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July 2, 2015 • $1.00 Volume 85 • Number 5
N.Y.U. expansion plan is O.K.’d by state high court BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
n a crushing blow for opponents of the N.Y.U. 2031 mega-development plan, on Tuesday morning the Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court — ruled that the university’s full project can proceed. The way is now cleared for N.Y.U. to shoehorn four new buildings — with a total of
nearly 2 million square feet — onto its two South Village superblocks, between Houston and W. Third Sts. and LaGuardia Place and Mercer St. The case centered on whether four open-space strips along Mercer St. and LaGuardia Place were “implied parkland” — as a lower-court judge had ruled N.Y.U. continued on p. 10
BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES
he rats crawl out through the cracks in the green board, and then out into the street. That’s how it’s been for years now, particularly during the hot summer months, in the area surrounding an empty lot on the corner of Avenue C and E. Sixth St. An economy-size car could
fit in the sinkhole that has sat open and unattended at 699 E. Sixth St., for more than 30 years. More than an eyesore for local residents and passersby, the 10-foot-by-12-foot crater has transformed into a cesspool of debris and vermin, the latter which have poured out onto the streets by the dozens when the sun goes down. The rats issuing HOLE continued on p. 9
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
Avenue C hellhole keeps giving that sinking feeling
Hats off — or on! — for Pride For photos of Sunday’s jubilant Pride March, see Pages 6 and 7.
Supremely Proud crowd revels in marriage ruling at Stonewall BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
undreds turned out for a rally last Friday evening at the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, which marked the start of the modern L.G.B.T. rights movement, to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. “If you’re not married and you hope to be so one day, you can go on a destination wedding to Alabama or anywhere you want,” said
Susan Sommer, national director of constitutional litigation at Lambda Legal, at the joyous get-together. The court ruled on June 26 on lawsuits brought by “14 same-sex couples and two men whose same-sex partners are deceased” from four states that had same-sex marriage bans. Lambda represented four of the couples. In a 5-to-4 decision, the court held that “same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry” and that “there is no lawful basis for
a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its samesex character.” The opinion was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and he was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The composition of the court’s pro-marriage majority occasioned one of the rally’s funnier moments when MARRIAGE continued on p. 4
Looking Gouda for cheese shop move...........page 14 Skenazy X-amines X-Men’s impact...............page 17 L.E.S. tattoo museum is creating buzz.........page 24 L.G.B.T. geeks are on fire!...........page 22
PRIDE PEEPS: Elected officials and actors were out in force at Sunday’s Pride March. Ian McKellen, sporting an honorary rainbow sash, was one of the grand marshals this year. Who knows? Maybe he’ll make it a “hobbit.” Councilmember Corey Johnson was having a good time at the March, which is never a drag for him...though it definitely always is for others. Meanwhile, state Senator Brad Hoylman — with his husband, David Sigal, and their daughter, Silvia — was out, proud and also loud, thanks to his electric bullhorn.
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Stonewall National Park effort BY ANDY HUMM
hristopher Park across from the just-landmarked Stonewall Inn could become a national park if a campaign underway from the National Parks Conservation Association, a private advocacy group for parks, is successful. An N.C.P.A. official, at a forum it hosted June 23 at the L.G.B.T. Community Center on W. 13th St., announced that the idea was set to come before Community Board 2’s Parks Committee on Wed., July 1, and the full board on July 23. The meeting at the Center, which drew veteran L.G.B.T. activists, neighborhood activists, preservationists and aides to local politicians, was held to gauge local support for the campaign, which will require the city to turn Christopher Park over to the federal government. That action would allow President Obama to use the Antiquities Act to declare the park a national monument to be administered by the National Park Service. Christopher Park includes the George Segal sculpture of gay and lesbian couples, “Gay Liberation,” which was dedicated in 1992. Many questions were raised about the nature of designating the park and whether it would embrace other significant L.G.B.T. sites in the area and throughout the city. Yet, no one in the gathering of about 50 people opposed the effort. N.C.P.A. advocates for the designa-
tion, but then it is up to the National Park Service to embrace the idea and conduct research on how to appropriately present the history of the site. Funds would come from the federal budget, but would need to be supplemented by a “Friends of” the park campaign, as well. With a year and a half left in Obama’s second term, there is an urgency about moving forward on this, given the possibility an unsympathetic Republican could succeed him in January 2017. Cortney Worrall, senior regional director of N.P.C.A., who led the meeting, said she hopes the park will convey “the power of the Stonewall story and the transformation of Greenwich Village to what it is now.” She was also hoping for a big show of support at the C.B. 2 hearing on July 1. Ken Lustbader, a veteran gay preservation advocate, said the Stonewall park would be part of “site-based history,” like Seneca Falls for the women’s movement and Selma for the civil rights movement. All three locations were famously cited in Obama’s second inaugural address. Once the physical foothold of the park is secured, other elements can be added, including signage throughout the area and beyond, and information that can be accessed through an app. Jim Fouratt, a Stonewall participant, 74, said he could think of “20 places within that square mile that have historic significance” to L.G.B.T. communities.
15.PR.3929_1.qxp_Layout 1 4/21/15 11:40 AM Page 1
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G.V.S.H.P. cooks up great awards The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation held its annual Village Awards presentation on June 17 at The New School. Among this year’s honorees was Bonnie Slotnick, above center, with her new landlords at 28 E. Second St., Margo and Garth Johnston, the “angels” who offered her double the space after her landlord on W. 10th St. refused to renew her lease. Other honorees included craftswoman Barbara Shaum, activist David Rothenberg, the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation, the 201 E. 12th St. Renovation, and photographers James and Karla Murray. Once again the evening was emceed by author Calvin Trillin, a G.V.S.H.P. board of advisers member. The Village Awards recognize the people, places and organizations that make a significant contribution to the quality of the life in Greenwich Village, the East Village and Noho. TheVillager.com
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Celebrating a Supreme ruling at the Stonewall Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association Editorials, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009
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July 2, 2015
Sharon Kleinbaum, the senior rabbi at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, told the crowd, “I’m going to say something totally off the record –– thank God for the Jews and women on the Supreme Court.” The rally, which was produced by the New York chapter of Marriage Equality USA and sponsored by nearly 30 other groups, lasted for more 90 minutes. It was slated to start at 6 p.m., but people began to gather on Christopher St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves. as early as 3 p.m., and police had already closed the street by then. Speakers included nearly the entire L.G.B.T. caucus of the City Council, former and current members of the state Legislature, religious leaders, pro-marriage and political groups, and Congressmembers Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney. While many of the comments emphasized the elation of the moment, speakers frequently reminded the crowd that the movement’s work was unfinished. “And today, finally, must be a day of rededication, rededication to eradicating discrimination,” Nadler said. The marriage decision means that gay and lesbian couples can now wed in any state in the nation and that those marriages must be recognized across the nation. Yet it does not mean that those couples are protected from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations or in other areas. No federal law bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and the 22 states that do have such laws offer a patchwork of protections. Two members of Queer Nation, the activist group, were circulating through the crowd handing out fliers that made this point. Former state Senator Tom Duane, who is openly gay, emphasized this when he described the discrimination and violence that some in the L.G.B.T. community continue to confront even with the gains of recent years. The task of the community was to end that vio-
Among those at the celebration outside the Stonewall was Edie Windsor, the Village resident who was the plaintiff in the lawsuit that overturned parts of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act).
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
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STONEWALL continued from p. 1
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
At the Gay Pride March, people — and pets, too — were feeling fine.
At the Pride March, a supporter of Lamba Legal said it’s time to “let love rule.” Lambda Legal represented four couples who were plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court gay-marriage lawsuit.
lence and discrimination, he said. “It is our job,” Duane said. “Now that we have this right, we have the responsibility to stop that violence.” While the crowd closest to the stage, which sat roughly two blocks east of Sev-
enth Ave., remained engaged throughout the rally, people standing closer to that avenue and in front of the Stonewall Inn began to look more like a party than a rally by 6:45 p.m. Champagne corks could be heard popping on Christopher St. TheVillager.com
Planned Service Changes
(Q) 10 PM to 5 AM Mon to Fri Jul 6 – 10, Jul 13 –17 No trains at (Q) stations in Manhattan. ( runs in Queens and Brooklyn only. Q runs in Brooklyn and is rerouted via the 6 Av D in Manhattan to/from the 57 St F station. ) service ends early in Manhattan and Queens each night. Travel Alternatives: • Use nearby stations on the 8 Av AE , 7 Av 12 , 6 Av DF , and Lexington Av 46 instead. • Take the 7 for service between Queens and Manhattan. • Make key transfers between services at Queensboro Plaza 7(, 5 Av/42 St-Bryant Pk 7DFQ , Jay St-Metro Tech AF( , and Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr 24D(Q . Stay Informed Call 511 and say “Current Service Status,” look for informational posters in stations, or visit mta.info – where you can access the latest Planned Service Changes information, use TripPlanner +, and sign up for free email and text alerts.
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July 2, 2015
PHOTOS BY MILO HESS EXCEPT FOR ORTHODOX PROTESTER AND MOTORCYCLE BY Q. SAKAMAKI
Marching on after nups win Hats off to the marchers and spectators at Sunday’s Pride March. In truth, no one was a spectator — everyone was a participant. And there were quite a lot of them. An estimated 2 million turned out to let their rainbow flag fly. Mayor de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, below, happily greeted a couple who were ready to get married. The grand marshals were acting legends Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. Who knows? Maybe Gandalf cast a little spell to help tip the U.S. Supreme Court toward narrowly approving same-sex marriage. There were some naysayers, too, including an Orthodox Jewish group who came to “protect” same-gender marriage. Reminiscent of anti-war protesters facing off with armed National Guardsmen in the ’60s, a reveler offered him flowers. The guy at left was also protecting his beaver-fur hat as rain threatened. But nothing could put a damper on a very Proud moment.
July 2, 2015
July 2, 2015
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n June 17, Bridget Brennan, New York City’s special narcotics prosecutor, announced that Anthony D’Alessandro, the former director of pharmacy services for Beth Israel Medical Center, had pleaded guilty in the theft of nearly a quarter million Oxycodone pills. D’Alessandro pleaded guilty to four counts of criminal possession of controlled substance in the second degree. Under the terms of the plea, he is expected to receive a sentence of five years in prison, followed by five years post-release supervision. He forfeited his pharmaceutical license in early June. Following the plea, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bonnie Wittner remanded D’Alessandro, who had been out on a $500,000 bail bond. His sentencing is set for July 23. As director of pharmacy services, D’Alessandro was responsible for overseeing all of the medication stocked and dispensed at Beth Israel, at First Ave. and E. 16th St. According to charges contained in a 249-count indictment, he used the knowledge he gained during 14 years of employment at the hospital to steal nearly 200,000 Oxycodone pills, which carried a street value of roughly $5.6 million. The investigation began after the merger of Mount Sinai Medical Center and Continuum Health Partners, the parent company of Beth Israel. The new Mount Sinai Health System received an anonymous letter shortly afterward that explained the large-
scale theft and provided documentation. Administrators then conducted a comprehensive internal audit, and their findings were referred to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. D’Alessandro was arrested last July at his home on Staten Island. Evidence uncovered in the internal audit as well as the criminal investigation found that he had used his position to steal Oxycodone pills on at least 218 separate dates between January 2009 and April 2014. Though the theft of the addictive painkilling pills cost the hospital $212,727, the oxycodone would have sold for around $5.6 million on the black market. D’Alessandro covered up his activities by making false entries into the hospital’s electronic narcotics inventory system indicating the medication was being sent to the research pharmacy at the hospital that he himself oversaw. Because he was in charge of the department, he was able to divert the pills instead of shipping them to their stated destination. Hospital administrators terminated D’Alessandro’s employment at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in April 2014. His weekend employment at Staten Island University Hospital was also terminated. Special Narcotics Prosecutor Brennan thanked Mount Sinai Beth Israel for notifying the authorities and cooperating in the investigation.
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
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Feeling good, fur sure! The good vibrations and love filled everyone — including a K9 unit — at Sunday’s Gay Pride March. TheVillager.com
Avenue C hellhole gives that sinking feeling HOLE continued from p. 1
PHOTO BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES
from this hellhole scurry in front of residential buildings and local businesses — mostly restaurants and bars — along the east side of Avenue C, including country chicken eatery Bob White’s, ABC Beer Co., the newly opened Lois wine bar, Alphabet City Wine Co. and Edi & the Wolf. “It’s a breeding ground for rats,” said David Hitchner, owner of several neighborhood establishments, including ABC Beer Co. and Alphabet City Wine Co., located just a few doors right from the lot, at 96 Ave. C and 100 Ave. C, respectively. Hitchner said that he and Austrian restaurant Edi & the Wolf complained to the city about the derelict property over the past few years, to no avail. “It’s the ground zero of Avenue C, and of this area,” he said of the bombed-out-looking spot. “It bothers me that it’s still unattended.” An Edi & the Wolf employee, who asked not to be identified, said that they reached out to the city — via phone calls to 311 and a letter — numerous times after the restaurant opened in 2011, but gave up after there was no action. “We would love to have that hole cleaned up,” the employee said. “It’s not nice for the neighborhood. We’d like to see a building go up, anything but a hole.” Hitchner added that he’s surprised that no one has stepped in to build on the nearly 9,500-square-foot property. “I’m shocked that land of this value just sits there,” he said. “Even if it was used as a parking lot, it would be better than what is there now.” In fact, the site was get a six-story building, but plans for the empty came to a halt 12 years ago, according to Department of Buildings records. At that time, owner Morton Kriger of 113 Willow Avenue Realty Co., planned to build a six-story residential building with eight units. Previously, Kriger, a property owner and New York City lawyer, was in hot water over hiring a worker who was convicted of dumping illegal asbestos at a property in Connecticut in 1997. By 2008, there was another attempt, this time to build a four-story building, which was again shut down for not conforming to zoning. More recently, in 2012, Willow Realty made a third try to develop the property, this time a six-story, 14-unit building. That project is still pending approval, according to D.O.B. records. Plans to build there were being reviewed as of August 2014. Once sealed off by a chain-link fence, the property was later boarded up with 10-foot tall green plywood, which is how it remains today. “People are just used to it,” Hitchner
Over the years, when this hole hasn’t been filled with fetid water, it’s been disgorging scurrying rats, neighbors say.
said with frustration. “New Yorkers just turn a blind eye, because there’s always scaffolding somewhere. Outsiders just think it’s more construction in the city.” Hugh Mackie, owner of Sixth Street Specials, a vintage bike-repair shop just feet away from the hole at 703 E. Sixth St., said the empty lot with its filthy pit have been there as long as he’s been in the East Village. Mackie, who moved to the area in 1981 and opened his shop in 1986, said the site was once a gas station. That may explain the huge hole in the ground, left after the gas station shut down, after how many years of operation, it was not immediately known. At one point, fuel tanks were left behind on the lot but later removed, according to Mackie. The property moved through various owners over the years — even serving briefly as an off-the-books parking lot at one point, Mackie said. Now, all is still on the vacant lot — save for the rats — and the ripples on the oversize, putrid puddle. “It’s an enormous problem, because it’s a like a little lake in there,” Mackie said. “Every time it rains, it fills up with water. There are many, many, many rats.” Recently, rubble was piled up from the inside and additional boards were nailed up to cover holes and prevent rodents from spilling out into the street. Mackie theorizes the site has had problems getting approved by D.O.B. because the owners continue to hire consultants from New Jersey who may be unfamiliar with New York City zoning and building codes. In fact, Jersey-based consultants have been used, according to D.O.B. records, since the first attempt to build on the site more than a dozen years ago. Some residents have also been concerned about possible asbestos or other toxins in the empty lot that has been left unattended for so long. However, Israel Rosenbaum, now listed as the property’s owner, said the property currently poses no health
hazards and has undergone several, recent inspections, according to D.O.B. records. It has just been a waiting game, he explained. “There are no issues at this property
other than the long process of getting D.O.B. approval to construct a new building,” he told The Villager. As for the rats, the problem has improved, locals say. There haven’t been as many sightings of the critters outside of the lot, according to Mackie, who says the city must have done something to get the pests under control. Nevertheless, it remains an unsightly space. He remembers when the neighborhood had a local butcher, florist and bakery. He would like to see some of that return to the neighborhood — maybe beginning with the 699 E. Sixth St. site. “I’d like a nice, regular-sized tenement with some businesses underneath, real stores — no more restaurants, no more bars. We have enough grocery stores and enough bodegas — just some kind of other businesses.”
Trust and Dorf feeling ‘vine’ about Pr. 26 restaurant plan BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
n accordance with the Hudson River Park Trust Act, the Hudson River Park Trust will hold a public hearing on a proposed lease for a restaurant at Pier 26, at N. Moore St. in Tribeca, between the Trust and City Vineyards and Wine Garden, LLC. The public hearing will be held on Tues., July 7, at Manhattan Youth Community Center, 120 Warren St., between West and Greenwich Sts., from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The public will be invited to address the proposed 10-year lease, with an option to renew for a maximum 15year lease. In addition, the public comment period, which started on June 5, will extend to Aug. 5, offering people the opportunity to send written comments. Verbal comments and written comments will be accorded the same weight. Comments may be sent by regular mail to: Bill Heinzen, Hudson River Park Trust, Pier 40, 2nd Floor, 353 West St., New York, NY 10014, or by e-mail to Pier26RestaurantComments@hrpt. ny.gov. The proposed lease can be found on the Trust’s Web site, hudsonriverpark.org . Early last month, the Trust announced that it had chosen Michael Dorf, founder and C.E.O. of City Winery, to operate a full-service restaurant, to be called City Vineyard, on Pier 26. Dorf has four City Win-
ery locations nationally and formerly ran the Knitting Factory, the wellknown Tribeca music venue, before open City Winery — featuring music, wine and cheese — on Varick St. Plans are for the glass-enclosed restaurant to feature 270-degree views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline and include both indoor and outdoor dining space. The design plan includes a 3,000-square-foot interior, 3,200 square feet of pier-level seating and a 4,400-square-foot rooftop terrace. The restaurant is expected to open in May 2016. “Michael is a longtime neighbor and fan of the park, so we’re thrilled that he’ll be running our largest restaurant,” said Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s C.E.O. and president. “With spectacular views and fresh local ingredients, City Vineyard will be a fantastic addition to the city’s culinary scene.” Dorf said the new eatery will be just “di-vine.” “As we have grown to cities across the country, I am so excited to be opening this concept in the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park,” he said. “I plan on creating a respite from urban living with the unique feel of being at a vineyard. Unlike City Winery, our focus at City Vineyard will not be on live music — the vines will take center stage. An aggressive foodand-wine program will pair perfectly with its surroundings, using the finest local ingredients and offering wines for every type of vinophile.” July 2, 2015
N.Y.U.’s expansion plan is O.K.’d by high court N.Y.U. continued from p. 1
that three of them, in fact, were — or merely leftover street parcels, a permanent use for which had yet to be determined. The plaintiffs argued that N.Y.U.’s plans violated the Public Trust Doctrine, under which parkland — in this case, the open-space strips — must first be “alienated” by the state Legislature before it can be put to other uses. As such, the case would be precedent setting, the project’s foes warned. But the Court of Appeals, in its decision, said that while the public might have understood the openspace strips to be parkland, that did not matter. The strips include Mercer Playground, LaGuardia Corner Gardens, LaGuardia Park and the Mercer-Houston Dog Run. N.Y.U. needs to use Mercer Playground and LaGuardia Park to access the interior of the northern superblock during the construction of two planned new “infill” buildings between the two long slabs of Washington Square Village. After the construction, these open-space strips on this block will become permanent New York City parkland — although N.Y.U. would retain an easement right to use them in the future, as it deemed necessary. Meanwhile, on the southern superblock, which sports the three-building I.M. Pei-designed Silver Towers complex, the plan is for the dog run on Mercer St. to be relocated nearby on the same block, allowing N.Y.U. to build the project’s first building — a new, larger structure currently known only as the “Zipper Building” — on the current Coles gym site. LaGuardia Corner Gardens, the plaintiffs argued, would be negatively impacted by shadows from another building that the university would construct on the current Morton Williams supermarket site. The plaintiffs were a broad coalition, including Assemblymember Deborah Glick, N.Y.U. Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and more than a dozen community and preservation groups and neighborhood residents. Mayor de Blasio’s administration argued in court in support of the N.Y.U. plan. A lawyer for N.Y.U. also argued for the plan, though the community lawsuit was technically lodged against the city over the City Council’s near-unanimous approval of the N.Y.U. 2031 plan three years ago. The open-space strips are currently administered under various
July 2, 2015
N.Y.U.’s expansion plan for the South Village calls for four new buildings. Two “Boomerang Buildings,” or infill structures, are slated for the university’s northern superblock. On the southern superblock, plans call for a new, larger “Zipper Building” on the current Coles gym site on Mercer St., and another new building on the current Morton Williams supermarket site at Bleecker St. and LaGuardia Place.
programs, such as GreenStreets (LaGuardia Park) and GreenThumb (LaGuardia Corner Gardens), while Mercer Playground actually sports Parks Department signage and is even listed on the department’s Web site. However, the judges ruled that the city’s written agreements regarding these properties did not indicate that these existing arrangements were considered permanent. At the conclusion of their seven-page decision, the judges wrote, “[The] documents’ restrictive terms show that, although the City permitted and encouraged some use of these three parcels for recreational and park-like purposes, it had no intention of permanently giving up control of the property. And, as the Appellate Division observed, ‘the City’s refus[al of] various requests to have the streets de-mapped and re-dedicated as parkland’ further indicates that the City has not unequivocally manifested an intent to dedicate the parcels as parkland. That a portion of the public may have believed that these parcels are permanent parkland does not warrant a contrary result. Petitioners did not establish the City’s unequivocal intent to permanently dedicate this municipal property, as there was evidence that the City intended the uses to be temporary, with the parcels to remain under the City’s control for possible alternative future uses.” The court agreed with earlier rulings at the State Supreme Court and Appellate Division levels that the Mercer-Houston Dog Run “was not used as parkland,” concluding that the plaintiffs’ appeal of this point
“lacked merit.” Justice Donna Mills, in early 2013, ruled that three of the four openspace strips were parkland, but her ruling was overturned on appeal by the Appellate Division, setting the stage for the “rubber match” at the Court of Appeals. Attorneys from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher argued the case pro bono for the opponents. “It’s a sad day for those of us who care about our cherished public parklands,” said Randy Mastro, a partner at the law firm. “New York has taken a giant step backwards in protecting these precious resources.” Mark Crispin Miller, president of N.Y.U. FASP, predicted the ruling would ultimately backfire against the university. “Although N.Y.U.’s managers perceive it as a victory,” he said, “this ruling will eventually turn out to be just as disastrous for the university itself as it will be for Greenwich Village, and the city overall.” In a statement, John Beckman, the university’s spokesperson, said, N.Y.U. was “pleased and gratified” by the Court of Appeals decision. “This project has been the subject of years of planning and review, been approved overwhelmingly by the City Planning Commission and City Council, and now has been given the go-ahead by the state’s highest court,” Beckman said. “We look forward to moving ahead with the project, which is vital to meeting N.Y.U.’s pressing academic space needs. With the court’s ruling, we will now undertake intensive planning, and we will have more specific informa-
tion on a timetable for the closing of Coles and construction in the coming months. “We are grateful for the City’s support of this project and its vigorous defense of the City Council’s approval of the project. “The project not only keeps N.Y.U. academically competitive and helps fulfill our educational mission, it also benefits New York… . The project will produce jobs and economic benefits, create public open spaces — including playgrounds and planted seating areas — that will be mapped as parkland and maintained by N.Y.U., and enable N.Y.U. to contribute to the city’s idea economy and highly educated workforce by recruiting top scholars and top students. Moreover, the decision removes the threat to thousands of beloved green and recreational spaces around the state posed by the opponents’ legal theories. “We look forward to working with our neighbors and the community as we move forward with this project.” The project’s opponents called convoluted and ludicrous the argument by N.Y.U. and the city that a ruling against the plan would have meant that less open space would be designated for temporary park uses around the state. Terri Cude, co-chairperson of Community Action Alliance on N.Y.U. 2031, or CAAN, had been helping out at Senior Action Day at the L.G.B.T. Community Center, on W. 13th St., on Tuesday morning when the decision came down, and first learned about it from The Villager. She had been religiously monitoring the court’s Web site every day for a decision on the case. “What a sad day for New York City,” Cude said, “for Greenwich Village, for parks, for people who believe in a livable city. We made such a clear case, and have been making a clear case since 2007, why this N.Y.U. 2031 plan is such a gross overreach. “This is just crushing,” Cude added. “The decision is very harmful to the neighborhood. However, the community will continue to fight on to preserve our parks, our livability, the character of our residential and historic neighborhood. This lawsuit may be over, but the community will continue to work together, to the degree we are able, to keep our neighborhood the beautiful, historic, residential community that it is, and that it must remain.” Cude indicated that while this suit may be over for now, that doesn’t necessarily preclude more legal action at some point down the road. Andrew Berman, G.V.S.H.P. director, said, “We are deeply disappointed N.Y.U. continued on p. 12 TheVillager.com
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PHOTOS BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
‘Yes, we can!’ — R.G.B. votes for a rent freeze Before the Rent Guidelines Board’s vote Monday night, Susie Shropp, an East Village resident, above, held up a “rent rollback” sign as the raucous crowd chanted for the R.G.B. to go beyond a mere rent freeze. In the end, the board called for a rent freeze on one-year lease renewals and a 2 percent increase for two-year renewals. But a rent freeze itself was historic, never having happened before in the R.G.B.’s 46 years. As the board’s vote became clear, Councilmember Corey Johnson, right, an early advocate for rolling back or freezing rents this year, chanted, “Si, se puede! Yes, we can!” and gave an exuberant two thumbs up.
High court O.K.’s N.Y.U. plan N.Y.U. continued from p. 10
that the court gave the green light to N.Y.U.’s massive, 20-year, 2-millionsquare-foot expansion plan. This will not only have a devastating impact upon the Village, but weakens the legal protections that all New Yorkers have enjoyed for public park space. What makes it particularly sad is that ‘the university in the city’ consistently refused every offer of compromise or alternatives as a way of meeting the school’s academic needs while addressing the neighborhood’s concerns about overdevelopment. This could have been a win-win, but instead was lose-lose.” State Senator Brad Hoylman, along with a host of other politicians from across the city, had recently signed on to an amicus brief — or statement of support — for the community lawsuit. “It’s disappointing,” Hoylman said, “that the Court of Appeals has decided to fork over precious public space to a rapacious developer like N.Y.U., because decisions as important as this should only be made by our elected state representatives. That said, there’s still another lawsuit blocking construction. Even if that doesn’t succeed, I’m still hopeful that the new N.Y.U. president will see the wisdom of fostering better rela-
July 2, 2015
tions with the local community and amend the university’s expansion plans, which are wildly out of context with the neighborhood.” A previous lawsuit filed by attorney Lawrence B. Goldberg on behalf of original Washington Square Village residents was dismissed by a judge about three years ago as “unripe.” Yet that suit could be reactivated again at the right moment, Goldberg said back then. That suit argued that the original tenants had moved into the complex with certain assurances of open space and amenities that the university’s redevelopment project would negatively impact. Councilmember Corey Johnson has also been an outspoken critic of the N.Y.U. 2031 plan. “I am terribly disappointed that the state Court of Appeals has given N.Y.U. a green light to proceed,” he told The Villager. “While I respect the court’s decision, if this plan proceeds in its current form, it will result in a loss of precious open space and out-of-scale development. I urge the de Blasio administration to work with N.Y.U. and refine this plan in a way that benefits both the university and the surrounding community.” The Mayor’s Office did not respond by press time to a request for comment. TheVillager.com
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It’s looking Gouda for ex-monks’ cheese shop move BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES
July 2, 2015
PHOTO COURTESY EAST VILLAGE CHEESE
nglish blue Stilton, Huntsman, Danish blue, Chimay butter, Saga, Norwegian Jarlsberg — their names all handwritten on square or rectangular white paper signs — these imported and domestic cheeses, and other dairy delicacies, have drawn visitors and residents alike into 40 Third Ave. for nearly 20 years in search of the perfect fromage. However, this cherished local cheese shop will close this month — but not for good. On July 15, East Village Cheese will move to 80 E. Seventh St., between First and Second Aves. They hope to reopen by month’s end. The relocation comes after the building’s landlord declined earlier this year to renew the shop’s lease following plans to expand the Duane Reade at 46 Third Ave. East Village Cheese neighbors P&P Convenience Store (42 Third Ave.) and Project 36 clothing boutique (36 Third Ave.) have already closed shop, making way for Duane Reade’s growth. The drug-store chain will gobble up the storefronts from 36 Third Ave. northward, including Excel Art & Framing, at 38 Third Ave., which has been at the location for 21 years, along with East Village Cheese. Naturally, it was all about the “cheddah” — not hard cheese, but hard cash. Duane Reade, which is owned by Walgreens, declined to comment on the Third Ave. store closings, the drug store’s upcoming renovations and the actual size of the expansion. Excel Art & Framing, which also didn’t have its lease renewed, recently found a new location nearby at 81 Third Ave., between E. 11th and 12th Sts. — the former location of Everything Bagels, which closed earlier this year — and will reopen by mid-July. Spared from the chain’s growth are the UPS store, at 34 Third Ave., Thread hair-removal boutique, at 32 Third Ave., and Organic Ave., a juice shop, at 30 Third Ave.
Co-owner Lobsang Tsultrim happily meditates on the store’s new space.
A Tibetan expatriate, Thupten Tenphel started working at East Village Cheese in 1998. Lobsang Tsultrim, who also fled Tibet in the 1990s and later met Tenphel through other expats, came onboard in 2001. Both former Buddhist monks, Tenphel and Tsultrim fled their homeland over their political views — their opposition to China’s control of Tibet. East Village Cheese’s founder, Alvin Kaufman, a Jew turned Buddhist who died three years ago, took the pair in and taught them everything they had to know about brie (the store’s most
popular seller), Gouda, Camembert and the hundreds of other cheeses the shop sells. When Kaufman retired in 2005, he asked Tenphel and Tsultrim if they wanted to buy the little cheese shop, and they’ve been its co-owners ever since. “He taught me how to run a business,” Tenphel said. “He changed my life.” Not much has changed since then. In addition to cheese, the store’s patrons can find fresh bread, domestic and imported crackers, cookies, olives, jams and condiments. The pair
have hired several other Tibetan immigrants over the years. The man to thank for keeping the iconic cheese shop in the East Village is Conrad Bradford. A real estate agent at Miron Properties who specializes in “ghost spaces” — properties that are not officially on the market — Bradford located the new 1,000-square-foot space, which includes a basement. Tenphel and Tsultrim signed a 10-year lease for 80 E. Seventh St. on June 15. Bradford, a Greenwich Village resident, helped the owners find this “ghost space” after a failed attempt at another location, the former Kim’s Laundromat at 208 Avenue A. “New Yorkers never had chain stores years ago,” Bradford said. “The independent retailer is what gave the neighborhood its particular flavor when tourists came looking for something unique, or something they can’t find anywhere.” Tenphel said he is not going to miss the old space much and plans to make the big move by July 15. He said that most of East Village Cheese’s customers are already asking about the new location. Although it’s smaller than the cheese shop’s current 2,100 square feet, the new space includes a basement, which will give them enough room, since nearly half of the store’s old space is used for storage and refrigeration. Other than where the storage and fridges are located, nothing else will physically change at East Village Cheese, following the move. However, a third owner, Penzen Soepa — yes, another ex-Tibetan monk — has joined as a shareholder. Otherwise, the same employees will be on board. After they settle into the new space, they are even considering opening a second, maybe even a third location, in the future. Prices, though, will stay the same, and may even go down because of the lower rent, according to Tenphel. “We’re famous because of our prices,” he said. “Nobody can beat the prices of our cheese.”
POLICE BLOTTER FedEx man foils thief A FedEx driver confronted a man who was attempting to lift a parcel from his delivery truck on Mon., June 22. The suspect soon dropped the goods at about 1 p.m. and fled the scene near the northeast corner of W. 12th St. and Sixth Ave., police said. The 29-year-old driver chased the suspect and held him until police arrived. Rafael Rodriguez, 53, was arrested and charged with felony burglary.
Gay Pride ‘mug shot’ Police said they repeatedly told a woman, 21, on Sun., June 28, around 7 p.m., after the Pride March, not to enter an area closed to pedestrian traffic near the northeast corner of Washington and W. Houston Sts. But Shennah-Marie Cummings allegedly kept trying, and allegedly struck a police officer with a large plastic mug, cutting his upper lip. Cummings then allegedly resisted arrest by flailing her arms and twisting her body, according to a police report. She was arrested and charged with felony assault.
Knifepoint robbery A 24-year-old man suspected he was being followed around 2:30 a.m. on Fri., June 26. When he turned around to check, a man around his same age
asked him for money. He refused, but the other man continued to follow him. According to police, Jayquon Girdner, 24, then allegedly pulled out a knife in front of 82 Christopher St. and again demanded money. A police report did not state whether he got any, but police later caught up with him.
‘Booked’ for shoplifting The alleged theft of an $8 notebook led to a felony charge for one local man. Police said Spencer Rotgans, 21, entered Blick Art Materials, at 21 E. 13th St., at about 2:45 p.m. on Mon., June 22, took a notebook from a shelf then and then stuffed it down his pants. A store employee attempted to stop him from leaving the premises but reportedly got a punch to the stomach for his efforts. Police soon arrived and arrested Rotgans. A search of his person allegedly revealed a used hypodermic needle. He was charged with felony robbery.
Rennocks then allegedly hit another man, 41, on the face with the glass. This time the damage was much worse, causing multiple gashes requiring more than 50 stitches, police said. Rennocks was arrested and charged with felony assault.
Train chain swipe On Sun., May 24, at 7:40 p.m., a 26-year-old woman was in the subway station at Canal and Lafayette Sts. when a man ran up to her and forcibly removed her chain from her neck, then fled the station, police said.
Le Souk glass attack A champagne glass reportedly was an instrument of violence at Le Souk restaurant and lounge, at 510 LaGuardia Place. According to police, around 3 a.m. on Sun., June 28, Sheldon Rennocks, 41, attacked one man before moving onto another. The first victim, 30, was drinking, when for unknown reasons, the alleged perpetrator hit him with the glass on the right hand, causing a small cut and bruising.
Zach Williams and Lincoln Anderson
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July 2, 2015
All under one rainbow umbrella at Pride March
Some early sprinkles didn’t dampen the Pride on Sunday.
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Rebuild hospital near us!
No escape from drumming
To The Editor: Re “Plan to rebuild Beth Israel Hospital one block to north” (news article, June 18): There are a number of hospitals north of the current Beth Israel, whereas the Village, East and West, could certainly use a hospital. Have they considered moving the hospital further south?
To The Editor: Re “Will Board 2 drum loud music out of Washington Square Park?” (news article, May 28) and “Drumbeat builds for reining in noisy music in Wash. Sq.” (news article, June 11): Thanks for reporting on the effort to ban drum music from Washington Square Park. Everyone respects the long tradition of music in the park, but drums are a different story: They are really loud. If a drummer is giving it his all, there is no place in the whole park to escape the noise. People complain to the police, but so
far, the noise can’t be stopped because it’s not amplified. So one person is allowed to inflict his noise on hundreds. Sometimes, it’s real music, but often it is just banging on a plastic bucket. Lots of people have to leave the park just to avoid the noise. Let’s hope their voices are heard over the drum music! Roger Ricklefs
Save Clayton’s archives! To The Editor: Re “Clayton Patterson at Howl Happening gallery” (news article, June 18): Clayton Patterson is a true legend. His archives need to be preserved and viewed by young and old alike! Jose Quiles
What homophobia may hide To The Editor: Re “Suspect surrenders to police in vicious Dallas BBQ bashing” (news article, June 18): I had to laugh at the line in your article stating that you had not been able to “confirm that he is not gay.” Reminds me of Fats Waller’s comment “One never knows, do one?” LETTERS, continued on p. 18
July 2, 2015
Wham! Bam! Pow! Mutant heroes are transforming us
RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY
uperman helped America find its fighting spirit. Captain America did his white male, square-jawed, hetero-normative bit, too. But it was the next generation of superheroes — the mutants — who made us the more tolerant, more feminist, more mutli-culti America we are today — and maybe even gave us gay marriage. Yes, that’s quite a Bruce Wayne-like leap, but comic-book authority Ramzi Fawaz makes it gracefully in his book to be published this fall, “The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics.” His premise is this: When the first superheroes appeared in comic books in the late 1930s, they were drawn by second-generation immigrants — usually New York Jewish guys who wanted to fit in and, while they were at it, beat the heck out of Hitler. After World War II was won, however, comic books went into a bit of a slump. Not only was there no Fuhrer left to fight, Fawaz says, “But there was the creation of the atomic bomb. How can a superhero compete against
that?” The masked men and their creators were starting to sag like old tights. By the ’50s, comic books were filled with crime and horror, and the House Un-American Activities Committee — the folks generally focused on ferreting out Communists — believed that comics were creating juvenile delinquents. (Just like some folks believe that about video games today.) Comics were in the cultural crosshairs. This could be the end. But then, like the plot of almost every Marvel masterpiece ever, the industry came fighting back! It did it by resuscitating the one thing that could save it: the superhero genre. Now no one could accuse the comics of being un-American anymore, because superheroes have always been as American as truth, justice and, well, you get the idea. Except this time, says Fawaz, the
heroes came back with a subversive twist — as mutants. What kind? Every kind, representing every new idea taking root in American society, says Fawaz. Take the Fantastic Four. The gang starts out as friends who go on an unauthorized rocket ship trip — “a sort of space race thing,” Fawaz says — but they’re bombarded by cosmic rays that turn them into freaks. Very symbolic freaks. There’s Ben Grimm, who becomes a human rock called The Thing. And yet, while embodying the traditional male ideal — he’s a rock, after all — he is “extremely emotionally vulnerable,” says Fawaz. “He weeps over his state. He leaves the team at different times because he feels he does not belong.” He’s not your father’s Superman. Then there’s Reed Richards, the super-straight, even rigid, scientist. “He works for the government, he’s the breadwinner of the family, and the patriarch,” says Fawaz. “But what happens to him physically is he becomes extremely stretchy, elastic.” Now he’s flexible in every sense of the word. For her part, Sue, the one and only female, becomes invisible — a sort of cosmic comic metaphor for the invisibility of women, Fawaz believes. And yet, she can use that power to her advantage, and what was a weakness becomes a strength. Hear her roar! And finally there’s Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch — a teen who
turns to flame, just because...teens turn to flame. And maybe because people were starting to set themselves on fire to protest injustice. Look, not everything is a perfect allegory. After the Fantastic Four, the X-Men comics were reintroduced not as the five suburban white kids they’d started out as, but a gaggle of multicultural mutants, including Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Phoenix and perhaps most powerfully Storm — an African-American goddess who controls the weather, saves the world and, according to Fawaz, also embodies a whole lot of the disco aesthetic: glitzy, gay-friendly, fabulous. All these characters are outcasts who are stronger thanks to their “flaws,” and undefeatable once they find, accept and join each other. So while they didn’t explicitly fight for gay marriage — at least not in the ’60s and ’70s, when they first got off the ground — ever since the superheroes started mutating, it has been like the feminists meet the civil rights workers meet the anti-war activists meet the L.G.B.T. crowd, and together they can change the world. And considering their REAL superpower — inserting new ideas into the public mind under the guise of fun — maybe they did change the world after all. Skenazy is a keynote speaker and author and founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids”
Some legislative wins in Albany worth mentioning TALKING POINT BY DEBORAH J. GLICK
lthough the main focus of the end of session was on the renewal of rent regulations, I have had several legislative victories of note this session. Below are a few highlights of bills that I sponsored that have passed both the Assembly and the state Senate and are currently awaiting the governor’s signature: First, there was the passage of a campus sexual assault bill, on which I worked to significantly amend to its current form. This bill was a top priority for the governor but required substantial revisions to ensure impartial administration with a rigorous set of standards to protect all students. This bill will ensure greater training of staff and students alike and a new TheVillager.com
affirmative consent paradigm in connection to consensual sexual activity. Another bill that passed would permit out-of-state licensed veterinarians and veterinary technicians to work in New York State during natural disasters or other emergencies. It would also allow these professionals to assist in investigations of animal-cruelty cases. “Maintenance of effort” is a mechanism in which the state is required to maintain a minimum amount of funding to an agency or program. To ensure more financial stability for both SUNY and CUNY, a bill passed that would require maintenance of effort in state funding for both university systems, including the SUNY Health Science Centers. This would include the coverage of mandatory costs, such as facility rentals and fringe benefit costs. Through legislation, we expanded the scope of practice for registered nurses. The critical addition to the role of registered nurses would permit them to administer updated tests to screen for tuberculosis, with a
general order from a doctor or nurse practitioner. Since TB has had a resurgence, this is an important public health initiative. Additionally, as you know, the renewal of rent regulation was obviously a huge debate this year. Our negotiations continued even as the regulations expired for a few days as the Senate majority refused to do a short extender. New Yorkers deserve affordable housing, and a renewal of this program was essential to saving the homes of 2 million New Yorkers. A four-year renewal was passed, and
awaits the signature of the governor. The final bill increased the luxury decontrol limit to $2,700, spread out the time in which charges for a major capital improvement (M.C.I.) can be collected from a tenant, and increased protections for tenants against landlord harassment. I wish that we would have been able to eliminate vacancy decontrol and further raised the luxury-decontrol cap, but without a partner in the governor or the Senate majority, the threat to the existence of rent regulation was real. I am proud of the work we accomplished this year, especially in light of the many changes we faced during this session. There is always more work to do, and more New Yorkers for whom I will fight. As session has now concluded for the year, I look forward to being able to spend some time in the district, as I continue to work for my constituents and residents of New York. Glick is assemblymember for the 66th District (West Village, Soho, Noho, Hudson Square, East Village, Tribeca, Civic Center) July 2, 2015
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$ driving the Soho scene From Yukie Ohta’s archives at the Soho Memory Project — an issue of The Villager from April 1973. As illustrated by the fancy Jaguar parked on the street, the tipping point was being reached where big money was starting to forever transform the once-gritty, close-knit artists’ colony. Gotta like that bubble-letters flag of The Villager from back then.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
July 2, 2015
Paved with potholes To The Editor: Greene St. between W. Fourth St. and Waverly Place is paved with cobblestones. The block between Washington Place and Waverly Place has some really deep potholes. Driving up Greene St. can be quite difficult. A pothole could cause seri-
ous damage to a car if a wheel went directly into it. Is it possible that these potholes could be filled and repaved? I guess the fact that a sign saying “Broadway” has not yet appeared at the corner of Broadway and E. Eighth St. is an indication that repair is not an option. George Jochnowitz E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager. com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published. TheVillager.com
Park your thoughts in Tompkins Square The Typewriter Project tells the city’s story BY SEAN EGAN
PHOTO BY SEAN EGAN
ake your way through Tompkins Square Park and you’ll see something new near the Hare Krishna tree — a small, unassuming wooden booth sitting amongst a light layer of straw. Inside this booth is a single, teal-colored typewriter, loaded with a long spool of paper and attached to an iPad (which is hidden out of sight). Passersby are encouraged to step inside the booth, spend some time with their thoughts, and type some poetry onto the scroll — either continuing from the work of the previous writer or taking inspiration from elsewhere. The efforts of these park-visiting poets are then anonymously uploaded to subconsciousofthecity.com. This is The Typewriter Project (subtitled “The Subconscious of the City”), the brainchild of Stephanie Berger and Nicholas Adamski, who are also the CEO and COO, respectively, of The Poetry Society of New York. The installation was inspired by the Exquisite Corpse, a form of poetry in which writers take turns writing lines, based on what was written prior to their turn. “One of the things I love doing more than anything else, as a poet and an artist, is collaborating with others, because you’re able to make something more than what you’re able to make on your own,” says Berger, praising the form’s collaborative nature and how, “You can create something totally unexpected and
A view of the Hare Krishna tree from behind the typewriter.
something that you wouldn’t ever make on your own.” The Typewriter Project is the culmination of a long-percolating, collaborative idea — at least three or four years by the creators’ estimation. Trial and error factored heavily in refining the project — scrolls of paper at an early installation on Governors Island would go missing, and similar events at the fluid retail concept space, Story (144 10th Ave. at 19th St.), helped them learn how different people interacted with the typewriter. They also de-
cided to incorporate the iPad and website because, as Adamski asks, “Why not use all of the technology at our disposal, and maybe push it a bit?” After all their work, they finally settled on Tompkins Square Park, by the Hare Krishna tree — an area Adamski refers to as a “particularly literary point in Manhattan,” with Berger corroborating, “Allen Ginsberg used to hold writing workshops by that tree.” It seems the perfect place for the project, as Adamski believes poetry can be “a manifestation of your
subconscious or your psyche. This is sort of like: ‘What’s on your mind New York?,’ ” he says. “We built the booth, it has a certain aesthetic we can control. We put a typewriter in it, which is a beautiful old thing — it’s very charming, the sounds it makes, and all that. We pointed out a very beautiful, special tree, and put it in this place, but then, ultimately, when people sit down they’re left alone with their thoughts.” He concludes, “We’re trying to mine that and see, what does someone write if TYPEWRITER, continued on p.20 July 2, 2015
Stories unspool on old tech
PHOTOS BY SEAN EGAN
Founders Stephanie Berger and Nicholas Adamski strike a pose by the door to The Typewriter Project’s writing booth.
TYPEWRITER, continued from p. 19
they get ten or fifteen minutes alone in a little booth in a park?” And what exactly has this shown them? “The typewriter scroll, if you read it, it sounds completely insane,” admits Berger. “It’s like so many different voices. It sounds the way the city sounds more than it sounds like a single person writing a poem.” Adamski adds, “Even if I would have made something up in my brain about what it might look like or how it might sound or what people might write, there’s no way that I could have been prepared for what’s been written.” He notes with fascination that many of the entries are in Spanish, or gibberish, or clearly written by children. Their website certainly confirms these claims, revealing the variety of writers who’ve taken a seat at the typewriter. Scouring through entries posted by the anonymous authors yields everything from meditations on love (“the concept of being everything to one person terrifies me.”) to inscrutable comments about the undead (“this is a save point. the zombies cannot eat
July 2, 2015
Darien Nizza-Lazaroff enjoys the “organic” experience of writing on a typewriter.
me this time.”). A string of entries written by various children chronicles an epic-sounding birthday party of one “Nicholas.” One entry reads “I am sitting here with my
son and I am not used to typing this anymore. I used to be able to type very fast” — reflecting Adamski’s theory that “[The Typewriter Project]’s kind of bridging a little bit
of a generation gap,” and Berger’s that “A lot of humans just don’t know how to type on [typewriters] anymore.” Standing by The Typewriter Project with the sun shining verifies this, as many people stop to admire the installation. A father explains to his scooter-riding child what exactly a typewriter is. Later on, a group of young girls stare quizzically at the booth, until one takes charge and explains the strange machine, bragging, “My mom used to have one.” Inside the booth, however, a young man named Darien Nizza-Lazaroff types away diligently for a while, before eventually getting up to leave. He’s a repeat visitor, having attended the initial opening of the Project, and finding the experience enjoyable. “It’s definitely fun and relaxing to use the typewriter. Not many people use or own one in this modern day and age,” he says. “It feels organic.” He leaves, promising staffers that he’ll be back soon to continue writing. Nizza-Lazaroff seems to embody some of the hopes the founders had for the project. “In some ways, I guess our project is trying to create some kind of literary activism,” Berger laughs. “On an individual level, I hope that people write things that they’re proud of,” Berger says. “On a wider level, I hope that people remember that writing literature is valuable.” “It’s just the idea that even if poetry doesn’t have the place in the wider culture that it once had, that people might have a moment where they think of themselves as someone who is engaged with it or might want to be engaged with it,” Adamski elaborates. And if the flurry of activity around The Typewriter Project is any indication, it seems as if it’s doing that job quite well. As one typewriter scribe elegantly puts it: “Found poetry, a lost art.” The Typewriter Project runs through July 19, at Tompkins Square Park (Ave. A to Ave. B, E. Seventh St. to E. 10th St.), near the Hare Krishna Tree. Hours: Mon.–Fri., 3–8 p.m. and Sat.– Sun., 12–8 p.m. Visit subconsciousofthecity.com for more info. The scrolls produced during this iteration of the project will be on display at The New York City Poetry Festival (newyorkcitypoetryfestival.com) on Governors Island on July 25 & 26 along with the booth itself. TheVillager.com
Johnny Rivers and me
How one man’s theme became another’s signature song BY JIM MELLOAN
Often at two or three in the morning, the crowd at South Beach would achieve glorious five-or-six-part harmony on numbers like “Take Me Home, Country Roads” or “It Don’t Come Easy,” blasting through the open windows onto Second Ave. One night Stormy was doing a rendition of “Secret Agent Man” and went up on the words. I took over, as I knew them cold. And I was a hit. Soon the song became my trademark at the jam, and people actually called me “Secret Agent Jim.” I kind of out-Johnny-Riversed Johnny Rivers, as I exaggerated his delivery: “Thay-a’s a may-an who lives a life of danger…” Pherg, a rotund regular who was a sports photographer, marveled at my delivery as I worked the crowd, moving amongst them and delivering the song while leaning on the bar or the wall: “You were leaning on shit!” And sometime in the late '90s, Paul Page, a bass player, played with Johnny Rivers, and told him about me, and got an autograph from him, which he gave to me as a birthday present. Rivers celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Whisky a Go Go last year at his own event with Jimmy Webb across town. He wasn’t invited to the Whisky a Go Go celebration, which concentrated on its later punk and metal years. He still records and releases music occasionally. And I don’t know where Stormy is now. Jim Melloan is a writer, actor, musician, and editor. He does occasional columns for this publication on pop music from 50 years ago. His radio shows “50 Years Ago This Week” airs Tuesdays from 8–10 p.m. on RadioFreeBrooklyn. com. For info on Johnny Rivers, visit johnnyrivers.com.
One of five albums recorded (live?) at the Whisky a Go Go in San Francisco.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL ALBOV VIA JOHNNYRIVERS.COM
ohnny Rivers’ career was in high gear 50 years ago. On the July 3, 1965 Billboard Hot 100, his “Seventh Son” hit No. 7 — which was, fittingly, its peak (and where it remained for three weeks). He had hit it big the previous year with his versions of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis” and “Maybellene,” as well as “Mountain of Love,” a 1960 Harold Dorman song. Though Rivers was a songwriter, his success as a performer came from his energetic covers of songs originally done by other artists. “Memphis,” “Seventh Son” and 1966’s “Secret Agent Man” were each from one of five albums recorded live at the Whisky a Go Go in San Francisco. It’s a matter of some speculation how “live” these albums actually were. Apparently, a lot of the tracks were actually recorded in a studio with a small live audience. But there’s no question that Rivers was responsible for the success of the club, owned by Elmer Valentine, a former vice cop who converted it into America’s first discotheque, and in the process helped revive the Sunset Strip. Of “Memphis,” Rivers told the Los Angeles Times last year, “It wasn’t a big hit for Chuck. That record took me from $350 a week to $5,000 a night…They didn’t come to see the Whisky. They came to see Johnny Rivers.” I’ve always loved “Seventh Son,” originally written and recorded by Willie Dixon in 1955 (the year I was born). Sting also does a great cover of it on Jools Holland’s 2001 album “Small World Big Band.” I performed it with Mansueto Ventures’ company band The MansueTones around 2010. But it’s “Secret Agent Man” that I have a special relationship with. Written for the American broadcast of the British series called “Danger Man” starring Patrick McGoohan (renamed “Secret Agent” in the U.S.), the song, by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, features one of the classic guitar riffs of all time, right up there if not better than Monty Norman and John Barry’s James Bond Theme. In the mid-'60s, the whole culture was secret-agent crazy, with “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “I Spy” on TV, and later, more fantastic spy heroes in the movies like Dean Martin’s Matt Helm and James Coburn’s Derek Flint. Rivers’ in-your-face
rock ‘n’ roll delivery was perfect for the song. But now about me. I moved to New York City in 1993, after having lived in and around Boston for 14 years. In Boston, while I went to clubs to see bands, I never found a bar where I considered myself a regular. I hoped to find such a place in New York. I lived in the Kips Bay neighborhood, barely known as a neighborhood, bordering Murray Hill — not really known for anything except old commercials before 800-numbers became common announcing the number to call as one with a Murray Hill exchange. Famously, Kips Bay for a long time was the one unnamed neighborhood on the maps in New York taxis, just a patch of gray. In 1994, a small bar opened up on Second Ave. at 33rd St. called South Beach. The South Beach neighborhood of Miami was just beginning to be recognized as hip, and the idea behind this bar (owned, coincidentally, by a guy from South Dakota named Murray) was that it would be a home for Miami Dolphins fans. So that kind of worked, maybe, for 16 days out of the year. Then it became a neighborhood bar for mostly 30- and 40-somethings, a bunch of misfits who over the '90s became pretty good friends. And there was a bartender there named Stormy Spill. Her real name. She was a singer-songwriter who bore a facial resemblance as well a low-register vocal resemblance to Cher. But she favored flannel shirts and ripped jeans, and her music was much more blues-based. She started up an “Acoustic Jam” on Sunday nights that attracted some of the best old-school musicians in town. These were guys who would tour with '60s nostalgia acts like The Tokens and The Chiffons. I had moved to the city having gotten a reporting job with Worth magazine, and for a couple of years I had thought, all right, that’s it with the artsy-fartsy stuff, no more music, no more improv, I are now a serious journalist. And the Acoustic Jam in short order blew that notion out of the water. In 1996, I started going to Faceboyz Open Mic at Surf Reality on the Lower East Side, also on Sunday nights, more of a conceptual anything-goes deal, and so Sundays consisted of a one-two punch that meant I was frequently late to work on Monday morning.
Johnny Rivers has aged as well as his music.
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July 2, 2015
Comicdom comes around to gender diversity
LGBT geeks break ground from the inside out
PHOTO BY FWEE CARER COURTESY FLAME CON
The Flame Con mascot (in flames) joins cosplay costume contest winners.
BY CHARLES BATTERSBY
n decades past, geek media like comic books and video games would avoid direct mention of LGBT themes. This was because geek media was often seen as childish, while LGBT representation was viewed as inherently sexual and unsuitable for kids. In recent years, a new generation of gay and transgender creators have grown up and begun making their own comics and games, while publishers have embraced a new audience by presenting a more diverse roster of characters that includes openly gay and transgender people. The stereotypes of both subcultures are being eroded by the arrival of these openly queer geeks. Industry conventions like Comic Con will present panel discussions where publishers can promote upcoming projects, but the cons also have panels on more esoteric topics, including LGBT themes. Previously, a major con might have had a single panel devoted to “Diversity” — but the cons of today have multiple panels that address topics of interest beyond the stereotypical straight white
July 2, 2015
male nerd. The proliferation of gay geeks is so extensive that there have been several cons that cater specifically to them. Gaymer X (gaymerx.com) is a West Coast event that is geared towards video game fans, and will see its third annual installment this winter. In New York City there is Flame Con (flamecon.org), which had its first incarnation earlier this month at the opulent Grand Prospect Hall. It celebrated all manner of geek culture, and hosted a dedicated lounge for gamers, along with a show floor for comic book artists and vendors. Panel discussions were held on a variety of gay-specific topics including kid-friendly gay comics, gay themes in the horror genre, and gay “anti-hero” characters that defy the traditional do-gooder image. One of the gay-targeted games on display was an upcoming mobile game called “Pridefest,” by Atari (pridefestgame.com). Tony Chien, the Senior Director of Marketing at Atari describes its story as “Your city was turned gray and dull, and it’s your job as Deputy Mayor to revitalize it.” The game is humorously selfaware of gay tropes, and has players customize a simulated city with rainbow decorations. The city’s pride parade can even run into protestors as
part of the gameplay. Comic book conventions have seen a drastic increase in another subculture recently: cosplay. The term refers to fans who dress up as their favorite characters, often with elaborate handcrafted clothing and props. Flame Con was no exception to this trend, and had numerous attendees dressed as flamboyant interpretations of film, comic and game characters. Even at mainstream conventions, cosplay has become a safe way to explore identity, and it is quite common for fans to “crossplay” as characters of the opposite gender. Even though there was a push for LGBT inclusivity in the nerd community beginning a few years ago, the “T” for transgender was often an afterthought, or overlooked altogether in panels where all the speakers were cisgender. In the last few years, several major conventions have taken the step of presenting programming that looks exclusively at transgender themes (several of which were organized and moderated by myself). New York’s Special Edition NYC (specialeditionnyc.com) convention hosted such a panel in 2014, and the San Diego Comic Con followed suit later that summer, as did New York Comic Con that fall. This summer, within the span of a single week,
New York City saw panels about transgender comic book characters at two conventions (Special Edition NYC and Flame Con). One of the panelists at Flame Con was P. Kristen Enos, the writer of “Web of Lives.” She pointed out that, “While panels on transgender themes feel like a novelty in a standard geek convention, there’s no way Flame Con could be taken with any credibility if their first con did not have a panel like this, and I’m glad that they did, and that I could be part of it. The audience already felt educated about the issues of transgender presentation that it allowed us as panelists to talk about topics deeper and further than at a standard convention.” Also a panelist at Flame Con, Jennie Wood — writer of the comic “Flutter” and the novel “A Boy Like Me” — said, “At one point I sat back during the panel and thought to myself, ‘Wow, what an honor to be here with such talented, wonderful, thoughtful people.’ There was such a warm vibe in the room…from my fellow panelists, our moderator, and the audience. And there was a level of maturity to the discussion that can sometimes be lacking on panels.” There have been too many transgender characters and stories to name them all in one article, but many of them follow recurring patterns. Back in the Golden Age of the ‘30s and ‘40s, comic books would address themes of gender-change — but only for plot purposes. Heroes and heroines would frequently disguise themselves as persons of the opposite gender, usually as part of contrived situations to dupe foolish enemies. One character in particular, Madame Fatal, was based entirely around this concept. She was actually a young man who disguised himself as a little old lady in order to lull enemies into a false sense of security. In the decades since, characters ranging from Captain America to Jimmy Olsen and even Batman have used this gimmick in their stories. It was usually played for laughs, but sometimes was depicted seriously (to prove that certain characters were true masters of disguise). On occasion female characters would disguise themselves as male in order to appear more threatening. These characters weren’t truly transgender, although the stories might have unintentionally resonated with trans readers. FLAMECON continued on p. 23 TheVillager.com
Queering comics, cosplay and gaming FLAMECON continued from p. 22
From Special Edition NYC’s “Secret Identities: Transgender Themes in Comic Books” panel. L to R: P. Kristen Enos, Charles Battersby, Marjorie Liu, Marguerite Bennett.
Transgender superhero Sera, from the “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin” series.
several installments that allow players to take their character to a cosmetic surgeon to change gender mid-game, or even create a character who is gender non-conforming right from the start. Last year’s “Dragon Age: Inquisition” featured a subplot in which one of the supporting characters, Krem, is female-to-male trans, and comes from a culture where this
sci-fi/fantasy settings of games and comics have allowed writers and designers to address gender identity in ways that more realistic settings can’t. The blossoming transgender community among nerds has also proven to be an unexpected safe place for trans people to find kindred spirits, while sharing their love of superheroes and epic adventure.
is accepted. A few long-running franchises like “Street Fighter” and the Mario family of games have transgender characters among their casts as well, and have garnered a cult following for the characters Birdo and Poison. Even two decades ago, the notion of a transgender geek would have been seen as a paradox. However the
The Washington Square Music Festival
PHOTO BY MIHYUN KANG
MARVEL WORLDWIDE INC.
Another long-standing use of gender change as a plot device is having a character cursed by being transformed into the other gender. In geek media, the writers are free to use outlandish science or magic to accomplish this. Characters would have their gender changed forcibly, often in an effort to tell stories about sexism, but inadvertently overlooked the opportunity to address the trans experience of feeling trapped in a body of the wrong gender. It was rare that a comic character willingly changed gender until the late ‘80s rolled around and comic books entered their “dark and gritty” phase. The readers had grown up, and the comic industry took its first tenuous steps into transgender representation with adult-oriented comics published by the same mainstream companies that made Superman and Spider-Man. However, this new generation of transgender characters were usually supporting characters, and rarely had their own set of super powers or fought evil. A notable exception was Coagula of “Doom Patrol,” who was a male-to-female trans who gained the power to turn solid objects into fluids, and vice versa (a deliberate metaphor for gender fluidity). A more recent example of a transgender superhero is Sera in the series “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin.” She appeared with little fanfare a few months ago, and readers didn’t even know that she was trans until three issues into her story. Marguerite Bennett, who wrote Sera’s sub-story within this storyline, was a panelist at both Flame Con and Special Edition NYC, where she discussed the character. Sera was born in a male body, in a society where only women can become warriors. She eventually “Found a way to make me myself” and became a magical swordswoman who has been incorporated into the Marvel Comics continuity, fighting alongside Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The video game industry is a relatively young one compared to comics, and it has only recently been accepted by the general public as a narrative art form. For decades, games used the same plot device gender themes that were seen in other geek media such as curses and disguises. However, as the players and game developers became increasingly diverse, the industry responded. The “Saints Row” franchise has
The Washington Square Music Festival’s July 7 concert has New York Jazzharmonic performing a program of American jazz.
What our city lacks in a crystal clear view of every star in the sky, it more than makes up for in the sensory stimulation offered by the Washington Square Music Festival. The free, eclectic, daylight-to-dusk-to-dark outdoor series — which has already given us two Lutz Rath-conducted Festival Chamber Orchestra concerts in June — closes out its season on July 7 with a program celebrating American jazz. Founder Ron Wasserman conducts his 17-piece New York Jazzharmonic, with JP Joffre (bandoneon) and vocalist Elvy Yost as the guests. Selections include Dizzy Gillespie’s “He Beeped When He should Have Bopped,” a new arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner” (its John Philip Sousa version) and a rec-
reation of Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall version of “Sing, Sing, Sing.” The music of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Woody Herman, Count Basie and Scott Joplin will also be celebrated, along with a preview of the Jazzharmonic’s upcoming 2015-2016 season. Free. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Tues., July 7, 8 p.m. in Washington Square Park (Fifth Ave./Waverly Place, btw. W. Fourth & Macdougal Sts.). Rainspace: NYU’s Frederick Loewe Theatre (35 W. Fourth St. at Greene St.). Visit washingtonsquaremusicfestival.org or call 212-252-3621. Also visit nyjazzharmonic.org.
—Scott Stiffler July 2, 2015
New L.E.S. tattoo museum is creating some buzz BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC
attooing may now be ubiquitous, but how well do people know its history? Here’s a pop quiz. Pick out the false state-
ment: A. Tattooing has never been illegal in New York City. B. Thomas Edison has no connection with the ink art. C. Permanent tattoo shops began in the 1900s. If you knew all were false, bravo. If not, maybe you should pay a visit to a new free museum that is highlighting the skin art’s roots. In 1997, when tattooing was made legal again in New York City, Michelle Myles and Brad Fink opened Daredevil Tattoo on Ludlow St. It’s now located at 141 Division St. “My business partner Brad has been collecting tattoo stuff for as long as he has been tattooing, which is about 27 years,” Myles said. “It’s a tremendous collection and so far, all this time, it’s just been hidden in his house.” With the new, bigger space on Division St., both of them decided it was time to display the artifacts, and the Daredevil Tattoo Museum was born. “We didn’t have that opportunity before to ever consider something like that in our old space,” Myles said. Six huge display cases house their favorite things in Fink’s collection, especially those that illuminate tattooing’s history in the city. “That’s what we’re most excited to represent in the collection — mostly because of where we’re actually located,” explained Myles. “We’re in the area where the old tattooers used to work. There isn’t anybody
An original Thomas Edison engraving pen will be part of the Daredevil tattoo museum collection.
representing tattoo history in New York City. We’re really excited to be able to represent that.” In 1859, Martin Hildebrandt opened a permanent tattoo parlor in Chatham Square, not too far from Division St. He, in turn, taught Samuel O’Reilly, who in 1891 patented the first electric tattoo machine based on Thomas Edison’s electric engraving pen design. Fink has one of the Thomas Edison pens — but it isn’t at Daredevil yet. Myles said they have started a Kickstarter campaign to bring the pen to the shop, as well as finish up the last details for the museum. Earlier this month, Daredevil offered a sneak peek of the museum and launched the campaign to raise their goal of $30,000.
“It was over-the-top really good,” Myles said of the event. “Everybody was so positive and so supportive of the whole idea of the museum.” The donations will go toward various essentials, including getting Plexiglas for the display cases. Myles said that just to hang a neon sign outside Daredevil would cost thousands of dollars. Also, necessary is a new heating/air conditioner unit to keep the shop climate controlled for the artifacts. Daredevil’s current unit is “on life support,” said Myles. The pieces in the collection are very delicate, she explained. “Most of the stuff, when it was painted, it wasn’t considered art,” she said. “Some of the stuff was made on discarded whatever they could find. We have some of the [tattoo] sheets that are actually painted on window shades.” The collection also has two sheets of artwork from O’Reilly. “I’ve never ever seen his work published anywhere, so to have two original sheets from O’Reilly in the shop is amazing,” Myles said. O’Reilly ended up teaching Charlie Wagner, who patented the first American twin-coil tattoo machine in 1901. Myles and Fink have been doing archival research, going to the library and looking through old city directories, to create a map of all the old tattooers who used to work in the Chatham Square / Bowery area — considered to be the birthplace of modern tattooing in America. For more information on Daredevil’s Kickstarter campaign, go to www.kickstarter.com/ projects/1177134106/daredevil-tattoos-nyc-museum-of-tattoo-history .
Dance pioneer Graham honored by 5th Ave. plaque BY TEQUILA MINSKY
July 2, 2015
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
n the 1930s and ’40s, in an upstairs studio in what is now The New School’s 66 Fifth Ave. building, Martha Graham offered dance lessons to the public and rehearsed her own company. The 5th Ave. Cinema was on the ground floor. A plaque unveiling at The New School’s building recently celebrated Graham’s contributions to modern dance and teaching. Innovative dancer and choreographer Graham died at age 96 in New York. She was the creator of nearly 200 dances and collaborated with artists across disciplines. And she was a teacher to generations of dancers. Former students and dancers, fans, members of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation and Village neighbors commemorated Graham’s creative contributions at the unveiling of a plaque marking the spot where one of the 20th century’s foremost artists did some of her most important work. Janet Eilber, artistic director of the Martha Graham Dance Company, greeted these lovers of dance.
At the plaque unveiling, Janet Eilber, Martha Graham Dance Company artistic director, far left; Karen Loew, G.V.S.H.P director of East Village and special projects, second from left; David Van Zandt, New School president, fourth from left; former Graham star Stuart Hodes, fourth from right; and Phil Hartman, head of the Two Boots Foundation, third from right, along with former Martha Graham students and company members.
“There is nothing more essential to a dancer than space,” she said, adding, “From the remarkable works and creative output from her time here, this ground must be particularly holy!”
“Martha broke new ground in every aspect of dance and theater,” Eilber said. “Not only did she create a radical new style of movement — with her contraction and release — but she rein-
vented costuming and lighting design, and the use of space and time onstage. She pioneered new uses of music for dance, working with virtually all the top composers of her day. “Paul Taylor and Merce Cunningham started their careers in her company,” she added. “She choreographed for seven decades, working well into her 90s.” Graham moved her work Uptown, but in 2012, the Martha Graham Dance Company relocated back to the Village — to Westbeth, in the former studio of Merce Cunningham. Among those who offered words were Phil Hartman, owner of Two Boots Pizza, whose partnership with G.V.S.H.P. sponsors the historical plaque program that enhances the sense of place, and New School President David Van Zandt, who spoke about the artistry and legacy of Graham. Stuart Hodes, one of Graham’s artists and a star in her company, shared anecdotes of his times as a student at this location and a performer in her company. After the unveiling, all those honoring Graham enjoyed Two Boots pizza. TheVillager.com
PHOTOS BY CLAYTON PATTERSON
PHOTO BY ELSA RENSAA
Clayton Patterson, center, with Shinji Horzikura, a traditional Japanese tattoo artist, and his wife.
Performance artist David Leslie and his wife, Celest.
Outsider artists were IN at Clayton art opening The opening on June 19 of Clayton Patterson’s show, “Outside IN,” at the Howl Happening gallery, at 6 E. First St., was quite the happening. “It was a great L.E.S. gathering,” Patterson said. The exhibit, which runs through Aug. 14, features the full range of Patterson’s artwork from over the years, from cabinets festooned with found objects from the Lower East Side’s streets — from teeth to bullet cartridges — to a custom-painted electric guitar and the celeb-coveted Clayton Caps. Also in the show are some beautiful paintings by his wife, Elsa Rensaa.
Writers Alan Kaufman, left, and Jim Feast.
From left, Tone, Kheilan McHenry, Troy Harris, Boysie Carter and Kevin Harris. The Harris brothers’ recent film “No Place Like Home: The History of Hip Hop in the Lower East Side” documented the neighborhood’s role in the art form’s formative years. TheVillager.com
Gold-leaf artist Jerry Pagane.
“Back atcha!” Photographer Shell Sheddy. July 2, 2015
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July 2, 2015
Where female prisoners once called out, bird calls in a garden
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O Burlap and Cashmere pack their own unique folk sound Fresh off a Midwestern swing, folk rockers Burlap to Cashmere will be wrapping up their tour at the Bitter End, 147 Bleecker St., on Wed., July 8, at 8 p.m. The band was out of the spotlight for a decade, but has returned with its core lineup intact: singer/guitarist/songwriter Steven Delopoulos, guitarist John Philippidis, and drummer Theodore Pagano. They’ll be promoting their new album, which was released on iTunes and Amazon last week. The band’s sound has been described as “modern troubadour, with added textures of Greek and Mediterranean influences further fleshing out the band’s unique take on 21st-century folk-rock music.”
d a l g h a y t Arch ’n r u o y g n i d a to be re ? r e p a p s w e n y t i n u m m co Don’t miss a single issue! ! r e g la il V e h T o t e ib r c s b Su Call 646-452-2475 30
July 2, 2015
n April 19, 1927, Mae West was fined $500 and sentenced to 10 days in prison on obscenity charges stemming from a production of “Sex,” a play she directed, starred in and co-wrote under the name Jane Mast. Her trial was held at The Jefferson Market Courthouse and her first night of incarceration was in the adjacent Women’s House of Detention. The following day, The Scranton Times reported on her transfer to the workhouse on Welfare Island and her response to written questions regarding how she felt about her first night in prison. “Not so bad,” she wrote. “The inmates were very interesting. Will have enough material for ten shows. I didn’t think much of the bed.” On the star’s remaining sentence, it has been reported that she dined nightly with the prison’s warden, was allowed to wear her silk panties, as opposed to the standard prison issue, and earned an early release for good behavior, which she remarked was “…the first time I ever got anything for good behavior.” More recently, in 2004, David Duchovny made the movie, “House of D,” which depicted how the incarcerated women would call down to their lovers and family members on the street below. What does all of this have to do with the tufted titmouse? This charming bird is one of the many animals that now reside in the Jefferson Market Garden, precisely where the Women’s House of Detention once stood. According to the Audubon Society, “This tame, active crested little bird is common all year in eastern forests, where its whistled peter-peter-peter song may be heard even during midwinter thaws.” Now celebrating 40 years since it saw its first flowers bloom, the Jefferson Market Garden has become an oasis for local residents and visitors alike. Though the land is owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the garden is funded and maintained by volunteer efforts and donations from residents and visitors. In an interview at the garden, George Paulos, its chairperson, said, “The bird garden was introduced a few years ago and has become a popular spot for local and international birdwatchers. The Manhattan
The tufted titmouse — come up and see her (or him) and all the other animals sometime at the Jefferson Market Garden.
branch of the Audubon Society has provided tips, and we are at a point where we can be designated as a migration station.” Though the garden is best known for its flowers, Paulos added that, “The koi pond is one of the most popular spots for visiting children. It operates year-round with a heater to keep the fish safe through the winter.” For Villager readers without computer access Paulos, assured, “There are free brochures available at the front gate, as well as postcards designed by local artist Bill Thomas, who donates all profits from postcard sales to the garden. Also, thanks to the library, an N.Y.P.L. wireless can be accessed.” Fish, fountains, horticulture and history are all good reasons to visit the garden. Another good reason may be to hear the unique mating song of the tufted titmouse, loosely translated as, “Come up and see me sometime.” The Jefferson Market Garden is located on Greenwich Ave. between Sixth Ave. and W. 10th St. It is open afternoons, except Monday, weather permitting, from April through October. For more information and ways to support the garden, visit their Web site, jeffersonmarketgarden.org . TheVillager.com
New soccer mini-pitch is big news on E. 12th St. SPORTS BY ROBERT ELKIN
PHOTOS BY KRISTIN RUBISCH/UNIVERSITY SETTLEMENT
ew York Red Bulls players Connor Lade and Andrew Jean-Baptiste pitched in at the June 10 grand opening of a new “mini-pitch” playing field next to East Side Community High School, at 420 E. 12th St. There were speakers from the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the Parks Department, the school and the Soccer For Success program, among other organizations, who all helped make the afternoon possible. In addition, students from the East Side soccer team took part in the “first kick” and first match on the new field. The student athletes, their parents and school personnel were all glad to finally have their own field for scrimmages, clinics and practice. However, the new field is not a regulation-size field for high school games. Still, everyone was excited about the school getting a new field, no matter the size. And there’s no question that it will get heavy use. “We have an incredible event,” said Alex Bard, grant and compliance officer for the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “The New York Red Bulls helped pull the money together to pay for the new soccer field. The foundation sponsors free afterschool soccer programs.” Bard works out of Washington, D.C., and was in New York expressly for the mini-pitch dedication. “I’m impressed with the field,” he said. “It’s great to do something for the school and community in general.” Soccer in the U.S. keeps growing each year, and that’s certainly the case at East Side. Principal Mark Federman and his staff eagerly supported getting the field installed. The Parks Department also played a role in getting the field in shape. “We’ll be having tournaments toward the end of the year and throughout the summer,” said Federman, who has been at the school for 20 years, including 14 as principal. “And we’ll be having Beacon programs. The Red Bulls will be running programs and clinics for the students. “But we don’t have a regular 11-by11-size soccer field,” he noted, meaning a field big enough so that full teams of 11 players on a side can play. “This is more of a practice field. We play our high school games at other parks.” The afterschool soccer program
Budding soccer stars enjoyed breaking in the new mini-pitch next to East Side Community High School on June 10.
has really been growing and building over the past years. The Soccer For Success program, which is part of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, has also helped kick interest in soccer up at the school. In general, soccer has been growing in the East Village area, according to residents and representatives from local organizations. Residents and fans come to watch the action in the local parks and cheer for their favorite teams. Also fueling the local interest in soccer, there are currently a number of pro teams in New York and New Jersey. Young fans are now following soccer, including watching games on TV. Others at last week’s mini-pitch opening ceremony included Michael Zisser and Mellissa Aase, C.E.O. and executive director, respectively, of University Settlement; Monique Flores, director of the Beacon program at University Settlement, who also put a lot of work into the minipitch project; Laura Timme, University Settlement associate executive director; City Councilmember Rosie Mendez; Gigi Li, chairperson of Community Board 3; Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver; Manhattan Parks Chief of Staff Steve Simon; Marc de Grandpre, the Red Bulls’ general manager; Jim Hannesschlager, project officer of the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Mini-Pitch Initiative, and Thomas Petersen of SportPros USA. Two weeks after the mini-pitch’s opening, Jean-Baptiste was let go by the Red Bulls. But the mini-pitch, at least, is here to stay.
Michael Zisser, C.E.O. of University Settlement, showed some of his ball skills on the mini-pitch, as Andrew Jean-Baptiste, late of the Red Bulls, looked on, at right. July 2, 2015
2015 NYU Thom Fluellen Award The New York Foundling
2015 NYU T.G. White Fund Awards
New York University salutes the 2015 recipients of the
NYU Community Fund and T.G. White Awards The NYU Community Fund has contributed over $2.6 million to thousands of local nonprofits since its inception in 1982, supporting organizations that improve the health and well-being of New York City. The majority of this money comes directly from NYU faculty and staff who donate funding through an annual employee-based charitable giving program. All administrative costs are absorbed by NYU, so 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to community organizations. Awardees are community organizations whose work addresses concerns such as at-risk youth, homelessness, hunger, literacy, low-income health services, economic independence, and services for those who are elderly, visually impaired, or living with health problems.
July 2, 2015
A Fair Shake for Youth A Place for Kids Andrew Glover Youth Program, Inc. Children’s Aid Society Cornelia Connelly Center Covenant House New York Educational Alliance, Inc. Go Project, Inc. Grand Street Settlement Greenwich Village Youth Council Henry Street Settlements’ Boys and Girls Republic (BGR) Hetrick-Martin Institute Jefferson Market Garden Lower East Side Girls Club of NY Society of the Third Street Music School Settlement University Settlement Society of New York, Inc.
2015 NYU Community Fund Awards Ascension Outreach Back on My Feet New York City Bailey House Bowery Mission Bowery Residents’ Committee, Inc. Brooklyn Community Services Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC Cafeteria Culture Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES) Center for Employment Opportunities Chelsea Opera, Inc. Cherry Lane Theatre Children of Bellevue Children of Promise, NYC Church of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Church of St. Lukes in the Fields’ People Living with AIDS Project City Parks Foundation Community Health Project, Inc./Callen -Lorde Community Health Center Community of St. Egidio USA, Inc. Cooper Square Committee Dances For A Variable Population (DVP) Doing Art Together Downtown Music Production East End Temple (EET) Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center
Eye to Eye Father’s Heart Ministries Fresh Art, Inc. Friends in Deed, Inc. Gibney Dance Gilda’s Club NYC God’s Love We Deliver Greenwich House, Inc. Hamilton-Madison House Hope for our Neighbors in Need Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) Lowline Mariners’ Temple Baptist Church Helping Hands Outreach Program Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals/ Not Home Alone Project Nazareth Housing New York City Gay and Lesbian AntiViolence Project New York City Rescue Mission Nicu’s Spoon Our Lady of Sorrows Food Pantry Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Precious Dreams Foundation Project Ezra Project Renewal Reading Partners Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Inc. Resources for Children with Special Needs, Inc. St. Anthony’s Seniors Group St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen Stuttering Association for the Young (formally Our Time) Tech Kids Unlimited The Door University Community Social Service, Inc. UnLocal, Inc. Urban Justice Center, Peter Cicchino Youth Project VillageCare Village Temple Soup Kitchen Vision Urbana, Inc. Visions/Service for the Blind and Visually Impaired Visiting Neighbors, Inc. Visual AIDS Washington Square Association Music Fund Xavier Mission Inc. Young People’s Chorus of New York City Young Playwrights, Inc. Youth Represent, Inc.