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THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL'S KITCHEN

Survey: Improvement on BRC Block, But Concerns Remain BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Since the Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC) opened its 12-story vertical campus in 2011, relations between the residential and outpatient shelter/treatment facility and its neighbors have been contentious — but a just-released survey links recent efforts to improvements on the block. Last October, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) assigned peace officers to patrol W. 25th St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). They are trained in security measures but do not carry weapons. After two NYPD officers were fatally shot Continued on page 2

Rezoning Plan to Build Housing Could Deconstruct Local Efforts BY ZACH WILLIAMS The New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) held a March 25 “public scoping meeting,” to consider what matters should be covered in an Environment Impact Statement — a preliminary step to enact Mayor Bill de Blasio’s citywide rezoning proposal, known as “Zoning for Quality and Affordability.” Concerned that such changes would drastically overhaul regulations on the height, size and shape of new residential developments, more than 100 people attended the “public scoping meeting” to comment. Critics — including members of Community Board 4 Continued on page 4

Face Yourself See page 21.

Photo by Zach Williams

Aidan Collins, 10, stepped into the role of point man for the proposal to renovate the library at PS3 — item #6 on your Participatory Budgeting ballot.

Projects Vie at Participatory Budgeting Expo BY ZACH WILLIAMS With election time fast approaching, residents of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen gathered at a March 24 Expo to present beautification, repair and upgrade projects set to appear on the Participatory Budgeting ballot. Seventeen projects will vie for support in voting to be held from April 11-19, with the top vote-getters receiving funding until the cumulative amount reaches the $1 million allocated by Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office. There was no clear front-runner among the proposals seen at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library (40 W. 20th St.) — but certain advantages and strategies were apparent at the event, which attracted about 100 potential voters. This is the first time District 3 has taken part in the process since Participatory Budgeting was established in 2011, as an option of how to spend discretionary funding distributed from the city’s capital budget (Johnson’s office was given approximately $5 million). Current City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was one of the four who opted in during that first year. Currently, 24 districts are taking part. Matt Green, a legislative aide to Councilmember Johnson who also serves

© CHELSEA NOW 2015 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

as the office’s Participatory Budget Director, told Chelsea Now that the jump happened in part because the process has become “more institutionalized, with more resources and staff.” Johnson told Expo attendees that he hopes several thousand people will participate in voting, which is open to anyone who lives Council District 3 and is at least 14 years old. “I don’t have all the answers and I shouldn’t be the only person in charge of determining what is important and what needs to be funded,” said Johnson. “This is democratizing the budget process.” There was no shortage of ideas in response. Parks, schools, streets, libraries, bus stops and composting received attention in the process. Two proposals set their sites on the most private of public spaces: bathrooms. Different approaches to campaigning at the event included touting streetscape innovations, the involvement of young people in proposals and even a bit of candy to entice prospective voters to one display. One proposal seemed to benefit when its delegate was unable to attend the meeting. Ten-year-old Aidan Collins

Continued on page 12 VOLUME 07, ISSUE 09 | MARCH 26 - APRIL 08, 2015


BRC Steps Up as DHS Officers Pulled From Patrolling Block Continued from page 1 in Bedford-Stuyvesant in December, the peace officers were pulled off the street (but maintain their 24-7 presence within the facility). Carla Nordstrom of the West 25th Street Project said that her block association fought hard to get the DHS peace officers to patrol the block. “Our sense of it was that things became better on the block once they were out patrolling,” said Nordstrom in a phone interview. “But we wanted to be able to show that was the case.” Muzzy Rosenblatt, executive director for the BRC, explained there are Community Advisory Committee meetings every month. At the December meeting, the idea of doing a survey was discussed, said Rosenblatt. There was “a desire to get a sense of have [the peace officers] had an impact. Has it changed the mood, the feeling that people have on the block,” he said. The BRC, Community Board 4, the West 25th Street Project and the offices of Manhattan Borough President

Photo by Scott Stiffler

Although peace officers no longer patrol the BRC block, a survey indicates conditions have improved (the DHS maintains a 24-7 presence within the facility).

Gale Brewer, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Councilmember Corey Johnson worked together on the survey. In early January, the West 25th Street Project distributed surveys to about 160 people — residents and

businesses, she said — with a request to respond by the end of the month. Businesses on the block were asked to reach out to their regular customers. “We expected that we’d maybe get 100 responses, so we were really pleased when we got as many responses as we did,” said Nordstrom. A report — “Results of the Community Survey Assessing Safety and Quality of Life Issues in the Area around West 25th Street” — was released last week. Out of the 208 responses, 35 percent of the responses came from residents of the neighborhood, 21 percent came from people who work in the area and 45 percent came from frequent visitors of the neighborhood. When asked why 45 percent of the respondents came from frequent visitors, Johnson’s office replied in an email that they wanted to include both residents and businesses in the survey. Visitors may have included employees

Although 17% of respondents noticed a change for the better since Oct. 2014 (which is when the DHS peace officers arrived), more than 53% say they’ve noticed worse and much worse changes in safety and/or quality of life issues during this same time period. Although a majority of people said that safety and/or quality of life issues are worse or much worse, it is much lower when compared to 89% of people who responded to this same question since Oct. 2011.

of the businesses on the block. The survey showed that people feel there has been a deterioration in safety and quality of life since 2011, which is when the BRC moved to W. 25th St. Some examples of how quality of life has changed on the block include harassment toward residents (especially women), a noticeable increase in drug dealing, and more fights reported in the area, according to the survey. Respondents also said that the presence of DHS peace officers on the block has been helpful. However, many said that they feel less safe during the evening, generally from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., according to the survey.

Continued on page 17

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Skeptics Say Impact Statement a Precursor Continued from page 1 — told DCP officials that the process was moving too fast, neglected neighborhood nuance, and could jeopardize their efforts to balance development with neighborhood character and needs. A rally was held on the steps of City Hall just prior to the DCP hearing, at which critics of the plan asserted that the potential zoning changes, which are intended to boost affordable housing in the city, would instead benefit luxury, market-rate development. Current restrictions of 70 feet in West Chelsea and Greenwich Village were the results of negotiations made years ago during a prior rezoning effort with the expectation that they would remain in place, according to Councilmember Corey Johnson. “Those rezonings took place because people said ‘OK give us the cap here and we will trade you somewhere else and give you an upzoning’ This would wipe all of this away in many instances,” he said at the rally which drew about 50 supporters and elected officials from throughout the city.

Photo by Zach Williams

Dozens gathered on the steps of City Hall on March 25, including Andrew Berman (above speaking to crowd), executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, also spoke against the Impact Study. “Just to be clear, this plan that has been proposed by the city would change rules that communities fought for years and years and years to get to help pro-

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6:00pm Community Supper 7:00pm The Maundy Thursday Liturgy & Stripping of the Altar

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March 26 - April 08, 2015

tect the scale and character of their neighborhoods and in a lot of cases these proposed changes by the city are really for nothing but market-rate luxury condo development,” said Berman. The DCP wants to expand affordable housing by updating zoning regulations, which developers say stymie construction and unduly limit the maximization of building sizes within current restrictions. But critics of the effort worry that changes could lead to more high-rises in city neighborhoods while not effectively addressing the need for more affordable housing. Approval of zoning changes could also impose a “one-size-fits-all” approach at the expense of neighborhood character, critics said at the March 25 rally (and soon after, at the hearing). A draft scope of the study was made public a month beforehand, but members of city community boards said that they really only had a week to prepare their own analysis of the 166-page, Feb. 2015 DCP document (which, when completed, will address issues pertaining to potential changes to contextual zoning regulations). Contextual zoning regulates the height, bulk, setback from street, and frontage width in new buildings — with the purpose of maintaining the architectural character of neighborhoods, according to a City definition. “Commenting on the draft scope of work is very challenging since we don’t have the actually zoning text to view so far it appears that a number of proposed goals are very sound but of course the devil is in the details,” Elizabeth Mackintosh — co-chair of the CB4 Land Use Committee (CLU) — told DCP offi-

cials at the meeting. Mackintosh also offered suggestions to DCP on the scope of the environmental review. DCP needs to study the impact zoning changes would have on special districts in Chelsea as well as how increased building heights could affect views, shadows, light, air quality and affordable housing tenants. More research is also needed into just how many market-rate and affordable units exist now and would in the future. Fellow committee co-chair Lee Compton added that study is also needed into a proposed increase in commercial ground floor heights — especially in how they might affect local businesses and neighborhood character. Loosening restrictions on backyard spaces to create more room for residential units necessitates scrutiny as well, he said, because they could increase the use of other open spaces in Chelsea and elsewhere. Borough President Gale Brewer, along with 26 other elected officials from Manhattan, sent a letter to Carl Weisbrod, chair of the City Planning Commission expressing their own concerns about the current trajectory of zoning changes. Community Board representatives told Brewer at a Borough Board meeting on March 19 that the process was moving too fast and undermined their prior zoning work, according to Christine Berthet, CB4 chair. “By increasing height limits across the board, this administration is undermining these agreements made between previous administrations and neighborhood residents,” reads the March 25 letter. “While it may be true that the constraints of the contextual building envelope are stifling the production of housing, we are not convinced that the proposed adjustments are the perfect solution.” The current rules on zoning came into effect in 1987. Changes are needed in order to meet the demands of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing push, according to representatives of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPC), who presented their own research to the CLU on March 16. The non-profit group represents the perspectives of a board including nearly 100 architects, developers and lawyers. Of particular concern to the CHPC is how the limitations on building dimensions (called “the envelope”) reduce the amount of residential units in a new development. A 2014 CHPC study examined the experiences of 17 projects in the city — none of which were in Manhattan south of 99th St. Only one .com


to Destructive Zoning Changes Continued from page 4 out of that sampling was able to maximize floor space under current restrictions, according to the report. In the 28 years since the changes, average floor-to-floor heights have increased from about eight feet, eight inches to nine or more feet. Pre-war buildings typically feature even higher ceilings. But building practices require more infrastructure between floors — such as fire sprinklers and soundproofing materials. As a result, this limits the amount of floors permitted by what the CHPC called “rigid” building height limits. The result is that architects and developers have to maximize floor area as much as possible while keeping construction costs down, according to CHPC president Mark E. Ginsberg. “We’ve created this straitjacket where if you look at a lot of the buildings there’s very little variation besides the color of the brick because (developers are) trying to take all the floor area and fit it into the building,” he said to the CLU at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Limiting a building’s height by floors

rather than feet is one way to inject more residential units into a development, according to the CHCP report. “Many CHPC board members believe that New York City should begin to move away from such prescribed requirements for our built environment and make a shift toward performance zoning — an alternative system to traditional land use planning that uses performance-based, or goal-oriented criteria,” reads the report. Removing obstacles to housing production and reducing construction costs are key strategies of de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, which has the ambition of preserving or creating 200,000 units of affordable housing by 2024. The DCP is in the midst of a yearlong process, preparing recommendations to the City Planning Commission and City Council on zoning changes. In addition to hearing public comment, the March 25 meeting was meant to refine content for its Environmental Impact Statement, a draft of which is scheduled to be completed this spring. The public land use review process will likely commence at about that time and conclude in the fall, according to the department. Members of the CLU expressed con-

Photo by Zach Williams

More than 50 people crowded into a DCP public hearing on March 25, with dozens more viewing the meeting on closed circuit.

cern that altering current zoning regulations would lead to higher buildings and questioned whether developers truly need to maximize floor area as much as possible in order to build affordable housing while still making money. But more than anything at the meeting, the biggest worry was that 16 years of development of the community board’s own housing plan could quickly become irrelevant by the city’s plan.

A balance needs to be struck between high rises and maintaining New York City’s most historic neighborhoods, according to Kathleen Treat, chair of the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association. “Skyscrapers have their place maybe it’s West 42nd St., but not there, not Chelsea, not the Village,” she said on the steps of City Hall just prior to attending the March 25 DCP meeting.

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L-R: Dale Soules, Hamish Linklater, John Noble, Mickey Theis and Henry Stram, in “Posterity” (at the Linda Gross Theater through April 5).

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC In early 1988, a young theater company got its first big break: a show at Lincoln Center. “We got very lucky,” Neil Pepe told Chelsea Now. “It really put us on the map.” Pepe was talking about “Boys’ Life,” the first of many milestones in the Atlantic Theater Company’s evolution, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with a gala. Another production had been cancelled, explained Pepe, who has been the company’s artistic director since 1992, and “Boys’ Life” took the spot. The play got get excellent reviews, was extended and “publicly launched us.” The Atlantic Theater Company was the outgrowth of a series of workshops famed playwright David Mamet and actor William H. Macy taught at New York University. The company was founded in 1985, said Pepe, who joined as an actor in 1986. “I found them to be the hardest working group I’d ever met,” he recalled. After the success of “Boys’ Life,” the next landmark moment, said Pepe, was creating a permanent home in Chelsea in the early '90s. They had been looking for spaces throughout the city, when they happened upon the former Parish house at 336 W. 20th St. between Eighth and

Ninth Aves. It is now the company’s Linda Gross Theater (their Atlantic Stage 2 space is located at 330 W. 16th St.). Pepe said that the space in Chelsea was just what they needed, and the fact that it used to be part of a church with arched windows, high ceilings and brick seemed right. “But at that time, Chelsea was very different,” recalled Pepe. “It was an edgier neighborhood.” There was a wonderful mix of people with art galleries and restaurants starting to flourish. It was a Downtown space that matched what the young company was trying to do: edgy work that pushed boundaries, said Pepe. They renovated the Parish house, which has a beautiful, historic feel to it, said Pepe. They opened up the space and added more seats. In 1991, the company moved in. “It just seemed like a vibrant neighborhood that was willing to embrace change,” he said. “We loved that community feeling that Chelsea has. I really feel like Chelsea was a big part of who we became.” Pepe said that the company’s mission is to produce “great plays simply and truthfully, utilizing an artistic ensemble. Our approach to theater became very attractive, especially to writers,”

Continued on page 10 .com


Stepping Up the GENDA Pressure One More Time BY PAUL SCHINDLER LGBT rights advocates and elected officials gathered outside City Hall on March 12 to press the case for enactment of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) in Albany this spring. The press conference, organized by the Empire State Pride Agenda, and featuring several out gay members of the City Council as well as City Comptroller Scott Stringer, highlighted what have become familiar benchmarks in the long-stalled effort to win statewide civil rights protections for transgender and other gender-nonconforming New Yorkers. More than 12 years have passed since the state enacted the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, a gay rights measure where transgender protections were purposely excluded in what Councilmember Corey Johnson, an out gay Chelsea Democrat, called a “deal” that “was wrong.” While major cities and some counties in the state — including, locally, New York City and Suffolk and Westchester Counties — do provide transgender rights protections, about 40 percent of the state’s population live in areas with no such ordinances. According to the Pride Agenda, one third of all transgender New Yorkers have experienced homelessness in their life, two thirds have faced job discrimination, and almost 30 percent have suffered a serious physical or sexual assault. The measure, which has been passed repeatedly by the Democraticcontrolled Assembly in recent years, has never gotten a floor vote in the Senate. Yet, even as the bill’s two sponsors — Chelsea Democratic Assemblymember Dick Gottfried and Lower Manhattan/ Brownstone Brooklyn Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron — appeared in Albany the same day with Pride Agenda executive director Nathan Schaefer to talk about GENDA, no Senate staffer attended the City Hall event. Squadron’s only press release that day involved the demand that the Chinese Lunar New Year be made a public school holiday. To date, GENDA has failed to move in the Senate due to Republican intransigence. With the GOP currently in control of the Senate, the best leverage activists have is the five-member rump .com

caucus of Independent Democrats, who are in a power sharing arrangement of sorts with the Republicans. Asked whether it had won any commitment from that group’s leader, Jeff Klein of the Bronx, or any other members to press for the bill, Matthew McMorrow, the Pride Agenda’s director of government affairs, said, “They’re all fully supportive. We are in conversations with them. They have made it a priority. We’re just trying to get it higher on their priority list.” One activist involved in the campaign to pass GENDA told Gay City News that the bill’s supporters were disappointed that the Assembly did not put it forward in the current horse trading surrounding the state budget. McMorrow noted that Governor Andrew Cuomo, for the first time, pushed for GENDA’s passage in his annual State of the State speech. Johnson, however, pressed Cuomo for more, saying, “It’s time, I hope, for the governor to show some leadership.” Jason Cianciotto, the director of public affairs and policy at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, injected a new argument into the discussion of the transgender rights bill. Noting the disproportionately high rate of HIV infection among transgender women of color, he said, “Governor Andrew Cuomo, thank you for committing to sign GENDA if it comes to your desk. We know you understand that without GENDA, your Plan to End AIDS by 2020 will not be realized.” In a follow-up email, Cianciotto elaborated, writing, “Any plan to end AIDS, from New York to California, needs to address the root causes — the socio-economic, cultural, institutional, political, and legal drivers of the epidemic — that concentrate HIV infection among young transgender people of color.” Melissa Sklarz, a transgender rights advocate just named co-chair of the Pride Agenda Foundation, sounded a bit weary at how long the fight has gone on but also determined to raise the community’s sights. “I’m no longer willing to fight just for equality and justice,” she said. “I want to see transgender faces, hear transgender voices. Hire transgender people.” The Pride Agenda is planning its annual Equality & Justice lobbying day in Albany for April 28.

EXHIBITIONS TALKS FILMS CONCERTS SHOP CAFE

BECOMING ANOTHER: THE POWER OF MASKS NOW ON VIEW 150 WEST 17TH STREET NYC 10011 RUBINMUSEUM.ORG Top: Noh Mask in a Silk Case (detail); Japan; 17th century; wood, lacquer; 5 1/4 x 8 1/4 in. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt in memory of Kermit Roosevelt, 44.192.1, Right: Still from Storm Over Tibet

March 26 - April 08, 2015

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Hastily Made Zoning Changes Makes For Bad Government THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

TALKING POINT

Publisher

Jennifer Goodstein

Editor Scott Stiffler

Editorial Assistant Sean Egan

Art Director Michael Shirey

Graphic Designers Andrew Gooss Chris Ortiz

Web Master Troy Masters

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

BY PAMELA WOLFF Sixteen years ago, the Chelsea Plan became a reality. It took years of grinding effort to accomplish. The idea began with Rowena Doyel, founder of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations, and Ed Kirkland, Chair of Community Board 4’s Chelsea Planning and Preservation Committee (now called the Chelsea Land Use Committee), and the originator of the (now-disbanded) Landmarks Committee. Tom Duane, then a CB4 member and co-chair with Kirkland, was tireless in his efforts to guide the Plan to success. It was Kirkland who had the vision to realize the possibility that CB4 could initiate a plan, present it to government agencies, and then fight like hell to get it adopted. This was the same proactive tact taken a decade earlier by Bob Trentlyon that ultimately resulted in the Chelsea Waterside Park. These men are giants in the Chelsea community. The Chelsea Plan was a brilliant concept, but contained a bucket-full of compromises — deals with the devil. The idea was to retain the low-rise tranquility and historic character of Central Chelsea, roughly defined as from 14th to 26th Sts., from Seventh Ave. to 10th Ave., with some carve-outs. Essentially, the Plan limits build-

ing height within the area to 75 feet, on both the side streets and the avenues. The giveaway was the manufacturing areas from Fifth Ave. to Seventh Ave. The mostly small loft buildings were either converted to million dollar residences or demolished and replaced by residential condominium goliaths with much more generous limits on height. The same happened in the area west of 10th Ave., now the Special West Chelsea Historic District. It has turned out to be a blessing and a curse. Central Chelsea has kept its open sky and sense of neighborhood, of home. East and west of us, however, have become towering walls of condominiums filled with people who are either dazzlingly wealthy or living on Ritz Crackers to pay the rent. Now we are faced with a crisis in housing for the ordinary among us. Our Mayor, with the best of intentions, has proposed to eviscerate the Chelsea Plan, and all the other hard-won zoning victories everywhere in our city in the name of creating development opportunities from which we might or might not squeeze out some units of questionably affordable housing. The Plan seems to be a blanket, one-size-fits-all, rezoning for the entire city. Meanwhile Chelsea, like many other neighborhoods, is losing the very buildings that have been the traditional haven of the middle and working classes. These buildings — mostly five-story,

old-law tenements with 30 or 40 rent regulated apartments, built around the turn of the 20th century and earlier — are under assault by real estate developers. They pay big bucks, get huge construction loans, and set about throwing people out any way they can, as fast as they can, in order to do shoddy renovations, increase the number of units, and get them leased out fast at market rates. So far, none of these conversions offer ANY affordable units, including the ones that have managed to dislodge stabilized or controlled tenants. The proposed zoning changes will create an even greater incentive to exploit these little sitting ducks. This does not make sense. I hope that Mayor de Blasio and the City Council, in the noblest of efforts to find ways to house the population that most makes this city viable, find ways to compromise as was done the first time around. What concerns me most is the speed with which this plan is being pushed.  “Zoning for Quality and Affordability’” is a deceptive title.  We all need more time to digest what the real impact of the mayor’s plan will be on our lives. Zoning changes made in haste makes for bad government. Pamela Wolff, of the Chelsea West 200 Block Association, is a public member of Community Board 4.

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

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One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.chelseanow.com scott@chelseanow.com © 2015 NYC Community Media, LLC

Member of the New York Press Association 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 - © 2015 NYC Community Media LLC, Postmaster: Send address changes to Chelsea Now, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR: The Publisher shall

not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Stop the sop To the Editor: The mayor’s new proposal — “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” — is a very poorly disguised sop for real estate developers to pack more height and density into low-rise neighborhoods like ours and the Village. I certainly hope our City Council rep Corey Johnson doesn’t support it. Carolynn Meinhardt

Praise for Alan’s Alley, from Chelsea Now’s Facebook Page Re: “For Video Rental, Our Alan Beats Their Algorithm” (feature about Alan’s Alley Video: DVD & Video Store, March 12, 2015): Alan’s a “mensch”…have known him for almost 30 years...and what a mentor...has taught me much about older films & genres I would have never known about. Rick Miller Alan Sklar is that rare breed of New York City that’s missing these days. His cinema knowledge is top notch. My personal equivalent to

March 26 - April 08, 2015

Robert Osborne, the film historian & host of Turner Classic Movies. Paul Kane Great article — Alan’s a gem, and his movie knowledge is unbeatable. Liz Amaral A movie about a movie store! How great is that? I still have my original Alan’s Alley Member Card, but have not been in a while. Currently w/o a DVD player. LONG LIVE ALAN’S ALLEY along with other neighborhood small businesses here in Chelsea, NY. Dianna Maeurer Alan is beyond words...an amazing man! Michele Zalopany E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to Scott@ChelseaNow.com 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. .com


POLICE BLOTTER

If You See Them, Say Something

This individual is wanted in connection to a W. 37th St. incident.

The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the following individuals. On Fri., March 13 at 11:32 p.m., a man entered a commercial building at 134 W. 37th St. through a freight elevator and damaged a door and desk drawers before removing $372.00 dollars. The suspect is described as follows: Male, black, approximately 220 lbs. He was last seen wearing tan work boots, a black ski cap, a black waist length jacket and blue jeans with a blue shirt. On Tues., March 17 at approximately 11 a.m., a

CRIMINAL POSSESSION: Pothead with no brains Marijuana arrests for possession of under 25 grams may be the stuff of non-criminal violations these days, but toking in public will still earn you a trip to the slammer. That was apparently news to the 34-year-old man who sparked up in the early morning of Fri., March 20, outside of 415 W. 25th St. Officers of the 10th Precinct observed him “smoking a lit marijuana cigarette in a public place, in public view” and put a stop to the ill-advised mind-expanding shenanigans.

GRAND THEFT AUTO: With assist from owner A man told police that around 6:15 p.m. on Sat., March 21, he parked his vehicle (a 2015 Grand Jeep Cherokee) in front of 202 Eighth Ave. — with the keys in ignition,

female threw hot coffee at the face of an MTA bus driver, a 45 year old male, while he was driving the bus at the intersection of Broadway & W. 23rd St. The suspect then fled the location. She is described as white, mid-20s, with long hair. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

and the engine running. He entered the premises to speak with someone, returning a short time later to find the gray vehicle gone. A canvass of the area failed to turn up the car or the less-than-criminal-mastermind responsible for the opportunistic heist.

GRAND LARCENY: Gym rat’s lock clipped During the course of a 90-minute workout, somebody clipped the lock and removed $558 worth of property from a patron at New York Sports Club (270 Eighth Ave). A thief cut into the lock some time between 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on Wed., March 18. The victim, who reported stolen items including clothes worth $2350 and $25 cash, was unable to speak further with the detective squad — saying he had to “get home to get information for his credit cards.” At least he was warmed up for the sprint!

—Scott Stiffler

Do you recognize this woman? She’s wanted, after throwing hot coffee at an MTA bus driver.

THE 10th PRECINCT 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 April 29. Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). Commander: Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-741-8210. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245.

THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.). Deputy Inspector: David Ehrenberg. Call 212-4777411. Community Affairs: 212477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30 p.m. The next meeting is on Apr. 21.

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March 26 - April 08, 2015

9


Legacy and ‘Posterity’ as Atlantic Celebrates Season 30

Photo courtesy Atlantic Theater Company archives

Photo courtesy Atlantic Theater Company archives

A view of the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater space, at 330 W. 20th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.)

A cast photo from “Boys’ Life,” the 1988 production that put Atlantic Theater Company on the map.

Continued from page 6 explained Pepe, who noted that the company has long and strong relationships with Mamet, Jez Butterworth and Ethan Coen — names that stand among those Pepe was referencing when he

described Atlantic’s commitment to serve the story of the play, and choose works by writers who have a command of their voice and language. In turn, writers enjoy the culture at the Atlantic, which is one of high-quality productions with an atmosphere of honesty and fun that is, at the same

An Evening with

LUBA MASON

“A voice as big and rich as a star - filled sky” – Jazz Times presenting Her new musical presentation, with Musical Dir./Arranger FELIPE FOURNIER on vibes

*A genre-bending ride of different musical styles in one eventful evening.* @ 54 BELOW THURS. APRIL 9th/ 9:30PM Reservations : 646. 476. 3551

www.LubaMason.com 10

March 26 - April 08, 2015

time, incredibly professional, he said. The company exercises “practical aesthetics,” a reaction to method acting, which “could feel abstract at times.” Practical aesthetics is a “hands-on approach” to plays, he said, helping an actor to get to the essential action of a scene — a set of tools that an actor can call upon at anytime, he said. The company has great foundational principles that have served it well throughout the years, said Pepe. There is a “certain amount of democracy in our work,” meaning that the theater has a culture that is trying to produce great plays and one that is transparent — not about power or hierarchy. “One of the early reason we did well is we have these amazing mentors, Mamet and Macy,” he said. There are also certain prescriptions that the company follows, such as do your job and do only your job, explained Pepe. This means focus on your task. So, for instance, if you are an actor, you act, not direct. The company also has an acting school, and if you are late to class, you will not be admitted, he said. The Atlantic has several current and upcoming productions that continue the tradition of working with great playwrights, said Pepe. Written and directed by Doug Wright, “Posterity,” was commissioned around four years ago. Wright had seen a bust of Henrik Ibsen and started to wonder about the relationship between the sculptor and the playwright, explained Pepe. Wright, who has won the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his play “I Am My Own Wife,” explores themes of

fame and posterity as the sculptor and playwright “wage war over both [Isben’s] legacy and his likeness,” according to a press release. “Posterity” is at the Linda Gross Theater through April 5. Directly following at the Linda Gross Theater is “Guards at the Taj,” from May 20 to June 28th. Written by Rajiv Joseph, a “wonderful writer that we’ve been watching for a long time,” said Pepe, the play takes place in 1648 India, when two imperial guards are “ordered to perform an unthinkable task,” according to the press release. Joseph also wrote “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.” Amy Morton will direct “Guards at the Taj.” It has been a great season so far, said Pepe. “It’s a nice combination of world premieres and the revival of our founder,” said Pepe, referring to Mamet’s “Ghost Stories: The Shawl & Prairie du Chien,” playing from May 27 through June 28th at the Atlantic Stage 2. Pepe said that the company wants stories that are vital and compelling (regardless if it is a comedy or tragedy) and shed light on the times we live in. The longevity of the company is also attributed to its incredibly loyal staff, board and ensemble members, said Pepe. Over 500 people attended the company’s 30th anniversary gala — its most successful to date — and Pepe called it an amazing celebration. “It’s been an exciting 30 years,” he said. For more information, visit atlantictheater.org. .com


IMAGINATION. INSPIRATION. INNOVATION. THE FOU NDATIO NS O F THE STEINE R COMMU NITY

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March 26 - April 08, 20151/16/151 12:39 1 PM


How to Spend a Cool Million: Participatory Bu Continued from page 1 stepped into the role of point man for a $100,000 plan to renovate bathrooms at PS3 as well as a $35,000 idea to bring computers to the school located at 490 Hudson Street. Boys’ bathrooms at the school lack mirrors, he added. Across the room, 14-year-old Liam Buckley stumped for restroom renovations and a new public address system at the Lab School (333 W. 17th St.). Participatory budgets gave the ideas a fresh chance for funding after

VOTING LOCATIONS Voting takes place April 11 – 19 Text “VOTE” to 212-675-8384 for your closest poll site.

Councilmember Johnson’s District Office 224 W. 30th Street, Suite 1206 April 13-17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tony Dapolito Recreation Center

1 Clarkson St. April 11, 12, 18, 19 | 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

The Fulton Houses Tenants Association Office 419A W. 17th St. April 11, 12, 18 and 19 | 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

Hartley House

413 W.46th St. April 11, 12, 18, 19 | 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Hudson Guild (Dan Carpenter Room, 2nd Fl.)

441 W. 26th St. April 12 & 19 | 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

The LGBT Community Center 208 W. 13th St. April 18 & 19, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

Pop-up voting sites will also appear throughout the district. Text “PBNYC” to 212-676-8384 for more info.

ON THE BALLOT #1 Cooling System for Muhlenberg Library ($500,000)

Funding would replace the building’s HVAC cooling unit (the library serves as an official NYC Cooling Center)

#2 Renovations for Jefferson Market Library ($500,000) Funding would go towards renovating the lobby bathroom to make it ADAcompliant.

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other options failed, he said, a situation similar to other proposals. “The bathrooms are definitely dirty and outdated. The floors are slanted. There’s urinals missing and there are no locks on the door. We hope this is the last time that we have to address this for years to come,” said Buckley. However, the money game has its own role to play in persuading voters. The lowest proposal on the ballot requests $35,000 with the highest at $560,000. Representatives of proposals with higher costs expressed concern that estimates were set too high and might jeopardize their chances in the upcoming election if voters think such a large project would crowd out multiple cheaper options. Some projects could receive funding even if they do not prevail in voting. What matters is that ideas with strong community support receive attention, said Johnson. He added in an interview that no final decisions have been made yet on how his office will spend $4 million in other discretionary funding. Local transportation safety advocacy group Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety (CHEKPEDS) has hopes that they could install a prototype of a raised pedestrian crossing in Hell’s Kitchen at the intersection of W. 45th St. and Ninth Ave. The crossing would increase visibility for pedestrians, slow down traffic as well as maintaining water drainage. But the CHEKPEDS proposal has competition among transportation-minded voters in the form of a $200,000 proposal to install countdown clocks for the M11 and M12 buses. Estimates from the city put the cost of the CHEKPEDS project at $250,000 though research showed that costs could be significantly less, according to Christine Berthet, co-founder of CHEKPEDS and chair of Community Board 4. Higher price tags could also prevent other worthy projects from acquiring funding, said Patrick Shields, a South Village resident who wants a new turf soccer field in Fulton Houses on W. 17th St. Costs could be minimized should the proposal win, allowing funds to be used elsewhere, he added while expressing a concern about just how the cost of the proposal was determined to be $500,000. “Whether it was purposely over-budgeted I don’t know. I don’t think so. I hope not, but I’m going to assume not and lobby like crazy,” he said. Supporters of

#3 O. Henry Learning Campus Renovations ($290,000)

Hudson Guild, Lab High School, Lab Middle School and Museum School will benefit from new gym bleachers, gym scoreboard and locker room bathroom renovations.

#4 Bathroom Renovations at Lab School ($560,000)

Project would renovate two student bathrooms on each floor and bathrooms adjacent to the cafeteria.

This is the first year that District 3 residents have vo Councilmember Corey Johnson (left, addressing crowd) co

professional soccer will come out to canvas in support, he added. The site is the only place available in District 3 able to accommodate such a sports field for local youth, according to Shields. “It’s off the street. It’s in between buildings. It’s sandwiched where they aren’t going to be running into the street chasing balls,” he said. Voters can support up to five projects which will be given equal weight in tallying results. This could help second and third choices emerge victorious if voters are more split about their top choice. Marking just one or two choices for projects on the ballot might help boost their chances, suggested Bill Borock, president of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations. He indicated support for a proposal which would fund both demolition and an environmental impact study for a new park on W. 20th St. That effort has been ongoing for five years, said

#5 Bathroom Renovations for PS3 ($100,000)

Renovation of existing bathroom facilities to promote a more sanitary environment for students, faculty and school visitors.

#6 PS3 Library Renovations ($35,000)

With the technological advances of the last decade, modernizing the library is important in meeting the educational needs of today’s students.

#7 Public Address System Upgrade ($500,000)

#9 Revitalization of Waterside Park ($8

#8 New Park for the Community ($200,000)

#10 Downing Playg & Fountain Upgrade

PA system repair and upgrades to support the needs of three separate schools in the building, as well as building-wide announcements.

Transform the vacant lot on W. 20th St. into a public park for the community. Project would go towards demolishing the former Department of Sanitation building and environmental cleanup.

The project would bri this underused park b active garden for loca on ethnobotany and n

Playground upgrades equipment for childre safer, more child-frien tain to replace the ag ture that is currently

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udgeting Expo Floats Proposals, Courts Votes

One goal of Participatory Budgeting was to involve young people in the democratic process. Liam Buckley, 14 (above) stumped for renovations to a local school at the March 24 Expo.

Photos by Zach Williams

oted for how $1 million in funding from the office of ould be used to further community interests.

Pamela Wolff, a member of Chelsea’s West 200 Block Association. “There’s some real stick-to-it-iveness among the people who very much have their hearts in it,” she said. Another idea for local public spaces is revitalizing Chelsea Waterside Park. Not only would the installation of an interactive garden benefit local children, but the space also serves as an important physical link between the High Line and Hudson River Park, said Zazel Loven who is on the board for Chelsea Waterside Park. The biggest factor in determining the winners of the Participatory Budgeting election could be voter turn-out in support of each of the 17 proposals. With tens of thousands of potential voters, delegates said they would focus on mobilizing their own supporters through community groups, canvassing and phone banking rather

than contesting the merits of other projects. Negotiating the Participatory Budgeting process takes time and organization. With voting just weeks away, delegates said that they have to shift gears and focus on the campaign for votes, but many expressed confidence that their own coalitions of block associations and other civic groups would help them win, but their work is cut out for them. “We were a little freaked out about that. We didn’t realize that there has to be concerted effort to get people out to vote,” Loven said. A workshop held the week before by Friends of the High Line helped prepare project proponents for the campaign, according to Erycka Montoya, community engagement coordinator. She, along with all participants at the event interviewed by Chelsea Now, praised the Participatory Budgeting process for not only allocating money for community capital projects, but also catalyzing new forms of civic engagement among all ages. Undecided voters — including Johnson — said at the event that they will have to think more about the relative merits of each proposal before casting their ballots. The March 24 event, though, gave guidance to Gabrielle

Galvanizing voters to include a project among their five permitted choices on the ballot will be key to securing funding, but some people wondered if voting beyond one proposal might undermine its potential to win.

Dann-Allel on narrowing down her choices, she said. “I’ve learned a lot about the needs of the library, which are major, and a lot about the funding process and about the needs of Fulton Housing, which I found very interesting. I think I’m torn between the needs of those two spheres,” said Dann-Allel.

f Chelsea 85,000)

#11 Community Composting Center ($35,000)

#13 Resurfacing Sprinklers at Fulton Houses ($345,000)

#15 Pedestrian Safety: Raised Crosswalks ($250,000)

ground es ($200,000)

#12 New Soccer Turf Field at Fulton Houses ($500,000)

#14 Upgrading Fulton Houses Basketball Court ($425,000)

#16 Bus Time Clocks for the M11 & M12 ($200,000)

ing residents into by creating an interal children, focusing native plants.

s with new play en, as well as a ndly drinking founging concrete strucfalling apart.

A year-round solar-powered, forced air composting system for residents of Hell’s Kitchen would have the capacity for at least two compost drop-off days per week.

New soccer turf, including physical safety and ball-strike safety fence or netting for neighboring window safety, marked field and durable permanent mini-goals.

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The toddler sprinkler area is used extensively but needs to be excavated and resurfaced with the right materials so children can continue to enjoy it and play safely.

This project will offer all residents access to a modern basketball court. Court requires pavement to be leveled, drainage correction, proper landscaping and court markings.

Help prevent further crashes, deaths and injuries for pedestrians by installing a speed table at the notoriously dangerous crosswalk at W. 45th St. & 9th Ave.

#17 Sidewalk Repair/Replacement ($50,000)

The sidewalk on W. 26th St. (btw. 9th & 10th Aves.) is in desperate need of repair. It has become difficult to walk, push carriages and wheelchairs on the sidewalk.

Installation of clocks that will provide waiting passengers with time information and bus arrival times (along M11 & M12 routes).

March 26 - April 08, 2015

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Jenny Around Chelsea Photo Essay by Jenny Rubin

Our shutterbug eyes the Market, hears the call of Times Square

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March 26 - April 08, 2015

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Woman Injured Near HealthPlex Taken to Bellevue BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Emergency responders made the snap decision not to take Trang Thuy “Tina” Nguyen to the nearby Lenox Hill HealthPlex last week after she was critically injured by a piece of construction fence that blew off the new Greenwich Lane project on W. 12th St. near Seventh Ave. Instead, they took her crosstown to Bellevue Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. On Tues., March 17, Nguyen was slammed by a 4-foot-by-8-foot piece of construction fence that ripped off the new development in nearly 40-mile-perhour winds. She was thrown against a parking garage across the street, where she struck her head against a brick wall. Following the fatality, the Department of Buildings issued a full stop-work order for the accident-plagued project, plus a violation to safeguard the site. It’s a cruel irony that the site of the Greenwich Lane residential project was formerly St. Vincent’s Hospital. The historic Village hospital closed in 2010 and its former campus is being redeveloped into high-end residential condos by Rudin Management Co. In addition, although North ShoreL.I.J. opened up a stand-alone emergency department last year in the former St. Vincent’s O’Toole Building across the street, it’s not equipped as a trauma center — and that’s why the decision was made not to take Nguyen there. St. Vincent’s, on the other hand, was a Level 1 trauma center, as is Bellevue. Dr. Eric Cruzen, the HealthPlex’s emergency medical director, explained that this was a decision made by the responding medics. “When EMS providers assess a patient at the scene of an accident,” he said, “they determine whether or

not the patient’s injuries require the specialized services only available at a trauma center. Bellevue Hospital is the only trauma center in the immediate area.” Elaborating on what goes into such a decision, Cruzen said, “I don’t know anything about the patient’s injuries, and I have no way of accessing the records, so I can only postulate. But there are certain conditions that mandate immediate transportation to a trauma center, such as severe head injuries, multiple long-bone fractures, or a high-speed accident — such as auto versus bike, or auto versus pedestrian. Gunshots to the chest or back is trauma. “They have specialized trauma teams — with trauma surgeons — on hand 24 hours a day, ready to go at a moment’s notice. They have special equipment. “Had she come to the HealthPlex,” Cruzen said, “we would have done everything we could to have stabilized her, and then we would have likely transferred her to a trauma center.” Ultimately, he said, “time is of the essence” in these cases, in terms of getting the patient to a trauma center. It’s been long established, he said, that it’s best “to go a little farther in the ambulance” to get the victim to the right place for treatment, a trauma center. Making this decision is part of the EMS responders’ job, he said. As for the HealthPlex, according to Cruzen, since opening eight months ago, it has seen about 18,000 patients, or roughly 2,250 a month. “People seem happy,” he said. “We get a lot of positive feedback.” Two days after Nguyen’s tragic death, Community Board 2 passed a unanimous resolution, calling for the city to make building work-site safety

a priority on par with the new Vision Zero street-safety initiative. “Community Board 2 is greatly saddened by the tragic death of Tram Thuy Nguyen, a 37-year-old resident of our community who was struck by a windblown sheet of plywood while walking along a sidewalk adjacent to construction at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site,” the resolution stated. “We express our deepest condolences to her family and friends. “CB2 calls on the mayor and the New York City Department of Buildings to create a program parallel to Vision Zero,” the resolution urged, “so that workers, residents and pedestrians are fully protected from the injuries and deaths that too frequently result from preventable accidents at construction sites throughout the city.”

Photo by Tequila Minsky

It was near this corner at W. 12th St. and Seventh Ave. that a piece of construction fence blew loose and fatally struck Trang Thuy Nguyen. Rudin is converting the former hospital site into high-end residences.

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Survey Recommends Cameras, Lighting on BRC Block Continued from page 2 “My group was very pleased with the survey because it basically said all of the things that we’ve been saying,” said Nordstrom. One reason for conducting the survey was, according to Nordstrom, the removal of the peace officers from patrol last December. “We wanted to show that we wanted them back out on the street,” she said, noting however that the bitter cold of January and February reduced foot traffic on the block. “Now,” she observed, “we’re starting to see more street action happening.” Nordstrom and Rosenblatt both said when the DHS peace officers stopped patrolling in December, that the BRC staff started. “At the same time, BRC doubled our efforts of having our staff out on the street. Our staff [does] rounds on the block for about 16 hours a day, starting at about 8 o’clock in the morning until our curfew, so about 14 hours a day, ’til about 10 p.m.,” said Rosenblatt. “Our response [was] …

if the peace officers couldn’t be out there, we would be out there.” The BRC staff has been working with the 13th Precinct. “The 13th Precinct has really made a great effort, both in uniform and undercover, to address some of the real — but also the perceived but not necessarily substantiated — challenges on the block,” said Rosenblatt. Nordstrom said the BRC staff “were very good at patrolling the block” and that she would like to see the continuation of police involvement. “We’ve seen much more police presence on the block — that seems to have settled things down,” she said. When the DHS officers were out on our block, said Nordstrom, they noticed that many of the problems traveled to other blocks and “on 28th Sreet and 27th Street, they were starting to see more challenging behavior.” Nordstrom said that the block association’s position has always been “to come up with better ways of resolving it,” rather than pass the problem on. The survey made several recommendations, which included an

increase in police officers or peace officers, better lighting on the block, moving the BRC facility from the neighborhood, reducing the number of beds in the shelter and installing security cameras in hotspot areas. Johnson’s office said that it has been strongly advocating for an NYPD security camera at W. 25th and Sixth Ave. — identified as a hotspot in the survey. The councilmember’s staff has met with the NYPD on that corner to assess the feasibility at this location, and have been discussing this with relevant city agencies, according to his office. Security cameras would be great, said Bill Borock, president of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations, as it would be wonderful in terms of capturing suspicious activity. He said that the survey was a good thing to do and that it can now be used as a tool. The BRC has agreed to establish a dedicated phone line so when people see situations on the street, they can call the shelter directly, said Nordstrom. Rosenblatt said that the survey is a

starting point and it can show where things are working and where there is more to be done. It is unclear if the DHS peace officers will be back anytime soon patrolling the block. DHS did not respond to Chelsea Now’s questions about when they will be back. However, Councilmember Johnson has secured funding to keep the DHS peace officers at the BRC facility. His office said that they are planning on doing another survey in a few months. Nordstrom said that the goal of the West 25th Street Project has always been to make the block beautiful, clean and safe for everybody. She said that there are several upcoming events to ensure that, including a Parks Department workshop on tree stewardship. She said that they are trying to build trust and community on the block, including with the BRC residents “so we become better neighbors to each other.” She said that they have really come a long way. “It’s feeling very exiting right now,” she said.

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ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT

These Easter Bunnies Egg You On An insane carnival is your new spring tradition FULL BUNNY CONTACT Produced by Daniel Demello and Nathaniel Nowak Conception & Directed by John Harlacher Wednesday, April 1 – Sunday, April 5 Hours Vary Daily At the Clemente 107 Suffolk St. (btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.) Tickets: $10 (Admission Only) $20 (Admission & One round of FBC) $60 VIP tickets Appropriate for ages 10 and up (with an adult under 15) Info: fullbunnycontact.com

BY SEAN EGAN Ah, Easter Sunday. We all know how it goes. The sun is shining, the grass is green and new, the brightly colored eggs are hidden — and the giant, six-foot-tall rabbits are waiting to fight you tooth and nail for possession of them… Uh, wait. An Easter experience as demented as that could only be found one place: “Full Bunny Contact.” Described as “NYC’s extreme egg hunt and twisted Easter carnival” in promotional materials, “Full Bunny Contact” (or FBC for short) is a crazy, multi-day, family-friendly celebration of the holiday. Its appeal lies in the wide variety of unique, bonkers-sounding Easter-themed games and events attendees are encouraged to participate in — the centerpiece of which is the titular Full Bunny Contact. In this game, participants are locked in a giant steel cage, full of grass mats and Easter eggs — as well as actors in bunny suits, trained to get physical. The object of the game is to collect as

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Photo by Michael Blase

These bunnies are suited up and ready to engage you in absurd games and gladiatorial combat scenarios.

many eggs as possible, all while avoiding these bunnies, who will stop at nothing to knock the eggs from your grasp and prevent you from winning a prize. This all may sound a more than a little nuts, but rest assured, once FBC’s origins are explained, a method to this (hopping) madness becomes clear. “When I was growing up, we’d spend Easter playing these strange, invented games with friends and family,” says John Harlacher, FBC’s director. According to Harlacher, FBC is the result of trying to “create games where the rules are clear, but the strategies are not apparent, so people can play and have fun in a pure way.” When placed in the context of spring and wrapped in a layer of Easter iconography, these games are meant to emphasize “birth and freshness” and the “joy of experimenting and trying things out” while evoking “feelings of childhood through play for adults.” Still, a lot of planning goes into

creating this sense of liberating fun. By Harlacher’s estimation, he and the FBC team started work at least six months prior to the opening. And while an event this singularly strange may seem difficult to pull off, Harlacher is no stranger to interactive live theater, having helmed the successful “Nightmare NYC” for years, in addition to last year’s installment of “Full Bunny Contact.” His strategy for preparing for an event in which there are so many variables while performing is deceptively simple, but effective. Noting that, of the bunny actors, “You can’t sculpt their actions completely because you don’t know what the audience is going to bring to it,” Harlacher chooses to focus on “a bunch of character work.” Each bunny, he says, has its own persona. Once established, it’s all about “building boxes for the performers to engage in.” The games, in other words — which he notes develop in organic ways with the actors

during rehearsals. “This year is a fuller development of the ideas of the games, going deeper into what we sketched last year,” Harlacher asserts, continuing, “There’s new games, and the games you thought you knew have been re-imagined.” Harlacher compares many of these games to the show “American Gladiator” due to the athleticism involved. Offerings include Bunny Ball (“a basketball themed game”), Ride the Rabbit (featuring a mechanical bunny, courtesy of FBC partners Fun & Jump), a gladiator-style joust fought against a bunny, and a game of Tic-Tac-Toe fought against a giant chicken (which Harlacher reveals was inspired by a real life chicken he saw in Chinatown growing up — “He won a lot! It was weird.”). Less physically strenuous (but no less inspired) activities include a “Bunny Beauty Pageant” for

Continued on page 19 .com


‘Full Bunny’ is Hippity Hoppity Interactive Insanity Continued from page 18 attendees’ pet rabbits, and a “Biggest Brat” contest — in which both children and adults throw, and are judged on, temper tantrums. The winner of each division is awarded the prize of a “disgusting amount of candy” and, erm, an adult version of that, respectively. Indeed, there are prizes awarded all throughout FBC. While Harlacher is quick to say that you’ll never get rich from winning at FBC, goodies include gym memberships, Off-Broadway tickets and Mets tickets. However, Harlacher also adds with a laugh that it is possible to get “crappy prizes, like a can of shaving cream.” But still, he insists, “The biggest prize is the joy of doing this thing.” As for himself, the biggest reward comes during the performances. “I love that moment when people start seeing it, and it starts actually becoming what it is,” he said. And what is it exactly? In Harlacher’s own words, “Full Bunny Contact is the most insane Easter experience you will ever have. It is unlike any other way you have experienced the holiday, and it is your new Easter tradition.”

Photo by Michael Blase

Egg hunters become the hunted, while vying for prizes.

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Buhmann on Art: Michael Snow

©Michael Snow. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

“That/Cela/Dat” (1999 | DVD projection | 60 min. | loop.).

©Michael Snow. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

“Times” (1979 photograph | 74 1/4 x 77 1/8 inches | 73 3/4 x 76 3/4 x 2 1/4 inches | Artist proof | Edition 2 of 2, with 1 artist proof).

©Michael Snow. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

Installation view, “Michael Snow: A Group Show.”

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN (stephaniebuhmann.com) Though Snow’s oeuvre is multidisciplinary — including painting, sculpture, video, film, sound, photography, holography, drawing, writing and music — his contemplation remains the same. He is focused on exploring the nature of perception, consciousness, language and temporality. Snow has received honorary degrees from the University of Toronto (1999), the University of Victoria (1997) and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1990), among others, as well as many prestigious awards, such as the Guggenheim

Fellowship (1972) and the Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres, France (1995, 2011). While considered a leading experimental filmmaker, having inspired the Structural Film movement with his groundbreaking 1967 film “Wavelength,” for example, Snow has also been active as a professional musician since the 1950s. He has played piano and other instruments with various ensembles, but most often in free improvisation with the Canadian Creative Music Collective, Toronto. Along these lines, one can expect an exhibition that is as multi-faceted as it is hard to pigeonhole, reflecting the artist’s various interests and substantial expertise.

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Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER

Photo courtesy of Rubin Museum of Art

Face yourself at the Rubin Museum of Art — where masks and costumes in their “Becoming Another” exhibit compliment Brainwave Festival themes.

RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART: BRAINWAVE FESTIVAL Good art makes you think, but great art changes the way you think. It happens all the time at the Rubin Museum of Art. Through April, their Brainwave Festival explores Buddhist notions of attachment and happiness. Pairing artists with scientists, the “Conversation” series includes “Bouquet in a Bottle” on April 1, with sommelier Aldo Sohm and olfaction expert Terry Acree. On April 8, Shaolin Master Shi Yan Ming and neuropsychologist Tracy Dennis ponder “Discipline as an Art.” A Friday night film series exploring fixation includes Hal Ashby’s deathly dry 1971 romp between a youthful Bud Cort and a pushing-80 Ruth Gordon (“Harold and Maude” on April 17). On view through Feb. 2016, RMA’s “Becoming Another: The Power of Masks” features a collection of masks and costumes from the 15th-20th centuries. Intricate and stunning creations from Siberia, the Himalayas, Mongolia, Japan and the Northwest Coast of America highlight culturally diverse (and similar) approaches to shamanism, communal ritual, and theatrical performance. RMA Director of Public Programs Tim McHenry says the exhibit’s connection to their Brainwave Festival theme is “tangential, admittedly, but the reference is nonetheless there.” Donning a mask in ritual or theatrical form, he notes, can represent the desire to obtain “a different role, .com

and assume all of its powers and responsibilities.” At the Rubin Museum of Art (150 W. 17th St. at Seventh Ave.). Brainwave Ticket prices vary. Hours: Mon. & Thurs., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed., 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.– 10 p.m. Sat. Sun., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 212620-5000 or visit RubinMuseum.org.

STEPHEN PETRONIO CO. PRESENTS “BLOODLINES” This upcoming run at The Joyce Theater finds Stephen Petronio Company celebrating its 30th anniversary by making a five-year commitment to present iconic works of postmodern American dance alongside world premiere pieces by the troupe’s founder and namesake. Season One of “Bloodlines” will feature two works. A contemplation on animal abstract motion and sound, Merce Cunningham’s “RainForest” (1968) is set to an electronic score by David Tudor, with visual design by Andy Warhol. Stephen Petronio’s two-part work “Locomotor/Non Locomotor” has the company’s dancers shifting through time and space, in an exploration of “movement deep within a torquing center.” Its electronic score, by Clams Casino (Michael Volpe), has vocal elements by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. April 7–12. Tues./Wed. at 7:30 p.m. Thurs.–Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 & 7:30 p.m. At The Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Ave. at 19 St.). Post-performance discussion on April 9. For tickets ($10$59), call 212-242-0800 or visit joyce. org.

Photo by Ahron R. Foster

Kids spend their first time away from home at “Camp Kappawanna,” a nostalgic musical co-created by Lisa Loeb.

Photo by Sarah Silver

Gonna fly now: Stephen Petronio Company is at The Joyce Theater, April 7–12.

tart observations, Grammy-nominated Loeb’s collaborators include Dan Petty (who pens the songs for Disney’s “Club Penguin”) and husband/wife team Cusi Cram and Peter Hirsch (writers for

“Arthur” on PBS). It’s sweet nostalgia for adults and no-tech fun for kids. Through April 12. Sat. & Sun. at 10:30 a.m. Also Wed. & Fri., April 8 & 10 at 10:30a.m. At the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater (336 W. 20th St. btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). For tickets ($20, $15 for kids), call 866811-4111 or visit atlantictheater.org.

Continued on page 23

CAMP KAPPAWANNA New friends, an acoustic guitar and an emerging gift for saying what she means through song will ease fears and up the excitement factor — when 12-year-old Jennifer Jenkins finds herself away from home for the first time and forced to navigate a long summer stay at “Camp Kappawanna.” This new musical is based on the jitters and joys of singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb’s own youthful sleepaway camp experiences. Full of silly tunes with occasionally March 26 - April 08, 2015

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Just Do Art in the South Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Subways: J, M, Z to Marcy Avenue, L to Lorimer St. or G to Broadway or Metropolitan Ave. For tickets ($10), call 212-352-3101 or visit sohorep.org (where you can access the full schedule of 11 a.m., 3:30 p.m. & 4 p.m. performances).

MONEY LAB

In “Washeteria,” Tribeca-based Soho Rep transforms a Brooklyn laundromat into a fantastical, kid-friendly space.

Continued from page 21

WASHETERIA Tribeca’s Soho Rep goes off-site and into another borough, with its first-ever theatrical experience created for “chil-

dren and their adults.” This two-episode event (each the length of a single wash cycle) transforms a Brooklyn storefront into a fantastical laundromat where very different people have the same goal in mind. Through April 5 at 321 Broadway

Photo by Bill Scurry

Watch it, sucker: Trav S.D. as P.T. Barnum is part of the mad goings-on at “Money Lab.”

760900

Photo by Louisa Thompson

Art! Finance! Morality! They collide with unpredictable results, in Untitled Theater Company #61’s “Money Lab” — where the audience is required to purchase tokens whose value fluctuates during performances based on various fiscal scenarios. A rotating cast of four puppeteers, dancers, economists, musicians, and other creative types are on hand during any given installment. They include Patrice Miller and cohorts dancing to jargon about the 2008 banking collapse, and skilled conjurer Magic Brian, who frames his classic Monte hustle with questions about gambling and the stock market. Suckers beware! Downtown performer Trav S.D. will portray P.T. Barnum,

who reveals “The Art of MoneyGetting.” Also making a grab for your precious tokens, Tatiana Baccari and Hannah Allen’s fleshy dance theater piece parks itself at the intersection of money and stripping. Through April 11. Performance schedule varies. At HERE (145 Sixth Ave.; enter on Dominick, one block south of Spring St.). For tickets $20 (plus a required $5-$10 buy-in), call 212-352-3101 or visit here.org. Also visit untitledtheater.com.

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St. Columba Church The people of St. Columba’s Church, an inclusive and welcoming Catholic Community, wish their Chelsea friends and neighbors a JOYOUS PASSOVER AND EASTER season. We invite all to join us:

HOLY WEEK SERVICES AND CONFESSIONS PALM SUNDAY Saturday, March 28, 2015 – 5:00 pm Sunday, March 29, 2015 – 9:00 am, 10:30 am (Spanish) & 12 noon CONFESSIONS Monday, March 30, 2015 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm Downstairs Chapel HOLY THURSDAY April 2, 2015 - Mass of the Lord’s Supper 7:30 pm (Bilingual)

GOOD FRIDAY April 3, 2015 - Tenebrae (Morning Prayer) – 9:00 am Celebration of the Lord’s Passion – 3:00 pm (English) 7:00 pm (Spanish) HOLY SATURDAY April 4, 2015 - Tenebrae (Morning Prayer) – 9:00 am Easter Vigil Mass - 8:00 pm (Bilingual) EASTER SUNDAY April 5, 2015 - Masses: 9:00 am, 10:30 am (Spanish) & 12 noon

St. Columba Church • 343 West 25th Street • Between 8th & 9th Avenues New York, New York 10001 • www.SaintColumbachelsea.org We are delighted to announce that this summer St. Columba will be merging with our friends at Guardian Angel Parish to better serve the needs of the Chelsea community. More details to follow. 24

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CHELSEA NOW, MARCH 26, 2015  

CHELSEA NOW, MARCH 26, 2015

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