skewed angles, double exposure, reverse polarity, slow motion, stop motion animation, soft focus and simple tricks of light and shadow — not to mention his famous “Rayographs.” A special photographic technique of his own, Rayographs were produced by placing common

Courtesy of Arts Brookfield

Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and his musical partner Carter Logan, perform a live score, to accompany four short avant-garde works by Man Ray.

Rotten Tomatoes

A latter-day Spanish updating of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Pablo Berger’s 2012 film screens on Feb. 18 & 20.

Courtesy of Arts Brookfield

The Feb. 17–20 programs are recorded for future broadcast on WNYC radio’s New Sounds Live.

hold objects (spoons, pearls) directly onto photographic paper and exposing them to light. The four Man Ray films will be the two-minute-plus “Retour a la Raison” (“The Return of Reason,”1923), “Emak Bakia” (1926), “L’Etoile De Mer” (“The Starfish,” 1928), and “Les Mysteres Du Chateau Du De” (“The Mysteries of the House of Dice,” 1929) — which, at 28 minutes, is the lengthiest of the selections. It is also the closest to a narrative film: four faceless people wander around a mansion — swimming in the swimming pool and periodically rolling a giant pair of dice. On Wed., Feb. 18 and Fri., Feb. 20, the series will present the U.S. premiere of “Blancanieves,” a latter-day Spanish updating of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” set against a backdrop of bullfighting in Andalusia in the 1920s. The Andalusian theme seems most apt given that the most famous of all the classic Surrealist films is “Un Chien Andalou” (“An Andalusian Dog”, 1929), by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali…which connects us back to Man Ray. But other than the Andalusian setting, the comparisons stop there. Pablo Berger’s 2012 film is a masterful (and magical) piece of storytelling concerning a daughter striving to return to her father and carry out his legacy despite the cruel conniving of an evil stepmother. And believe it or not, the film has seven little people. They actually “went there” — and it works! I thought this film was easily the equal of 2011’s “The Artist” in reviving the art form of silent, black and white storytelling. One can only speculate on (and I have some pretty good guesses) what sort of myopia has prevented distributors from opening the film in the U.S. until this late date. But be glad they are. I highly recommend this film. As a special treat, the February screenings will include a live appearance by the composer of the film’s original soundtrack, Alfonso Vilallonga, along with his ensemble, the Wordless Music Orchestra. The programs will be recorded for future broadcast on WNYC radio’s New Sounds Live (an interesting proposition, given that listeners won’t be able to see the films that the music will accompany). The show airs nightly at 11 p.m. on WNYC 93.9FM. February 12 - 25, 2015


Treehouse Theater Rooted in Improv Continued from page 14 cially a theater, is just trying to stay in business and find an audience and a group of people who want to utilize the space,” said Farahnakian. “People are familiar with the space, they know it, they have a fondness for it,” he added. “It’s a good space. It’s got good bones and it’s got good energy and it definitely wants people in there playing make believe.” When it first opened, it had the name This Theater, explained Rob Reese, the theater’s resident director, and they quickly realized that people didn’t like getting into “a vaudeville [Who’s on First?] routine every time they talked about what theater they were going to.” The name was changed to Treehouse Theater in August. Reese said that while they are very much committed to improvisation, the Treehouse Theater is about expanding to all areas of performances — “trying to get the energy and spontaneity and joy that you find on an improv stage in regular theater, for lack of a better term.”

Photo by Rob Reese

L to R: Rick Delancey, Brad Lassiter, John Blevins, Jessie Bunting, Andy O’Neill, Jesus, Viramontes, Andrew Grau and Francesca “Cecca” Caviglia at a “Sundry Sundae Sunday” event.

There is a series of different theatrical improvisation classes for both the novice and experienced, said Reese in a phone interview, as well as scene study, monologues, voice and modern dance classes. Reese also teaches classes and has extensive experience in improvisation. Like Farahnakian, he was part of the

Chicago improv scene and was in Farahnakian’s shows. He is the founder and artistic director of the improv company Amnesia Wars and has toured the United States and the world teaching workshops and performing. He has known Farahnakian for around 18 years and said, “he drew me into” the Treehouse Theater.

Also a writer, one of Reese’s plays has been included in “Playing with Canons: Explosive New Works from Great Literature by America’s Indie Playwrights,” which is edited by Martin Denton, who has been immersed in the indie theater scene since 1999. The anthology is a collection of 18 plays that are all adaptions of classic literature rewritten by modern playwrights over the past ten years or so, explained Reese. On Wednesdays, the Treehouse Theater hosts a reading series featuring one the plays from that anthology. Every Sunday night, there is “Sundry Sundae Sunday” — a variety show comprised of the theater’s resident companies each doing a set for around 20 minutes. Also upcoming is “Many Mansions,” from Feb. 11 through 26. Written by cartoonist Brooke McEldowney, according to the press release, the play follows a young atheist, Cecily Gosling, who “boards the subway at 42nd Street to find religious ecstasy in a waiting room” — and more adventures. For more information, visit



Make sure your business or service is included! The must-have guide to community, educational, health, and recreational resources. This year’s handbook will also highlight the Best of Off-Off Broadway theaters in the downtown area.

To advertise, email or call: | 718 260 8340 20

February 12 - 25, 2015


Just Do Art

Photo by Summer Yen

Man and machine do the Fred and Ginger thing, in “Huang Yi & Kuka.”

© Nancy Carbonaro

Catherine Russell headlines Feb. 19’s Anniversary Gala, which launches the new season of Jack Kleinsinger’s Highlights In Jazz series.

an anniversary gala featuring the swinging jazz and blues of Catherine Russell and her group. This is the acclaimed vocalist’s “Highlights” debut. An all-star quartet of returning veterans (clarinetist/saxophonist Dan Levinson and singer/trumpeter Bria Skonberg with pianist Gordon Webster and bassist/vocalist Nicki Parrott) will play a repertoire of jazz classics. The series continues on March 19, with a Battle of the Saxes. Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon is saluted on May 7, with the guest of honor in attendance — and in performance. June 11’s “Jazz, Past & Present” theme wraps things up, featuring the Highlights In Jazz New Stars (Steven Frieder, tenor saxophone; Benny Benack, trumpet; Dylan Meek, piano; Devin Starks, bass; Kosta Galanopoulos, drums). All shows start at 8 p.m. at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center (199 Chambers St. btw. Greenwich & West Sts.). Tickets are $160 for all four concerts, $45 each ($40 for students with valid ID). To order, visit or call 212-220-1460. Also visit © 2015 Darleen Rubin

The New York Dolls play a 1974 Save Our Libraries rally, in an image from Darleen Rubin’s “Before The Garden” exhibit (through Feb. 25 at Jefferson Market Library).


HUANG YI & KUKA Although cell phones and flat screen TVs are old news, the long-promised sentient androids of science fiction have yet to make an appearance. But we do have robots toiling away on assembly lines, whose precision and fluidity rarely falters or wanes. Might they, with proper motivation, aspire to use those qualities for artistic expression rather than mindless servitude? Taiwanese dancer, choreographer and inventor Huang Yi, who grew up watching his parents teach tango, spent much of his childhood longing for a robot companion. In this graceful blend of modern dance, visual art and automation technology, Huang plays Geppetto to a German-made KUKA industrial robot — endowing it with lifelike expressive abilities and asking his audience to consider the implications of collaboration between .com

humans and robots. Developed over a three-month period, it’s the first residency from QA Ring — an international consortium focused on creating and touring digital performance art. See Huang’s website (huangyi. tw) for video clips from Phase I of this project, as well as other works that utilize the music of Bach (whose Partita for solo violin, along with original material by Ryoichi Kurokawa, comprise the “Kuka” soundtrack). Through Feb. 17. Thurs./Fri. and Mon./Tues. at 8 p.m. Sat./Sun. at 3 p.m. & 8 p.m. At 3LD Art and Technology Center (80 Greenwich St. at Rector St.). For tickets ($30), call 866-811-4111 or visit

HIGHLIGHTS IN JAZZ 42ND ANNIVERSARY GALA Produced by the indefatigable Jack Kleinsinger with a mandate to nurture new talent and honor living legends, New York’s longest-running jazz concert series will launch its 43rd season on Feb. 19, with

BEFORE THE GARDEN: AN EXHIBIT OF PHOTOGRAPHS BY DARLEEN RUBIN Will our city ever swing quite the way it did in the 1970s? Hard to believe unless you lived through it, but there was a time when the walls came down, a green space went up and The New York Dolls headlined a Save Our Libraries rally. Darleen Rubin was there, and captured it all with her trusty camera and her knack for communicating the essence of an era. Having previously exhibited on topics including the waterfront and Rollerena, “Before The Garden” finds Rubin back at Jefferson Market Library with images that chart the slow dismantling of its infamous next door neighbor: the “House of D” women’s detention facility. Closed in 1971, the shuttered eyesore became a garden three years later. The photos in this exhibit include documentation of that legendary library rally, with the Dolls in their glorious glam rock prime. Free. Through Feb. 25. At Jefferson Market Library (425 Sixth Ave., at 10th St.). Mon./Wed 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues./Thurs. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Fri./Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. For more info, visit February 12 - 25, 2015



February 12 - 25, 2015


Buhmann on Art GALLERY NANCY GRAVES Through March 7 Tues.–Sat. / 10 a.m.–6 p.m. At Mitchell-Innes & Nash 534 W. 26th St. Btw. 10th & 11th Aves. Call 212-744-7400 Visit

Courtesy of the Nancy Graves Foundation, Inc and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NY. All images © 2015 Nancy Graves Foundation, Inc/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Nancy Graves: “Evol” (1978 / Watercolor on paper / 63 5/8 by 44 1/2 in. / 161.6 by 113 cm.).

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN ( An internationally acclaimed conceptual artist, Graves (1939–1995) has been featured in hundreds of notable exhibitions and her work is in the permanent collections of major art museums. Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Graves earned her MFA in painting at Yale in 1964, where her classmates included Robert and Sylvia Mangold, Brice Marden, Chuck Close, and

Courtesy of the Nancy Graves Foundation, Inc and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NY. All images © 2015 Nancy Graves Foundation, Inc/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Richard Serra (to whom she was married from 1965 to 1970). Bursting onto the international scene in 1969 with a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, followed by her prominent inclusion in Documenta V (1972) and Documenta

VI (1977), Graves developed a body of work that guides the viewer through her own process of discovery and creation. Groundbreaking scientific research, natural history and fine art were her main source of inspiration. During the 1970s, several of her

paintings were based on clippings from natural history books or topographical maps of the ocean floor and moon, for example. To Graves, these gathered images, as well as contemporary scientific research and the excitement of new discoveries, embodied a key to the exploration of the unknown.

Win Tickets to “ Horseplay: Or, The Fickle Mistress”

Photo by James Eden

Long before the first Madonna song or Kim Kardashian skin shot, Adah Isaacs Menken rode to international superstardom after being stripped, strapped to the back of a horse, and sent up a fourstory-tall papier-mâché stage mountain in the Broadway melodrama “Mazeppa.” Ridiculed in 1861 as “unhampered by the shackles of talent,” this reimagining of Menken’s life aims to reclaim her rightful place in popular culture and lore — but as what: Black? White? Jewish? Catholic? Lesbian? Poet? Actress?

Equestrienne? Written by this publication’s Downtown theatre columnist, Trav. S.D. — and presented by Theatre Askew as the latest entry its celebration of the history of queer presence in New York — “Horseplay: Or, The Fickle Mistress, A Protean Picaresque” stars Molly Pope as Menken and features longtime Ridiculous Theatrical Company member Everett Quinton. The winner of our giveaway will receive two tickets for the Thurs., Feb. 26, 8 p.m. performance. To enter, email, along with your phone number (only enter once, please). A winner will be selected at random, and contacted by phone on Feb. 23. The show, which runs through March 1, takes place at La Mama’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. Fourth St.). But why leave it to chance? Purchase tickets ($18, $13 for students/seniors) by calling 646-430-5374 or visiting


February 12 - 25, 2015


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February 12 - 25, 2015


CHELSEA NOW, FEB. 12, 2015  

CHELSEA NOW, FEB. 12, 2015

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